Every day I work with couples in which one or both partners inflicted pain during their time of active addiction that has left deep emotional wounds and psychological scars in their recovery. This kind of pain puts partners in the untenable position of having to decide whether attempting to salvage the relationship is worth the agony and labor pains, or whether leaving and starting over again would be worth the loneliness and regret with which they would have to grapple. No one in his or her right mind plans on ending up in this position, but millions do.
Unless you are in a relationship in which there is threat of further harm, take as long as you need to figure out what you want to do next. Ignore the ticking clock or your partner’s urgent need for final answers. Stop pressuring yourself.
Rediscover yourself first. If you don't have a connection with yourself first, then you won't have a self toward which to orient your future decisions. Do not prioritize the relationship over yourself.
Here's one that may seem scary: imagine a positive future without your partner. Picture a future in which you on your own feel free, happy, and optimistic about enjoying your life. Create this image from top to bottom, and leave no stone unturned.
Here's another scary one: imagine a positive future with your partner. Picture a future in which the two of you feel free, happy, and full of optimistic about enjoying your lives. Create this image from top to bottom, and leave no stone unturned.
Figure out which of the positive futures you imagined could bring you the most happiness. Is it with or without your partner? All you need to land on is a 51% answer in either direction to know your choice.
No matter how terrifying it can be to face life — with or without your recovering partner — sticking your head back in the sand and passively waiting for life to get better is not the best way to go. Be brave. Take your life seriously and work hard to rebuild it, even if that means having to build it from the ground up.
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