It never feels quite fair when your spouse wants to leave you or pursue a marital separation. There is always that feeling that he could have been more patient, more open minded, or more willing to compromise. And it feels particularly unfair when he won’t let you talk in order to explain yourself — especially if it is your actions that brought this on in the first place.
A wife might explain: “my husband is furious with me because I told him that I was going out of town to see my sister when in fact I stayed with an old girlfriend that my husband doesn’t approve of. I was best friends with this person at a time in my life that I am not proud of. I was using alcohol and doing risky things when we were friends, but I have turned my life around. My husband feels that this friend is an awful influence on me and he does not like the person I used to be. I think that it was an understood agreement between us (although we never spoke at length about it) that I was supposed to not have contact with this friend anymore. And I have honored that. Except when my friend called me to tell me her mother died and that she was having a hard time staying sober afterward. I felt strongly that I needed to spend some time with her to help her out and help her get past that urge. I didn’t tell my husband because I knew that he would not approve. I guess it’s accurate to say that I lied, but I felt that I had a legitimate reason to do so. Well, my husband called my sister’s and I got busted. Now he thinks that I went and visited my friend because we are both using again. And every time I try to reassure him that this isn’t true or I try to explain myself, he will interrupt me and angrily say that he doesn’t want to hear it and that he does not like being lied to. He will not listen to me. He won’t let me explain myself. I feel absolutely sick that I might lose my marriage over something like this. How can I get him to listen to me?”
Seeing things from your husband’s point of view may help you to come up with a plan that is going to help you overcome these obstacles. Right now, he likely is wondering what else have you may have lied about? (Of course, you know that you haven’t lied and that you wouldn’t continue to lie to him.) But right now, he is caught up in his emotion and his fear – at least in this particular moment in time. He’s probably also thinking ahead and worrying about what he will do if he finds himself in the position of having a spouse who is abusing substances. You know that it won’t come to this, but he doesn’t.
I’d say that currently, your obstacles are two-fold. You want to find a way to get him to listen and to ultimately believe you. And, you want to find a way to convince him that he has nothing to worry about because not only have you not used drugs or alcohol, but you won’t lie to him about it again. (This also leaves the question of whether or not you’re willing to give up your friend or if you want to try to negotiate some sort of contact with her so you don’t have to try to hide it.) I’m certainty not a mental health specialist and I’m not at all qualified to tell you whether or not maintaining contact with your friend is a good idea. I would hope that you are talking to a professional about this and I’d suggest perhaps bringing your husband to a session to talk openly about it. Perhaps if the information is coming from someone else instead of you, he may listen a bit more. But counseling is always a wonderful option, especially in situations like this.
Alternatively, is there a mutual friend or family member that could speak to him on your behalf? Since he’s not listening to you right now, maybe allowing someone else who he already knows and trusts to deliver the message might work. Or, you could try writing him a letter and just telling him to read it when he is ready.
Once he calms down, he may start to ask himself if he’s seen any behavior from you that would indicate you are using or keeping additional secrets. Hopefully, he will answer honestly and realize that there hasn’t been any red flags. But you have to be clear on the fact that you can’t lie to him again about this. Because he may well give you the benefit of the doubt once, but if you do this again, he may not do so twice. You don’t want to put your marriage in jeopardy over something that truly should be in the past. If you want to remain in your friend’s life, then this is something that you will have to negotiate. But if you’ve told your spouse one thing and have done another, then you have to see it from his point of view. He feels betrayed and he’s likely worried about what this betrayal truly means. And, he’s likely worried about you also.