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    I did not respond for some time because yes, I was very shattered for some time. Then of course I was stable for some time and now I am back to feeling the chaos, which I suppose is how life goes. Thank you so so much for the thoughtful responses. I am very touched that you care enough to read about this.


    After leaving M and staying away from most people I know through him, I had to get a job to support myself. I work with preschoolers on the autism spectrum, offering therapy in their homes. Working with young families (while wishing for one of my own) then returning home to only my two cats, exhausted and with only time to do homework and prepare for the next day, left me as a husk of a human for some time. This fall I was also awaiting for/undergoing surgery on my uterus, another thing that made me both anxious and depressed.


    Later, I felt stable, and the surgery went well. I had some time of feeling grateful and a little hopeful. I joined a dating app to see what kind of men I would attract, it being 3 years since I tried to meet someone new. I still felt like I was betraying M for talking to someone new, but I had hoped this feeling would pass.


    This is how I met T, my current boyfriend. He is a hard worker, creative, intelligent, and takes life very seriously. We both want to have a family, raised as close to nature as possible.


    We are doing semi long distance, only able to see each other on the weekends. He wants to either move closer or to move in with me. I have school and am not emotionally ready. I’ve told him so, but he continues to talk about living together.


    He is head over heels for me, and I love him but…not in the way he loves me. I am not used to this dynamic. Usually I’m the one who is glued to the other person. It does not help that every now and then, either via current events or natural conversation, he asserts a world view that I do not agree with. This causes me strife and worries me, so I emotionally disengage from him.


    These periods of emotional disengagement from him have occured after current events or discoveries during more natural conversations. I disagree with him on these subjects, making me feel unstable and unsure about him. Of course I brought up important topics when we were getting to know each other, but for some reason his views have changed (or he was being a bit dishonest before). For example: he was very vocal about being pro Putin when Ukraine was invaded. When Roe v Wade was overturned he celebrated. Brad Pitt’s kilt during a movie premiere was “gay” and he said he was grateful his mom didn’t put him in gymnastics when was young because that’s for “fags”. He has also used slurs that I shoot down immediately. After talking with him about why I don’t like slurs he has used them less often, but they still slip out sometimes.


    When it comes to raising a family and feeling at peace with a partner, I know it’s not realistic that there be 100% accordance. However, these differences in mindsets really do worry me. I have experience with my stepdad expressing many of the same views T has, and the childhood I had with him was stifling and terrifying.


    That, on top of the fact that I still love M quietly, despite periods of emotionally setting him aside or saying goodbye to the idea of M so I can focus on my current relationship. I am not as attracted to T as I was to M, emotionally or physically, and this worries me. My family and friends tell me that a cooler love with T is normal, and to disagree about important subjects is normal. But sometimes it doesn’t feel right to me. I work so much that I feel like I can’t take the time to decided to either ask for a pause or to decide to be more patient for T. It’s now during vacation with my family that I’m able to reflect more, and I only feel anguish and heart ache.


    It’s a conundrum.


    I don’t want to risk losing what I have with T because I can’t get over M. With M, it has always felt like we were wonderful until his addiction took over, and I was always fighting for the real him to come out for good to tackle his addiction. I’ve realized I’m still in love with the non addict M. He sent me a couple messages this past spring to say he still loves me and has a stable job now, and is working on his sobriety. Mutual friends have confirmed this. I replied with a message similar to “do this for you, not me, or else it won’t stick. I want you to be happy”. Mutual friends have told me that M is sober (for now), working hard, and asking about me and saying he is still hoping that one day I’ll take him back.


    I don’t want to feel like I’m settling with T, but sometimes we don’t click. At first those periods of not clicking were isolated and I was not even thinking of M. But of course, now, I am. We are getting close to one year of my relationship with M blowing up and I am now 29, thinking of how I want to start a family once my studies are done. T knows I have baggage from M and M knows from a mural friend that I am seeing T.


    I know there is no real answer to fix this. But I saw that there were some old questions from you that I didn’t respond to, and with this current conflict in my heart I thought it might be a good time for an update.


    Thank you very much for reading this, if you are.

    I am now realizing the irony of the title of this thread.



    Dear TeaK,

    That’s a good point. Another thing to point out is how the toxicity wasn’t let out of the bag all at once. M minimized it and curated what parts I knew, always pushing only a little bit more so that it was a less bitter pill for me to swallow. I was the one that noticed that it was addiction – he never admitted to that before the last 6 months. It was like he tempered the experience for me raise the chances of me adapting to the changes as they progressively got worse. Until one day I found myself in a pit.


    I completely understand that the addiction has nothing to do with me. Before yesterday I was upset but at peace with the ball being in his court and never expecting to hear that he got sober in the end.


    But the cheating is what is tearing me apart. The cheating is what is telling me that I’m not good enough. And that something is inherently wrong with me.


    Dear TeaK,


    I would try to check on him, but he was usually gone if he was in car and awake. Driven to a safe spot to do those things, probably. Sometimes if his car was parked home and he was awake, I could see some quick motions like he was scrambling, but it would be hard to tell. And I didn’t want to be “that girlfriend” that is always accusing.


    What you said sounds most right. Except 3/4 of my boyfriends presented as stable, put together, healed. I was never attracted to someone who needed to be fixed, yet they eventually showed themselves as people who don’t know themselves. Or know how to lie and what people want to hear. I always felt fooled when their toxicity reared up after a slow reveal.






    Dear TeaK,


    My feelings about S have been completely resolved since that email. No good, not worth my time.

    However, things have take a cruel turn regarding M.


    On Monday I found 3 meth pipes in his drawer. He told me previously that he has been sober since July. Shocked and completely shattered from the complete disrespect of trust, I decided to look at his Facebook messages (something I’ve never done before). There I saw him and his friends (all meth addicts) talking poorly about all their girlfriends, how “these bitches need to calm down”, along with meeting times (which coincide with him being gone in the middle of the night) to meet to use.


    When he got home that night I pulled out the pipes, spoke calmly, and told him I’m moving out NOW, not October 6th when my apartment will be ready. He admitted that he’s never quit, he doesn’t want to quit, and he doesn’t think it’s a big deal. I spent the night alone crying and packing my entire life up. The next day I worked alone to get all of my belongings into my dad’s basement, next to a sleeping mat on the floor.


    We still had couples therapy on Thursday, and I wanted that to happen for me to hear what he would say to someone else. The therapist was working on the premise that M was sober, so of course he said all of the work I was putting in would be worthless. I mentioned how I had been sending M messages the last couple days, and when prompted by the therapist why he hasn’t responded M said “I’ve been too busy to worry about all that.” This broke my heart. When M said “if she didn’t stress me out so much I wouldn’t have used as often”, to which the therapist shut him down and said in the end using is his decision. The session ended with the therapist telling M goodbye, and wanting a few moments alone with me to tell me I did all I could and that I made the right decision to leave.

    That night we were officially broken up.


    Even though I’m staying at my dad’s, I’ve been going to the old apartment to check on my cats (who can’t live in the basement with me due to family allergies, so until October 6th they have to stay there). M has been very bad about feeding them at regular intervals, sleeping in or staying out. Today (Saturday) I knew he would be gone until the late afternoon because he mentioned a while ago that he had a party Friday night. So as I was giving them some exercise with fetch, I went on his computer to pass the time. I pulled up Instagram (my phone was charging in a different room) and he was already logged in. I saw messages from a girl who said “is this M from Grindr?”, and where he told her he would like to have sex with her, or get coffee and go for walk.


    The timestamps of these messages were from the minute he left to his car angry after I found his bongs Monday night. And he had been messaging her all week.


    He came home shortly after this, and I told him he really didn’t even wait for it to be official that we were both single, and that my body was barely cold. My belongings were still in the apartment when he did this.


    I made him be honest with me.


    He said he had been going on Grindr on/off for more than a year due to tension. Basically, me calling him out for his meth use and being more assertive with boundaries regarding his disrespectful behaviour aligned exactly with when he decided to habitually cheat on me. He said it was only ever sexting, but that he would have made it physical if it had happened. Instead he settled for sending dick pics back and forth. He told me that he didn’t tell me because he didn’t know how I would react if he said he was also interested in trans girls.


    I told him I don’t care who he is attracted to, so long as he was monogamous with me. Which we both established was what we wanted in a relationship (and what constituted as cheating) on our first date. All those nights he was out and not coming to bed, not only was he on meth and going to meet friends to do it. He was also going to sext trans girls alone in his car and masturbate to their pictures. And never coming to bed, where I was waiting sometimes explicitly saying I wanted to have sex that night (he blamed me for not making him feel wanted sexually sometimes, even though he was never present to be sexual with). He also said he thinks he might be polyamorous – I said polyamory doesn’t mean cheating. Poly people also have rules and respect in their relationships, not cheating.


    As he was telling me this, and I was having a break down and telling him how horrible he is, he was also falling asleep from his body shutting down after three days of meth.


    I don’t believe he kept it to just sexting, so I am getting an STD test as soon as I can.


    I told him he clocked out of the relationship the second he cheated, that the second I showed any resistance to his meth use he wanted me gone but wasn’t mature enough to break up with me. So he just used and abused me as he cheated and did meth for 1.5 years out of our 2.5 years together, telling me that I was stressing him out and making him do it while also lying about both.

    He says he loves me but he had demons he needed to sort through before meeting me. I said he doesn’t know himself, he’s been addicted to some substance ever since he was 17 (28 now), so he’s just causing destruction everywhere he turns.


    I am shattered. Destroyed.


    I am oscillating between hating him and being disgusted and horrified at how awfully I have been treated, to hating myself and thinking that I really must be trash to not be worth it. Only ever having men hurt me. As I type this I really do feel like I’m doomed for men who will trick me and manipulate me, then throw me in the trash after they had fun. I don’t think there are good men out there.



    Before I learned about the cheating, I felt more balanced – that if he gets sober long term maybe we can try again if I feel like it could work. But I was breaking up with him not promising myself that that would happen, to not rely on that.


    Now, I am absolutely traumatized. And this is the first time I’ve lived in the same town as an ex. He is 10 minutes away from me. I don’t trust that I will be strong enough to stay away, as everyone keeps telling me to do.

    I hate myself for still loving him. I feel like trash for still having feelings for someone who treated me like trash.


    I don’t know what to do.



    Dear TeaK,


    Everything you said about S was spot on. I was interested in your interpretation that he tries to retroactively paint himself to be a better person to “clean up” his mistakes and change the narrative gong forward. He absolutely does this. Judging from one of his favourite past times from when we were together – reading books on how to control the room, how to get people to follow you, how to be a boss in any scenario – he seems to enjoy controlling what people can and can’t think or feel of him, with him being at the center regardless. I do see a streak of narcissism in his approach. He had been watching the new Netflix Ted Bundy documentary the night he broke up with me, and he said he feels very similar to Bundy (a worrying statement) – that he loves entering rooms and getting people to notice and care about him, being smiley while judging everyone and trying to figure out how he can get them to do what he wants.

    I see this as an extension of that. He feels guilty about the way he acted when we were together, so maybe he gushed all of those emotions at me to make me crack and tell him it’s okay, that he’s clean in my books (which I didn’t do). He makes me the villain because I can’t directly serve him anymore but instead am entering his life in ways he doesn’t want – so he’s writing the story as I’M the threat to his current girlfriend, not his own actions. Very interesting. (Side note, instead of being jealous of her, I’m actually concerned. He is 30 and she is 22, which isn’t the biggest difference…but definitely a more naïve age for a girl than 28). And that is a good comment about him staying friends with his exes – his exes never had feelings for him, really. They were all one night stands or a week of sex with female friends as they took breaks from their boyfriends. And those all ended with the girls saying “that was fun, let’s go back to just friendship now, don’t take it personally”. And I’m the one who actually dated him long term and had a proper relationship with him. That supports your theory that he doesn’t want someone to want anything from him.


    Regarding M, him being in the car is definitely similar to a teenager avoiding their parents in their room. And just for more information, the computer to make his music isn’t in his garage, it’s in the living room. So he just goes out to his garage to do….things (previously meth). For hours. Then comes in to start his music hours after he said he would, usually after midnight, and spends the whole night at the computer. That clarification isn’t too important, but it does explain why the garage is a place of stress for me when he disappears there for such a long time.

    You have been so supportive, and offered me so much solid advice and comforting words. After M, I worry about the lasting effects. I worry that I will miss red flags, and withhold love for a new partner (very much not my style) in fear that a year down the road I will discover they have been lying either through denial/lack of self awareness or manipulation. The last 7 years of my life have been coloured by 3 men like this, 2 of which have drastically affected my life and mental health.



    Dear TeaK,

    I absolutely want him to pursue his passion of music, and I don’t want to get I’m the way of that. But if I didn’t say anything, he would make music 11pm-7am, then either pass out or get to work late for some other reason, come home late because of that, repeat. He has lost many jobs with these habits, and since he’s lied so much about his drug abuse it’s hard to tell what is healthy music making and what is meth induced obsession. We made a compromise last year that he would tell me ahead of time “hey, this is a music night so don’t expect me to be present”. I said I’d love half of the nights each week to share a bed with him. He has YET to use that system we agreed to, instead telling me he’s coming then never come. And after each fight he brings it up as if it’s a new idea he’s never heard of, confused when I say we’ve been talking about this system for a year, responding with “what’s in the past is in the past, you’re so negative”.

    In his car he is on his phone, smoking his cigarettes while texting people and watching videos. Before he would use his garage as a safe spot to go snort, so even if he’s working in his garage it is a stressful place for me.


    Yeah, I’ve noticed that – he only responds when I act like how his mother acts. Ask a million times calmly, with him ignoring me, then when I get mad is when he responds begrudgingly and dramatically.


    I appreciate everything you’ve said, truly.


    I have some news about S.

    My therapist told me that maybe an email explaining how I feel, making it clear that I don’t expect anything in response, would be helpful for closure. I did this, saying I meant to meet up last month for closure and that his confessions have confused me, bringing up old emotions. I also told him I wouldn’t be offended if he didn’t respond, that this was just an email for me, and that I miss many aspects of our relationship and previous friendship.


    He responded telling me to never contact him again. That he regrets “letting me in” (he was the one who sent me unrequited emails me for the years after our breakup, and my email to him was “I’m open to talk if you are, could we get a coffee?”) and has so much anxiety after seeing me last. He said it was disrespectful to his current gf (I had asked before if she knows, he said yes and that she’s okay with us meeting, and the same goes for M on my end). He said he is frustrated about my dependence on him (even though before this summer I never thought I would see him again and had accepted that).

    And his final comment was that he had moved on. This is the comment that I took some time to process. You don’t tell someone you’re still in love with them, that it should be them you’re with, that you imagine getting back together years after the breakup…then a month later say “I’ve moved on”. I’ve had exes contact me while with S, and it didn’t give me anxiety. It was unpleasant, but not a major source of anxiety, because I was actually over them. I see S saying this as bit delusional. I think he is saying this to force himself to get over me, making me the instigator in this situation. When in reality I went into that meeting calm and reserved, while he came in with hugs and telling me he loves me still and tears. My distress was after we went our separate ways, after he had thoroughly stirred my pot.

    Additionally, he is friends with all of his exes and has his current gf be friends with them, as he did to me when I was with him, even though he knows it makes her uncomfortable. But why does seeing me once cause him so much stress? I see it as, once again, a sign that he’s not over me. And is scapegoating me as the antagonist in his life, as opposed to his own actions and emotions he needs to work through.


    Regardless, it was interesting. Hurtful, but interesting. It makes me feel like a major part of him didn’t change. He did this same thing when he had cheated…messing with my emotions and then blaming me for feeling the after effects, when in reality he couldn’t grapple with or accept his own guilt. In a way that’s closure for me, but it’s still hurtful and frustrating.


    Dear TeaK,


    Precisely, it’s very immature. And it’s honestly maddening to be looking him in the eyes and tell him, for the twentieth time as calmly as possible “Don’t you remember last time we had this conversation, when you said you wouldn’t do that again and you agreed that it wasn’t helpful or healthy to do that?”.

    Yeah I’ll share what we talked about. We discussed some things M and I have learned about how someone with ADHD (M) and someone without (me) can get through relationship issues, and compromise was brought up. M said he does his fair share of compromise with me, and when prompted what that was he said “I listen to you talk and do nice things for you. Plus it’s hard to be creative and make music when there’s someone else in the apartment with me.” I told him it sounds like he doesn’t want a relationship right now, which he didn’t understand or agree with.

    <p style=”text-align: left;”>I’ve had more than just the two 2 bad relationships, and I’m 28 now. I really don’t want to go back to being optimistic, hopeful, and open to another person, because I’ve always been let down pretty hard. Lately I’ve been softer and more vulnerable with M, like when we got together, because the therapist told me too in order to give M the opportunity to prove himself. But now when he doesn’t come to bed because he’s in his car on his phone for hours, or making music for hours, or in his garage until sunrise (all times he told me he’d come to bed “soon”), or late for anything, it just ends up hurting more since I’ve been forcing myself to be less calloused.</p>

    I have my lease for October, I’m moving out soon…but after that I’m not really expecting anything good to happen anymore. I’ve had many friends actually tell me “Maybe you have to come to terms that you’ll never find someone who deserves you.”. Which has been…hard to hear.


    Dear TeaK,

    That’s actually something he has said he does – saying things that he doesn’t mean just to get me to lighten up, because he thinks “easing the tension fixed our relationship”. Even though the lies show up further down the road and make everything worse. To me this is very simple to understand, AND he and I have had this conversation countless times with no changes in his honesty or communication skills.


    I agree about what I should do when I doubt myself. But I’m at the point where I do feel like I won’t find a person for me, and it’s all very scary.


    On top of that my love for my ex has grown, despite my efforts to stay busy, and I have dreams almost every night that my “parallel universe” wish comes true – that he and I meet up again for a weekend just to hang out for me to see if the he is actually someone I should/could give a second chance and to rekindle our relationship. It’s very disorienting to wake up and find out that the truth couldn’t be further from these dreams I keep unwillingly experiencing.


    Dear TeaK,

    Thank you for reaching out.
    I am doing okay, on paper. I started a new job, am able to sign a lease for my own apartment, and will be moving out in a month when my new place is ready.

    The first couple’s therapy session went well – M had a lot to reflect on afterwards. After that we had almost 2 weeks of pretty constructive moments as well – we only fought a few times (as opposed to every day) and each fight was de-escalated and a peaceful conclusion was made every time (as opposed to him going out to smoke in his car, never revisiting a topic to apologise or move forward, and us sleeping separately).
    But then, the day before our second therapy session, he told me he accidentally double-booked something and now had a separate commitment during our therapy time. I was upset – we had both been there with our planners to set the date and time, and I had reminded him multiple times in the last week that we had therapy. I understand that his second commitment was more time-limited and I actually would have gladly rescheduled therapy for him to make that second commitment, but he didn’t communicate it with me until it was too late and I was charged the $100 for not being able to make that session (a fee of course he can’t afford to pay himself).

    I told him after that I don’t want to communicate with him in any way until he comes to me to properly apologise (I always go to him to fix things, even if I didn’t do anything wrong). We didn’t speak for two days, and finally he approached me to say “I’m sorry……but I still don’t get what I did wrong and I think it’s dumb that I have to say sorry.” Which of course started another fight. The last week (between our missed second session and our makeup second session that is actually happening in one hour) has been pretty tumultuous and bad. We managed to be comfortable enough to be intimate a couple days ago, but right after he asked if he could borrow money, said he was going to come to bed, and then I woke up alone to find that he had been out/making music until dawn.

    So I still feel abused, manipulated, taken advantage of, and grossly unappreciated. My personal therapist is checking in with me to make sure I am not blaming myself for any of his behaviour, but due to so many past negative experiences sometimes  I still do catch myself believing that I deserve this kind of treatment.


    Dear TeaK,

    I have talked to him about this at length. He always says “my behaviour was in the past, I’m focusing on the future”. Any time I bring up these issues, as they happen, that’s his go-to phrase. I tell him that he does nothing but live in the past, and force me to, when he repeats past actions every day. And his go-to response to that is “but every day is a different day”, then tells me that I live in the past. It’s an overly optimistic denial and lack of accountability that has led to my anger.


    We are going to our first couples therapy session in a week, so we will see how it goes.


    I am determined to move out, as heartbreaking as it is.


    Dear TeaK,

    Yes, I definitely feel resentment coming from him. That cycle started with me asking for him to help more, and then he would redirect blame and say “well you’re home all day”, and the pity party and arrogance would begin again. He has told me that I’m unattractive when I act like his mom (ask him to put away laundry that I wash and fold for him), and I tell him that I shouldn’t have to ask 5 times for a grown man to do anything.

    Whenever I talk to him about things I ask it nicely the first many times, but then I get angry after days of things not getting done. He says I should ask nicely (seems to ignore the first many times I ask) instead of getting mad. And only AFTER a fight does he then angrily do what I ask. It’s very draining and makes all other interactions strained.

    I’ve told him that exact thought. That I actually do care, unlike what he was shown in his childhood, and I’m not trying to nag. And I require that care and consideration in return in actions. His mother told him growing up that she hated him because he looked and acted like his dad. So he grew up idolizing his dad (bad news) and she hated him more. That same woman is saying I’m stressing her son out and to “fuck off”, so I can only imagine how many wrong lessons in love she taught him growing up.

    Oh absolutely. I told him that those words are empty without actions, and I’m not going to risk forming a family with him based off of what I’ve seen.


    When I tell him how his actions will lead to me being alone during the first ultrasound, me being alone taking caring of the baby, the kid waiting for his dad to come to his game but his dad never shows up, etc., he gets extremely triggered. His dad did that to him growing up, and he told himself he would never be like that. So his angry response, if he is calm enough to talk, is to say “but you’re not even pregnant, if you were I would change” and go into his loop of denial of how he is.

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 4 months ago by Candice88.

    Dear TeaK,

    I see him more than I used to, but only slightly more. He started a more stable job a couple months ago, but he usually gets home late. He assured me it’s because he was working, or because he went to our garage first and was working on things there. Now he says his mindset is to grind at work so that we can have a better life, but even if that’s what he’s actually doing he’s really not participating in the relationship outside of going to work.


    He always says “it’s easy for you to say because you work from home. You don’t appreciate the work I put in.” when I ask him to help me with some of the domestic chores.

    Back in March, when his mother got involved, she signed him up for a few therapy sessions. I was asked to come to one of them. He was more honest to the therapist and I sat in surprised silence as he told her where he normally uses, how often, etc. She was very stern with him, saying that last time his homework was to sign up for a support group (which he didn’t do). He said he googled it, but that was it. It was painful to hear him say that because that is his usually excuse – ‘I looked at them, isn’t that good enough? I took out the sponge and soap and stacked the dishes in the sink for you, isn’t that doing the dishes enough? I put away half of my load of laundry from two weeks ago, isn’t that enough? I thought about helping you cook, isn’t that enough?”.


    While I have been away he says he’s been crying a lot, and realizing what a schmuck he’s been. That he’s going to change his life. But I have heard it before, and I’m so sad that our relationship probably won’t make it much longer after I move out. He is such a kind, empathetic, sensitive person…to everyone except whoever tells him he’s not acting properly. The potential of who he showed me when we dated (his ideal version of himself, sans drugs and destructive habits) could happen, but I really can’t be used any more to wait and see if he can make it happen.



    <p style=”text-align: left;”>Dear TeaK,</p>
    The mess with M has been our fairly broken relationship that has been on the decline for most of its timeline – which I suppose I should share to give you a better picture.


    We started dating shortly after I moved to Pennsylvania March 2019 (due to my break up with S). I lived with my dad to get back on my feet, and my relationship with M was of course wonderful. We saw each other every other day, doing fun things at home, going to shows occasionally, etc. When we first started dating I asked him all the huge questions (kids, goals, perfect day, expectations, family dynamic, life philosophies) to make sure that I didn’t repeat some of the mistakes I made with S. For example, S wasn’t sure if he wanted kids but I always wanted them. I didn’t want to be misaligned with my new partner in that way.

    We had a noticeable problem from the beginning, however. He was always late to everything. I would sit on his doorstep an hour past the time he told me he would be home from work, I would wait for an hour to 3 hours at my dad’s for him to pick me up, etc. It was very odd.

    If wasn’t until we were dating for 6 months or so that I found out about M’s addiction. And at the time he masked it as occasional use that he had control over. I don’t like to judge people, and I dabbled in substances recreationally when I was younger. I knew he came from a traumatic childhood, with a neglectful alcoholic mother and an absent heroine addict father. I respected who he grew into despite those beginnings. So I trusted him. But as time went on, things didn’t add up, and I started to view it as ana addiction. I could tell high M from sober M, and I would ask him to quit, letting him know I wasn’t okay with it.


    Christmas and then my birthday wrapped up our first year together. Both of those dates, very important to me, he dropped the ball. I had to make the gifts for his family (not sleeping Christmas Eve) because he “didn’t have the time”, and he didn’t show up to my dad’s for cake and presents. I cried a lot that night, so disappointed. He did plan a getaway at an inn spa for the next night, but there were hiccups – we are vegan, and he didn’t warn the cook, so we couldn’t eat. He also didn’t realize that the spa portion needed reservations, so we showed up the next morning to a closed door.


    Then COVID hit, a year into our relationship, and I moved in so he wouldn’t be alone during the uncertainty. That’s when the severity of his addiction became apparent.

    He would get to work late, get home late, be behind on bills so I would cover for him, forget date nights, usually not come to bed…things were just obviously falling apart around him but he thought he was in control and that my expectations were “too high”.

    I almost left in August, but he promised me he would quit and seek help.


    I was busy preparing for graduate school and trying to stay afloat through COVID, but all of this was too much for me. Our fights increased and got worse, and my mental health went into a sharp decline. The holiday season was a momentary distraction as I focused on my favourite time of the year, but shortly after my birthday arrived and was, quite frankly, miserable. Around that time I started graduate school AND a cat we had rescued gave birth. I considered moving out or breaking up then, but the vet recommended for the kittens stay in one place until we found them homes.

    The fights escalated, and he finally quit using (if I’m to believe him) in April 2021. His attitude and behaviour haven’t gotten much better. I’m still going to bed and waking up alone 6/7 nights a week, I make dinner for when he says he will be home and I eat alone, then go to bed alone, nothing ever gets done or ends up happening. I’ve learned how much of his childhood has formed strange relationship ideas – he doesn’t see how his actions and habits are not conducive to a healthy family, and tells me that I am expecting a “demigod” as a boyfriend.

    When using his computer a few weeks ago an email popup showed me that he was “liked” on I asked him about it and he told me it’s an old account he needs to delete. I didn’t believe him (he lies often), and I made an account. Sure enough I found him, with an updated picture from our trip to my best friend’s wedding earlier this summer. When I showed it to him he said he just wanted someone to say something nice to him, since I don’t anymore. He got angry in a fight shortly after and punched holes in the wall – which triggered my childhood memories of my stepdad filling our house with holes.

    That’s when I decided to move out, and to sign us up for therapy. He doesn’t want me to move out, but I don’t know what else to do.


    My patience now after 2.5 years is nonexistent, so our interactions are usually not good. He told me I need to be more patient. His mother decided to get involved and now views me as the antagonist in my life and has told me to get out of his life. My family doesn’t know about his addiction, the attempted cheating, but what they do know makes them not support the relationship. My dad, who knows M, says he has potential but needs to change and is unacceptable as a partner.


    Then here I am visiting my mom and the situation with S happened. I am going back home to continue looking for an apartment, a better job to support living alone, sending the kittens to their new homes, and bracing myself for if we don’t work, despite how much I love him. I feel conflicted because I have 2.5 years left of graduate school, yet I greatly dislike where I live (last year I chose a school here because M and I are living here).





    Deare TeaK,

    I really do appreciate all of your help. Having someone to give me some insight (which I wasn’t expecting) has been very valuable.

    There is so much unpacking to do with M. I don’t even know where to begin.

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