What you need to know:
He comes back home late, drunk, and any effort to talk to him ends in a fight
My husband Peter and I have been living together for two years and have a son. When Peter was not earning much, we were peaceful and our relationship was smooth. However, ever since he got a high-paying job, his behaviour has changed. He comes back home late, drunk, and any effort to talk to him ends in a fight. When he is home, he is always on WhatsApp, Facebook or texting with friends whom he says are more important than my son and I. Should I call it quits or be hopeful that he will change? Joy
This sounds like a stressful situation you are going through. I understand that you might begin to feel insecure and wonder whether you can save your marriage. You probably would not have written to us if you did not still love your husband. Seeking help is healthy and one step to finding the best ideas and coping skills to enable you to go through this situation.
Above all, remember you are not alone. Relationships can bring the utmost happiness in life but at the same time can cause frustration and pain. We are wired for connection and so, this urge to be loved enables us regardless of what may happen to still go ahead and find someone to love.
It is also true that people naturally change depending on the circumstances. The changes can be due to mental health issues probably caused by job stress or physical illnesses. Relationships also go through stages and each stage has both positive and negative issues. For some, it can be a failure to practice self-regulation amid extreme changes in their lives including earning more than they used to. For others, it can be due to peer pressure at the workplace.
It may not be easy to tell what made your husband change but hypothetically, some of what is mentioned above might be one of the causes. You mentioned that he now comes home drunk and like I said above he could be battling a mental health issue that he has failed to come to terms with and instead decided to try and cope through taking alcohol and chatting on Facebook, WhatsApp.
Calling it quits is a personal choice after exhausting all the possible remedies and psychologically preparing yourself. For now, utilize the available resources such as candid communication. Find a good time when your husband is sober and invite him for a talk, probably away from home or in an environment where you are both relaxed. Take care of your emotions first so that you can assertively let him know how you feel about his new behaviour. Use nonjudgmental language and mostly I statements than starting with “you” as this is will seem like more of an attack on him.
Yelling and shouting and lecturing might not help you at this time since you might be dealing with someone who is also battling emotional pain and stress which can only make it worse.
The other helpful solution is to seek professional relationship counselling. This will provide a safe avenue for you to speak about what you do not like in the relationship. Your husband will also get a chance to explain the sudden change in his behaviour and how you both can be supported to mend your relationship. You will also be exposed to different options so that you make an informed decision.
Are you blameless?
John Woods. Look back over the last couple of years. Has this marriage been what you hoped it would be? If not, what needs to change? Do not skip over considering your role in the present problems. This reflection is not about who is ‘at fault’ but it is an opportunity to look at what you contributed to the success of your marriage and how you could do better. Or, might you be better off ending your marriage? However, do not be tempted to use it as a threat since it may backfire on you.
Is it time to let go?
Jane Matovu. If your partner has changed in a way that you know you will have a difficult time living with, or if he is doing hurtful or abusive things, sometimes it is necessary to end the relationship. And that is okay. Letting go of a relationship is not easy, but sometimes it is the best solution for one or both partners.
Communication is key
Daniel Mukisa. When something does not feel right in a relationship, communication is the key to understanding the other partner’s perspective. Set a daily time to connect. It does not have to be for a long period of time. But have time every day where you look into each other’s eyes and talk, especially about what you feel is now affecting your marriage.
Encourage your hubby
Charity Muganda. Sorry about what you are going through. All the attributes you are talking about are associated with depression. Kindly be a pillar of encouragement to your husband. Try noticing every small effort and detail that is positive about him, write it down, and make it a habit to praise him for the small things he does on a daily basis. It is hard in the beginning but worth it.
Leaving not a solution
Jacob Kwesiga Gatasha. Peter could be facing a much bigger problem that requires you to be his support system. Try talking to him and if he refuses, try involving his friends that you know he can easily open up to. Being so quick to leave your marriage is not the solution. Help your man realise what he is doing wrong and if he is going through something, help him through it.
Martin Ssebyala. I think it is always easier to point a finger at others, that is human and I do not blame you. However, what if you are the cause of his change? If a man loves you, in most cases when you hurt him, he will just ignore you to avoid fights. Check yourself first, no body just changes overnight.
Love your husband
Jude Nsonga. Consider new ways of expressing love, such as leaving your husband a loving note or cooking him a delicious meal. These things can help restore the bond between you and your partner and help you feel closer. If you spend time daily in conversation and express love, affection, and admiration to your husband, it will foster a deeper connection and strengthen your relationship.
Evelyn is a counselling psychologist with Sermotherapy Counselling Foundation