June 4, 2014 at 2:01 pm #58101…Participant
I have just found this website and am already so grateful for all the wonderful advice I’ve found here. My problem is this: I have been seeing my boyfriend for about a year now, and we are very much in love. Now that I am graduating, I am ready to spread my wings and go explore the world a little more. My boyfriend understands this and is very supportive of my desire to see other places, and is willing to commit to a long distance relationship. Ideally, I would want the same.
However, there are some problems that keep cropping up.
My boyfriend used to be a very heavy drinker. From what I gather, he used to drink AT LEAST a bottle of wine every day, and is still quite notorious in our town for being a drunk. Before we met, though, he had managed to reduce his drinking to about a glass of wine a day. Now he drinks somewhat “normally” – once a week, which is about the same as I do. The problem is that especially lately, when he drinks, he drinks A LOT. He can’t seem to resist, and drinks more than everyone else. I can’t seem to relax when he does, being scared of what he might do (a few months ago, he visited my hometown and punched a man and ended up in a drunk tank). You can see why I worry. I watch him powerlessly as I would a car crash.
When we started dating, he managed to cut off drinking entirely for maybe four months. But slowly, he has been drinking more and more. We thought maybe his need to drink (and eat, and have sex incessantly) was due to a fear of our impending break-up (having not agreed on long distance at the time). I have expressed discomfort at his drinking, and because he is an amazing person, and hates to hurt me, it makes me think he can’t easily control his thirst to drink. We are now in separate countries, and on Monday he completely disappeared, unusual behaviour for him. When we next spoke, he said he had drunk wine all day alone in his room. The reason? He didn’t know. I don’t find myself upset at his needing space, but I hate to think of alcohol as something he retreats to as an escape. Our relationship, after all, was doing great at the time.
Basically, I’m not sure if I should change my outlook on his drinking and fully fathom exactly how far he has come (because he has come incredibly far, and is still trying hard) and try to change myself into someone who does not care so much, or if that is even possible. Will I always worry so much about it? How can I change my outlook on this?
Secondly, we can’t seem to achieve harmony in our sex life. We like very different things, and have both ended up compromising. He likes his sex very detached, disconnected, and well, porn-like. I am fine with this most of the time. But it does somewhat disturb me that we have never reached a “higher” level. He never wants to look in my eyes, for example. He prefers to fantasise about other scenarios, which is exciting except that he would do this every single time if he could. Role-play. Name-calling. Dirty talk. All fine in small amounts, but even when he removes all those side-line narratives by my request, I don’t really feel very connected. It is too obvious that he is doing it to please me, and I feel silly for asking for more. He says he feels connected every time though, and doesn’t quite understand what I want. He has told me he feels loved through sex, and whenever we have an argument, he tries to have sex for this very reason, which I have now understood as being a way for him to connect (although I feel nothing). It seems he feels connected only through my sexual desire for him (not mental, emotional). I don’t know what to do, and realise that a lot of women (and men) feel this way. How do I stop craving that sexual connection? Or how can I achieve it with him? Ironically, I found that once I had satisfied his sexual desires, I felt very connected to him because of the love that seemed to shine right out of him. And yet it does not seem enough.
Today we discussed my discomfort with his drinking, and I told him I knew I couldn’t change him and therefore might as well try to change my outlook on his drinking. He quickly launched into a conversation about sex, maybe wanting to feel loved, and as much as I wanted him so much, to feel connected to him, and to feel recognised by him in some way – his words differed so starkly from mine – it was clear again that he only wanted the act. I felt like I could have been anyone. Somehow the gap seemed so vast and awful in that moment, and yet I know this is common.
Today’s conversation seemed a sort of crescendo of our two biggest problems and so I come to you all for advice. I suppose my question is as to whether I should change myself internally, or seek my contentment externally. I try to follow my own intuition, but it seems to say two things. This man feels so right, and yet these things are undoubtedly hurting me. Is it really possible to change so that one is not hurt by small things like this? Help.June 4, 2014 at 2:19 pm #58102InkyParticipant
I’m sorry he’s “bad in bed” in that way. Kama Sutra book? Tantic Sex? That could dove tail into his role playing to then become a Real Thing. Pick up some books and tell me if that makes sense.
Alcohol ~ My DH used to date a functioning alcoholic, and because of the drinks, they couldn’t get it to the next level. Or any level. Platonic friends who would be guests at weddings. Finally his minister told him something very wise, “Sometimes people need Little Hurts.” He broke up with her, and that, believe it or not, was the catalyst for her to become sober ~ for life ~ with or without him.June 4, 2014 at 10:27 pm #58133@Jasmine-3Participant
hey hey inky. I am chasing yah woman !!!
You sound such a lovely soul from this post but you are being so harsh to your own self. Why ?
I think your intuition is telling you the right thing but perhaps, you are not willing to reflect on it. YOU do not need to change. You are awesome as you are. He will need to change as an individual when he realises that alcohol is a toxin and is causing grief in his life. Unfortunately, people who abuse alcohol do not respond to love and care in the same manner as someone who doesnt have issues with it would. It is a bad and life destroying addiction in simple terms and it takes a lot of hard work on the part of an addict to give up on this habit. Most often a person needs professional help and lifelong abstinence is often the goal as going back to the habit takes only a drop.
You have such a beautiful life in front of you and you deserve so much more. Can you pls be kind to yourself and really assess what your inner needs are and make decisions from there. Do not let your mind fool you, pls.
May you get the courage to do what is right for MINA.
JJune 5, 2014 at 8:17 am #58153AikiBenParticipant
I’m very much in agreement with Jasmine regarding the alcohol. Regarding sex, I think your expectations are natural and healthy, sex is one of the most intimate ways to express love. The trouble is (I think porn is largely to blame here and a general misunderstanding in society for what sex is really about) a lot of guys just see sex as another external thing to get (like alcohol, drugs, chocolate etc) to make themselves feel good, i.e. an entirely selfish act. The thing about love is that it is about giving, love is a connection in which energy is given out. If you only take, that is not love, it is just an unhealthy dependency. Zoning out typifies such action, which is what fanatasising is, he’s replacing the genuine connection with you with his fantasy.
The question I would ask yourself is ‘does he really care about me?’. I say this based on my own experience and of having male friends. It is often the case that men will just use women in quite a subtle way, just going out with them to satisfy their own needs and they just try to keep the woman sweet, but they don’t REALLY care about them. The thing is though it is hard for some (maybe most I don’t know) women to pick up on this. I know this sounds horrible but I’m trying to tell you the truth that’s all, and it may well not be the case in your instance. It could be that he just has this bad habit, but I just find it difficult myself to imagine really loving someone and even wanting to zone out at such an intimate time.
Anyway, this is just something to consider, Jasmine really hit the nail on your head, to listen to what you personally think is right from your heart and what you deserve.
I find that when I act based on preserving my own self-respect and my own integrity that I do the right thing, for myself and others. This doesn’t always mean doing the nice thing however, e.g. sometimes feelings will get hurt, but truth sometimes requires it. So, the one thing I’m going to recommend is that, to ask yourself which course of action leads to you doing the above as you go forward with this.
All the best,
Ben.June 5, 2014 at 8:42 am #58156MattParticipant
In contrast to some of the other kindly advice, I don’t think drinking is his problem. The drinking and sex seem to revolve around the same basic issue… low self esteem, leading to poor stress coping techniques. Consider for a moment looking at our happiness as a light inside us. When that light gets challenged, we feel pushed to rekindle it.
For him, it sounds like alcohol and sex are things he does to try to feel better. A few drinks or an orgasm later, and he’s back to stable ground, feeling balanced, stable, stress-less. The “flash-bang” of the booze or sex rekindles that happiness, chemically in his brain. Its pretty common, and he sounds like he’s flirting with addiction, by the “no-breaks” and the porn-like variations in his desire.
The solution for him is to find better habits for dealing with stress. Artistic endeavors would probably be great for him, he sounds like a dreamer. However, walks in nature, healthy eating, meditation… anything that removes the “life-grind” feeling and opens the space around him, letting him relax and unwind without the flash-bang.
Its up to him, of course, and nothing you do will change him. However, you can encourage him, be there for him, and offer your side… and hopefully that’ll help enough. It really depends on how much crud, how low the esteem, and so forth.
For you, you’ll have to find acceptance that he simply is who he is. Don’t “lean into” his cycle, it’ll just disorient you, wondering if you could do something better, help him in such and such a way. All just draining, codependent, worthless for you both.
Instead, focus your attentions on your own journey. He’ll find what he’ll find, and grow as he needs to. Out of your hands. What’s in your hands is the desire inside you to explore, fly, experience and grow. That’s noble, that’s where you’ll find your own heartsong. Then, you’ll be able to reach for and grow the life you want. Such as, if you want deep eye looking during sex, you’ll find it. With him, with another, who knows… but it won’t be a cycle of “wanting X and getting Y”. You’ll ask for what you want, and help your partner find you. If he doesn’t, you’ll know you tried and feel comfortable moving on.
From a different direction, if his actions are thorny to you and your heart, that’s fine. Offer the thorns you feel to him, and if he chooses to come to the plate and try, growing toward you, woohoo. Sometimes role-play, sometimes deep looking. If he can’t, doesn’t see the value in your desires,or in other ways doesn’t seem to be aiming at the same kind of intimacy you are, it may be time to turn away. That’s really between you and your heart, which is wiser than any words. 🙂
MattJune 5, 2014 at 8:46 am #58158LucindaParticipant
I have some experience, strength and hope to share…
1. My sister recently had similar relationship with a disastrous outcome (physical/emotional/verbal abuse, stolen money $35k+, etc). Most alcoholics can change/hide/quit for a spell, but nothing like a year or more. Hers certainly couldn’t.
2. I’m in recovery (alcoholic) and when it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and drinks like a fish it’s probably an alcoholic… His behavior is that of someone in the grips of addiction and without a solution to his spiritual problem (and spiritual problems need spiritual solutions btw, not more “will power” or whatever) he will go down and take you with him. He will, that’s what we do. Not fair, not right, but if you become a willing participant in this life you are inviting that into your life.
3. Being true to yourself is the MOST IMPORTANT reaction to ANY situation in life I have come to believe. It’s not selfish, it’s not self-centered, it’s the way we were designed to be. If the sex is not part of an intimate expression of your love (which CAN include all the dirty talk you both want) than it’s not a means to an end but rather just a way to get off.
Good luck, God speed, and try to listen to your gut and be true to yourself.June 6, 2014 at 4:18 am #58228…Participant
Thank you all so much for your kind words. It helped to hear from someone who has been an alcoholic personally. The advice here rings true. I think a lot of it seems to advocate focusing on myself more, on my well-being. Which is a hard concept because yes, I believe that will probably end with splitting paths. It feels so hard, with so much love, when I want so badly to see him through, with him trying so hard. I’ve been in relationships before but this is the first time I’m in love. And my love for both myself and him EXPLODES and seems to overflow when I think of reaching for the door. First cut is the deepest? Ahh. But really, I don’t think he wants to love himself the way I want him to love himself. And maybe he has to find the motivation for that love…for himself.
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