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I Can't Leave Him

by Kelly

I met him and it was love at first sight. We had talked on the phone for weeks, hours on end, and the physical attraction was more than I ever wished for.

Four months of heaven came as spring turned into summer, and I move my 15 year old daughter and myself into his two bedroom apartment 40 miles away from where we once called home. Four days later, his 11 year old daughter from a previous relationship hung herself from a tree and our lives changed forever.

I was strong during the funeral, but after that I didn't know what to do. I had to work, he quit working. I had to keep going. Life keeps going and he wanted to die with her. I couldn't come home and be happy. He was so miserable and I felt like asking him to take his next breath was asking too much. My daughter didn't want to be there and stayed with my mother more than me and I just felt so helpless to help.

I tried to find some routines and encouraged routines for him...he found drinking. I paid all the bills and I supplied all the food and beer. I was doing all the driving back and forth to work, never knowing what I would find when I got "home".

The guilt! I felt guilty because my daughter wanted to spend time together but didn't want to be around him. I felt guilty because if I spent too much time away he felt abandoned. He had no family, the few friend he had were nowhere to be found, and I didn't want to leave him alone. But I had a daughter who needed me too! I couldn't take anymore. Four months later I told him I was moving closer to my job and daughter and he could come too but I needed him to at least look for a job. He looked and found a job and I thought things were looking up. I hadn't been feeling well and as we were packing for our big move, "smart me" decided to take a pregnancy test and guess what? Yup - pregnant. I freaked, he praised God, and fight number 300 started because I am not happy about this.

Long story short, it's been two years and we are still fighting. We have fought 300 days of the year and the other 65 days we ignored each other and live two separate lives. I blame him, he blames me and we are down right nasty to each other. I don't even know who I am anymore. I have never talked to anyone the way I talk to him and nobody has ever talked to me the way he does. It is abusive, unhealthy, controlling and sick.

He never kept that job he got, nor had one since. I have cashed out all my 401K and vacation time just to survive. He doesn't even take care of our daughter while I work so I pay 266 dollars a week in daycare. I work two jobs to try and pay bills and don't get to be the mother I want to be. I blame him for everything! I am not sure who I am mad at more, me or him. The person I have become is pathetic.

I love him. I love him so much it hurts more to think of not having him than it does to have him. That five minutes of love we occasionally have is enough to last all my life that is how strong it is. But I have two daughters now who are looking at me like I am crazy...and I am. We are currently living with my mother and what little of materials things I have left are in the basement or a small storage unit.

I want to tell you that he loves me as much as I love him, but his actions would say otherwise. He has slept with another woman, drinks and smokes and we have beat on each other. He doesn't work but is a full time college student who is flunking because of all of this. I mean we are like poison but I can't let him go. If we could just get past this anger and blame...

He once was the man of my dreams, can we get it back? Is it too far gone? If we both wanted to...please tell me how? I want our daughter to have both of us.

Response from Dr. DeFoore

Hello Kelly, and thanks for telling your story on this site. Your man-friend experienced a great tragedy when his daughter committed suicide. That is the most difficult loss that any human being can experience. The grief process following that kind of loss can be long and complicated.

That being said, there is no excuse for his behavior. Not working, not doing his part, sleeping with another woman, being abusive to you--there is no excuse for any of that.

You ask if there is any hope for the two of you. I don't think so. From what you have said here, he is using you, taking you for granted, and abusing you.

Things are not going to get better for you and your children until you start putting yourself first. If you don't take care of yourself, no one will. Your first priority needs to be your children, and the best gift you can give them is a healthy, stable mother.

This relationship is destroying you, and you are damaging your children.

What you feel with your man-friend is not love. That might be upsetting for you to hear, but it's true. People who love each other do not treat each other the way you two do.

What you have is a form of relationship addiction. Get into a SLAA group or a CODA group, both of which are 12 step programs to help people with different types of relationship addictions.

For the sake of your children, get out of this relationship. From what you have told me, that is the only possible resolution.

I know that you're a good person, and that's why you reached out on this site. Reach into that goodness, and make the decision you need to for the sake of your children.

My very best to you,

Dr. DeFoore

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