What do YOU want in a partner/relationship/etc

Old 10-22-2012, 12:06 PM
  # 61 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Thumper
Originally Posted by lillamy
Which sort of gets me back to the point someone else made: Until the alcoholism is dealt with, all other healing is impossible.
I agree. I talked to my counselor about what I perceived as my faults, the mistakes I had made. I'm sure my ex told her too because he saw her before I did. After our four joint sessions she said that our relationship problems were fixable - BUT - she wouldn't see us for a single other joint session until my ex was enrolled in some kind of recovery program.
Amen, not to mention the A wouldn't or couldn't work on it anyway!
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Old 10-22-2012, 12:27 PM
  # 62 (permalink)  
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People can spin it or distort it whichever way they want. Bottom line is, unless the A quits drinking AND starts living a sober lifestyle, it is impossible to have anything even close to a healthy relationship with said A. It's not up for discussion; it's what it is.
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Old 10-22-2012, 12:30 PM
  # 63 (permalink)  
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You've got a lot of learning to do. Don't we all?

People really need to open their minds. Do people really think they know it all? Understand every trigger? Know all the ins and outs of addiction? Impossible.

I would suggest that some need to learn more, read more, embrace new research. Staying stuck leaves a person - stuck. :-) Dr. Robert Meyers co-wrote the groundbreaking book that I quoted from, Get Your Loved One Sober: Alternatives to Nagging, Pleading, and Threatening A leading addiction expert using a method called "CRAFT - Community Reinforcement and Family Training" which has been shown through research to have a much higher success rating than any conventional approach. And is used as a treatment for the HBO series - Addiction.

New research is coming out yearly. To close our minds is to waste precious opportunities! It's a great book and method for those who want to learn and are in a marriage and or having a family member in their lives with addiction.
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Old 10-22-2012, 12:36 PM
  # 64 (permalink)  
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These are my thoughts on relationships, and also the directions that I strive to work towards. (In other words, I expect this list to go both ways.) Ideally I want it all! But I did try to rank them in importance.
Also, I tried to keep it positive, so I didn't include things like "not an addict" - an active addict wouldn't be able to meet this list anyway.

If one of these is missing, I'm not interested.
  • Is a whole person. In other words, their interest in another participant in their life is to add to their life, not to complete it.
  • Has real friends. I'm not talking about the casual friendships, I'm talking about having at least one good, close friend with a shared (healthy or harmless, aka non-destructive) hobby or passion. Will also recognize when a friendship is unhealthy and take the appropriate steps to either heal the relationship or else end it, depending upon the situation.
  • Knows the meaning of "RESPECT" and "HONESTY" and puts both into practice on a regular basis. Also insists on both from his partner in the relationship (and from his friends). Will tell me the truth, nicely, even when he knows it's not the answer I want - and respects me when I do the same with him.
  • Sets healthy boundaries himself, and respects me when I set mine. Understands his responsibilities and where they end, and my responsibilities and where they end. Recognizes that anything outside that sphere of his responsibility could be welcomed as a gift or rejected as meddlesome, and checks to verify which part of that scale his actions will fall within prior to proceeding. Appreciates when I do the same.
  • Values our time together and acts accordingly, being reliable and responsible towards any commitments we have made together. Likewise understands that accidents, misunderstandings, and emergencies happen, and if a commitment is affected by one of these does not take things personally.
  • Isn't afraid to admit mistakes or learn from them.
  • Loves me for who I am, not who he wants to turn me into. Also recognizes that both of us are going to change over time, that no relationship is static, and that we need to do our best to stay mostly on the same page with important things.
  • Takes his responsibilities seriously and actively works towards satisfying those responsibilities.

Not a complete deal-breaker if it's not there, but these are also important to me, and if too many are missing I'm not interested.
  • Will listen to me when I need to vent, and not try to "solve" the situation for me - but is also not afraid to offer a suggestion or some validation if I need it!
    Also has the respect to tell me if now is a bad time to listen so that we can either schedule a time or else I can revert to someone else (AlAnon phone list, friend, etc) or another method (journaling, poetry, baking) to let my feelings out.
  • Actively participates in the relationship. Will help choose activities and will respect my opinions ("I'd rather not do that") and suggestions ("I think this would be fun").
  • Takes pride in a clean house or apartment, and will take the appropriate steps to assist towards that end. Appreciates if I assist in this, but does not expect me to do so (unless, of course, I also reside at the house or apartment, in which case there is an effort to appropriately divide the required house/yardwork).
  • In addition to spending time with me and spending time with his friends, he's also interested in ensuring he spends an appropriate amount of time alone with himself. Will let me know he needs this space if I "interfere." Respects my requests for the same.
  • Likes children. Recognizes the responsibilities of being a parent, and steps up to meet them. Knows how to play, and when not to.

My nice-to-have not-quite-requirements, but the more of these the better.
  • Enjoys cooking or baking.
  • Likes animals. Has some sort of pet.
  • Has some shared interests with me, has some interests that I'm interested in learning about, and has other interests that are completely different. Appreciates this as well.
  • Gets along well with some of my friends, at least for short periods of time.
  • Doesn't mind if I spend some time with him when he's with some of his friends, at least for short periods of time.
  • Has a fun sense of humor. Can laugh at himself, too, in a healthy way.
  • Romantic - not in the over-the-top seen-it-at-the-movies way, just in the simple sentimental meaning. An "It was only $5 but it reminded me of <insert something that reminds him of me / event we did together / something nice> so I wanted to get it for you" or an "I know you're stressed out this week so I wrote down some of the things I like about you and put it next to your toothbrush" sort of guy.
  • Understands that the little things generally mean more than the big things.
  • Is not afraid to talk about feelings, but also recognizes that it's not healthy to get stuck in them. It's important to acknowledge the feeling, talk about it, and then determine the correct course of action to take from here. (And that sometimes the correct action is to do nothing.)
  • Enjoys reading and having intellectual conversations.
  • Can teach me something about a subject I am interested in, or how to do something(s) that I want to learn how to do.
  • Has a sense of adventure - in the sense of wanting to try new things, not wanting to try dangerous things.
  • Knows how to relax on a regular basis. One of those people who enjoys doing things but also doesn't have to keep moving all the time. Understands that cuddling can be just as romantic as a candle light dinner at an expensive restaurant, and sometimes even more so.
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Old 10-22-2012, 12:37 PM
  # 65 (permalink)  
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I think my head almost exploded.
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Old 10-22-2012, 12:38 PM
  # 66 (permalink)  
Lot Of Love Out There, Man.
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Originally Posted by lizatola View Post
Just below, Chris asked . . .
Ohhh crap, sorry everyone, I did a thread jack. I should have sent a pm to choublak.

Lizatola, no, I am not saying everyone is that way or all the time. For someone to think that a spouse can never be a trigger to an alcoholic/addict new in recovery I find disturbing because I know better.

Thank you for sharing, I was that way at times too. Sex withholding at times, yes. Belittling, not that I can recall. Iím not saying I wasnít because I have my areas of absolute perfection and it drove me nuts when someone would mess with my area. Example, I have pegboard in my barn for my tools. Every tool has a hook and every hook has a hole. Tools are grouped by type and size. I went to the barn one day to find my pegboard empty. Everything was thrown in a pile on the workbench . . . I donít remember the next 24 hours and Iím sure my speech was very colorful. At a time like that, Iím sure I said some things that I thought I would never say. Was it a trigger, it could have been, I donít know. Thank you for sharing and I am sorry for the thread jack.
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Old 10-22-2012, 12:41 PM
  # 67 (permalink)  
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Whatever. I'm done here.
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Old 10-22-2012, 12:50 PM
  # 68 (permalink)  
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A bitchy, nagging, bitter, resentful, sex withholding, belittling, constant doom and gloom spouse cannot trigger drinking or using in their alcoholic/addict.
An addict/alcoholic will find a reason to use in the weather. The TV programming. What political candidate won the election. Burned toast. Really, seriously -- until the addict takes responsibility -- the entire responsibility -- for his or her own addiction, nothing will change.

I really see this the same way I see codies (and I was one of them) sitting around complaining that their addict isn't different, but they keep sitting there. If you're an addict and your significant other is all of that stuff above -- leaving seems like a better option than using it as an excuse to take a relapse. In my mind at least. Not an easier option, mind you -- but a better one.
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Old 10-22-2012, 01:59 PM
  # 69 (permalink)  
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I married my best friend. And that was about the time that everything went to hell. It's so difficult in hindsight because I can see exactly where I should have left and should have drawn lines in the sand and didn't. I can also see his downfall in retrospect and it's really sad, and I wish I'd known better so I could have done better. Alas, I can't. Our marriage turned out to be very different than the one we planned. And now that I'm trying to exit it, we're completely different people having been through what we've been through.

I have a few couples I know that really model good, healthy relationships. They respect each other, they are honest with one another, they trust one another, and they give one another room to do what they want to do without interfering. They also show interest in one another's hobbies and make time and space to be together. It's about giving one another the space to be their 100% authentic selves, and then also enjoying their authentic partners, quirks and all. Additionally, they are PROUD to be together.

That's what I want. I want someone who respects and appreciates me, who sees what good things I bring to the table, and someone who is physically and emotionally available. I want to be able to do the same.

It makes me sad to think about trying to start over again. But that's what I want. There's a big part of me that thinks I have a giant, neon "DAMAGED" sign hanging over my head, which makes me attract crappy, unstable people and settle for crappy, unstable people. And that if I don't settle I will always be alone. It's preferable to being in an unstable relationship, but damn it, I'm lonely.

Sorry to ramble today. But this is what I wanted in the first place. I got something else entirely. I'm still grieving about that.
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Old 10-22-2012, 02:13 PM
  # 70 (permalink)  
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Florence - be kind to yourself today, this week, this month, this life.

When I was exiting my marriage and was having trouble answering the OP's question my counselor also asked me if I knew anyone that I felt had it right. I did/do. She said - What do they have? They have all the things you mentioned and my very first thought was 'I'll never have that.' That was for other people and I felt fundamentally different - like I was flawed in such a way that it would never work like that.

Today I'm alone and happy enough that way for right now but I am not fundamentally different. I might have some work to do but I'm just as capable of having something real and good as the next person and so are you. We might be a little injured, but we are not damaged.
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Old 10-22-2012, 02:19 PM
  # 71 (permalink)  
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Someone who has their act together, reads mail, pays bills, knows how to take care of life's responsibilities. AW will never be that . . .
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Old 10-22-2012, 02:54 PM
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Originally Posted by dollydo View Post
Sweet Minded
Good Listener
Doesn't shout at me or call me names
Not a fussy eater
Accepts me for who I am
Understands that "No" is a complete sentence
Always happy to see me

I have just described the males that are currently in my life....My Dogs. Think that I'll stick with
them, so much more rewarding.
I agree with all above! My life is full right now as it is...

When the time does come, there is one thing I misunderstood in my marriage with my XRAH, which I understand now, is the concept of being emotionally available to have a relationship.

I have a lot of good things to say about my ex-husband. I married him, after all. But alcoholism kept him from being emotionally available. Next time, I want that. In my view, that allows for a more open minded approach to the day-to-day issues that arise in all relationships.
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Old 10-22-2012, 03:05 PM
  # 73 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by tuffgirl View Post
when the time does come, there is one thing i misunderstood in my marriage ..., which i understand now, is the concept of being emotionally available to have a relationship.

I have a lot of good things to say about my ex ... I married [that person], after all. But alcoholism [and addiction] kept [the A] from being emotionally available. Next time, i want that. In my view, that allows for a more open minded approach to the day-to-day issues that arise in all relationships.
NO doubt about that!
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Old 10-22-2012, 05:20 PM
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"For someone to think that a spouse can never be a trigger to an alcoholic/addict new in recovery I find disturbing because I know better." That's the truth.

Some comments here ride over the obvious. Obviously, sobriety is a must. A conversation about triggers is a far different conversation than the cause of addiction. Addiction is a disease and again, obviously, no one can cause a metal illness in another person. Nor can they cure it. BUT by our actions we can either help support and encourage our loved ones to seek treatment and to work on sobriety or help thwart it. Hopefully, most people here see that as an obvious statement, too! What they choose to do with it our support - is up to them.

That is what enabling does, it thwarts someones recovery. Enabling comes in many different forms. We too, have a choice to take a healthy responsibly for our own actions.

I agree, there is difference between someone seriously working on sobriety or someone paying lip service. We can't control anyone. So, work on ourselves to be the best we can be. To not become an angry, bitter person, rather someone who can encourage the best in ourselves and those around us. We lose nothing by working on that regardless of the outcome.
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Old 10-22-2012, 07:36 PM
  # 75 (permalink)  
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Honestly, an A can make anything a trigger, so I don't buy into that "bad marriage is a trigger" nonsense. Any normal person would get out of an unhappy relationship. A's are not normal people. Seriously, my AM could blame the changing wind direction for her need to drink... my grades not being up to her standards (I got straight As in school), the paint on the shutters fading (yes, it happened), her bank balance getting low, her sugar daddy not being available for dinner, etc. You name it, they'll find a way to blame it for their urgent need to drink. I've got 29 years of dealing with this under my belt. I've seen it all.
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Old 10-22-2012, 07:51 PM
  # 76 (permalink)  
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"You know what I want? It is fairly simple.
I want a woman who treats me just as well as I treat her."

SoExhausted -

Absolutely! That's it - you nailed it. I concur completely.
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