When to let go?
My partner of 12 years had become increasingly alcohol dependent over the last 3 or so years, with it increasing moreso over the last 6 months. She has a high profile/high stress job, but is also highly functioning and doesn't see it as an issue. I didn't act on it as in the past it has caused arguments, she was always a happy drunk, but would become irritating as we wouldn't be in the same head space.
To deal with her work stress, I would try and plan trips to force a 'work-life' balance. This had been working well as we could spend quality time together. However, in January of this year on holidays it wasn't the same- I could feel her stress and would let her drink as it seemed to immediately ease her conflict, but I would then become agitated in her company.
Six weeks ago, we had a major fight and she repeatedly told me I wasn't there for her when she needed me and I was very cold towards her. She was probably correct with her analysis, but I felt I never saw her with her working hours and when I did see her it was always with alcohol. She said she felt traumatized after our fight and moved out. Initially for a few days and then came back, but now its been about a month. She says she cant come back to our house as it's too emotional and she is not in love with me anymore. I feel we've neglected our relationship and both have some work to do on ourselves.
I dont have strong family or social support networks as we did absolutely everything together. My family is also interstate. She has strong family connections and has recently signed up to dating/social sites, with the intention to move on. She has also been spending more time at work social events.
I'm staying in our house, but I cant sleep, Im emotional, irrational and cant stop crying or thinking about the situation and starting to feel quite depressed. I am getting help for sleep and anxiety issues but my therapist is currently away.
I don't want to give up on our relationship, as I still love her and know that she is my soul mate. But, if she doesn't feel the same and cant come home, what do I do? Do I give her space and focus on getting myself together and continue hanging on to hope that she might come back? or do I accept that it's over and she will never come back, as she 'cant promise anything'? I feel like she is seeing someone else, but I could also be paranoid. I do feel totally alone and confused.
Thanks for listening
I think it's false hope really. And I think you are right, I truly believe there is more to it than this one bad day. think I'm still so shocked that an argument I thought as relatively small (well it wasn't really an argument - she was not feeling good and I wasn't there) but this would often happen when she would become stressed with work + alcohol, so I didn't think of it as any worse than any other time. I think she's found a way to get out of the relationship really and is using that one time as an escape. I 100% agree that I wasn't there during the moment she needed me, but I've been there every other time and it really did become difficult when I felt so excluded when it came to her work and family. I think tomorrow's counselling will bring me some realisation that closure is the only way to move forward.
Thanks for your reply, it is always greatly appreciated. So, it is over. The counselling session clarified that. It's amazing how it's now regressed to the fact that I didn't show any affection for years.. As the days have gone by, in her mind the last 12 years have been the worst! That we should have gone to counselling years ago and it has been so bad for so long? I truly find this hard to believe as I never had a chance to show her affection as she would be at work all the time. In the session she just had such a focus on anything she could think of that she didn't like about us/me and yet these things were so minor at the time, that neither one of us considered it to be an issue. She sat there and nodded her head, when the counsellor said that as she was the one that left then she had already moved on. Although I knew it was coming, I feel utterly devastated to know that it is for real. I still can't believe that she is saying now that her stress was coming from our relationship not her work - I had absolutely no signs of this other than her increase in alcohol use at home. Should I have picked up that being at home was the issue and that drinking was the only way to deal with me? I still don't believe this and she's found something to justify her unhappiness with.
I will separate finances and all our accounts as soon as possible, I think the faster this is done the better. Our dogs are treated like children, so I'm not sure how this will work out as I don't want to lose them - they are so important to me and give me some structure and purpose. Any strategies on how to make the separation process as easy possible would be appreciated.
Thank you again
I'm sorry. A huge blow to you and leaves you very lost. I know you family is interstate, however if it is possible to lean on them in any way for support please do so, now is not the time to try all on your own.
The reasons people give for their conduct and relationship breakdown are not always correct. Even when it may appear so to them their thinking may not be clear. There could easily be a temptation to blame yourself seeing it is the relationship itself that she said she could not cope with. It may simply be she has changed.
I'll mention in passing that Relationships Australia (1300 364 277 ) has a post-separation service that should be able to give you advice on what to do and the possible pitfalls.
What do you think you should do about the dogs? They mean a lot to you.
I think the idea of sorting out the finances quickly is a good idea. Please let us know how you go, you are not alone
If you click on 'All Posts' there are different sections you can choose, and at the top right it will say something like 'Start a New Thread', click on that then you can copy and paste your comment onto the space provided and it will appear, I think this would be a great idea.
Hi Eddie, I'm sorry for what's happened but Croix makes a good point when he said 'the reasons people give for their conduct and relationship breakdown are not always correct', how true this is, especially if that's what they have decided to do.
You don't know and can't be sure that she drank to deal with you and you can't believe it when she says her drinking has stopped or drastically been reduced because a drinker you can't trust what they say.
The question is how does someone show their affection, it changes throughout the marriage/relationship, what you used to do and what they liked once before may change, but you might not realise this, and this could the reason why this has been said.
The trouble is you believe you are doing everything right, so this is when confusions begin.
There could be many reasons why she started drinking, which is something she will keep to herself.
Hi Croix and Geoff,
Thank you so much for your replies it means a lot. This space in here has been incredibly comforting. Unfortunately Croix I am not close with my family, but I will be heading back there in May. My brother though is always happy to listen. I have a session next week (just me) with the counsellor - she has previously worked with Relationships Australia so I'm hoping to discuss with her what to do next.. I will also check out the Relationships Australia service.
Thanks again and I'm sure I will be in touch again. Your time means the absolute world.
At least you are not alone here. Going to the counselor is good, and if you can split things, wiht her looking after your emotional well-being (as much as possible under the circumstances) and RA advising on the steps to take then at least you will not feel as lost.
I'm glad your brother is there, remember even if you aren't physically close a phone call or Skype can make a huge difference. I had that situation with a family member who lived far away, and was later told those calls made all the difference -even if I did feel powerless at the time
I'm about to head off overseas for a week tomorrow and I thought the trip would give me a sense of calm and distance, but I've had a really bad day today. The week leading up to today wasn't too bad, at times I felt relatively strong - the ache was still there but a little better, however today feels like I've gone a number of steps backward. I think because she came to pick up the dogs today, I deliberately didn't see her because I thought that would have made it easier, but when I came back the dogs were gone and other bits and pieces around the house were too. I felt a real sense of sadness and numbness and feel like I've gone backwards - I guess this is normal. But, I'm really anxious now of what will happen when I return. She's been planning this week as a time to come and get her remaining things, but it really set me off today. Anyway, I guess it's how grief works, there is no linear trajectory and some days are better than others, but today is a bad one and will certainly be interesting when I return.