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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    How can I fix my marriage after alcohol abuse and breakdown of trust?

    My wife and I have had a temporary separation for the last few weeks caused by my self medicating with alcohol for anxiety. I am now seeing a counsellor but finding it hard to concentrate not being at home.

    I understand why my wife did what she did as I was using her as a crutch.

    She says now that she doesn't trust me and I will go back to what I was before don't know how we can move forward
  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • 1




    I am a Melbourne Relationship Counsellor and Family Lawyer who is skilful in helping people get out of the pain of relationship distress and create … View Profile

    It will take time but with some assistance it is possible to rebuild the trust. She is understandably concerned that change needs to be solidifed before it can be trusted. You may need to develop some independence and some skills to deal with your anxiety and the alcohol problem. Then, in time, you will be able to demonstrate that you are really committed to the relationship and to getting things back on track. It would be good to get some Couples Counselling so you can understand each other's perspectives and develop the communication skills to move forward into a different way of being with each other. A good relationship has two people who are highly independent as well as inter-dependent. Counselling will help you develop these skills so as you do not need to “use your wife as a crutch”. All the best.

  • I have been working in Eltham, Melbourne as a relationship and family counsellor for over twelve years. I draw on current theory and research about … View Profile

    It sounds like you are very reliant on your wife to be your ‘secure base’ even before she asked for a separation. While it's normal and healthy for couples to lean on each other, we all need to learn the skills to tolerate times when for whatever reason, our partner cannot manage to be there emotionally for us. Your time apart is a great opportunity to learn how to be your own secure base - this does not replace the wonderful sense of safety and connection we get from our partner in a healthy relationship, but acts as an important ‘default setting’ that can inoculate our relationship from falling into negative cycles of interaction (for example, one partner anxiously leans on the other who then pulls away, making the first person feel even more anxious…).
    Working on your relationship with yourself is the best strategy you have right now for working on your relationship with your partner. Couples counselling will then give you additional tools for integrating your new-found emotional self-reliance with healthy intimacy and closeness, as Maggie has described so well earlier. Good luck!

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