Should I tell or stay out of it?
June 27, 2014 2:56 PM Subscribe
How do I approach this delicate situation of a recent breakup, addiction issues, and levels of responsibility and boundaries in a new ex’s life?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (20 answers total)
I was recently broken up with by my boyfriend of 2-1/2 years. We lived together for the past year, and in that time I discovered he had many problems that he hid from me until we were living together.
Namely, he struggles with addiction to alcohol, drugs, and gaming. This caused much stress between us and was a major factor in our separation.
There were several occasions where I urged him to talk to a professional, friend, or family member about his issues, which so clearly tortured him and he would seek comfort in me. However, he has mountains of shame and self-esteem issues surrounding many parts of his life and personality, and ultimately refused, saying he could solve the problems on his own or that it was his alone to take care of. He also vacillates between ‘I know it’s a problem and I want help to change’ to ‘I know it’s a problem but I’m not ready to change’ to ‘It’s not a problem, lots of people drink like I do, you just don’t like to have fun.’
His problems worsened in the past few months, especially now that we are broken up and he is in the move-out process. The drug use has ceased (though I feel like part of it is a lack of availability) but his alcohol use has increased. It’s not unusual for him to finish a 750ml bottle in an afternoon/evening. On several occasions, I found out he had driven drunk. If I had known when he was on the road, I probably would have called the police.
Regardless, we are now no longer together, but I still worry for his well-being and others’. I want to tell a member of his ‘circle’ about his addictions, so they can keep an eye on him, but I know if my ex found out, he would be both ashamed and furious. As of right now, literally no one other than me knows he has these issues.
Once, during a particularly bad episode, I told him I was concerned and wanted to contact his parents out of fear for his well-being. He was both terrified and livid, yelling at me and grabbing my phone from my hands. He said I had no right to contact his parents, and, ‘how dare you.’ Truth be told, I don’t know if contacting his parents would do any good. They have both struggled with alcohol abuse, and he is their only, golden child. In many situations, I have seen his parents express that he can do no wrong, and if he does, they avert their eyes and pretend that it didn’t happen. I do not know if they would believe or support me, and I think they might just tell him that I ‘told’ on him, putting me in potential danger.
I could tell one of his close friends, but they are closer allies of him than I, and they might also ‘tell’ on me.
I really am struggling with my concern for his well-being, and the potential for him to hurt others if he chooses to drive drunk.
Where do my responsibilities and rights lie in this situation? Should I just leave it alone? It is his issue alone? I know it has to be his choice to make a change, but it still feels like someone else should know. I still love him very much and I want him to be healthy and happy, but I don’t know where my boundaries should be.
I have created a throwaway email at email@example.com if anyone prefers to email directly.