Ten years ago I met my man. We had a stormy but loving relationship that produced a son two years later. A number of factors contributed to our separation the following year. They included his infidelity, which produced a daughter.

During our separation, I had another child, who has no interaction with his biological father. My man loves this child like his own. We reconciled last year, and I relocated to be with him.

Now that I am here, I love him like never before. He has grown, matured and blossomed in ways I didn’t think he was capable of. I thank God for bringing him this far and bringing us back together. However, there are things that haven’t changed about him, and they worry me.

After we broke up, he started to smoke. This habit continues. He also became an alcoholic. Finally, he has been dishonest regarding a very serious situation. While I can relate certain events in his life to the development of these three terrible habits, and therefor sympathize with him, I am completely devoid of empathy.

He states he wants to stop smoking and drinking, and I have seen him make efforts to try. He knows he can’t quit smoking on his own and says he will make an appointment with his doctor to pursue other methods.

I am so anxious for him to stop these things that I experience physical symptoms, like irregular sleep and eating, bouts of sickness, and inability to perform sexually. How do I get beyond my anxieties and become more comfortable with the process of helping my man grow?

~ Valeria

Valeria, blindsight is an unusual form of blindness. People with blindsight can’t see, yet they can navigate their way down a hallway without bumping into things. Apparently their eyes pass information to their unconscious mind, which acts on it.You have the opposite problem. You see all his problems, yet your unconscious has steered you into his path again. You thank God for the advancements he’s made, but the only change we see is that, in addition to his previous problems, he has added smoking, drinking, and doing something so bad you can’t tell us what it is.

Growth? What growth? These are signs of decline. You thank a higher power for bringing you back to a man who makes you physically ill. Smoking is probably his least serious problem and the one he finds least threatening. When he promised to see a doctor, he was simply telling you what you want to hear.

To state the obvious, you are dragging two children into a home with a full-blown alcoholic. Read a book about alcoholic child abuse. The detrimental effects on the brain development and social development of children, from living with an alcoholic, are beyond dispute.

Either you are lying to yourself about those effects, or the improvement you imagine you see in him are things being masked by his alcoholism. Take the drink away from him, and he is likely to be the person he was before.

Perhaps this is your key. Stop trying to bend yourself for a man. Instead, try to find the best life for your kids. Imagine the absolute best situation for them to be in.

People with blindsight can’t see, but they can maneuver without bumping into things. You can see, but you crash into things that are right before your eyes. Until you face the unconscious driver of your behavior, no one can help you.

~ Wayne & Tamara

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