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New here...with a relationship question

Old 12-23-2010, 08:11 PM
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New here...with a relationship question

Wow, don;t know how I found this site, but I am so glad I did.

I am/was dating a man in AA. He has been in AA for 3 years, but lapsed last September. He is coming up on his year anniversary (for the 2nd time) this month.

I know relationships in the first year are iffy at best, but he is past that. Are they (men I guess is what I am asking) usually emotionally immature when it comes to relationships? Is it normal for them to profess their love to you only to turn and chase an old flame that they have not seen in 23 years?

I know better to push, or give an ultimatum. I know everyone has to follow their heart or live with the consequences, however if they take the road that offers them less and increases the possibility of lapsing again, and they infact realize that they took the wrong road, will that be a trigger for them?

This is a sound and very stable man, but he has admitted that his relationships have not been the best. Do I take a back seat and let this play out and pray that he does not lapse. I am looking for any direction as this is the first time I have been in a relationship with someone in AA. He is an amazing man and want nothing more to have a live with him, but right now, I am backing off to let him find his own way through this.
Thank you in advance
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Old 12-23-2010, 10:31 PM
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Hi and welcome to SR.

Have you gone to al-anon? That is a great group and something you might want to look into.

Are they (men I guess is what I am asking) usually emotionally immature when it comes to relationships?
I suppose some are. I think drinking, and then early (first year) of recovery requires people to be very self-focused.

Is it normal for them to profess their love to you only to turn and chase an old flame that they have not seen in 23 years?
It is my opinion that cheating and alcoholism are two seperate things. If your guy is chasing other woman, and is 12 months sober and in AA, then you have a man with two issues. Alcoholism and chasing women.

I know better to push, or give an ultimatum.
Pushing won't get you anywhere but sometimes it is OK to draw a line in the sand, to make a boundary. You have the right to ask for, expect, and require certain standards of behavior in your partner. It doesn't matter if your partner is an active alcohlic, in recovery, sick, well, rich, poor, tall, or short.

if they take the road that offers them less and increases the possibility of lapsing again, and they infact realize that they took the wrong road, will that be a trigger for them?
Trigger them to do what? If he isn't actively working a program of recovery, if he is taking a road that increases the possibility of lapsing.......then I guess he is at a high risk of relapsing.

This is a sound and very stable man
He is an alcohlic that has relapsed after a couple of years and is only one year sober now. He is making poor choices. He is chasing woman that are not his girlfriend. I will gently suggest that none of that seems sound or stable.

I will again recommend al-anon and then hold tight. Wait and watch and you will learn more but in the mean time, al-anon will give you the tools you need to take care of yourself not matter what the outcome is.
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Old 12-23-2010, 10:43 PM
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snack4,

first of all, WELCOME to sober recovery. you're right; this is a great forum.

one of the hardest things, is to comfortable not having all those answers right away. we just need to know, right?

i think that if you continue to come to this site and read and "listen" to someone the truths, that will help a lot. you will come to know the answers you seek.

also, if you asked my opinion, i'd have to agree with the poster who suggested that there is some instability. as for the woman from his past, i guess i think he is looking for something - a past love, his youth, drinking partner, sentimental stuff -- not sure, but even though i have had several addicts as friends and partners, i have not had one step out on me (not to the best of my knowledge anyway). they don't automatically go hand in hand.

the best thing, in my opinion, is to step back - which you have - and wait and see how he develops, and assess your feelings and needs. you'll be more clear if you wait.
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Old 12-26-2010, 12:17 PM
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Thank you all so much for the responses.
To answer a few questions, no I have not attended Al-Anon yet, but think it might be a good idea.

He has been in AA for a total of 3 years, but lapsed and is now coming up on his 1st anniversary for the 2nd time. (I know relationships in the first year usually have issues, but since he has been in AA for 3 years, is this still considered his first year because he lapsed?)

I agree that cheating and alcoholism ate 2 different issues. He did not cheat on me. He actually broke up with me before anything may have happened with his old girlfriend (she is 400 miles away).

(These are just a few of the typical byproducts of alcoholism: infidelity, emotional abuse, manipulation, financial irresponsibility, etc). I have not experienced any of these things with him which is why his actions seem so "not like" him. Even his sponsor is surprised at his actions. His advise to me was to let his chase whatever he thinks he is chasing, but in the mean time, I need to take care of me. I know that its sound advise...just easier said than done.

Its funny, people in support groups have called me co-dependent (I am a very independent woman), they have called me a stalker (I have actually cut all contact with him), just because I have said I love this man and am willing to give him the time he needs to sort his emotions out. Maybe I am a bit crazy for willing to do this, but some people, regardless if they are recovering or not, are simply worth the wait...I happen to think he is.

He has offered me everything in a relationship that any woman could want or ask for when we were together, and not that this makes sense, cause it makes no sense to me, I do understand when he tells me he has to follow his heart or he will hate himself (regarding his old girlfriend). We all tend to follow our hearts, sometimes it works out sometimes it doesn't.

I just want to be supportive of him (of course to a point as I am not going to set myself up to be hurt again) and I want him to know that I will be here for him no matter what. Sometimes, I think that my being as independent and financially stable as I am overwhelms him just a bit...I dunno!

But again, thank you all for the information, insight and help. I will take the route of wait and see and as you suggested, I will hold on tight to see what happens.

Best Wishes to you all for a happy holiday season
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Old 12-26-2010, 12:26 PM
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Welcome to SR.

Were anyone to tell me I am a stalker,
I'd take that as time to examine my attitude and approach to
what I am thinking a relationship... is.

Alanon is an excellent place to start that self-examination.

Some aspects of self discovery need
the reflection of others
in order to be seen for what they are.

Welcome to SR!

I'm glad you found us too!
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Old 12-26-2010, 12:33 PM
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Welcome to SR!

Keep posting & reading. I so appreciate reading everyone's posts and learning everyday. Loving someone with alcohol addiction in or out of recovery is not easy. I recently started going to Alanon (though I've deal with alcoholism my whole life with various family members). I am one of those people who resisted Alanon but am now finding it is so helpful in seeing the world differently & working on myself. I hope you find a meeting that works for you.

Big hugs
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Old 12-26-2010, 01:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Snack4 View Post
I know relationships in the first year are iffy at best, but he is past that. Are they (men I guess is what I am asking) usually emotionally immature when it comes to relationships? Is it normal for them to profess their love to you only to turn and chase an old flame that they have not seen in 23 years?
Snack,

Speaking as a recovering alcoholic and a guy, I would question that he is "past that." The one year rule of thumb is only that: a rule of thumb. If the man you have dated is still acting that way, I would suggest that it is for one of two reasons

a) he is and will remain emotionally immature. If this is a 23 year ago relationship, we're not talking about a teenager. Face it - he's acting like one.
b) he is living in some fantasy world where it is easier to try to resurrect fond memories of a long-dead relationship with someone who lives far away than to have a face to face relationship in the here and now.

In my view, it almost doesn't matter but if I was a gambling man, I would say your guy is b). Competing with a fantasy for his affections is at best a waste of time. Worse would be to win his affections, and be stuck in a relationship with someone incapable of being honest about where he is and what he wants. Add being an alcoholic on top of that, and you have a whole lot of heartache ahead if you pursue this relationship as it stands today. If he gets his act together, figures out what he wants and understands that YOU are what he wants, you will hear from him. Until that time (and if you were my sister, I would say run, not walk from this situation), do yourself a favor and move on. Life is short and too precious to waste allowing others to squander your love and time.
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Old 12-26-2010, 03:57 PM
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Snack4, what is your definition of being a very independent woman?

I consider myself a very independent person. I have held several important positions in my life. As a matter of fact, I was a federal government contracting officer with authorization from the Senate to sign for multi-dollar contracts on behalf of the government. Yet, I am a codependent! Codependency is a tendency to behave in overly passive or excessively caretaking ways that negatively impact one's relationships and quality of life. It, also, involves putting one's needs at a lower priority than others while being excessively preoccupied with the needs of others. By reading your post, you appear to be a codependent. Frankly, if you're NOT one, I don't know what you are!

You wrote "I have said I love this man and am willing to give him the time he needs to sort his emotions out. Maybe I am a bit crazy for willing to do this, but some people, regardless if they are recovering or not, are simply worth the wait...I happen to think he is." "I just want to be supportive of him (of course to a point as I am not going to set myself up to be hurt again) and I want him to know that I will be here for him no matter what." He has broken up with YOU to follow his "HEART".

WHAT ARE YOU WORTH?!

"The way I see it, there are two kinds of dreams. One is a dream that's always going to be just that..... A dream. A vision that you can never really hold in your hand. Then there's a dream that's more than a dream its like.... A map. A map that you live by and follow for the rest of your days Knowing that someday your going to stand on top of that Mountain holding everything you thought of Right There In Your Hand!"--Robert Cooper

I suggest attending as many Al-Anon meetings as you can attend, and keep using SR for support.

Just my opinion. Take what you like and leave the rest.

Love and Peace,

Phoenix
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Old 12-26-2010, 04:04 PM
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Welcome and YES, YES, YES to AlAnon!
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Old 12-26-2010, 04:30 PM
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Do you know how long he was drinking before AA? Or how bad it got for him? I'd caution you to really let him be at this point. The woman thing isn't about drinking in my opinion. There is no magic number for when they are ready. A year is recommended but some may need longer. Depends upon how much wreckage he left behind.

Sounds like you are very much in love with him Sometimes when our emotions are so strong, we may miss little clues or bits of information that tell us the real story. For example, he said that he has a history of problems in relationships then a background like that doesn't just go away when someone is recovered.

Recovery takes so much time and recovery from alcohol doesn't always mean recovery from bad judgement or behaviors that cause others pain. It can take a while to unlearn the habits of an alcoholic so that is why I'd caution you to give him his space. He doesn't seem as ready as you hope he is from what you've said.

I wish I could be more supportive but whenever someone gives you a history of relationships that isn't positive, that is a red flag for me.

Offering someone everything in a relationship isn't the same as actually having the ability to give it to them. That is where you have to really look at his actions, not his words.


Originally Posted by Snack4 View Post
Wow, don;t know how I found this site, but I am so glad I did.

I am/was dating a man in AA. He has been in AA for 3 years, but lapsed last September. He is coming up on his year anniversary (for the 2nd time) this month.

I know relationships in the first year are iffy at best, but he is past that. Are they (men I guess is what I am asking) usually emotionally immature when it comes to relationships? Is it normal for them to profess their love to you only to turn and chase an old flame that they have not seen in 23 years?

I know better to push, or give an ultimatum. I know everyone has to follow their heart or live with the consequences, however if they take the road that offers them less and increases the possibility of lapsing again, and they infact realize that they took the wrong road, will that be a trigger for them?

This is a sound and very stable man, but he has admitted that his relationships have not been the best. Do I take a back seat and let this play out and pray that he does not lapse. I am looking for any direction as this is the first time I have been in a relationship with someone in AA. He is an amazing man and want nothing more to have a live with him, but right now, I am backing off to let him find his own way through this.
Thank you in advance
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Old 12-26-2010, 04:41 PM
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I am very new here, but have been reading the posts a lot, trying to decide if I have a problem or not. Well it looks as if I certainly do. I cannot resist replying to the posts in this thread with a bit of my own experience for what it is worth. I am NOT suggesting that the man in question is or is not playing you, but it does sound like it to me. I am trying to recover from something similar myself.
Here is my experience.
In 2007 I was on a dating site, probably not the best place to be, but I wanted to date...anyway a local male of the right age contacted me and we met for a coffee. I knew almost instantly that it wasn't going to progress to a date and so I let it go and carried on dating and meeting others. In August 2009 this same male came into a shop I was working in and began chatting me up. He reminded me we had met before and then I recognized who he was. I was friendly but cool because I wasn't really interested anymore and he also told me that he was still dating and seeing regularly a woman he had known from long ago. (It turns out they had a child together who is now an adult over 30 and has a son of her own.) He didn't tell me this for several months. He began to show up around my work and asked me out for coffee and meals. Initially I declined. He traveled regularly with the other woman and told me of their trips, however, when I asked about their relationship he claimed he wasn't comfortable discussing her with me. I know I was totally stupid to see him at all, but I did, and eventually, just over a year later we ended up being intimate. He was extremely passionate and then very complimentary, and by this time I was quite smitten with him. From the very beginning in 2007 he claimed that he wanted to end the relationship with her. I could pretty well see that wasn't going to happen if it hadn't happened since 2007. However, as silly as I was I still continued to see him, but after roughly 3 weeks of becoming intimate he suddenly, and right out of the blue, sent me an email ending everything with me. I guess I had it coming. I knew better. It was such a shock and when I replied via email and one more face to face encounter he very coldly claimed that "He didn't want to upset his family and that they knew the other woman and liked her"
I am telling all this to maybe open some eyes. I know it opened mine and I am still trying to get over it.
It is a valuable lesson and one that I have learned the hard way. It seems to me that this man had absolutely NO intention of being with me and NO intention of leaving his other relationship. He is twice divorced, sees this other woman, who apparently knows nothing of his infidelities, and continues to pursue other women.
He has 2 adult sons who struggle with drug addictions.
My past is not lily white I have to confess. I myself have been married and divorced 3 times. My last husband died of alcoholism one year after we divorced. I still suffer with the guilt of leaving him and then he died. We were married for 25 years, but I couldn't live with his drinking any longer.
I suppose I am codependent. Oddly I have now begun to enjoy a glass or 3 or 4 of wine regularly myself, even though I have never been a drinker before.
I seem to be vulnerable to people with problems and want to "fix" their lives for them. I want to nurture them. I am currently helping to care for my elderly mother who lives nearby. I couldn't EVER let her go to a longterm care facility and so I assist her husband to care for her at home. Is that codependence ???
I am feeling shattered by being dumped by this man. I resisted him for a long time and then after giving in and becoming infatuated with him I am still left trying to figure out if I am too needy or have some other problem that turned him off. He has broken all contact with me and I cannot ask to see him again as it is too humiliating. Someone told me that he emotionally seduced me.
Thinking back I can imagine that he may have been struggling with alcoholism and other problems. He was extremely careful about having a drink.
Sorry for the rambling.
I think what I am getting at is that for anyone to "wait" for another who is dealing with problems and other relationships is what I thought I was doing with him and I ended up being "burned"

Last edited by CSHNow; 12-26-2010 at 04:55 PM. Reason: Typos
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Old 12-26-2010, 04:56 PM
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Originally Posted by CSHNow View Post
I am currently helping to care for my elderly mother who lives nearby. I couldn't EVER let her go to a longterm care facility and so I assist her husband to care for her at home. Is that codependence ???
Do you care for her before or after you take care of your own needs?
If you take care of yourself first, especially without feeling guilty for making sure your own needs are met prior to assisting with hers, then no, you're just being a daughter.
If before your own needs, especially to the point where you neglect yourself, then YES, that's codependence.

People who are codependent have a hard time noticing the line where (in their mind) caring for someone else takes precedence over their own needs and health (both mental and physical).

When my A started getting sick and needy, I skipped any sort of relaxation or hobby, would go a week or more without a shower, and would drop everything at work to help with his problem to the point my boss started to bring it up. That's codependence.
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Old 12-26-2010, 05:10 PM
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Hi, Snack4. I'm sorry you are going through this. I do think addicts in early recovery are emotionally immature in addition to having other baggage. To me they are like teenagers, full of angst, insecure, unstable, and lacking basic adult life skills.

What I don't understand is why you would still want to be with him while he is off chasing another woman. It's hard enough to stay patient with someone who is devoted to you, yet starting from scratch in recovery... He has nothing to offer you and obviously doesn't see you for the wonderful person you are as you do him. If he loved YOU and wanted to be with YOU it might be worth wading through the muck to cleaner waters, but even then it's dicey... I would let him go chase whatever it is he's chasing and move on with my life. You deserve so much better.
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Old 12-26-2010, 05:20 PM
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(I know relationships in the first year usually have issues, but since he has been in AA for 3 years, is this still considered his first year because he lapsed?)
Each relapse is considered going back to day one. He can take what he learned in the prior sobriety periods and use it, but it appears he isnt doing that.

(These are just a few of the typical byproducts of alcoholism: infidelity, emotional abuse, manipulation, financial irresponsibility, etc). I have not experienced any of these things with him which is why his actions seem so "not like" him.
It may be you have not seen it up until now, but what do you call chasing after someone from 23 years ago? Even if he was in high school, that makes him a middle aged man, and if he sees you are seeing this as part of his "alcoholism" it gives him a green light to do it again. I guess his sponsors advice is sound about working on you, but any talk about him and his problems is out of bounds, and if he were my sponsor I would not trust him anymore. My ex came back to his hometown after being away for about ten years and he started smoking crack and chasing old girlfriends, fortunately, most of them had already seen him coming.

Being an independent woman and being codependent are entirely two different animals.
I suggest you look up what it means to be codependent.
To start, doing for others what they can do for themselves.
I was an independent woman supporting a man who was addicted and not supporting his children. He did not have to live like a grown man. He could continue living his high school like a teenager.

independent and codependent are as different as alcoholic and cheater,
sometimes they come together, but they exist on their own.

Beth
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Old 12-26-2010, 05:26 PM
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I try to take care of myself and my own needs first, but I do struggle with it. her husband is also elderly and the wear and tear on him is showing. She is almost completely bedridden, has to be cared for 24/7 and cannot be left alone. We have home help 2 mornings a week.
Maybe this is partly why the guy I mentioned in my long post dumped me. I really don't have a lot of time and or energy to give to a relationship right now. He actually was draining me and the time I spent with him came out of my time for my own interests. I still think he was a "rat" though to simply go into his cave so to speak without a decent discussion.
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Old 12-26-2010, 05:32 PM
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I still think he was a "rat" though to simply go into his cave so to speak without a decent discussion.
I agree with you. he could have been supportive since you have a bedridden mother, but he took the rat route.
bah!
I am sorry CSH, this is a difficult time for you.
:ghug3
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Old 12-27-2010, 11:19 AM
  # 17 (permalink)  
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Stalker may be a little hyperbolic...

but there is in fact a reason people said that.

Here are some things we know to be true:

"He has been in AA for a total of 3 years, but lapsed and is now coming up on his 1st anniversary for the 2nd time. (I know relationships in the first year usually have issues, but since he has been in AA for 3 years, is this still considered his first year because he lapsed?)" You decided to date a man when you knew the relationship would have issues and when you knew he was an alcoholic-- this is a huge indicator of codependancy.

"He actually broke up with me before anything may have happened with his old girlfriend (she is 400 miles away)." You have decided to wait for this man to work out his issues with an old girlfriend because he is "worth it."-- this is a huge indicator of codependancy.

"...his sponsor is surprised at his actions. His advise to me was to let his chase whatever he thinks he is chasing, but in the mean time, I need to take care of me. I know that its sound advise...just easier said than done." You are meddling in his life at the level of actually talking about him with his sponsor, (something absolutely wrong on the part of the sponsor, and very meddling and codependant on your part)-- this is a huge indicator of codependancy.


"Its funny, people in support groups have called me co-dependent (I am a very independent woman), they have called me a stalker (I have actually cut all contact with him), just because I have said I love this man and am willing to give him the time he needs to sort his emotions out. Maybe I am a bit crazy for willing to do this, but some people, regardless if they are recovering or not, are simply worth the wait...I happen to think he is."

"He has offered me everything in a relationship that any woman could want or ask for when we were together." "...he has to follow his heart or he will hate himself (regarding his old girlfriend). We all tend to follow our hearts, sometimes it works out sometimes it doesn't What you wanted was an emotionally unavailable person who dumps you to pursue relationships with other women? Really? ."-- saying "we" instead of "I" is another indicator that something needs to be looked at.Also, "We" don't all tend to follow our hearts. People who are codependant like myself tend to follow their hearts. Healthy people follow their brains.

"I just want to be supportive of him (of course to a point as I am not going to set myself up to be hurt again) and I want him to know that I will be here for him no matter what. Sometimes, I think that my being as independent and financially stable as I am overwhelms him just a bit...I dunno!" This paragraph s highly indicative or codependancy. Independant people aren't there for other people no matter what; codependant people are there for other people no matter what.

I wish you the best, I truly do, but there is no question in my mind because I am a codependant person who has been in recovery since 2003 and I'm married to a recovering alcoholic, that Al-Anon is the right place for you to be. Keep an open mind, do not be defensive, and try at least six meetings before you decide if it is for you. Here you go:

How to find a meeting in the US/Canada/Puerto Rico

Take care,

Cyranoak

P.s. I'm glad you found us online--another sign that you are looking for answers outside of yourself, and that there may be more to your story than you have shared.
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Old 12-27-2010, 12:26 PM
  # 18 (permalink)  
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no I have not attended Al-Anon yet, but think it might be a good idea.
I agree

He actually broke up with me before anything may have happened with his old girlfriend (she is 400 miles away).
Is he an ex boyfriend?

Its funny, people in support groups have called me co-dependent (I am a very independent woman), they have called me a stalker (I have actually cut all contact with him), just because I have said I love this man and am willing to give him the time he needs to sort his emotions out. Maybe I am a bit crazy for willing to do this, but some people, regardless if they are recovering or not, are simply worth the wait...I happen to think he is.
What does sort his emotions out mean? I'm not sure what you are waiting for. Some of the details might be missing because it sounds as if you have cut contact with a man that broke up with you and yet you are still waiting on him.

Be sure you are moving forward with your life and happiness one way or another.

He has offered me everything in a relationship that any woman could want or ask for when we were together
What about today?

I want him to know that I will be here for him no matter what.
No matter what is a lot. I have found that no matter what is to much and that there are indeed some things that I will not stick around for. I'm sure you have those things too but be careful about what you say in your head. For myself I found that the things I say in my head become a mantra, a thing I follow even when it is not in anyone's best interest - least of all mine. I will make this marriage work no matter what. I will give my kids two parents no matter what. I will be there for him no matter what. It nearly destroyed me.

But again, thank you all for the information, insight and help. I will take the route of wait and see and as you suggested, I will hold on tight to see what happens.
Excellent! Stick around here and find an al-alon meeting You are smart. Keep processing this and keep the focus on you. Define and know your boundaries and values as they may one day be put to the test.
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Old 12-27-2010, 06:09 PM
  # 19 (permalink)  
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can i say....RUN? and RUN fast!
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Old 12-27-2010, 06:29 PM
  # 20 (permalink)  
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I think the fact that this came straight from the mouth of a manipulative alcoholic trying to drag me into the ring for another round of emotional insanity and parasitic freeloading proves your point quite nicely.
Well said Rayn3.
I love how you turn a phrase!
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