It's a bad time...but when is it ever a good time?
June 18, 2014 9:44 AM Subscribe
I'm coming to realize that my partner is seriously abusing alcohol (and being cavalier about other substances) just as he's embarking on an existential crisis following a messy legal situation (finalizing a divorce that's 2+ years in the making). The relationship needs work; he needs work; hell, I might need work; but he's got a lot on his plate and I can't really pile on. I have kind of lost sight of what is reasonable here, and could use some perspective.
posted by magdalemon to Human Relations (30 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
The facts are that he drinks way too much (with a few textbook red flags--there is really no question that this is A Problem), has a history of other substance abuse, and I can't really trust him not to engage in total debauchery when he's around certain friends/in certain situations. He's almost 40 years old; I'm in my early 30s.
Other facts are that this relationship has been 95% sunshine and rainbows and warm feelings and support and care. There is so much about him and his character that I admire, and in most ways this has been the best relationship I've experienced. We've talked a lot about the future and seem to be on the same page about all the big things we want out of life; we travel well together; our sex life is wonderful; we genuinely enjoy spending time with each others' families; everything else is really, really good. And for every scary red flag fact, there's a mitigating counterpoint: he's financially responsible, works hard, uses his talents well, takes good care of his children, has no criminal history. There is a lot of good stuff here. He says he loves me a lot--a lot--and emphasizes that I am very important to him. I've been in enough relationships to know that this stuff isn't easy to find, and I'm real peculiar about a lot of things that he gets really well. That's rare, and wonderful.
I don't want to end this relationship, but I also can't spend the rest of my life with an alcoholic I don't trust.
He has expressed very clearly that he is in a crisis state right now. He has entertained suicidal thoughts in the last couple of years, prior to meeting me, and that scares me. He has recently started on Wellbutrin (and is disappointed it's not working immediately) and is open to talk therapy, but says he doesn't have time for it right now. Ideologically, he's not on board with AA, so that is not a realistic option.
So my questions:
- Am I kidding myself that this relationship has any hope? Are there success stories of other couples who've overcome situations like this?
- Am I enabling him/being codependent by deferring to his crisis, postponing the "you've got to stop drinking now or I'm outta here" conversation? Or is it a good idea to give the situation some time and let it rest?
- What can I do to minimize damage, or chances of him harming himself, in the wake of an ultimatum/breakup talk?