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He went to rehab; I read his journal

Posted by Meredith Goldstein  June 25, 2012 07:58 AM

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Q: Hi Meredith,

About a year ago, I met a wonderful (or so I thought) man. We'll call him "George." George is 28 and I am 25. I am more physically attracted to George than I ever have been to any other man, and I thought George felt the same about me. From the second we first met, we had a very strong connection and felt incredibly drawn to each other. After a month or so of getting to know each other, we officially began dating. I knew pretty much immediately that he was the person I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. George initiated almost daily conversations very early on in our relationship about how much he liked me and wanted to spend the rest of his life with me. He made me feel beautiful and loved. I thought we would be engaged after a year or so.

Sounds too perfect, right? Bingo. Just five months into our relationship George admitted that he struggled with prescription drug abuse. At the time, I knew he had a problem, but I did not know the seriousness of his addiction nor did I have any idea just how bad drug withdrawal could be. All I knew was that I really loved this man and wanted to spend the rest of my life with him. I decided that I would have stood by him if he had grown seriously ill, so I was going to stand by him now.

George started an intensive rehabilitation program and went through drug withdrawal that made him violently ill. I did whatever I could to support him while he was sick -- his laundry, cleaning his house, caring for his dog. I was at every doctor's appointment and went to family support groups with his parents. I didn't even think about doing these things -- I loved him and he needed me.

After two months of this, I was exhausted and overwhelmed. I wanted our life to continue happily ever after, but instead our relationship fell apart. He was angry and emotionless. It was as if he wanted nothing to do with me. I couldn't understand why he was acting this way. I contacted the drug rehabilitation program for answers and was told that this behavior is common for newly sober people but should get better with time. I endured three months of this.

I told him multiple times how much his behavior was hurting me, and each time he apologized, assured me he loved me, and said this was all related to his recent sobriety.

I felt like he just didn't love me anymore and I wanted the truth so I could have closure and move on, so I found the notebook that he uses for therapy and read it. Wrong or not, I have to be honest in saying I don't regret it because it gave me the answers I was looking for.

In his notebook he wrote that he is not attracted to my body type (I have a small frame) but feels obligated to me because I was so nice to him during a difficult time, and that he wishes he was more attracted to me because I have everything he's looking for in a woman.

I was completely shocked and never would have guessed that he felt this way. I have to admit that I'm a very attractive girl who receives a lot of attention from guys (having a small chest has never bothered me) and I've never faced rejection. But most of all, I was so disgusted and hurt that after all this time all he can say is that he wants a girl with bigger breasts. With the love we shared (and frankly at our age), I thought we were beyond that. I didn't think I could ever get over what he wrote about me, so I had to end things (and yes, I told him I read his notebook). Now, just a week after our break-up, he's on a dating website.

So Meredith, my question is simple and one that haunts me every day:

What happened? My chest didn't just shrink overnight. Did he even love me and think I was beautiful in the first place, or was I the only one gaga over him? I don't think I'll ever be able to understand it. Despite all that happened, I want to be with him and think about him all the time and I just don't get it. Why would I still want to be with someone like this? I'm sad, ashamed, confused, and feel ugly and rejected by the one person who I want to be with in this world. And for the record, I have never used drugs and would never envision myself dating someone who did.

– So confused in Southie


A: He was physically attracted to you, SCIS. He was drawn to you. Please don't take the breast comment too seriously. People tend to get pickier about their partner's appearance when they're just not into the emotional part of the relationship anymore. It wasn't about your chest. He just wanted a fresh start.

I commend you for being so committed and loyal during George's ordeal, but I have to ask: Why was he your boyfriend? You jumped into this so fast. You say, "I knew pretty much immediately that he was the person I wanted to spend the rest of my life with." That doesn't make much sense to me. You found out within a few months of dating him that he had serious problems. Instead of admitting to yourself that you didn't know him well enough to commit, you jumped in deeper.

You're allowed to be smitten with someone and fall hard at first sight, but please don't decide to spend the rest of your life with someone until they've earned it -- and until you know what it's like to be in a normal, drama-free relationship with them. This guy earned very little. He was just magnetic, exciting, and needed you more than he should at five months.

I want you to start giving some of those other guys a chance -- as soon as you can. Date new people without asking big questions.

And promise me that you'll never read a significant other's journal again. It might have helped move this breakup along, but you learned something that you weren't supposed to know -- something that I'm not convinced was very true. Again, he didn't want out of the relationship because of your breasts. He just wanted out.

You fell for a man who couldn't live up to his own hype. Recovering from that kind of relationship is rough. It takes a different kind of detox. Allow yourself to be angry. Remember what life was like before you met George. Let someone new flatter you. It'll feel good and remind you of your reality.

Readers? What happened here? Why did she fall for him? Is it OK that she read his diary? Was it good that she got the truth? Should she have stuck around during the drug issues? Did you notice that she suspected that he had a pill problem before that? Can you give her a pep talk? Help.


– Meredith


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ABOUT LOVE LETTERS: Welcome to Love Letters, the place for love advice (giving and getting). Globe relationship columnist Meredith Goldstein and Boston.com readers are ready to take your letters and tell you what's what. Have a question? Click here to submit or email us at loveletters@boston.com.
Blogger Meredith Goldstein

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.

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