Jump to content
GATAF88

BF needs space 6 months after his brother died

Recommended Posts

Hello, I’ve been reading and re-reading all the posts in this group over the past few days. I wish I could turn back time and done this 6 months ago.

My boyfriend and I have been together for almost 2 years. The timing was perfect when we first met, we’re both in our early 30’s, both well-established in our respective careers and had much pretty much stable and grounded lives. I could never put into words how beautiful our love story was. We were so similar yet different in many ways, the chemistry was through the roof and we complemented each other so well. We were just so full of love for each other. We both have never been so happy.

Of course, there were challenges. We were in a LDR, 8,500 miles apart to be exact. We’ve only been dating for 2 months when he had to move back to his city. At first, the distance was overwhelming. We however committed to making this work. We survived most of the year on Skype calls, constant texts and calls and lots of love, patience and commitment. I was fortunate to have the privilege of being able to fly out to see him once or twice every month. I know of LDR couples who don’t see each other for months, and this makes me really thankful and appreciative of my blessings. Being able to be physically with him every month helped so much. Moreover, he was then able to request for a job relocation to my city during the latter part of year. That was a God send and really helped our relationship progress.

His contract ended last March and he again had to move back to his country. At that time, our relationship was already very grounded that going into LDR again was something we weren’t very worried about anymore. We also already have discussed our future plans. I was going to quit my job next year and move with him. We were going to move back to his hometown, get married and start a family. It was a fairy tale come true. I was so happy I was so scared that something bad will eventually happen. And it did.

Just a day before he was supposed to fly back, he got a call from his mom. There’s been an accident and his younger brother died. He completely broke down in front of me. I would never forget that night. He cried a few tears here and there when we had big arguments in the past, but never like this. It broke my heart to see him like this. And worse, I didn’t know what to do. After the shock has settled in a bit, I helped him booked the first flight out to his hometown. I couldn’t go with him due to work and I felt that it would be best for him to be able to focus fully on his family during this time. Through out the entire week leading up to the funeral, we have been in constant contact. I tried my best to be there for him, despite the distance. 

The two months after his brother’s death, he turned solely to me for support and motivation. I flew out to him a few times to ensure I’m able to really be there for him. He went about life like nothing has happened. I tried to get him to talk about his brother but he said that this was how he deals with grief, he doesn’t talk about it. So I stopped, I wish I didn’t. I wish I did more at this point. He thought about seeing a counselor. I encouraged him to do so, but he never talked about it again. Again, I wished I did more.

The third month after his brother’s death, things started going downhill. The communication started getting inconsistent, he was missing our skype call dates, not replying for hours in time, those kinds of issues. Being in an LDR, these things are VERY important. We started fighting a lot. We fought about stupid things, thinking about it now - communication issues, trust and fidelity, commitment to the relationship. We would always eventually talk and make up of course. Last July, I stayed with him for a couple of weeks. We had fun and it was good to be together for a period longer than a few days. I was hoping that this vacation would help us get back on track. It didn’t. It got worse the month after. It got really busy and stressful at his workplace that month. He was working 16 hour shifts and weekends, and the pressure placed on him was just too much. To make matters worse, we just kept on fighting even more because the communication at this point was not what it used to be anymore. However, I flew in to see him that month and we were able to patch things up. He said he was very grateful for having me through all this. I told myself, we were going to make it through this. It’s just the distance that’s making us fight all the time. When we’re together, everything’s going to be alright. I was so wrong.

He started turning to heavy drinking and drugs the last couple of weeks of August. I was calling him one night and he didn’t pick up. I got so mad that we didn’t speak for two weeks. I then initiated communication and texted him, asking him that we need to talk. He didn’t reply and so after a few days, I sent him an email. He texted me the next day saying he doesn’t know where to begin. That night that I was calling him, he overdosed and was rushed to the hospital. He felt so ashamed and depressed that he couldn’t bare to face me. We talked and cried this whole time. I told him that he should’ve told me sooner, that I wasn’t mad and that all I want is for him to alright. He kept on saying that he was so sorry, that not talking to me has killed him but there was no else to blame but himself. I told him that we will get through this together. We committed to help each other in this entire process. He promised to do better as well in opening up and talking about what he was feeling and thinking. 

Things were okay the next week and then we had another fight. We were in constant communication through text but I felt like he was trying to avoid talking to me face-to-face (Skype). I got upset, the fight started and then I brought up this stupid issue about his overuse of Snapchat. So stupid and shallow of me. We broke up at that time through text. We didn’t talk for one day. I then stumbled on this group and read a few of the posts. I couldn’t believe how similar the situations were. I then proceeded to text him apologizing for my actions. I promised that I will be a better partner to him from this point on and that I will doing anything and everything to help him through this process. He then replied saying that he will figure this out on his own. He said that he has never loved anyone as much as he loves me, but the timing and situation is just too much. He said that he’s going to crawl into a hole for next couple of months, that he won’t be checking in daily, disappear for hours in time, get drunk and do drugs. He said that I deserve better than that. I told him that I will support him through this, that everything takes a backseat now (including us) and that we fully focus on him and his healing now. He said that he will not be able to give me what I needed any time soon and that a relationship isn’t anywhere in the near future for him. I asked him if he did really love me, he said he does, that he loves me so much that it hurts so bad. We weren’t really able to properly finish the conversation at this point because his flight was about to take off. The last text I sent him was that I love him, I will wait for him and that he takes all the time that he needs to get himself back up.

As I waited for his flight to land, I started reading more posts in this group. I started to realize how ignorant, insensitive and selfish I have been to him through out this 6 months. I only thought of MY issues and MY frustrations. Yes, he was in denial of his brother’s death and did not get to properly grieve at all. But I was also in denial of it. I pretended it never happened too. I expected everything to be back as it was but it’s not. Of course he will change, the communication will change, his mood will change, everything will change. I took that all personally and attacked him for being “less committed” to our relationship. I constantly demanded him to talk and discuss our relationship problems when I should’ve encouraged him to talk more about his brother and his feelings surrounding it. He stayed with me after his brother died. He stayed with me through all the fights despite going through such a tragic event. I got several chances to make this right with him. I took that all for granted. And now he’s really gone. 

His plane landed, he just read my message but did not reply back. That night, I sent him one last text. I said I was sorry for all my part in this, that I realized now that my actions were selfish and insensitive. I told him that I would respect his need for space and time to heal and that he should focus solely on himself now. I also said that I will always be here for him and that I’m just a text away. I didn’t expect him to reply back, he did not. So this is day 1. 

I feel so numb. I haven’t really cried yet. It’s like I don’t feel that this is final yet. Our conversation was cut short and I feel like this is not it. I know I’m probably still in denial and it would probably sink in soon. Right now, I just feel so much so guilt and regret because I feel like this is all my fault. I SHOULD’VE DONE BETTER. I should’ve done my due research on how to properly deal with grief. If I did, I would’ve been there to properly support him and we wouldn’t have ended up like this. I was so selfish and just thought of myself. 

I know from most of the posts here that I should not hope for him to come back and just move on with my life. I’ll be honest and say that at the moment, I can’t and I won’t. I am still hoping that we will be able to get through this. We’ve just been through so much together, this can’t be it. I guess for now, I’ll just take it one day at a time. All our communication lines are still open and unblocked from both ends. I will however respect his need for space and keep the “no contact”. I think we need the space too really, to breathe and just clear our heads. These last couple of weeks have been really emotionally draining for the both of us. 

I am very grateful to have found this group. I haven’t told anyone yet about this as I am afraid that I might just break down and never stop crying. This is the first time that I have really talked about it, and I feel much better already. I will keep on posting updates, if there is any. I would greatly appreciate any advice and insights on my situation. Your words provide such comfort and inspiration to everyone here. Thank you for taking the time to read my story.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, GATAF88 said:

I wish I did more at this point.

Actually, it wouldn't have made much difference WHAT you did, there are a certain number of people that respond (in their grief) by withdrawing, we can't control that, no matter how perfect our response and support.  

 

9 hours ago, GATAF88 said:

He started turning to heavy drinking and drugs the last couple of weeks of August.

His chosen coping mechanism.  That his job put so much stress on him, demanding so much, during a time of grief is unfathomable.  Perhaps they didn't know it hit him so hard?  It seems society has a long ways to go to understand grief and how to treat someone who is grieving.  

9 hours ago, GATAF88 said:

I brought up this stupid issue about his overuse of Snapchat.

If it's big enough for you to bring it up, it's not stupid.  Under normal circumstance (last year) you probably could have weathered it, right?  It's not you, it's not the topic, it's not even being in a LDR (you were handling that just fine before), it's how he's dealing with his grief.  

 

9 hours ago, GATAF88 said:

He then replied saying that he will figure this out on his own.

He's pulling back here...common grief response for this % of grievers.

It saddens me how you're assuming all of the responsibility for the demise of this relationship.  It wasn't you.  It's him.  And it's not even solely him...it's grief.  But stop and think about it, do you really want to partner up in life with someone who does not want to go through thick and thin together?  Someone who can't talk over their deepest issues?  Someone who turns to drugs and alcohol?  You see, I don't want anything less than I had with my late husband...someone who loves me through thick and thin, someone that is truly a partner and we go through everything in life together, EVERYTHING, supportive, encouraging, positive, loving, comforting, I want it all.  And if I can't have that, I don't want it.  I won't settle for less.  And I hope you won't either.  I hope you won't beat yourself up for being human, for not knowing what exactly he was feeling and thinking when he didn't tell you.  For not being perfect.  None of us are.  You accepted full responsibility for the way the relationship ended up but I'm not convinced that's your blame to take.  You are a good person, you're willing to put forth your best effort, to overlook, to forgive, to try...you deserve the same back.

Been there.  We ended up good friends, we're better off that way.  He has issues to deal with and isn't in a ready place to enter a relationship with someone...and it's been eight years since we broke up.  Friends is good, but for someone to be my partner in life, I need more.

Read the following  thread,  prime example...this guy responded about as perfect as he could in this section, he was Mr. Wonderful to this gal and her son, and in the end, she broke up with him anyway.  Sometimes that's how it is when grief enters the picture.  I'm sorry, you just caught the fallout.  You see, there's a certain number of people that can't handle doing a relationship AND grieving at the same time.  My "friend" is Asperger's, that made it even more so that way.  They focus on one thing at a time, exclusively.  It's no wonder I was out.  Better to find out before marriage.  

I'm sorry, I know it hurts like the dickens, just please don't fall for the "it's all your fault" thing, it's not.  It's him, not you.  I know that's small consolation.

Just for general knowledge...  

http://www.griefhealingblog.com/2014/08/grief-understanding-process.html

https://www.griefhealingblog.com/2016/11/in-grief-being-there-for-someone-in.html

 

  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I second everything KayC has already said here. I went through a similar experience 3 years ago after being together 14 months, 20 in total before ending things to spare myself.

This is a common response, and you are not to blame for his actions. I too blamed myself and thought that maybe I was just being too hard on him, when the reality was he was confused about what he wanted and refused to tell me he couldn't handle a relationship, was having a really tough time; but instead treated me as though I had done something wrong, despite my efforts to do what he asked, be supportive and show up.

You did everything you could to be supportive, but he still chose to figure it out by himself... but neglected to tell you for months and still kept you hanging on. It takes two to maintain a relationship, and it isn't fair to you to shoulder all the responsibility because it failed. His choice to turn to drugs/drinking to cope, his emotional wavering and inconsistency are a sign of deeper issues; issues that he's choosing not to get help to resolve and it's negatively impacting the relationship. That is not your fault, you didn't drive him to behave this way. He communicated to you that he was fine, didn't want to speak of it and that he wanted to move forward; you didn't make him continue on as if everything was normal, he chose to do that himself.

I am going to say something quite raw, but it is true: YOU ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR THE DYSFUNCTION OF OTHERS.

Believing that you are is going to eat away at your self-esteem, worth and soul. I understand that you love him, and situations like this are really difficult not to take personally, but you can't assume that much responsibility, especially when it comes to how others behave. He is in control of himself and made his own choices, the fact that he knew they would negatively affect you goes to show that he wasn't thinking of your best interests. He left you in such a lurch that it is hard not to be hard on yourself, but again, he CHOSE this. After so long, these actions become a deliberate choice. 

When my ex stopped responding to my texts/calls after his father died, I thought that he was just having a bad few days and needed space. Then a week went by, then a month. He was making an active, deliberate choice not to contact me...... but had said he didn't want to break up. That kind of gut-wrenching hurt and confusion is nothing but damaging.

Do not lose yourself in his confusion and misery, even if the relationship continues, this kind of damage does lasting and sometimes irreparable harm. But as KayC said: You need to stop and ask yourself why you want to be with someone who runs away from you and/or turns to substance abuse when they have a problem.

--Rae :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

KayC and Rae,

Thank you so much for your insights.

I helps a lot to hear that this is probably not entirely my fault. KayC, I read the thread that you posted on your reply. It's heartbreaking. But I can't help but think though... At least this man has tried everything, he did everything right. When he looks back to this relationship, he will have no regrets knowing that he did everything that he could. There are no "what if's". In my case, I'm just haunted by all my actions, thinking if I did this or didn't do this, things would've turned out differently. To some extent I guess, it is still MY fault this has happened.

Yes, he is still essentially responsible for his own actions but as we have read again and again in this group, grief can just be so powerful that they have no way of fighting it. Especially in my boyfriend's case, he suppressed his grief for 6 months until the pressure (from work, from me) just got to him and he pretty much just went nuclear. Although I completely agree that alcohol and drugs are never the solution, but in his case this was the only available and easy option that he thinks he has at the moment. I have always believed that I have kept him grounded and he constantly says that too. Now that I am not in his life, I'm just so afraid that it might take a turn for the worse. I can never forgive myself if ever anything were to happen to him.

Tomorrow is his first day back at work (he went home to his family for 2 weeks after the overdose). I am so worried how he's going to handle the pressure. Before the NC, he told me he doesn't even want to think about it because of the amount of workload that will be waiting for him when he gets back. He works in a very highly stressful environment and unfortunately, there is this "macho" mentality surrounding it too. Expressing any type of emotional distress or seeking for help is not something that is normally shown in their line of work. They do have in-house therapists and counselors, and he did go to see one last June (which I forgot to previously mention). The therapist said that he should come back. He never did until after the overdose. From what I got from him, it looks like he's going to continue his sessions once he's back at work. Hopefully, he really does that.

I've been reading my last few conversations with him and the recurring points were this -- He loves me so much but he doesn't want me to be burdened with his problems; and that I deserve much, much better. He just seems to think so poorly of himself now that he feels that he does not deserve to have me in his life. I kept on reminding him that he is not a bad person and that he's just been dealt with a bad situation. He's always been a very confident and well-rounded man, one of the many qualities that made me fall in love with him. Seeing him act like this is just so heartbreaking. And the fact that he won't allow me to help him, just makes me feel even more helpless.

I know that I shouldn't settle for less. People who turn to alcohol or drugs and run away from me during tough times are not worth fighting for. But with grief, it's a totally different story right? To a certain point, they cannot control anymore what's going on in their lives. I have my own flaws too, I can be very unreasonable and stubborn and really a lot to handle at times yet my boyfriend has stuck with me through it all. Wouldn't it be fair to him for me to do the same this time around? I know I cannot wait forever (and I definitely will not) but I can at least give it a few months right? I am in no position anyway to even consider dating at this point. 

Rae, you're right. His actions could be a result of deeper issues. He definitely has some behaviors that need to be addressed. But then again, no one is perfect too. I'm not, yet he still stood by me. Knowing the way I know him and our how relationship was, I just feel that this is still worth fighting for. I have never been a quitter (I don't know if that's always a good thing), I just want to know with 100% certainty that before I close this chapter of my life, that I have done everything that I could to save this. 

KayC and Rae, I am in no way being unreceptive of your insights. I can be stubborn at times and refuse to see other perspectives aside from my own. I admit that this is something that I am trying to work on. I truly and sincerely appreciate the support that I am getting from here and it has brought me so much comfort already. I am new to this and am already learning so much from all of you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We were all stubborn because we all wanted to be the exception, we've all been in your shoes. He sounds like he is deeply confused and unsure of what to do, so he's using substances and his work to cope, but that only works for so long. Hopefully he does go to therapy as it seems he truly needs it.

While we cannot control what happens around us, we are in control of how we react/respond. Grief is different however, in that we don't all respond the same way, but there are similarities in how we act, as can be seen by the stories on the forum. We are all flawed, but us being imperfect is not a reason to tolerate disrespect or abuse. While he may not even be fully aware he is acting as he is, he should be aware that it is taking a toll on you, and from what you have stated, it seems he is fully aware and is trying to push you away to protect himself. A person who loves you should not be running from you when they have problems, they should be looking to you for support as you do to them regardless of what the issue is-- thats what couples do, they fight battles together. While you can't fix them, his unwillingness to even talk to you about it shows that he isn't even looking to you for support, again not your fault, but this is a battle you will not win. All you can do is show/offer your support but do not force it on him; do not let yourself drown in his problems. He has chosen to go it alone, and they are his burden to bare.

Trying to move in closer to him as he pulls off may have the opposite effect you intend, so tread lightly. Think of it like a rubber band, the more slack you create, the easier it is for him to run away. Don't show to him that you're sitting around balling, waiting and begging him to come back. Be supportive and take cues from his words and actions, meanwhile live your life and do whats best for you first. If he's not going to do the work he needs to do and has chosen to do on his own, then your waiting for him will do no good and you will get left in the dust.

It's okay to wait around for him for a while and try to fight for your relationship, but that is your choice to make. Only you can determine how long you're willing to wait for him. But if hes not fighting along side you, you need to know when its time to walk away. As far as dating again goes, I wouldn't even consider it because all you're going to do is bring the unresolved feelings from this relationship into your dating life. You're going to bleed on people who didn't cut you, and that isn't fair to you or them. Moving on is a process, it doesn't happen overnight and no one on this message board will ever tell you to "just get over it and move on" because we are human, and that's not how we operate.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dear GATAF,

First I'd like to express my condolences to your bf, and my sympathies for your situation. I was there a months back myself, and I know that it is not easy to navigate such turbid waters. 

5 hours ago, GATAF88 said:

I have never been a quitter

I wanted to comment on what you said here. I hope you proceed with caution, I felt the same way in the sense that I felt that I'd be failing both myself and my ex if I didn't give it my all to be there for her, and to preserve what we had. I thought I would never forgive myself if I didn't try and fight tooth and nail. I'll spare you the details for now, although if you're interested you should be able to find my thread not too far back, but it did not end well for me. My perception that despite my best efforts to be supportive, understanding, caring, etc. that I'd failed her, and failed to preserve us has left me bereft of the confidence and and joy I once (excessively) felt . Everyone is different and so you may not feel the same, my point is just to recommend that you tend to yourself and your own struggles first and foremost, like the saying goes "You can't pour from an empty cup". 

The last thing you want to do is to make him feel pressured or smothered, as counter intuitive as it may sound, your loving support may actually drive him further away. So it is my opinion that it is in both your and his best interests to take a step back, tend to yourself, and try as best as you can to manage your expectations and hopes. It's easier said than done.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, Rae1991 said:

when the reality was he was confused about what he wanted and refused to tell me he couldn't handle a relationship, was having a really tough time; but instead treated me as though I had done something wrong, despite my efforts to do what he asked, be supportive and show up.

Amen to that!  My Jim was confused too, still is.  The best thing I could have done was realize that and shield myself from what were his issues.  

10 hours ago, Rae1991 said:

It takes two to maintain a relationship, and it isn't fair to you to shoulder all the responsibility because it failed.

Yep!

5 hours ago, GATAF88 said:

At least this man has tried everything, he did everything right. When he looks back to this relationship, he will have no regrets knowing that he did everything that he could.

He put a lot of time and effort into the relationship and that of her son, perhaps he wishes he hadn't wasted it?  Perhaps not, maybe he really is super-human, but honestly, I wonder how many of us would do all that and not regret it.  I put a lot of years into my first husband too and believe me, I've regretted every second of it, I wish I'd put all that effort into college or a good cause!  (He also drank and did drugs, cheated, beat on me...not worthy of my time)

We have to come to the realization we can't save people.  Nor should we.  We aren't responsible for their inner drowning and there is nothing we can do to help them unless and until they come to the realization themselves that they need help and get it, they need to do it!

5 hours ago, GATAF88 said:

In my case, I'm just haunted by all my actions, thinking if I did this or didn't do this, things would've turned out differently. To some extent I guess, it is still MY fault this has happened.

Wow.  I can't believe you can still say that.  Are you really that hard on yourself?  I honestly wish you could have a few sessions with a therapist to find out why you are so hard on yourself, why you feel so responsible for others.  That is something for you to get to the root of, to dig down deep into, to uncover and get to the bottom of.  Lord knows I've had my share of counseling in my lifetime!  And needed all of it.

5 hours ago, GATAF88 said:

Yes, he is still essentially responsible for his own actions but as we have read again and again in this group, grief can just be so powerful that they have no way of fighting it.

Those two statements in that one sentence are incongruous it seems...HE IS RESPONSIBLE FOR HIS OWN ACTIONS.  Period!  Yes grief can feel overwhelming, but to say they have no way of fighting it is to render him helpless to the whims of grief.  Not so!!!!  I have had much grief, I lost my soulmate, husband, best friend, lover, when my George died 13 years ago.  That one thing has impacted my life more than I can say.  I lost my dad when I was young and my mom four years ago.  I've lost countless pets, friends.  I lost my two year old niece and my three year old nephew.  I lost my oldest sister just a few months ago.  None of that serves to excuse bad behavior and choices!  When we choose the behavior, we choose the consequences.  I didn't turn to drinking/drugs.  I didn't hurt other people.  You are still excusing him.  

5 hours ago, GATAF88 said:

But with grief, it's a totally different story right?

No.  It's not a different story.  This is indication that this is his chosen coping method.  BIG RED FLAG!  Why would he choose that when he just lost his brother to drugs?!  Does that make sense to you?

There are many ways to deal with our grief, to help us process it, drinking/drugs are not on that list.  At marriagebuilders.com Dr. Harley (founder, author of many marriage books and leading marriage counselor) says we cannot begin to deal with the marriage unless/until the person first deals with their drinking/drugs problem.  Period.  No headway.  You cannot do anything with the relationship where that is a part of it!  It obscures and overpowers everything else.  Now I'm not being judgmental, my own father was an alcoholic, but I'm pragmatic and realize the many problems it caused our family and things I had to come to terms with as an adult.  I would not want a relationship with that in it.  When I got into such a relationship when I was young, I learned so many of these things the hard way and with counseling and barely escaped with my life!  

You think because he hung in there with you in your stubbornness, you should hang in there with his rejection, drinking/drugs, totally different.

I'm not going to argue with you.  Rae has said some very good things to you, I hope you think about them and mull them around, there's a lot of wisdom being given you.  I am serious, if I were you, I would run, not walk, to the nearest counselor and learn what is going on in myself that I'd think I'm responsible for someone else so much so that I fault myself, blame myself, guilt myself.  It would be worth every penny spent in the long run.

11 minutes ago, Trey said:

So it is my opinion that it is in both your and his best interests to take a step back, tend to yourself, and try as best as you can to manage your expectations and hopes.

True...and from someone who has been there.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, kayc said:

Amen to that!  My Jim was confused too, still is.  The best thing I could have done was realize that and shield myself from what were his issues.  

Yep!

He put a lot of time and effort into the relationship and that of her son, perhaps he wishes he hadn't wasted it?  Perhaps not, maybe he really is super-human, but honestly, I wonder how many of us would do all that and not regret it.  I put a lot of years into my first husband too and believe me, I've regretted every second of it, I wish I'd put all that effort into college or a good cause!  (He also drank and did drugs, cheated, beat on me...not worthy of my time)

We have to come to the realization we can't save people.  Nor should we.  We aren't responsible for their inner drowning and there is nothing we can do to help them unless and until they come to the realization themselves that they need help and get it, they need to do it!

Wow.  I can't believe you can still say that.  Are you really that hard on yourself?  I honestly wish you could have a few sessions with a therapist to find out why you are so hard on yourself, why you feel so responsible for others.  That is something for you to get to the root of, to dig down deep into, to uncover and get to the bottom of.  Lord knows I've had my share of counseling in my lifetime!  And needed all of it.

Those two statements in that one sentence are incongruous it seems...HE IS RESPONSIBLE FOR HIS OWN ACTIONS.  Period!  Yes grief can feel overwhelming, but to say they have no way of fighting it is to render him helpless to the whims of grief.  Not so!!!!  I have had much grief, I lost my soulmate, husband, best friend, lover, when my George died 13 years ago.  That one thing has impacted my life more than I can say.  I lost my dad when I was young and my mom four years ago.  I've lost countless pets, friends.  I lost my two year old niece and my three year old nephew.  I lost my oldest sister just a few months ago.  None of that serves to excuse bad behavior and choices!  When we choose the behavior, we choose the consequences.  I didn't turn to drinking/drugs.  I didn't hurt other people.  You are still excusing him.  

No.  It's not a different story.  This is indication that this is his chosen coping method.  BIG RED FLAG!  Why would he choose that when he just lost his brother to drugs?!  Does that make sense to you?

There are many ways to deal with our grief, to help us process it, drinking/drugs are not on that list.  At marriagebuilders.com Dr. Harley (founder, author of many marriage books and leading marriage counselor) says we cannot begin to deal with the marriage unless/until the person first deals with their drinking/drugs problem.  Period.  No headway.  You cannot do anything with the relationship where that is a part of it!  It obscures and overpowers everything else.  Now I'm not being judgmental, my own father was an alcoholic, but I'm pragmatic and realize the many problems it caused our family and things I had to come to terms with as an adult.  I would not want a relationship with that in it.  When I got into such a relationship when I was young, I learned so many of these things the hard way and with counseling and barely escaped with my life!  

You think because he hung in there with you in your stubbornness, you should hang in there with his rejection, drinking/drugs, totally different.

I'm not going to argue with you.  Rae has said some very good things to you, I hope you think about them and mull them around, there's a lot of wisdom being given you.  I am serious, if I were you, I would run, not walk, to the nearest counselor and learn what is going on in myself that I'd think I'm responsible for someone else so much so that I fault myself, blame myself, guilt myself.  It would be worth every penny spent in the long run.

True...and from someone who has been there.

EVERYTHING KAYC HAS STATED HERE!

I've experienced loss too, but that did not give me a pass to treat my boyfriend or friends poorly, and I did. I lost my best friend to suicide 9 months after my grandfather died. I have buried pets, friends, family and lost my engagement/relationship of 7 years to infidelity. My dad's biological parents were both abusive alcoholics. My mother's father was too, and her mother was emotionally abusive. That did not give them a free pass to abuse their kids, and they weren't.

Same goes for my exes situation, his father's death was not an excuse to treat me like I didn't matter and wasn't worthy of common decency. He also used it as an excuse to justify his behavior in that he told me if his father hadn't died, we'd still be together. What a load of crap.

Once again, YOU ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR THE DYSFUNCTION OF OTHERS.

Please, go to therapy to find out why you are so hard on yourself. I say this as a person who was in the same boat as you are now with my ex Tim, and as a person who was once in your boyfriends head space (minus the substance abuse). When John killed himself, I was only 20 years old (I am 27 now) and for months I blamed myself because I had thought I was a bad friend, that I didn't hug him or tell him I loved him enough and in doing so, drove myself crazy. My fiance had to force me to get help or break up with me because I left him no other choice. He was not responsible for my behavior then, nor was he responsible for the outcome of my therapy sessions. I had years of unresolved problems stemming from abuse, low self esteem and a myriad of other issues that contributed to my behavior, NONE of which was anyone's fault but mine. Joe stuck around with me as I him when he was less than loveable, but it was not his job to tolerate my rejection, god awful behavior or shoulder my problems and he was in no way to be held responsible for how I behaved. We could not have continued with our relationship had I not gone to therapy and actually tried to get better.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Rae, Trey and KayC,

Thank you so much for your responses.

Trey, yes I have read your thread and I am truly sorry that you had to go through that. Reading it was just like reading my own story. It's just shocking how similar all our situations are. I do appreciate your advice -- to take a step back now and just take care of myself. I agree, it is definitely easier said than done. But as someone who doesn't quit, I will get there somehow.

Rae and KayC, it was quite painful to read your responses but I guess it was something that I needed to hear. 

His brother did not die from drugs, but in an accident. I completely agree though that my boyfriend's coping mechanism is unacceptable.

I know this for a fact because I've witnessed what drugs can do to people. I lost my mom to drugs when I was 17. She did not die from it, but it felt like she did at that time. She abandoned me and my 3 younger siblings (the youngest was only 6 at that time) due to her addiction. I had to stop school to work and take care of my siblings. My dad completely broke down as a result of this. Seeing him like that broke me too. I have always looked up to him as I've always been a daddy's girl. Seeing him in such state had a very overwhelming effect on me, I will never forget that day. We almost lost him too to depression. We were able to save my dad with lots of love and support, it took years but we did it. My siblings I am proud to say, grew up to be emotionally grounded beings despite all the pain that we've endured through out the years. My mom's addiction however continued to torture my family for the next 11, 12 years (I lost count to be honest). 

I've always been responsible for someone since I was 17 --- my siblings, my dad, my mom, my friends to a point (they always come to me for guidance and support with their problems), my past relationships, my subordinates at work and now, my boyfriend. What you said KayC hit me, we can't save people. That's all I've been doing this past 15 years, saving whoever needs saving. And when I'm unable to do that, I feel like I have failed them, consequently I have failed myself too.

It goes back to my mom. I tried so hard to save her. I cannot put into words how much I tried. And failing to save her continues to torment me to this day.

I am currently seeing a counselor although this issue hasn't been discussed with her yet. I will definitely bring it up on our next session.

My mind is a bit clearer now (thanks to all your responses). I know now that grief is NOT an excuse.

It is still a process, there will still be days that I will doubt myself but again, it is something that I will be working on. I am taking care of myself --- hanging out with my friends, studying (finishing my degree -- 1.5 years to go!), got back to running (I am a serious runner but stopped it during the the past couple of months due to all this). 

One good thing I get out of my stubbornness is that I always stand my ground. It would not be easy, but I will definitely be able to uphold the 100% no contact. 

For now, I will just take it one day at a time. Again, I truly appreciate your support. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My dear, I think that one of your greatest strengths is your willingness to be brutally honest with yourself. Good for you! We're all wishing for you nothing but the best ❤️

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It is day 3 of NC.

I'm starting to figure out now that mornings are the hardest for me. When I wake up, this is when I feel the emptiest and the reality of the situation is hitting me the hardest.

I guess this is because this is the time when we're usually doing our video calls. He's always the first to greet me good morning, every single day for the past two years.

I had a dream about him. 

This is so hard.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 hours ago, kayc said:

He put a lot of time and effort into the relationship and that of her son, perhaps he wishes he hadn't wasted it?  Perhaps not, maybe he really is super-human, but honestly, I wonder how many of us would do all that and not regret it.  I put a lot of years into my first husband too and believe me, I've regretted every second of it, I wish I'd put all that effort into college or a good cause!  (He also drank and did drugs, cheated, beat on me...not worthy of my time)

KayC, this got me thinking... I stayed with my first boyfriend for eight years. I did EVERYTHING to save this relationship. He was an assh*le (sorry but he really was). When I finally found the strength to end it, the only thing I wished was that I ended it sooner.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If nothing else, this thread has gotten you thinking...you are astute, I think you'll find your way, you're on the path, now it's just making your way through it, and healing.  I'm glad you're seeing a counselor, I've seen many over the years and in a way, our pathway has been similar.  I've had six major relationships...

1st marriage: when I was 17, to a monster that beat me, cheated on me, did drugs and drank (although he didn't use before we were married, nor did he hit me beforehand).  He was controlling, paranoid schizophrenic.  I knew his diagnosis before we married but at 17 I didn't know what that meant.  I soon found out.

2nd marriage: for 23 years, we had two kids together, I cared for his mom for three years when she was dying of cancer, we partnered well together except he was cold and unloving and didn't communicate on an intimate level.  He didn't do intimacy at all.  We tried marriage counseling but he wouldn't put in the work needed, it ended.

3rd marriage: to someone imperfect that was perfect for me!  We had great communication, were very loving and respectful and the relationship was unbelievably terrific...then he died.

4th marriage: he preyed on me when I was grieving, he lied to me about what he purposed, when we married he never lived with me, he used my credit for $57,000 and then quit his job and went into hiding, with a girlfriend. Obviously I divorced him asap.

2 engagements besides, they both broke up with me.

I started out with a mental mother who was controlling and abusive and had several personality disorders.  My father was alcoholic.

I tried "saving people" when I was young.  Many, many years of counseling later, I have come to realize you can't...I must do what's best for myself.  It took me years to figure out that I don't need a man to validate my worth, I'm okay, just me.  I think I've entered my relationships with the wrong idea in mind.  That is, all but George (the one who died), our relationship was great, and if I never have another, he gave me enough love to last me the rest of my life.  It is that type of relationship I'd hope for everyone, custom fitted just for them!

It can take a few months to get over someone, the pain is great, you may shed a lot of tears, but little by little, as you focus on yourself and spend time with your family/friends, doing activities you enjoy, the air begins to clear and you are able to see more clearly.  With that renewed clarity, it helps you be able to think about what you want and go after that.  It's so important to realize what we are and are not responsible for, to let others be responsible for themselves and for us to work on our own selves.  It took me until my 40s to learn the impact of my father's alcoholism on my life, and to learn how to deal with my mother and establish boundaries.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, kayc said:

and if I never have another, he gave me enough love to last me the rest of my life.

This line got me crying.....

It's been only three days and I am really struggling. I haven't contacted him or anything, I don't have problems with that all. I just miss him so much. 

I apologize if I keep on venting my frustrations out here. I am only able to talk about this with my counselor (I meet her only once a week) and this group. With everyone else -- I am still wearing this mask, pretending that everything is alright. I'm just not prepared to answer any questions yet. I am however meeting my #1 best friend tomorrow. I will probably talk to her about this, I trust her fully. She lost both her father and brother a few years back so I think she'll be able to provide some valuable insights to my situation too.

Thank you KayC for your wise words. As always, they are such a big help to me. I am taking in as much as I can from all of you here. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just finished a session with my counselor.

I don’t know what to do now….. I’m back to square 1.

From reading all your insights, I was very motivated to really focus on myself during this time. 100% NC was definitely going to be enforced. I was going to stay busy and active. I had a plan.

During my session with my counselor, I told her everything that has happened ever since the overdose. I told her that we haven’t spoken in 3 days and are essentially broken up at the moment. I told her that I was going to enforce the 100% NC for at least a month, if possible until 3 months and reassess from there. During this time, I was going to focus on myself and my healing.

She then asked if anyone else knew about the overdose and/or his coping with drugs/alcohol. I told her that his family doesn’t know at all and they live 4 hours away from him. Knowing him, I am certain that he hasn’t told any of his friends either. He told me that none of his friends know about the overdose incident. I told her that he did meet with a therapist a couple of times and was planning to continue the sessions. However, I have no way to check right now if he is actually doing it or not.

 Then it then hit me, I am the only one who knows about this (except for the person who found him, and he’s completely unreliable). My counselor then asked me, how will I accept it if he overdoses again? I told her in that case, I’ll probably intervene regardless if he wants it or not and get him the help that he needs. Then she asked me, what if he overdoses and dies? I couldn’t answer and I just broke down. I couldn’t even bear the thought of it. She is very concerned as to how I am going to accept this if it does happen. She is also worried that my boyfriend is going through a “slow suicide” — that he’s slowly deteriorating through drugs/alcohol, and that he has no one to talk to about his problems, especially now that he pushed me out. 

Now, this is all I’m thinking about. 

I know we cannot save people, they have to save themselves. But I cannot just sit by and just let him do this right? He could literally kill himself the next time he does it. He refuses any kind of help from me, pushes me out of his life, refuses to ask for help from anyone else and admits that he will continue to turn to drugs/alcohol. I don't know if I should intervene now and just contact him, or should I wait a few more weeks. Or would waiting be more damaging? My counselor suggested that I reach out to one of his friends too. 

I will never forgive myself for not doing enough. 

I’ve never prayed so hard in my life as I am right now. 

Please. If anyone has any insights to this, I would greatly appreciate it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, GATAF88 said:

He refuses any kind of help from me, pushes me out of his life, refuses to ask for help from anyone else and admits that he will continue to turn to drugs/alcohol.

Exactly. So how will your contacting him now change any of that? I think that by discussing this with you, your counselor is simply making certain that you are aware of any consequences that may result from your decisions ~ both good and bad. Bear in mind that everything you've decided about the extent of your responsibility here remains true. No matter what your ex decides to do with his life, you STILL do not have any control over his behavior. And your ability to protect him from himself is severely limited.

1 hour ago, GATAF88 said:

My counselor suggested that I reach out to one of his friends too. 

If you truly do believe that his life is in real and present danger, and that he is likely to repeat risking an overdose, then this seems to be a valid option. Do you know which of his friends would be willing to handle this information properly ~ that is, with the greatest of tact and in strictest confidence, since your ex specifically told you that none of his friends is aware of the overdose incident? This friend must be prepared to disclose to your ex how he or she learned of his overdose incident, and that the information was conveyed because of your grave and sincere concern that his life depended on it. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So let me see if I understand this correctly, is your counselor putting this back on YOUR lap for YOU to be responsible for him?  Because I think that's a HUGE mistake, and if that's how you take it, I would definitely clarify that with her asap!  Notify his most responsible best friend and be done with it.  YOU can't be responsible for him!  Staying NO CONTACT serves a lot of purpose, I would not break that.  Number 1 it helps you get back to a place of clear thinking and focusing on what you need to be focusing on...YOU.  Number 2, it preserves whatever is left of your feelings for him but puts them in a better perspective.  If he is allowed to continue to reject you, etc. it will destroy your feelings for him.  Jim and my going no contact made it possible for us to be friends later on...something not everyone can or should do, but in our case, it was possible because I knew he was mixed up and didn't let what he said get to me or affect me and I had time to get over him before establishing friendship.  We have to get in a healthy place.

Your ex will likely be aggravated at your telling someone about his overdose, but hold true knowing that you are doing what's in his best interest...he may or may not be grateful someday, but you can know you did the right thing.

 

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Regardless if I contact him or not, it will do no good... And if he's going to overdose again, I have no power to stop it. Doesn't matter what I do....

Is this really it?......

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It seems like it's a lose-lose situation whichever action I take. 

I haven't done anything drastic yet, like contacting him or any of his friends.

I'm just trying to process all these thoughts and emotions right now.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm so sorry that you find yourself in this position of uncertainty, my dear!

I repeat: Bear in mind that everything you've decided ~ in your most recent posts in this forum, and in the wise responses you've received from other members ~ regarding the extent of your responsibility toward your ex remains true.

I really think you would be wise to talk with your counselor about this again, before you decide to take any action that puts you back in a position of being, feeling, or acting as if you are responsible for this man's self-destructive behavior. No contact means no contact ~ of any kind. Your first obligation in this situation is to take care of YOU.

 

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, kayc said:

So let me see if I understand this correctly, is your counselor putting this back on YOUR lap for YOU to be responsible for him?  Because I think that's a HUGE mistake, and if that's how you take it, I would definitely clarify that with her asap!  Notify his most responsible best friend and be done with it.  YOU can't be responsible for him!  Staying NO CONTACT serves a lot of purpose, I would not break that.  Number 1 it helps you get back to a place of clear thinking and focusing on what you need to be focusing on...YOU.  Number 2, it preserves whatever is left of your feelings for him but puts them in a better perspective.  If he is allowed to continue to reject you, etc. it will destroy your feelings for him.  Jim and my going no contact made it possible for us to be friends later on...something not everyone can or should do, but in our case, it was possible because I knew he was mixed up and didn't let what he said get to me or affect me and I had time to get over him before establishing friendship.  We have to get in a healthy place.

Your ex will likely be aggravated at your telling someone about his overdose, but hold true knowing that you are doing what's in his best interest...he may or may not be grateful someday, but you can know you did the right thing.

 

 

15 hours ago, MartyT said:

I'm so sorry that you find yourself in this position of uncertainty, my dear!

I repeat: Bear in mind that everything you've decided ~ in your most recent posts in this forum, and in the wise responses you've received from other members ~ regarding the extent of your responsibility toward your ex remains true.

I really think you would be wise to talk with your counselor about this again, before you decide to take any action that puts you back in a position of being, feeling, or acting as if you are responsible for this man's self-destructive behavior. No contact means no contact ~ of any kind. Your first obligation in this situation is to take care of YOU.

 

I would recommend taking this advice by KayC and Marty. Clarify with your counselor about her words, because as KayC said NC is best and YOU are NOT responsible for him.

Take care of you first, above all else. You cannot stop or save him from his destructive behavior, and no one, not even a counselor should suggest you try. As stated above, make a responsible friend/family member of his aware of his OD, but do not contact him yourself. Please, disabuse yourself of the notion that you have ANY obligation or responsibility to save him or tolerate his rejection and dangerous, toxic behavior.

I am not sure if you are aware of or follow celebrities, I do not but this story in particular got to me: Ariana Grande was in this same situation with her boyfriend, rapper Mac Miller. He has/had substance abuse problems too and it destroyed their relationship. She finally left him after 2 years because he wrapped his car around a telephone pole while on drugs and fled from police. Ariana got dragged by the media and fans for not sticking by him and "seeing him through his worst."

HER RESPONSE WAS PERFECT! Read below.

Dd5G9DmU8AA0wO2.jpg:large

 

--Rae

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Amen, amen!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Marty, Kay and Rae,

Thank you once again for your responses.

I decided not to initiate any contact with him or his friends. I thought about it really well. Regardless if it was me or his friends who would try to intervene, it will still happen if he wants it to. We can't be watching over him 24/7. So yes, the NC stays.

I went to mass yesterday. During the homily, the priest said that "we should not be so hard on ourselves". I'm starting to accept now that this is not my burden to bear. I can only do so much. He has to help himself first before anyone else can.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×