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Hi.

Maybe some of you remember me, who knows. But, I've seriously been thru it with my ex...

But, I went on my first date since leaving my ex last March. I realize that I still deal with men as if I'm still married (more of a friendly thing, not romantic or sexual). I do not want to be sexual with another man (realized this that night too). The guy I went out with was an AWESOME date, but it doesn't matter-I'm not ready at all.

The worst thing is I can't stop thinking about my ex. HOw things used to be. How they still sometimes are when we see one another.

Long story short:

We met in 2000 and fell hard in love. IN LOVE. We just loved each other so much and it didn't seem to be burning out at all. I'd never fallen so hard for someone and I had had my share before and so had he. He asked me to move in then to marry him about 10 months into it. I saw signs that he had drinking issues, but ignored those signs figuring he'd calm down as we got older/had kids, etc. NOpe.

He began drinking a lot. I turned sour. I realized he had serious control issues and wanted a more submissive person (who I kind of was in the beginning of our relationship-daddy issues I guess). I just tend to be that way with men till I'm sick of it and lose it down the road...

So, By 2007, our marriage was in the DUMPS. We relocated which did not help. The sweet, helpful, funny guy I married was now a mean, bitter, angry drunk. He constantly made jokes insinuating how I was stupid. He teased our daughter like holding her favorite toy out of her reach and laughed when she cried. It was really really bad.

So, 6 months after relocating, I told him I wanted out. He agreed. We were done. I left to my mom's, then my brother's, and finally my dad's in a whole other state. I divorced him. He happily signed the papers. I got full custody of both kids. He later followed to the state we were in to start a different career (he's in school AGAIN).

So, now it's been a little over a year and we've developed a cordial friendship. He's been very regular with visitation. He's been more friendly and understanding and willing to work the rough spots out that come up. It's been great.

But still, I thought I'd go ahead and try to go on a date. Just to see.

And it just catapulted back into feeling all the love I had buried for him. I am feeling it and don't know why I would be feeling it! I mean, he was an awful husband!!! I hated who I was when with him!!!

But, he seems to be listening more. He's said "Maybe I could quit drinking...I'm not quite ready for that yet though..." but before he said, "there's no way I'd ever quit because I do not have a problem with it! You do!" SO what a difference.

I know I"m crazy.

I haven't told him how I feel. But I fear I will go and jump him or something if we're ever alone again. SIgh.

Most important, we have a 2 and 4 year old. They are having a tough time. Especially the 2 year old-she misses him. My 4 year old is always asking when he can come over. It's heart breaking. But, I just am so scared that if we did get together again, things would end up how they did before.

He'd just have to quit drinking. That is the only way I can see this working out. He'd have to. But I feel weak.

Any thoughts? Don't bash me. Thanks.

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Quote
But, he seems to be listening more. He's said "Maybe I could quit drinking...I'm not quite ready for that yet though..." but before he said, "there's no way I'd ever quit because I do not have a problem with it! You do!" SO what a difference.

No difference at all. He's still drinking.

Do not delude yourself. Actions speak louder than words.

PR, NOTHING has changed.


Consider how hard it is to change yourself and you'll understand what little chance you have in trying to change others.
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Good grief, PR, I've seen people make excuses before, but you don't even have any valid reasons here! Except that he followed you, and that he went to school.

Big whoop. Does that keep him from yelling at you? Drinking away the house payment? Losing job after job? Yelling at or hitting the kids because he can't control them? Killing someone with his car when he's DUI? Spending the last half of his life in the hospital (that you get to pay for, since he can't keep a job) after all his organs fail, one after the next, because of the alcohol?

Gather your senses, woman. Your children deserve more than to live with a drunk for a father. Do you want them to turn out to be alcholics, too? They will, if they live with him; that's how it works.

Copy this, print it out in big letters, and tape it to your bathroom mirror so you have to see it every morning:
Quote
He's said "Maybe I could quit drinking...I'm not quite ready for that yet though..."


If he is not ready for that, he doesn't love you.

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Hey, Purple Rain. I think it's really interesting that the date with another man brought these feelings for your ex to the surface. I think it's suspicious. I wonder if these feelings are really for your ex, the person, or if the date situation was just a trigger unlocking emotions from the past. Sort of the way a smell can trigger an emotion from a time in the past, and you may not even realize it.

Just the way certain situations can trigger emotions of fear or anger simply because the situation has some vague similarity to an old bad situation. This time, the date brought up the positive emotions you once felt for your ex. These emotions don't necessarily mean anything in the here and now.

As for your ex, you and he still seem to be caught up in a typical alcoholic pattern.


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He's an alcoholic, still in denial. He first needs to decide for HIMSELF to stop drinking. I was told by my counselor that it takes an addict a year of sobriety to be able to see beyond the end of their own nose. So, even if he stops drinking, you're unlikely to get anything but selfishness out of him for at least a year. How patient are you?

Al-annon meetings would help you understand how an alcoholic thinks. I'd highly recommend it.

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Neese,
I read somewhere here that a divorcee should start dating two years after D. I think it had something to do with the different stages you go through: sadness, grief etc. It seems like you are still going through a phase. You are still connected to your x. As long as that connection exist you can never truly find and be happy with someone else.

GG


D-Day #1 Aug/2007.
D-Day #2 1/27/12
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I see what you're all saying. Yah, perhaps some of the emotions were just from a trigger releasing feelings that I had to bury long ago just to survive. I thought a lot about this today and the fact is that he won't quit drinking. He suggested a marriage counselor the other day and asked me to think about it. I think I will tell him since we've done counseling with three different therapists over the years and it didn't help, that we should do something different, something we've never done before...I work on myself and he quits drinking and gets individual counseling with someone who is aware of substance abuse.

I think I'm caught in a trap with him like it mentions here in the marriage builder letters. One said that you may repel each other after spending time together, but then you feel attracted when you're apart because of the positives. You both either change your bad habits or you do not spend time together-one or the other.

We have two kids so it's impossible to not see him.

And he won't stop drinking right now so nothing will change there.

I do go to Alanon from time to time. I should probably go more often. But, I am involved in Alanon fairly regularly and read the literature every day. It helped me even find my way out of the marriage anyhow.

Perhaps it is just too soon to date. Maybe I need more time to wrestle free of these emotions.

Thanks for all the advice.

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PurpleRain,
What a tough spot to be in. Tonight I met a lady whose husband, after 17 years of a beautiful marriage, got hooked somehow on a pain medication, and became seriously addicted. After 8 years of wasting away their hard earned wealth, lots of expensive rehab centers, and crazy making cycles from the addiction, he finally OD'd and caused serious damage to his brain. He's only in his 50's, but he's in a nursing home, where he'll be the rest of his life. His wife, a lovely lady, is still grieving over the loss of their beautiful life together, before he fell into serious addiction.

Your H may or may not get it right. You're still young, and you get to choose how much of your life you're going give to this. Have you gone to Al-anon? You need to go to an Al-anon meeting. You will drive yourself nuts trying to change something you don't have power over. You deserve better. You deserve someone who would do the work on themselves, to offer you the best person and partner they could offer you.Your kids deserve it too.

Keep practicing tough love. Consequences are the way people learn. No pain no gain, even when it comes to living life right.

You may also need to reprogram your brain as to what love is. Your sensors may be picking up needy troubled men who don't have their act together. That might be something to explore. Just a thought.

[[[hug]]] (btw, this is weird... this smiley to the left.. he's supposed to be a "hug"... not sure if he looks like one!)

Last edited by HopingHeart; 05/05/09 01:57 AM.

"Jesus looked at them intently and said, 'Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible.'" Matthew 19:26
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The problem is that you are in love with this guy:

Originally Posted by PurpleRain99
The sweet, helpful, funny guy I married

But the reality is that he can't keep that facade up when he drinks and you have the reality of:
Originally Posted by PurpleRain99
mean, bitter, angry drunk. He constantly made jokes insinuating how I was stupid. He teased our daughter like holding her favorite toy out of her reach and laughed when she cried.

Also, you may be interested in reconciling but does he? There is a difference between that and "cordial". Until HE quits drinking and keeps it up for 6months, you can't consider going back with him.


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Purple Rain, you may have to see your ex, but you don't need to be chummy. Plan B is terrific in helping end cycles because with absolutely no contact, it's easier to move on. The cycle ends.It's nice that your ex moved closer to his children, but he also moved closer to one of his key enablers, you.

Maybe it would help to think of that sweet, helpful, funny guy you married being dead. Even if your ex stops drinking, becomes a recovering alcoholic, he won't be the same man you married. It's like not being able to dip your toe into the same river twice. You change, the river changes.


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I still love my X too but I have the common sense to realize it's not a good deal and to stay the he-- away! I don't know how long it takes to get over them, but we have to be strong and do what we know is the right thing to do. When nothing has changed...nothing has changed.


Enacting life's lessons into positive change... .
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Thanks again for advice. At least I can say I've remained constant in telling him that if he ever wants a chance with me, the liquor would have to go. For sure. I am pretty sure this will never happen as I really can't see him ever quitting. If he does quit, okay, I'll have decisions to make if he can have continued sobriety. I know him and he would be the type to "try it" for a few months and say the sober life just isn't for him or whatever. He'd need to join a program like AA out of his own will and really work it. I highly doubt he will.

I do want a friendship with him. I'm planning on meeting with him this week to talk. I am going to tell him that I'd be glad to cultivate a friendship at this point, but I can't see going to marriage/or divorce counseling with him (whatever you call it) at this time. I'll be letting him know that I feel we both should work on ourselves separately. And one day, who knows.

As for my feelings...guess I'll have to look more into why my sensors pick up the unemployed, uninspired, alcoholic, codependents in the world.

I do go to alanon. Next meeting is Friday.

It's the only thing that has helped lead me out of this relationship. I did manage to get away, divorce him, and get full custody of our children.

But, it's true, I'm an enabler of his, at least in some ways...he needs me to stay that way and I can't.

Thanks for all the words...

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Why do you want a friendship with your ex? How will you move on with your life if you are still involved with him, even on a friendship level? PR, it's like the two of you keep teasing each other. "I may stop drinking, just not right now." "If we each work on ourselves, who knows what will happen in the future?" Your ex hasn't really lost you at all, and he knows it. You haven't moved on much at all. It's as if you two are just in a trial separation period. It's not even Plan B. What if you told him "X, I refuse to talk to you or have any communication with you until you stop drinking and have been sober for 6 months." You can contact me through X person in case of emergency." Or because this is difficult on everyone, maybe you'll only communicate through email and only regarding the children.

6 months minimum of no contact would give you time to get out of the dynamics. More likely it will be closer to a year, because he probably won't stop drinking for several months.

Have you ever tried being friends with a man you loved deeply but who was bad for you, or who wasn't in love with you back? I did. It was the most painful, drawn out, miserable experience of my early adulthood. He used me, he couldn't help it. I couldn't really grow and love anyone else because this guy could suck me back in with one phone call. Don't go there. Get out.


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Green-I see what you're saying. Maybe then there is yet another problem in me in letting go of him too. I also hear these stories from people about befriending their exes for the kids' sakes and it actually working out very well. I have one friend whose ex is an alcoholic. They divorced, he kept drinking. However, they did remain friendly. He stayead in the kids lives and in her life too. Eventually they both remarried. He ended up divorced again, but quit drinking finally. She is still married and has two kids with the new guy. The new guy and the ex are buddies and hang out together. I realize this is totally not what normally happens, but it's what I was hoping might happen with us. HOWEVER, the more I think about it, the more I am realizing it's probably impossible. I think we were too in love with one another at one point to make just a great friendship w/out emotional ties involved. And he has said things like he doesn't want me to date. I of course told him he really has no say in that, but I am finding it very hard to date. I am forcing myself out of my comfort zone. A guy at work has been asking me to come out for appetizers for weeks and weeks. Finally, I went out with him and another male friend from work last week. I also went on that one date that started this post. Although I'm mentally having a hard time w/men, I'm trying to get out there with them and move on. I do keep ex at arm's length but I do it covertly. At this time, I wouldn't be able to just tell him I want no contact with him. I'd be too afraid I'd hurt him. But, I'll do things like drop the girls off to him because I notice when he comes here, he'll hang around but when I drop them off, I'm in control and I just tell him I've got to go. I have that codependency issue of not being able to tell people things like "I won't speak to you" or "It's time for you to go now." I'm utterly paralyzed when it comes to such conversations-even if they need to be had, I just can't do it.

Ugh.

I know I should try to keep my distance.

Thanks.

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Ok, first? You are in no position to be dating right now. It takes at least a year, if not two, for you to get over your marriage. Any relationship you go into, before getting over that, is doomed to fail. Don't treat that guy you're dating that poorly.

Second, you shouldn't be forcing your kids to go through this, just so you can have some male person by your side.

Spend the next 2 or 3 years focused on your KIDS, not your love life.

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I think I agree with you, Cat, about not dating, but for different reasons. PurpleRain, sooner or later, you're going to have to develop the skill of enforcing boundaries. Now, is a good time to start practicing. This was really hard for me too, excpet that once you're divorced, you don't have to worry about LBS. I was so afraid of making a selfish demand, that I never enforced boundaries. Any attempt to enforce my boundaries made my ex so angry and he told me I was being selfish.

Also, it was very helpful to me to think of the difference between "harm" and "hurt." Shots hurt, but they don't harm. Is it going to hurt you ex that you don't want anything more to do with him until he's been sober for an extended period of time? Yes. Will it harm him? Probably not. You being nice to him harms him. It's like the Mick Lowe song "Cruel to Be Kind."

Only when you've had practice inforcing your boundaries, will you be able to recognize someone who automatically respects your boundaries. You'll recognize that person because you'll feel rested around him, the result of not having to enforce you boundaries.

This ability to differentiate only happens when you know how to enforce you boundaries and do it. Until that happens, the disrespectful men are going to seem a lot like the good men. You may also misread the good men because they feel less involved with you emotionally. That's because they respect your boundaries and aren't invading.

The above is based purely on my own experience, anecdotal evidence from others, and my own reflections. So, a professional may tell you I'm way off base.

One of the best pieces of advice I got early on was this: If you want to say no, but are uncomfortable doing so, as for 24 hours to think about it. If the person won't give you 24 hours, then say "Oh, then I'll have to answer no."


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Cat, I have to let you know that my children aren't going through any of the man situations with me. I went on a date with ONE guy after leaving my ex LAST MARCH, so it's been over a year. I don't plan to go on another date with the guy anyhow. I hung out with a couple of male friends after work, but I'm not planning on being with them romantically---sometimes other female coworkers go to the same spot after work but they didn't that day. ANd as for their father, when I speak to him in length, it's typically on the phone after they've gone to bed. He does come to their bday parties and special occasions like xmas are spent together. I feel defensive because I am very protective over my girls and I spend all of my time with them. When I get my one night a week (when ex takes them), I thought I'd go on a date finally. But usually I'm at alanon meetings or doing laundry and bills. You make it sound like I don't dedicate my time to them. This whole post, this is my private life that I keep away from my kids.

GREEN--thanks again. You have very wise words to say. And, again, I do see what you're saying. I did have four months TOTALLY separated from ex after I left because he lived out of state. I feel it's a little easier for me to not have him in my life than it is for him to not have me in his life. But, everytime he invites me to do things that I think are inappropriate, I say no to him. I know I'm not perfect at enforcing boundaries, but I do say no. He'll ask me to do family things like going to the zoo or away to his friend's farm or back to our home state as a family trip or to FLorida for a family vacation...I just keep saying no and that I feel it wouldn't be good for the kids. That it'd get their hopes up that we're getting back together when we're not. I keep saying this to him, and he asks me less and less.

I know I should be more blunt, but it isn't within my ability to just say I want no contact with him. I'm okay with dropping the kids off and seeing him in a pleasant light for 5-10 minutes. The kids see us getting along well enough and they've adjusted SO WELL to this divorce. But I do see the need to do more in this area like I may have to let him know I just won't hang out with him if he does continue his invitations. You're right, it'll hurt him, but in the end, it won't harm him at all. So, I need to give more thought to be more...clear...with him.

Maybe I should stop saying "You never know" or things like that, because the truth is that if he doesn't find lasting sobriety, there is no "You never know." I think he thinks that if he works me long enough, I'll eventually ditch my sobriety requirement. He's tried to trample that boundary many times and I just keep saying there's no way I could ever live with it again.

As for other men, after my one date, I can't see seriously dating anyone for a while. I can see hanging out with the guys from work sometimes (something I like, grew up with brothers), but that's all the guys I need. And those would be friends only.

P.S. ANd I can't hang out with my brothers cuz two are out of state and one is a drug addict...

Last edited by PurpleRain99; 05/08/09 01:20 PM.
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From this website:

Quote
Honesty and Openness

Most of us want an honest relationship with our spouse. But some people have a need for honesty and openness -- it gives them a sense of security and helps them become emotionally bonded to the one who meets that need.
Those with a need for honesty and openness want accurate information about their spouses' thoughts, feelings, habits, likes, dislikes, personal history, daily activities and plans for the future. If their spouse does not provide honest and open communication, trust is undermined and the feelings of security can eventually be destroyed. They cannot trust the signals that are being sent and feel they have no foundation on which to build a solid relationship. Instead of adjusting, they feel off balance; instead of growing together, they feel as if they are growing apart.

Honesty and openness helps build compatibility in marriage. When you and your spouse openly reveal the facts of your past, your present activities, and your plans for the future, you are able to make intelligent decisions that take each other's feelings into account. And that's how you create compatibility -- by making decisions that work well for both of you simultaneously.

But aside from the practical considerations of honesty and openness, those with this need feel happy and fulfilled when their spouses reveal their most private thoughts to them, and feel very frustrated when they are hidden. That reaction is evidence of an emotional need, and if that is the way you feel, include honesty and openness as one of your most important emotional needs.

That was my threshold for a future spouse after having found MB's. You can't do that with an alcoholic.

Side bar: I'm a mother of a son, 35 and 3 years sober. GET THY BEHIND BACK TO ALANON in place of spending time with your ex!

You need to get mentally healthy to see manipulation each time it rears it's ugly head! Invest in YOU and not "what if's" over and over.

From GG:
Quote
Only when you've had practice inforcing your boundaries, will you be able to recognize someone who automatically respects your boundaries. You'll recognize that person because you'll feel rested around him, the result of not having to enforce you boundaries.

This ability to differentiate only happens when you know how to enforce you boundaries and do it. Until that happens, the disrespectful men are going to seem a lot like the good men. You may also misread the good men because they feel less involved with you emotionally. That's because they respect your boundaries and aren't invading.

The above is based purely on my own experience, anecdotal evidence from others, and my own reflections. So, a professional may tell you I'm way off base.

I'm not a professional either GG, your words are spot on! You are one amazing lady! clap

Happy Mother's Day ladies!


I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant. - Robert McCloskey
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Dear PR:

I related to what you said. I believe you do love your husband and there is a lot to love about him. I love an alcohoic too. A wonderful supportive place for people like us is Al Anon. You will find meetings in every town.


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