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'AITA for cutting work hours to 'prove point' to SAHM wife who wants me to do more housework?' UPDATED 5X

'AITA for cutting work hours to 'prove point' to SAHM wife who wants me to do more housework?' UPDATED 5X


When a marriage is in a bad spot, it can be hard to get through to your partner and feel like both your needs are being honored.

While direct communication and calm conversation is the healthiest way to resolve simmering tension, sometimes things escalate into more active confrontation.

In a popular post on the AITA subreddit, a man asked if he's wrong for cutting back on work hours to prove a point to his wife. He wrote:

AITA (38M) for cutting back on work to prove a point to my wife (30F)?

My wife is usually an angel of a woman, but has recently gotten into a friendship with a woman whom I personally believe is a bad influence on her, not in a patronizing way, more of a 'lay down with dogs, get up with fleas' type of situation. I never said anything about her childishness or her very radical misandry, because frankly it doesn't effect me.

Until it did. A few months ago my wife began pressuring me to do more around the house. Before I get an instant YTA. We already split chores and child care, admittedly, she had a bigger cut than I because she is a SAHM. But I do most of the cooking - breakfasts, and dinners. Lunch is her responsibility for her and the boys.

I take out the garbage and I do laundry, and I deep clean the bathrooms once a week. I do also help with our boys homework and such. She insists that I am not doing enough and that I should be doing more around the house.

I tried having discussions with her asking what she expected from me (namely all chores and child-rearing should be my duty it seems) and for months it seemed to be going nowhere. She used the D word more than once when speaking on this which felt manipulative.

It boiled over when we were out with friends one night, and she began talking about how I never helped out and how I use her as a house slave (her words). I will admit I saw red. This next part is where I may be the a**hole. I didn't say anything that night but the next day I asked my boss to be given reduced hours for the next little bit, due to stress.

And I took over everything in the house. I cooked breakfast, and made lunch for the boys before I drove them to school, I cleaned the house top to bottom, I did every dish we had twice and so on. My wife was blindingly happy, and bragged to her friend that she finally had me 'worn in.' She didn't lift a finger for around a month.

Then she began asking why we never went on dates anymore and complaining that she wanted to get her nails done as they were growing in. I explained that I had to take that out of our budget so we could continue to afford everything else, but we could absolutely have a movie night in, and I could paint her nails for her. She was unhappy with that solution.

So I asked her if she would want to get a part-time job to pay for either luxuries. You would have thought I asked if she wanted to join a cult. She then asked if I could Just pick up more shifts at work to cover her other expenses, and used the phrase 'be a man.' Which I found more than a little insulting. I then asked her if she would be willing to go back to splitting the chores and such?

Which is when she began to catch on that the two were related. She yelled at me that I was being a manipulative a**hole for doing this and even claimed it was financial 'a-word'. I stood strong for a while but now I am questioning my methods, because even I feel what I did was a bit underhanded. so AITA?

People had strong opinions on this one.

Magoo69X wrote:

NTA. Stay at home means you do most of the housework. I'm not sure why your wife doesn't understand that. Dude - you said that your wife is an 'angel,' I'm not really seeing it. Threatening divorce to bludgeon you into doing more housework is a pretty big red flag.

jtlrush wrote:

NTA. You did what she asked. Reading stories like this really make me question if I want to get married.

Fables- wrote:

NTA. Wtf is with your wife? She expects you to work all day and do ALL the house chores and take care of the kids? While she uses your money to pamper herself? Her priorities are so wrong on so many levels. She lucky she ain't my wife. With that attitude and disrespect I would have agreed to divorce and said I'll see you in court.

Vivid-Rent7730 wrote:

I understand you love her and all that but “She yelled at me that I was being a manipulative a**hole for doing this and even claimed it was financial 'a word.' Being manipulative is exactly what she was doing when she threatened divorce. It doesn’t really sound like she loves you as much as you love her.

And financially abusive? You told her if she wants luxuries she can get a job. Or she can get her friend to start paying for stuff since she wants her input so much. NTA, but I suggest taking a break from each other or therapy.

Glittering_Code_4311 wrote:

NTA but why are you with her she seems to think you are just there to service her and do everything. What are you getting out of this marriage?

OP responded:

I love her. With everything I got. She’s an excellent mother, and honestly before she met this friend we were both blissfully happy to the best of my knowledge.

dheffe01 wrote:

NTA but what is your wife doing, its time to sit down and write a list of the hours of contribution you both put in, because there is a discrepancy. You then need to address that there was never a problem until her "friend" came along. Being a SAHM means you she works around the house and does the child care, which is interesting as they are in school.

OP responded:

She had always wanted to be a SAHM before we got together, I try not to say this part because while her two boys are not mine biologically, they are my sons, but being a single mother was incredibly taxing for her, because working in the public was too much.

I had a bit of experience with being a single father myself, I have a son of my own, but I was looking to advance my career, and was more than happy to take over the bills for a lessened load at home.

In one comment, OP jumped into how the relationship had changed since they first got married.

"When we first got married, she would give me shoulder and back massages everyday after work, and have my favorite music playing when I opened the door, even though she hates bluegrass. She would make my coffee while I was getting dressed. She made sure to pick up extra crunchy peanut butter from the store even though I’m the only person who likes it."

"We would have movie night twice a week with the kids and a date night to ourselves once a week. I have always had trouble sleeping, and I don’t want to take pills for it, so she always had the bed ready for me, a heating pad already turned on, and my pajamas on the bed."

"She would run her fingers through my hair until I fell asleep, and would wake me up herself instead of the alarm because she knew it put me in a better mood. None of which I asked for. She’s a good wife and wanted to because she knew that that’s what I liked, and she did it."

"She hasn’t done a 180, some of this is still true, af least it was until I cut down my hours, that was really when she stopped doing anything at all. And right now she’s pissed so I’m on the couch. Awake and regretful."

"Personally I think she’s stubborn. I don’t think she even really wants it. She just wants to prove that I would do it if she asks. She has a troubled history with men, and that’s why I tend to be forgiving when things do happen."

Six days later, OP jumped on with a major update.

How do I (38M) explain to/help my sons to understand their mother (30F) is going to Rehab. I have never been in a situation like this. I am a former addict myself, but I didn't have children then.

See my last post for more clarification (editor's note- I tried several different engines and search tactics, but couldn't find any other "last post" besides the AITA one), but the gist of it is that my wife and I recently had a blowout argument where she admitted to using two substances for several months, and has agreed to get checked into rehab, which we are currently setting up now.

How the HELL do I bring this up to them, without them being judgmental or hateful to their mother? Or worse, falling into the same mental space I am in? I don't want to lie to them, which is what my wife wants, but I am failing to see an alternative that won't destroy them or the respect they have for their mother.

I am swimming blind here, and I have barely slept since this all came out. Any and all advice is appreciated. Thank you in advance.

People shared a lot of advice in the comments.

butwhowasusername wrote:

How old are the children, first of all? The way you explain it is going to differ depending on their age.

OP responded:

9, 12, and 14.

butwhowasusername responded:

Alright, so the first thing you need to do is get yourself into a mental space where you can place your feelings about her substance use aside. You might need to take some time to breathe, you might need to talk it out with someone else, but whatever you need to do, do it. This isn't about you, right now, this is about the kids. So this is way too young for them, but this is a good place to help you figure out how to start. There's multiple videos that help you figure out what kinds of very basic, general things to say. As kids get older, you can share more information about what addiction looks like.

It's a disease that affects the brain's ability to make choices, and adults often turn to substances to feel better. Rehab is one step in many as part of the recovery. (This is also a good time to talk to them about substances as well, if you don't already have that as an ongoing conversation.) They're kids. they're going to have their own emotions.

They could be hateful and judgemental no matter how well you talk to them and that's because they hurt too. That's normal. It's okay for them to be angry, to be sad, to feel however it is they feel. You're probably going to see some behavioral difficulties. They might not know how to talk to their friends about this. They might feel like their mom chose substances over them.

They really, really need you right now--not your hurt and anger, but you. You and they may be interested in looking at a counselor, either as a family or individually. (Some rehab centers do offer family counseling, depending.) Reach out to the schools to let them know they may have a hard time and just need someone to listen and understand.

Make friends with school counselors. It can also help to have them involved in groups of other kids going through similar struggles, so they know they're not alone.

OP responded:

Thank you, I am taking notes and I appreciate the advice.

Euphoric-Basil-3658 wrote:

I’m not going to lie, my first thought when I read your other post was “that’s a dr*g filled delusion if I’ve ever heard one.” Radical shifts in perspective and behavior are big red flags to me because spolier: I was the addict.

I have no kids but the best way it’s ever been explained to the younger kids in my family (we have a history of it, lucky us) is that when an adult makes a bunch of bad choices that can develop into a bad habit, and they go to a better place for a little bit to help them learn how to make better choices. Vague but sufficient.

In your case, with your 14 year old, I would be completely honest (that’s the age I started messing around with substances, and most kids that age have at least heard of them). You’re a good husband and a good dad. I’m glad you’re willing to stick by her and i’m glad you listened when she expressed what was going on instead of judging.

But please don’t lose yourself in her battle. Remember that your feelings around the situation are valid and important, too.

OP responded:

I’m trying not to be angry with her, because I know it’s both irrational and hypocritical of me to be angry, because I know first hand addiction is a disease, I suppose I’m more angry at myself for not thinking of it, it had never crossed my mind that she would be doing drugs. She barely ever even drank in the 5 years I’ve known her. But it feels like I should have seen the signs, and I didn’t.

It’s incredibly heartbreaking that I was so caught up in the “fairness” of her requests that I didn’t see what was staring me in the face. I have been torn between sobbing in my car to absolutely tearing up the treadmill at my local gym because I can’t tell her what I’m feeling right now, because I know it will do nothing but cause a fight.

She’s going into rehab tonight, and I am honestly sad to say that I will be relieved to not have to look at her for a while. I still love her dearly but I’m having trouble not starting fights myself, which I know isn’t helpful, or going to do anything but make things worse. It’s just. Hell.

penplayaa wrote:

I think it depends. What substances?

OP responded:

Klonopin and Adipex that she was buying from her friend. She also admitted to having tried c*ke and several other prescription narc*tics, but those were the only two she did often.

Britva wrote:

Is this the same friend that turned her onto radical misandry?

OP responded:

Yes. Though it’s come to light that it wasn’t misandry she was being taught but flagrant dr*g usage. I have told her that she goes no contact with this friend or else she will be facing divorce along with everything else.

penplayaa wrote:

Are you planning on separating?

OP responded:

No. We’re doing couples therapy after she gets out of detox, but I’ve made it very clear that she has two options here, and neither of them include drug use near my sons.

Less than a week later, OP shared another update.

I Yelled at my wife. See my profile for details. But I was driving my wife to the rehabilitation center we decided on. On the way she was screaming at me. About how she can’t believe I’m humiliating her like this (explaining what was happening to the boys, and making her message her dealer/friend that they would not be hanging out or using together anymore)

About how she doesn’t want to go, and that I am a controlling monster, and how threatening her with divorce and taking primary custody of the boys was too far and I was insane, and I just took it, and took it and took it, until I just couldn’t. And I screamed at her.

I screamed that the woman I met would have rather died than had a pillhead j*nkie around her sons, and how she disgusted me, and that I don’t know if she knew how much I was considering leaving her not because of the addiction but the way she was f**king acting, like she hadn’t brought dr*gs into our home. Around me, a former addict myself, and around OUR BOYS.

That I am beginning to hate her for doing that. That she was becoming exactly what she always cried about her mother being, and that she was lucky I was here to see it before what happened to her happened to her godd*mned sons. It makes me sick to say but watching it sink in just how far she had spiraled felt good. Watching her realize that her actions have consequences was nice.

She yelled a few more times, that I was an abusive a$$hole, or whatever, but she was still crying so I felt her heart wasn’t in it. I plan on speaking to a lawyer. I don’t want to divorce her, but I don’t know how healthy our relationship could possibly be after this. I know yelling like that was wrong, but I don’t feel bad.

And that is the part that makes me think that maybe I shouldn’t be married to her anymore. For her sake and my own. I don’t know what else to do, and I’m so pissed that she detonated c-4 in every bit of our life.

People had a lot to say in response.

Due-Priority-5031 wrote:

Sad to say you might need to separate, if she's fighting you still on the way to rehab then I don't see how rehab is going to change her perspective. And you know how long and hard drug addiction can be and it sounds like she did too but she still put herself and the rest of your family in that situation. I don't think trust can really be rebuilt after this.

OP responded:

I believe I’m going to have to divorce her. And it’s. Wrecking me. I don’t want to. I still love her, but I don’t know if I trust myself around her, and also not to use myself. I have been closer to relapsing this week than I ever have been.

richabre94 wrote:

Some people need to know the truth no matter how harsh it is. Yes you could’ve said it in a better way but she drove you to the edge and you exploded. You both need to make an effort if both of you want the relationship to continue.

Eleutherioz wrote:

Hey, I’m sorry that you’re going through this and I don’t have anything helpful to say.

I’m a former addict. I just want to say I see you striving to be good for you and your sons. You are a good Dad. Keep striving.

Curlybrit7 wrote:

Have hope that rehab will help. Many people are at their absolute worst on the way to rehab. Hopefully that is the case for her and she will have massive apologies when she’s done. If not, I would absolutely leave.

The fact that you do so much and feel bad about yelling shows how great of a husband you are and you deserve an equal partner. I hope the woman you married walks out of rehab rather than the woman she’s become.

Twelve days later, OP shared another update.

Title: She was cheating.

Before you read, please know this is a vent post. I normally would never be like this but I am beyond okay and need to get this poison out of my head before I go anywhere else with it. She was f#$king cheating.

The dr*g dealing friend sent me f#$king videos of her dancing and grinding on this ugly hick looking b@stard. I am godd*mned destroyed. The boys are staying with my mother for a few days, and I’m taking the next week off work. I am so done. I have never been so angry in my goddamned life.

She was so goddamned smug sending it, “in case you don’t realize you’re replaceable to her.” Well the free ride stops here. I hope she can get on Medicaid for her suboxone LMFAO. I'm done. I save the video immediately and I’m going to see a lawyer asap. I can’t tell anyone yet because I want to do this s#$t right.

Thankful as F#$K my parents insisted on a prenup with what I at the time thought was an inhumane cheating clause. Never been cheated on before and I feel like tearing my goddamned hair out. I genuinely never thought she would turn out to be such a scummy piece of s#$t. I can not handle this. I am not physically able to handle this.

I haven't been able to keep food down and I drank for the first time in over a decade last night. Then I woke up and had to pour the rest down the drain because I am about to spiral, and my boys don't need both mom and dad in rehab right now. I am so close to losing my goddamned mind.

Also, believe what you want, but stop sending me private messages about how I should take down the posts or that posting about my personal relationship with my wife is wrong- please. Leave me be it will not work. This is the only place I can talk about this s**t.

Editor's note: OP clarifies the kid situation/who is related to who.

"Two of my three sons are stepsons, but I adopted them, (they never had a father due to their bio dad being an absolute piece of s**t) My biological son is the youngest and was born to a girlfriend who is not in the picture and doesn’t want to be."

"My sons are 9, 12, and 14. She had two jobs when I met her, though though were both s**t jobs, and I had been looking into finding her a better one. When it comes to the dealer, she was getting the dr*gs from her friend who is a woman, and a few of the men who she cheated with."

The internet had OP's back.

GratePumpkin wrote:

"Damn, so sorry OP. =( I've been following you from your first post. I know this hurts, but use it as final proof and push to do what you have to do. Your sons need you. Even if your wife has decided she truly wants help, she's not the person your sons need. But judging from her outburst on your way to rehab...she doesn't really want help. She's in too deep and hasn't hit rock bottom yet."

"You need to protect those boys at all costs. And sir, that means taking care of yourself as well. You poured the rest down the drain, that's good! But you need to eat. You need to get proper sleep. You need to contact whoever you need to contact for divorce and legal, you need to start making moves, and you need to immediately get yourself into therapy. IMMEDIATELY."

"Your marriage is broken, your family is broken, your sobriety is broken, and you need solid professional help holding what you still have together while you work on fixing the rest of it, okay? You've got this."

Agitated_Ad8372 wrote:

I am so sorry you are going through this right now. Cheating is the worst pain you can feel in a relationship, especially with everything you did for her to make her happy. But I believe IMO (though I know you didn’t ask for it so I apologize if I am crossing a line or being insensitive) you are doing the right thing by divorcing her. Based on her previous posts, the relationship and household sounded very toxic.

My father is an add*ct and growing up, the way he would treat my mom like a work horse and the things he would say about women has really messed me up. I was lucky to have a positive role model in my mother when she finally divorced him and I know that your sons have a positive role model in you.

I hope for your sons that their mother is able to get the help she needs so she can be a healthy and positive parent for your sons. Again, I am very sorry you are going through this and it is very difficult. I know you are going to do whatever is best for your sons and you will be able to get through this. Sending much love your way. <3

Mythical995 wrote:

I have been following your story for a while and I am terribly sorry brother, you tried your best but some people just don't want to be helped and saved. It might be too much but DNA test your kids you never know man.

AnthonyStephenMark wrote:

The worst part is the only person who never saw this coming was you and your soon to be ex.

Remember "because frankly it doesn't effect me?"

This is why as a couple you need to have a veto on who is part of your life and that includes each other's friends. These actions are almost satanic, this was the final piece of the dismantling of your life. This is how demons work through people around us.

But ultimately it's we who choose to walk through those doors.

EDIT: So does your wife know you have been sent the video?

I think it's time you do some more investigating.

A few months later, OP shared another update.

Title: My Soon to be ex-wife is in the hospital after a s*icide attempt, and I feel like a monster.

You can read my other posts for more context on what happened to get here, if you like, but the short of it is, I was blind to my wife’s addiction until she admitted it, and went to rehab, while she was in rehab, I was sent evidence that she had been cheating, often, and with more than one person.

I have been working on filing for divorce, while she’s in rehab, not just for the cheating, but because with that on top of everything else, and myself nearly sinking back into my own addiction due to the stress of the situation, I couldn’t stand to even think of her anymore, and there’s no healthy relationship that has room for that mind set.

I honestly didn’t want to be in a room with her again, to try mediation or counseling due to the fact that the last time I was alone with her I raised my voice, and at the time even felt she deserved it. (I of course now know that me doing that was terrible, and could be considered abuse, yet another reason I should not be in a relationship with this woman.)

I moved all of her belongings to our guest room, minus the pills I found hidden in her beside table. I took pictures of those in their hiding spot then flushed them. I also removed her from my Bank account and credit cards.

I spoke to my boys, explaining the situation without demonizing their mother to the best of my ability, and they seemed to understand I have no intention of abandoning them, and blood or not, they were my sons. Then she came home. The boys were, and still are away at camp, a birthday present paid for by my mother. She was quiet.

Eyes on the ground after the moment I picked her up at the facility all the way home. Once we got home, I led her to the guest room silently, and she didn’t take it well, crying before she could even take the first step. Throughout the next couple weeks, I let her get settled, and though I stayed carefully neutral.

I know she could tell something was coming, but I wanted to do be as fair as possible, and try to let her get used to being out before I said anything, as that was one thing I myself hated about when I left rehab, everything was flying at me so fast, I didn’t have time to breathe.

Finally, I asked her to sit on the couch and I began explaining to her that I do not believe I can continue being married to her, and that I wanted divorce. I should have known her reaction was all wrong, she didn’t say anything at all, she only nodded, and cried quietly as I spoke.

I explained that I did not intend to hurt her, but I could not be married to her anymore, and that maybe both of us should focus on being the best parents we can be. I told her I had no intentions of kicking her out, and that because of our prenup the divorce should be cut and dry, and she should be safe to begin looking for employment now, and once she has a job I will help her find an apartment.

At this, she stood and walked to her room. I let her, because I thought she must have been overwhelmed, and this talk could wait. She didn’t come out at dinner time, and I weighed whether I should leave her alone or not. Eventually, I decided to knock on the door, and ask if she was hungry.

Long story short. She had smuggled pills into my house somehow (or she had a stash I was unaware of), and had an overd*se, and was dead for several minutes in the ambulance, and she’s in a medically induced coma, because the doctors aren’t sure exactly how much damage she’s done to her brain, from what they’ve said.

I feel like an absolute monster. Like I am the scum of the earth. Like I should have just said nothing. Like I should have just dealt with it. Just. Held it in, and stayed. I am responsible for this and it kills me. I may not have the same love for her as I did, but I do feel so very sorry for everything she’s been through.

It’s k*lling me. I haven’t told my sons yet, and I am debating waiting until they’re back from camp, so they can have a little more time without this on their minds on top of everything else. I am sorry for the grammar and such, I don’t have the energy to edit this, but wanted to get this off my chest.

Strangers from all over the world offered OP love and words of support.

thfemaleofthespecies wrote:

Is your idea that you would spend your life walking on tiptoes so she didn’t make yet another bad decision? I feel for her, I really do. Things are not good for her right now. But you’re not inflicting the consequences of her decisions on her. You’re taking care of yourself and your sons as a consequence of her behaviour.

You will get through this. Breathe in, breathe out, one foot in front of the other. Repeat. And again. You’ve got this.

SgtObliviousHere wrote:

OP? Listen to this. I am both a recovering alcoholic and bipolar. I have attempted s*icide two times...and those two awful decisions? Were mine and mine alone. Just like your wife is responsible for her decision. Listen to the above comment. Read it over and over. And please forgive aren't to blame.

Freudinatress wrote:

You are not responsible. I am divorced. I asked for the divorce. He was upset but did not do anything. He didn’t try to kill himself. Thousands of people go through divorce every year without trying to k*ll themselves.

This is on her. Not you. I understand why you feel guilty but…you did everything right. What else could you have done? Stayed married? Have a horrible marriage where you might have gone back to using too, had horrible fights and then…she might have tried anyway. She isn’t well. We both know that. But that is not your fault.

Mmoct wrote:

It’s not your fault. Your wife has issues you aren’t equipped to handled. I will say waiting to tell your boys about their mom might be a mistake. They should be told, sooner rather than later. You’re only delaying the inevitable, which might cause more harm than good depending on how things play out with their mom’s condition.

OP shared a few updates in the comments:

I took the advice of some of the commenters, and went to go get my boys, to see if they wanted to see their mother, I explained the situation to the best of my ability, age-appropriate, and asked if they wanted to see her, they all agreed to see her eventually, but the eldest only wanted to go to support his brothers.

I'm concerned about the anger he is building towards his mother, and I do intend to talk to him about it, but I also don't want to tell him how to feel, or tell him that his feelings are bad and wrong, I was already working to get them into therapy, but I'm going to expedite that.

"Not my story to tell but she doesn’t have much family alive, and the ones who are she’s no contact with. She has other friends, but I don’t know which ones were enabling. They all know what’s going on, I messaged all her friends, except the dealer, though she knows now I know from messages she sent me."

"She hasn’t shown up to the hospital though, possibly because she thinks I would throw her out, which I would be tempted to do, to be entirely honest. A couple of her other friends visit all the time."

"She’s no contact with her mother ironically because of her mother's addiction, and bad treatment of her. The rest constantly insisted she should see her mother, and two times even took her boys to her mothers house without her permission"

OP also added a comment about why he didn't split up with her while she was in rehab.

"I wanted to do it while she’s in rehab, but my therapist told me to reconsider so I did. I was so angry when I found out about the cheating I wanted to take her belongings to her dealer's house and leave them there, but I knew that was wrong. I knew that once my anger wore off I would regret it."

"So now all I want to get the divorce started and over with as soon as possible, so that I can begin trying to pick up the pieces and move on with my life. On top of that? I didn’t want to lead her on, and I could tell that she knew something was coming because I can’t even stand her touching me anymore, it makes me physically ill."

"If I had known she was going to k*ll herself I could have closed my eyes and grit my teeth, and let her do whatever, but honestly even now, after what she did, I know that isn’t feasible for me."

"I still found myself wanting to start fights, to yell, and I know that I am not a strong enough person to be in a relationship with someone who hurt me that much, who disrespected me, my home, and my children that much, who took my own past experiences with dr*gs into account so little that she brought them into my home, directly under the nose of myself and my children (pun intended)."

"This is as much kindness as I can afford to extend to her anymore for my own mental health's sake."

Seven months later, OP shared a final, and beyond tragic update.

Title: My Wife Is Dead

My wife is dead. I haven't updated in a while, and I'm sorry. But, I'm sure you can guess why I wasn't feeling up to it.

I know that everyone said that she was manipulating me or trying to make me stay with her, but honestly, even if that was the case, it didn't matter, because the moment she woke up we both started crying, and talking, and we didn't stop for days.

She went back into rehab for a little while, came out and we did both Couples and solo therapy for both of us. She seemed happy. She seemed better, and I had hoped that the crazy was over, that we would just be happy again.

I didn't update then because frankly, I was scared how everyone would react, I don't do well at getting yelled at. She promised me that if anything happened, if there was *anything* she needed to talk to me about she wouldn't hesitate. Everything was going well, and now when I ask myself if there were signs she would go back or that she never stopped the answer is NO.

Nothing except the fact that she had an overd*se at her friend's house while I was working and died on her couch. The friend didn't even want to call an ambulance, her boyfriend had to convince her to. I don't think either of them were arr*sted that day, but I know from the paper she was picked up a couple of months ago for selling.

Everyone kept telling me to go to the police, and frankly, maybe I should have, but frankly, with the way the police act, it wouldn't do much good. Since then, I have been drifting terribly. I took up sm*king again, something I quit before I got married because she hated the smell. I hate it now too, the smell, I mean, but the hand-to-mouth is nice.

My sons are in therapy and are taking the loss as well as they could be expected to. The younger two talk about her a lot, but the eldest is mostly angry. I'm thankful he doesn't seem to want to say things to his brothers about it, but I always let him tell me anything he's thinking, even when it breaks my heart.

I know that maybe everyone here has an idea of who my wife was, but one thing that you could never deny was how much she loved our boys. They were her pride and joy, absolutely everything to her. I miss her. I miss her so much it feels like a death rattle to breathe. There's never music when I get home anymore and I hate it.

I hate the quiet so much that some days before I go inside I sit in the car and just cry because I know she won't be there. I haven't even been able to clean out her side of the bathroom yet, it hurts too much to think about getting rid of her perfume, or her toothbrush. I haven't felt like writing for obvious reasons but there's something that feels important now so I will. Valentine's Day is tomorrow.

On the way home from work recently, I caught myself calculating flower prices, before I remembered that I have no one to give them to unless I put them on her grave. I remember being pissed off at how expensive roses were getting, and now that seems so silly. I just wanted to say, if you have someone you love, please cherish them.

Do something extra nice for the person you love tomorrow, for my sake. Nothing crazy, but maybe you can dance around the living room to your song, or read to each other? Something soft, or good, to let them know you're real, and really, really there.

I know that's so cliche and corny and if Alex were here now she would actively b*lly me, haha. But sadly, the old b*stards were always right. Life *is* short. Isn't that a kick in the a$$?

Internet strangers poured out love on OP.

aprilsewingjournal wrote:

You might try the widow Reddit for support. They helped me a lot when my husband died. Remember there is no right way to grieve- just do what is necessary to get through this time. Be gentle with yourself. Life will never be the same but it doesn't always feel as dark as right now. Hugs and prayers for you and your kids.

OP responded:

I might, honestly, thank you. Any kind of emotional support right now is gonna be welcome. It's hard for me to be emotional around my boys because I hate to make them feel like they're ever in a position where *they* need to take care of *me.*

(Poor kids have been through enough without me losing it) but I've been such a mess that they've caught me crying in my car more often than I'd like. Not to imply that I refuse to cry around them at all, just. I hate them seeing exactly how much of a wreck I am.

New-Environment9700 wrote:

Get yourself into some therapy too…you went through a major trauma with your wife. Addiction and cheating unfortunately go hand in hand often and you had to deal with all of that plus trying to heal yourself. That’s a lot. You can’t save someone else. I work in addiction field.

You can try to help as much as you can, but the person has to make a decision to fight the addiction too. I’m so so sorry for your pain…but you showing emotion is good for the boys to see. It shows them it’s ok to cry too. Do the therapy with them and try to heal.

OP responded:

I'm in therapy, but it's a long process, especially considering I'm a former addict myself. The entire situation has aged me a decade in a year.

Blegheggeghegty wrote:

As someone whose dad went through similar s**t. Cry in front of them. I wish he would have shown me that it was okay to do.

OP responded:

I can try. It just always makes me feel so guilty. I know I shouldn't, but I always just think to myself "What are you doing? You're meant to be taking care of them, not the other way around." I hate to think that they ever feel the need to walk on eggshells around me because I'm too much of a wreck to handle something. I know that's a bad answer, but it's true.

It just always comes around to the face that those are my boys and I am their dad. I am supposed to be stronger than this for them. And I don't mean to imply that crying is weak or wrong, I just don't know how to turn "Its okay to cry," into "It's okay *for me* to cry" in my head. Then of course I mostly mean now, after everything.

At the funeral, there was no helping it, and for the first few days after that I was such a mess my parents came to stay with us because they were concerned I wasn't sleeping.

Blegheggeghegty responded:

Yeah. You can’t help your feelings. But I am sure your little dude has feelings and when he sees you not exhibiting those same feelings he may think that those feelings are wrong. But that could be my own baggage. Do what you need to for yourself my dude. But that just stood out to me.

OP responded:

Thank you, genuinely. I will keep that in mind. I hadn't fully considered that, if I'm being honest, but I can work on it.

In one comment, OP shared his struggle around keeping the good memories/image of her alive.

Not defending her is so hard for me, but that was the first thing my therapist told me, when I asked about my sons. That defending her to them wasn't going to help, and that all I could do was let them talk. My eldest is the only one who really rages about it, but the younger two will eventually, I'm sure.

I am also angry, in this helpless kind of way that hurts so bad I can't stand to think about it, because if she had just *talked to me* I could have helped her, and she would still be here. I am a former addict myself, and I know I made so many mistakes with my wife, but I swear it was like everything was so good again.

We slept in the same bed again, and had dates. Everything in my mind just wants to scream and beg to know why she would do this and I can't. I hate it so much because I tried so very hard not to love her anymore when she was alive, and it didn't work then. I don't see myself doing any better now that she's gone.

And it hurts even worse because when other people are mad, or say negative things *I still* want to defend her, to explain every little reason she had, and why it wasn't all her fault but in the end it doesn't even matter if I do because she is gone. She won't be here to reap the benefits of that defense, or even to care that I changed minds.

She won't be here to be respected, or disrespected. It feels pointless, but I *still* want to and it makes me feel like a f#$king moron.

Rare-Lettuce8044 wrote:

I remember your first post. This is wild. I'm so sorry for your loss.

Redd7769 wrote:

Honestly this is where I am currently at; did not expect such a tragic update. OP as others have said, your wife has made choices and her actions are solely her own. Her death is not your fault.

Reading your older posts back, you were protecting your boys, your family, from the tragedy that is add**tion. I am just so devastated for you, that as hard as you tried, she still made her choice. Add*ction truly is a monster, and it wrapped its arms tightly around her- and I am so sorry for that.

This is genuinely one of the saddest arcs possible, hopefully OP is able to receive more support both on and offline and move into a healing space.

Sources: Reddit
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