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Fast-moving rebound relationship with a jobless alcoholic - please give me your thoughts?

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Dear all


To cut a very long story short my ex and I were complete opposites. I come from a fairly wealthy, well educated background, am a career girl, well spoken and intelligent with my own money and a nice car. In fairness I don't have my own house as I'm saving for a deposit. My ex is an alcoholic who didn't work in the three years we were together and still isn't working. We split in early June.


His friends always took the mickey asking how did he get a girl like me, could they date me if we broke up, etc? I take care of myself, go to the gym, have no kids and no divorce behind me - reasons why all throughout our relationship he said he loved me.


Some two weeks after our relationship ended he got into a rebound with someone the complete opposite - a 20-something year old divorced mother with four children under 10 by at least two different fathers. My ex missed out on four years of his own two children's lives because of the drinking. Also, I used to be a few stone overweight before we started dating but lost it and have maintained the weight loss. He said he wouldn't have looked at me twice had we met while I was still overweight. This woman is overweight. She's a few years younger than me but I am in great shape. She is not.


I don't think he detached from me before splitting with me. For a start it took him three years to convince his ex to let him and me spend time with his son and daughter. Quite rightly she didn't want him introducing them to me unless he was 100 per cent about me. After three years she relented. He dumped me six weeks later. Why would he have introduced them to me if he was planning it.


Also he's an alcoholic - daily heavy drinker - who spends his £200 per fortnight benefit within the first two or thee days of being paid. After that he used to live off food, cigarettes, etc bought by me. Something which I presume he is doing with this woman. The thing is I could afford it. The impression I get of this woman from mutual friends is she has not much money to spare. She struggles to buy phone credit so asks them to phone her and her washing machine was out of order for weeks so he was calling back to his own house to do her and her kids washing.


Anyway I lent him the deposit for this place and topped up his rent after housing benefit paid the majority. As soon as I found out he was taking her and her kids back there I pulled the rent payments to throw them together and hopefully tear them apart. (For financial reasons if nothing else!)


They got together about the beginning of July. Last week his housemate phoned me to say he'd stayed at his house last Saturday night on his own - something he hates - he hates being on his own anyway, let alone on a Saturday night. We were never apart on a Saturday night in more than 18 months. On the Sunday he was in a foul mood. On the Monday the landlord threw him out (with notice) and he moved his stuff out. This was because he wasn't paying his rent and didn't pay his disabled housemate the £125 he owed her towards the bills.


Considering his inability to be responsible and contribute towards anything financially will a single mother of four young children put up with it? Is there a chance he could wake up one morning and be repulsed by her as some of my own friends say they have been with rebounds in the past? Both his ex (the mother of his kids) and I are fairly classy, attractive, sensible girls. This one is neither attractive nor classy.


We were so happy all throughout our relationship - even in the week before we broke up he paid me in three separate payments £500 which he owed me - another reason I think he broke up with me on the spur of the moment. I think the one advantage this woman has over me is she has her own place and lives in the same village - I live 30 miles away. As I said he can't be on his own but I wasn't willing to commit until he sorted himself out with a job and paid 50 /50 towards bills. Please help by giving me your experiences of bad rebounds - where it started so well and quickly went downhill - I'd be particularly interested to hear from anyone who, as he has, moved in just weeks after it started. I believe they started an emotional relationship at the end of May. I think they got together at the very beginning of July. He would have moved in with her last Monday which was August 17th.

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I'm assuming you hope you get back together since you're on a tear about his new girlfriend. As an educated and classy woman, I wonder why you'd be jealous of her or feel the need to make it clear that she's not as pretty, together or wealthy as you. As for your ex, an unemployed alchoholic isn't going to have all the girls banging his door down and if he can't be alone, he's moving on to the next thing.

What about him keeps you this interested in his life?

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Hi Agent. Thanks for your response. Yes and before we broke up he said he'd make sure I got every penny back. Actually I didn't believe him and my friends thought it was a way of him keeping lines of communication open. If I'm honest the fact he did pay me back makes me think he wasn't going to finish it because that's beer money - money he knows he eventually could have borrowed back from me. He doesn't like parting with money - hence the non payment of rent and not paying his disabled wheelchair bound housemate towards the bills. In other words if it's someone he doesn't have to bother with any more he's more likely to not pay them back and avoid them. I am an intelligent girl but unfortunately this one really got inside my heart and has stirred up a whole load .of co-dependency traits in me which I've never displayed before in my life.

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You've been rejected by a man who you think is (to put it bluntly) beneath you.


A lot of people date others who are perhaps not in the same "league", whether that is because they are not as rich, wealthy or educated as you. When that person is the one to throw in the towel, it can shatter your self confidence, after all, they were lucky to have you, and you were the best thing that ever happened to them!


You are basically saying, "Why would he want someone like that, when he could have someone like me?" Well why don't you ask yourself this question... "Why would I want an alcoholic on benefits, when I could have someone as hardworking, intelligent and generous as me?"


You are still investing time and concern in this person. Severing feelings immediately for an ex is impossible. But severing contact and blocking sources from updating you on his sad little life is achievable. My best advice? Forget him! He is another woman's problem now, and she and her kids are not your problem either. Stop comparing your lives, she doesn't matter, he doesn't matter, you're at a stage in your life where the only person who does matter is you.



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Thank you Stella. I know you're right. I never saw him as beneath me. I loved him so much. My only problem was the fact he didn't work and I swore never to move in with him until he did. The drinking, at the time, didn't bother me as he was never violent or abusive, only loving and protective. When we met it was instant chemistry. About three months in the chemistry started to die a little but at the same time he was going through hell and for the next two years it got a hell of a lot worse - homelessness, isolation from family, etc, and it brought us close together and I guess I wanted to protect him as much as I could. I do know you're right and I am trying to work on these issues. It's just I'm trying to understand the abrupt ending - not the fact it finished so much, but how abruptly and if I'm honest the nasty way in which it ended too. We'd split up a few times before just because we thought we'd be better off as friends and all the times we weren't together we still hung out together day and night, just the two of us. We were very much on our own for 18 months even without a circle of friends as that was how we liked it.


Thanks again for your reply. I guess what I'm looking for, rather than getting back together with him, is for him to pick up the phone and apologise for the cruel way in which he treated me. And I don't think that will happen until if and when he thinks, 'what have I done?'

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If it helps you vent and "get it out", tell us about the break up. What did he do/say that was nasty?

The truth is that an alcoholic (who is jobless and homeless to boot) does not have the same reasoning skills or conscientousness that some of the rest of us do. It's easy for us to recognize what you offered him and wonder how he could not value it or appreciate it or find a way to get his life together when he had such a good example right in front of him. But, if it were that easy, there wouldn't be as many alchoholics or wife-beaters or drug addicts in this world.

The appology is likely not coming unless he's going to try and get back with you. At that point, you should evaluate why you'd want to be someone's hero when they're not able to be an equal partner.

Best wishes.

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Alcoholics really need to be worrying about getting sober, not which woman to sponge off of.


You are not doing him any favors by being the person who enables his drinking by financing his apartment and other activities. Alcoholics are very ill mentally and physically, and if you are going to pay for anything, you should help him get into rehab and stop drinking, not worry about your 'romance'.


Alcoholics are notorious for hooking up with enablers who will take care of them and help them drink by taking over financial and other responsibilities for them. So you need to look at your own behavior and ask yourself why you are helping a man drink by paying his bills and wanting him back when he contributes nothing to taking care of himself nor being a responsible adult, and is drinking himself to death.


The best thing you could do for himself and yourself now is be his friend and tell him you will only see him if he goes into rehab or AA and makes a commitment to not drink, and that you will not support him or be with him at all if he does drink. If he does stop drinking, or even takes steps to join AA, be his FRIEND for a while and help him do that, but don't agree to romance or taking care of him.


Google 'codependency' 'alcoholism' and 'enablers' to learn more about your own behavior and his, and what you should do to stop enabling him and worrying about a romance with him, and instead focus on having a healthy life for both yourself and him, with alcohol having no place in it.


This other woman isn't his true love, neither are you, it is alcohol. He needs to get off it to save his own life, and you need to stop enabling him and have healthy relationships with men where they take responsibility for themselves as adults and don't drink.

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You know what, my ex did me wrong, and was cruel to me the last time I saw him. To the point where I turned my back on someone for the first time in my life, and told him and myself that this was just totally unacceptable. His behaviour brought both of us to the brink of tears. It may well be that he regrets his actions, that he is sorry, but I know he will NEVER pick up that phone and apologize. He will only put it to the back of his mind, take an E at the weekend to make him feel happy, and spend the rest of the week keeping busy so that he won't have to take responsibility for the way he behaves towards people. He might very well have met someone else - that's his business, and its her problem. I know he cannot make anyone happy as he is unhappy in himself.


Your ex seems to be similar in the way that he blocks things out with the drink. He is out to prove something, but he goes about things the wrong way, and will continue to play the victim. He won't be fit for anything until he sorts himself out, and that's something that he has to realize himself unfortunately. No one can fix him, and no one can really help him, because look what he does when you do? Spends the money on booze. Abuse comes in a lot of different forms, and I do think he was emotionally cruel to you, because he depended on you so much, and you had to watch his decline. He could have walked away a LOT sooner, but you have spent years watching him do this to himself. Somewhere along the road you have to stop sending him so much sympathy. We ALL go through hard times, but its not the falling down that matters its the getting back up.


You've invested a lot in this man, and that's probably the biggest kick in the teeth. Learn from this relationship and don't be so ready to help someone so early into a relationship next time. My ex wanted me to say that I was his gf within a WEEK of seeing him, all my instincts told me to see where things were going and take my time, but I folded and felt trapped very quickly. Next time, I will not be calling anyone my boyfriend for at least three months, or until I feel I know them well enough.


Take care of your heart, and realize that there are better men out there who want to take care of you in every way a woman needs x

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Hi Savignon


Thanks for your second reply. I guess I just do want to get all this off my chest and hear another person's perspective.


In the beginning I didn't know he was an alcoholic. He told me his ex (they were together for 10 years) wasn't speaking to him and hadn't since they broke up (ten months before we got together). He said he didn't get on with his family. Didn't really go into it. We had our first date (which he paid for) but our second one wasn't until about six weeks later. I couldn't get hold of him on his phone (unbeknown to me he was pawning it!) but he called me and we arranged to meet up. It's not how it probably sounds but we spent the whole weekend together and it was fantastic - real chemistry. He was telling me a lot about himself - he wasn't close to his family, he'd lost his house since the last time I saw him and that's why he went awol - he was trying to sort out somewhere else to live, etc. Looking back now though, he wasn't close to his family because of the drinking and he'd lost his house as he hadn't paid a penny of rent since his best mate moved out.


Fast forward three months to September and the chemistry between us died a bit. He called it off and we decided to remain friends. At this point he was living in a homeless hostel.


He was wanted by the police (his and his ex's break up was nasty and he slapped her - this, he says was a one off and he would never hit another woman again. He never once hit me) but decided to go on the run. Effectively he was homeless as the hostel wouldn't let him stay. I backed off from him at this point as obviously he seemed more trouble than he was worth. He moved in with a female friend of his but that only lasted six weeks as she couldn't live with him and threw him out. He turned up 30 miles away in my home city. Homeless and without a friend. I supported him as much as I could. Put a roof over his head for four months. He then moved back to his home city and lived with a young couple (from the hostel) for three months. He couldn't cope with them so came back to me. I thought we needed a more permanent solution so gave him the deposit to rent a shared house - a lovely five bed, detached house in a quiet family cul de sac in a really nice suburb. He lived there until last week.


Well he moved in to this house two years ago since this September and things between us began to be really good. He'd got his own place, wasn't homeless, friendless, etc, and we built up a good circle of friends. I would say of our three years together I wasn't in love with him until the latter half as I started to see a different person. Although again he still wasn't working (he can't work as if he doesn't have a drink he shakes uncontrollably - he's not functioning at all!) Earlier this year, with all the going on the run, etc, it caught up with him and the police came knocking at his door. They had been looking for him on and off for non appearance, non payment of fines, not turning up to probation, etc. He lied to me this one day and said he'd handed himself in and gone to court. As soon as I knew the truth I tipped them off about where and what time they could catch him. (He does know this and later thanked me!) He went to prison for six weeks in February and in that time was stone cold sober - first time ever in our relationship - he drinks daily. In his sobriety he wrote me nine love letters, said all that mattered to him were me and the children and promised things would be different when he came out.


When he came out things were better than ever between us. His family started rallying round for the first time in four years, he'd got his kids back and introduced them to me a number of times, I also met his dad, nan, brother, brother's wife and brother's daughter for the first time - so had no reason to not feel secure in this relationship. He constantly told me he loved me, I was gorgeous, he was lucky to have struck gold twice - once with his ex and once with me, that he counted his blessings every day. Even in our last few days together there was nothing odd about his behaviour.


I had never seen this girl before until a month or so before we split up. And I had a bad feeling about her from the start. Women's intuition told me she fancied him. I did not see anything from his side towards her. And the next thing I know was at the end of May he said he wanted a weekend without me. A week later we had a huge row and he said he met someone else but 'it's not like that'. A week later he was still ringing me and being friendly and making me laugh. Then nothing, until the end of July when he sent me a threatening text telling me to stop communicating with his friends - I pointed out all of them had come to me!


After prison he told me he thought he was suffering post traumatic stress as he'd seen someone get stabbed in there. But on reading back his letters one time shortly after we split he hadn't seen it at all - he'd been taken off that wing the day before this incident. He also said that evening, 'I think there's something wrong with me!' He has had depression in the past too. I suppose I'm just trying to get my head around it all as he has given me no reason. The exbf I know would not have looked at this woman twice as he liked trophy girlfriends I suppose. With his ex, she was a very tall, thin, stunning girl. With me it was the attractive, posh type. I guess I'm just really confused. I have been attending AA and Al Anon to hear of people's experiences and one former alcoholic told me perhaps the only advantage this woman has over me is the fact she has her own place so he can use her for somewhere to stay and not be on his own a lot of the time.

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Hi Lavenderdove. Thanks for your reply. I have to admit I was very naive to alcoholism until all this ended. He is the type of alcoholic who drinks every day and even his closest friends didn't know his problem was this bad until I told them when he was in prison. His family knew, hence the reason they backed off. I perhaps should point out I don't drink very much at all. Hardly touch it. When in prison he said he definitely wanted to give up as he couldn't believe he'd got to this point. I paid for him to go to the Allen Carr clinic - with his approval. He went, but started drinking again just a few days later. When it came to the first free back up session a month later, that's the first day everything started to go wrong. It was two days after this he finished with me. On the day of the clinic he switched his phone off all day. I asked if I'd done something wrong and he said no but he was disappointed with himself for not going. I said he should go when he was ready and I wasn't trying to pressure him as I knew it would do no good. My friends think he could be ashamed and that's why he broke up with me. I don't know.

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Thanks for sharing.

Don't concern yourself with her "advantage" over you.....it's actually a disadvantage and just like he thanked you for turning him in, you should be thanking him for letting you go. Time to find a healthy relationship where you can be equal partners in a loving relationship.

I hope for your sake that this guy doesn't come around again until you've learned that it's not right for you. I worry that if he called today you'd be happy and relieved.

"Codependent no more" is a great book but doesn't zone in on alcholism which is maybe a better focus-topic for you. Continue to go to the Al-anon meetings...but I hope they're encouraging you to seek out your own power and confidence so that you will not re-enter this relationship.

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Thank you Stella. I'm also on another website called soberrecovery. I guess the fall out of the drinking has just really affected me. It didn't affect me so much while we were together but that's because he always acted so strong. I guess I was blinkered into believing he would give up one day as he always said he would. Doesn't seem likely just now does it.

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Sorry Stella my reason for mentioning soberrecovery is it really has helped me. I know I have a lot of issues - something I didn't realise until after he split with me. Soberrecovery contains so many threads written by partners of alcoholics. Some of the girlfriends sound exactly like me and their exes sound exactly like my exes. So I am actively seeking help. I know I'll get there. It will just take time

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Hi Savignon thanks for your last post. I know you're right I even think to myself 'he's someone else's problem now'. I know I wouldn't get back with him but of course I still love him and I still care about him. A selfish part of me worries that this woman will magically hold the key to his getting better and they'll live happily ever after. Stupid, I know. But he's very charming and she went after him from day one. I know I put up with a lot but I wonder whether she will if she already has four young children to worry about. I am never planning to contact him but I'm trying to build up my inner strength to remain at a distance if he does. And as I carried on being the enabler until the very last day it makes me think he will pick up that phone when it all goes wrong. Believe me I will never go back to being an enabler again. I'm saving about £300 a month without him in my life!

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sclarke -


Let me tell you something...our situations are similar on the level that we were both with someone who is an alcoholic. I was with my ex for 4 years, sweet, loving, tender, but broke because his money went to either booze or pot. I don't know if he's with someone new or not, he even said when we broke up that he was still in love with me but didn't want to "love or be loved".


You need to let him be. He has a disease and you will never win over the disease. All the promises he makes and lovely things he tells you - he does mean it, BUT the thing is, the disease always wins. You will always take second place and you are not capable of making him change. NO ONE CAN CHANGE HIM BUT HIMSELF.


I have recently started to attend Al Anon meetings and it has changed my life. I was the girl (not too long ago) who kept asking people, how do I fix this, if I love him enough he'll stop, if he loves me enough he'll stop.....WRONG. He could love you with all his heart but he's sick and unless he wants to quit - you need to let him go and take care of you. A lot of times, those of us in these relationships think we can fix things and we end up sick ourselves, going crazy because we are looking at it through the eyes of someone who isn't addicted to a substance.


All I can say is if you have Al Anon meetings where you live, give one a shot. I'm not big on religion - I'm more spiritual, so sometimes when they refer to God I could become resistant to what I was hearing but in reality they talk about your higher power -WHATEVER that is for you. These meetings are real eye openers. Or if you don't want to go to a meeting...simply check out an Al Anon website - you'll be amazed how so many stories sound like you could have written them yourself and you'll see it's time to take care of you and let the alcoholic figure out what they are going to do for themselves.


It can get better.

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And another note about this new girl he's with...he still has the same problems and it seems he has found someone with low self worth to put up with his addiction. You are obviously better then her but the point is he's not going to be there for you until he decides to get sober. Right now he's just filling the void, the alcohol has him standing still; "not living life" if you will and he's just doing what the alcoholic knows how to do to get through the day. As where we think big picture, future...they do not. They think in terms of "where's my next drink coming" and needing to be around people who will put up with that crap - and YOU DO NOT NEED THAT OR DESERVE THAT.

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