A spouse’s addiction problem can put enormous strain on a marriage. Whether it’s with alcohol, drugs, gambling or anything else, a spouse’s addiction causes their partner to suffer a great deal of pain.

In the United States, some studies suggest that chronic substance abuse by one or both partners is the third-leading cause of divorce after infidelity and abuse.

How does addiction destroy marriages?

Experts estimate that 24 million married Americans have an addiction or are married to someone with substance abuse issues. There are several ways addiction can erode the marital bond, including:

  • Loss of trust: People with addictions tend to lie about the severity of their problem, conceal how much money they spend on their habit and break promises to change their behavior.
  • Financial distress: Spouses with addictions waste savings, borrow money and sell property to pay for their habit. Some lose their jobs, while others commit crimes such as theft and DWI.
  • Emotional distress and abuse: Being married to an alcoholic or addict can be emotionally devastating. Some may worry excessively over their loved one’s well-being, while others may be physically or verbally abused.

When is it time to consider divorcing an addict or alcoholic?

Despite some spouses’ diligence and support for a partner with addiction issues, there may come a time when salvaging your marriage is no longer possible. Ask yourself:

  • Have you and your spouse openly discussed their addiction or alcoholism?
  • Has your spouse attempted counseling or rehab?
  • Has your spouse lied, broken promises, used drugs or failed drug tests during a time they claimed to be clean?
  • Do you fear for your children’s safety as well as your own?
  • Do you feel you’ve done everything possible but have reached the end of the road?

Is divorce inevitable when addiction exists?

Substance abuse experts say treatment is always the best solution for addiction, and in many cases, lives and marriages are saved. However, addiction and alcoholism place a heavy burden on a relationship, and sometimes divorce is the only reasonable option.

If your marriage has suffered from these illnesses, an experienced family law attorney here in Texas who understands the toll that addiction and alcoholism take on a relationship can help you achieve a favorable outcome for you and your family.

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