Need help/feedback after break-up with alcoholic

Old 06-19-2014, 11:51 PM
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Need help/feedback after break-up with alcoholic

Sorry that it's long-winded but I'm pouring my heart out for help. Luckily I'm about a month out from the break up now so I'm feeling a LOT better than I was, but I'm still left with a gapping void in my life/struggling to understand what the **** happened. Any advice/feedback to help me understand the situation and why he did what he did is appreciated could provide closure:

- Last month, my ex of 3 years (2 solid, 1 on-and-off/back-and-forth) said he loved me and wanted to work on things but 24 hours later admitted he cheated on me and broke up with me; it was quite devastating and unexpected

- I dated him for two years straight and fell for him hard despite all the indications that I shouldn't; at the time, he seemed to care about me SO much - more than anyone I'd ever dated - so I tolerated his alcoholism as long as I could until I couldn't do it anymore

- Initially, I didn't recognize his problems because I'd never been with someone who had a drinking problem and a lot of people our age party hard. It wasn't until I noticed he was getting tanked pretty much EVERY night and was so used to being drunk that he could hide it that I realized his symptoms were infiltrating our closeness/beginning to drive us apart because I felt more and more isolated in he relationship/responsible for making it "work". (Before the drinking problem/before I met him he had a drug problem - mostly pills, Xanax/molly - so I think in his mind, he was doing pretty good/better.)

- While he was drunk, he was never physically or emotionally abusive but he also was not present or in the moment so if anything got done (trips, dates, etc.) it was at my urging/insistence and I put up with it because he'd had a traumatic childhood/absent and drug-addicted mom. I wanted to help him because I felt what I would describe as a cosmic connection to him; I've never felt this way about anyone else and it was very intense. I was sad that he'd had a hard life and wanted to help him have a good/quality one - I wanted to make him happy.

- When I first met him he was living in a crappy apartment (found roaches once in a while) with a shifty roommate and neglecting his job because he was often unfocused and late because of his drinking problem but he seemed to genuinely love and care for me (emotionally anyway) so I figured that was worth fighting for.

- I supported him in literally every way you can think of (got him a big screen TV, found his new/awesome apartment closer to his job, took him to the ER when he needed stitches, got him a pure breed bengal cat so he wouldn't be lonely when I left for grad school, took him on an all expense paid week-long trip to Universal in Orlando because he had never been, on trips to the beach and mountains, etc) to show him how much I cared. I also, worked hard to maintain my body, looks, education and job to try to be a girlfriend he could be proud of/want to keep.

- In February 2013, I broke up with him because I was living an hour away for graduate school and threw out my back and couldn't move - I asked for his help (because I literally couldn't get out of bed/was in the worst pain of my life) but he didn't want to come even though I needed him because he preferred to drink with his friend. Honestly, I didn't want to break up with him and it was the hardest thing I've ever had to do because I still loved him.

- The next year was complicated in that he said he was trying to get sober and kept me at arm's length saying he couldn't get back together with me officially until he recovered; I held out hoping he could get better so we could be together again even though it was insanely hard and torturous. I even stopped drinking in front of him/when we spent time together - and sometimes on my own/when we were apart even thought I never had a problem with it and don't really enjoy it that much anyway - in order to try and understand him and what he was going through better. Please note he never did any programs or anything like that. I think he went to a couple therapy sessions at my urging and just plain stopped drinking (or so he claims) without addressing the reasons for his addictive nature.

- LONG story short, after three months of being rejected I said I might date other people - not because I really wanted to but because 1) I hoped it would incentivize him to make sure he didn't lose me 2) I didn't want to feel like I was putting my life on hold for him (even though I was because anytime I started having feelings for anyone else, I pushed them away - even though in hindsight some of them could've been much better matches for me)
That whole time (year) he said he didn't want to be with anyone else but me and still loved me but needed to focus on his sobriety so I kept waiting because I really wanted it to work out with him. I once thought he might be the one and my dedication would prove we were supposed to be together. I even stayed positive for him when I was terminated from my job in April and tried not to complain in order not to derail his progress/focus on his goal.
Finally, he started sounding so healthy and positive that I was amazed! I felt this was what I had finally been waiting for! I was so impressed I told him so and even admitted I wasn't sure if he'd get there but that it was totally worth the wait and he agreed. We were supposed to see each other the following week to spend the night together for the first time in a month. I was so excited and proud that I got him a card and wrote him a song telling him so.

- The next week when we were supposed to see each other, he flaked on me with a weak-ass excuse telling me he was busy/tired from work even though he knew how important it was to me. I asked jokingly if he was seeing someone else and he admitted he was. I was flabbergasted because I had always been honest with him when I dated other people (and told him before I even met them so he could object if he chose to) while waiting for him to get sober. He told me she wasn't that important to him and that it just sort of happened because he had been around her during climbing sessions (his new focus now that he doesn't drink/claimed it helped him curb his cravings so I had actually been ENCOURAGING him to go). But also he claimed it had only been going on a couple of weeks and that they hadn't had sex yet. He said he still loved me and we could talk about it in person on Saturday (this was Thursday when he said it).

- All day Friday I was consumed with heartache and cried my eyes out; couldn't understand how he could lie to me about dating someone else (especially because our relationship was supposedly founded on honesty/after everything I'd done for him) but was still looking forward to seeing him thinking we could reconcile. I was so sure it would be the start of a new beautiful stage between us that I wore my sexiest lingerie to impress him because I'd been working out in anticipating of our reunion. Basically all that ended up happening is he came over on Saturday and broke up with me - he wasn't willing to hear me out or really even discuss it because he clearly already had his mind made up before arriving. All he could say is that he didn't want "this" anymore and he realized he had "other options."

- I was shocked because both Thursday and Friday he said he still loved me but Saturday, he confessed that when he told me he was spending time with his friend Friday he had actually ****** her and no longer had feelings for me afterwards. I begged him not to do this to me and to give me a month just to see if he was just confused because I definitely still loved him even knowing he cheated on me but he refused said he didn't want to stop seeing her.

- This was after he begged me several times not to leave/always said whatever it took to make me stay and after I was still reeling from losing my job (which he knew). The second and only other time in three years I told him I needed him, he wasn't just not there - he left me.

- Lastly, since I quickly realized I couldn't trust him anymore/he's most likely been seeing/******* this girl longer than he admitted, I got tested and came up with HPV when I didn't have it before (I know for a fact because I got tested just three months ago and was clean of everything). Worst of all, he was holding me and kissing me and caressing me the whole time he was breaking up with me while I was sobbing and shaking uncontrollably. I was so upset that when he told me he slept with this other woman and I got up to walk away I passed out/hit the floor.

- At the time I just wanted him to comfort me because it felt like he must still love me if he was making physical contact and I didn't want him to leave and I felt confused - in hindsight I feel disgusted that he could sleep with someone the night before/same day he told me he still loves me and then put those same hands and lips he had on someone else on me. In hindsight it makes me sick especially with the HPV diagnosis. I'm lucky that the doctor says it should clear from my system on its own but the idea that he could give me anything is repulsive. What if it had been herpes, or HIV, etc? Seriously, WTF!? Even worse, he was trying to convince me this was a good breakup because he got to hold me one last time and we weren't screaming and yelling at each other. As a parting gift he gave me his cold so while I was in the worst part of the heartache I was sick as a dog too; that was the cherry on top.

- At the end of the day, I've honestly tried everything I could to make/keep him happy and spent all my patience - and nearly my sanity - to keep this relationship together; but the whole time it felt one-sided/like I was the only one really trying. He even blamed his gradual falling out of love (which he never told me until the day he broke up with me saying, "I know I said I love you, but I don't think I'm IN love with you anymore") on me because when we were together I admitted I was bi to him (one of the few people I ever told) because I wanted to be my authentic self with him and asked if he'd be OK with me hooking up with a bi girl friend of mine.
He freaked out about it because two of his exes had cheated on him with women.

- Obviously I had no way of knowing that but I didn't think that was fair because I was asking permission in advance/not trying to cheat on him at all and was trying to include him in another side of myself that I didn't get to share with other people. I ultimately felt so bad for asking/hurting him I ended up not doing it even after he gave me permission, but he said that knowing I could want to be with another woman changed everything for him because it meant we wouldn't be monogamous physically (even though he had 100% of my heart). Also, I had hoped that we could find a way to do it together so he'd be there/know the other girl didn't mean more to me than he did. I just wanted to experiment sexually but sacrificed that opportunity for his happiness. He said that even the thought of it happening - even though it didn't - was bad enough/perception altering. I sometimes feel really guilty and wonder if that really was the source of the rift in his feelings for me.

Sorry for how long that was but I'm just been so overwhelmed and confused by this that I feel numb now and need to get it out of my system. Honestly, can the desire to drink overwhelm how you feel about someone to the point that you settle for someone else? I always felt like I was competing with alcohol but now he's left me for someone who's cool with him drinking/has the same weaknesses while saying he's trying to stay sober. Why would you leave your rock for someone you barely know who has the same issues if you're trying to stay sober. He says he's broken and I'm an amazing person and all this **** but it's like he just gave up and decided I didn't matter anymore.

I trusted him completely and he lied and destroyed everything I thought we had together/had stayed by his side for. Ultimately, I know this is for the best - I can tell because my personal life has already improved dramatically and I've finally managed to stop crying everyday - but I worry for him and don't see how he became so detached, cold-hearted and did so much behind me back after everything I did for/put myself through for him. Please advise - I just don't understand. Did these past three years mean anything at all? Can drugs and alcohol really mean more than having some truly love and support you? After this I'm not sure that I can love again - it's like his problems and sickness have entered me and now I'm stuck with them too.
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Old 06-20-2014, 02:15 AM
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I am so sorry for what you are going through and so much of what you say you did I did too to try and keep my AH. In answer to your question is alcohol/drugs more important yes to some people it is they can't see a life without it and certainly for my AH he was more scared of giving up alcohol than his wife and kids.

Addicts will say and do anything to keep their hooks into you while you are meeting their needs. My AH made so many promises to seek help for his drinking but when the time came he back tracked saying he could do it himself and I let him because he promised me and begged me not to leave him and I thought I was more more important. However when I had finally had enough after 18 years I stood firm and said he had to see the dr and a counsellor he left a week later saying he wanted to be on his own to do what he wanted when he wanted and to drink when he wanted.

You said that you asked him to help you when you had injured yourself but he wouldn't. It seems that you didn't get a lot out of your relationship but that you gave and he took quite happily. Alcoholics are very selfish and usually only care for their own needs. I can't say whether he loved you or not but one thing I am learning thanks to this forum is that anyone can say I love you but only a few will actually show it. Look at his actions don't listen to his words, words are easy actions will show you someone's determination to change.

You are doing well in your recovery. You are already starting to see the benefits of your relationship ending and it will get easier I promise you but you need to focus on you not him and do not have any contact. Tears are normal and how your feeling is all part of your recovery take one day at a time. He has made his decision and nothing you can do or say will change that. What are you doing to help yourself through this??

I can't give you the answers that you need as to why this has happened the disease isn't logical and trying to make sense of something that isn't logical will drive you crazy. Live in the facts and the truth. This guy cheated on you took from you what he could than when you were no longer any use to him he left. Sorry I don't mean to sound harsh and I'm sorry if that has upset you but you need to keep looking at the facts and consider whether this relationship was any good for you!!

I am reading how to stop being addicted to a person. It's excellent as it has given me insight into why I choose the men I have chosen and particularly why I stayed with my AH for so long despite the facts that he would never change. I have also read co dependent no more. Read the stickies at the top of this forum and keep posting there is a wealth of knowledge and support on this forum

Remember focus on you not him only an addict can make the decision to change. I wish you peace
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Old 06-20-2014, 04:30 AM
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Hi, Bettymurderdam--welcome to SR. Sorry for the turmoil and heartache of the past few years, and hoping you find what you need here.

Have you thought about why you'd work so hard to "make" a relationship work when you're being shown and told pretty clearly that the other party isn't interested? Please don't take offense to that; an awful lot of folks here have been in your shoes. A lot of times we have codependency issues, or we grew up in a household w/an active addict of some type, so this feels like normal behavior to us.

For starters, I'd like to suggest reading as much as you can here, and don't miss the stickies at the top of the page. Threads from these 2 headings might be a good place to begin:

I think as you read other people's stories, you'll see a lot of similarities, and you'll know you're not alone. I hope you learn and grow in your time here. Wishing you strength and clarity moving forward.
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Old 06-20-2014, 04:44 AM
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I'm soooooo sorry you are going through this and I am also asking those very same questions. Just before my axbf and I broke up he told me how much he loves me and I posses a piece of his heart and to be kind to it, he is there for me forever, he loves me, I'm his favorite girl, he thinks of me constantly blah blah blah. When I asked him if he was seeing another girl he says, no he's not, that his roommate was crazy and he needs to move out, to stop asking him because his patience will be tested because he already said there is nothing he is hiding, that he is not interested in her, blah blah blah. He was sleeping with her. I also ask him if he drinks when I can clearly see he has and he lies and tells me no.
So in short, we'll never really know what was in there heart when it comes to love for family, friends, lovers, .... I like to think that he meant that he loved me, we were together for 2 years, I hope he did. But alcohol is his first love, his roommate would have kicked him out if he keeps getting drunk. So priority is keep roommate so he can drink. I was soooo heart broken and still am but it's getting better.
You are still young and you have a whole lifetime still ahead of you. I hope you find peace in your heart without getting closure from him because even if you could ask him why nothing he says can be truly trusted when they are in active addiction.
I give you a big hugggggggggggggggg and please read lots of people's thread here it will help you. Hang in there and try to focus on you and your healing.
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Old 06-20-2014, 05:12 AM
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Hey there, welcome to SR.

Your story sounds painfully familiar to me. I would give and give and give in relationships, moreover, I would forgive and forgive and forgive as well, even though the people I was dating would not reciprocate. They would, in fact, lie, cheat, and lie some more. If I questioned their behavior, there would be subtle indications that maybe they were better off without me, and I would quickly back down and give some more.

The sad truth of this is, that even though the people I chose to be in relationships with were not the nicest or most honest people in the world, they were not my problem. My problem, the whole time, was me.

Those guys were showing me who they were, but I refused to believe them. I was sure they would change if they just really understood how much I cared and was willing to give them. I was sure, deep down, that they really did love me they just didn't know how to show it. I swallowed my resentments and dashed expectations until they ate away at me.

At the end of the day, we accept what we believe we deserve. It was not until I got into one on one therapy, stopped getting involved with every cute guy who looked my way, and focused on learning to love and respect myself first that I was able to let go of these drama-filled relationships that were causing me so much pain. I had issues as an Adult Child of an Alcoholic that had me chasing after emotionally unavailable partners my entire life - not because it was healthy but because it was familiar.

Today I am very happily married to a man who treats me as a partner, an equal, a friend. But if he had not come along, I am confident I'd still be just fine on my own. My sense of self-worth is no longer wrapped up completely in my relationship, or lack thereof, but in my own accomplishments and goals.

I hope that you can let this man go from your life and focus on yourself. It isn't easy, but learning to look in the mirror and really believe that you are worthy of only the best kind of attention and love, learning to appreciate being alone more than being with someone who makes you feel bad about yourself, is the most rewarding journey you can take in this lifetime. Sending you strength and courage. You are worth it.
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Old 06-20-2014, 07:59 AM
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At the end of the day, I've honestly tried everything I could to make/keep him happy and spent all my patience - and nearly my sanity - to keep this relationship together; but the whole time it felt one-sided/like I was the only one really trying.
I think you've probably made a very astute analysis of your relationship right there.

The question I might ask myself after realizing something like that is -- "is this the kind of relationship I want? Do I want to continue giving and giving and giving and getting nothing in return? Even if he did come back?"

This also sounded very familiar to me:

I supported him in literally every way you can think of (got him a big screen TV, found his new/awesome apartment closer to his job, took him to the ER when he needed stitches, got him a pure breed bengal cat so he wouldn't be lonely when I left for grad school, took him on an all expense paid week-long trip to Universal in Orlando because he had never been, on trips to the beach and mountains, etc) to show him how much I cared. I also, worked hard to maintain my body, looks, education and job to try to be a girlfriend he could be proud of/want to keep.
What I've learned after I left that high-maintenance exhausting relationship with an alcoholic is this:

A good relationship doesn't require that much work.
Any relationship requires commitment and work. But when you're exhausting yourself like you did (and like I did in my first marriage), you're not working on a relationship. You're trying to make someone else happy (as you said).

And you can't. It's not possible to make someone else happy. Their feelings are their responsibility.
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Old 06-20-2014, 12:25 PM
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It sounds like you were in love with the person you wanted him to be, not the person he actually was. He was actually an alcoholic, an addict that had serious commitment issues. You wanted him to be the "one" the "love of your life". I've been there too. Doing everything in my power to try to make someone else be the person I want them to be. If only I love and devote everything I have to him, he will see how much I love him and be my knight in shining armor and we will live happily ever after. Ive been there done that and it sucks! You loved him deeply. You did amazing things for him. However, he didn't do very much for you. Unfortunately he is unable to return that love because his first and foremost priority is his addiction and all the issues that led to his addictions. He will always be unable to be that person until he seeks serious recovery and that may never happen.

You "wanted to make him happy" "worked hard at trying to be the girlfriend he wanted you to be" but what did he do for you? Honestly, he blew you off and cheated on you. He abandoned you when you needed him most. Those are not the actions of someone who "cares about you so much..more than anyone you've ever dated". Those are actions of an addict. Selfish and self centered because that is all they can be.

True honest love involves mutual give and take. Your partner should give as much as you do and be there to support you just like you do for him. That is the realtionship you deserve! You sound like a great person with alot to offer someone. You deserve someone who recognizes that and treats you the way you deserve to be treated.

It's taken me many many years to realize this myself. I am still breaking free from a marriage in which my needs werent being met. My AH wasnt there for me either. Alanon has really helped me to be honest with myself and what I need and deserve in a relationship.

Although it's devastating and you must grieve what once was. Hugs I know how sad it is. Just keep remembering what you need and deserve matters in the relationship too! You deserve so much better. I pray you find the partner you deserve.
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Old 06-20-2014, 04:06 PM
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Hey everyone - just want to say I'm really appreciating all the different perspectives of the situation and I agree with all of them. I hope you will keep them coming as they are helping me affirm the truth of the situation: I was in love with a person who didn't actually exist and convinced myself that if I just hung in there long enough and showed him true love he could be the person I believed he was.

In the end when he broke up with me he said - "I don't think I have whatever it is you see in me - I told you I wasn't a good person and I'm broken." That may have been the truest thing he's ever told me and even then I didn't want to believe it.

I don't know why this was so hard for me to accept but putting it all in perspective and knowing that I should've held him to the standards of how I wanted and deserved to be treated vs. lowering them to tolerate how horribly I was treated me and how little he appreciated me, this nightmare could've been over a long time ago and a LOT less painful.

Despite all that, I CAN tell things are getting much better in my life without him because:
- I've become incredibly healthy: eating right, exercising and meditating
- Pursued my hobbies and interests which has lead me to make new connects
- Got a great job that is MUCH better (making significantly more money, getting better experiences with a great company culture) than the one I lost (though at the time I thought it was the best one I would ever get - trying to tell myself that it's probably the same case with this relationship. I.E. at the time I thought it was the best, but the best is - hopefully - yet to come).
- Landed a very exclusive interview next week with my dream job
- Learned how to create healthy boundaries in other relationships
- Got invited to compete in a state level pageant although I have no experience because applied just for fun which put me outside of my comfort zone but let my personality shine
- Have developed a much better relationship with my parents because I've leaned on them for support/opened up about what's been going on
- getting a professional certification that will improve my resume/earning power
- I am finally taking the trip to Machu Picchu that I've always wanted to take but put off because I didn't want to go alone; I'm going to be there on my 26th birthday which I feel will be tremendously adventurous and fulfilling.

ALL of these improvements have happened for me just a month out from the break up - I don't think I'd be doing half of these things if I were still holding onto that toxic relationship.

So yes - the situation still really hurts (I frequently cycle between being "OK", numb or dejected), but I try to remind myself that I know the person that did that to me because he was never the person I thought he was inside/wanted him to be and he probably never will be. I'm trying to detach with compassion. Clearly his demons are running his life and I do not want to keep spite or anger in my heart. My hope is that by continuing to focus on myself and finding my own happiness and being content with being alone, I will eventually find the person I'm supposed to be with. Right now I'm committing myself to not jumping into anything new just to avoid the feelings of loneliness and disappointment.

Everyday I feel like I'm getting stronger and learning more reasons to love myself - not for being perfect, not for knowing everything but for being who I am and doing my best. All I can hope is that my future partner appreciates me - without endless work and heartache on my part - and demonstrates they do by mirroring their words should be with their actions.

Again, I really appreciate you all helping put this in perspective. I'm hoping that by the end off this it will be the experience/life lesson that propels me forward for continued growth and consciousness so that I may be fully-present and engaged in this experience we call life. If there's one thing I'm grateful for it's that - I'm OK with participating in life (even when it hurts) without being dependent on needing external substances to tolerate it.

Looking back right now, my regret is not being vulnerable to love that deeply but not having the clarity to see that I should've left a LONG time ago. I'm trying not to focus on time and energy lost, but rather on how much is left to devote to the next chapter. Thank you all for taking the time to share your words of support and wisdom - if you have more please don't hesitate to share them; I can't put into words how helpful it is.
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Old 06-20-2014, 05:04 PM
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Can I just say...holy cow, what a month you've had?!? If I were you I'd print that list of accomplishments and read it every time I felt down. That's a heck of a lot of progress and deserves to be written down. Yay you!
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Old 06-21-2014, 08:13 PM
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Thank you for saying that - I think that's a brilliant idea! Intellectually I know that this is for the best but emotionally I'm still struggling; I think reminding myself of what IS going right will make it a whole lot better.

For some reason though, it's hard to not keep projecting the situation internally and wondering why I wasn't good enough, but I think I just need to respect the addiction and my pull the reins on my reflex for codependency.
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