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Ask TherapistMaryAnn Your Own Question
TherapistMaryAnn, Counselor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 5823
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues
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I was just searching to manage confusion and guilt. I broke

Customer Question

I was just searching for ways to manage confusion and guilt. I broke up with a man, as I believe he may have used drugs (from an ER visit - though he attempted pain control without) although was a long time recovering addict. His behavior immediately became strange and erratic. (I am 45, he 54 - I have children, and simply dont do well with relationship drama and "issues" - and tend to simply walk away) That was 2 weeks ago. I havent heard from him since. My guilt may be from the fact that he relocated here, to pursue the relationship, and may feel abandoned etc. I received a message from someone else that he was in a behavioral health hospital due to a suicide attempt. I confirmed this information, and left a message that if he needed assistance, I would do what I can. (meaning to me, minimal money for a bus/train ticket home, to get back into treatment if needed, where his support is) - He did return my call, but with anger, scolded me and hung up. I now realize, I should have not made any contact at all, as clearly I am the target of his blame and anger. I was looking for an article to help me remain focused, not get "sucked in" (It sounds harsh - but I am not trying to be) and remember this was his choice, not mine.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  TherapistMaryAnn replied 2 years ago.

Hello, I'd like to help you with your problem.

It sounds like your relationship with this man is based a lot on his needs and not so much your needs. You mentioned that it was his behavior that changed in the relationship and that a lot of your relationship was being aware of and possibly dealing with his addiction issues. That is a lot for someone to take on, especially if you have children and have other responsibilities.

One way to deal with the confusion and guilt you feel is to realize the facts. That is hard to do when you are in the situation, but try taking a step back and imagine someone telling you the same situation was happening to them, such as a friend or family member. Would you agree that they have a reason to feel guilt? Or that it is their fault that their partner had issues too big to deal with in a relationship? Should your family member or friend stay in a relationship that is one sided and that is making them unhappy?

The key here is to realize that your partner moved to your hometown on his own. You did not force him and he chose to pursue the relationship. But asking you to take on a past addiction issue plus deal with a current one is a lot to ask someone. Remember too, you have a voice in the relationship. If you feel overwhelmed by his issues, you have just as much right to make a decision based on your feelings as he does to have his addiction issues. You are not responsible for him in any way.

Also, you did try to offer help. No matter what, you showed you cared. What he does with that is up to him. If he chooses to reject your offer, that in no way reflects on you but instead on him and also tells you more about his ability to be in a relationship.

You may want to explore therapy for yourself as a way to find more ways to assert your own needs in a relationship. Or you can try self help as well. It will help you to feel better to know that it is ok to put your own needs into a relationship and expect that the other person will accept them. Here are some resources to get started:

The Assertiveness Workbook: How to Express Your Ideas and Stand Up for Yourself at Work and in Relationships

by Randy J. Paterson

Emotional Freedom: Liberate Yourself from Negative Emotions and Transform Your Life

by Judith Orloff

People Skills: How to Assert Yourself, Listen to Others, and Resolve Conflicts

by Robert Bolton

I hope this helps,


May I please request that if you find the service I provided helpful at all that you rate me with three or above? Your rating is the only way I am reimbursed for my answer. Thank you so much!

Expert:  TherapistMaryAnn replied 2 years ago.


I have not heard back from you. Please let me know if you have any further questions or need clarification.

Thank you!