Full stop.

source: medicineevolution.com

I lie in bed, groping for sleep. Rosie snores gently beside me. My mind refuses to shutdown, so I watch three episodes of the IT Crowd instead, hoping to dispel the rumours in my head. I think I have discovered something. It is the uncertainty that makes it rumour.

I can’t tell you what it is.

I can tell you it’s about Ben.

I’ve noticed a gradual detachment since the beginning of this year. It is inevitable, of course, given we are separated. Separation means not needing to know what the other person is doing, or having to explain where you’re going. We don’t owe each other explanations any more. Not for the mundane day-to-day. Or the intimate parts of our lives.

Two days ago, I saw something that put the last several months into perspective. I saw something I wasn’t meant to see. I deliberately looked even though I knew I shouldn’t have.

A few nights before that, I tried to access his email account. He’d given me his passwords before he went into rehab. I tried because I wanted to know what was going on. I was convinced that he was hiding something from me. I’d had vivid dreams of him with someone else. I kept telling myself that we are separated, and that he is entitled to his own life. But if there was a change to his personal circumstances, then it was something I had a right to know. After all, nothing has been said. Nothing has been announced or decided. We are still legally married.

So I tried his gmail account, and failed. He’d changed his password in January. I tried another account. This time I got in. But there was a block there which prevented me from going further into his mailbox. I stared at the panel obscuring his inbox and logged out. Then I logged in again. I did this a number of times – logging in and out, but going no further.

I rebuked myself for being pathetic and controlling. How would I react if he did that to me? So I left it.

And then this weekend I saw this thing, and I went back to a different kind of zero. We talked about it, I told him what I thought was happening, and he denied it. I’m sure he lied to me. I’m sure he lied because what I saw doesn’t tally with what he said, and because he has been dreadfully kind to me since we spoke. I can’t look him in the eye any more.

You see, he’s lied about this sort of thing in the past. This thing – this thing I can’t tell you about –  It was one of the most hurtful things he could do to me. He is particularly adept at finding new ways to hurt me. Even he said he thought I deserved more.

I know I do.

Tonight, I will lie in bed like so many nights before, groping for sleep. Rumours will fly into my face like moths. And as slumber reaches a hand to me, I will stumble on an inescapable certainty.

It’s broken.

It’s over.

Fulll stop.



30 thoughts on “Full stop.

      • I don’t know the whole story… and you know Ben better than I do. But I would not ignore your instincts. Back them up with facts. You are entitled to live a life full of trust and love. Not of lies and mysteries and broken promises.

      • Lies, mysteries and broken promises. That about sums up my relationship with Ben. At least, my recent relationship with him. He said he didn’t feel he had enough to give me. That’s what he said. That he couldn’t give me what I need and that I deserved more. I guess he might have been trying to be honest, but I can’t help feeling let down. Like he’s taken the route of no accountability yet again. Instead of trying to do something, he simply walks away from it.

      • They simply walk away from things because it’s the easy thing for them to do. I used to be with someone that did the same thing. Twice before he was with me and I still stayed. I should have known he would only end up doing it to me, which he did of course. It’s what they do because it’s all they know. It’s the cowardly way to end things. I’ve never understood why being honest and upfront about things is asking too much. But apparently it is to some.

        It might also have something to do with his alcoholism. Hiding at the bottom of a bottle is a helluva lot easier than dealing with reality, right?

  1. Even if this particular thing is all in your head, everything else isn’t. Does it truly matter that he is walking away again? Maybe what matters more is that you’re feeling let down again. Maybe it’s time to cut your losses and start to put your own life back together. I know you’ve been skirting around the idea for a long time, but perhaps now it will feel right to “officially” move on. I wish you much luck and courage!

  2. If it’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that when you get a “feeling” about something it’s usually true. I can’t help but have my own theories about what Ben’s done. And if it’s what I think it is, then it might be the catalyst you need to move on with YOUR life. Well, yours and Rosie’s.

    But I understand about it feeling awful regardless. You have a history with him. It’s only natural to feel something even though you’re separated.

    I hope only the best for you and Rosie. Really.

  3. Sometimes families affected by alcoholism have many issues to sort out as the alcoholic learns to live in a new way, without the numbing effects of drinking.
    I think what you are experiencing are truly the growing pains of early recovery.
    Now would be a good time to find a (co dependent) recovery meeting of your own, where you will meet women in similar situations. You will not believe the friends you will make.
    I hope you decide to take this step (or to do therapy if no meetings are close by) for your own benefit. You deserve a happy and healthy life! And Rosie will reap the benefits of a healthier mother.
    xo Joanne
    PS. There are also online meetings but I recommend the real thing.

  4. Maybe you need to decide what YOU want for yourself and Rosie. What’s most important for you both together and both separately. I’m trying to say maybe you should find independence first, learn to rely on yourself and yours without leaning on him and then after that look around and decide if you want him and if he’s going to make an effort. With our partners, we can only put up with some things for so long, but we have to make the decision ourselves. Whatever happens between yourself and Ben, I wish you luck.

      • Most of my friends I meet on a daily, weekly or monthly (I’m 40) didn’t grow up with computers and don’t have or want to have Facebook. Therefore some of my friends on Facebook I meet rarely and some I may never meet. So there’s safety in saying things and being more open (which I have trouble with) because it will have little impact on my daily life. Because of this I’m more able to relax in my daily life and say things which are inconsequential but I wouldn’t have been able to say before.

        Conversations on the net in various forms have really helped my communication skills in the last decade because if I say something wrong people will let me know it, unlike in real life when (if I ask them) people will assert I’ve said nothing wrong, which leaves me thinking “do you really mean that, or are you just saying it to be polite?” – and as you know Brits will do the latter, which isn’t any help to me!

        In fact, if anyone who is reading this is asked that, then please say something like “I’m sorry, but you did say something wrong” and if they ask inform them, as lying in this situation really doesn’t do anyone any favours.

      • Yes, I suppose there is more honesty in social media sometimes. I’ve found that this blog gives me the outlet I need – I’ve found a real community out here. An honest one, too.

  5. I love the video. I get the “chained” reference. I too am separated from my alcoholic. I am approaching seven months. It has been a roller coaster. I’m exhausted and have to meditate myself to sleep every night. So many of us get what you are going through. So, so many. Keep your head up. I am sure better days are in store for both of us.

    • Thanks, Lucy. Seven months… is your alcoholic in recovery? What irks me is that mine is. I expected things to get better between us. They did. And they didn’t. Meditation… I spend my nights browsing the internet. Meandering aimlessly, until there’s nothing left but sleep.

  6. So sorry that you are dealing with this. I guess the saying that we can only truly rely on ourselves for our own happiness holds true. In one way it is sad and tragic that you saw/noticed what you did, but then in another way, it’s good that you did…to have confirmed what you are feeling isn’t ‘crazy’ . Your intuition told you something wasn’t right and you were correct. I hope that you can use this experience as a catalyst to move forward/make a change to work on your own happiness. Count on you! Trust in you! Take care.

  7. Allow me to interject a male alcoholic POV. Or at least an alcoholic POV. We lie, manipulate and deceive. Alcoholism takes us to that place, even when we know what we’re doing is wrong. We do those things because we learned to do it so that we can keep drinking. Screwed up, eh? I do what I did so i could get what I wanted. Period. Selfish, self-centeredness is the root of my problem. alcohol is a symptom of that. Now, because someone stops drinking alcohol, doesn’t mean that the behaviours go away. Not at all. We call that a “dry drunk”. Same motives, selfishness, old thoughts and patterns and behaviours – except not a bottle at our lips. It’s why we have programs like 12-steps to get to the causes and conditions for all that stuff. Examine, uncover, check it out. It’s hard and it’s work, but as we move through this, we find a new way of living, and we find a more honest and rewarding way of living. It’s hard for me to lie now. White lies perhaps, but living now the way i did then is very difficult…and I would hope so.

    So I don’t know your story (or all of it) and I don’t know if B is in a program or not (or working it, let’s be specific), but alcoholic behaviour still can happen in abstinence. Now, as for instincts – yeah, they are usually pretty correct. My wife called me out on all the things that she thought had happened in my active alcoholic life, and I fessed up to it all. I didn’t want her thinking that her instincts were wrong. I wanted to free her from her own thoughts of “did he? didn’t he?”

    I do like what Joanne there said…meetings for you, dealing with co-dependency. Alcoholism is a family illness, they say, and we can make the other people in our lives sick in a way – alter thought patterns, behaviours (like going against your instinct, making excuses for the other person, etc.) It might bear checking out. It certainly can’t hurt.

    I am sorry that you are going through this. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. Have faith, go with your gut, do what it best for you and R.


    • I have to thank you so very much for interjecting your male post-alcoholism opinion here. Thank you for this. I often felt a bit guilty about thinking of him as selfish. I kept thinking – he’s ill, after all. And I lost a pair of friends, too, because they felt I was wrong not to have him back in the flat once he went into rehab. They didn’t seem to understand that I couldn’t cope with the uncertainty or the possibility of re-living that nightmare. Selfishness… yes. I think he has always been an intensely selfish person when it comes to nurturing a relationship. And his selfishness led him to the alcohol. This is what I suspect, anyway. That’s how it all began. He isn’t in any programme. He doesn’t attend AA. How he has managed to keep straight for over a year without any kind of support is beyond me. At least he is flexing his will for something good this time around. I do wish he would be honest with me. His trick is to be 80% honest now, in order to cover up the 20% that is a lie. But maybe we are all like that? Again, Paul, I thank you for dropping by with your advice. You are like B’s future. Well, the future I hope for him. Take care

      • I find that there are people who are honest with each other, people who lie to each other, people who are two-faced in relationships and all sorts of shades in between, but I just wanted to write to support you in your decision not to have him back in the flat. If you haven’t changed your mind since then that proves it was the right decision.

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