Lately, I’ve been mulling over my current relationship. Like actually THINKING not just getting all floopy and stupid. I should thank Mystery Coach and Lizziecracked for their friendship, encouragement and support. They are amazing.
Before you get excited about this post and think FINALLY all of the answers can be found to the mystery of men and women – calm down. As much thinking as I’ve done (this brought about several headaches and even a little smoke out of my ears), I still don’t have all of the answers.
Here’s what I can share with you…
By and large, my relationship history is fraught with heartbreak and failure. I’ve been hurt a lot. No doubt I’ve hurt others along the way, as well. I’m not perfect. I’ve never claimed to be perfect nor will I. So far from it that perfect is a tiny, black dot so far off in the stratosphere I can’t see it without the aid of a telescope. A high-powered expensive one at that! However, when I was younger break-ups didn’t bother me. I was resilient and always knew someone else would come along. I’m older now and while I don’t have one foot in the grave just yet, I AM older. There is a real fear of never having (man) love again. I realize there are people in this world that are perfectly happy being single and that’s wonderful for them. I admire their independence and courage but I’m not one of those people. I like having someone special in my life. Let’s face it, it’s a great feeling to have someone to share our happiness with, to laugh with, to confide in and ultimately at the end of the day, it’s nice to have someone to hold on to at night. Sex is great, too but that’s not the focus of this particular blog. This blog is about emotion and self-confidence and self-exploration.
For three years, I’ve dated F. At one point I was mentioning his name but I won’t do that anymore. It serves no purpose. Not now anyway. Before it was because I was angry and wanted to out him as the worst human on the planet. I’m much more Zen now about the whole thing and he’s NOT the worst person on the planet. Anyway, he is an alcoholic and he can be mean when he’s drunk. Very mean. I’ve had a drinking problem so I get the struggle with this particular addiction but I got past it. He never has. I also wasn’t a hateful drunk. I was happy. I liked to get drunk and naked and…again, for another blog. Moving on. In the past few months I’ve become uber-aware of his attitude towards me when he drinks. He’s angry. It also hasn’t escaped my attention that when things are going well for me and I’m content, he gets angrier. It hit me last night he gets this way because he’ll never achieve any kind of success. Jealousy? I’m not sure I’d label it as such but bitter? Maybe. His addiction will never allow him to achieve any real life goals. It’s stronger than he is. He probably could beat it but he’s tried many times, MANY times and has failed with each attempt. So maybe he can’t. I don’t know. He will use things I’ve told him against me and this bothered me for a long time until I had that lightening bolt moment and realized he HAS to find fault with me because he’s incapable of dealing with his own. It is his way of attempting to make himself feel better about himself which, we all know, will not happen as long as he’s drinking. I get it now.
Then there is me. I continue to put up with it. In the beginning I’d fight back. I’d fight like an insane person to defend myself because it seemed necessary to do so but the reality of this situation is his drinking and his behavior have absolutely nothing at all to do with me. The angry words he throws at me are his way of coping with an addiction that he knows has a hold on him so powerful he may never be rid of it. I no longer defend myself because there is nothing to defend. I’ve done nothing wrong. Or at least I’ve done nothing that requires defending.
He’s lived with me off and on for three years. Off and on because circumstances dictate he has to be in another state part of the time. I’m okay with the back and forth (mostly) but the thing is I’ve watched him struggle. I’ve watched him sober up and his regret is palpable. I’ve watched him break down and weep openly while pounding his fist on his leg in frustration and anger at himself. I used to feel bad. I used to go out of my way to try and help him get through his withdrawal, make him as comfortable as possible and somewhere in all of that I lost myself in trying to make HIM feel better when really it wasn’t necessary. If he wants to feel better it’s on him to find a way to make that happen. Not my job.
I used to be upset when he wouldn’t apologize for the things he said to me while drinking until one day I decided I DO NOT WANT AN APOLOGY. It’d be hollow and meaningless because he and I both know it’ll happen again. Honestly, I’ve never attempted the “if you love me you’ll stop drinking” talk and I’ve not tried to change him. He is who he is. I don’t get involved with men thinking “oh, I can get him to change” because I think that kind of attitude is crap. He was drinking on our first date which lasted three months, by the way. He wasn’t always drunk during that three months and there were plenty of sober, lucid moments but I knew it would be an issue from the beginning yet I made the decision to keep seeing him.
His drinking, in a nutshell, is the only reason this relationship suffers. Okay. It’s possible I am also part of the problem. I’m a bitch and I can be difficult to live with but I’m also coherent and very aware of what I say and do. I also have a very big mouth and struggle with keeping a check on what comes out of it. I don’t always think before I speak or do. I’m moody and not a great housekeeper. I love to sleep and get impossibly grouchy when people wake me up. I’m a creature of habit and hate for anyone to disrupt routines. I have OCD tendencies and get completely out of whack when things are out of whack. I can also be irresponsible, careless and bossy. NOT PERFECT.
Alcoholism is BIG. It’s the huge, giant white with pink polka dots elephant in the room that alcoholics are so adept at ignoring but despite that and through all of the bullshit, I’ve grown to love this man. It did not happen over night. It took a long time for me to feel love for him but it happened because there are GOOD times. There are GREAT times. There are sweet, tender, love-filled moments I’ve experienced with him that I have never experienced with any other man. Again, when I say love-filled I don’t mean sex. I mean genuine affection, caring, closeness and friendship. Aside from the drinking, we have many things in common. When he’s sober he’s funny and intelligent. He’s sweet. He does volunteer work, he loves his parents and his family deeply. He is great with my daughter and they love each other very much. It’s all of these wonderful things about him that keep me hanging on.
I’m struggling now with this: has it gotten to a point where the bad (drinking) outweighs the good and exactly how much further can I go with this?
I am sometimes afraid of ending up alone. It may sound ridiculous to some but it’s how I feel. Most people have easily and readily dispensed the “just walk away and get over it” advice but tell me, how does that work exactly? How does one just turn off emotions and not feel anything? I’m not a robot. I don’t have that capability. I have well-meaning friends tell me to leave him and just stop looking for love because it will find me. Really? I think that’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. And I might point out these people are in relationships. Yea, PASS. I absolutely 100% do not want to spend the rest of my life without a man. There. I’ve said it. Judge me if you want but know that I don’t care if you do.
I get a lot of ” you deserve better” but how in the hell can I know that? I’m not saint to be sure so maybe I don’t deserve better. Any what exactly is “better?” Who in this world has a relationship that does not have problems? I wish to meet these people! Please, let me bask in the glory of your perfect love!
Maybe I’m with F. for a reason. I wish for the love of all that is holy I could explain how my heart feels but it’s hard to do. Not that I owe anyone an explanation but I can say with all honesty that there is thing THING, instinct maybe? that continues to nag at me telling me to not give up on this relationship and that I am supposed to be with him. I get pissed and I say I’m going to dump him but there IS this little voice says “hang in there.”
So here is what I will do. I’ll stick it out and hang in there while not losing myself. I’m going to focus on all of the good about him and I will be more aware of how I react to his drinking. I will continue to remind myself his disease has nothing at all to do with me. It existed way before I came into his life. I did not cause it nor am I responsible for it. I can also understand it because I’ve been there. Going to work on not bitching so much about his shit because when I do it only makes me angrier and gets me all wadded up and that’s just no good. I will continue to work on staying focused on my goals. I will no longer allow myself to become bogged down with negativity brought on by something I can’t even control. I will keep writing, laughing, smiling and doing the things I need to do to make a better life for my daughter and myself. I’m no different from anyone else. I want happiness and peace and success. I also need to make my own choices and do what I feel is best for me and for my daughter. In the end though, I gotta feel what I’ve gotta feel. I can’t just make it go away.
Incidentally, it also occurred to me while all cozy with my thoughts that life would be so much better if we had music in the background. I’d feel so bad ass if this was my theme song:
I also decided if things don’t work out with F., I may just go this route. I truly think I could pull it off.