Jump to content

Confused in Long Term Relationship and Debating a Breakup


Recommended Posts

I have been with my boyfriend for 14.5 years. Over the last six months, I have been consumed with guilt and doubt. The trigger was that he got a DUI. The DUI was brought on by my broaching the topic of having kids. He didn't handle it well because he was depressed and down on himself at the time, and we had agreed not to have kids years ago (I just started having a change of heart). I resisted bringing the topic up for a couple of months because of his depression and my fear of his reaction, but his depression and my concerns over the topic were causing me distress too and it was causing a distance to grow between us. I finally decided I had to bring it up and that it shouldn't be a real problem to discuss it after 14 years together. He an emotional wreck the following few weeks, and go the DUI on a night he knew I was with a friend discussing the topic of having children. The DUI caused me to have an emotional breakdown. The relationship flashed before my eyes and at the end of the day, I was left feeling numb. I didn't recover so I started seeing a therapist about a month later. My boyfriend was understandably upset by all of this, but insisted that the DUI had cured his depression and that the only thing making him sad was me and my new doubts about the relationship.


In therapy, I reflected a lot on the history of the relationship. To make a long story somewhat short, I realize that I did subjugate a lot of myself to make things work. I decided not to pursue certain career interests I had before we started dating because they weren't compatible with his lifestyle. We moved for me to go to school and I didn't want to stay in the city after graduation because I couldn't find meaningful work there, but I took a job I never wanted anyway because he didn't want to go and even said at one point not leaving might be more important than the relationship (he went so far as to buy a house during this period and told me we couldn't move for at least a year because of it). I did not lose my cool when I should have on a number of occasions when he went out drinking and binged to the point I had to clean up after him or otherwise take care of him (or deal with bad verbal fights). I just told myself it wasn't a problem because it didn't happen every week or even every month (though I never felt comfortable with how much he would drink when we were out). I also assumed he would grow out of it - oops. The romance died after about a year or two, and it bothered me, but I didn't make a fuss. He said I bred it out of him. He didn't help with cleaning the house and I had to do all the yard work. His response to me asking him to help out was negative (he didn't like the way I asked), so I usually didn't because it wasn't worth the tension. He is always right in arguments and I just let it be or cave in because I struggle to communicate with him. I told myself this was all good because we didn't fight as a result and we enjoyed each other's company and I always felt like I could do worse. He has a lot of good qualities and I chose to focus on those instead, telling myself all of these things were trivial. Then a few years ago, he pushed me to move back home for a job because I hadn't been happy for ten years in the city we relocated to. I got a great job and went home and for the first time was passionate about my work and was finally making friends of my own. It took him a year to come out. He was very supportive at first. He wanted to buy a house because I was so happy so we went 50/50 on a house I couldn't afford on my own. When he did, it was a struggle for him to find a good job. When he found one, he quit in week two because he already wasn't happy and he wanted to try something new. I supported that by not getting mad (I didn't have a choice over his decision). He tried starting a career in real estate. It was rocky at first, started to go good, then went bad when he impulsively switched agencies. In the meantime, I have paid for almost everything for over a year and am feeling stressed as I go through savings. Over the last year, I have become increasingly annoyed at him not helping with the house, still drinking a lot when we go out (he is 40 and still had some whopper nights), and at his negative outlook on life, which is something that has always existed. Things were starting to feel less and less right. Then he became more depressed after a trip visiting the city we had left and while we were there, he was happier than I had seen him in years and he was SO upset that I was making him leave. After the DUI, he still had a couple drunk nights. I can't deal with him having more than two drinks at this point. Since I imploded, I get a strong sense that he is now waiting for me to figure it out because he is certain we are to stay together. He did say the day after the DUI he was depressed and needed to go to a doctor and maybe talk to someone. He was understanding about me not forgiving him right away. The day after, he said I was not supportive by being upset still. A week later, he said he was totally fine except for my doubts.


The tension came to a head six weeks ago and I left the house because I realized I needed space because I had been miserable and stuck for a few months. The therapy is great, but I still can't talk to him about how I feel. I am still living apart from him and we talk once every few days. We started going to a couples counselor and so far, that has just made it evident to me that he isn't doing anything to help himself and that he thinks nothing (major) is wrong with him because I have the doubts. Although I pay for everything, I am the one who left and the house is so dirty now that I am gone I get stressed just walking in the door.


Seeing him like this fills me with overwhelming guilt. Finally I did something for myself by taking the job and moving, and it hasn't worked out well for him and I feel tremendously guilty about it, especially since the relationship no longer feels right and I can't point to a specific event or thing. I feel like I ruined his life and he will allude to how much he gave up to move and stay with me. I feel bad that I realize I may have some co-dependency in how I have always put him first, and now feel guilty for putting myself first, and that I didn't realize it sooner and do something sooner to potentially spare him the move and 14 years with me if I end up leaving. The problem now is I love him, but I feel burned out and don't know how I can fix things with him right now given how the root of this all started. I may need to be on my own for awhile to determine what I really want and need. I just feel like this isn't fair to him and that I am being unreasonable. I am looking for input from people who have had similar experiences, or who just have opinions about this.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I wouldn't say you're unreasonable at all and you absolutely should put yourself first regardless. You can't take care of anyone if you don't take care of yourself first. You ended up sacrificing a lot for this guy who hasn't even met you half way in this relationship with much of anything.


You shouldn't feel bad for him, you can empathize with his situation, but honestly he's not taking any accountability nor is he fixing his issues because clearly he doesn't think he needs to. You have grown apart and this happens in life. Just because people that come into our lives doesn't mean they have to stay in it for any prolonged amount of time because you feel obligated. If you feel obligated that's not a mutual foundation to stay.


I would have to agree with you, I think you have co-dependency issues and a topic to discuss with your therapist. You need to do what's right for you, and you are doing it now. You realize that this isn't a fulfilling relationship any longer by separating from him. I would suggest you end it. You are not responsible for the actions, emotions and problems of others.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...