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Old 05-17-2019, 07:25 AM   #1 (permalink)

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My childbearing years are gone now!

Hi everyone,

My ex from whom im separated now for few weeks (we sort of both agreed on that) and not in contact with, was with me for three years and we were very close. But he was drinking excessively and it was ruining our relationship. Not according to him tho, as he only saw it as part of who he is and not that it is something wrong with it. Anyway, long story short, I have two issues now; 1. i miss him so much because he was also my best friend, but I decided to go no contact as the situation started to affect my health (besides, I saw that my staying would be enabling so I didnt see it as love); 2. I now think I have spend the best years of my life on him and probably lost the ability to ever have kids (am now 41) which both makes me angry and depressed (as i really wanted family a lot). Having said that, how would you continue from here? Any advice on how to see my future as a woman too in relation to what I explained about motherhood etc. You advice will be much appreciated. Thanks in advance.
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Old 05-17-2019, 07:31 AM   #2 (permalink)
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We don't normally offer "advice," but here goes:
1. Work on yourself and your own recovery.
2. Get okay with being single.
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Old 05-17-2019, 07:35 AM   #3 (permalink)

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what do you mean you dont offer advice? this forum is full of people sharing experiences and giving advice!? im confused now lol...
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Old 05-17-2019, 07:50 AM   #4 (permalink)

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also, it is easy to say get OK with being single. But how does one do that after years invested into a relationship is another question... To be quite honest, i didnt expect pretty cold response like this one on this forum...but thanks anyway!!
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Old 05-17-2019, 07:56 AM   #5 (permalink)

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Well, your child-bearing years aren't necessarily gone, but even if they are, there is the possibility of adopting a child. It sounds like you made the right decision to end the relationship. Edit: seeing as you are Irish, IIRC there are long waiting lists for adoption, though this may or may not change. But something worth thinking about nevertheless. Every day in the Irish media I see stories of kids getting in trouble with the police, sounds like there is a crying need for responsible parents, even if not the birth parents.
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Old 05-17-2019, 08:05 AM   #6 (permalink)

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yes that sounds like a good idea. And youre right, I might still be able to have kids myself but the problem is, I cant even imagine wanting to have them with anyone else at this stage. Nor having strength to start anew with someone else as I considered us as THE couple (if u know what i mean)... Btw, I dont know about the adoption laws but being single mother Im not sure if i stand the same chance for adoption as if I would be a part of the couple. Also, I always somehow believe that the best possible scenario is for child to have both parents. And of course, that is not always possible but you know what I mean. All in all, thanks for your support and kind message. It means a lot in this moment!!
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Old 05-17-2019, 08:37 AM   #7 (permalink)

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fionamccarthy: so sorry you're going through all this. I'm a man, but in my early 40s and I don't know what I'd do without this forum. People here have helped me immensely. In my own way, I understand. I just left my XAGF a month ago & we had planned children, a new business, and entire "dream" life together. But it was honestly all a "dream" and honestly, couldn't have happened (in a healthy manner) because of addiction. I remember the night I had to leave... I asked myself. "OK, you love her and want children. But do you want to raise children in an alcoholic home?" My answer was: NO!

I had to separate my heart from my rational brain/thinking. I knew that I couldn't allow myself to raise children within such a toxic environment... I would regret it, leaving me with a lifetime of even more GUILT! That being said, I still want children but I'm going to take as much time to heal as possible.

I know it may be different for men and women -- but actually I'll need to adopt for personal, medical reasons (I've been in & out of complex surgeries for 5 years!). All I can say, it's very emotional when so many "dreams" we've had in our lives change or end temporarily. Just remember your dreams don't die, they change! And raising children (whether adopting, or otherwise) in a healthy, positive, happy, consistent, and loving home is ultimately what's most important. Along with saving yourself from the agony of another' addiction. Wishing you the very best...
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Old 05-17-2019, 09:05 AM   #8 (permalink)

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LifeChangeNYC: Thank you so much for your comment. And yes, this about the 'dream' sounds so familiar. I guess the hardest thing is that I kept on thinking how 'if only' there wouldn't be for his addiction, we would have been a perfect match in so many different areas (intellectually, emotionally, even spiritually). And actually, I saw the man behind his mask so to speak, and he was absolutely incredible human being under all these layers of self-denial.

And that tears me apart so much, as I truly hoped that our love and undeniable closeness would somehow penetrate through all those 'layers' and break his spirit free/help him to ultimately heal. But now it seems as if we only added up to further mutual hurt and heartache. And, Im absolutely sure he suffers in his own way because of this separation.
But I did explain to him that I cant stay as that wouldn't be right in my eyes (i would enable him, and that I wouldn't be able to forgive myself for-ever).

Also, as you so well said- having family/kids in such conditions would be absolutely ignorant and irresponsible in my opinion. So a hard decision to not participate in such situation simply HAD to be made. I suppose, us being in our early 40s, it is hard to cope with the thought of starting over with someone else and building another 'dream'. However, life is still a gift (i personally believe so) and so, perhaps we should strive to always remain open for an opportunity that such dream is still an option somehow. Even if its hard to see at the moment. For me, at least... Having said that, should you wish to share some more on what is helping you in your healing at the moments, id be happy to find out... And of course, Best wishes to you too!!!
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Old 05-17-2019, 09:25 AM   #9 (permalink)

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Fiona, in addition to this website it might be worth your while going to a 'real life' Al-Anon meeting, here is their website for Ireland:

Al-Anon Alateen Ireland ? support for families and friends of problem drinkers
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Old 05-17-2019, 09:56 AM   #10 (permalink)

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Hi Fiona. Welcome to SR. I can relate too. I spent nearly 7 years with my AH but recently separated. In my mind, I think I tried to stay together because I desperately wanted a family and now I also feel that it is too late. However, having grown up with an A dad I realized over time that I did not and should not bring a child into a toxic environment. I didn't want a child to grow up watching a codependent mom with control issues and a dad with drinking problems.

I will always have regrets about not having my own but I am very close with my nieces and nephew. I love them like my own and I have been trying to come to terms with where I am at in my life. And I also would like to adopt if possible.

You likely spent a lot of energy and obviously time trying to make it work for various reasons...I know it's hard and painful. But I hope you do take the time to be kind to yourself...
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Old 05-17-2019, 10:36 AM   #11 (permalink)

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Oh, fionamccarthy... you are NOT alone! There are moments, my heart still wants to explode into a million peaces thinking about the "dream." I mean, my ex & I had a beautiful farm with chickens & the view of the mountains... ugh, I could go on forever (like all of us could, I suppose).

Thankfully (as everyone here told me) with every passing day... every passing week of NC, I do/will feel a lot better. They were 100% right! Without chaos, my dreams have already begun to evolve and even, new thoughts about my life purpose have trickled in!

But it's so interesting how all of us... in one form or another... have an idealistic poster hanging up in our minds of what our lives could have/should have been. It's a fantasy, but also an avenue for hope... a survival mechanism... trying to keep us alive and moving forward. And, of course, when living with an addict... it's like being consumed into a tornado of darkness... we become completely out-of-control so we try to grab on to little glimmers of hope (whether real or fantasy) to keep from falling in deeper than we already are.

The ironic part is now, after I left my ex... I'm no longer putting as much emphasis on the past or the future. Because in reality all we have is the NOW. I listen every day, over & over again to an inspiring podcast with Oprah & Eckhart Tolle entitled, "A New Earth." Podcast #1 is called: "Awakening to Your Life's Purpose." I recommend it greatly! Haven't had the $ for the book yet, but I listen to the 10 episodes on repeat, every week. I'm not a religious man so this has become my healing bible... lol

Anyhow, my point is... all we have is the here & NOW. The past exists but when reflecting, in reality... it's still in the NOW. And your future isn't defined. That should be a liberating concept! That "dream" poster in my mind is still evolving but I'm trying not to make it such a priority... as we don't truly know what tomorrow holds, we can only be thankful that we are here, right now... fighting for our sense of self & inner peace.

For we need to take care of our "inner child" that was so very hurt & lost. Then, the new dream of raising a healthy family will all come together!
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Old 05-17-2019, 11:09 AM   #12 (permalink)

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Piperdream: i am certainly not glad (of course) for you having similar issues in terms of possibly loosing an option of becoming a mother to your own child, but i it is indeed soothing to hear im not the only one struggling with those losses. As it IS indeed quite devastating from a womans perspective- this thought that this might as well have been the very last 'opportunity' for creating my own family. And to be quite honest, I didnt have such problems with my mom nor dad/siblings, so I was very unaware id say on the issue, meaning i didnt know what to expect. But even more than that, I was lied to by my now ex, as he managed to somehow keep it a secret from me for quite some time. Even if he did go out more than on average, socialised with all the 'wrong' people etc.

Having said that, since i am naturally not so prone to codependency, I am sure I would probably have left the situation earlier in the relationship had I known what was going on. But, since codependency is actually a RESULT of such stressful life stemming from living with an addict, I too developed some of those fears in the meantime and concerns/obsessions (as the relationship progressed).
Interestingly enough, as soon as I was absolutely sure that he indeed has a severe issues with alcohol, I immediately expressed my concerns and manage to set up my own boundaries. But of course, emotionally, it got to me very much so, as I love him deeply and bonded with him on many different levels as mentioned earlier. Not to mention becoming immediately aware of the lost 'dream' of which we talked about in this thread.

To conclude, I suppose I have to come to terms now with the fact that the time is inevitably gone (and what is invested was something deeply precious to me). That hurts a lot, in all honesty. As on some level (even if I know that it is indeed a disease and not something he did with intention to screw me over) I still feel betrayed and deceived by him.

But I never actually truly hold it against him, as my love indeed surpasses my hurt in this case...
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Old 05-17-2019, 11:22 AM   #13 (permalink)

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LifeChangeNYC: I can totally relate to that too, as I am also more and more coming to terms with the fact that there is no past nor future but only an eternal NOW in which we can practice mindfulness and being PRESENT to what life actually asks of us at any given moment. This is all I am left with too, as my longterms plans and wishes didnt prove to be sustainable -obviously. So I figured, I might as well just relax now and see what life has in store for me still. Which is actually an amazing gift we got with this overall devastating experience, and can thus all be grateful for, for these insights are indeed spiritual and brings us closer to our ultimate purpose. p.s. I know Eckart and thanks a lot for providing those info. I am ver much into that type of content too...
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Old 05-17-2019, 01:49 PM   #14 (permalink)
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I really love Eckhart Tolle too. Recently read "A Power of Now" and "A New Earth" him so much and he's got a great sense of humour also

I've been practicing his teachings for a few weeks and I feel so at peace.... Everything is clicking into place. Things like saying yes to right here and now... remembering that the future is basically right Now... And so accepting the current situation for what it is, and the people around me for what they say / do is very liberating .. When I notice anxious thoughts, I remind myself to "watch the thinker" as Tolle puts it...and then I notice any stress just dissolving. It's been a godsend discovering him.

From what you wrote Fiona it sounds like you're on a path that you need to take and it's an exciting one...and as for having children or not, I'm a believer that what is meant is meant. If you don't get to have your own biological children (and you still might btw, I know a 44 year old who is currrently pregnant without ivf) then considering adoption is one route, or maybe pursuing a line of work or hobby that would allow you to help people in some way... Community workshops, youth workshops etc... But could be anything at all that simply allows you to nurture, create, be your true self. You don't have to change your career or go out chasing something to fill soemthing, but what I mean is that new ideas might come to you in terms of how you might want to spend your time. And of course the number one person to be nurtured first and foremost is yourself...more time in nature, more time being comfortable with who you are. And over time new chance opportunities, meetings... All kinds of good adventures will come to one knows the future, all we have and ever will have is right now x
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Old 05-17-2019, 07:05 PM   #15 (permalink)

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Hi Fiona, I'm glad you found us and super sad that you have good reason to be here.

Grieving that dream takes one heck of a long time. As you no doubt have noticed (!!!!) ending a relationship AND the possibility of having children is super tough. Please get all the support you can as you go through this.

I never married nor had children. I'm 56. For whatever reason this hasn't been too tough for me but of course my experience doesn't change things for you.

I will say kids and family are my life. I've managed to be a kind of foster adult or assistant adult in several families. This probably wouldn't work for everyone but it is what has evolved without me really choosing it. Ugh, so much of life we don't get to choose.

Strangely as I type this, I'm sitting next to my brother's 12 year old son in my sister's house. He is frantically doing algebra as he has been in Alaska with me for a week. We went halibut fishing yesterday. Tomorrow we fly home. Two weeks ago I was sponsor for a young friend making her first communion/confirmation. Her mother can't get into the country so I try to fill in when I can for the absent Mom.

You absolutely won't have a life like mine. Yours will have different twists and turns. I so so hope it will contain many children and deep joy. I wish this could have come to you in the more traditional way and of course there is a small chance it still could. However, you may have a fantastic life without traditional family.

Finally, please accept my deep gratitude for not having a child with this alcoholic. This situation brings such suffering for all involved specially the child. What you have done takes a level of courage and integrity many don't have. I'm not sure I could have in your situation.
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Old 05-17-2019, 09:09 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Hi, I had my children early, but my daughter is now 40 with no reasonable prospect of having a child. I know she would like one but only if the circumstances are right, and that's not the case.

When she talked to me about this, I told her I had every faith in her coming to terms with it because she's a stable, sensible person (with a great mother!), who'll process the pain and come out stronger. There's actually a strong tradition of single childless women in my family ranging from my great-aunts, my cousins and nieces.

My sister, a doctor, told me she sees a lot of women around 40 who've realised they won't have children and go through a period of depression or sadness until they adjust.

Fiona, you sound like a strong person who can make the difficult decisions. If you don't end up having a child I'm sure you will find a way to fill that part of your life, whether its nieces and nephews (a single aunt is a wonderful thing for children) or travelling, or getting involved with children in some other role like sponsoring. There are many great options.
".....we are the masters of our fate.......the task which has been set us is not above our strength."
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Old 05-17-2019, 10:54 PM   #17 (permalink)

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First of all, you think he was your best friend but in all reality he really was not, an alcoholic is his or her own best friend. I mean I understand what you are saying because that is how I felt about my XRAH as well at one point and time but I learned that even though he was functional at work (mostly ) he really was not at all functional in the relationship. I know he loved me but he was not there for my physically or emotionally because he couldnít while drinking, He doesnít even remember half the stuff we talked about in the past, and some of it was some serious stuff.
As far as kids, I am sorry that you may not have any. But bringing a kid into an alcoholic household is not good. I met my ex when i was 30 and we ended up having to do IVF. I had my kiddo at 37. Now I often think, had I known then what I know now I might have considered having a kid on my own. It wouldnít have had all the privileges my kid had, but it wouldíve have been a pretty good life anyway.
I just had a friend who had a kid at 43, so all is not lost necessarily. I love my kid to pieces and I cannot imagine my life without her but in retrospect it probably wasnít the wisest idea to get pregnant with my ex. But I truly just didnít understand alcoholism at that time. I just thought it would get better especially once we had a kid. Now I know how super naive that was.
If you arenít doing any counseling for yourself I highly recommend finding a therapist for you with addiction experience. I am so not the type to go running to counseling but it has been a life and sanity saver for me. Also I donít agree with your statement that codependency is a result of life with an addict. Most of the time codepdent people are drawn to these types of relationships, I did not even know what codependency was until my ex went to rehab and I read codependent no more. It i learned that I had had codependent tendencies dating back to childhood and my first marriage, the situations I was in may have worsened it over time but they certainly were not the result of living with an addict. There as no addiction issues while I was growing up. I know not everyone involved with an addict is automatically a codependent but I think more people than not really are. Just just may not know it. I certainly did not. I am pretty independent and strong. I moved to the US at 17 for college and made it without any parental support. I worked crap jobs to make end meets and paid my way through college by myself. So I am not a ę weak female that needs someone to take care of her Ľ. But I am a people pleaser and rescuer and codependent, but I have really come a long way to avoid being that way again. I can take off of myself just fine, I guess I just didnít realize how much I thought I liked taking care of other people while forgetting about myself.
Take time to grieve the relationship and the possible loss of having your own children. Donít bury your feelings trying to stay strong, ive learned th hard way that that is not a good way to deal with things.....and it doesnít make you less of a person for expressing high feeling and being sad about everything that has gone on in hip our life.
Good luck with everything, take care of yourself because you deserve it.
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Old 05-18-2019, 01:35 AM   #18 (permalink)

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First of all, thank you so much for all your kind replies! It means a lot to be able to share our stories and also for me to see how even the title of my thread doesnt actually have to be that fatalistic, and that i still might leave this option open (of being able to still have my own kids one day). Also, Surfbee and Bekindaleways, thanks for practical advice on how to honour myself in terms of spending my time, nature, self- nurture.
Bekindaleways: Thanks a lot for recognising how responsible my decision to not have kids that was, No matter how painful the decision to leave the situation. It was indeed the toughest decision i has to do. Especially as he was ready to get married and i could have taken him up on that but i figured, this wont be ok nor loving-unless he truly is completely decided and dedicated to his recovery! Which sadly he wasnt!
FeelingGreat: your sister is right-there is certainly a feeling of deep loss and sorrow connected with the thought of not being able to be a mother in this lifetime. And i am now also going through this painful realisation, although I have really decided in the meantime to NOT yet close myself up for that option, as i said at the begining of this reply. However, its hard to even come into thinking of meeting someone new for me. At least at this point! But it takes time i guess, to process everything and i will indeed honour it and give myself enough opportunity to fully close one chapter before im anywhere near even thinking of going into another.
Sleepyhollo: I thank you for your concern and I understand that not everyone is the same and many people do have different issues from the past, including codependency etc. And I did read Codependence no more btw, but even the author states how these issues can actually be emphasised and even created in such relationships, so while tendency might indeed exist (and lets be honest, majority of people who are loving and considerate would indeed empathise and care about anyone in such distress), it can also mean that unhealthy situation brings out the worst in people and that those tendencies exist in everyone in one way or another when faced with a difficulty of loving someone so deeply affected healthwise! Also, i need to again say how I didnt even KNOW about the depth of his problem, as we were living in separate cities for quite awhile so even if i did notice lot of non-consistent behaviours, i wasnt sure until recently. Having said all that, I do love him more than I need to be with him, so in my eyes I dont see as codependency. Even if it is of course really difficult to loose this dream of happy family with him. Two more things- i dont believe he is his best friend, on the contrary: he is his worst enemy unfortunately! And last but not least: thanks a lot for your kind suggestion to go into therapy, but i truly dont need it at this point as i processed so many things already, also i have this beautiful group of ppl such as yourself to share my dissapoinment with AND believe it or not, i am not TRYING to be strong- I simply grieve but at the same time, i do consider myself strong enough to let it go with utmost and utter LOVE i feel for this man. And maybe this is gonna sound a bit naive, but I do somehow believe he is gonna find the way-but i have come to learn that sometimes this way for some people has to be truly painful!
Once again-thank you all, youre an amazing group of individuals and I am so glad to be here and honoured to be able to share my story with you! <3
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Old 05-18-2019, 06:09 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Hi Fiona,

I don't know if this will help you, but if it does, here is my story.

I'm in my early 40s. I was with my exAh for 10 years, during which time, proximity to him, his abuse, and his drug use affected my body negatively. I started to age at an accelerated rate, so much so that it was kind of shocking and upsetting to people close to me. Still, I persisted with the relationship (in a totally codependent way, I made excuses for him, tried to manage him, tried to live my entire life for him... etc), and when I started trying for a family (because I was getting older and having children was one thing I really wanted if I didn't get anything else in life; and I knew I wasn't getting the marriage I wanted because I was living for someone else at the expense of my health, my happiness, and financial well-being), I discovered that I had a type of organ failure that meant I would be infertile. This type of organ failure (because that is what it is) is brought on by exposure to large amounts of secondhand smoke, stress, and/or chemo. Often it's a disease found in people of lower socioeconomic status (well, the ex did steal all my money, so there's that... I had to start over in middle age with nothing). The disease also means I have a lot of symptoms other than infertility, such as insomnia, headaches, debilitating muscle aches and numbness and decrease in muscle size, hair loss, fatigue (not tiredness, FATIGUE), depression, inability to regulate body temperature, tooth and bone loss, short-term memory loss, the inability to concentrate... I'm probably forgetting something, but in short, it sucks. Oh yeah, it also makes intimacy almost impossible because it hurts. This is a rare disease where the research on it is almost nil as only 1% of women actually have it. I am a guinea pig. Also, I have mild-ish PTSD from living with an addict. So... how do I personally come back from this?

Well... first of all I really had to stop seeing my ex as a "friend". He wasn't a friend. If he were, when I told him what was happening to me, he would not have said "at least I'm no the one who is infertile." And also... even though he often said that he was my best friend, that we were the BEST together, it was because I enabled him. His drugs were his best friends, mother and lover. I could never fill that void. His main concern when I became sick was that he wasn't getting enough intimacy -- and he used this as a reason to drug more (as if he needed one). So, I'm saying that even if your ex wasn't this horrible, even if he was a totally benign addict, he knows what his priorities are and friendship is not really one of them.

Second of all, I went "no contact." I cut my losses and basically ran. I decided that starting over with nothing but my clothes (most of which I have since sold) at middle age was better than staying anchored to a sinking ship. I looked at my codependent behavior, which really messed up not just MY life but his. As long as I was making excuses for his behavior, I was enabling him. As long as I had allowed my boundaries to be compromised, I was enabling him. The last thing he needed was to be enabled -- part of me still feels that if he goes to a early grave, I would be 1% guilty because I had not walked away sooner (this is codie thinking). But then, who knows if he actually has a "bottom". So really, whatever happens is his choice.

Third of all, I saw a doctor -- I got on medication. So now my symptoms are manageable (although, I will probably live until I am 60, tops... but that's better than nothing). I got on a wait list for a therapist. I have yet to find a good one but in the mean time, I kept going back to SR and reading the forums. I bought books that were recommended on the forums. I made my recovery my priority.

Finally... as for not having children or anyone to grow old with (I doubt anyone would want to pair up with a middle aged woman with intimacy difficulties or ongoing medical issues... I mean, the market is smaller for people like me... )... as for that... I grieved. People in their late 30s and early 40s were having babies all around me. I grieved. I got people saying things like, "you can always try IVF" but that is too expensive and also my eggs are not viable. I also get, "you can adopt", but that's also expensive and I don't particularly want to be a single mother. So I grieved. When I grow old, which is happening fast, I will be alone. I will not have children to grieve me, even though I grieved the idea of them.

Soon it became clear that I was banging on a door that would never open. I had to find another door, which would lead to another way, but at least it would lead somewhere.

And then after a while something changed. I don't have time. I can't get time back. I started trying to earn the money that I lost. I am trying to rebuild my life at a snail's pace and if it ends before I'm done, at least I gave it a good crack. I can go with a good conscience -- so that's my priority now.

40 is not too late to have a child if you are still able to conceive. If you have the money, I would see a fertility specialist and inquire about egg freezing. If you don't and you are okay with adoption, I would look into that too. If I did find someone to spend my later years with, I would adopt (but not a baby, because I don't want to be making school lunches and managing teenage hormones when I'm 50).

You come back from tragedy the only way you know how -- by living. Don't put your present on hold for a future that's only "if".
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Old 05-18-2019, 08:26 AM   #20 (permalink)

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I am going to be 41 in a few months. I have one kid with my XAH and I was not ready to call my family complete. I am a single mom since I left him last year, and I am pregnant with #2 who I will also raise as a single parent. I am sure it will be a-ok because I did everything while stepping over him (figuratively and literally) while also dealing with his outsized demands on me the whole time my first was little, and now I have a quiet home without that misery.

You donít have forever and maybe what you see as a good family structure means it wonít work for you, but it isnít too late to be a mom if you really want it. All it takes is sperm and that is not so hard to come by. For me I had to dig deep about why I wanted a second and make sure I still felt that way now that I am alone. I still want it and made it happen. The timing of your relationship with the alcoholic may make it different or harder but it doesnít mean it canít now be done.
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