It's official, my wife has outgrown me

It hurts to write this, but my wife has officially outgrown me now.
It’s been years in the making though and I’ve seen it coming.

I’m fresh off a recent relapse so running high on emotions and lack of sleep. I’ll be clean day 3 tomorrow morning.

I’ve been at this sobriety thing now for 10 years. I’ve had some good streaks along the way and felt so very positive. I opened up about my addiction to my wife and family back in 2014 and I’ve had some relapses along the way and some solid clean streaks.

She stuck with me through thick and thin. I knew she had my back. The arguments as of late seem to be getting worse and I can tell she’s not happy.
I’ve tried my very best.
The only thing I have going for me right now is that I still make more money than her (barely), but still more nonetheless. She’s on the cusp of getting another promotion and she’s been working very hard.
She will pass me in terms of salary I feel by next year.
She’s also getting a lot of recognition and has been receiving a lot of attention from others she works with (who make more money than me).
I’m getting a little jealous of all this too.
I know she can easily get someone better than me. Someone who makes more money and someone who hasn’t been through addiction.

I don’t know anymore. She still stuck with me, and that should mean she loves me, but I feel like my time is up now.
She’s been comparing me a lot recently to her friend’s husbands and saying that other guys do this and that and that I need to step up.

I don’t know anymore. I know she can easily do better and that is what keeps me awake at night.
We’ve been married 14 years this summer, but I feel like this is it.

I’ve told her, and she thinks I’m just crazy. Maybe I am delusional. I don’t know.

Part of me thinks I should just let her grow and stop being in her way. The other part thinks that I need to hold on and try my best.
I don’t think it will ever be enough. Will I substantially increase my income all of a sudden, probably not.
I’m 40 now. I can start working part-time as well and try to make some more income.

It’s not even about the money. My mental head space and my brain feels so very messed up. I’m just not as quick and smart as I used to be.

Fuck addiction. It will take the best away from you, and leave you with nothing but pain and misery. How stupid can I be to venture down the road of an addiction knowing very well that it will leave me completely insane. I can’t go back, I can only move forward, but we have one mind, and one body, you’ll never get another.

My wife deserves better, she deserves so much more than I can give. She’s only a year younger than me, but she’s in her prime. These should be her best years of her life. A life she should live with someone who will love her to infinite and beyond. I do love her. I try so hard for her. I’ve gotten sober for her. I’m not completely healed, but in a much better position and place than I was 10 years ago.

What a life!
That’s all. I’ll check back maybe 5 years from now and read this post and say thank God she’s still with me, or maybe read this and say I knew it was coming.

I’m sorry to her! I’m sorry to her family, and most of all I’m sorry to our kids. I’ll continue on this road to sobriety, where ever it takes me. But I’d rather travel on this road, with her holding hands beside me. I’m sorry for the pain, I’m sorry as she didn’t deserve any of this. I should have opened up to her about my addiction prior to getting married. I’m selfish she says and she’s right.

Just needed to get it off my chest.


You’re not alone… maybe your marriage will work, maybe it won’t. Be true to yourself and let the chips fall where they may. Stay sober for yourself, quit for yourself, love yourself.


You’re right I need to do this for myself. Thanks


Would you like any feedback, or was it enough, for now, to just vent and be heard?
I can speak from experience, if you’d like me to.


Sure I would love feedback. You went through a similar experience?


Yes, I believe I did go through something similar.
It would be a very long story but the bullet points are:

-my wife wanted a baby
-I couldn’t give her one
-years of doctors and failures
-she coped by turning angry and abusive
-I responded to that with alcohol
-i Eventually became suicidal
-I caused a traffic collision that injured 2 people
-I got sober and entered therapy
-we continued to try and fail
-She continued to abuse me
-20 months after the accident, I was sentenced and went to prison for 20 months
-When I got out, she had a new partner
-1 year later, I met my current partner, another sober person, and I’ve never been happier.

I know, right? Even the bullet points are long :sweat_smile:


So firstly, I have to say thank you for coming here and sharing your story with me. It matters: to me and to my sobriety. It matters that I can read someone’s words and know I’m not alone.

From your perspective, my advice ought to seem a bit crazy and detached from your lived experience. But that is only because when I was in your situation, I was a completely different person than I am today. It stands to reason that, when YOU come out on the other side of your situation, you too will be a completely different person than you are today.
Hold on to that idea, it matters.

  1. I’d like you to do an experiment.
    Look at your post and for every thing you say about your wife, read it back to yourself as if someone were writing that about YOU. So, instead of “she deserves better” it’s “I deserve better” etc.
    Whether you agree with it today or not, many of the things you say about her are also true of you.
    Id also wager that some of the things that aren’t true for you today, i.e “she’s up for a promotion…” are thing that COULD be true for you if you maintained your sobriety and received the treatment you deserve.

  2. Money matters, but it never fixes a broken marriage.
    If money fixes the problem, then money isn’t the problem. Might sound trite, but I swear it’s true. My point being, do not let yourself hyper focus on who makes more money as that is secondary, or possibly tertiary to what motivates you guys at your core.

  3. If you want something you’ve never had, you’re gonna have to do something you’ve never done.
    This is pretty much true in all aspects of life but in your case I’m thinking in terms of therapy. I know it sounds scary and kind of shitty but IOP was there greatest thing I ever did for myself and a big part of what made it so great was the simple truth that I WAS in fact doing it FOR MYSELF. We’ve GOT TO takes care of ourselves as passionately as we would take care of the ones we love.

  4. love and marriage are not synonymous
    it’s a bit of a bitter pill to swallow but just because you two love eachother doesn’t mean you should stay together. Conversely, seperating, doesn’t mean you don’t love eachother. I killed myself for years trying to become what my wife wanted me to be. I sacrificed my health, my sanity, my career; all on the alter of love and devotion but, in the end, the best thing I EVER did for her was let her go find the person who was already right for her. (Side note, I gave her my blessing to date before I went away).

  5. What we want is rarely what we need to be happy.
    You might be in a bit of a glass cage at the moment- and this is where we pick that idea I mentioned back up. This is a very challenging concept, admittedly, but here’s the insight/hindsight:
    You simply cannot imagine how much better you can be AFTER you do the hard stuff you haven’t done yet.
    (not that I know what you have and haven’t done)
    If you change your focus to yourself, and continually make small improvements steadily over time, you can be unrecognizably different in 9 months. And from that vantage point, what you need and want would necessarily be different than what you THINK you need and want now. This is a way more powerful idea than it sounds so please trust me. Life is so much more creative than we are when it comes to our own happiness. It loves to surprise us with better rewards than we would have dreamt for ourselves. But, from where you are now, you absolutely cannot see it. So, you have to look for it, and astoundingly, contrarily, stupidly as it may seem, you have to look inside yourself first.


5.5) “Surprise” is the root of all deep feelings

Perhaps this is a non sequitur but I feel it’s applicable.
This is my opinion, and it’s not bulletproof but any stretch, but it’s grown to be almost a philosophy of mine.

Human beings never feel anything as intensely as they do when it comes as a surprise. There’s just something about the rapid shift, from one state of mind to another, that makes our experiences more potent and makes their mark on us more indelible.

You will never be hurt more than the pain that comes from your blindside. Never happier that the joy that comes from life’s unseen gifts. Never feel more lost than you do when you are SURE you’re on the right path. It’s just the way we work. In all likelihood this served a crucial evolutionary function at some point but the take way, in my life, has been this.
My plans are not as valuable as i once thought they were.
If this is true then a few other things must, necessarily, also be true.
Joy comes from discovery
Suffering comes from some kind of blindness or lack of imagination
But, the most useful tool in all cases is curiosity.
Curiosity and the pursuit of the unfamiliar has brought me more joy and helped me navigate more pain than any other trait I possess.

I could write a book about curiosity alone, I swear.
Because curiosity forces us to not-know
It requires us to suspended ourselves in a moment-to-moment state of not knowing and not knowing is where discoveries are made. Pursuing discoveries is where insights that can protect us are found.
Curiosity is the key to letting go of judgements, guilt, anger, frustration, and can be the rope ladder that pulls you out of despair.

Invite surprise.
Invite curiosity.
Double down on your willingness to improvise.
Let go and enjoy the ride.


@MrCade brings a bag of gold nuggets to the conversation. Something in it for everyone I reckon.


I just edited them. So there’s far fewer grammatical nuggets to confuse people. :joy:


Wow that is a lot. You have been through a lot.

Sometimes it’s better to let go and see where life takes us.

Sorry to hear about your 20 months. Sometimes we go through these things in life and it ends up for the better.

I’m glad you are in a happier place now.


Thank you so much for the feedback.
I read it all and it means a lot.
Especially your comment about replacing her/she with I. That I deserve more and better. I do, but if I can get and stay sober. I’ve been in the path but have had a few slips and those hurt.

I can feel myself becoming stronger physically and mentally. Just need to keep on this path.

You are right about money. It shouldn’t be our primary focus. Well at least it’s not for me. But she wants more now. A bigger house. For me to work a second job. It’s good that she’s pushing me. I sometimes feel I do need that push so I don’t get stuck and happy and comfortable where I am at. She makes me want to be better and pushes me to do more and be better.
It’s my addiction that caused me not to earn as much as I should have by this age.

I do want to let her go and find that person that is right for her but I don’t think I can let go. I won’t find anyone better than her. I know it sounds selfish. But she is a clean, smart, attractive, kind, amazing mother and woman. She knows how to do it all. Cook, clean, works, teaches the kids, she is just all around perfect. She has been raised very well. I know what I have. But I’m an ex addict. I may end up finding someone else if we split but it won’t be anyone at her level and I know that deep down inside. That’s why it’s hard to let go.

I just need to continue on this path to sobriety. I’ll have good days and bad days. My emotions are all over the place.
I opened up about my addiction to her and the family 10 years ago. We have been married 14 years this summer. She could have left before. She didn’t. That’s 10 years after knowing my secret. She must see some sort of change in me.

I don’t know how long we will last but my health isn’t what it used to be. It’s fading and I thank the lord that she stuck by me this long. She has outgrown me, but hey maybe I can try and grow to her level or expectation.

If I’m not growing then I’m descending and getting worse.

Thanks again for sharing. Means a lot.


I am happier but here’s the most amazing thing:
I was ALREADY happier before I served my sentence. I remained happier during my sentence and because I was sober, and working a program, I was able to help others get and stay sober whiter I was in there.

To my surprise. :wink:


I have some thoughts if you’re still interested.
But it’ll have to wait til after dinner :sweat_smile:


All good and I appreciate you sharing.

I need to let go ultimately and heal myself and if in the future she decides to stick with me through the journey then I thank her for it.

If not it’s okay. I’ve come to terms with that. Onto day 5 tomorrow.


That’s really great of you to help out.

It’s nothing compared to the help I was given by this forum. :pray:


And it’s really good to see you again



I think of my first marriage. The one that I trained wrecked before it even got off the ground. My ex was aware of my addiction right from the start. I was going to 12-step meetings. I couldn’t stop acting out. I’ve been a chronic relapser.

I felt the same things that you did about yourself. How I didn’t measure up to what she needed. That I would never be able to find anyone else if she were to leave. But those statements that I believed about myself were not true.

This path that God put me on has made me such a better person than ever before. I looked back in my twenties, and I’m not the same person. I’ve changed so dramatically that I would have never picked my ex-wife nor my ex fiance as potential partners in my life. Because I realize now that they were not a good fit for me. It’s been over 20 years since I’ve been in touch with either one of them. But if I were to bump into them again, I would hope that they would have grown into better versions of themselves. One thing is certain. I’m a much completely better person than ever I imagined possible. That’s what this recovering transforming journey does to us. It forces us to change and transform into a different version of ourselves. One that we never knew existed. And it’s good.


I’m ready to come back and participate more.
I miss you guys