by D Smith -
SGN Contributing Writer
I've been in a two-plus-year relationship that when good, is really good. When it's bad, it just is awful. The reason why is Alcohol. He drinks WHILE driving, drinks excessively, regularly, and is starting to miss work. He is an alcoholic who sees how everything else has damaged his life and our relationship but never sees how his alcoholism negatively affects his life and this relationship. Classic, I know. I tried to offer what I could in terms of support - counseling, AA, not drinking myself, learning about the disease, and not bringing anything tempting home, only to find out that, in the end, I didn't do enough in his eyes.
It's become a black-and-white situation at this point, meaning I say 'black' and he says 'white.' Fast forward to my having had enough of a mean drunk who is capable of saying such nasty things. I've ended things - or, rather, I am in the long, arduous process of trying to end this relationship. What's your best advice in dealing with the fallout resulting from ending a relationship with an alcoholic, dealing with the guilt that they put upon the departing partner for not wanting to work it out anymore? He's threatened to leave so many times because he 'is who he is' and likes to drink. I finally just said, 'OK, pack your stuff and go.'
I can in good conscience say that there was not one thing more I could offer or do to support him and I have finally reached that fully depleted state. I love him and would like to see him get well. I do realize that his decisions and life are not anything that is in my control. How do I release myself from the guilt-riddled tantrums that he's put on me? Right now, like most people would, I say, 'I never want another relationship ever again,' as this one has drained me. How do I brush off the guilt he tried to attach to me while absolving himself of any responsibility? - Drained From a Drunk
I really appreciate your courage and willingness to seek advice in such a personal matter. Thank you for your strength. I believe you when you say, 'I can in good conscience say that there was not one thing more I could offer or do to support him,' but I have to ask you: Do you know that? Do you believe that? Are you sure you want out?
The best way to deal with this situation is to finish the breakup. I understand why it's a long and arduous process, but ... how long and arduous? You've decided that you're not compatible. I'm quite sure he isn't happy either. Is there a deadline for his move-out? Is the place yours, or could you leave to expedite the process? It's time to say, with some kindness, 'Hey, it's clear we want different things. I want us both to be happy. Let's stop discussing this and do what we need to do to move on.'
Once he's out of your hair, you can consider how you want to move on with your life. Maybe therapy/ life coaching or both - or maybe without the tantrums, you'll have the peace you need. Because the reality is you seem to understand what happened here and why this isn't your fault. You know that you did what you could and that he's not going to change. You'll feel less drained after you've had some time on your own. Take the time to rejuvenate yourself.
Once you get him out of your living space, you can start the healing process. Like, within days, not weeks. The problem is that the breakup is taking too long. You can't move on while continuing on this yo-yo roller-coaster ride. Time to get off the ride and start taking control of your life and living. This doesn't mean you don't love him, it just means that your relationship is over. It's like a sinking ship and you have to save yourself.
Hope this helps. Remember always be true to you and always encourage yourself. - D
I'm finding myself in a situation I NEVER thought I would be in: I'm dating a married man. But my question is not about how to deal with it or how to get out of it. My question is really about why I am in this situation and how did I get here.
In 10 years I've only had two, now three, boyfriends, and I seem to keep picking men with whom the relationship is terminal. My first serious boyfriend was while I was in college and was way too old for me ... like twice my age. It was also sort of a long-distance situation where he lived a few hours away by car. Ultimately it failed for a couple reasons. First and foremost, I came to my senses on the age difference. It was too big and it meant we were in very different phases of life. Secondly, I was a young adult, still figuring out who I was and what I wanted to do, and still changing a lot. He was not really evolving the way I was, and I evolved right out of the relationship. We were like two ships sailing in different directions.
My second serious relationship was a few years later, while I was in graduate school, with a wonderful guy, totally age-appropriate for me. But when we started dating, we lived a plane flight away from each other. We were together for about two and a half years - I felt like I was totally in love with him, and I was convinced for a while that I would marry him. The long-distance was really tough, and for a while I assumed that at some point we'd decide where we both wanted to live together. When I finished school, I wanted to move back to the East Coast, where my family was. But he decided to continue schooling in California, despite all of the fantastic schools in New England. I told myself, 'If he can't move to the East Coast for me, why should I move to the West Coast for him?' And that was that.
After him, it took me a long time to get out there again - over two years. But finally last winter I started dating again. I had two very short relationships (1-2 months) with guys who ended things with me. And then I met my current guy at the beginning of the summer. I had no intention of getting involved with him because I knew what his marital status was, but there was so much attraction and interest on both of our parts, and we both caved in. There is SO much wrong with this, starting with the fact that he is married. I know that the likelihood of this working out for us is one in a million, and I know that the likelihood of a lot of hurt is very high - for me, for him, and for the third party in this. I'd happily hear opinions on this, preferably free of judgment. I'm judging myself pretty harshly already. But this is not why I'm writing.
I am writing because I'm seeing a pattern here: terminal relationships. I seem to keep putting myself into situations where there is a low chance of long-term success. What is my problem? - Trying to Figure Things Out
I see only one problem relationship here, and that's the one you're in right now. The other relationships sound about right. You were young and in school, long-distance, or experimenting. It makes sense that you dated those men until it was time to break up, but your current situation is different.
Based on how you framed this letter, I assume that this guy is 100 percent married, not out of the house and/or waiting on his divorce papers. I understand that there's attraction on both sides, but that doesn't justify the behavior. My guess is that you feel entitled to pursue this man because you believe that your relationship history hasn't been that great. I must tell you that you are not entitled to anything. And I don't see a pattern here, because really, all relationships have a low chance of long-term success. You went into your second relationship hoping for marriage. You weren't looking for 'terminal.' Your love life was very acceptable up until this point.
Accept that there's no pattern and then deal with your present. You've extracted yourself from undesirable situations before. Please do that again. I believe you may find it safer for you because he is married, but is this what you really want? My mother used to say, 'Remember, the way you get a man is the way you will lose him.'
You know this relationship is not right for you and the situation you are in is only temporary. You have to ask yourself, 'If he is unfaithful to her, can he ever truly be faithful to me?' You never know what his wife is feeling, how or what their situation is, which just makes you the other woman. In a relationship, you only get out of it what you put into it, and at this point his love is divided between you and his wife. Neither of you are getting all of him - simply parts. Does that seem fair to you? Is this the type of relationship you want?
Take some time to figure out what it is you want in life. Time to weigh out the pros and cons to decide what will make you happy and what is right. This can wear on your conscience and tear your soul apart. Live right by you, and do not just what your heart commands but by your conscience too. Sounds like it's time to do some soul-searching.
Hope this helps. Remember, always be true to you and always encourage yourself. - D
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