Hi, everyone.

You know that feeling when you look around and say, wait a minute, how'd we get here?

I didn't think I was being so unmindful. But somehow, after a couple of months of decline, we're back at the bottom of the mountain again. I am not at all sure I have the stamina to keep on pushing the rock back up the hill.

For every step forward, there's at least one step back. We are not really advancing. Moving, but with no forward progress. Sidestepping the big issues still, all the time. What are we really going to do as a couple? Now that we're living together, what does this mean for us long-term? If we want to get married, as we say we do, then what is to be done to make that possible and desirable? These questions seem to be threatening, not encouraging, and the only thing he seems to want to do is to run away.

I can't make headway. There's only damage control and crisis management. I HATE living like this. EVERY time that we seem to get close to addressing some of these, something more important comes up. My work, his work. Kids. Other family members. Illness. All legitimate excuses, perhaps, but over and over and over again, and no time to do things differently--no progress on the core issues that still plague us so.

No sex. No social life. No being part of a wider network, outside of our house (including my daughter). No consistent routine, not daily or weekly. No serious discussion of our long-term financial situation, beyond paycheck to paycheck. No plan for changing any of this! Just--wait. And wait some more.

Wait for what? I don't even have any idea. I can't live like this any more.

Last week, he got disappointing news that he did not get a job he really hoped to get. It would have made a significant difference, economically at least, but we can still get by as he is now. (For that matter, he can get by on his own, as can I for the time being, but we're both living close enough to the edge that it does help to share basic expenses.) I had a bad feeling about it, judging from the feedback he relayed to me, but after one rough day he seemed to be coping reasonably well.
We had a pleasant and productive day around the house on Saturday. And then, Sunday morning, he went off.

No word now for 48 hours. And presumably, if he ever shows up, he is going to expect me to be mostly happy to see him. Because he'll be exhausted and depleted, and so tired from fighting his demons.

(Or so he'll say, and maybe that will be true.) But who takes care of me when he abuses my trust and my steadfast support?
He promised he wouldn't take off any more, and yet he seems incapable or unwilling, I don't know which, to make any real change in his behavior.

Even before the disappointing news, it's been pretty clear that he's been more brittle than is good for him (or me). Emotionally volatile, not sleeping well, not calm at all. Erratic behavior in general. Though I tried to frame it in terms of noticing what progress he's made--because truly he had reached a point of not being like that all the time--apparently it was just too much to suggest that things were not going well.

In part, I was willing to attribute it to the job question, since the possibility has been open for over a month. But I think the job issue was really just a diversion. Almost nothing has changed, other than our cohabitation, since the spring. He thinks that's enough. I don't.

He's come home from AA meetings frequently in the past month or so telling me that the guys have told him that he's being an ass, not properly pulling his weight at home (in response to my requests/complaints). He's been calmer and more cheerful and agreeable in the short run--for like, maybe, a day or two afterwards. But, you know, maybe he just doesn't want to change bad enough. Maybe our life together really isn't worth the trouble to him. Maybe he is just as self-centered and narcissistic as he says other women have told him (so that I can say otherwise--?) Maybe he simply doesn't know how to behave differently on a regular basis, and can't figure out where to begin. Maybe there's still so much inner chaos, he really can't cope with anything else. I just don't know.

I can't go back there, to the constant instability. It's too painful. It's too dangerous, actually, for me as well as for my daughter: I can't put my work at risk, or my own peace of mind.

I don't know if I'm even asking for advice. I am truly heartsick and despairing. I don't know that I have it in me to keep trying. All I get are empty promises. And so I have also started to wonder whether if having me as a source of pressure is actually counter-productive after all.

I think our lives are better for both of us (and for my daughters, as well as for his kids) when we're together and in synch. That's great, and we both seem to be very happy in those stretches. When we're not, though, it's worse. WAY worse than being apart would be, it seems. I don't want the "worse" to keep on deepening, and I don't see how to turn it around. We haven't even reached the point of BEING "for better or for worse" to each other--!

OK, now I realize I am simply going to embark on a rant. I don't want to do that either, so I'll stop here.

Feedback welcome. Thanks in advance.

Peace,
HG

PS--
Actually, I will ask for some advice.
I am considering presenting some conditions to him upon his return.
1. Re-entering therapy, both solo and joint, immediately
2. That I meet his therapist & his AA sponsor, also immediately
3. That we devise a specific and detailed plan, with our joint therapist, to address these practical relationship issues over the next 9 months.
It's not an ultimatum, because I'm willing to negotiate. But it is a stand.
What do you think?
Thanks again.
HG

_________________________
I'm just a poor wayfaring stranger, a million miles away from home.