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Dear Wendy

Breaking up with someone in recovery

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This topic contains 4 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by Pheebers Phoebe 3 weeks, 6 days ago.

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  • #727080 Reply
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    overthinker

    Hello there!

    I recently decided that I need to end my current relationship, because we have different values and have changed a lot. I have decided that these issues are grounds for breaking up, and I no longer see a future in this relationship. I know breaking up is the right thing to do, but I am worried about his reaction. I think that I am more aware of these issues than he is, and that he will be blindsided with this information.

    He has a history of chemical dependency, but has had a long period of sobriety, and has not used while we have been together. Not too long ago he had a very stressful situation and told me that it made him want to use/relapse. I am afraid that if I break up with him, he might lose it and relapse. I know that I am not responsible for his sobriety, but I cannot help but feel concerned about the well-being of someone I care about so deeply. For many years we both thought that this relationship would lead to marriage, and it will be very shocking to him to learn that I do not feel this way anymore.

    Is there any way that I can break up with him that will be less shocking? Do you think it is appropriate to reach out to his support system after the break-up so that they are aware? I had thought about planning the break up right before he goes to meet up with a family member so that I know he will not be alone during the initial shock.

    Looking for constructive advice.

    Thank you!

    #727110 Reply
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    LisforLeslie

    His sobriety is not your responsibility. It’s entirely his. If he has a sponsor, or support system (which you mentioned), that is the group that can support him if he requests help. You should not reach out to them.

    All of the things you are considering are kindnesses but you need to do what is best for you. So if you think the timing is best to manage your own disappointment and sadness, then follow your plan.

    If he relapses, that is entirely on him. There are AA/NA meetings every day of the week in every town. In larger areas, there are meetings almost every hour. He can find help to get him through.

    #727117 Reply

    Is he really so fragile that a break up is going to send him into an alcoholic tailspin? Probably not. I bet he’s going to be fine.If he’s not, then he needs to manage his own emotions and sobriety. That’s not your responsibility.

    It doesn’t help anyone for you to stay in the relationship because of guilt. You’ll just end up bitter and angry (probably even cheat on him), and he’ll be unhappy as well. Save both of y’all the trouble, and follow your plan. He’ll get through it.

    #727122 Reply
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    dinoceros
    Member

    Anyone who is fragile enough to relapse after a breakup is most likely going to relapse because of some other reason. Why? Because it means they aren’t in a place in their life where they have learned coping mechanisms for stress. It’s not your responsibility to evaluate his stability and base your relationship decisions on it.

    Aside from someone not being a jerk, there’s no way to break up with someone to not make them sad. People are sad because they are losing the person they love, not because of how it was done (obviously excluding really heartless ways).

    #727361 Reply
    Pheebers
    Phoebe

    Agreed with above, but I also agree that it might be a kindness to do it before he’s going to see family and/or friends, so it’s easier for him to get some support. Whether or not he’s in recovery, a breakup from a serious relationship can take some adjustment.

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