Made a big healthy change but now feeling distant in my relationship. Is this normal? So what's the next step?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (34 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
My BF and I are in our late 30s and have been together for about a year. We are in the process of moving in together and have talked in length about combining lives and eventually getting married. We don't have a set timeline. I am a very type-A planner and he is very a very laid back "I'll get around to it eventually type". Basically, I'm all execution, and he's all theory. Our relationship is a really good one - we are good friends and are very close and honest with one another. We have a very, very strong bond and have both agreed that what we have is pretty hard to find (and we can both attest this having horrible dating experiences throughout our twenties and early thirties). Personally, I've had quite the horrid past of crappy boyfriends, flings and men breaking my heart, but with him I've never questioned our relationship. It's a relationship where I KNOW that things are stable, happy, loving. It's pretty great.
A few weeks ago he dropped a bombshell on me. He told me that he has started to mentally distance himself from our relationship due to the way that I drink. I tend to binge drink once or twice a week with my friends on the weekends and enjoy a few drinks with dinner here and there. BF also likes drinking, but drinks far less than I do. When he told me that he doesn't want to be with someone who irresponsibly binge drinks on the weekends, I took this very seriously. Of course, I was completely devastated and crushed by this and after doing quite a bit of thinking and soul-searching, my decision on how to proceed was to stop cold turkey. I told him that our relationship and he matters much, much more to me than drinking. Besides, my friends and I have been in seperate discussions about sobering up since we're in our late 30s and it's high time to start being mature and moving onward with our lives. So far, so great - I stopped drinking entirely, have been exercising like a mofo, am eating healthy and it's made a huge difference. I feel great, am not compelled to drink one drop and am honestly glad that I stopped.
Meanwhile, BF seems to be happy and believes we are "back on track" and sees this relationship as continuing to progress. He's picked right back up on where we left off with combining lives.
However, I'm feeling very...off. Yes, I know that cutting the drinking was something *I* needed to do for ME and is something that I've been wanting to do for ME for awhile; I guess him voicing his concerns was just the kick I needed. The fact that my friends are also doing the same helps a lot and we're finding tons of non-drinking activities to do together, and it's good to have a support network. However, I can't help but feeling like I'm now checking out of the relationship with my BF. Suddenly, that unquestionable, strong, bond that we have feels like it's totally gone, even though he's just being his normal pre-bombshell self (physical affection, verbal affection, emotionally generous, etc.). It feels like there's a total disconnect; he's right back to being awesome and for no reason, I feel like I can't trust him (I know he would never cheat on me or anything like that). When he tells me he loves me and that he can't wait to move forward with our lives together, I'm feeling really skeptical, rather than happy and on the same page like I used to. When he hugs me, I feel weird and like there's a wall between us. I've outright told him this as well as my concerns and he's told me that he's confident in our relationshp and wants us badly. He's happy that I made a healthy decision and feels like we're stronger from it. I feel disappointed, because I don't feel like we're stronger from this but don't have any reasons why other than, I just don't. I used to feel the same intensity about him that he feels for me, and I think I still do, but it's not as pronounced to me lately.
What the heck does this mean? What should I do? Should I give this some time since I made a big life change? Do I just keep going and hoping that the spark will come back? I mean, it's definitely still there, but it's faded some and I don't know why. He's still the same person I fell in love with, he hasn't changed behaviors or anything like that. It's like he saw that I was serious enough about us to take his request seriously, and now he's just acting like nothing happend and everything is just back to status quo. I on the other hand, feel different, but not necessarily in a bad way. I just made a big healthy life change. I'm feeling better about my life, but now indifferent about the rest of it. I think most of all, I'm feeling confusion about next steps. I love him to death and don't want to DTMFA, but am more confused about when it will come back...or will it?