Q: Dear Meredith,
My live-in girlfriend of almost three years left me a month and a half ago. I cannot blame her for this, as it was due to my alcoholism. Back in the winter I lost my job, which was unrelated to my problem but very seriously exacerbated it. I had nothing but time on my hands and used it the only way I knew how to deal with the depression I was experiencing. Within two months I had a very serious problem. I lashed out at her emotionally, said a lot of hurtful things I would never say sober, scared her, and she was scared for me. Eventually this led her to moving in with a friend for a couple weeks and then buying a plane ticket home.
Before she left, I sobered up and started going to AA meetings and continue doing so today. She had said that if I flew out to prove to her that I was better and showed her I truly love her that she would come back. That was initially the agreement anyway … but in the last couple weeks that agreement has changed on her part. To the tune of, "You aren't the right person for me, I don't love you, and we will never be together again. Goodbye forever." Two days later, we are texting again under the condition that I don't talk about "us." So far I have kept my word and given her space but I can't help but get the feeling she is seeing someone else. But I know that if I were to even ask I would be immediately shut out again and possibly for good.
Do I just keep in contact with her through texts and see if things change or do I sever all ties completely? I feel like I could only cut her out of my life is she was with someone else but I have no way of knowing. I truly love her and marriage was once a frequently talked about subject. I'm still unemployed so even if I got a job tomorrow it would be months before I could go visit her. A lot can happen in that time and I don't even know if it will be an option again. I just want her back but this is looking to be a long and heartbreaking process.
– I Just Want Her Back, Boston
A: IJWHB, I understand that you want to restore your life to what it was before you lost your job and allowed the alcohol to take over, but that's not going to happen right this second. You're looking for a quick fix for a big problem.
It has been less than two months since she left. You've barely processed what you've done and why, and she's probably just as confused as you are. My advice is to tell her that you need to spend some time figuring out why you handled your problems the way you did. Explain that you don't want to lose her in the process. Then tell her you love her and that you're confused. Because you are.
Then continue getting healthy. I know you're unemployed, but call your insurance company and ask about therapy. Try to stop wondering who your girlfriend is meeting wherever she is because it's sort of irrelevant. She was with you for three years, which means she knows what you have to offer when you're at your best. Again, it has only been a little over a month. She just unpacked her bags.
Focus on you and take your time. That's easier said than done, I know, but it's the only thing you can do -- whether she sticks around or not.
Readers? Is he trying to fix this too quickly? How can he taking his time with this process without losing her? How can he stop wondering what she's doing wherever she is? What should he tell her? Help.
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Meredith Goldstein is a Boston Globe columnist who follows relationship trends and entertainment. She offers daily advice on Love Letters — and welcomes your comments. Meredith is also the author of "The Singles," a novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith at www.meredithgoldstein.netand on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.