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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
Welcome here to the Forum, I'm sure you are going to find many where alcohol has been a big factor in relationships.
Really there are two people, your partner who you originally met and have loved all these years, and another person who relies on drink to cope and increasingly makes decisions based on her addiction.
Although for the sake of harmony you may have let her drinking pass on occasions it does look like you have a fundamental disagreement in her method of coping. I'm not defending it, obviously dependence on alcohol is dangerous and harmful. It is an increasing addiction.
Assuming you did get back together that basic disagreement is bound to resurface and you would be back to square one.
I do not know the answer, perhaps being away from you seeing others will in time bring her to realise she has headed down the wrong track, perhaps her employment may suffer in time. A lot of 'perhapses'
One thing I might try is a letter, setting out the depth of your love and need, but also pointing out it is the alcohol that is driving the wedge between you and even leaving you behaving distant at times.
An option might be for her to seek help and for you to support more warmly. Do you think that might be an option?
Hi Eddie, thanks for your comment.
Alcohol may seem to be the driving wedge between the two of you, but there is a reason why she has now become addicted to it, and whether she likes to have a few drinks now and then or whether there are other reasons why, and these could include multiple issues which
As she is staying at work longer and going to social events, it's always thought that there is someone else, but at the moment it's all up to your
I know it's sad because the same thing happened to me, my wife left me when I was depressed and drinking, now your partner has made the choice to leave, she wants to drink and feel as though she can do so.
You do need to give her the space she wants, I know that's difficult for you and I'm really sorry, so can I please suggest you see your doctor, because you don't know what she is going to do and if she does return you're not sure how it will eventuate from my own experience.
If you love her being addicted to alcohol, it will be a long and excruciating road before you realise that there is absolutely nothing you can do, the decision has to come from her so the future is something you can't guarantee.
Please take care
Thanks for your reply. It means a lot and I certainly feel better posting my thoughts. She has now moved again into another place for the next month, so I guess for her coming back home is not an option.
However, I have made a time during the week with her to receive some counselling. I'm not convinced yet she will come, but if she does it will be the first opportunity for her to seek help and perhaps see things from a different lens. And for me to provide more support, rather than taking the 'you'll be alright' approach. However, the first step will be for her to acknowledge her reliance on alcohol as a coping mechanism. I'll certainly let you know the outcome of this during the week.
Thanks for your post, it really does mean a lot! She has moved again and looks like there is no intention to return home in the near future, so I will just try very hard to give her the space and not be emotional and irrational. Although I feel guilt for not providing the warmth and affection that she was looking for, I also understand, which is certainly hard most days to process, that there is nothing I can do to change the situation. Today does feel like a better day though, which is good!
It's certainly hard as she is by no means an aggressive drinker, is highly functioning and can stop for several days at a time. I can see though how it shapes her thoughts, mood and has stopped us from doing active/outdoor activities together as we used to do.
Thanks again for your post and I will let you know what happens during this week.
One day at a time!
Just an update to my previous posts. I've actually just seen my partner and she made it clear that she is definately not coming back home, so can't bear to be in our house nor the suburb that we live in. She is angry and goes back to our argument 6 weeks ago, reiterating the point that I was not there for her and this moment shattered her view of me and our relationship. And she most certainly is not in love with me any more. I asked her if she is seeing someone else, as it hard to make sense that this one moment could have such a chain reaction and cause our separation. She said she hasn't been drinking so much, so if this is true I guess it's a good thing and provides me with some comfort. We are still going to see someone during the week, but now I really do get the feeling that there is no hope she will come back. We don't have kids, but have 2 dogs that have been treated like kids for the last 7 years.
Although I have been feeling quite depressed of late and have at times been emotional and irrational, I've still been sending her kind messages, asking her to come back. I know there might not be an answer, but how long should I go on thinking that there is a chance she will continue to drink less and come back home?
You have made all the efforts you can and each time you've been told your ex is not wanting to return, Also that the things she talked about in that argument you had are still as real, still as hurtful for her (and you have agreed there is some justification for this) and sadly she has repeated she has no love for you.
I guess that you can take some comfort in that you have provided her an avenue to improve her life - if she should wish to take it. A parting gift might be the best way to look at it.
Beyond that all I can say is I'm a rather literal person and take people's speech at face value, they are adults after all.
If someone told me, and it was not in the heat of an argument, that they did not want a realtionship to continue then I'd take them at their word and leave it at that. If there were any resumption it would have to come from her, and frankly from your account that seems unlikely. I'd not wait hopeful of a miracle.
So if it was me I'd send no messages, no reminders, no contact I initiated myslef unless it was of a practical nature - such as the fate of dogs.
That's just me, I readily admit not everyone would feel the same or react that way, however I would try to rebuild my life, trying to fill it full of the things that gave enjoyment and satisfaction in the past. For me reading, movies, music, pets and my occupation. For you ... well you would know best.
Resuming a social life is important, even if discouraged and upset.
Perhaps a visit to your family as a beak might be in order - what do you think?
Hi Eddie, it's really nice that you're sending her lovely messages, I did that to my wife but it made no difference, she also didn't want to come home, she didn't like the country city we live in nor the people, so I knew it was no good trying because once she made up her mind, that was it.
Whether she turns up when you go and see someone is questionable, and I say this because she may feel as though all that will be discussed is her drinking and she may not like this.
We also went to a marriage counsellor when I manager of a
Thank you Croix for your reply - it is greatly appreciated. I did have a better week last week. I was able to sleep a little bit more and much more productive, certainly not so down. However, I have had the dogs with me - it's amazing how much pets can do!
During the week we went to counselling, the issue with alcohol never got raised. However, it was still a worthwhile session - with another coming this week. She had the option to end the relationship and have the counsellor work with us on strategies to move forward, but she didn't want this. So, I guess that tiny bit of hope flickered with in me. We have another session this coming week, but since then has again changed her position - to I'm never coming back and I don't want to lie to you. Again I feel confused and I asked her if she is seeing someone else as it sounds like she has moved on and I she told me I have no compassion for suggesting she had moved on. Still angry and relating anything I say back to our initial argument.
I know that I'm torturing myself by thinking that there is any hope and in the state of mind she's currently in, she's very angry, negative and unsure of reality. We share everything - bank accounts, house, phone etc so I know it's important to separate this as soon as possible. I do want to keep the house and our dogs, but I can't see this happening. Does anyone have any strategies on how they've done this before. I have had legal advice, so I'm not so worried about the finances, moreso the logistics of when and how to do so.
Thank you again, it is much appreciated.
That flicker of hope is well, I don't' know if that is good or bad -good I hope for your sake, false hope is a horrible thing.
A couple of times in you posts I've had a feeling that your partner is not so much reacting to you as to something inside herself or her other life. These are a couple of actual physical locations I'll never go to, and maybe it might be something like that has a bearing.
I'm not saying your actions have had nothing to do with it but it does seem like she has expected support about something, and felt she has not received it.
So I guess you see where counseling goes. I really hope it establishes some sort of breakthrough.