The recovering addict and the… sports addict? Is this level of interest in sports normal? How can I not take the backseat to sports, while remaining considerate of his feelings as he deals with me dealing with multiple health issues?
posted by overyourhead to Human Relations (26 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Background: I am a mid-twenties female; my partner is a mid-thirties male. We have been together for 2.5 years, known each other for 3 years, and we live together in the apartment he rents.
I was in a professional graduate program and over my winter break entered treatment for my drug addiction. I left the program early because I needed to return to school. Despite all the problems (they placed me in the wrong wing of the treatment facility, so I was attending groups for a disorder a don’t have, but fortunately I was being medically monitored during my detox, which is exactly why I went there. I knew therapy would be lacking (in my case, non-existent), and I’m pissed that I wasted money after being put in the wrong program (the problem was rectified a few weeks in… 2 days before I was to leave), but I’m over it. At least I was medically monitored and I got a few weeks clean under my belt.), I wish I would have stayed because when I returned to school, I was offered a voluntary medical withdrawal that would not impact my job placement, scholarship, etc.—all because one of the deans knew of my problems for a few months, and my grades didn’t reflect the student I had become right up until entering treatment.
So since my withdrawal, on my own I’ve found a therapist who is willing to meet with me, an addiction psychiatrist who is willing to treatment me outpatient under the condition that I submit to random drug tests (my idea), and have dealt with multiple major health issues. I had a medical issue going on for some time, the treatment center gave me nine different antibiotics at once instead of letting me leave to see a GP, so I ended up with a systemic infection. I went to an OBGYN for that, and found out I had another bacterial infection that had turned systemic. (I was also violently raped a few months ago so finally seeing an OBGYN at my age was long overdue. I was worried any of this was tied to the rape incident.)
…Then I found out I have cervical cancer. Not fucking precancerous cells or low-grade whatever, but cancerous cells. I am being treated for that now because it’s already spread.
During the entire time these mysterious infections were being treated, I lost 20-30 lbs. I couldn’t eat from the meds, I felt like a dying cancer patient (little did I know!), so everything was exhausting. I was/am still detoxing, so this has all been really fucking hard. Admitting I was sodomized has really taken a toll on my emotional health. I’m just so so glad I’m in therapy and I wasn’t turned away as I have been historically (liability issues), because I love that I have one hour a week where I get someone’s undivided attention.
Now to my question… since becoming sober, I’ve realized there are major problems in my relationship—problems I used to ignore with drugs. My partner ignores me. We don’t talk because he doesn’t want to. He’s obsessed with sports. We don’t argue, although I’m learning on my own how to be assertive. I told him point blank there are problems we need to work together on and resolve.
I don’t know if I’m being overly demanding or emotionally taxing on him. I hate that I live in his apartment. He calls it our place and says he wants me to feel at home. (I left the apartment I was renting when I left school, and because my partner dispenses my meds and the plan was always to live together, I winded up here. FWIW, we’ve spent long periods of time living together under the same roof; this is the first time I call this place home though.) I don’t feel that way.
I plan to look for a job once my health improves. In the meantime, I am dying here. This is his daily routine:
Wake up at 8:45, listen to sports radio for 1.5 hrs while he relaxes / gets ready for work; goes to work where he simultaneously listens to sports radio and works; comes home for lunch for 2 hours where he’s on his laptop reading sports articles and listening to sports radio; goes back to work; comes home and immediately goes to his computer to read sports articles, listen to sports radio, and watch ESPN until dinner… during which he listens to sports radio. After dinner it’s more of the same: he watches his shows (of which there are many); he watches his teams’ games; he’ll watch bits & pieces of other games he deems important; he watches ESPN; he listens to sports radio—often simultaneously as he watches TV; he’ll catch up on watching back-to-back episodes of The Wire (he does this with major TV series he’s missed: buys the box set and watches back-to-back episodes).
At 1:30 am, he comes into the bedroom, where I am. I’m sad as usual because I didn’t get any airtime. He’ll usually be affectionate and hug/kiss me or initiate sex. (Right now I can’t have sex while I’m being treated for cervical cancer so that causes him some frustration. Prior to all of this, we had sex daily, which I enjoyed. We have great sexual chemistry.) I feel used and valueless. I get ignored all day and then you come to me for sex? If I try to engage him or go sit in the living room near him, I’m not allowed to talk. If I say, “Can I ask you something?” I get a huge eye roll or exaggerated sigh as he pauses sports radio or he pauses the TV. He’s said I’m not super talkative and to limit my talking to the “important stuff.” I asked him to give me an example of what I’ve said to him that’s Important vs. Not Important, but he didn’t have an answer.
I hate that we don’t talk. I hate that I have to ask to talk and it’s met with an eye roll or some sign of annoyance. I hate that going to the kitchen to get ice from the fridge means he has to make a big point of putting the TV on pause because the 2-3 seconds of the ice machine making noise is such a disturbance to him.
I totally 100% GET that he has his teams. If we’re going out to dinner, he’ll tivo his team’s game and watch it when we return. When he’s watching a game, I know not to go out there and talk to him. He knows I know this. I’ve asked for quality time. I’ve explained that this could be sitting in the same room. He can watch tv and I can be on my laptop, but there’s open communication if either of us wants to say anything, like “Dude. The weirdest thing happened at the grocery store today…” There’s no eye-rolling.
Right now I get no airtime. I’m like the dog in the Pet Supermarket commercial. I wait all day for him to come home and stupidly expect that I get some time with him and I never do. Ever. I know better at this point than to expect it.
He says I’m a Debbie Downer and I’m always sulking. I admit recovery is hard and I’ve been depressed my entire life. But I don’t speak to him about this so as not to be depressing. But some things… like when I found out about the cancer, are not Debbie Downer topics. I wanted to tell him but I didn’t get a chance until I was sobbing about it 2 weeks later when I finally got a chance to tell him (I had to explain why we couldn’t have sex).
He’s listened to my quality time spiel and nods in agreement… but nothing changes. He’s agreed to come to therapy with me next week and I’m holding him to his word.
I guess I’m just looking to hear if anyone has gone through similar. I feel like I have to walk on eggshells because he’s letting me live here for free (although he makes six figures, has an executive level job, any petty money I could contribute once I’m working is chump change to him; as a sign of my gratitude I keep the apartment spotless when the housekeeper isn’t around) and I don’t want to be perceived as demanding. He wants to get married one day and hates it when I spend the weekend with a friend from school because he misses me… but he doesn’t talk to me at all when I’m here! His family adores me, which adds to my guilt. They’re such nice people. (I grew up in an abusive household so I don’t have family to go to.)
Am I asking for too much? How do most couples spend quality time together during the week after work? Is this a sports “addiction?” How do I communicate my needs (attention, wanting time to talk) in yet another way that he may understand better?
(Please no DTMFAL because he will be attending therapy with me next week. I will leave once I’m on my feet if things haven’t been resolved. Right now I have $0 and because of my health, working immediately or packing up and going isn’t feasible.)