Blogs


Notices

What does a healthy marriage with an RAH look like?

Old 11-13-2012, 08:24 AM
  # 1 (permalink)  
Member
Thread Starter
 
Florence's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Midwest, USA
Posts: 2,899
What does a healthy marriage with an RAH look like?

A lot of us here are here because we want out or left our relationships. I am... still back and forth.

My AH (RAH? I have no idea.) has been out of the house for about two months. DS13 from another relationship, who saw RAH as his "real dad" had been doing fine until this weekend, or so I thought. Everything blew up in my face this weekend when I found out he was acting out, grasping for attention and understanding. Nothing irreparable, but he's clearly feeling abandoned. I set up some interventions for him, counseling in particular, to help out. He sees me as the bad guy -- I kicked his beloved stepdad out. He turned to his actual real dad in private, who has been abusive to me and DS13 in the past, who of course was ready to be DS13's knight in shining armor and threaten me into compliance. All DS13 wants is for AH to come home. Now the explicit threat is that if DS13 isn't happy here, my ex wants to pursue having him move there full time. I can't think of anything worse for DS13 than to change his entire life (and bad for some very specific reasons) while he is in crisis.

It was not fun, not pretty. I feel drained today.

A side issue: My best friend just announced that he and his wife are separating suddenly after almost ten years together. She's leaving, says they're not in love, and wants to look for romance. They have two little boys -- I can't believe she's walking out on them. They were the couple that when someone asked me what I wanted in a relationship I pointed at them. Mutually supportive, not codependent, best friends, functional and conversational arguments. I just... I don't know. It makes me question what I know about relationships.

All night last night after having a long talk with DS13 (which was productive, I think, I hope), I contemplated whether or not I am making all the right decisions, and despite having felt very confident up until now, now I don't know. AH just got a new job which more than doubled his income from last year, and a part of me wants him to move home just so I don't have to work a second job. I want help at home. My kids are struggling and I am struggling to help them or address their needs. My AH (RAH? I DO NOT KNOW AND THIS KILLS ME) made huge strides last year and then capped the year off with a quiet relapse. My emotional needs aren't met in the relationship, but maybe that's my responsibility. Could I keep going like we were? Under what conditions? Me from two weeks ago can't believe me today is asking this stuff.

I got out Codependent No More after seeing a three year old discussion thread on it here recently, and I see myself in it more than ever. I was feeling very good, very healthy, and now I'm wondering whether or not that was just another kind of control, or another place to hide.

I have no idea. I don't know what to do or what to think. Where does codependency end and regular relationship needs begin? What are the lines in the sand that are non-negotiable, clearly places to end things? How do I help my son understand and not hate me?

AGAIN: Al-anon is largely non-existent in my area. I have SR, private counseling, and the library available for us.
Florence is offline  
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Florence For This Useful Post:
Fathom (11-14-2012), Tuffgirl (11-13-2012)
Old 11-13-2012, 08:41 AM
  # 2 (permalink)  
Member
Thread Starter
 
Florence's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Midwest, USA
Posts: 2,899
Please ignore the title. I started off going one way and went another. I know this is not a picture of health. However, I'm realizing I don't have many models of health.
Florence is offline  
Old 11-13-2012, 08:54 AM
  # 3 (permalink)  
Member
 
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 1,295
Wow, coming at you from all directions, and there is the AH making more money and you can see how much easier things could be for you, and solve that problem with the teenage son if you simply invite AH back home...!

Go back to what made you ask him to leave in the first place. Is that status quo? How do you feel, shaky, uncertain?
So you have pressure to return to that status quo. You don't have to do that. There is no emergency right now to return to anything. If your first X tries to take custody, it sounds like it would be disasterous, and your son would run right back to you after a short while, so don't worry if that plays out...good will win in the end.
This happenings are testing you, your resolve. Show yourself that you are strong. IF, and that's the usual big IF, your AH truly embraces recovery, he will make sure you know it. It will be part of his recovery to do so. You don't have to ask, he will recognize that he needs to contact you about it.
As for your son, I would let him vent to you as much as he needs to. Calmly listen, and calmly answer his questions and concerns. Respond, not react. Help him to feel that you are strong and steady, and he will feel more strong and steady himself.
Very often, we need strength to come from who knows where. It's the way all codies are tested. Where is this never-ending strength going to come from?
From not expecting too much of ourselves. It's ok to be imperfect, human, and struggling. This too shall pass.
BlueSkies1 is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to BlueSkies1 For This Useful Post:
Florence (11-14-2012)
Old 11-13-2012, 10:16 AM
  # 4 (permalink)  
Member
 
Tuffgirl's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Anchorage, Alaska
Posts: 4,719
Blog Entries: 4
Ok, so you want to find out what it would be like to get back together? Try it. There's no harm is giving it a solid try, especially if your H is working on recovery. Now, if you are worried about how the kids will react to the changes, don't try it. Give it more time. Either way, you won't know until you do something what the outcome will be.

Have you talked with your husband about all this? How does he feel about a future with or without you and the kids?
Tuffgirl is offline  
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Tuffgirl For This Useful Post:
Florence (11-14-2012), lillamy (11-15-2012)
Old 11-13-2012, 02:39 PM
  # 5 (permalink)  
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 63
Not easy stuff

Florence,

I'm a huge fan of CoDependent No More. It has helped me learn a lot about myself and put more perspective on my role in relationships. But I don't think it helps understand how healthy relationships work.

I'm also a fan of Gottman's "Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work."

And an even bigger fan of Daniel Wile's "After the Honeymoon: How Conflict Can Improve Your Relationship." Be sure to read the back summary chapter.

The biggest lesson I learned from both of these books is that any relationship comes with a bag of problems. And the real question is not whether a relationship will have problems but how the problems will be dealt with.

I'm an adult child of an alcoholic. And so I grew up without healthy relationship models. My mother left my father and found a new husband - but the new relationship came with a new set of problems and trying to blend a step family on top of it all. Not easy stuff.

Best wishes.
Vicki
VickiACA is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to VickiACA For This Useful Post:
Florence (11-14-2012)
Old 11-14-2012, 12:56 PM
  # 6 (permalink)  
Member
Thread Starter
 
Florence's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Midwest, USA
Posts: 2,899
Go back to what made you ask him to leave in the first place. Is that status quo? How do you feel, shaky, uncertain?
It's complicated. He can stay sober for long periods of time, then goes back to quiet, secret drinking. He's not a violent or aggressive drunk, more like an absent, lazy drunk. Normies cannot believe that he has a drinking problem unless they saw him at his worst. That's one of the scariest things about it -- he has the hiding down to a T. He was secretly drinking daily for years before I realized it was happening.

That said, He's been sober for the better part of two years with 3 short relapses. I do know that sobriety is his ultimate goal and I believe that. The drinking is exasperating because he has every opportunity and every tool at his disposal and he has historically only used them intermittently, but I find the other behavior more trying to deal with at this time. He's pretty selfish and makes lots of excuses for other people and himself, he's very avoidant when it comes to conflict or the serious business of adulthood like the ins and outs of being financially responsible. We aren't intimate and I don't know why.

At the same time he is a great dad, probably better at the day-to-day parenting stuff than I am, to be honest. He helps out around the house more than a little. He does all the cooking and a significant portion of the cleaning.

He is not a bad person, he is an alcoholic. I hate the alcoholism, I love him. It's all one package. I'm ambivalent about it.

He took this new job, it pays a lot better but it's risky when it comes to a sobriety plan because of the travel and alone time on the road. Money was one of our biggest problems aside from/ thanks to drinking, but he reports he's actually seeking out meetings and calling his sponsor while he is on the road. I don't think this is a sham.

I don't know what to think. I keep thinking that the truth will reveal itself and that if I give it time he will either thrive or fumble.

Seeking wisdom and experience.
Florence is offline  
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Florence For This Useful Post:
baileyboop (11-15-2012), LifeRecovery (11-15-2012)
Old 11-14-2012, 01:11 PM
  # 7 (permalink)  
Member
 
lizatola's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 2,349
You don't have to make any decisions today, you know this already. I am reading Codependent No More, too, right now and it's eye opening.

My AH was a great guy in between the bouts of depression and anxiety for 15 years. The drinking was binge drinking for him and wasn't really a problem, it was his decision making and secrecy about it that became a problem. Then came all the other addict stuff like lying, blame shifting, denial, and emotional issues. These are the real problems.

I think the question for you is: do you want to continue to live like you have been? How important is the intimacy for you, what happens if he continues to drink and keeps going downhill, are there financial problems that need solutions? You get my drift, what do YOU want for YOU? I think we all love our alcoholics as the people they are underneath, but we hate the addict and the behavior. Separating the two becomes difficult the longer they are practicing their addiction until we start getting healthy for ourselves. And, I'm not one to talk because I'm not even close to being healthy, LOL!
lizatola is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to lizatola For This Useful Post:
Florence (11-14-2012)
Old 11-14-2012, 01:25 PM
  # 8 (permalink)  
Member
Thread Starter
 
Florence's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Midwest, USA
Posts: 2,899
This past year I was waiting for him to hit the 1 year point so it would be useful to try MC and work through some of the more fundamental non-drinking issues. In the meantime I've been doing individual therapy which has changed my life and ways of seeing the world significantly. He had this last small relapse and I said screw it. I honestly expected him to go off the deep end, but he didn't. To my surprise, he's been living at his parents' house and doubling down on meetings and counseling.

I'm really looking for silver linings here. This alone is unsettling. I don't know what's shifted in me to make me go from totally dispassionate to this codie "once last try!!!!!" refrain.

I know my son is really unhappy. This is not what I wanted either.
Florence is offline  
Old 11-14-2012, 03:48 PM
  # 9 (permalink)  
Member
 
redatlanta's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: atlanta, ga
Posts: 3,581
Could it just be that you are having a moment? I mean this is very serious - divorce. I think its human nature to question and doubt. Maybe today isn't a good day, maybe you are tired - something that is making you think it wasn't that bad or it will be better than it was.

I can't answer what it would be like to go back. Cut yourself a break. See how you feel in a couple days. You might wake up tomorrow and say no way - or you may continue to think about it. Don't make a rash decision, and before you move back if that's what you decide you should spend as much time with him as possible. Sometimes all we need is a refresher course.
redatlanta is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to redatlanta For This Useful Post:
Florence (11-15-2012)
Old 11-14-2012, 05:40 PM
  # 10 (permalink)  
Member
 
dancingnow's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 342
Hugs to you (((Flo))). You and your RAH sound just like me and my RAH, right down to the no intimacy.

What helps me most is being mindful. I just completed an 8 week mind based stress reduction and it was wonderful.

I have come to realize that my RAH is focusing on himself and working on his recovery "when he feels like it." In some ways you could say he takes it for granted that I'm still around but that's ok for me right now because I am working on me and my recovery as best I can.

I too have trouble with the day to day stuff like cleaning and balancing work and my kids and he helps out with that. In some ways it might just look this way if we were divorced and shared custody of the kids.

I figure the day will come when we are either truly wanting to be with each other or not wanting to be with each other and until that day comes I focus on the moment, even if there are moments when I walk away from RAH.

RAH avoids conflict and sometimes even avoids what he perceives as conflict when there is none there. He makes some pretty insensitive and illogical statements and I no longer get involved when that happens. Of course, my original intentions to connect with him get undone and he most likely is emotionally unavailable. At this point though I think I need to work on my own emotional availability with others in my life. Not sure if I am explaining this but I seem to be uncovering feelings of joy and connection with others that I haven't felt in a long time.

Also I know what you mean about the quiet relapse and I have been able to detach (for the most part) from that although I have let my RAH know when I think he is headed for a relapse and I don't agree when he doesn't do anything to head it off. Last I am pretty sure he was drinking I told him, he wasn't unique in being an alcoholic and if he wants to fool me he can but I am confident he will make the right choice and not drink as alcohol is not going to be part of our family or our relationship.

BTW read the book "Drunkard" by Neil Steinberg and it was eye-opening particularly his in between stopping drinking and true recovery.
dancingnow is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to dancingnow For This Useful Post:
Florence (11-15-2012)
Old 11-15-2012, 07:45 AM
  # 11 (permalink)  
Member
Thread Starter
 
Florence's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Midwest, USA
Posts: 2,899
I just had an interaction with him this morning that reminds me why the daily stuff is so annoying. We both have smartphones and have used my account to download apps. I don't know why he doesn't have his own account, but it's annoying to have him piggybacking off of mine for various reasons. I asked him months ago to start his own account, he didn't. I changed the password after he moved out because I didn't want any surprises. I told him at the time he needed to get his own account again.

Again, he got a new job and is travelling. This morning I got a text asking me to give him the password to my account so he could download stuff he needs for work. I texted back that he needs to get his own account. I got a long, cranky, formal message back about why he can't do that and he "just" needs my password immediately. I didn't respond.

This is the little stuff I don't like dealing with. He's a grown man, he should manage his own life. I don't want to be a gatekeeper.
Florence is offline  
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Florence For This Useful Post:
4MyBoys (11-15-2012), LifeRecovery (11-15-2012)
Old 11-15-2012, 10:17 AM
  # 12 (permalink)  
Member
 
dancingnow's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 342
I have feigned surprise when my RAH can't get in touch with me for something that he needs immediately and he may be angry but it passes and depending on how dire it is he ends up taking care of it himself or goes without. I think this happens to all of us, although we display different coping skills, kids and adults.

KWYM about acting like a child and not a grown up. It's kinda worse since with a child you feel like they will eventually learn by you helping them out and eventually be on their own, it seems not so with A.

The more I work on myself though and let my RAH fend for himself the better for me and for him.

I've started to understand myself better and seen where I have "not grown up" and became dependent on my RAH in some ways to avoid facing some realities of my own.

You can step away from the gate, one step at a time. You never know what each step brings except for being farther away from the gate. It's like what they say about one door closes and another opens.



(((HUGS)))
dancingnow is offline  
Old 11-15-2012, 10:20 AM
  # 13 (permalink)  
Member
 
dancingnow's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 342
HA HA just closed my previous post and read your OP title and started laughing.

I have no idea what a healthy marriage is and I think I have come to accept that my marriage with RAH will never be healthy or not likely in the short term but I can still strive for myself and my kids to be healthy now.
dancingnow is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to dancingnow For This Useful Post:
Florence (11-15-2012)
Old 11-15-2012, 10:36 AM
  # 14 (permalink)  
Member
Thread Starter
 
Florence's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Midwest, USA
Posts: 2,899
HA HA just closed my previous post and read your OP title and started laughing.
Right? I published it and immediately thought, "Ugh, this is so messed up." LOL
Florence is offline  
Old 11-15-2012, 11:53 AM
  # 15 (permalink)  
Member
 
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 137
Blog Entries: 19
This has been a great thread for me to read. Florence, your post resonated so much with me- my marriage seems so similar to yours!
And dancingnow - like you I have had to accept that my marriage to a RAH will never be healthy- and this is what I am working on- not sure which way it will pan out...
Loopydays is offline  
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Loopydays For This Useful Post:
dancingnow (11-15-2012), Florence (11-15-2012)
Old 11-15-2012, 12:15 PM
  # 16 (permalink)  
Member
 
lillamy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: right here, right now
Posts: 6,523
Florence,
I have no wisdom but just wanted to let you know I'm here and thinking about you and trusting that your wisdom will lead you right. You're such a pillar of strength for us other fellow co-strugglers on this path that I wish I had more to give you. But I think you do have the wisdom to know how to go forward, whichever direction forward is. I believe in you.
lillamy is offline  
The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to lillamy For This Useful Post:
4MyBoys (11-15-2012), dancingnow (11-15-2012), Florence (11-15-2012)
Old 11-15-2012, 12:25 PM
  # 17 (permalink)  
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: USA
Posts: 62
Most of us that arein relationships with A do not know what a healthy marriage is. We're working on figuring it out. What I do know is that it takes a toll on you. That Codie behavior can only last for so long and then something slaps you in the face and makes you rethink your life, marriage and relationships. For me, it was a big wake up...the diagnosis of breast cancer. It made me realize that settling for crumbs is not an option. Life is short . I can so relate to the stories on this post. It's been the behaviors I have dealt with for so long. I'm just figuring out that for me it's not ok. I know you will all figure it out also. Good luck to all of us in our journey to find our healthy selves.
grammyb is offline  
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to grammyb For This Useful Post:
dancingnow (11-15-2012), Florence (11-15-2012)
Old 11-15-2012, 04:47 PM
  # 18 (permalink)  
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Right here, right now!
Posts: 3,379
I realized just yesterday in therapy that I would not have choosen my ex for a business partner, tennis partner.....you get the picture. I have struggled for years though feeling somehow that I let my life partner down.

It helped me to clarify a lot....about my thoughts when we got together and the confusion of the alcoholism. Also about seperating out what is mine and what is not. I am not ready for another relationship but I hope it might help with that too. Even before I realized alcohol was in my marriage I had other concerns that make it challenging for a relationship. They became astronomical when alcohol came into the picture.

I don't tell you that to say you need to make the same choice....just that thinking about it from a slightly different perspective helped something to crystalize.
LifeRecovery is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to LifeRecovery For This Useful Post:
Florence (11-16-2012)

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 08:07 PM.