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Looking at life through new lenses: should I stay or should I go?

answered 12:36 PM EST, Mon December 12, 2011
I am a 36 year old woman who has been in a 7 year relationship with my partner. She and I both used to go out and drink quite a lot, but she was always more into the going out part of that and I was always more into the drinking part of that. Over the last few years, we have not been going out as much (getting older I guess) but I continued to drink quite a lot at home (wine with dinner, whisky after). For the last couple of years Shauna had been giving me a hard time about how much I was drinking and I finally had to admit that she was right and I was getting pretty out of control. I did a month long meditation retreat a couple of months ago and that really grounded me and I have been pretty much sober ever since then.

She has been super supportive of me the whole way, emotionally and also financially as I tried to get myself pulled together and I am grateful for her support. Unfortunately, ever since I’ve stopped drinking, I find I am not enjoying her company very much anymore. I think we drifted apart these last few years while I was in a fog of drunk or hungover and now that I am seeing things in the cold light of sobriety I am not sure what we have makes any sense anymore.

I guess the question I have is should I end the relationship now or is this something that people often go through when they quit drinking and something that gets better in time. I don’t think it’s going to work but she still really loves me a lot and I feel like I owe her for all the support and compassion she has shown me these last years. I want what’s best for both of us, and if it’s never going to work that means not wasting her time either – but if there’s a chance that the way I am feeling is just related to some sort of transition phase that’s normal after people quit drinking, then I’d be a fool to throw away a good thing for nothing.

I am still relying on her for financial support, by the way, since I had to quit my job to go away. So I’d be returning home to my parents probably, if I did decide we needed to split. Which would be a bummer.

Art Matthews Says...

Having just recently taken off the "beer goggles" so to speak, it may be premature to end the relationship now. Most recovery programs recommend that the newly sober person not make any major life decisions for roughly a year due to the change in perception, reasoning and emotional experiences they have after drying out. Things can be pretty disorienting when their perception and reasoning are no longer affected by alcohol or other substances.

This is a time to reconnect with yourself and perhaps your partner as well. I suggest finding a good therapist for yourself (who also has experience with recovering clients) and another for couple's counseling. Any relationship that has lasted as long as yours has can potentially turn stagnant and be less satisfying. It's time to explore what is at play here and what is influencing your satisfaction in your relationship.

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Page last updated Dec 12, 2011

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