Boyfriend went into sober living + shut me out - what to do?



My boyfriend and I lived together and when I became aware of his alcoholism we struggled a little bit because I would come home from work to him passed out and feel scared and frustrated. He decided to do sober living and moved out at the beginning of December. He told me we will be So much better because he will be sober and his best self for me. Not even 2 weeks later, he suddenly broke up with me. We had no issues that came up, everything seemed great. He would call me 2x a day to talk until he broke up with me and now saying he didn’t want to be with me for a long time. I don’t believe it and am so confused. Is this common for people in relationships going through recovery? I’m having a hard time letting it go. I thought we’d be together forever.


Hi @Andi,

First of all, kudos to you for reaching out for some support! That’s the best thing you can do for yourself. Second, I experienced this too. I think it is pretty common for people to have a big shift in perspective and priorities when they commit to recovery.

I know this hurts a LOT right now, I’ve been there too. When you think about how much you love him, what do you want the most for him - sobriety? Or to work on the relationship with you? Sometimes it’s too much for people to work on both, and they have to choose. In what ways could this be a good thing for both of you?

Be sure to feel all the feelings of sadness, grief and confusion. That’s important. And then, allow yourself to be willing to shift your perspective on this event into something that is helpful to you. If you’re really struggling, definitely reach out for professional support whether that’s a therapist or life coach. It’s so much easier with support. And of course keep talking it out with us here! Many of us have been where you are, we feel you. And I know from personal experience that just on the other side of heartbreak is a lot of self love and freedom. Now is the perfect time to commit to YOU and get the support that YOU need. :heart:


Thank you so much for your support. :heart: I’m doing therapy and al-anon and it’s helping but the pain is so overwhelming still. I am trying to let go, all he tells me is we are never getting back together and it’s so hard to hear when just the night before we broke up he said he loved me so much. I don’t know what’s real and what isn’t and I never thought I’d experience that with him.


I feel you so much- going through something very similar right now, and I know it hurts so much & is very confusing. It’s really hard to understand how things can seemingly change overnight. You are not alone. Keep reaching out. Your question and a couple of others help me to take my situation less personally, because this seems to be a common thing that happens to when people are newly sober. I am trying really hard to focus on me and see how this situation gives me an opportunity to work on my own issues. And I keep reminding myself that this is what he needs to do to be sober, and that’s the most important thing. Take good care of yourself.


This is a tough one. I’ve been there in a different way. My S/O once chose an alcoholic woman to live with and be with over me. It was absolutely devastating. He was and always has been my soul mate, so it was terrible for me. after a lot of heartache and drama, I finally decided I just don’t want to be with anyone who does not want to be with me. Sometimes that might mean cutting the ties for a bit or forever. This gives both people space to really think and process everything. sometimes, this separation might bring them back. sometimes it doesn’t. but at least you’ll know.

During this time, I didn’t contact him at all. I lived my life for me. I took care of myself. I did things I used to enjoy that I neglected due to trying to help him and focus on him. In the end, he came back and we’ve been together since. not saying this is what will happen. but the healing we both did by being apart was necessary and huge. my S/O needed to sink this low in a relationship with another alcoholic so he could see just how bad his addiction had gotten. I needed to see that i’m capable on my own. I needed to grow and show myself my own worth. I too had my own relationship issues to work through. So it was all meant to be that we took a break. It was such a difficult time for me but it helped me grow in so many ways.

As far as early recovery, my S/O tends to run and not want to be with me when he’s drinking. I could see where that would be very painful too if you went through all of that trauma and work to help him get sober for him to turn his back on you. I have heard this is common. but like I said, i just do not want to be with someone who doesn’t want me. sober or not. Take care and let us know how you are doing.


How long was he gone before returning? Im going through the exact same thing in the original post.


Hi Andi,
I’m so sorry that you are going through this. It’s tough when a boyfriend/spouse goes into rehab or a sober living environment. You are left at home alone which can be tough. Even if you are proud of them and relieved, it’s a lot to go through. And now you are going through the pain of a sudden break up. It’s a lot to handle, so definitely take time to be gentle with yourself and focus inward (self-care, therapy, al-anon, support from friends, relaxation, etc). He is off at sober living and focusing 100% on himself now, and you deserve the same care and support.

I went through something a little similar. First off, I think therapists at rehab programs (not sure about sober living) will evaluate any relationships the person is in, and make sure they align with a sober future. I’m pretty sure my boyfriend’s therapist in rehab told him something about me, because he became very distant all of a sudden. It was very unlike him, but I knew he was focusing all his attention on the program. He got back after 30 days, and it felt like he didn’t even like me. Almost despised me. He was a “Dry drunk” at that point, and I could tell he resented me for pushing him to get sober. Honestly, I don’t think he was ready. He was also suffering from post-actue withdrawal symptoms, and had a lot of irritability and sleep problems. He wasn’t the same and not enjoyable to be around. Unfortunately, I think this behavior is common and as a result, the other partner can be negatively affected.

Anyway, I think if you two are meant to be - please trust that you will come back to each other. If not, there will be someone else out there for you. Perhaps they will be sober and more stable, and you won’t be constantly worrying about relapse and the ups/downs that come with living with a recovered addict. That’s one fear that I have, that he will relapse when we eventually have children - and that’s not something I want my future kids to be around.

What you are feeling is normal and valid. Allow yourself to feel all the emotions. Similar to grief, it will get somewhat easier with time. Try to use this time to take care of yourself. Wishing you the best!


Thanks for sharing @asyouwish78 - you might like this brief instagram video on this topic <3


Oh how can I relate to this one and also researched this to see if it was a common thing. My hope was that if it was common, that maybe it is just something he is going through and he will come back to me eventually. Unfortuantely, I think I am going to have to revel in the unknown future - which is really unnerving for people like me. Ive also been going to Al Anon and therapy. Going on a road trip to find myself. I thought my guy was my one true love, my lobster, my everything. I supported him through rehab and things were better than ever (or so I thought). He relapsed a month ago and moved into sober living. He asked for some space, so I gave it to him. Then all of a sudden he tells me that he doesnt see a future with anyone but himself and that he cant continue to have me support him on this journey as he thinks he is continually hurting me. I dont know what to think and am so heartbroken. I think he may not love himself enough to extend any love to me, but I am desperately hoping that the universe will bring us back together someday. He is my best friend. I miss him. You aren’t alone though. Always happy to connect and chat!


Hi @RainierP thanks for sharing and as you can see it’s not uncommon that when someone progresses towards their recovery, it may take up all their energy to stay the course. Especially in the beginning. I’m wondering how you’re doing now?


I stumbled upon this website while searching the internet for some comfort and I’m glad I i’d. I see now that this is common and it’s painful for anyone going through it. Sending you all light and love. There are brighter days ahead, we have to believe it.


I am heartbroken. I am going to al anon and trying to remain friends with him. I saw him yesterday and he told me that he doesn’t know if this is the end of us or not and that he doesn’t know if we have a future together - so he just doesn’t know right now. Im trying to focus on me and my own healing, although I told him I think he is my big love. I am hopeful but also realistic. It is all so hard…


That’s so hard @RainierP. Recovery and healing takes time. I’m glad to hear you can take some time for yourself to work through all this and hope that he’s also healing day by day. Things will become clearer, sending love in the meantime <3


Thanks @momentsandlight and @Jane. Al anon has helped, but the most helpful thing for me has been a combination of no contact, daily yoga, daily journaling and focusing my energy elsewhere. I am realizing that I do deserve a great love, and he knew that too and that he wouldnt be able to give me that while battling this demon. Thanks for checking in and love to all!


Hi @RainierP - how are you doing today? Have the Al-Anon meetings helped?


@RainierP I’m glad you’ve been able to find peace in rituals like journaling and yoga. Those are my go-to’s when I need to ground myself and get out of the what-if’s. I also love my Al-Anon daily readers!