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Boyfriend returning to job that almost destroyed him


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I have been in a relationship with my BF for 5 years. For the entire relationship he was working in a very toxic environment which fed into his addictive qualities, he worked long hours, was constantly under huge amounts of stress, went in on days off, HATED the job but could not leave. (He ended up there when he left an abusive relationship and grew up with an abusive father).

The culmination of all his misery and self loathing was getting involved with a co-worker right before the pandemic. She was from what he says, an abuser too and threatened him.

I knew he was in a very bad place when it happened and we agreed to work on our relationship when the cheating came to light. Shortly after he was furloughed and finally was able to leave.

He then spent a few months decompressing and even went back to his home country for 3 more months to get better and go to therapy. He worked hard and it was obvious he was feeling better.

Our plan is to move to his country but due to circumstances here I can not leave yet, so he had to return.

He has been back for a little less than 3 weeks and has decided he needs to start working asap and went back to his old job today.

He is telling me that he has worked on himself and he is not the same as when he worked there before. If he sees anything bad happening he will leave. The co-worker he was involved with is no longer there either.

I've told him I don't agree and don't want him to go back there/to the same industry since he left.

He says he just needs to get started to get motivated and he needs to work to pay bills which might be true, but I don't feel good about this situation and have told him.

I'm just not sure what to do to enforce my own boundaries around it. Is the only option to tell him we can't be together if he chooses to work there? It sounds like an ultimatum and that I'm "telling him what to do" as he keeps saying.

I just know this will not lead anywhere good for him and am not sure how to navigate the situation.

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Sorry to hear this. Do you live together? Do you support him or does he support you? What is your goal 5 years in?

 

Its unclear why you are trying to micromanage his job/career. It's also unclear why he disappeared for three months, supposedly to 'get therapy'. Is he scheduled for an arranged marriage in his country? Does he have a GF there?

 

You need to reflect on the cheating. You also need to step way back from trying to manage his mental health and job choices.

I have been in a relationship with my BF for 5 years.

 

The culmination of all his misery and self loathing was getting involved with a co-worker right before the pandemic.

 

He then spent a few months decompressing and even went back to his home country for 3 more months to get better and go to therapy.

 

Our plan is to move to his country but due to circumstances here I can not leave yet, so he had to return.

He has been back for a little less than 3 weeks and has decided he needs to start working asap and went back to his old job today.

 

 

I've told him I don't agree and don't want him to go back there/to the same industry since he left.

 

I'm "telling him what to do" as he keeps saying.

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He moved in with me when he returned from being out of the country.

Neither of us supports each other.

Our goal is to move together to his home country. He's been here 20 years and we go there every summer, he was able to go this year to decompress from the toxic job as well as spend a lot of time with family and in therapy there. I fully trust what he did there. We would have left to move there previously but he couldn't leave his toxic job.

That is my question, I'm not trying to manage his career / job. From both our perspectives it was very toxic/abusive, it was akin to being with someone with an addiction. It was destroying him to the point I (and his family) were telling him that if he didn't leave he would work himself to death there. It was that bad.

He can do what he likes obviously, my question is more for ME. I don't want to go through the turmoil and stress of being with someone who is basically addicted to their abusive job.

I can detach and not engage with him about work but it affects our relationship, even before the cheating. So I don't know if there is any way to deal with it on my end other than leaving?

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You don't have to be involved with someone who you think is making poor life choices. He's your boyfriend and not your spouse. You have no children together. You have voiced your opinion and he has a different one. But your only possible role in this is to give him an opinion if it's asked for. And then if you feel that he is not fun to be around given his choice of where to work you have a choice to walk. He gets to choose where to work. I really wouldn't see it as an addiction - he balanced the risks/benefits and chooses the risks. I'm sorry you're disappointed and disappointed in his choices.

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I would never seen him, when I do he is angry / agitated and extremely tired. He developed anxiety and depression from working there which doesn't ever help in intimate relationships and served to push me away even more.

We coudn't make any short term plans/do anything fun because work would always interfere and take precedence. He worked 830-9/10pm and would go in on his days off as well.

We were never able to make long term plans because he wouldn't leave the job.

We our sex life became pretty close to non-existent.

It affected our relationship 100% and just got more extreme and worse the longer he worked there, culminating in the cheating.

The industry he went back to is notorious for people ending up with addictions and divorces, everyone he worked with was involved in something damaging from drugs and alcohol to gambling and affairs. I'm not exaggerating when I say how toxic of a place it was.

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Sorry to hear this. Perhaps it's time to recognize the He is toxic, not his job.

There are plenty doctor, lawyers, pilots, emergency personnel, law enforcement people, CEOs , etc who work long hours and do not become cheating abusive withdrawn angry people who deliberately avoid their partners.

 

You are desperate to fix and change him into an involved faithful decent partner and somehow you believe that switching jobs will do that.

-he is angry / agitated and extremely tired.

-We our sex life became pretty close to non-existent.

-culminating in the cheating.

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I would never seen him, when I do he is angry / agitated and extremely tired. He developed anxiety and depression from working there which doesn't ever help in intimate relationships and served to push me away even more.

We coudn't make any short term plans/do anything fun because work would always interfere and take precedence. He worked 830-9/10pm and would go in on his days off as well.

We were never able to make long term plans because he wouldn't leave the job.

We our sex life became pretty close to non-existent.

It affected our relationship 100% and just got more extreme and worse the longer he worked there, culminating in the cheating.

The industry he went back to is notorious for people ending up with addictions and divorces, everyone he worked with was involved in something damaging from drugs and alcohol to gambling and affairs. I'm not exaggerating when I say how toxic of a place it was.

 

Yes. I'm a little surprised you're not more concerned about how he cheated on you. He didn't cheat on you because of his job. He cheated on you because he chose to have sex outside of the relationship. So I worked in a crazily intense job for 15 years - I wasn't addicted. It did stress me out fairly regularly. It did affect my social life and free time a lot. I had serious boyfriends during that time and am married to one of them. I realized I needed to be with men who understood my ambition and passion for my career, who understood that I didn't work a typical full time job with normal, predictable hours. So that's who I got involved with.

 

My industry also was notorious for all sorts of issues. Many intense industries are. One of the companies I worked for was toxic for sure. And I made a plan to leave and then was invited with one of my colleagues to go elsewhere. So yes I didn't stay in "toxic" work environments but it's subjective because many thought my hours were crazy, I worked for some "crazy' people, etc etc. But I saw huge benefits to it and I continue to reap those benefits financially and also professionally because even though I no longer work full time anymore (mom) my experiences opened doors to me and plenty more options for lifestyle jobs, of which I have one now.

 

So all of this is to say -yes he might be in a toxic job, yes you can cite all the statistic you want and anecdotes about all the unhealthy choices his coworkers make in that industry but it comes down to -partly this is your opinion, partly it's because you wouldn't want to work these kind of long and unpredictable hours, you don't relate to his drive or ambition. Let him find someone who does.

 

But the cheating -I don't see where you have any assurances he wants to be loyal and faithful to you - you kinda glossed over this part - curious!

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He wasn't like that at the beginning for the first 1 or 2 years and returning now he seems to have improved as well.

He had a lot of his own stuff to work on, which is also part of how he ended up in such a job.

I do see improvement and going away and starting therapy really did make a huge difference. I am just paranoid going back to that job will slide him right back into old behaviors.

Addicts can get clean when they change their lives but its easy to slide back into addiction when you are in the same environment is my thinking...

I did consider he was toxic probably right around when the cheating happened. I was definitely seriously questioning the relationship at that point. But that causing a huge seismic shift in our relationship actually seemed like a good catalyst for change on both our parts. Ending the job, going to therapy etc seemed to have him on the right track. This just feels like going backwards to a place I don't want to go.

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So I would separate his "stuff" from this job. If he has "stuff" to work on and still does that's separate. Going back to the job -I wouldn't assume. Perhaps he knows how to handle the hours better now and how to have better boundaries. I know for a fact that if I went back to my old job (which I never would -been there done that, loved it and I'm done) - I know I'd have more confidence and better boundaries.

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"But the cheating -I don't see where you have any assurances he wants to be loyal and faithful to you - you kinda glossed over this part - curious!"

 

I honestly believe him when he said the cheating was a symptom of the job. He was nothing like what you describe about your jobs, he was deep in it, hated it and hated himself while he was doing it. It was mentally bad for him, he calls it the worst time of his life. He was sickly, skinny, not eating or sleeping just working like a zombie. He had a lot of issues he never dealt with so he used work to punish himself rather than deal with the issues in his life he needed to . If you only work and sleep you don't have to deal with ANYTHING! After destroying himself mentally and physically the last thing was to blow up the only other thing he had which was me.

We know each other very well and I have been in past relationships and been cheated on, this is a very different situation otherwise I would have 100% walked when I found out.

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Is he addicted to something like pain pills, alcohol, benzodiazepines, gambling, etc.? You keep mentioning addictions, why is that?

Addicts can get clean when they change their lives but its easy to slide back into addiction when you are in the same environment is my thinking...

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So I would separate his "stuff" from this job. If he has "stuff" to work on and still does that's separate. Going back to the job -I wouldn't assume. Perhaps he knows how to handle the hours better now and how to have better boundaries. I know for a fact that if I went back to my old job (which I never would -been there done that, loved it and I'm done) - I know I'd have more confidence and better boundaries.

 

That's what he is telling me. I was just not sure how to handle it since I am so against him going back at all. It sounds like it should be a wait and see and then decide if I want to continue with him.

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OK. If you are appointing yourself as a mental health professional and have the need to diagnose him without a license then please accept that it's time to move on. For some reason you need to label him as some sort of addict to justify your opinion. But why do you need to go there -particularly since you are not a mental health professional? That speaks a lot more about your perspective than any of his issues. If you really need the validation of "I ended it because he was an addict who went back to his drug" - then the time to leave is now. Let him be - offer to help him as any human being would -meaning if he needs your help in finding a therapist or other sources you will be there for him - and then move on and find someone you are compatible with. Consider -let's say he is not an addict. Let's say he had issues including an issue with choosing to remain faithful to you - and now he says he is over those issues such that this job won't trigger them again. Do you trust him to make this adult choice -his choice -not yours? If you don't you shouldn't be with him.

 

Yes, if he was addicted to drugs and had been classified as an addict by a mental health professional -or addicted to gambling or whatever -and he returned to that activity - then sure he is an addict and most people do not want to take another chance on an addict especially if there is no marriage or child. You don't need to go there. And going there is being dishonest with yourself -you're not equipped to diagnose him and you're far too biased. You say you know him well. And you say you don't trust him to make a healthful choice. What kind of relationship is that?

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These are good points, I think I was just looking for a reason that he was doing what he was doing because it was all so out of control and just beyond comprehension that it seemed there had to be larger reasons for it.

He did go to therapy and will be going back once he finds one here. I did encourage it and been there to help him at any point. I just wasn't sure what to do in this situation as I didn't want to enable him or put myself into a situation that was bad from an objective observer. Being IN it skews your perspective and loving him and not wanting him to get himself back into a self destructive situation also does. It was so bad before that I don't want to see him do that to himself again.

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He cheated on you and he insists upon returning to his job to pay bills. Both are his choices.

 

You can't navigate him or the situation. He won't change his mind. Therefore, your relationship with him continues to flounder and fail. Ask yourself if you can continue on this track for weeks, months and years with him. Either remain mum or seek your other options as your ticket to freedom.

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Sorry to hear this. Do you live together? Do you support him or does he support you? What is your goal 5 years in?

 

Its unclear why you are trying to micromanage his job/career. It's also unclear why he disappeared for three months, supposedly to 'get therapy'. Is he scheduled for an arranged marriage in his country? Does he have a GF there?

 

You need to reflect on the cheating. You also need to step way back from trying to manage his mental health and job choices.

 

Thank you, Wiseman2.

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These are good points, I think I was just looking for a reason that he was doing what he was doing because it was all so out of control and just beyond comprehension that it seemed there had to be larger reasons for it.

He did go to therapy and will be going back once he finds one here. I did encourage it and been there to help him at any point. I just wasn't sure what to do in this situation as I didn't want to enable him or put myself into a situation that was bad from an objective observer. Being IN it skews your perspective and loving him and not wanting him to get himself back into a self destructive situation also does. It was so bad before that I don't want to see him do that to himself again.

 

If you love him and respect him you will let him make his own choices and let him know -in an adult way! -that you are there to support him if -if - he wants your input. For example, my husband has put on weight since covid (no he did not have covid just the typical overeating many are doing -I am not but I am focused on maintaining my weight and not letting covid get to me in that way). It's been really hard not to say anything especially since he complains about his back hurting which I think is made worse by his weight gain. I know 100% - he knows he put on weight (in fact our son has made some comments), he knows how to eat properly, he knows he is overeating sweets and chips.

 

I said one thing the other day -one (he's been slowly gaining for months now) - when he complained about his back again. As low key as I could. Made it clear I didn't want to be a nag. It went over ok. But that's it. I've done what I can do for this adult. My child -different story - I don't micromanage but I do talk to him more about good nutrition, good food choices -but even with him -he is 11, I respect him to know when his body is full or otherwise. And here is the take away -because I don't micromanage my son he will ask me questions about food, nutrition, portion control - and I know if I intervened too much he wouldn't come to me.

 

Make sure your boyfriend wants to come to you -that you are his safe place. If you try to dictate his choices in any way or give unsolicited input you will be a source of stress not support.

 

Of course it skews your perspective -that is why you are not the right person to diagnose him especially since that is for your own purposes - for your own self-validation. You're not enabling him at all - but I would leave the analysis to the experts -the only one you can control is you (I agree with Cherylyn).

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You can't manage someone else's career. I split from my spouse and he is a chef. In the end I am very proud of him for pursuing his path and his job wasn't the reason for the split or divorce nor was any infidelity. We were both faithful. I've always encouraged his professional pursuits including photography, for example. I think your issues are with him and you need to deal with him as a person and whether you want an intimate relationship with someone who makes certain choices.

 

In all these fine points and issues with his job, can I ask if you see any future with this person at all? Why date a project? Or someone who isn't settled or on his way?

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