Blogs


Notices

giving relationship a break until he completes steps...

Old 08-13-2010, 11:34 PM
  # 1 (permalink)  
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 10
giving relationship a break until he completes steps...

I would love advice, words of wisdom, etc... from anyone who can give them. I don't know any people in my life who knows the process and experiences of addicts and alcoholics and recovery.

I was dating my boyfriend for about three years. I knew from the beginning that he was a recovering alcoholic. He was just out of rehab, and he said from the beginning that he shouldn't be in a relationship. I tried to respect that, and we weren't--which contributed to the first year or two of rockiness, although he probably really should have taken that time to help himself and figure out himself.

The past year has been wonderful. He is a great man and has treated me well. But he has always been career driven (it seems) as I am relationship-driven. But I knew all of this going into it, and have always been a care-taker, and I have always been willing to give more than the other person (sometimes to my demise).

A month ago he told me, came clean, that he has not been totally sober for the past three years. There have been a handful of secret day-long slip-ups. Of course this was a shock and made me feel like he was a stranger, but I wanted to continue to support him through complete recovery and help him in any way I could (without enabling any type of drinking).

This week he decided that I have taken too good of care of him, and he has never had to figure out how to take care of himself since rehab. He also is going to go to AA every day for a year and is properly working through all of the steps (which he never properly did). I understand that he feels he needs to do this. I support him in being a better person. He has a lot of issues to work out, one in particular is an ex who put up with his issues when he was drinking, and he feels guilty (and in love with idea of what she did for him) for how he treated her. They are still very close friends (which I was okay with). But that is hard to hear too, that he hasn't dealt with their breakup properly.

It is very hard for both of us to be apart. We miss each other. We are best friends. I lost that this week.

Any words of wisdom for someone who is separate from someone who needs to figure themselves out? Is this the right choice? Should we still talk? I feel like I want to support him, and feel like I am failing when I am not talking to him. We have not really managed to go one day without a quick message back and forth. I don't want to wait around for him, because who knows how long it will take, but I DO want to wait around at the same time. He is the love of my life (from what I feel right now). Do I take the chance to not wait around and lose him in the end?

Anything would be helpful. I am at a loss of how to deal.

Thank you in advance.
waiting313 is offline  
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to waiting313 For This Useful Post:
Babyblue (08-14-2010), Learn2Live (08-14-2010)
Old 08-14-2010, 12:45 AM
  # 2 (permalink)  
Member
 
endlesspatience's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: UK
Posts: 1,132
Some impressions regarding your boyfriend

Thanks so much for posting. Welcome to the Forum. I hope you will find plenty of support here. Do please keep in touch with us, not just when you're contemplating a crisis but also when there are other things you'd like to chat about too. We'll still be here in the happy times!

So, onto the main feature.

I am interested in what you have written about your relationship. The observations which follow are only based on what I can surmise from what you have said.

Firstly, you seem to be debating whether or not to continue the relationship. But I am get the very strong impression that your boyfriend has made up his mind. It is already over. He has been critical of the way you have been taking care of him (and perhaps other things too?). He is not dating you now. He is not asking you to wait - you want to wait until he is a changed person but that does not appear to be what he wants.

The problem is that this is a man who is not being honest with you or himself.

I base that conclusion on other parts of his behaviour. He wasn't honest with you about his secret drinking, was he? And even though he's been in recovery, he hasn't been following the steps in AA, which suggests he's not being honest with himself, his sponsor (if he has one) or the other members of the fellowship.

Then there's the issue of the ex girlfriend, with whom he is still good friends. Why is he still friends with her after dating you for three years? You claim he is "in love with the idea of what she did for him". Is it more honest to say that he is still in love with her?

He did not end the relationship with her properly and this pattern is being repeated with you. He keeps texting you so he doesn't feel "guilty" about separating. Maybe you'll cook him dinner sometimes, maybe you'll have sex with him when he's horny or lonely, maybe you'll keep telling your friends (and us) that he's a wonderful guy. I strongly suspect that the reason he kept hanging on to his ex when he was with you is because she did at least some of those things for him. I cannot be certain about that but it really does sound as though this man loves it when women hang on for him, whatever crazy stuff he does, including drinking. You chose to come to a forum on alcoholism for advice because your boyfriend is an alcoholic. So are we.

During my relationship with my last girlfriend, I kept up secret contact with the previous one. I also continued to drink secretly despite going to AA meetings regularly. Naturally, the relationship collapsed and as a consequence I found myself alone. My drinking got worse and I tried desperately to get my ex back. I was a real burden on her.

The Steps of the Alcoholics Anonymous programme tell me I need to hand over to a Higher Power, not a girlfriend. They also urge me to address my defects of character. Like your boyfriend, I am afraid of following the Steps properly with good reason. I'll lose the comfort of the drink and the clever, kind women who clean up after me.

I feel for you now, though. When a relationship ends it can bring intense pain which seems to blot out everything else. I will pray for you during this time of frustration and disappointment. Please try to take care of yourself and seek the things that bring lasting peace and joy.
endlesspatience is offline  
The Following 6 Users Say Thank You to endlesspatience For This Useful Post:
bookwyrm (08-14-2010), harleyd101 (08-15-2010), Learn2Live (08-14-2010), Scooter77 (08-15-2010), seekingcalm (08-17-2010), wow1323 (08-14-2010)
Old 08-14-2010, 12:55 AM
  # 3 (permalink)  
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 10
thank you for your response.

and thank for for being so direct.

i think you are right, if not in minor details, then in the overall picture of the situation.

i just needed to hear it from people who have been through similar situations and who understand addict behavior.

you have given this insight. i really, really appreciate it.
waiting313 is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to waiting313 For This Useful Post:
Learn2Live (08-14-2010)
Old 08-14-2010, 01:12 AM
  # 4 (permalink)  
Member
 
endlesspatience's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: UK
Posts: 1,132
You are most welcome. I found the process of composing the reply to you to be helpful in that it helped me analyse the way in which alcoholics approach relationships. I very much hope that you will keep in touch with us as things progress. As I say, we're here for the good days, the bad days and those in between!
endlesspatience is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to endlesspatience For This Useful Post:
Learn2Live (08-14-2010)
Old 08-14-2010, 01:18 AM
  # 5 (permalink)  
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 10
and to just make the situation clearer...

yes he decided it was best that the relationship end (although i was feeling the end coming, because he wasn't giving as much effort as someone in a relationship should), and i understood. of course he said that he hoped that maybe in the future we could be together, but also made it clear that he did not know where this full recovery would take him. i told him i would not wait around, although in my heart i know i am the type who would wait around forever (which is a fault i have, i suppose, as i tend to stay in relationships i shouldn't for too long). he did, and keeps, saying that he does not want to lose me in his life. but i know that is a contradiction. clearly he has to lose me to gain himself, at least in part. and if i stay around i would not be benefited at this point (as he must focus on himself now).

he also only praised me at the end of it all. he said i had kept him together, made him a better person, done more than anyone could ever do, etc... but me keeping him together so well helped him not have to think about what he needed to fix in himself. does that make sense? he has not said one bad or negative thing. he acknowledges that he should have given me more, but knows he is too selfish to give it at this point. but that ours was the closest to a real relationship that he has had (him making effort instead of, like in his previous relationship, her making all of the effort with no return at all).

and you are right. he wasn't honest with me or anyone around him until a month ago. i was the first he told. and since he has told his family and close friends.

the ex girlfriend. well she is amazing. i am friends with her now as well. i also probably had to be okay with her if i was to date him, because he is friends with her. they are also in a creative project together, so they remain close that way as well. she has a boyfriend who she is dedicated to, and i have raised the issue with him, knowing that a part of him feels like she is the "girl who got away." and i know that is not fair to me. it is a really hard aspect of our relationship to deal with. and to this day i am not sure how it has worked out to where it wasn't a bigger issue than it was. i suppose i have always wanted to "replace" her in his mind. but that is clearly an issue he still needs to work out.

i do think you are right about the continual contact. i think he doesn't have a lot of close people in his life, and those that are/were close, he tries to keep close. i don't think it is even intentionally malicious or hurtful. he really wants to be the "helper of humanity" but lacks the skills to ever be truly helpful, even though i wish that for him. does that make sense? he idealizes everything.

i suppose it is pretty clear that i should move on. and that would likely be the smart choice. my head KNOWS this. my heart and everything i have come to be (for better or worse) doesn't want to accept that. i never give up on people, even when i get less than i deserve (pathetic, i know). unfortunately he is a pretty prominent person in my community/area of interests and so "forgetting" about him will be exceptionally hard, as he seems to be everywhere i look.

i am angry that his family and friends still get to support him, and i am the only one left in the dust. i am angry that i let myself pine after this man who could have always given me more and thought of me more--even though he really was the light of my life, and overall treated me well. ugh.

i mean, is there any hope for the future? when he gets better, recovers, figures it out? or is it too far gone?

are there ever straight answers?
waiting313 is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to waiting313 For This Useful Post:
Learn2Live (08-14-2010)
Old 08-14-2010, 01:19 AM
  # 6 (permalink)  
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 10
good, well i am glad i helped you in a way too. i have been trying to find resources for how alcoholics deal with relationships. i have not found a lot, but perhaps i should dig more.
waiting313 is offline  
Old 08-14-2010, 01:49 AM
  # 7 (permalink)  
Member
 
endlesspatience's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: UK
Posts: 1,132
Thanks for those clarifications. I'll ponder before I respond again. In the meantime, let's hear what other people on the Forum think.
endlesspatience is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to endlesspatience For This Useful Post:
Learn2Live (08-14-2010)
Old 08-14-2010, 02:42 AM
  # 8 (permalink)  
Curled up in a good book...
 
bookwyrm's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: UK
Posts: 1,542
Welcome. I'm so glad you found us (but sorry you're in your situation) this forum has helped me so much. I hope you get the same strength and support here that I have. I wanted to quote a few bit of your post that I recognised in me!

Originally Posted by waiting313 View Post
...I am relationship-driven. But I knew all of this going into it, and have always been a care-taker, and I have always been willing to give more than the other person (sometimes to my demise).

I wanted to continue to support him through complete recovery and help him in any way I could (without enabling any type of drinking).

This week he decided that I have taken too good of care of him...I support him in being a better person.

I feel like I want to support him, and feel like I am failing when I am not talking to him.
Please, don't be offended, but you sound like a classic codependent to me! Have a read through the sticky posts at the top of the forum. I'd also recommend reading 'Co Dependent No More' by Melody Beattie. It really opened my eyes to my enabling behaviour!

The very best technique to help YOU and support YOU through this break up would be going No Contact. It has 'saved' me and may others here on this board. It helped me get back to reality and look at what is rather than the fantasy I was living in. You really need to shitf your focus onto YOU. Why do you cling on to relationships longer than you should? Why aren't you more career driven? Why don't you have relationships where you both give and take equally? Why do you think someone who has consistenty lied to you for the past 3 years is your best friend?

Al Anon may well help you. I received counsellnig after my break up that really helped me. You are not alone in this.

The forum is usually quiet at the weekend - no doubt more people will be along to welcome you soon!
bookwyrm is offline  
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to bookwyrm For This Useful Post:
Learn2Live (08-14-2010), naive (08-14-2010)
Old 08-14-2010, 02:45 AM
  # 9 (permalink)  
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 10
i have been reading a lot on this forum tonight, and a lot of articles as well. and i think i may be co-dependent as well. man... if only my health insurance hadn't run out a few months ago, i would be bringing this straight to my therapist.

thank you so much for your response.
waiting313 is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to waiting313 For This Useful Post:
Learn2Live (08-14-2010)
Old 08-14-2010, 05:41 AM
  # 10 (permalink)  
Member
 
ChrrisT's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Alexandria Township, NJ
Posts: 275
Hi Waiting

Despite your co-dependence (which we all show symptoms from time to time)

(dahh that's why we are here)

You seem to have good head on your shoulders.

IMO- just keep in mind - your need to support him throught "this" is YOUR need. He doesn't need you - his support will come fom the other recovering A's in those meetings.

That is a hard realtity for us, but it's true.

If you have the opportunity to separate yourself from him- I think you should do so.

If he recovers completely and wants to get back, well... take it from there.

If you have been reading you'll see that that alcoholism is extremely selfish. And you will be banging your head against the walls trying to figure why he is the way he is.

IMO give him his space and do some soul searching of your own.

Welcome and keep posting
ChrrisT is offline  
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to ChrrisT For This Useful Post:
Learn2Live (08-14-2010), LexieCat (08-14-2010)
Old 08-14-2010, 08:38 AM
  # 11 (permalink)  
To thine own self be true.
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: U.S.A.
Posts: 5,924
Blog Entries: 5
I want to say thank you, Waiting, for sharing your story and so much personal "stuff" about you. You sound like a wonderful, loyal girl who deserves so much more in a partner, and in a relationship, than what this person has been giving you. I'll be honest and tell you, I think you have him on a pedestal, that you are wearing rose-colored glasses, which are big red flags. I am glad you have come here and posted, and I hope you will consider going to Al-Anon. I want to say, also, that this "man" sounds like one big baby who is crawling around from teat to teat. I surprise myself saying this, because I am normally kinda prudish, but that is the image that comes to my mind when I read your posts. I personally like men who are a little more mature than that.
Learn2Live is offline  
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Learn2Live For This Useful Post:
Babyblue (08-14-2010), RollTide (08-14-2010)
Old 08-14-2010, 11:35 AM
  # 12 (permalink)  
Member
 
ChrrisT's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Alexandria Township, NJ
Posts: 275
I want to say, also, that this "man" sounds like one big baby who is crawling around from teat to teat.
OH Yeah!
Does SR have a classic quote section this can go in? Like a sort of - Hall Of Fame of Quotes!

Funny as hell! thank you
ChrrisT is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to ChrrisT For This Useful Post:
Learn2Live (08-14-2010)
Old 08-14-2010, 01:32 PM
  # 13 (permalink)  
Member
 
Babyblue's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: the moon, milky way
Posts: 1,250
I can relate to your post in many ways. Even some of the words your guy uses I've heard. Is there a textbook they use where they get this stuff? I've also heard how he needs me to stay in his life, he can't be in a relationship right now but maybe in the future, an ex who is somehow still in the picture and who is still very much in love with him (probably because he leads her to believe there is hope?), and the massive guilt associated with it. And him knowing I am a great catch so he better keep me on short string 'just in case'. But have you noticed how it is all about him? That isn't to say that they aren't good people. Or that they don't care or love but it is a weird messy kind of love that is unsteady and confusing. Because they themselves are unsteady and confused.

When my friend is doing well, it is an amazing sight. But when he is less steady, then that is when I really feel that chaotic type of love he projects (hot/cold, yes/no, promises not kept). That is when I tell myself to step back and not fall victim to that. Because it SUCKS and it HURTS and i dont care what your issue is, recovery doesn't give you the license to take people for granted. Which is what your guy is doing to you. If you are ok with that then keep it as it is, if not then you really need to set some firm boundaries to protect yourself. The trick is how you chose to handle it.

True recovery is demanding. They shouldn't be relying on others even emotionally when they need to learn to stand on their own so him ending things was actually doing you a HUGE favor. I am personally not a believer in tough love. It works well for some but not for everyone. You know your guy best but you are making lots of excuses for his jerky behavior. It isn't about him, it is about YOU and knowing your worth. Why settle for half a person is what I'm saying. We allow people to treat us a certain way. Don't allow it. Be loving but not a doormat. Be understanding but not overly accomodating. When he is whole and better, you will know and maybe he will be that person you need but you need to pull back. Waaaay back. I wouldnt even be friend with the ex but that is just me. I don't want to be associated with anything related to his drinky days.

My friend has relapsed now and it kills me but I am letting him know that I am here but I keep contact limited. I am patient but don't know how long it will take him to get back on track. We love one another but that love is too important to toss into his messy life right now because he will mistreat it and he knows that. You are better off distant for now. Trust me.

Oh and this part:
"i am angry that his family and friends still get to support him, and i am the only one left in the dust. "

I felt that way, almost jealous of the people who were there for him when he pulls away from me but honestly I realized I do not want to be part of that because it is exhausting, draining work. I want the best of him, not the worst. Yes love means taking the good with the bad and I do, if I didn't I'd be long gone but I love myself more. Know your worth and he will too.
Babyblue is offline  
Old 08-14-2010, 02:10 PM
  # 14 (permalink)  
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 10
thank you so much for all of your responses. it has been a eye opener to read all of them, take a breath, and realize how right most of you are.

babyblue- your story especially hit home with me. thank you for sharing your personal story. i feel like you understand the feeling of wanting to be there in a healthy way, but needing to take care of yourself too.

UGH. this is hard. really hard. and i think i am going to go to therapy (and find a way or pay for it) because i really want to not be co-dependent. that is not okay. and i know it helps no one.

he wanted me to go to a baseball game with him and his family tomorrow, just because we always talked about doing it. and have a 1 on 1 talk session. as much as i wanted to (as a friend), i declined.

it is really hard now because he is in town for a month, and then he leaves for a good while for his job (like usual). so in the past i have always wanted to savor every moment i could with him, as it is usually only three months total out of the year. and i think that is a lot of the reason that i never spoke up about issues we had.

thank you again for all of your responses. it makes my mind a lot clearer, and a lot more focused. i woke up feeling like partially a free person. i know it will take time to get that other part free, but i have hope...
waiting313 is offline  
The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to waiting313 For This Useful Post:
ChrrisT (08-16-2010), Learn2Live (08-14-2010), wicked (08-15-2010)
Old 08-14-2010, 02:20 PM
  # 15 (permalink)  
A work in progress
 
LexieCat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: South Jersey
Posts: 16,633
I think you need to take him at his word, that the relationship with you isn't good for either one of you right now. It seems to me that he is seeing that he hasn't made his sobriety his priority, and that's what he needs to do. It's unfortunate that you fell in love with him, but I agree--nothing you've written sounds like he is coming from a malicious place.

I've stayed friends with some exes (my first husband is one of my best friends and I get along great with his wife) and some I've had to cut loose entirely.

I'm a recovering alcoholic, and I've been married to two alcoholics. But probably the most personally destructive relationship was the last one--to someone who wasn't alcoholic (or even close), but was manipulative and emotionally abusive. I haven't had a relationship since the last one ended over five years ago. And the main reason is this: I KNOW I am not good relationship material at the moment. Until I get my own head screwed on straight I don't have any business getting involved with someone else.

It's too bad your friend didn't realize that before getting involved with you, but it's water under the bridge at this point.

Sometimes, timing is everything. I don't think it's healthy for you to put your life on hold while he straightens his out. Maybe your paths will come together in the future or maybe not. But if you can let go completely of him, now, you will be doing yourself a favor.
LexieCat is offline  
Old 08-14-2010, 03:32 PM
  # 16 (permalink)  
I AM CANADIAN
 
fourmaggie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Niagara Region, Canada
Posts: 2,578
Blog Entries: 45
It is very hard for both of us to be apart. We miss each other. We are best friends. I lost that this week.


MY best friend DAVID L., he is in recovery and left the "relationship" of friendship...WE both knew he had to leave one day and clean up HIS mess...there has been no contact since he left my home in JUNE...but..by the grace of GOD...I hope he is sober and if he is today would be coming up to 9mths...I miss him sooo much BUT it is what it is...and I wish him strength in his recovery...like I know he is wishing me in mine...I miss YOU DAVID, be well my friend
fourmaggie is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to fourmaggie For This Useful Post:
ChrrisT (08-16-2010)
Old 08-14-2010, 04:13 PM
  # 17 (permalink)  
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 139
I'm still fairly newly sober so I don't have a whole lot to offer on the addiction part of it.
I agree there may be some co-dependence issues there, no offense.
If one of his "issues" he needs to work through is his ex, I'd bear in mind he was not likely totally emotionally "IN" the relationship with you. Furthermore, a lot of what you are relaying that he says, sounds like romanticized bullcrap. (Sorry if that sounds crass).
She is the ex that "put up with him". There is a very real possibility you may be the ex that "took care of him" in the end.
If it were me, I'd RUN.
bubblehead is offline  
The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to bubblehead For This Useful Post:
ChrrisT (08-16-2010), freefalling (08-15-2010), Learn2Live (08-14-2010)
Old 08-15-2010, 12:18 AM
  # 18 (permalink)  
Member
 
freefalling's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: South Africa
Posts: 330
Originally Posted by bubblehead View Post
If it were me, I'd RUN.
ditto
freefalling is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to freefalling For This Useful Post:
Learn2Live (08-15-2010)
Old 08-15-2010, 06:21 AM
  # 19 (permalink)  
Member
 
coffeedrinker's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: minneapolis, mn
Posts: 2,762
Originally Posted by waiting313 View Post
he also only praised me at the end of it all. he said i had kept him together, made him a better person, done more than anyone could ever do, etc... but me keeping him together so well helped him not have to think about what he needed to fix in himself.
since the discussion seems to be over about your involvement with him, i want to focus on this quoted piece from your post.

this fuels us. this helps us to believe that our calling in life is to help others. this is a huge ego stroke, for people like us.

we need to get our good feelings from just liking, and valuing ourselves - our whole selves. yes, we do good for others, but we should balance that with doing good for ourselves, and other things. i am a terrific employee, a pretty good mother, a great friend, etc.

i would suggest that you pick up a copy of "codependent no more" by melody beattie. she is the guru of many of us here @ sr. and....welcome.
coffeedrinker is offline  
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to coffeedrinker For This Useful Post:
freefalling (08-15-2010), wicked (08-15-2010)
Old 08-15-2010, 12:04 PM
  # 20 (permalink)  
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 10
thank you so much for your replies. i will have to pick up that book. i talked to my family, and they are going to help pay for me to go to therapy until my insurance comes back. i want to be an independent person. i WAS until all of this, and you guys have helped me realize that i have lost a lot of that.

i feel so much better hearing the support from you guys, people who have been in similar situations or know the mind of addicts/alcoholics. i appreciate it so much.

yesterday i made plans with a nice, stable, not-my-usual-type guy and we are going to the theatre tonight. i am goingt o remind myself that there ARE other fish in the sea, and i deserve to be loved. thank you for helping me remember that.
waiting313 is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to waiting313 For This Useful Post:
Learn2Live (08-15-2010)

Currently Active Users Viewing this Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off




All times are GMT -7. The time now is 09:39 AM.