He says I’m weak and pathetic

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During COVID I decided to move out west temporarily to be closer to my sister and her family, and to take the opportunity to ski and hike more while we were working from home. I met someone through a dating app (we're both in our mid-late 30s, no kids, never married), which was surprising because I hadn't met many people in Boston that I clicked with.

We have a great time in the outdoors and going out to dinner. We're both career-focused, and family is important to both of us. Everything was going great and I felt so lucky that I finally found my person. Within a couple of months we were having some serious conversations about a future together … but he also started to show me who he really is – an alcoholic (which runs in his family). When he would drink, he would say mean things to me ("you're pathetic, you're weak, you're annoying") and then not remember any of it in the morning. Those things hurt, and of course I still remember what he said and how he said it. It made me feel so small and like I actually was pathetic and weak, etc. In the morning he would apologize, and when I brought up his drinking as a problem, he would get mad at me for being a nag and "trying to control him instead of just loving who he is."

Sometimes he would even break up with me by saying we're done and then going silent, leaving me upset and wondering what was happening. We've had our ups and downs over the last year and a half, and a couple of months ago he decided to get sober, yay!, but now he's slipping back into his old ways, starting to drink more regularly, pushing me away, and saying some cruel things. I'm so anxious about all of it that I have become a nag and I don't know what to do. I don't want to be this way! How do I stop being so anxious about this? I do love him but the ups and downs are really hard to get through. I want someone I can depend on and build a family with. How am I supposed to trust that he would be there for me and a future family? Making matters worse is that I've officially moved out here and my sister has moved back east. I feel really lonely and stupid for making this big move. Sorry I'm a little wordy!

– Sorry


You're not a nag. You want to live a happy life with someone who treats you well. That's not a character flaw.

I know you love him, but the end of your third paragraph is basically a list of the reasons you should end this relationship. I mean, the whole letter makes a case to let him go, but the fact that you don't trust him is the final word.

You want to build a good future for yourself. He's proving that he's not the partner for that.

After bad nights, his morning response isn't even an apology. It's, "Put up with this. Do not ask for more."

You are not weak. You can let go of someone who makes you feel and bad about yourself – and unsafe – because of his problems. Yes, you'll miss the good stuff, but there's not enough of it anymore, and no consistency. End this relationship and consider where you want to live. Is it best to go back to Boston? Maybe somewhere new? Or would you like to build a life, on your own, where you are? Put everything on the table and ask your community (family and friends you trust, etc.) for help as you do it. Maybe visit your sister to sort this out so you have some space to think.

As you make these plans, consider therapy. This relationship has skewed your perspective on who you are and what you deserve. It might help to talk that through with a professional.

Because again, you should know that you're not pathetic for wanting to be with someone you earns your love and trust.

His version of what's happening is not your truth. Start planning for something better.

- Meredith

Readers? What happens next?