Some things you should consider when trying to make a decision on whether or not to continue dating or having a relationship with someone who has different goals, values, health habits, drug habits, etc., but they won’t change or see things the same way you do.
In this video coaching newsletter, I discuss an email from a female viewer who has been dating her boyfriend off and on for about five years. She has left him four times and gone back five times. They are both in their mid-forties, and when things are going well, she is very happy. Their teenage kids from other relationships get along well and like each other, which is an added bonus.
The big sticking point and reason she keeps leaving him is his drug habit. He hides his drugs from her and lies about having them, but she knows where to find them. His friends do the same drugs as well. She says they have so much potential, but his drug problem is a deal breaker. She asks my opinion. My comments are in (bold parenthesis like this below) in the body of her email.
Hi Coach Corey,
I have been seeing a guy for five years on and off. Just reading that sentence makes me feel embarrassed because, yes, I’ve left four times and gone back a fifth. (Deep down you already know what you should do. You should look up some information on codependency. If you came from a family that sweeps things under the rug and where everyone is trying to fix their problems, without realizing it, you will sometimes be attracted to that same relationship dynamic. As humans, we learn behavior from whom we grow up around and tend to model the same behavior when we become adults.) I’m 45, and he’s 46. It’s definitely an age group that should know better by now. When we are together in family mode, and things couldn’t be more perfect. We have so much fun with his two daughters and my daughter, who are all around the age of 15. (This makes it easier.) I’ve lived with this guy three times. Now, we live separately. He owns his own house. I rent. Last time I lived in his home, he charged me rent, $200 a week. Yes, I know what your thinking, Wtf? (Well, maybe that was part of your contribution to the bills. At the end of the day, if you’re working and earning income, you should be able to contribute something to the monthly household. It’s all about what you negotiate and set up ahead of time.) I was, but I did it anyway. I love this man with my heart and soul. He continues to tell me he feels the same, and how I make him want to be a better man. Anyway, I’ve just finished it with him again, because of his substance abuse. I’m too ashamed to say exactly which one it is, but I’m questioning myself once again, on whether I’ve made the right choice. (If you’ve been with this guy for five years off and on, he’s had drug problems the whole time, and his friends are also like that, then more than likely, five years from now he will still be like that.) He feels I should be able to accept that one flaw, because all of his friends, single or married, do it as well and accept it of each other, and they are all very happy and maintain a responsible lifestyle. (That is his model of the world. People will act consistently with who they view themselves to be, whether that view is accurate or not. He is communicating, “This is who I am,” and he doesn’t see anything wrong with it. Unless he decides he wants to get off the drugs, no amount of you being a great girlfriend will make him want to do it.) I’ve done it with him as well to please him, but then beat myself up with shame and just know it’s not right for me. (If you know it’s not right for you, then that is your truth. His truth is that these drugs are okay. You need your daughter to see you dating a guy who has his shit together, and the only way you can meet a guy like that is if you create a space for him in your life. You have to know who you are, what you want and what your minimum standards are going to be. Once you know that, you can’t tolerate the bullshit in your life. It’s tough to end a relationship, but you have to look at the other person for who they really are.) I no longer want to do it. There are some drugs of choice I accept for him to do, but just not the one he thinks he has a handle on. I got him off chronic, but can’t get him off this one. (Your mentality is that you have to fix him and turn him into what you want.) And no, it’s not grass. It’s worse, which he can’t go without for more than a month max. He said if it meant losing me again, he wouldn’t do it. Then I checked his hiding place where one of his friends leaves it, and yep, found it. (He said for you, he wouldn’t do it, and then he did it anyway. Look at his actions. They are congruent with who he originally told you he was. He lied about it, because he was going to do it anyway.)
I confronted him. I told him it’s over because of his choice. He said no, it’s over because I can’t accept it. (He’s going to do this drug of choice and will continue to lie to you. You should really think about your teenage daughter. Have some self-respect.) All of his friends who are couples accept it. Why can’t I? (You don’t share the same values in that department.) I’m afraid we have so much potential, but by not being able to accept his habits and just letting him be himself because his done it all his life, I’m the one giving up too easily. (No, you just don’t share the same goals and values, and that’s okay. There’s nothing wrong with that. You just need peace with your decision. You can either accept that he’s always going to do this and continue to lie about it, or leave. You’ll never be able to trust this guy. Use the tools in my book and the wisdom to create a space for the right person.)
I hope you read this email soon and are able to give me some feedback before I drive myself crazy with what if’s.
Thanks so much Coach Corey,
“In all of your personal and professional relationships, you have one fundamental decision to make about the way people are: “Can I accept them with all of their flaws, faults, shortcomings and idiosyncrasies, instead of trying to change them or expecting them to change in the future?” People don’t change who they are. They may become a better version of themselves over time, but it’s not your job to fix them or make excuses for their bad habits, such as drug or alcohol abuse, dishonesty, cheating or generally having low expectations and standards for themselves. You should date people for who they really are, not for their potential. Why? When you want reality or other people to be different than they really are, you will suffer. It’s hard to leave someone you truly love and care about when they simply can not live up to your expectations and values, but in the long run it’s always better to focus on finding someone who matches your ideal, instead of trying to polish a turd.” ~ Coach Corey Wayne
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