I’ve been dating a man, seven years my junior, who was a cocaine addict before we met. It’s been seven of the best months of my life. He felt he had hit rock bottom and stopped doing drugs cold turkey right before we started dating; he didn’t see a counselor or attend meetings. I think this has shown great strength on his part. We have been practically inseparable since day one but still have our own lives, so it’s been great.
Last week, he told me he’s very unhappy with himself and just wants to be alone. He thinks we have different agendas and he wants to stop hurting me because he doesn’t think he can give me what I need. So he basically broke up with me, but since then he’s been flopping between anger, sadness, confusion and remorse, and he’s been texting me daily, often multiple times throughout the day, to tell me he’s bummed and confused.
I’m a strong believer in following my gut, and right now it’s telling me his addiction is taking over but he still loves me and doesn’t want to lose me. Now, as far as I know he’s been coke-free for 6+ months, but addicts lie, so I can’t be sure.
I love him dearly, more than I have ever loved another human. We’ve talked of marriage and moving away together, and he’s told me many times I’m his soul-mate. I want to let him know I’m here for him but he needs to talk to someone about his demons and why he has them. I also don’t want to walk away from him. I know he needs me and without me he won’t be able to do this.
Am I a fool for thinking there is any future with us? Regardless, how should I tell an addict to seek therapy? — Dating an Addict
Honestly, I think YOU could use some therapy. It sounds like you might have an addiction, too — if not to damaged men, then to this particular guy anyway. It’s just telling that even after being married to an addict, you would jump into a relationship with another addict seemingly without any trepidation (i.e you’ve been inseparable since day one). And this isn’t just an addict — this is an addict who, when you started dating, had JUST stopped using. Like, maybe within days? And… yet, you jumped right into a relationship with him? Surely, you know from your marriage how difficult being involved with an addict is. Why would you so willingly put yourself right smack into a potentially volatile situation?
Look, it’s not your job to tell this guy he should seek therapy or join a support group or do a 12-step program. And it’s certainly not your job to help him through the initial stages of recovery. If you’d been together years and years, sure. But to step in days after someone decides to quit using and think he can’t do it without you? It’s… well, it’s arrogant at best, and delusional and dangerous at worst.
You may be this man’s soul-mate. And I don’t doubt that you love him very much. But that doesn’t mean you’re his savior or that without you he can’t conquer his demons. It seems to me that there’s as much potential of you being a distraction in his recovery or of him dragging you down with him. You’ve even been down that road before, haven’t you? Why would you want to go down it again?
I say give this man a full year to sort his shit out. Tell him you love him and, if you’re still single and he’s still single after he’s been clean a full year without any relapses, you’d be willing to give your relationship a shot. But right now there are just too many hurdles he needs to jump. And it isn’t fair to you and it isn’t fair to him to bog down his recovery with the demands of a brand new relationship.
You were married for 12 years to an abusive, cheating drug addict. And now you are involved with another addict you believe could be lying to you and who is “flopping between anger, sadness, confusion and remorse.” Even if you can’t see the pattern here, I hope you will at least consider that your boyfriend isn’t the only one with a problem who could use someone to talk to. If you want so much to be someone’s saving grace, I hope you’ll start with yourself.
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at [email protected].