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Old 07-13-2018, 02:22 PM   #1 (permalink)
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How do you move on from a relationship with an alcoholic?


I broke up (for good) with my boyfriend of 2.5 years about a month ago, and I'm having a difficult time working through everything that happened over the course of the relationship. We were both graduate students and are now 30 years old. A month into our relationship, we went on a movie date where my ex got so drunk he couldn’t walk on his own or speak coherently. At one point he walked out of the theater returned with two opened bottles of wine and I decided we needed to leave and I drove him home. Of course the next day he apologized profusely, bought me flowers, etc. I forgave him and we kept dating. My ex is very intelligent, hard-working, driven and passionate about his work, good-looking, and can be very sweet and complimentary (overly so) when he needs to be, but also could be disrespectful (making small digs at my family, friends, and work) if he felt like I was “attacking” him, which usually meant I was upset about his drinking. When he drank he was never physically or verbally abusive, but seemed to go from sober to sloppy drunk very quickly. He also never had any tangible losses from drinking (that I know of). No DUIs and he excelled in his work. Although I know he had a reputation with both friends and colleagues for drinking too much and acting strangely or sloppily when drunk. I know he’d been very drunk at work retreats and at other work social events. He’s also picked me up from work drunk.

Over the 2.5 years we were together, there were a lot of other inappropriate incidents. For example, one time he was out drinking with a friend and they brought two girls back from the bar to the friend’s apartment and they all spent the night there. He told me about it a week later like it was no big deal, and he said nothing happened. Of course I was upset, but forgave him again. He didn’t drink every day for the first 2 years that we were together (although we didn’t live together for the whole time so it’s hard to know). Sometimes he could have a couple drinks and stop. But there were many times (maybe 40 in 2.5 years), where he either got obliterated and I had to babysit or just had more than everyone else. Everyone would be finishing up their drinks, and sure enough, he’d be at the bar ordering another. Sometimes he would fall asleep in bars or during social events. Sometimes he’d disappear for 20 minutes or so and come back tipsier. Sometimes he’d go for a drive and come back buzzed. Other times we would meet up for dates or events and he would just seem off, not obliterated, but eyes and speech were different. We had so many serious conversations (usually ending with both of us in tears) about these incidents and each time he promised he was working on getting it under control, that that specific incident was the last time, that our relationship was more important than drinking—all the right things, the things I wanted to hear. But, inevitably, it would happen again.

When we moved in together after a year of dating, it was easier to see how much he actually drank. It wasn’t like he got drunk every night, but, from what I saw, drank maybe 2-6 beers most nights of the week, and usually quite a bit more on Saturday and Sunday. Another thing that I noticed was that he would drink before going out, and after getting home, often bringing a beer or a glass of wine to bed with him. I started to realize that this wasn’t entirely an issue of growing out of a phase, but more of a serious problem. I pushed him to get some type of help and became more “controlling” (confronting him about and monitoring his drinking). He started to hide it more (hiding beer in a towel to take to the shower, emptying the recycling at midnight after I had gone to bed, staying up later by himself, hiding the beer he was drinking behind furniture if I came in the room, denying drinking in many situations even if he showed up out of it, excusing himself to go the restroom while actually sneaking up to bar to have a secret drink or two, etc.).

We ended up going through this horrible year of semi-break-ups and make-ups, during much of which I was pissed off and he was drunk (binging at home in the spare room for days on end). He moved to a different city for his career about 6 months ago and we kept in contact on and off. He wanted to try to reconcile. Fed me all the lines (I love you so much, you're the person I want to marry, you're perfect, I'm so sorry for the hell I put you through, etc.). But a month ago, I told him that I didn't trust him at this point and there was no chance of us getting back together unless and until he had been sober and seeking help for 1 year. Well, of course, his response was that we have too many other differences besides the drinking that would make the relationship never work, and he didn't want to have any contact. I didn't even really care anymore at that moment. I was so exhausted.

I know I should be happy that I dodged a bullet, but I still get these feelings of guilt, like maybe I was too critical or controlling. Maybe I made him unhappy, and the drinking got worse because of that. Maybe if I would have been more compassionate or empathetic he would have sought out treatment (I was compassionate at first though). I know that it's not my fault, but I'm finding it so hard to stop second guessing everything. I did love him and we had a lot of great times. But I don't think I'm wrong in feeling like I just cannot trust him anymore? To be clear, I have no thoughts of contacting him or trying to reconcile (I physically, mentally, and emotionally cannot go on this roller-coaster again), but I'm having a really hard time not replaying and analyzing everything that happened over and over in my head. It's like I have to understand how the relationship took such a huge nosedive and that I need further validation that I made the right decision (probably why I'm writing this now). How do I stop these thoughts and put this behind me and move on?
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Old 07-13-2018, 02:29 PM   #2 (permalink)
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It's going to take time to 'get over him' and move on with your life. You did the best thing for yourself. There's a saying: Let go or be dragged. I'm glad you let go. It will hurt for a while but the bad feelings will pass.

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Old 07-13-2018, 03:11 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I just got flashbacks of my last relationship from both sides of the 'coin'. It's truly madness and he essentially 'flipped the script' of YOUR breaking up with him back to you when you called out his drinking. So, now you feel like you got 'dumped'..yeah..he's smart and manipulative. I and most here would know,because..most,if not all, were/are/can be masters of manipulation. You really did dodge a bullet. If your feelings of 'what if' persist, I'd recommend going to a few Al-anon meetings or a few therapy sessions. That way you can confirm that you made the only logical decision in your best interests. Breakups suck/hurt with or without booze or drugs involved anyways.
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Old 07-13-2018, 03:39 PM   #4 (permalink)
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That's just it. Sure, the drinking itself was hurtful, but the manipulation was madness. Now that I'm away from it, I'm beginning to understand how much he took me for a ride, and it's embarrassing. It's like a shell-shocked feeling with intermittent anger. Often times, he'd have me feeling so guilty for criticizing his alcoholic behavior that I would apologize to him and feel like a terrible person for days. I would defend him to my friends and family. He knew all my vulnerabilities and had no qualms about exploiting them. I don't think I had any self-esteem left. So now that it's ended, I'm asking myself, "what the hell just happened to the last 2.5 years of my life?"
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Old 07-13-2018, 03:51 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I'm glad your post describing your relationship and his behaviour was so detailed, because it allows me to say, without any doubt on my part, that he had a serious problem and you did absolutely the right thing by getting out of it.

The signs (dodgy incidents involving different women, having to keep drinking after everyone else had stopped, bringing drinks to bed) is all the kind of stuff I did. It's weird reading how it would have played out if I had a relationship. Now I know.

Alcoholism is progressive. So it's not something you did or did not do. He would have got worse all on his own. It's why the lying and manipulation got worse, because the drinking got worse.

It's very hard to convince someone with a problem with alcohol to get help and get sober. Nowhere did I read that he realised he has to stop drinking altogether and get help that way. Most of us went through periods of trying to get drinking under control and it never worked. I had to admit I was an alcoholic and want to quit 100%. I had many years of denial that that is what I needed to do

That's my long roundabout way of saying - take a deep breath, friend. He was not the one for you. You did indeed dodge a bullet.
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Old 07-13-2018, 04:02 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by 2018LizAnon View Post
That's just it. Sure, the drinking itself was hurtful, but the manipulation was madness. Now that I'm away from it, I'm beginning to understand how much he took me for a ride, and it's embarrassing. It's like a shell-shocked feeling with intermittent anger. Often times, he'd have me feeling so guilty for criticizing his alcoholic behavior that I would apologize to him and feel like a terrible person for days. I would defend him to my friends and family. He knew all my vulnerabilities and had no qualms about exploiting them. I don't think I had any self-esteem left. So now that it's ended, I'm asking myself, "what the hell just happened to the last 2.5 years of my life?"
Yep.again..been there and done that on/from both sides. I'm told I'm "smart,good looking,ect." I also make great money,set my own schedule,blah,blah..thing is; booze 'got me' eventually and I could/would con a conman if it meant continuing in what I wanted to do. "F' the wrekage! Let them sort it out!!..Not my problem!" ..It's maddness and I feel like crap for what I did to others(I've made my ammends to most),but that was my 'survival instinct' to keep my booze/lifestyle flowing without consiquence. "I pay for it..what's the problem?"..Yikes! Again..reach out for some support if you keep feeling this way and block him. My exgf, I broke up with ironically, over her drinking and lifestyle when I got sober, sent a text today about wanting to meet and talk and I said "NO". It wasn't a healthy relationship from either side. No trust and we are both codependant/toxic together. I've learned enough in 18-19mo sober to know what I want my life to be now. She's not in it.


The Friends and family forum here is great aswell..give it a look! Hang in there.
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Old 07-13-2018, 04:14 PM   #7 (permalink)
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He was not the one for you. You did indeed dodge a bullet.
That was my thought too LizAnon.

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Old 07-14-2018, 09:12 AM   #8 (permalink)
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So now that it's ended, I'm asking myself, "what the hell just happened to the last 2.5 years of my life?"
In my opinion, this is a very important question for you to explore. As others have said, you did indeed dodge a bullet, and time will likely make this clearer by the day.

I was involved in a terrible relationship 20 some years ago which I was relieved to escape, and went on to have a reasonable marriage which ended in divorce. After that, I found myself embroiled in YET ANOTHER s*** storm which I wasted 3 years on. Come to find out, I never answered the question I should have after the first disaster, “Why in the world did I sell myself so cheaply (figuratively), and why did I tolerate such crumbs in a relationship for so long?” Only after addressing my own low self esteem could I rationally say, “No, thisn’t normal or right, and I deserve better”. Patterns tend to repeat if we don’t watch out.

Hope you enjoy the forums, especially Friends and Families as others suggest. It’s eye opening.
-bora
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Old 07-14-2018, 09:22 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I'm sorry for the situation you're going through. I think it will take time. Focusing on yourself and your life will help you feel like you've made the right decision.
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Old 07-14-2018, 10:28 AM   #10 (permalink)
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[QUOTE=boreas;6954336]. Only after addressing my own low self esteem could I rationally say, “No, thisn’t normal or right, and I deserve better”. Patterns tend to repeat if we don’t watch out.

I think this is what scares me the most. I've always had a lot of anxiety in terms of my work, graduate studies, and career, but I didn't think I had low self-esteem before this relationship (by the end of it, yes). Also, I've always been the over-achiever type, had high expectations for myself, and am stubborn in that way. My family doesn't drink a lot, is extremely close, generous, and very supportive of me in every way. My dad is probably the most caring, loving, and patient person I know and all the men in my family are the most respectful partners, brothers, cousins, fathers, etc. I know that alcoholism is not a gender-specific disease, but what I'm saying is that I've only had good examples of healthy and loving relationships. So it's been sort of embarrassing and humbling for me to admit to myself that I got sucked into this horrible thing. And replaying it makes me feel even more and more shocked that I continued to engage in such a destructive situation. I have been talking to a counselor since my ex moved away and trying to focus on building my self-esteem, pursing my own interests, basically re-establishing my own identity without my ex and the drinking, which I think is the reason why I was able to ultimately end it for good. I'm terrified that the same thing will happen again, so I definitely recognize that I need more time before pursuing another relationship.
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Old 07-14-2018, 12:39 PM   #11 (permalink)
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I commend you for being so introspective and think it will serve you well. I avoided some of the shame and embarrassment you refer to, (Jeez! How could I be SO stupid!) by trying to remember that there is a lesson in each experience. And, FWIW, I take great pride in my education and work achievements, but that didn’t stop me from being quite the doormat in this one corner of my life.

In addition to the great resources here regarding relationships affected by addiction, I also found Natalie Lue’s writings helpful. Her books, (including Mr. Unavailable and the Fallback Girl) and resources are more about balance in relationships in general and may be of interest.
-bora
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