unscientific survey: how long did you stay in limbo?

Old 03-29-2011, 12:42 PM
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unscientific survey: how long did you stay in limbo?

As someone who has just left a relationship with an ABF, I am struggling with a lot of feelings that I think are familiar to many people on Soberrecovery (loss, grief, tenderness, second-guessing, contact/no contact, inner drama, loneliness, mixed messages, etc. etc. etc.).

I keep having to reminding myself that I've been living in a kind of limbo for a long time, undecided about what is right, feeling caught up in intense emotional patterns, and feeling guilty and ambivalent but never feeling like I can really stand strong by my own life and claim it as something I believe in.

For those of you who decided to leave intimate relationships with either active or recovering alcoholics (and if feel like weighing in) how long did you live in limbo before leaving? on the other hand, if you didn't leave, how long before you felt that the limbo resolved?

i'm not a sociologist, i am just playing one today
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Old 03-29-2011, 12:50 PM
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I am still in limbo ... sitting at about two months of "real limbo," a year and a half of "I'm in denial and look the sparkles are so pretty!!"
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Old 03-29-2011, 12:59 PM
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This is rather hard to measure, because I'm not sure where to put the beginning, and where to put the end.

I'd say my breaking point was December 22, 2010, when he crossed way too many lines, plus I found this forum. He "tried" to "fix" things after that, but at that point I was not as gullible as I had been before.
I did not officially tell him I was over and through with the relationship until March 14, 2011, although I had gone "no contact" with him before that. I had known that it was over, Valentine's Day when I saw his car in my parking lot I left home again and knew it was over, but I did not tell him that until 3/14.
So by that count it's 83 days, less than three months.

If you want to count from when I moved into my new apartment (because that's when it got terribly bad, and I became extremely unhappy, and desperate for some sort of an end), then the count would be about six or seven months, from when I moved, to when he crossed the line and I finally decided it was through.

In other ways, I was in limbo for the last three years, trying to figure out what changed, and what I did wrong, and pretending that everything was going to be okay.

In some ways, I may still be in limbo, waiting for him to show up again and try to "apologize" (which is really "Blame StarCat for everything, but tell her I'll take her back anyway because that's the kind of guy I am."), and constantly looking over my shoulder, wondering when he'll appear.
By his cycle he's due to try again in two weeks.

I still have errant emotions, although they're better now, and it takes more to set me off. I had someone at my desk teasing me earlier, wandering off with various of my personal items and claiming I stole them from him - he meant nothing by it, I used to think his antics were funny two years ago (he really is comical how he does it - usually), but today I felt like throwing everything at him and just going home.

So I don't know where to start counting, where to stop counting, and how to define the middle bit.
I took my best shot.
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Old 03-29-2011, 01:06 PM
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WAY TOO LONGG!! I guess I am still there since I have to sell this house before I can move away from him. The difference this time is that something inside has changed and I no longer want to do the dance. Where as before my limbos always had the hope than when they ended we would live happily ever after.

This the craziest ride I have ever been on but I do feel that if I had not had children and all that responsibility, I would have definitely gotten myself an apartment and LEFT alot sooner.
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Old 03-29-2011, 01:28 PM
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welcome to the board, jenny.

this is so different for each person.

for me, i felt the "i think i wanna leave" creeping in about four or five years before i actually uttered the words.

i do remember clearly when i knew - it took about two years after that.

and i do remember clearly when i really knew, meaning i was going to actually say the words out loud. to him.

once i made the commitment, i followed through right away.

never looked back.
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Old 03-29-2011, 01:38 PM
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I have remained in my relationship for 6 years - knowing that he is an addict (formerly pain pills) and now alcohol. I knew it would not be forever. I made a conscious decision to do what I felt was in my (and my children's) best interest. I am a SAHM with a child who has special needs. My timeline was to be at home with them until they started school full-time (or until it began to negatively affect their lives.) The past few months I have seen him getting worse to the point where I found myself having to spend a great deal of effort buffering the children. I decided that was it. Thankfully he too got to his breaking point and has been in recovery since.

I know we are not out of the woods. I know we have a long road ahead. I know some days will be worse before it gets better - but as long as he continues to progress I will give him a year to get his $h!t together.

And although I know alcoholism is a disease and something we will contend with for the rest of our lives together, I also have very firm boundaries in my head. I'm not going through this again. I want more for myself and my children then what I have had to deal with these last 6 years. He's got one chance in my book. I can't go down this road with him again.
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Old 03-29-2011, 04:27 PM
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Like others, it is hard to pin point the time table. I know when I came here, we were separated for a year and asking him to leave at that time was more like the recognition that I was living in limbo. We still saw each other and yet after 8 months he got sober. After 6 months of sobreity we planed to have him move back home. Two months later, we were barely talking to each other and he was no longer sober. We struggled fiercely to keep the rel together but a few months later I couldn't take it any longer and asked for no contact for awhile. It was recommended by our therapist as a means to break the limbo. Well, it eventually did just that - one and half years later - we are weeks away from finalizing our divorce.

But for how long was I in limbo before asking him to leave? IDK. Yes I do, he was sober for almost a year before we married. He relapsed on the honeymoon, less than a year later he was in AA. I thought then that all would be well. When he relapsed after three months I knew then it was only a matter of time. I set a deadline for leaving but it passed. I set another one and it passed. In time, I got more detached and distant. When the day came that i said he had to go - he asked this question of me - " what can I do to change your mind - I am willing to do anything you ask - I don't want to let go" I thought a lot and couldn't come up with anything that give me the confidence that it would be ok again. So I told him that I couldn't come up with anything this time. Limbo, it is a word. When you stop it is up to you. In your time. You will know.
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Old 03-29-2011, 06:57 PM
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I'm IN limbo because he is inpatient rehab for a lonnng time. It is giving me lots of time to reflect and process what caring about him feels like. Luckily he isn't drama filled but he is inconsistent sometimes and not sure what he wants (hot / cold).

At this point I am restructuring things to be more of a dear friend than a woman waiting for her man to come back to her. I don't have that type of patience.

I am hopeful that things will be ok but for now, Limboville it is.
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Old 03-29-2011, 07:07 PM
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Very hard to answer. I think I admitted to myself that my AH was an AH for real about five years before I left. Took me a year to work up the guts to go to Al-Anon. Four years of Al-Anon and increasingly worse A-behavior before I left.

The limbo on this side was easier and shorter. I think because I was well underway in my recovery before I left, and because my leaving-inducing situation was pretty scary, I never looked back. I did drag around an old sack with feeling-sorry-and-responsible-for-AH for a while, but he helped me let go of that by being just as much of a controlling, scary sociopath sober as he had been drunk.

We have been separated for about 8-9 months and there's ZERO limbo in my life. I hate having to deal with him, but that's it. No regrets, no looking back, no what-ifs.
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Old 03-29-2011, 09:00 PM
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I had doubts in the back of my mind since the day I met my ex, but I chose to ignore them and kept pressing forward. The doubts would get stronger and weaker at different points throughout the relationship, which lasted four years. We've been broken up for three weeks, and I still feel "in limbo."
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Old 03-29-2011, 09:12 PM
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I was probably in limbo for the majority of our relationship (13 years from first date to divorce.) But we kept adding things to it (living together, engaged, married, pregnant, buying a house, pregnant again, buying a bigger house) and feeling like I couldn't get out, that I had too much invested in it, until one day (shortly after buying the bigger house) I decided, enough. I'd had red flags from almost day one that I ignored or repressed (and yes, I'm in my own therapy to deal with why that was) but finally I understood that yes, I *could* just walk away. It's been harder than I even expected but I am now divorced and supporting our two children almost single handedly. It's hard, but it was absolutely and without a doubt the right decision.
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Old 03-29-2011, 09:39 PM
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I find this a fascinating question.
I had concerns from early on in my relationship, too, but how in the heck do you know what will turn out to be a REAL issue?
I guess now I know somewhat better!
We knew eachother 2 years, then dated 5 years, then were married 2 years when I got pregnant. I was totally in denial. I came out enough to gently inquire a few times about hidden alcohol or him drinking in secret, and get shut down. LEAVE IT ALONE was the message, and I did.
Not long after, we moved, I found a box of alcohol he moved and subsequently hid, then I found wine at the bottom of a to go coffee cup, then I found 16 empties from one week's time...and I searched and found SR.
Then, within a few weeks, I lost the baby.
I realized quickly (with the help of SR) that I couldn't get pregnant again without addressing this.
I decided I needed to strike when the iron was hot (I WANTED to get pregnant again!)and I confronted him in October.
He was awful about it. Too long to get into.
I spent the next 7 months in that limbo. Leaving about once a month for a week at a time to get some space. Crying my eyes out, raging, empty, depressed...being away didn't help things. Coming home each time didn't either.
I took a summer job in a different state to get more space. That was May - August (3 more months). That didn't help.
I got offered a permanent job in the park I was working seasonally at. (THAT was a big step! I was starting to walk away from the limbo.)
That was December (3 more months had passed). Now, I've been working here 4 more months. We have tried phone counseling. No change. I'm not letting it go and he's not taking it seriously.
I have given up. We are talking divorce.
Limbo doesn't work and I'm not getting any younger.
It's not fair to either one of us and life has to move on.
So, all in all, it's been about 1 year and a half of limbo.
Not bad, really. I am moving pretty fast, all in all. It's a big decision and it still doesn't feel good, by any stretch of the imagination.
It is less painful.
There is less limbo/pain/confusion/stuckness/misery/hope/hopelessness and more tired resolve. More acceptance. A bit at a time. More letting go. More giving up/in that I can't get him to be who I want and he doesn't have to be.
It isn't a light switch, but a process.
I am far enough out of limbo that I know I am moving toward divorce, however glacially I move.

Hugs, peace
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Old 03-30-2011, 02:54 AM
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Around 6 months, little different than most I imagine, I was here and she was there. Everything I knew was bouncing around in my head but I just couldn't bring myself to end it. Even though she'd done another one of those 'deal breakers' several weeks after I got back here from R&R.

Echoing what others have said here, I knew it was pointless from almost the start but I just couldn't let it go, something she had said in a fit of honesty very early on in the relationship, maybe 2 months, there was 'no future' in the relationship, I spent the entire time trying to prove her wrong.

In the end-most of last summer-those two words kept rolling around in my head.

I just tell myself, we need to do everything we need to do for as long as it takes to learn the lesson we need to learn. Seems I'm a slow learner.
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Old 03-30-2011, 04:21 AM
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Mine was several months. He was sober (I thought) when we got married, after almost dying of liver failure. He had moved to another State with plans for me to join him after we got married--I moved to join him in July. By early fall he had lost his job and was drinking all day long again. I moved out in February and moved back to my home State at the end of the following year. I was in "limbo" of sorts until I made the decision to move back, at which time I had already decided I was giving up on the relationship.
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Old 03-30-2011, 06:17 AM
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Like some others, I had red flags all over the place from day one, but chose to ignore them. After we married and I discovered his addiction, and subsequent relapses, was when the breakdown really happened. I just kept hoping he would change, that things would get better. They didn't. We divorced yesterday and I'm *officially* leaving tomorrow. In my head and heart though, I left a little over a year ago. I also have a lot of mixed emotions and will have to do some hard work to regain the "me" (new and improved version now!) that was lost in the chaos. Hang in there.
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Old 03-30-2011, 06:35 AM
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My limbo happens in degrees.

There was the limbo of years kind of 'waiting' for him to shape up, while he was active.
There were years of having given up on his changing, but still having a child with him.

There was the limbo while he was in rehab, wondering what that meant to me, etc...

There was a different limbo, when he came out and moved in w us, and he was sort of flailing around, sleeping a lot, not working, then working, but not working a program.

There was the initial limbo of forcing him to leave, and having to deal with that change, not knowing what would happen to him...

NOw I am exiting limbo, mostly, but...

Limbo wont change for anyone living with an addict if you are focused on them more than you. And all those years of limbo, for me, were uneccessary.

I could have detached, truly, I could have moved on.

I could have made choices that stopped limbo a long time ago.

I guess my point is that limbo is a choice, and it wont change until you step out, do your healing work around why you are remaining in limbo with another person who is not taking part in life, and let go of any fantasies that keep you in limbo with them, or toward them...

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Old 03-30-2011, 07:38 AM
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I am back in Limbo ......
Have been playing this game for 15 years... Before we had children together he was a safety net for me. Now that I have 4 kids with my AH I am just lost as to what is the right the right thing.... and everytime I think I have it figured out, I lose my grip but I will keep on reading and healing myself
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