I’ve been dating my friend. I tried to break up, but he keeps coming back. I have been dating my friend for about eight months now. I am totally confused about our relationship. He is a recovering alcoholic and never has expressed that he loves me. He said to me that I am one of the closest persons and his best friend. He spends a lot of time with me and had introduced me to a lot of his family as his friend. But he sees this other woman occasionally. He only said that they had a lot of history and that he put her through a lot. I am really hurt by this situation because I care about him and would like to have an exclusive relationship but when I discuss it with him he states that he is not supposed to be in a serious relationship for the first year of sobriety (he’s been sober nine months). What I am supposed to do with my feelings and how do I figure if I am wasting my time and energy? I tried to break up with him but he keeps coming back.
Response from Daniel?.
“I’ve been dating my friend.”
“I tried to break up, but he keeps coming back.”
“Dating a friend” is an immediate red flag as it spells conflict of interest. Friends are vital in order to have a healthy quality of life and recovery, but when friends become sexual, there is added stress and complication that often destabilize a relationship, leading to its demise. When the term “friend” is used to define a sexual relationship, either or both people are likely to be rationalizing their motivation, minimizing their involvement, deriving a false sense of safety and control over their emotions, and are avoiding reality and responsibility.
You also indicated that while both of you are aware that getting sexually involved in early recovery is a risky proposition, you’ve proceeded nonetheless. He’s seeing two people!
How do you explain trying to break up, but being unable to do so? The unconscious force of unmet emotional needs is what keeps so many people in unhealthy relationships and sabotages their efforts to get out. Your (unconscious) desperate need for love causes you to look in the wrong places to get it. It’s practically impossible to make healthy decisions when you’re unaware of what is driving your behavior, unaware that your thoughts and perceptions are distorted. You’re unable to accurately or objectively assess the character of another person or whether you’re well-suited.
It’s a long shot this relationship is going to work out as neither one of you have done the necessary self-work that makes it possible to create a healthy, intimate, emotionally nourishing and lasting relationship. Doing the necessary self-work implies becoming more aware of your unconscious, the unmet emotional needs driving your behavior, developing the relationship with yourself and ability to take care of yourself before getting sexually involved, especially when either or both people are in early recovery. If you have a bonafide friendship and want to preserve it, it will behoove the both of you to slow down, not be sexually involved and pursue individual therapy.
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