Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Updates: “Drunk Punch Love” Responds

It’s time again for “Dear Wendy Updates,” a feature where people I’ve given advice to in the past let us know whether they followed the advice and how they’re doing today. After the jump, we hear from “Drunk Punch Love” who wondered if she should continue a long distance relationship she’d been in for about a year and a half with a man who was recovering alcoholic just recently out of rehab. She wrote: “Is it unhealthy to be in a relationship with him? He lives halfway across the country and is a recovering alcoholic. But I care about him more than I’ve ever cared about any guy and I don’t want to lose him.” After the jump, find out whether they’re still together.

I have to be honest: I didn’t quite take your advice, though I completely understood why I should have. One of the readers said it perfectly: “You’re in a sticky situation because you obviously care about each other and you were dating before he went to rehab. So if we tell you to back off and let him heal, the nature of human relationships is… you (both) probably won’t do that.”The truth was, I knew that I should have just been his friend, but I didn’t like him as a friend. I had always been romantically interested in him, and I didn’t really know how to not be. I think when I wrote to you, I was really just looking for whether your response would be a very clear “MOA!” or not. And since it wasn’t, I kind of took it as “continue in the same fashion, but tread lightly.” So that’s what I did. He and I continued our relationship over the phone. Shortly after I wrote to you we openly discussed being exclusive, and for a few months it was actually really wonderful. We continued to get closer, our relationship was stronger than it had ever been before, I got the chance to visit him, and saw that he was doing a great job of building a healthy new life for himself in his new home, and I was really proud of him. But I was never fully invested in the relationship because in the back of my mind I was always wondering when he was going to slip. I realized that I really wasn’t being fair to him by keeping that wall up to protect myself, but for some reason I couldn’t let go of him either. And then he began drinking again. It wasn’t destructive drinking…he would only have a drink or two here and there…but it was enough for me to realize that this relationship was going nowhere good. So I finally faced reality and broke up with him. Its been about a month now, and I am happy to say that I have moved on, though it wasn’t easy.

See, the thing is, this relationship was my first real relationship. I’ve had plenty of crushes on guys over the years and I’ve had plenty of guys interested in me, but this was the first time that I really liked a guy who actually liked me back. So even when it became apparent that this was an unhealthy relationship, I still couldn’t give it up because I was terrified that I would never find anything like it again. And I gotta say, sometimes I still think that I won’t. I tell myself constantly that there are “plenty of fish in the sea” and that I will find someone else to love who will love me back, but I can’t help but get discouraged often. I have jumped right back into dating and have been out with several guys lately, and I still find that either the guy likes me or I like him and the feeling is never mutual. I don’t understand!

So I am still struggling with that, BUT I am proud of myself for moving on from this relationship. I know I probably stayed in it longer than I should have, but I don’t regret it at all. I think that I’ve grown a lot from being in it, and I know I’ve learned a great deal about relationships from it. But I feel ready now to move on and find something more healthy. I just hope I find something before I get too discouraged!

 
Thanks for the update! Glad to hear you’re feeling positive about your decision and your future. Just keep that attitude and remember it can take time to find the right person, so be patient.

If you’re someone I’ve given advice to in the past, I’d love to hear from you, too. Email me at wendy@dearwendy.com with a link to the original post, and let me know whether you followed the advice and how you’re doing now.

8 comments… add one
  • avatar

    moonflowers August 8, 2011, 2:16 pm

    It’s good to hear that you finally MOA’ed, LW. 🙂

    “So even when it became apparent that this was an unhealthy relationship, I still couldn’t give it up because I was terrified that I would never find anything like it again.”

    This part concerns me a little bit, because it’s this kind of thought process that often leads people to settle for unhealthy or not-so-good relationships. There’s that saying, “You have to love yourself before you can love someone else.” If you don’t love yourself, you’ll believe no one else will love you either, and you’ll tell yourself to be satisfied with the crumbs or stale dried up bits of a relationship instead of an abundant, healthy, life-affirming one.

    It takes time, effort, and a few positive experiences of acceptance to develop genuine self-esteem, and most people I know say they didn’t really overcome their insecurity until around age 25 or so. Just be a bit more aware of the way you think about yourself, and challenge the negative thoughts like “I’ll never find someone!” instead of automatically accepting them. The way you see yourself is often how you teach others to see you, so the best way to have other great people see that you’re a wonderful potential partner is to see yourself that way first.

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    • landygirl

      Landygirl August 8, 2011, 3:14 pm

      Yes, lots of people make that mistake, especially someone with less life experience. If we only knew then what we know now.

      Reply Link
    • Budj

      Budjer August 8, 2011, 2:18 pm

      I think the LW may have been more focused on the intensity of the mutual attractions. I do agree it is tough to find that person you are just the right amount of “cray-cray” about and have that feeling be equally reciprocated.

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    • avatar

      kerrycontrary August 8, 2011, 3:36 pm

      I totally understand what the LW meant by that situation. When you are in your first serious relationship its always hard to leave that person because it was your FIRST serious relationship. Furthermore, if and when you do break up with that person you are very likely feeling like you will never fall in love again. Or you will never fall THAT in love again. It seems like the LW is making progress…

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    • avatar

      El August 8, 2011, 5:36 pm

      Actually…The Huffington Post just published a great article about this.

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jennifer-gauvain/doubts-before-marriage_b_919868.html

      It’s a pretty interesting read about how women not only stay with, but marry men who they know are wrong for them.

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  • avatar

    ktfran August 8, 2011, 6:11 pm

    You’re doing good, LW. Wendy’s right. It does take time, so don’t get too discouraged because that’s when you’ll be in a relationship just to be in a relationship. More times than not, those aren’t great relationships. Be happy with yourself, do things you enjoy and the rest will fall into place.

    Also, don’t worry about whether or not it took a long time to come to the right decision for you. Sometimes, it takes a while. What matters is that you did. I often take longer than necessary to figure things out, but when I finally do, I know it’s right.

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    • avatar

      ktfran August 8, 2011, 6:12 pm

      Also, moonflowers has it right.

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  • avatar

    Red_Lady August 8, 2011, 6:34 pm

    Good for you realizing that you were not in a healthy relationship and getting out of it! That is definitely not an easy thing to do. I wish you the best of luck in finding a great relationship. It may take some time (or a lot of time) but when you find that guy that is perfect for you, it is totally worth it!

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