Style Sex & Relationships

Saturday 23 August 2014

Dear Mary: Can I love again after splitting from an addict?

Published 12/11/2012 | 06:00

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Photo posed. Photo: Thinkstock

I had a miserable marriage -- he turned out to be alcoholic, which I discovered early on in our marriage, but what I didn't know was that he was also a gambler.

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He was pretty much able to keep the gambling a secret from me from me until I discovered all the debts that he had run up. He didn't hold on to his job because of all of this and, as a result, I was the chief breadwinner.

Eventually, I had enough of his lies and deceit and we separated, although I was left with all the debts to pay off.

My only consolation was my great kids who continue to bring me joy, and even though they have left home now they keep in touch on a regular basis and we use Skype which is a great help.

I have now retired, having worked full-time all my life and although up until now I never wanted to even think about having another relationship, I'm beginning to feel that it might not be a bad thing. There is a man on the horizon that I know for a long time.

My question is will I ever be able to trust another man again? I've been very badly burned and my husband was my one and only experience of men.

Mary replies:

Well done on getting through all the difficulties you encountered in your marriage. It must have been particularly hard for you when you found out that your husband was doubly addicted. Now you are starting a new era in your life, one which hopefully will bring you pleasure as you can put yourself first for a change without having to work full-time as well as caring for your husband and children in a difficult environment. It is good that you have begun to think about a new relationship but it is very understandable that you should be scared by the prospect. Why not look upon all this as a new adventure, one where you are totally in control even though you don't know how it is going to end?

You can take it at whatever pace you like, and I would suggest that you don't look too far ahead, but just enjoy each experience that you have with this man. Do not regard him as potential relationship material, just see it as enriching the friendship that you already have. He has his own history and his own story, so it's not as if either of you are raw beginners.

Yes I do believe that you can learn to trust men again, but building trust after it has been lost takes time so don't rush and try to enjoy yourself along the way. It's time that you had some fun!

Submit your letters to Mary anonymously at dearmary.ie.

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