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Learning to live in limbo and letting go ?

Old 09-13-2018, 01:27 PM
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Learning to live in limbo and letting go ?

How to do this? How to live in a state of limbo when you still love someone and hope they'll come back to you renewed and making steps to recover... ? But at the same time you have to move on with your life because you know you can't hold their hand through their recovery... because you need to honour your own needs... ?

Self-care is the way forward... and sometimes I can do that.... but tonight I feel overwhelmingly slumped.

My ex and I broke up a few weeks ago - and we talked the last few days for the first time in those few weeks. We still care and have feelings for each other ... but last night I had to walk away and 'let go' again... this time we parted on love as oppose to anger. I told him that it's best we don't communicate. Not until I know he's making progress to address his addiction.

It was all very good in the moment saying that...but now I feel deflated because I know I might not hear from him for months... And even then it might not go the way I would like.

I also told myself I'd take a break from social media but yoyo'd with that too - I changed my profile pic on facebook...which I rarely do but wanted to move forward because my last pic was taken by him. It felt good to move forward in the cyber realm, but it leaves me feeling sad... missing him all the more. And more disappointed because he hasn't liked it... ugh ! I know. What am I expecting? I understand why he wouldn't like it after me telling him yesterday to stop contact.

I know that looking to social media for any kind of validation is unhealthy... so why did I go on there?

And did I do the the right thing by saying it's best not to contact each other right now?

How to deal with this new phase of limbo / letting go whilst still hopeful ?

Any advice welcome !
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Old 09-13-2018, 01:40 PM
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I don't think it's possible to really let go as long as you still hope for anything from his side. Just try to see the relationship as ended. Because that is what it is now, even though it's sad.
Maybe try to not expect him to change and also not to hope for it because it might never happen and while you still cling onto that hope, you are not letting go.
Of course it can all happen and maybe in a few years you will find yourself back with him in a much happier relationship. Just if you will wait for that to happen, you might risk a huge disappointment.

Edit: Also I think it's natural that things are more painful now because you talked to him and saw him, which probably brought up lots of feelings again. If you stick to distancing yourself it will get easier eventually.

I haven't had any contact with my ex for a month now and I still have times when I miss parts of him but I am also (very slowly) detaching from him emotionally which allows me to see some things clearer and I see more and more that most of his character I didn't like and I see how it was foolish to believe that a 40 year old man who refuses any help from therapy or self help groups would suddenly change for the better. He knows that I wanted him to change, he knows that he could've been with me had he done so but he chose against it. It's sad but it's his decision. I may not like it but I can't change it.

I'm sure your ex had plenty of chances and time to start working on himself. But for some reason, he chose not to, even if that costs your relationship. Don't feel bad or guilty, you gave him a chance, you did what you could.
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Old 09-13-2018, 01:43 PM
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How to deal with this new phase of limbo / letting go whilst still hopeful ?
IMO, these are opposing ideas & can't be accomplished in tandem. At least, not in any way that I've found.

You either hold on OR you let go. You can't do both at the same time.

I think this is exactly why No Contact is so important is some situations.
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Old 09-13-2018, 03:43 PM
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This is all to be expected after the couple of contacts you have had.

I agree with firesprite and kevlarsjal, you can't detach and hold out hope for a renewed relationship.

One thing that you may want to focus on is - nothing has changed. Nothing. Not.one.thing.

He is still drinking, he still hasn't worked on the legalities of getting visitation with his child ironed out. He hasn't even spoken to his therapist yet about his alcoholism.

The truth is what he said to you, that he finds talking about his alcoholism (trying to stop really), overwhelming. He is far away from any kind of recovery.

So you can hope he will recover and you two can start again, but always remember it will be different. He will (when/if he gets around to it) be sober, not drunk, not partying, not being able to hide from his feelings and blow off steam at will - that's a HUGE undertaking.

The no contact is for you, to let you get out of the confusion of the conflicting feelings. The more time and distance you have the clearer you will feel about it all. Don't have to think of it as "months" or "forever", just take care of yourself and carry on with your life making sure you are "allowing" yourself to have fun and being kind to yourself.
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Old 09-13-2018, 05:37 PM
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Yep. Agree with all the posts above. Right now everything is super painful. And every time you have contact with him, it brings up old feelings and you have to go through this cycle of heartbreak again. It's probably going to get even harder in the weeks to come. For me the second month after the final breakup was the absolute worst. I'm not suicidal, but I literally thought I couldn't live anymore. I would sleep for 10-12 hours and still feel exhausted. I didn't want to eat, I didn't want to see people, my brain was mush, I was always on the verge of tears or crying, got in a huge fight with my parents, etc. I could put on a happy face, but basically nothing made me happy. But I stuck it out without contacting him. I forced myself to go to social events and counseling. I leaned on my friends and family and writing in this forum. Be aware that it may get worse before it gets better, but that doesn’t mean that you should go back.

Now I'm ~4 months out and things are sooooo much better. Everything is much more even and calm. I feel mostly happy and even excited about the future. I definitely still miss the good times with my ex, and, I'd be lying if I said that there isn't a small part of me that wishes we could get back together someday. The difference is that I now realize how much effort on his part that would take and I wonder, even if the drinking were no longer an issue, would he really be the partner that I want? I think when we were dating, I made a lot of excuses for him and sort of glorified him based on a few nice things that he did and the chemistry that we had. But now that I'm away from the relationship, I have a much clearer view of everything that happened, and a lot of it really turns me off.

Maybe give yourself a few months no contact, and see what you feel at that point. If you feel absolutely miserable after that time, then maybe reach out to him. Chances are the opportunity to have a relationship with him isn't going anywhere; even if he does start dating someone else, my guess is he'd jump at the chance to get back together with you. But every time you have contact with him, the grieving process starts over again, so you’ll never be able to see that you can definitely survive and be happy without him, and also you won’t be able to have the objective perspective on the relationship that some distance will give you.
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Old 09-13-2018, 06:00 PM
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This is so true Kevlarsjal2. Our partners knew what they were risking and were given many chances to change, but didn't. It's sad, but it was their choice.

Originally Posted by kevlarsjal2 View Post
I see more and more that most of his character I didn't like and I see how it was foolish to believe that a 40 year old man who refuses any help from therapy or self help groups would suddenly change for the better. He knows that I wanted him to change, he knows that he could've been with me had he done so but he chose against it. It's sad but it's his decision. I may not like it but I can't change it.

I'm sure your ex had plenty of chances and time to start working on himself. But for some reason, he chose not to, even if that costs your relationship. Don't feel bad or guilty, you gave him a chance, you did what you could.
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Old 09-14-2018, 04:25 AM
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Originally Posted by trailmix View Post
One thing that you may want to focus on is - nothing has changed. Nothing. Not.one.thing.

Thank you Trailmix x

He is still drinking, he still hasn't worked on the legalities of getting visitation with his child ironed out. He hasn't even spoken to his therapist yet about his alcoholism.
As hard as it is for me to face this truth - you are right on. He is still drinking.

In regards to the legalities of visitation, he is making moves there - he's officially raised a court order to see them but he's stressing out because it's going to cost thousands and thousands... so more stress = more drink.

Originally Posted by trailmix View Post
So you can hope he will recover and you two can start again, but always remember it will be different. He will (when/if he gets around to it) be sober, not drunk, not partying, not being able to hide from his feelings and blow off steam at will - that's a HUGE undertaking.
Yes...and I really want this to happen one day... but I'm living in hope here... it might never happen. Yes we have a strong connection / chemistry... any time I'll see him on the street, we just look at each other with this love in our eyes ...! We just want to hug each other. It's nice but so hard to resist. And I can't move from this place yet.

Originally Posted by trailmix View Post
The no contact is for you, to let you get out of the confusion of the conflicting feelings. The more time and distance you have the clearer you will feel about it all. Don't have to think of it as "months" or "forever", just take care of yourself and carry on with your life making sure you are "allowing" yourself to have fun and being kind to yourself.
This is all making sense... no contact is what I need to do. I just can't move away from this area right now, so I'll see him at some point. Just need to a plan to figure out how to respond to him when I bump into him ?
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Old 09-14-2018, 04:44 AM
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Originally Posted by 2018LizAnon View Post
Yep. Agree with all the posts above. Right now everything is super painful. And every time you have contact with him, it brings up old feelings and you have to go through this cycle of heartbreak again. It's probably going to get even harder in the weeks to come. For me the second month after the final breakup was the absolute worst. I'm not suicidal, but I literally thought I couldn't live anymore. I would sleep for 10-12 hours and still feel exhausted. I didn't want to eat, I didn't want to see people, my brain was mush, I was always on the verge of tears or crying, got in a huge fight with my parents, etc. I could put on a happy face, but basically nothing made me happy. But I stuck it out without contacting him. I forced myself to go to social events and counseling. I leaned on my friends and family and writing in this forum. Be aware that it may get worse before it gets better, but that doesn’t mean that you should go back.
Oh Liz....so sorry for all the pain you experienced... ... everyone here has felt so much pain...the fear of this being really over ! My mind can't fully accept that yet... I just feel like we're meant to be together.... but I also have this sense that maybe we're meant to go our separate ways... it is so conflicting ...I'm going to try to accept the latter .... I will try.... god, maybe I just need to try and move away from here. But I need to save up a lot of money to do that...

Originally Posted by 2018LizAnon View Post
Now I'm ~4 months out and things are sooooo much better. Everything is much more even and calm. I feel mostly happy and even excited about the future. I definitely still miss the good times with my ex, and, I'd be lying if I said that there isn't a small part of me that wishes we could get back together someday. The difference is that I now realize how much effort on his part that would take and I wonder, even if the drinking were no longer an issue, would he really be the partner that I want? I think when we were dating, I made a lot of excuses for him and sort of glorified him based on a few nice things that he did and the chemistry that we had. But now that I'm away from the relationship, I have a much clearer view of everything that happened, and a lot of it really turns me off.

Maybe give yourself a few months no contact, and see what you feel at that point. If you feel absolutely miserable after that time, then maybe reach out to him. Chances are the opportunity to have a relationship with him isn't going anywhere; even if he does start dating someone else, my guess is he'd jump at the chance to get back together with you. But every time you have contact with him, the grieving process starts over again, so you’ll never be able to see that you can definitely survive and be happy without him, and also you won’t be able to have the objective perspective on the relationship that some distance will give you.
Thanks for sharing your experience with me... I can tell you've hurt a lot but you've come through this stronger with so much clarity... how long were you with your guy? I was with mine for a year and a half, but we were also together about 10 years ago for just less than a year. I knew then he had a drinking issue. But thought things were better when we rekindled connection.. I was incredibly naive about alcoholism...and yet my mum also developed a drinking problem over the years... how could I not see it / research it? I just realised after all those years I wanted him in my life... even although I got over him before ! I fell in love since him .... so I know I can get over him again.... but every time we're around each other, there's this connection.

I'm going to Iceland in a few weeks (a film festival trip) so looking forward to this but also dreading everything because everywhere I go I know he's not there for me anymore. I don't have him in my corner anymore.

No contact is a good idea... I just dread him seeing someone else... and learning about it by seeing him on the street or on social media.

But I need to accept that if his choice it to be with someone else, then that will tell me that he didn't want to love me anymore.

I pray for strength... Have to take it one day at a time... because 'weeks' and 'months' is too overwhelming.
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Old 09-14-2018, 02:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Surfbee View Post
. I'm going to Iceland in a few weeks (a film festival trip) so looking forward to this but also dreading everything because everywhere I go I know he's not there for me anymore. I don't have him in my corner anymore.

No contact is a good idea... I just dread him seeing someone else... and learning about it by seeing him on the street or on social media.

But I need to accept that if his choice it to be with someone else, then that will tell me that he didn't want to love me anymore.

I pray for strength... Have to take it one day at a time... because 'weeks' and 'months' is too overwhelming.
Oh wow Surfbee! That sounds like an awesome trip!!! And what perfect timing! You'll be able to get FAR away from your ex and also have other distractions. Focus on what a neat experience this trip will be and not on him. Have an amazing time!

I get that feeling of not wanting to see him with someone else. It used to make me nauseous just thinking about it. Really stay off his social media. If you have to block him, then do it. I can tell you that this gets better. I'm at the point where there certainly would be some feelings of sadness if I saw my ex was dating, but also a feeling of relief that it wouldn't be me going through this with him again. lol. It's not like he all of a sudden is going to become this mature, supportive, respectful, sober, caring guy, you know?

We were together for 3ish years. There were issues with alcohol from the beginning, but I didn't realize or admit how big of a problem it was until I was sucked in and completely in love with him. The last 6 months were just a ****show of break-ups and make-ups and him pretty much just being drunk the whole time. Then he moved away for work, and there was another couple months of on and off, until I just realized that he was still lying to me about alcohol and wasn't going to make any meaningful efforts to change.

So, be really proud of yourself for getting out of it now. I think the biggest thing is just to realize that it is going to feel really awful (basically a detox) for a while, but it is temporary. You will recover and start to feel like yourself again, and you'll probably look at this in a whole different light and be happy that you are out.
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Old 09-15-2018, 08:26 AM
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Originally Posted by 2018LizAnon View Post
Oh wow Surfbee! That sounds like an awesome trip!!! And what perfect timing! You'll be able to get FAR away from your ex and also have other distractions. Focus on what a neat experience this trip will be and not on him. Have an amazing time!
Thank you!!! I'm booking my flights today.

Originally Posted by 2018LizAnon View Post
I get that feeling of not wanting to see him with someone else. It used to make me nauseous just thinking about it. Really stay off his social media.
I installed a 'stayfocused' extension on my chrome browser so that any time I try to log into facebook it says "SHOULDN'T YOU BE WORKING?" ha, so I'm keeping off social media for at least the next week. And I'll use it again once I've done a good week's work.

And defo staying off his social media. It brings too much pain. And that is not a loving action for me.

Originally Posted by 2018LizAnon View Post
I can tell you that this gets better. I'm at the point where there certainly would be some feelings of sadness if I saw my ex was dating, but also a feeling of relief that it wouldn't be me going through this with him again. lol. It's not like he all of a sudden is going to become this mature, supportive, respectful, sober, caring guy, you know?
Yes exactly ! I was speaking to my friend about this yesterday... and was reminded that an alchoholic isn't really a catch! If he attracts another girl into his life, they're only going to suffer at some point too...

An alchoholic's only hope in life is to GET SOBER !!! Get bloody sober!!! And GET THERAPY whilst you're at it!

Originally Posted by 2018LizAnon View Post
We were together for 3ish years. There were issues with alcohol from the beginning, but I didn't realize or admit how big of a problem it was until I was sucked in and completely in love with him.
Yep.... that right there.... the quiet admission to yourself that you were playing with fire... and you knew that his issues weren't really sitting right with you...that's the feeling I'm really wanting to explore and understand...! I think it all comes back to a lack of worthiness and self-compassion ... and a lack of confidence / clarity when it comes to valuing and recognising your own needs.

Originally Posted by 2018LizAnon View Post
The last 6 months were just a ****show of break-ups and make-ups and him pretty much just being drunk the whole time. Then he moved away for work, and there was another couple months of on and off, until I just realized that he was still lying to me about alcohol and wasn't going to make any meaningful efforts to change.
It really was his loss. He lost someone who really loved him. But no one should support anyone who lies to them ... it kills trust... ! And how can you move on from that with that person...? He had the chance to shape up for his own good and he ****** it up... better times ahead for you Liz !

Originally Posted by 2018LizAnon View Post
So, be really proud of yourself for getting out of it now. I think the biggest thing is just to realize that it is going to feel really awful (basically a detox) for a while, but it is temporary. You will recover and start to feel like yourself again, and you'll probably look at this in a whole different light and be happy that you are out.
Thank you thank you. And you too! We deserve to feel proud, and deserve to love ourselves every day for the love we've given to others.
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Old 09-15-2018, 12:13 PM
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So exciting about your trip, i'm happy for you! I hope you have a great time, keep us posted.

You asked how you are going to handle it when you see him in person, personally I would treat him like an acquaintance/friend. A wave if he is across the street, if you come face to face with him I wouldn't even stop to talk (just keep walking and say hi) but if you have to pause maybe a hi, how are you doing? After he responds I would say sounds good (or some such thing) and take care of yourself!

And off I would go.

You've had your talk with him, do you ever want to rehash that again while he is still not working on himself?

The truth is, he is not who you want him to be, or perhaps a better way of putting it is he is not fulfilling what you need in a relationship, perhaps he never will be capable of that, who knows? You can't know that until he is sober and in recovery for some time, a year at least probably. Being sober will not magically make him someone who can share and be empathetic and thoughtful etc.

You want him to change, the reality is you need to accept him just the way he is. An alcoholic with a lot of emotional demons. Someone who is not dealing with that and may never. But that is ok. He is not anyone's to "fix". In fact wishing him to be another way is no different than him wishing you were less sensitive and less vocal and less emotionally aware and less confident and etc etc (of course I don't know that he wishes for any of that). Well you are all those things, that's you!
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Old 09-15-2018, 06:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Surfbee View Post
Yep.... that right there.... the quiet admission to yourself that you were playing with fire... and you knew that his issues weren't really sitting right with you...that's the feeling I'm really wanting to explore and understand...! I think it all comes back to a lack of worthiness and self-compassion ... and a lack of confidence / clarity when it comes to valuing and recognising your own needs.
I agree with this. I definitely had issues with self-esteem and low self worth (although it probably wasn't evident to family/friends/colleagues). One thing that really struck me after the breakup was how hard it was for me to trust my own gut, which made it easy for my ex to manipulate me. This is something that counseling has helped with tremendously. It sounds like you have been talking to a counselor which is very wise.

On the other hand, you did love this guy, and I'm sure he loved you, and so there is some natural tendencies to give the people we love the benefit of the doubt. We want to see them as their best possible self. Additionally, I think when we see someone in pain or having trouble our instinct is to comfort them and help them, which is a great quality. It's just that addiction is so complicated and counter-intuitive in a lot of ways.

So, if we've learned something about ourselves and worked to build a stronger sense of self and confidence, and also realized what we are looking for and not looking for in the future, then a lot of positive things came out of our relationships/breakups
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