I have always had a hard time putting my own needs first and I am also too much of a people pleaser. When my exboyfriend left a little over a week ago to stay with his parents, I was so devastated to say goodbye, but I have to admit that I felt a little relief. Relief that the ordeal in the hospital was over and relief that I no longer had to live with an alcoholic. Once he was gone, I thought that I would be able to start dealing with everything that happened- the endless hours in the hospital, fearing he would die, learning about another woman, adjusting to living alone again. Yet, once he was gone, I continued talking and texting with him. Part of it was that I missed him. Even though things were not good with us for a while and his alcoholism had taken over, I still truly loved him and we were together for almost nine years. But the other part of it was that I felt a sense of responsibility for him and I was invested in his health and his recovery process. Looking back on it, I probably should have cut off or limited our communication when he left. I realize now that all I was doing was continuing to dwell in the trauma of what happened. As long as I focused on him, I did not have to address my own feelings of sadness and anger and loneliness. I assumed as long as he was 750 miles away, it was “safe” to continue talking to him.
He just told me a couple of days ago that he is already coming back this week and rented an apartment about two miles from my house. I am anxious about this for so many different reasons. Obviously, I feel like he made this decision with me in mind. I have not given him any false hope that we will be together again. In fact, I have expressed my concerns that he hasn’t done anything related to recovery since he left the hospital and it is too soon for him to come back and to live alone. I am nervous and paranoid that I am going to run into him every time I leave my house. That is not a comfortable feeling for someone who suffers from anxiety.
I thought about it overnight and called him back and told him that we need to stop communicating. He needs to focus on himself and I need to start focusing on myself and dealing with everything that happened. The key word is “need”. I keep trying to make him understand that this is what I truly NEED. Of course I WANT to support him and help him and be there for him and even spend time with him…but I know if that happens, I will get sucked back into his problems and continue to enable him. He basically told me that he understands what I am telling him, but that he doesn’t know if he can not speak to me or have me be a part of his life. I realized I have to be much more firm and told him that if he does not give me the space I NEED, that I will end up resenting him. The more he tries to force and push himself into my life, the more I feel scared and anxious. He just does not seem to be accepting the fact that our relationship is over. It is not what I wanted…I never wanted ANY of this. But I know, without a doubt, that I have to put myself first and that I am not ready to forgive him for the way he hurt me and affected our relationship. I cannot revolve my life around his recovery journey. Our relationship has been about him for so long. I just need space and time to figure things out for myself and work through everything that happened. I just wish I didn’t have to do that with him living down the street.