When to Close the Door on Cheating, Romance and Alcoholics

open door bright lightFrom: Jim
Hello everyone. I happened on this site, alcoholicsfriend.com, perchance after viewing several YouTube videos concerning alcoholism and relationships. I must say it is a diamond in a sea of rough.

My name is Jim, I’m a 33yo male, educated, and hold a professional position in the technology field. According to my friends, I’m a contrast of sorts—extremely technically and logically oriented, yet I don’t possess the typical “IT guy” persona as it appears to my feelings, socializing, and getting my own self out there. I love people.

My story begins 13 years ago when I met, who I thought, was my soul mate—a girl that made life worth living. I was young, 20, had never really experienced love or life before, but felt all of the passion and convictions associated with it. It felt real. We fell quickly in love, before ever truly getting to know each other. Engagement quickly came, followed by a breakup, followed up by reuniting… A pattern began to emerge.

Over the years, our personalities developed as we matured through our early to mid 20’s, towards our 30s. Over those same years, as quickly as we fell in love, we fell out of love.

About three years ago, under very extreme circumstances, we were both unfaithful to each other. Both of us cheated. The bond of trust enjoyed for so many years was shattered.

Over the next 2.5 years, our relationship flattened out. We tried moving, buying homes, starting over… all temporary Band-Aids. Trust was gone. From there, we tried therapy a number of times, talking at length about “why” everything happened, things just weren’t the same.

We became roommates. Love was truly gone. Being that this is all I knew, this girl who I met over a decade before, I almost accepted this was my life. Game over.

All of this changed for me last Christmas season at a work function, our annual Christmas party. During the course of the night, I ran into a co-worker I sort of knew… she had worked with us about two years ago, left for another position, and then recently came back and accepted a new position within our organization. By chance, she decided to come to the Christmas party and socialize with her co-workers. Once the function ended, a group of us decided to retire to a local bar across the street for a drink prior to going home. We invited her group of friends to join us… the more the merrier. I fell into a conversation with this girl… a mesmerizing and tantalizing discussion about so many topics. We were spot on in agreement throughout it all. We complemented each other perfectly. During the course of the night, her words echoed inside my heart unlike I had ever heard before. I finally felt the parts of myself dormant for years with the girl I started dating 12 years before, come alive again. It was a truly uplifting experience. She felt the same way.

In short order, over the next couple of weeks, we spoke and hung constantly. There was never any inappropriate behavior or actions between us. She was also in a multi-year relationship with someone, and we had both committed to ending one chapter of our life before beginning another, the right way. . Things were so perfect between us in every conceivable way; we both knew what we had to do. By the time New Years rolled around, we jointly walked away from our lives to be together.

Now the fun, romantic dating times began…. At first, everything was absolutely perfect. We were inseparable. Every discussion was magical; every dinner date was perfect—sharing a single glass of wine, etc. There were no drunken times. About a month into our relationship, I was supposed to meet her for dinner at a steak house. As dinner time rolled around and I sat at the restaurant waiting, I began to worry. Calls and text messages went unanswered, etc. At no point did I assume alcohol was involved, I thought something happened to her! I left. A few hours later, she returned my call… said she needed a ride home and had lost her keys. Upon picking her up (from a bar), it was clear she was extremely intoxicated. I got her home safe and wrote it off to just a bad night, stress, family issues, etc.

The problems began to multiply–more of the same over the next few months. It was not as consistent as many of you experience, purely random, but I began to notice patterns in her behavior changing. She went from being the kind, outgoing, caring girlfriend who loved to just spend time holding my hand as we strolled through a neighborhood park, to someone who would ask me, “can we stop for a drink?” almost every time we would see each other without specific plans. At this point, we were still together 3-4 nights per week. When I began to take notice of this, and comment, “why?”, or ask her “can we have a night where we don’t drink?” she would get very quiet and almost bored with the evening…oddly, never disagreeing or forcing alcohol to enter the evening, but just elsewhere in her mind.

At the same time, several months into our relationship, she would exhibit mysterious behavior. For example, almost every time I would call her, she never answered, and would always call me back. I noticed her begin calling in sick at work randomly. Her availability seems to drastically decrease the more I mentioned she potential problems with alcohol.

The LIES began. She began to lie to me about people she would see, places she would go, and things she would do. In the next month or so, it became almost comical in a sad way just how poorly constructed some of these lies were. Still thinking this was the girl of my life, the girl whom I left everything I had known as a adult for 12 years, I felt horrifically depressed, sad, and I wanted ANSWERS. Being the dedicated and energetic boyfriend I am, I sought those answers out by showing up randomly at her house, (she, like I, had moved back in with our parents after we left our ex’s to be together), checking the local bars for her car, driving around for sometimes hours trying to find out where she is, every time she would just ignore me randomly. In doing so, I figured out a number of things … at one point, she was still hiding the fact she was going out drinking with her ex boyfriend (a guy who has never truly accepted their relationship was over), drinking excessively almost 5-6 nights a week, and calling into work to begin drinking at 10 or 11 in the morning.. At night, she would go out randomly, tell me she was her mother shopping, or some other story, and then call me several hours later while driving, completely intoxicated. This lead to many fights.

About a month ago, I tried to have a heart to heart conversation with her. I laid out my feelings, although admittedly I am capable of saying things that do nothing but make the situations worse, as I have never dealt with alcoholism before. I explained how her lying and drinking are directly related to trust for me, and I’m worried it is all but gone here. What can we do, if anything, to try to resolve this? I spoke about my love for her, about how much we both did in terms of changing our lives to be together, and felt we were getting close to a solution. She admitted she doesn’t know why she drinks, she doesn’t know when to stop, and writes a lot of this off as her having fun in her young years. She is 29. In her mind, as soon as she settles down and gets married, or plans to have children, the drinking will just stop. Again, not knowing how to deal with someone like this, I tried to give her the benefit of the doubt. As much as struggle with trust from my past relationship and now this one, I want to be in love. I am the type of person who feels the need to take care of their special someone. I think I’m a fixer when I know no one can fix alcoholism until the person with the disease wants to fix themselves.

Over the past month, her drinking has gotten worse. She writes it off to stress, or minimizes it… or flat out denies it. When I would see her, almost every time, I would smell alcohol on her breath… no matter what time of day. Most days I would be too ashamed to mention it and tried to ignore it. This has been a very difficult month for me. Her drinking seems to be accelerating to almost every day now… sometimes 5-6-7 days in a row. I only know about this from when I see her, she will hardly ever drink around me, but is perpetually late when we do have things to do, always showing up 30 minutes behind and smelling like alcohol.

Last weekend, things exploded when we went to a big musical festival together, spent the weekend at a nice hotel to catch the concerts, and I caught myself checking her cell phone and finding proof of her ex still trying to communicate with her, despite her telling me (and him), she wanted nothing to do with him. I want to believe her, but knowing how closely tied alcoholism and lying are together, I just can’t. We fought for a few days, with her always trying to steer the arguments away from her behavior and her drinking to my actions… placing the full blame on me.

She claims she’s afraid as far as this relationship; her biggest fear here is that the fighting will never go away. I try to tell her my attitude and sometimes anger is directly related and in response to her actions… the drinking, the lying, and the mysterious behavior that seems to follow all of this around. Despite that, she claims she wants to be happy in life, and just enjoy things… yet wants to be serious in a love-providing relationship with someone? She said she needs a break from me and my obsessive nature. One month. Prior to storming off, she said I should call her in one month when I figure myself out. ????

I am thoroughly confused. I thought people who try to care for the ones they love and prevent them from hurting themselves were good people, not bad. At this point, several days have gone by where she has flat out ignored me.

A couple of days ago, after finding this site and reading MANY of the articles and your stories, I tried to text her asking her if we can talk, no arguments. I felt I have some new tools available to me to deal with some of this behavior and am eager to try it out.

Long, long, story short, what the heck do I do now? In talking to my closest friends, they are in agreement – they feel this relationship isn’t worth my time, the new $300k house I just bought and want to find someone to share it with, shouldn’t be her. They feel I am wasting my effort, worrying about someone who just wants to have fun, who is self-fish, has substance abuse issues, and sees me as the kind of person who will always be there for them. They advise me to forget about her as soon as possible. I don’t know if I can do that though, I am truly someone who doesn’t invest in someone else like this unless my feelings are real… through thick and thin, I don’t commit to someone lightly, nor can I walk away easy….

Despite the fact we have been together for 7 months, aren’t married, and have no children, it isn’t easy for me to walk away when my heart still belongs to this girl, even with her problems… I want to help. There is a very special person in there who has everything I wanted in a life partner, a wife, but trying to find those elements in a sea of whiskey and beer is not easy. What should I do? As I titled this story, When Is The Right Time to Close the Door?

Thank you all, especially you JC, for this website. Your lessons are already affecting me in a positive way.

Jim from Chicago

176 comments to When to Close the Door on Cheating, Romance and Alcoholics

  • Pez

    Jim, You did the right thing for you life. You walked away like I did. I’m glad this site helped you with that decisions and you were not deceived into marrying her. I am getting to the point now I hardly ever think of my Xab!!! yea!!! Never thought I’d see the day. Progress. Hope you can heal your past too Jim. God Bless.

  • Hi Jim,

    You have just written my 25 year life with my AH. Everything you have said has happened to me. Lies, cheating, immaturity etc My 15 year old son is more mature than a man of 47. I left nearly a year ago and it is not easy but I do have peace most of the time. My AH lies are out of control and his drinking is a lot worse as I am not around to put the plaster over the mess and make it all okay. I spoke to a pastor who has been sober for 30 years and he told me never be surprised at what a A will do or say and he was right! My AH arranged to pick up our son on Saturday at 3ish he phoned my son at 11ish to confirm at 3ish he was sitting on a plane to Spain for a weekend drinking? you seriously couldn’t make that up! God love them they are insane and then blamed me when our 2 kids stopped speaking to him. Take Care and God Bless.

  • Jim ffrom Chicago

    You know, you want to believe the person we commit our feelings to is normal, since we’re normal, and can very easily recognize the quality attributes in our partner, both in the present as well as the future. At the crux of my story was a lost person, confused into seeing what he wanted to see in a wonderful person at the beginning… and then from there slowly being led down away from the peak of our relationship through turmoil, deception, and addiction. All the while we consider… perhaps we have the problem, aren’t being understanding enough, haven’t tried this or that, all in an effect to justify our continued feelings, care, and love for the alcoholic. While our hearts are often in the best place possible, our actions become more self-defeating than productive to the ends of helping. What I haven’t mentioned is I began to realize at the end my anger in not being able to understand or tolerate the inescapable drama of dealing with this type of person packed a double-punch… first, I was making her feel miserable about drinking, lying, hiding things, etc… which just led her to stow away matters even further from the surface. Second, I was slowly destroying myself, my feelings of care, and who I present myself to be to the world. People who know me would see the sadness written all over my face. While I miss certain things about her and this relationship, I can’t help but smile at the surety of knowing I’ve lived through this experience and walked away relatively untainted, yet infinitely more aware. Isn’t that just cause for a celebration? For all of you who relate to my words, kudos to you… how you can maintain your situations, dealing with these kinds of dramas for years is amazing to me. My hat comes off to you all for the toil, struggle, and effort you exert in the name of love. While some may say it is misplaced, you have your reasons and in many ways, are stronger than the person (such as myself) who gives up on an addict.

  • brigitte

    Jim, don’t feel that you are not strong coz u are. To walk away and take care of you takes courage. Some of us here have been too scared or disillusioned into staying and we became sick (well I speak for myself really). You have no other choice. You have to save yourself from this disease before it eats you up and spits you out. Please don’t now listen to the lies and empty promises and go back. I beg you. Stay away and move forward. You dodged a bullet, make sure you keep it that way. Its very sad that it has to be that way but its not your problem to deal with, its hers. You are awesome, obviously have a lot to offer someone and she knows that and in some sick way, she dosent want to lose that but the alcohol is more important. I’m sure you will have no trouble finding a woman who loves you for you and wants to truly be with you. Take care. Hugs

  • Mike

    Wish I had seen this site and post three years ago.
    I’m stuck in a very unhappy marriage and I saw it all the way and never knew the total impact it would have on my life and health.
    Thanks Jim.

  • Pez

    Mike you are not stuck. You also have a choice!

  • brigitte

    Mike, I understand what pez is saying coz u do have choices. U know that but without realising it, u have more than likely become as sick as your alcoholic with codependency to some degree. You’re more than likely depressed, angry, hopeless, no self worth and feel like there is just no way to turn. Gosh, I felt like that for a long time and if my alcoholic hadn’t chosen to walk away from myself and the kids, I would more than likely be in the exact same situation as you. I felt so trapped and unhappy but always made some sort of excuse as to why I couldn’t leave. I was scared and at the same time, I had constant hope that maybe tomorrow things would be different. We also have love for that other person and we so want them to just see what they are doing but they never do. So we do nothing and we hope some more until we are either forced to change or we grow old and one day, its too late to leave. Don’t let that happen to you! I don’t know where you are in the world but I’m in south africa and men here always earn a hellava lot more than women so for me as a woman, I was scared financially but surely you as a man can move out and afford it alone?

  • linda

    I also feel the same way. In my 33 year marriage to my a husband. I left at least 3 times. This last time I was gone for a year. Was doing good for myself..made mistake n talked to him. Back again and looking to get out. They know what to say to get us back. The crazy behavior from a continue. Baggering,tantrums ect. Feel stuck. Wishing the a would just leave.

  • Julie21

    I have been reading Empowered Recovery’s book and it is so insightful and helpful. Even though i have already left my ah and have been apart for 2 years, this book really is a big help. i wish i had read it sooner and made changes for my life and my children sooner. too much had been given up for the alcoholic and to what purpose? Nothing I ever did saved him from himself, not even our leaving. He is still drinking and making poor choices and he is losing out on life. But now i take no responsibility and feel no guilt for that, as I see that they are his choices to make. I need to protect my innocent children and work on myself. And the book from Empowered Recovery helped me realize that i have the power to do that. Also if it had not been for this alcoholic’s friend site that i found a few years ago I do not think that my thought processes would have ever changed to the point where i felt i had power to save my own life and help my children. When i think back how helpless and trapped i felt I am so thankful that i found this site which was a great turning point in my life and then later Empowered Recovery which is helping me along my path of recovery after leaving the alcoholic. But if you are still with the alcoholic this book is also for you! Much to contemplate while reading this and it will help you see truth in your life instead of distortion from the emotions you are experiencing living with an addict. I recommend it to anyone living with an alocholic no matter what your relationship with him or her may be. http://www.empoweredrecovery.com

  • marie


    Wow, you basically told my life story with my A husband. I congratulate you n wish you the best. Your story inspires me to keep moving forward with my seperation n finally divorced. Thank you n god bless. This is an experience that I will never forget because it taught me a valuable lesson in relationships you must really take your time to get to know the other person n not fall for the charm and smooth talking ways. I’ve learned through therapy that we must make it a priority to learn about their family background people they associate with and pay attention to the warning signs from being secretive speaking badly about their exes and lies and cheating Ways. Mine too suffers from the constant need of attention from exes or random women that he continues to bring into our marriage. The excuses are hysterical and something you can expect to hear from a child or teenager. I’ve become very distant and the love I felt is slowly turning into numbness and emotionaless. It gives me strength and motivation to continue to take care of me and my children amd I know that I’m closer to the door than I was before. I’m getting my finances together and with God’s will I will be free of the misery of an alcoholic. This life is not for me and drama free I soon will be.

  • Jim from Chicago

    Hello again everyone. Happy belated fourth of July! I wish I could say there was no more to this story, and I DID walk away as planned, but alas the alcoholic’s grip on me was strong…if even the grip of what I told myself was an acquaintance / non-romantic relationship. Today though, I’m proud to say I’m over 6 weeks “sober” from having any interaction with the alcoholic referenced in this post. Certain events have transpired beyond belief that I can only say I know are true because I witnessed them firsthand. In any event, as a means of self-therapy, I’ve been considering expanding this article I wrote for the AF site into a larger, more detailed story, perhaps short novel, on my experiences with alcoholism, changes in life and maturing as a person, in a sort of auto-biographical story of life. Have any of you gone through anything like this before? Any advice for a wanna-be writer out there (myself), would be very much appreciated. 🙂

    Thanks for all your posts.

    Jim from Chicago

  • Kristi

    Glad to hear your update and that you made it out semi-okay as did I.
    I’ve often pondered on writing a book like what you speak of, only to tell myself no one would believe it.
    I hope you continue to thrive and make it

  • katie

    I LIVED with my x for 16 years , I did all I could and more to try stop him drinking ,I wasted my time , he did stop for two years and nothing changed it was still all about him , I was living with a man who couldn’t love any one but himself , he left a wife and children and had a child with another woman and like a fool I believed him when he said it was not his fault,,he said he never loved his wife and the other woman was a liar and a cheat ,,I moved on from him but I think about him every day because I loved him , I feel so sorry for any one living with this awful disease ,, but I didn’t cause it ,I can’t cure it ,and I can’t control it ,so I let him go its no way to live 🙂

  • It seems that the easy answer it…walk away. I am ready to end my relationship only if my husband stops trying. He is admitting he has a problem and is seeking help. There is a way…spiritually for an A to change. I have seen it with my own eyes. If they don’t want to, then just get out. If they want to try, how can we give up on our spouse so easily. I know I can’t. There is hope…just wanted to say something positive.

  • Margie

    Im so sorry for your pain. It is so hard when you love soneone who is fighting demons but…..when they turn their anger on you and continue with their same lifestyle you must think of you and your life. You are not doing her any good nor yourself. You have to move on. It is the hardest emotional battle ever. Pray for her every day and love her from afar.

    I will keep you in my prayers. Stay strong.

  • Joanie

    I have just ended a six plus year relationship in a very similar situation. My heart is broken, but I must go on. I have prayed every day for him since he disappeared 7 months ago to another woman (I just found out) and now wants to talk because that has ended. He has just totaled another car, lost his income and still continues to search for love when the answer lies within his own being. I saw a man at the end of my bed last week, pacing. I must believe it was my guardian angel, trying to prepare me for this news I was about to receive and committing me to being strong. This is certainly hell on earth. Joanie

  • Zita

    My AH has been sober for 1 1/2 years. Things have never gone back to what they once were. He is not an easy man to live with even though he is sober. Walk away now and
    don’t look back.

  • Jenna

    Hi Jim – I know it’s very hard. I’m in the same situation (relatively). Been with my AH for a year and a half, and the cheating, lies, and drinking has only gotten worse with time. When he threatens to leave me, I freak out. It feels like my world is crumbling apart. He breaks up with me about 3-4 times a week, and yet the feeling of being broken up with gets worse even though I know he’ll just take me back the next day.
    The woman who you are speaking about needs to get help before you can even entertain the idea of getting back together with her. My AH tells me he wants to get help, wants to change, but words are meaningless and empty because he has yet to do anything about it. And SHE has to want to stop drinking, because no one can do it for her.
    I know it hurts. I’m sorry you’re hurting right now. Take this time to focus on yourself and start building yourself back up. She has to do the same thing on her end. She has to get better before your relationship can get better.
    Only you know what’s best for you. But right now, it seems that you are hurting a hell of a lot more than healing.
    Peace be with you.

  • Stephane

    I am ending my relationship today, she startedt a detox 3 weeks ago and although we don’t live together I took care of her two kids during that time. The only calls I got from her while she was there is to get money or cigarettes and each time she would be use her nasty words to take me down. Today was my birthday and I was expecting a call in the morning to get a happy birthday wish but the call never happened. Imagine urgent needs for cigarettes or something but for something special like my birthday nothing. Again the manipulation and lies are something that never stops. After many al anon meetings in the last few weeks I have decided that it is time to move on. She will get out tomorrow and most likely start drinking again and I do not have the energy to persue a relationship filled with lies and deception. Trust me I am a person that never quits but being the son of a AH father I know that the chances of recovery are so slim and I cannot take the psychological abuse that an AH thrives on.

    A new life is ahead of me and I deserve better for myself. We call it a decease but I would also call a psychological horror to be on the receiving end. Sad reality of life, we all deserve happiness and respect 🙂

  • Joanie

    Iknow exactly how you feel. They are all users and abusers
    Totally narcissistic and the bottle is their true lover. Joanie

  • Stephane

    If only we could listen to our little voice inside at the beginning. We all hear it but we think we can save them, the reality is that we can only HELP them and this is where we make the mistake. Helping and saving are two different things. Wish I had found out earlier in my life.

  • Jodi

    Hello. This is my first time writing to this website. I have called upon it many times during my dark days of living with my AH. I tell my friends about this website to help them as well. Unfortunately this is a very long and painful journey. I hope this can help others. Now, my advice would be to educate yourself on the path your life will take living with an alcoholic spouse/partner. For almost all of us, this isn’t the life I would have chosen for myself. That ,for me, is one of the hardest things to wrap my brain around. Good luck and good bless

  • Jim from Chicago


    This is Jim–the original author to this post. I apologize for my brevity but I am writing this comment from my cell phone. I smiled today when I saw new comments to this posting appear…it makes me feel good to know my struggle is relatable, almost timeless and not hopeless. As a quick update, I am almost a year completely past this relationship discussed in the post and have begun dating a sweet, caring and genuine woman who appreciates me for who i am. Despite having alcoholism in her family, she does not drink—at all. This is w welcomed change from what i experienced during my relationship with the AH. I feel happy now when I wake up in the morning, I can concentrate on the issues that come up in life without dealing with the frustrations and conflict inherent to many AH relationships. Life is tough enough! You can and will get there too. Be strong. Be brave and be honest … Most importantly to yourself. Once that line is crossed and you feel it’s time to raise the white flag, do so with pride and leave that relationship. Often this is the beginning of a new positive chapter of life. I did. It was so difficult as I struggled in a circular tide of going back to the AH for every reason imaginable..until my line was crossed. Once yours is, don’t ignore that feeling in your gut. Intuition is one of our best lifelong friends and it grows stronger as life deals you more and more challenges. Embrace it and empower yourself to make things better. You have the power. Use it! The AH randomly tries to contact me via text or email every few months. I have learned to ignore it recognizing nothing good for her or I will come out of responding. She has her life to live and I have mine. Her conflicts and decisions are of no concern to me any more. Her inability to coerce a response from me is finally resonating with her. And I’m happy– to be done with the drama insanity instability and recklessness that is inherent to these types of relationships.

  • Joanie

    Thanks for the remark on intuition. I have a strong intuition, and I ignored mine with my AH for so long that it made me actually sick and a nervous wreck. I appreciate your sharing the light at the end of the tunnel…. right now, I feel kinda stuck in the middle of the tunnel. God bless, Joanie

  • Kat

    I just walked away from a two year relationship, he was so cruel, would not work to afford the mortgage. All t responsibility was left to me.
    He never gave me any affection any more,criticized me constantly, blamed me for so many things. Verbally and emotionally horrible.
    I left because I was enabling him to continue to use me and not be responsible. Somehow I became the enemy.
    I left because I loved him and I knew he wouldn’t hit bottom if I stayed.
    I miss who he was in the beginning.
    I miss the effort and attention he gave me in the beginning, I miss how he admired me.
    His relationship is with alcohol and I know it treats him way worse than he treated me.
    It is robbing him and making him a liar and a fake.
    I left because his disease was making me just as sick, I was losing myself, my dignity from his constant criticism and abuse.
    Hopefully one day he will stop drinking, because he will have suffered enough to make a change.

  • ZG

    Wow…..all of the above…20 year marriage, 2 children and 12 years of alcoholism. Oh….and the last 2 years I got the surprise of an affair…..I call it a drinking buddy as she was an alcoholic too! I read the comments about being scared that drinking would get worse without me there to patch it all up. It is so true.
    1 month sober and affair ended 6 months ago and now trying to pick up pieces but not sure I want to. I am so tired but over the years AH had left for a week or two MORE than once even twice and each time it was actually easier. In fact the last time I didn’t even care. Blamed for everything…even the affair……the best is telling friends he is unhappy, telling me he loves me and our family and then making sure I am not “swapping stories” with people so he can have his two stories going. Sick narcissist. What cracks me up is he is running out of people to tell his sob story to. BTW he only tells people he is unhappy when on a bender. Why do people believe the alcoholic. Seriously….. some think I am the problem. I am not perfect but really…..do you know the constant lies, have to drive and pick up kids because of lack of trust, oh and how about not being able to hold a job…..?? Wake up people!!!
    Why do I even want to try to make this work? Habit?? Tired…….

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