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Some advice from the group

Hi ladies.  So, I'm going to give a little background first.  I'm a divorced mom of two kids (ages 7 and 5).  I've dated since divorce and have had a few short relationships and a lot of annoying dates.  I met my boyfriend Derreck over Christmas of 2017 and although his family is here and he grew up here, he currently lives in Florida.  We have had a long-distance relationship from the start with monthly long weekend dates and spent a full 10 days together during this past Christmas.  I want to start by saying that I love Derreck fiercely.  It's more than just passion or infatuation, I have strong love for him.  He is a kind soul and a good person.  His friends and family love him and we have an amazing time together. We only get to be physically together once a month, so we spend a lot of time communicating and talking and have built a solid foundation.  He has seen all sides of me and still loves me.  He lets me be me (silly, crazy, emotional, all of it).  Derreck is great and has always fought for our relationship since day one.  I've expressed doubts about the future (I mean who really moves across the East coast for someone), but he has time and time again professed his love for me.  With the last week's exercise I started to wonder if I do doubt myself and my worth.  I don't always feel worthy of this kind of love.

But, it's not all sunshine and rainbows.  Over Christmas week I noticed a few things that we've been struggling with.  Actually I noticed these things before, but decided to speak up about them over Christmas.  First, I'm not totally comfortable with how much he drinks when he goes out.  He's a social drinker and doesn't really drink at home, however if he's out (especially with the boys) he can go hard.  He had a DUI in January 2017.  He's more responsible with Ubering now, but I still have seen him drink more heavily than I would like.  We've talked about this and he's really working to cut back, but I'm often worried (especially with the distance) about what it really looks like when I'm not around.

Second, the only way we will make this relationship work is if he moves here.  He has stated that he is moving up here once he passes the bar exam (which is only given in February and July).  I struggle with this because I know how much he loves Florida and I hate the idea of him moving here for me, especially if it falls apart.  He's been around my kids and is awesome with them and wouldn't move right in with me when he's up here, but I have a lot of anxiety surrounding the move.  I worry about his happiness, and I also worry about whether or not he will follow through or if I'm just wasting my time.  I also feel like I'm bringing in some of my past that hasn't been healed with this topic too.  My ex was verbally abusive and is a narcissist and used to literally blame everything on me.  He blamed me for his unhappiness.

Third, his parents are awesome, but because he's an only child I think his mom is kind of controlling.  Derreck is her baby and when he visits we pretty much do everything together with his parents.  I actually love them, but wish Derreck had better boundaries.  I have started setting up my own boundaries with them because they are draining my energy.  I text with his mom a lot and also talk to her quite a bit too.  She is completely up front with the fact that she doesn't think her son should move back to Baltimore (although she knows that I can't move because of my custody agreement).  She wants to move to Florida after retirement and has told me that "I'm messing up her plans".  Of course this gives me a ton of anxiety as well.


So longggg story short, this week's focus topic has caused me to really contemplate what is draining my energy.  I love Derreck deeply, but this relationship is hard.  On one hand it has given me the ability to have space for self care and to navigate this single mom stuff, but on the other hand the distance is hard, the drinking is something that needs to be addressed and the family stuff is a challenge.  Finally, I have totally uncovered the fact that I am projecting A LOT of my past relationship on this one.  Meaning, I kind of don't trust men because of what my ex did to me.  I don't have a lot of optimism in relationships and I want to believe that this is the real deal, but my past seems to be holding me back.  I just feel like there's a lot and I'm not sure what to actually focus on.  I've started removing some small items (and had begun that process with Marie Kondo), but I really, really want to tackle some of the bigger stuff in the next few weeks.

Hey, Laura.  As someone who is married to a guy with a drinking problem (when he’s away from me, he cannot control his drinking whatsoever), it is difficult to move past. There are a lot of trust issues with alcohol and it’s just not a really fun thing to tackle. Had I know about my husband’s addictions before we got married, I would have had reservations too. I would advise you to explore that further and figure out if he really does have a problem with excessive drinking because it’s exhausting to be in a relationship where you can’t trust that your partner will stay sober.  Having said that, he may not be an excessive drinker when he’s away from you and this may be a subject that you talk to him about some more. And, when he moves up here, you will be able to see it firsthand and see if you need to have further conversations or take action at that time

Please don’t guilt yourself or feel anxious if HE wants to move to the area and be with you. He’s an adult and he will make his decision accordingly. If it doesn’t work out then it wasn’t meant to be but that doesn’t have to weigh on you now if you’re happy and you really do want to see where this goes. There are two people in the relationship so if it doesn’t work then you will have each played a part in that and you shouldn’t feel solely responsible if that happens.

Perhaps this week, you could focus on  letting go of situations more than people? For instance, trying to make progress from the past transgressions made by your ex and see if that has a more positive impact on your current relationship.

Is it possible that you may be afraid for him to move here because you are fearful that it may lead to marriage in the future and you are afraid to be vulnerable like that again? I would advise you to really think about the situation, any causes for concern, and figure out if there are underlying emotions for those doubts.

Good luck this week!