Alcoholism and infidelity go hand-in-hand in wrecking marriages. For an alcoholic, alcohol is a deadly substance that ruins many relationships and marriages. When sober and not drinking, the alcoholic promises fidelity to his or her partner and swears to never drink again. He or she means this but cannot usually make good on his or her promises.
In a marriage, the alcoholic’s promises become part of a pattern of drinking and remorse. Once the alcoholic starts drinking again, there is nothing a spouse can do to make the other partner stop.
Experts suggest that the sober spouse in an alcoholic marriage put up what are called “boundaries.”
The sober spouse in alcoholic marriage soon learns that screaming, shouting, nagging, and pouring bottles down the drain do change the drinking of the alcoholic. However, a very sensible boundary is to tell the alcoholic spouse that cheating in the marriage means that sex is over. In a time when sexually transmitted diseases are a real risk in promiscuous sex, withholding sex from the alcoholic makes sense. No one wants to catch an STD or put his or her health and life at risk. When one spouse is an alcoholic, common sense argues for abstinence.
Another good boundary is silence when the alcoholic is drinking. In his or her cups, the alcoholic is mentally impaired and unreasonable. Reasonable conversation goes down a rat hole and is waste of time.
The alcoholic needs support and love when he or she stops drinking. When this happens, the alcoholic usually requires at least six months to regain self-worth and deal with the guilt of the damage inflicted on himself or herself and everyone around.