Nine years ago, I was set free in No Man’s Land by the last person who was enabling my dysfunction. It was only once I lost everyone that I was willing to be honest with myself about my own bullshit. I spent years being incapable of intimacy. I dragged two good men down with me. I needed to be utterly abandoned before I was willing to exist with integrity.
A relationship is only as strong as its weakest partner. Sure, the functional half of a couple can carry the weak half for a time, but eventually something’s got to give. Being the only person trying to make a relationship functional is like eating soup with chopsticks. It’s as pointless as it is absurd. It gets you nowhere, and ultimately all your effort leaves you starving.
Loneliness and terror make the darkest bed partners, and if you’re the functioning half of your relationship rather than the one being carried, they become your bed partners. Eventually, your spirit has to give out. Nobody can tolerate that much isolation for long.
The greatest loss is when your soul dies while your body is still alive, and that’s precisely the kind of loss an emotionally-absent partner delivers. The isolation alone is like having your skin burned off a millimetre at a time. I’d rather be single than go through that again.
Sure, you can have a casual arrangement without intimacy or love, but I propose an alternative: a relationship supported by principles instead of individuals, because without honesty, respect, humility, and compassion, we’re nothing more than slabs of granite waiting for a sculptor to turn us into something real. We can’t connect with anyone until the bullshit is carved away.
No matter how crazy the sex or how passionate the rare meeting of minds, a dysfunctional person will drag you to the bottom of the sea, and at that stage, no amount of love can save you or your relationship.
Of course he’ll go to therapy… of course she’ll quit drinking one day… The problem is as long as she’s with you, you’re enabling her to stay mired in her own toxicity, so that oh-so-romantic move from the darkness into the light that your alcoholic/anorexic/narcissistic girlfriend will eventually make is unlikely to happen while you’re still present to enjoy it. The learning process of therapy is hardly short, either. A new way of life takes years to internalise.
I’ll admit I’m pessimistic. I’ve seen hundreds of people make meaningful changes to their lives over the years, and only one of them had no drastic loss to motivate that change, so I’m sorry, I don’t think you should ignore past behaviour as an indication of future behaviour.
You’re worth more, anyway. You deserve a man who’s thrilled to be with you, who wouldn’t lie to you unless your ass really did look fat in those jeans and it was too late to change. You deserve someone who is that into you. Come back to the land of the living while your body is still alive to house that dying spirit.