I’ve been living with my boyfriend of 10 years for most of our relationship. We never really dug the idea of marriage, but our setup worked just fine until about a year ago.
At that time, my boyfriend lost his job due to lay-offs at the company he worked for. Since then, he’s been unable to hold down a job. He’s had a few odd jobs and restaurant gigs here and there, but he keeps quitting because he isn’t happy doing that kind of work. In that same time period, he began drinking more heavily, which has made him even lazier.
So, I’ve been stuck paying the rent and other bills for most of the past year. I don’t make a lot either, and that’s left me broke. Since he began drinking a lot, we’ve started fighting quite often. I know I should leave him, but I don’t really know how to live alone anymore. And I still love him, which complicates things. I worry that leaving him will only drive him to drink more. What should I do? — Stuck with a Drunk
You need to run. Fast. Breaking things off won’t be easy, but you’ll probably both benefit in the long run.
When you’ve dated (or been married to) someone for 10 years, you may have a hard time imagining your life without that person. It’s scary, I know. I’ve never dated someone for 10 years, but I’ve made it to six years before a break-up and that’s plenty of time to get completely engulfed in a relationship. Especially when you’re shacking up.
Even though you still love your boyfriend, he’s become rather toxic in your life. He’s draining you financially and mentally. By sticking with the boyfriend, you’re enabling his drinking problem. As long as your salary is keeping a roof over his head, he can continue blowing what cash he has on alcohol (I’m assuming you’re not providing his booze too … if so, you need to stop ASAP).
Once you break things off, the guy will probably realize that he has to sober up and take care of himself. If not, he’ll end up on the street. But either way — not your problem. If it makes you feel better, you might try talking it over with a mutual friend that will be around to help the guy get into treatment after the break-up.
You can enjoy your newfound freedom and start saving some money for a change. So often, couples stay together because they’re financially dependant on one another. But it sounds like you can make it just fine on your own, so that shouldn’t be a factor. It won’t be easy adjusting, but you’ll pull through. If you don’t have a dog, you should really consider adopting one. The unconditional love of a pet is the best medicine after a break-up.
Years down the road, you’ll look back and be so pleased with your decision. And I would guess that your soon-to-be-ex might even thank you once he gets his life together.
Got a problem? E-mail Bianca at firstname.lastname@example.org