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Relationships are complex - Codependence and addiction
June 14, 2007
4:54 pm
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Bender
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September 30, 2010
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I will try to make this short: my girlfriend of 11 years left me in November (in Hawaii which we were visiting with my parents for their 40-year wedding anniversary). She has done some horrendous things to me, the worse being that in the first year, when we were dating long-distance (long story), she declared that this guy that she had been "seeing" was going to be staying with her for 2 weeks. Rather then see this as "The Sign" of impending doom and breaking up, I gave her a choice: she can stay friends with him (i.e., not sleep with him) and we can continue to plan our future or I am out. She did not answer right away...she had to "think" about it.

She contacted me a couple of days later and said that she wanted to be with me and she would not sleep with him. I said Ok and the 11 year odyssey started. And as some of you may be thinking, she DID sleep with him and kept the relationship going. Unfortunately for me, he lived overseas and she could not give him what he truly wanted: a visa to live in the US (he found another women who was willing to do it; he divorced her several months after he got his visa; she did not like the same music as him).

For 11 years, she continued to lie about it. And he kept coming up several times over the 11 years....She kept telling me what I wanted to hear so even though I confronted her on it, I let her assuage me and (to my detriment) kept coming back.

There is lots more there. I know I was codependent and have had problems with addiction. The addiction was high-functioning and driven by my moods. As she drifted away from me, I escaped to drug use and things spiraled down from there.

I am humbled by this; everything I thought I knew seemed wrong. I felt this deep, existential void, a sort of fight-or-flight reaction. I am afraid to be alone, but I know I need to be...for a long time.

I have learned many things. The most important thing is to notice the difference between knowing when something is going wrong (trusting beyond all non-verbal evidence) and when my self-doubts drive me to make horrible decisions. My Ex nad I had several mutual friends, most of whom ahve told her that they no longer respect her and cannot be her friend. But she had told them about her feelings for this other guy even as she lied through her teeth to me. I have started talking to them about why they never told me....I can understand why they did not, but I want to reiterate that I must be able to trust them to be honest to me from now on. I have grown much closer to them ebcause of this.

Anyway, enough is enough. Thoughts?

June 15, 2007
8:04 am
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Robert123
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Bender, you have been thru a lot. Why we keep giving those that hurt us another chance to do it...I don't understand. Relationships are tough. To be open and vulnerable in a relationship and set appropriate boundaries to care for ourselves at the same time is difficult. Codependency is probably a major factor.Good luck.

June 15, 2007
8:21 am
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startingover
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Hi Bender and welcome...I assume you are new to this site as I have not seen you post before. Well, you're right and quite simply put, relationships are complex at best, and when you add a little codependency and some addictions they can be a living nightmare.

The only advice I can think to give you is to take good care of yourself right now. This site is a great place because the people here are very kind and open-minded, it is easier to write things than say them and, like journaling, I believe things "come out" when you write them and look simpler somehow.

Have you considered any kind of support group like AlAnon? I try to attend meetings, read the literature fairly often, and generally find it a good support system. I am trying to "unlearn" my coping systems of caretaking and overdoing. Like you, I feel that I need to be alone for a long time, too, and it doesn't really bother me most of the time. I don't want any more bad relationships. I try to take care of everyone besides myself, and I am learning to enjoy my own company more so it is not all bad. I am very optimistic, can't think of a reason in the world why I won't be such a "loser magnet" one day.

An eleven-year relationship is a long one, lots of ties that bind, and one of the deepest is resentment, and that is a hard one to let go. Don't resent yourself for putting up with the crap, it was what it was, nothing more. Be kind and gentle to you, you sound like a very nice person.

Take care.

SO

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