308 days ago when I quit drinking (and smoking), I told myself that I would give the relationship that I was in a year, and re-evaluate then. I knew that the relationship was bad, I knew that it had been bad for a long time, but being who I am, I shouldered a lot of the blame. I thought that maybe if I got sober then a lot of the problems would go away too.
The sad part is that it was problems in the relationship that I was drinking to hide from that escalated my drinking to what it became. I didn’t want to go home to an angry boyfriend; I didn’t want to deal with the drama that constantly surrounded him with his ex wife and son. I didn’t want to go home to a house that didn’t even feel like a home to me. I felt displaced and out of sorts and unhappy. Really, really unhappy. Drinking numbed that. I was for the most part a happy drunk. I also craved human touch and intimacy and the only way I got that from him was to get drunk and take the initiative, because he is not one to show signs of affection. He would get mad at me for wanting sex too often. He would get mad at me for “hugging up against him” in bed. I would feel sad and lonely and desperate for a loving touch or even a compliment (which I never got either). I tried not to take it personally and just accept that THAT was who HE was and that was his personality and let’s face it – everyone has different personalities and comfort levels with showing affection and being intimate.
I felt tricked though – lied to and cheated and tricked because I had believed that he was the victim in his marriage and that his wife was crazy and had treated him so horribly. Poor, poor guy. I spoiled him and put him on a pedestal and treated him like a king at the beginning, and made excuses for his bad behaviour and thought that things would change. There were so, SO many signs that I ignored, and every once in a while he’d do something nice so I truly believed that we could have a nice life together. When other people were around or when we were out at the bar or party with a group of friends then he was a completely different person. He would put his arm around me (holy crow!), he would engage me in the conversation and he would be all happy and smiling and getting lots of attention as he domineered the conversation and told stories and got attention.
Once I quit drinking, I had to face all of those feelings, and really start re-evaluating. In the beginning of my sobriety when he was so completely unsupportive – bringing home alcohol to stock the cupboards with, getting mad at me for not going to the bar with him (but also refusing to go anywhere different with me), feeling sorry for himself and making himself out to be the victim because boo-fucking-hoo, Donna isn’t a fun party girl anymore and this is affecting HIS life so drastically <insert eye roll here>, I was just trying to keep myself sober and going through my own personal hell, by myself (thank god for this blog and the amazing people here). Then he started cancelling our planned vacations because they wouldn’t be fun for him if it didn’t involve sitting in a bar or sitting on a beach drinking. Before my trip to the Yukon and Alaska in the Spring, I tried to talk him into coming with me but he wouldn’t. That actually turned out to be the turning point – a heavenly break away from his anger and constant negativity and after returning from there 3 months ago I started sleeping in the spare room and we basically just became 2 people living in the same house.
I also started focusing more on myself, getting exercise and getting out of the house and having some fun and making some new friends. The less time I spent around him (and he was out until really late with ball+bar several times a week anyway) the happier and more carefree I felt. The less I wanted to hide away and the more I wanted to embrace and enjoy life. It’s hard to do that when you’re around someone who finds the negative in absolutely everything.
And then… it all came to a head a few days ago when he confronted me about what was going on. The thing about the controlling personality types is that they’re very happy when they have complete control and they’re happy when the person they’re with is under that control, doing what the controller wants – especially if it is waiting at home patiently for them, meekly and mildly. I’m not really a meek and mild, wait at home type of person though haha… and that angers him, because he doesn’t have control. He had a big fit and made himself out to be the victim (no surprise there, I was fully anticipating that).
Two parts of the long & frustrating conversation with him:
Him: So what… I’m not allowed to go out drinking and having fun anymore? I have to stay home with you because you’re not drinking?
Me: I never, ever said that or asked that of you. I have absolutely no problem with you going out with your friends and drinking. No problem with that at all. I am getting out hiking and exploring. Would you like to join me for that? (he says no). I didn’t think so.
Him: I wouldn’t get mad if you came to the bar and didn’t drink, or if you started drinking again.
Me: (calmly) I don’t really give a shit if you did or didn’t get mad at me for not drinking. I’m putting myself and my sobriety first here, and doing what I need to do to stay sober.
Him: OH, THAT’S NICE – SO YOU DON’T GIVE A SHIT ABOUT MY FEELINGS?!
Me: What? I said I’m putting my sobriety first and I don’t give a shit if you do or don’t get mad that I’m not drinking
Him: EXACTLY! You don’t give a shit about my feelings!
Seriously, what the hell! He is 55 yrs old and more exhausting to deal with than a toddler having a temper tantrum.
I managed to keep my calm for a conversation that should have been really difficult and was filled with a sense of relief when I told him that yes, it’s over (realistically it has been for months). I’ve been unhappy for a long time and things aren’t working out and I tried to do it in a way where I shouldered the blame and told him that we just have two very different personalities. I don’t want things to get ugly. I know that he will play the victim to his friends and family. I know that it’s not going to be smooth. I have been dreading this because of his controlling and angry personality. It was a lot easier for me to just live in the shadows mainly being ignored and unnoticed. Now I just have to figure out living arrangements (I still have my old house but there are renters in it, so it won’t be a sudden quick move unfortunately). The GOOD thing is that most of my stuff is still packed in boxes because he never wanted me to put any of my stuff out in the house! I seriously have clothes to pack, one end table next to the couch with some pictures and a salt lamp on it, some scented wax warmers, coffee cups and a few other odds and ends and that’s it (if there was any question on why it hasn’t felt like a home to me).
Sheesh, why didn’t someone warn me that this was what sobriety looked like? heehee. 😉