I have a situation that I need a fresh perspective on. Sit back because it’s a little long.
About four years ago, I met my ex-boyfriend “J.” He had no job, no ambition, a child he had sole custody of and a minor drug and alcohol problem. I thought he was nice, but more than a little goofy and I was NOT about to sign up for all of his issues. I was a junior in college, I had a boyfriend and things in my life were going well.
I got to know J through group hang outs and I noticed that we had real chemistry. J felt the chemistry too and he knew he couldn’t come at me with his life out of order. So, he started working out, quit using drugs and he began actively searching for a real job. At the time I was involved with someone else, and I wasn’t thinking about J, chemistry or not.
Fast forward two months: I’m single, J is clean and sober, 30 lbs lighter, AND gainfully employed. J immediately made his feelings for me known and relentlessly pursued me. I was a little wary, but I found that I did have feelings for him. We spent the summer getting to know each other and we honestly fell in love.
After my senior year began, things began to fall apart. We were young, boozy and pointlessly dramatic. We fought over everything. He cheated on me and took drugs from the woman he slept with. I forgave him for cheating on me, but that night had serious consequences on his new life. After failing a drug test, J lost his new job. And, so began his path of destruction. J became depressed and began to drink like it was his profession. He started abusing drugs again, which he initially hid from me.
Another issue that cropped up was my race. J is a white looking Puerto Rican. His mother loved me because I loved her son. His father on the other hand liked me personally, but he felt I was too ‘dark’ for him. Not that I gave a single “F” about that noise. But, it did make me wonder how I could have a long lasting relationship, marriage, or even children with someone whose family would regard me and/or my children as less.
Eventually, he began feeling he no longer ‘deserved’ me and he became increasingly distant. I became frustrated with his behavior and eventually I began having issues myself. I failed my entire semester and had to scramble to make sure I would graduate on time. Eventually, our relationship imploded. I tried everything I could to save us, but he only sabotaged himself and our relationship.
We had the messiest of messy break ups. He cried on the floor in a drunken stupor about how he wasn’t good enough for me, how I could do better, how much he loved me, how I was the best thing that ever happened to him, and etc. I can’t stand to see a man cry, so I found one of his boys, told him the situation, and left him on the floor where I found him. I couldn’t take the dramatic scenes anymore. He woke up the next morning and remembered none of it, but the damage was done.
Over the next few months we went through periods of not talking to talking to making love to fighting, to supposedly working things out. I was willing to meet him halfway and work on our issues, but he just seemed evasive. As it turns out, part of his ‘self healing’ journey was sleeping around. When I found out, I was livid. I ended our entire relationship and friendship.
Over the last 2 years, he has tried to become friendly with me. I have never stopped loving him, but I haven’t forgotten the heartache he caused. I have avoided him as much as possible since I ended things. The times where I’ve ended up around him were painful and confusing.
In the time that has passed, J has really grown up. He went back to school, obtained a degree and has a great job. He’s a much more present father and he’s finally clean again. I’m happy for him, but despite what I feel for him things have been over in my mind for years.
Recently, a good friend of mine who is also a good friend of J’s gave me a warning: He’s coming back for you. My reaction? HUH. Apparently J has been speaking to this friend for awhile about how he loves me, how much he misses being with me, how I was the only woman who really understood him and supported him emotionally, how messing up with me is the biggest mistake of his life, etc. This friend also stated that the reason J turned his life around again was for me.
I know J genuinely loved me. Hell, I know that he still loves me. He makes it embarrassingly clear every time I bump into him. And, truthfully I love him too. But, how can I trust him after all of that? Should I hear him out despite my reservations? What if this second ‘turn around’ doesn’t last? I’d rather he turned his life around for his child, not me. And, do I really want to deal with a dude whose family may have issues with the color of my skin? I feel like the dumbest broad on the planet. Please, do your worst. – Trying To Listen To My Head
Dear Ms. Trying To Listen To My Head,
He’s an addict. He’s an alcoholic, and he’s unstable. When you met him this was who he was. He showed up and has shown you who he is. Believe him! Yes, sure, at one point he changed, got his life together, stayed away from drugs, got a job, and decided to be faithful, yet, when –ish hit the fan he resorted back to what he knew – drugs, alcohol, and reckless sex.
So, ask yourself, is this the man you want to have in your life? Always having to fix, and change and hope that he will not relapse and resort back to drugs, alcohol, and reckless sex with random women because things in his life are hectic? He can’t handle pressure, setbacks, and obstacles. He is unable to resolve his issues and challenges without drugs and alcohol. Therefore, he needs to be in treatment, and working with a therapist to help him learn how to deal with the challenges, issues, and obstacles he faces in his life. Otherwise, you will become the person in his life he relies upon to make him better, and to make him change. You will no longer be his girlfriend, but his therapist, parent, coach, and motivator. That is too much responsibility and burden to put on one person. And, more importantly, it is not your responsibility.
Sweetie, one thing my grandmother told me as a child – Always follow your first mind. When you met him and he was a mess, and your first mind told you to leave him alone and not be bothered, you should have listened. When your first mind told you not to sign up for his issues, you should have listened. Therefore, the fact that you allowed him into your life, and you decided to pursue a relationship with him despite what you knew and what you observed, then you are partly responsible for the drama, stress, and aggravation you brought into your life.
There ain’t no way in hell that I, nor any reasonable, smart, intelligent person would get involved with someone who has a drug problem, drinks excessively, and is unable to resolve life issues by simple reasoning, and thinking. Life is filled with challenges, setbacks, and obstacles, and most persons do not resort to drugs, alcohol, and reckless sex to resolve their issues. Therefore, if that is his resolve to fixing or avoiding his issues, then he would be sitting in the bleachers all alone.
Look, he’s cheated on you, did drugs behind your back, created so much stress that it caused you to nearly fail during your senior year and possibly not graduate, and he was just a destructive tornado leaving casualties along the way. He doesn’t care about anyone but himself. He’s selfish, and irresponsible. If he won’t clean up his act and become a responsible, caring, loving, and doting father to his own son, then why the hell do you think he will be the man you want him to be? He cannot be in a relationship, and be faithful, loving, and caring to you if he won’t do it for his own child. Hell, he won’t even do it for himself.
I swear common sense isn’t so common. You should have learned the lesson the first time. But you didn’t. You went back for more. When he cheated, did drugs, and lost his job due to his drug use, then that should have been your moment to exit. But, nooooooo, you forgave him, went back for more heartache, pain, and drama. So, ask yourself, was it worth it? What does it say about you, and why would you allow someone in your life whom you know is no good for you?
Keep it moving. When you see him, wish him well. There is nothing to rekindle. Thank him for the lessons he taught you, and know that you will never ever put yourself into that situation again. Just know that dating someone who is a drug addict, alcoholic, and engages in reckless sexual behavior, then they have no problem destroying your life. Look at their life, and see the destructive they are doing to themselves. – Terrance Dean
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