After cutting him off completely, he e-mailed me five days later. I cannot say that I wasn’t excited to hear from him. He wanted to know if there was any way that there would ever be an us again. I wanted to say no, but part of me wasn’t sure. I was sure there wouldn’t be an us anytime soon. I figured I had nothing to lose by telling him what it would take for me to even consider it again.
- Are you willing to stop drinking? 100%. Black and white. Do whatever it takes. Go to AA. Take Antabuse. Anything. You wouldn’t even be able to drink once a year.
- Are you willing to go to therapy for at least 6 months, possibly even a year?
- Are you willing to go through with the DNA test?
- Are you willing to stay celibate while you’re doing all of this? Nobody else until we decide our fate? Remember, it could be a year.
- Are you willing to stop lying? Even if there are consequences, honesty is first.
- Are you willing to do all of this for a chance to get back together in a year? You have to understand in that time I might move on emotionally. I might decide it’s not worth it to me. I might decide I cannot get over this. I might find someone else. I cannot guarantee you anything.
“If you’re not willing to do ALL of these things, there is no chance. I cannot even begin to figure out how to forgive you right now. You have to be willing to do whatever it takes for as long as it takes without any guarantees. If there is anything on this list that you’re not willing to do, don’t even try to lead me on. And while you’re doing this, I am allowed to do whatever I want. I’ll always be honest with you. If I start seeing someone, I would tell you, etc. I just don’t know at this point how I will feel in a year after you’ve put in the work. I don’t think it’s an absolute no, but I think it’s a really long shot.”
That was enough for him. In the four weeks since I had found out about the baby, he had been in therapy for three weeks (including the first week we attended therapy together.) He has spoken with a co-worker about being his sponsor. He was taking the steps. I had been asking him to get help for years. Us breaking up and moving out of our home together had not done it. Finding out he had sex without his knowledge and being the father of a baby had not done it. He had that information for a year-and-a-half, and he he had slowed down his drinking, but he never stopped. He never got help. Now he was working on himself. Now that I had discovered years worth of lies. Now that I didn’t want anything to do with him because he was a liar and a cheater. He had lost the last thing holding his life together – me.
I really didn’t expect him to stay sober. He had never agreed to it in the past. He would cut back but never go cold turkey. He was being enabled at every turn. His family thought it was better than his previous addiction in his 20s of doing meth. All of his friends were drinkers and pot smokers. They were racking up DUIs, losing jobs, and more. He was tame by their standards.
I decided to spend a month without any contact, complete radio silence. I needed to break the addiction of checking my e-mails to see if he had written. I needed to gain some distance to see how I was doing in the wake of this destruction. I didn’t want to spend my time on his recovery. I needed to support myself. I had hoped giving him the list would give him the incentive to better himself for the next person. I really gave him a list so that I would not have to make a choice about letting him back into my life. I would not have to make a choice. There was no way he would want or be able to achieve the things on the list. He would ruin the whole thing for himself. I had given him enough rope to hang himself with.