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Let's talk about love

Old 07-23-2015, 12:04 PM
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Let's talk about love

I wanted to open up a discussion about love, when it comes to love in a romantic relationship, not within families or with our kids, etc. Recently I had a conversation with a few program girlfriends and we were talking about how deeply we loved our alcoholics/addicts. Most of us are single now or are dating seriously(one of us has been with a man for over 2 years dating seriously). We all have decent recovery under our belts, 3 plus years on average.

Anyway, we were discussing the fact that we aren't sure we will ever love like that again and then I brought up the subject of how our view of love is skewed because of the dysfunction that created that relationship to begin with and another friend chimed in and said, "So, were we ever really in love with these men? Or was it just a sick need in us to fill that hole created by growing up in alcoholic families?"

Many of us were bemoaning the fact they can't seem to show up in new relationships emotionally and that many of their dating relationships don't feel complete or that something is missing. I said, "Well, I know what's missing in my dating relationship, DRAMA, there's no drama. There's no ups and downs, there's no inconsistencies in behavior, there's no emotional sessions where I listen to his problems and comfort him and boost his ego with my kindness while I pour my entire being into fixing him, etc because my new guy doesn't want to be fixed by me." Anyway, I have to admit that it can be sometimes boring with the drama and I start creating it in my own head and that's part of our disease. I recognize it now and so do many of my friends, but we're all relatively befuddled by love and what that may look like outside of addiction and alcoholism because for most of us, it's all we've ever known.

So, in my own relationship, I've been with this man for almost 4 months now and I find that I waffle. Just recently my new man came back from a short vacation to San Fran(we had just been there 2 months ago for a trip together) and he brought me home a few presents; one of which was a cute painted picture frame from San Fran and picture of us in it. It was really a sweet gift. I've met his kids and he has invited me to join them this weekend for some of their family time, whereas in the past I wouldn't see him for the 5 days when he had his girls. He's talked about Christmas and what he is putting on his Christmas list for me to get for him and then followed it up with, "Unless you break up with me before then, haha..." He has a smile and eyes that melt my heart every time I'm around him and yet I fight things internally and I hyperanalyze 'us' and I wonder where he's at and where I'm at and what I'm ready for, blah blah blah. I've found a good man and am in an relationship where I receive more than I give. He has his quirks, we both have our baggage, but for now things are good and we've worked through our differences in a much more healthy way than I did with my X, that's for sure.

Some days I want more and some days I want my freedom but I can't figure out if it's because I'm just fresh out of a 20 year marriage to an alcoholic or if it's because my own dysfunction is scared of intimacy on a level that is healthier than what I had before. That fear of the unknown kicks in along with fear of rejection. Looking back, I can truly say that I only had 1 guy dump me in all my past relationships and the reason was because I always ran away or, ahem, dumped them first. That was, until I met my XAH and I found my project!

Thoughts? About love, about love after being with an alcoholic, about what loving an alcoholic vs a 'normal' partner look like.
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Old 07-23-2015, 12:09 PM
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Liz, I know EXACTLY what you're talking about. For me, I was codependent with my first husband (but didn't realize it at the time). I gave up ME for HIM. He was my LIFE. When he wanted out it absolutely DEVESTATED me. In hindsight, he did me a HUGE favor (and even said so at the time, though I couldn't see it... said I deserved better than him!). So, with my second husband, I don't find myself giving COMPLETELY of myself. I love him to pieces, but I have not lost myself in HIM. I sometimes compare that to my feelings in my first marriage and wonder why it's so different this time around. Am I stealing my heart against hurt? Or have I truly become NOT codependent upon another human to make me feel complete? It's quite the conoundrum.
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Old 07-23-2015, 12:26 PM
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Oh gosh, I know exactly what you're talking about. I was SO deeply in love with XAH, and I can feel that I'll never feel like that about someone else again. Which is probably a good thing on some levels? I had way too much invested in someone who didn't and couldn't reciprocate or support me in any way.

But on the other hand, the feelings I have for the new guy, who is a really amazing person, and who I trust and feel for so deeply, feel blunted and dull by comparison. My feelings for XAH were so extreme.

I haven't had a real relationship with someone who wasn't deeply dysfunctional before. And I haven't been in a relationship when I myself have been so stable, so I'm traversing a lot of new ground, you know?
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Old 07-23-2015, 02:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Florence View Post
Oh gosh, I know exactly what you're talking about. I was SO deeply in love with XAH, and I can feel that I'll never feel like that about someone else again. Which is probably a good thing on some levels? I had way too much invested in someone who didn't and couldn't reciprocate or support me in any way.

But on the other hand, the feelings I have for the new guy, who is a really amazing person, and who I trust and feel for so deeply, feel blunted and dull by comparison. My feelings for XAH were so extreme.

I haven't had a real relationship with someone who wasn't deeply dysfunctional before. And I haven't been in a relationship when I myself have been so stable, so I'm traversing a lot of new ground, you know?
Amen, lol! Yep, I am so much more stable than I was before and I know that if I wasn't, I would have lost my new guy by now because he dumped the previous 2 short term girlfriends because they were insecure, needy, and one was very immature with her behavior. If I were really showing my codependent side, I think he would have picked up on it by now and called me out on it or moved on by now.

But, it's all so foreign to me. Honestly, though, I do have trouble with looking at his quirks and character defects and wondering which ones are potential deal breakers or if I'm just seeing them as potential deal breakers because I'm so sensitive to protecting myself now. I have to learn to work on acceptance with him and I think I work my Al Anon program even more now than I ever did before. It definitely keeps me sane in this relationship, as well.

What's also been nice is that I have shared some of what I've learned in program with my new man and he's very receptive and wants to learn more. He's encouraging me to start writing again, he helped me write my resume a few months ago and it's what got me this job, and he always thanks me for spending time with him which I find kind of funny, lol. I have no idea if we'll be together in a month or 3 months or whatever but I'm grateful that I'm learning what a normal relationship might possibly look like someday.
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Old 07-23-2015, 02:28 PM
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Thumbs up the drama, the adrenaline, the rescue of the AH is such a turn on

Growing up in a family where half my family used alcohol and half didn't, I don't seem to get interested in guys who are stable, normal, emotionally mature and easily able to hold a job down. I did find one guy like that who wanted to marry me but that didn't feel right for me. I could see myself in the future, years ahead, getting bored.

I choose to live on my own with a wide circle of friends and family. Every so often I meet a guy who is struggling with some sort of addiction and my life takes off with lots of fun and excitement but that's how I like it. Pain and pleasure get served up in equal amounts. If things get too out of control, I bail out. This is my pattern and I am content. I continue to live alone ..... and this works for me.

This is a great topic for discussion and I'm interested to hear others' points of view.
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Old 07-23-2015, 02:45 PM
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Good for you, jezzebelle.

Most of the folks on this forum have suffered horribly as a result of what you consider a "turn on."

So what are you looking for, here?
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Old 07-23-2015, 03:45 PM
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Personally I don't want to love like that again because my judgement was so clouded by denial and rationalization. What I treasure now is caring deeply for others but being aware of their -- and my -- limitations. I think I grew up. The "big love" I experienced with xabf was very immature.
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Old 07-23-2015, 03:54 PM
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I think for myself a big part of it is also habit. When you are married to someone for such a long time, your ways become habits. It becomes comfortable, it's what you know. Even now, when something happens, I still feel the gut reaction to text him really quick, because we had such a past, and know so much about each other. Now....I do not do that, don't worry! But...I completely get that feeling.

I have not dated anyone, I am just enjoying my freedom right now, and I am super busy. However, I would think if I did date someone it would be really hard to form new habits, or that it would just take time.

Just my .02

I hate that I think deep down most men are big crazy babies. I am going to have to get over that before I go dating anyone that's for sure LOL!

XXX
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Old 07-23-2015, 05:14 PM
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Great subject!! That swooning butterflies stars in the eyes crazy making love! Our technicolor A's are like bees to honey while all the others are in drab and dreary black and white: boring in other words.

As a acoa I always could find the A in the room of a hundred people... Like an electrical aura pulsed around them sucking me in! Lol!
What is the mystery??? It's brain chemicals and not love. Those take your breath away feelings are chemicals! And my broken picker goes off the chain with equally broken A's! They drink for the high I want them for the same high! Chemicals!
I have been A free for over 4 years now! Yeah.
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Old 07-23-2015, 08:16 PM
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It was real for me! I have dated normies and addicts of sorts... some verbally/emotionally abusive ex addicts, some active (though I left when I learned the truth), and some "normies" that had other issues in the realm of dysfunction....

I personally cannot deny that my relationship with my xabf wasn't real love. We had serendipity like crazy... met doing karaoke only to end up listening to each other's music all night in which we both used the same program to produce (we are both musicians)... I declined getting to know him better then, only to run back into him the very night I was stood up on a blind date where I was trying to exercise "dating other people" with my then current boyfriend who I was FINALLY ready to let go of.
You couldn't have written a better story. To top it off, the next day we found that we were both going to end up at the same book store anyway because he was buying a book for his daughter and I am as kid free for the weekend and wanted to read.

Fast forward and it turns out my daughters bonded with him better than any man I have ever dated and vice versa with his daughter even though HE had been married. We share the same very odd favorite movie.

And so on and so on....

In addition, he wasn't abusive. He was an overly loving drunk that couldn't walk by the end of the night and made many stupid choices. It doesn't make his alcoholism any easier... but in our relationship we shared tenderness and honestly we could talk for hours and he is the first man that I really knew listened to me. We had fun, shared laughter, helped and supported one another....


Let me just say this.... IT WAS ALL GOING TO GO BAD and I knew it!!! But it was real. I don't feel bad or ashamed about that. My struggle is knowing that whether or not he keeps sober, if ever I decide to truly walk away, then I will be giving myself an even better opportunity...

Love is all around us. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn't.
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Old 07-23-2015, 08:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Hopeworks View Post
Great subject!! That swooning butterflies stars in the eyes crazy making love! Our technicolor A's are like bees to honey while all the others are in drab and dreary black and white: boring in other words.

As a acoa I always could find the A in the room of a hundred people... Like an electrical aura pulsed around them sucking me in! Lol!
What is the mystery??? It's brain chemicals and not love. Those take your breath away feelings are chemicals! And my broken picker goes off the chain with equally broken A's! They drink for the high I want them for the same high! Chemicals!
I have been A free for over 4 years now! Yeah.
And, see, this is what I'm looking for with the new guy. It's funny because in the course of the conversation with my girlfriends we all realized that the alcoholics and addicts we dated were all crazy hyper sexual guys and many of us had broken it off with normal men because the sex was bland or didn't rock our world or whatever. I'm having that issue right now. My one friend said, "Crazy in the head, crazy in bed." So, my new guy is the most level, even keeled person I've ever met and I can truly say that the sex is good, but I find myself craving more. I know that's a product of having lived 20 years with someone who was hyper sexual and needy. It's been quite an adjustment for me to get used to someone who's normal, who's level and consistent with their behaviors, who is responsible, who is fiscally sound, and who is, quite honestly, boring.

I am learning a lot about how comforting boring can be, though, and it feels good to know that I can settle in to boring and stable after all these years of crazy making and insanity!
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Old 07-23-2015, 08:49 PM
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All I know is I'm never ever dating a mamas boy or addict ever again. Talk about the worst combination on earth. Dysfunctional doesn't even begin to describe it . Yet as I write this I'm sad bc we did sit outside and discuss so many issues-issues he was very well aware of-his mom, that he couldn't emotionally be there for me at all bc his mom made him a little husband when he was younger, and how alcohol had become his first love and that he could lash out and get angry/violent when drunk. We had those talks. I do not and will never deny my love for him. It was real and pure and honest. I do not regret marrying him at all as our marriage brought to light my issues for sure and things I dearly needed to fix/change about myself. To me, loving someone is a choice-it's a verb-it's an action. I did love him and still do.
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Old 07-23-2015, 10:28 PM
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Originally Posted by lizatola View Post
And, see, this is what I'm looking for with the new guy. It's funny because in the course of the conversation with my girlfriends we all realized that the alcoholics and addicts we dated were all crazy hyper sexual guys and many of us had broken it off with normal men because the sex was bland or didn't rock our world or whatever. I'm having that issue right now. My one friend said, "Crazy in the head, crazy in bed." So, my new guy is the most level, even keeled person I've ever met and I can truly say that the sex is good, but I find myself craving more. I know that's a product of having lived 20 years with someone who was hyper sexual and needy. It's been quite an adjustment for me to get used to someone who's normal, who's level and consistent with their behaviors, who is responsible, who is fiscally sound, and who is, quite honestly, boring.

I am learning a lot about how comforting boring can be, though, and it feels good to know that I can settle in to boring and stable after all these years of crazy making and insanity!
Awe... I did this... Dated the guy for about a year and a half!
I wanted to say that it was boring, but in the end, it was his lack of intimacy (both time-spent together REALLY being present, and I my higher sex drive that drove us apart. We lived almost an hour apart and had really conflicting schedules too, so that added to the feeling of distance.

I used to be ashamed at how much I like sex... It was a part of me that I eventually just had to embrace. I LIKE SEX! And while I do agree about the adventurous sex part with 'crazies', there are also "normies" with high sex drives, and being sexually compatible IS actually a thing.

Sorry.... don't mean to skew what you were actually saying, however. I do get it. There is a sense of boring because of the lack of drama and it is just odd because it is different. I get you!
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Old 07-23-2015, 10:41 PM
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^^ ha-I always had a high sex drive with my ex. He just did it for me in every way. Literally. However sex stopped being fun or enjoyable (or safe) slowly over the years as his drinking progressed. That was the biggest turn off of my life. My sex drive decreased purely due to his alcoholism progressing. Don't miss that. Anyway, total tangent but wanted to share
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Old 07-23-2015, 10:44 PM
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Drama and adrenaline - yup, they are a turn on for sure.

But after a while they become so draining, don't they? Yeah, one crisis, or one every so often when you are desperately needed right this second!! - this is compelling. However when it's repeated over and over and over it's just exhausting.

I've had the intense, mind-blowing, walking-on-air passion which turns into gut-wrenching pain, and then back to walking on air relationship. The one I've been in for the last 15 years is the exact opposite. In all honesty I don't have those highs but also don't have the lows. More boring? Yes. I will admit I sometimes miss the highs but still -- this is better and I would not go back to the drama for anything.
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Old 07-23-2015, 11:16 PM
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This is how Brene Brown defines love:

We cultivate love when we allow our most vulnerable and powerful selves to be deeply seen and known, and when we honor the spiritual connection that grows from that offering with trust, respect, kindness and affection.

Love is not something we give or get; it is something that we nurture and grow, a connection that can only be cultivated between two people when it exists within each one of them – we can only love others as much as we love ourselves.

Shame, blame, disrespect, betrayal, and the withholding of affection damage the roots from which love grows. Love can only survive these injuries if they are acknowledged, healed and rare.

― Brené Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are
My primary take away in all of that (for me at my point in my recovery) is that we can only love others as much as we love ourselves. For me personally, and for my al-anon friends, one of the biggest struggles I face everyday is loving myself and being consistent with self-care. I think when you aren't raised with the concept of self love and self-care, they are very difficult to learn as an adult and those effect our relationships with ALL people that we love, not just in romantic relationships.

That's my opinion on it anyway.

P.S. I'm glad you're new relationship is smooth sailing.
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Old 07-24-2015, 12:23 AM
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I have a friend who just got married. She pushed for it and he agreed because of their Christian values.

Their relationship is like a bowl of oatmeal......boring!! No spark, no affection and no passion. They do seem to get along well and are good friends but it seems to be more of a partnership then relationship. Personally, I don't think he is over his ex wife either. To me, their relationship is an extremely codependent one especially for her but under the guise of a "Christian" marriage. But it is nothing like the many happy Christian marriages I know!!

I am not judging them. It's their life and they get to live it the way they want. But it's not at all what I want!!

I haven't dated since I left my STBXAH. I am not divorced yet or close to being ready. The last few years of my marriage, I think I was more addicted to him then in love. I know I don't want that either ever again. So for now, I will work on loving me and maybe someday I will find love again but if not, I am OK with that too. I am done outsourcing my happiness and love. I am done fixing other people or giving more then I get. Today, I choose to love me and be happy. I am even looking forward to going to the movies Saturday night......with myself. I will never settle again!!
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Old 07-24-2015, 12:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Forourgirls View Post
^^ ha-I always had a high sex drive with my ex. He just did it for me in every way. Literally. However sex stopped being fun or enjoyable (or safe) slowly over the years as his drinking progressed. That was the biggest turn off of my life. My sex drive decreased purely due to his alcoholism progressing. Don't miss that. Anyway, total tangent but wanted to share

Ewe... yes. I can understand that!
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Old 07-24-2015, 08:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Stung View Post
This is how Brene Brown defines love:



My primary take away in all of that (for me at my point in my recovery) is that we can only love others as much as we love ourselves. For me personally, and for my al-anon friends, one of the biggest struggles I face everyday is loving myself and being consistent with self-care. I think when you aren't raised with the concept of self love and self-care, they are very difficult to learn as an adult and those effect our relationships with ALL people that we love, not just in romantic relationships.

That's my opinion on it anyway.

P.S. I'm glad you're new relationship is smooth sailing.
Thanks, Stung. I love Brene Brown. One of the things that my bf says he liked about me was that when he met me, I was living my life and loving every minute of it. He was afraid I wouldn't be able to make time for him and there have been many Sundays when he would text me and say, "Hey busy lady, you got time for me this week?" I was out with friends, going to meetings, making time for the gym, managing my son's stuff, and working full time eventually and I wouldn't give up my gym time just for him nor would I give up dinner with a girlfriend just because he asked me out.

I was already taking care of ME and working my recovery and managing my time and my life when we started dating. That was a huge part of the attraction for him and it kept me interesting to him and yet also kept me grounded because I was making ME a priority.

Yesterday he texted me shortly before I left work and asked me if I was still working. I said yes and that I just high five my tech guy because he fixed my scanner at the last minute. My bf texts me back, "there is something sexy about a woman working....."
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Old 07-24-2015, 08:17 AM
  # 20 (permalink)  
A work in progress
 
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Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: South Jersey
Posts: 16,633
Originally Posted by lizatola View Post
"there is something sexy about a woman working....."
Short Skirt, Long Jacket
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