A little over a year after moving out of a three year live-in relationship with an alcoholic, I found myself still holding on. Having someone to hang out with who was familiar and — when sober — one of the most caring persons I had ever had a relationship with, was something I found very difficult to let go of.
E and I had always traveled well together and we both loved the beach, so when he invited me to join him on a business-related trip to the beach I was all in. I was sure he wouldn’t over-drink at a business function. He had always been very careful about keeping his drinking and professional lives separate.
While on the trip I had a couple days to myself while E was in sales meetings, so I had plenty of time to think about things. I also had a lot of wild dreams on this trip, as I was evidently struggling with the idea of being back in the relationship I had sworn a little over a year prior that I was leaving for good. Following are two of the dreams and my interpretations of them.
I was in a relationship with someone new. New guy was in my bed. At the same time, I kept the living, talking head of my Ex on my dresser. It didn’t bother either me or new guy. We cuddled and had sex as though Ex wasn’t there. At some point the head on the dresser began to complain. It felt I was treating it unfairly.
One morning I awoke to find the head in my bed – under the covers – attempting to initiate sex with me. I jumped out of bed, grabbed hold of the opening at the base of its neck and swung hard, attempting to fling it back onto the dresser, but instead whacked the face of it against the front of the dresser. My next attempt was more successful — I returned the head to its place on top of the dresser, lying on one side, facing the bed. (This had been its original position.) It was angry that it had been tossed aside in favor of new guy. I told it to stay put. It answered back that it never strayed from the room…at least usually.
That began me thinking that it could be a threat…to me?…to new guy? I began to imagine this disembodied head bopping down the hallway into other areas of my home — surprise! It felt disturbing to me…something that caused me to worry.
Final note: Head on dresser and new guy appeared to be the same guy.
The alcoholic version of E is resentful that I’m not willing to accept him – I’m cramping his style. I’m still having a relationship with new E (vegan, fitness fanatic) but old E keeps popping up and I have to keep putting him in his place. This makes him more angry and resentful, and consequently more determined to be disruptive.
Meanwhile, I’m feeling anxiety, knowing I shouldn’t be in this relationship at all, but feeling unable to completely end it. At the core I know it’s not fair to either one of us — to me because I don’t deserve to have drunken behavior disrupt my life; to him because by my participation in this relationship at any level, I’m leading him on.
It became clear to me this weekend that E feels everything between us is fine. He asked me if I’d like to live in FL if he decides to pursue an opportunity presented to him by a sales leader on the trip. My answer to him was, “We don’t live together anymore. You need to make that decision for yourself.” I thought it interesting that I felt no emotion around the idea that he might move away from me. Was it because I didn’t believe he’d do it or am I just that disconnected from the current version of our “relationship”? His moving to FL would result in a clean and final cut…or would it? We “broke up” over a year ago and there I was, traveling with him, having sex with him, and still dealing with his drunken behavior, albeit not as often. By morning E had come up with a reason not to pursue the job.
It’s easier to stay together. The work comes in leaving — drawing the line, which leads to heartache, and going through the process of starting over.
I’m living in a very high end condo/apartment that is housed in a mall-like structure. It’s like there are living quarters, a hair salon, shopping — all in one high-rise complex. I am very happy there — really enjoying my life. But I have the sense that someone — or possibly several someones — aren’t happy for me.
At some point I’m pedaling my bicycle up a hill. I’m on my way to visit possibly an old neighborhood of mine to pick something up. I realize after cresting the hill – which was no easy feat, as there was snow or mud or something equally hazardous on the road – that I was going to need a vehicle, possibly a truck in order to bring back whatever I was going after.
I decided that rather than bike back down the treacherous hill to get my car I would prop the bike against the guardrail there and walk down. I begin walking down the hill toward my condo. Then I wake up.
There are things I’m doing now — and things I want to do — that someone in my life is envious of. This person is very good at sharing her drama with me when I’m in a place of really enjoying my life. She’s in a bad relationship — which is providing her fulfillment at some level — possibly in acting as victim. I’ve been bad to this point about empathizing and attempting to “fix” her life for her.
She phoned me last evening as I was out with E for dinner. My message to her on that call was “You’re the only one who can make this stop.”
I know now that the best thing I can do for her is let her handle it and just be there for her if she decides to make a move. But I also know she won’t be making any moves any time soon. The irony — and sadness — of the situation is that she is having trouble letting go.