Can anyone help me understand

Old 12-27-2021, 09:23 AM
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Can anyone help me understand

I'm with an ex drinker. I never knew him as a drinker but started talking to him weeks after he quit. I didn't really realise he was so close to recovery. 15 months on we are in a relationship. He's never once relapsed and has no urges. At this moment in time I want to give this a good go. We are like best mates when we hang around together. Our lives are opposites and I think he gets comfort from me being sensible and not having any addictions and I get comfort from him being strong willed and he's helped my confidence alot. He's an ex drinker that always worked. Held down a relationship and loved animals. He was never violent. He just particularly spiralled for 3 months where he didn't eat and just drank. But that was building up that point for years.

He seems to have some emotional ties with his last relationship. Which I do understand. They were together a long time. The best part of 10 years. They enjoyed drinking and their lives revolved around it as a couple. Yet they spent alot of time apart due to work etc. It seems he spent alot of time with her family and they did trips away with her parents and friends etc. This was all fueled with drink. Although they shared alot of happy times he slipped into a depression. I think he struggled to cope and keep up with his ex. She was busy in her career. He has alot of bad memories of her and her phone (which is seeping into our relationship) he often complains about how wrapped up she was in friends and her phone. She went on holidays abroad with friends and he didn't want that sort of thing. He wanted local holidays with her but it seems she was always making plans with friends. The last year of their relationship I've been told in dribs and drabs from him and his cousins.

he started messaging a couple of women behind her back when he was lonely. She started going through his phone. She went away on a holiday and came back with sex toys etc. Overall it seems they both felt hurt by the others phone behaviour etc. Eventually they split up and she went away with friends to America. In this time he met with an old school friend for sex. His ex found out after America and it caused alot of further tension between them. He moved out 9 months later. He was at that point really bad on drink and depression. He has told me she was also struggling with these 2 things and moved towards friends more and more. So he's taken responsibility for his part. After he moved out she awarded visiting him and doing bits for him. She was possibly worried for him and trying to be there. But all it created was a suicide attempt and them staying in touch.

Me and him has been a bumpy slow road. Partly Because I've sensed all along his grief. He was newly sober. He essentially was figuring out who he now was. We had a few months apart where we stopped talking and when he returned he had figured out alot of stuff and that was he didn't want to be scared anymore and wanted to give a relationship with me a chance as we were so close. It broke my heart when he pulled away. But when he returned and explained it showed me how much our bond meant to him. It had shaken him up feeling close to me and it was a massive step.

Whilst we have been building up our relationship we've had alot of bumps regarding the ex. She keeps in touch via text. She was quite rude about me and seemed to be talking to him like she still was entitled to an opinion. He gets quite distressed when I express concerns about him and her and their emotional ties after 3 years. He's even deleted people of his Facebook after she questioned his reasons for talking to them. He eventually blocked her on Facebook 6 weeks ago and I hoped he was beginning to leave the past behind. But she text him 3 weeks ago and he happily caught up with her through texts. I expressed confusion regarding blocking her yet still communicating. He got wound up saying he chose to block her. She didn't influence his decision. Nobody did. He then yelled he didn't know how else he could get it through to me that he didn't want her. He yelled he hated her for what she did but liked her for the support when he was unwell. I gently explained to him I don't think he has any desire to be with her again but I'm concerned he's holding himself responsible for her happiness still or still feeling he owes her something. I told him I sometimes wonder if he is trying to be her friend to make things right that happened in those later years. I also said I worried she was still getting into his mind questioning him on his choices now regarding relationships. I said even when she was disrespectful about me and didnt seem that happy for him he still allowed her to be rude and managed her emotions regarding me. He shouted again that he stuck up for me straight away and told her it wasn't like her to be horrible and that she didn't know anything about me.

we ended up one day having an hour conversation where I asked questions about her and him and feelings. He was very clear that they were probably never right for one another. He explained various reasons they didn't work. Things he didn't like about her. Things he wasn't comfortable with. He could never talk to her about stuff he can me etc. Overall he said he had no interest in her at all apart from being her friend as she helped him.

we've had 3 or 4 heated debates since as he mentions her alot still and its so clear to me that he still is processing the relationship. Random memories. Sometimes rants about something she did. There's not many days her name doesn't come up. It's hard. Its very difficult.

I'm very curious as to if this is a part of trauma healing from alcohol as I've never come across this before.

I want to make this clear. I'm not jealous and trying to get him to cut her off. But I have genuine reasons to feel this is still something he hasn't recovered from.

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Old 12-27-2021, 11:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Strawbz11 View Post
I'm very curious as to if this is a part of trauma healing from alcohol as I've never come across this before.
It would be hard for us to say, as we don't know him. I don't think what you are describing is an inherent characteristic of "healing from alcohol." So, I'm going to go out on a limb and say no. There are plenty of people who are NOT alcoholics or recovering alcoholics and who struggle with having or maintaining healthy relationships.
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Old 12-27-2021, 12:51 PM
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Along the same lines as what doggonecarl said...there are people who have trouble maintaining healthy relationships and this behavior pattern can contribute to their becoming an alcoholic, but not all people who have trouble maintaining healthy relationships become alcoholic either.

My vote (clarification on status and experience: I am an alcoholic in recovery) would be the behavior patterns and difficulty maintaining a healthy relationship started before the alcoholism and so therefore is not fallout directly from the trauma of alcoholism.

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Old 12-27-2021, 01:08 PM
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I still believe what I wrote in your other thread. It doesn't sound like he knows what he wants. Regardless of what he tells you, he's still too hung up on his ex. That, along with the fact he has attempted suicide and runs hot and cold with you tells me that he just isn't ready to be in a committed relationship at this point. There is no way to know if his actions have anything to do with addiction, but even without addiction, he has a lot of troubling issues that just don't make him relationship material right now.

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Old 12-27-2021, 01:20 PM
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Hi Strawbz

I read this and your other thread where you mention his yelling, harsh words and blaming you for things.
Things sound quite emotionally abusive to me.

Based in the picture you paint in this thread, he seems reluctant to commit, and very hung up and invested in his ex.

Whether all thatís down to his alcoholism or not, and regardless of whether most of the time you find him lovely, I think you need to stop and take stock.

You may decide you deserve better than this, and I would not disagree with you.

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Old 12-27-2021, 01:29 PM
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Been there, done that…..

Love yourself, treat yourself with monogamy, trust, and respect. He’s not.

I would think subtracting him, drinking or not, from your equation and you will be less stressed and happy eventually.
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Old 12-27-2021, 01:31 PM
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The last relationship I was in really did a number on me. The guy wasn't in recovery from addiction - he didn't have that issue; I did. Nonetheless, he had some sort of compulsions related to women, and one of those was related to his ex. He was sneaky, guilty when caught, belligerent, defensive and ultimately turned it into a problem with me. I was insecure, I didn't trust him, I was wrong. He said telling words once: "If you look hard enough for something, you will ultimately find what you're looking for." This was an excellent set-up for him, right? If it turned out that he was in fact up to 'something,' it would turn out to be my fault because I found it

This guy of yours sounds like he is definitely not in a place to form a healthy relationship. Like the others, I don't believe this problem is down to alcoholism. The two behaviors might be responses to the same underlying ill he is suffering, but alcoholism/recovery doesn't by necessity leave a person in any particular place. Pretty much, we get sober and then we're faced with the same difficulties we had all along. Stopping the drink is only the first step in actual recovery.

I understand the tendency to look for all of the psycho-social facets of his relating to you - I did the same with the guy I was seeing. In the end, my understanding did nothing to further our relationship because he was not willing or able to be a decent partner. That's not my failing, nor is it yours. You probably won't do it, but your best move here is probably to block this guy yourself. It would save you from being torn to shreds by your own efforts to 'help' him through understanding and compassion.

I'm really sorry you're going through this. It's confusing and difficult and scary, but you really are worth the effort to take care of yourself.

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Old 12-27-2021, 05:21 PM
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I haven't read your other thread. I did see the bits in your post here about him yelling and shouting at you and that was enough of a red flag for me. That's not ok. It's taken me years to realise what is acceptable in a relationship and now I know, I do not negotiate on it. There is no reason for any person to yell at their significant other. It's disrespectful, childish and shows a lack of control. I'd be out of there in a second.

FWIW, I too don't think it necessarily has anything to do with his alcoholism.
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Old 12-28-2021, 08:56 AM
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Lots of great advice here already StrawBZ11. I would agree that it doesn't sound like a healthy relationship by any measure. Whether or not alcohol is the cause of his issues is somewhat irrelevant in my estimation as well - sounds like he's using and potentially abusing you. Moving on and letting him deal with his own baggage would be a very viable option for you and one you should strongly consider to take care of yourself.
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Old 12-29-2021, 06:42 PM
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Some people just can't commit, and one of the ways they keep their emotional distance is by doing things that many consider emotional abuse.
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