American girl adrift in Spain
It sounds fantastic.
I recently left the United States to live for a year (possibly two) teaching English to secondary schoolers in Spain with my boyfriend. Everything sounded unbelievably exciting and exotic and like a great time to discover myself, bond with my boyfriend of three years, meet new people, and learn another language. Flash forward to tonight, three months in, and incredibly depressed.
Maybe I'm a total brat for even bothering to post my problems on here but I just need to let them the fuck out and even just seeing these words typed out is already making me feel a little less miserable. I guess I should start out with some background about myself: I recently graduated college in May so I'm 21 (I finished my degree in three years which is why I'm so young) and I've been dating my current boyfriend for three years and some change. He's 28 and incredibly charming, talented, and a little unstable. I guess here in lies some of the problems I'm having.
We are not okay. We were sort of falling off prior to hopping a plain to Spain and buying an apartment together. I figured the issues before leaving were due to the stress of getting everything ready to move to another country which involves extensive paperwork and other obnoxious logistics. But then when we got here it just started getting more unhealthy. My boyfriend (we'll call him Butch) had a bit of a drinking problem when we were in the states. He is never violent but is a real self-loathing dickhead when he gets drunk and is usually incredibly mean and dramatic when he's had too much to drink. He would usually have these drunken episodes when he was particularly stressed about something but it hadn't happened in a long time before we left for Spain.
However, some how, this behavior followed us here to Spain where he would get too drunk with our friends and get a little too rough and become super obnoxious. I would then be tasked with getting him away from our friends before he could make too big of an ass out of himself in front of them so they wouldn't have to see how fucking weird and awful he gets when he's drunk. Since we've been here this has happened around seven times. Which is way too many times for us to only have been here three months. And now this is where the shit really hits the fan for me because I feel so fucking stuck.
I'll do my best to explain all of what I am currently feeling. 1.) Since coming to Spain I have felt lonely and depressed for the first time in my life. Up until now I felt like I was doing everything right and I felt like I had a purpose and knew who I was. This was mainly because I was in college and doing very well in school. Up until now I have had a lot of help from my mother and my friends. Up until now I have had a strong support system with people to talk to. Which brings me to number two.
2.) I have no one to talk to here. I feel like I can't talk to my mom because she has made a pretty heavy financial investment in Butch (she's helped him through money troubles in the past and also bought his plane ticket to Spain) aaaannd she also LOVES him and thinks "he's the one". Not like all of that really matters because she'd support me no matter what but I also just really don't want to have to worry her with my relationship issues that are going on on a different continent. And also if things do work out between me and Butch I don't want that marring her view of him. I also can't talk to my friends back home because they are just looking for a reason to be mad at Butch (they don't love him due to the drinking problems in the past). And finally I can't talk to my new friends here because they are all in love with Butch and think we are the perfect couple and that he especially is the perfect boyfriend. In fact, they most likely think that I am the bitchy, nagging girlfriend because I always want to leave parties early and I don't like to drink that much. But all of those things are because I don't want Butch to drink too much and cause a scene and I usually "want to leave early" because I need to get him home before he's a dick to everyone. And if you're thinking that maybe I should just talk directly to Butch about this, I have. Multiple times. And usually we're okay for a while and then it turns to shit again and I'm not sure how to get out.
3.) I guess you could say that maybe we should just break up and that I should move out of the apartment we are sharing. Which that all sounds great if we weren't in another country where I don't speak the fucking language. It was hard enough finding this one apartment we're sharing let alone trying to find another one and also trying to find a decent roommate would be insanely hard especially trying to do all this between my job here. Also I don;t have enough money to do all of that anyways because we'd have to break the lease on our current apartment. And even if all of that worked out it would be so fucking awkward to split our friend group up between us. I feel like all of that effort and awkwardness is not worth it if we only have 6 months left here. And leaving and going home is not an option for me because I don't want to leave this short of a time in.
So now all of that leaves me here. Feeling stuck, alone, and depressed. Also I know I've been difficult for him to deal with because I've been depressed and sullen because I'm homesick so I'm sure I have been mean and irritable and pretty miserable overall. I feel like I'm hardly ever happy and find it really difficult to get out of bed and make an effort to go out and do things that I usually would be so excited to do. Which makes me feel incredibly disappointed in myself because this is not who I am. Also when I do get up and see the friends we've made here it only makes me feel worse too because I feel so disconnected from them. I'm struggling really hard with who I am and what I want not to mention the fact that I don't speak Spanish so I can barely communicate with anyone here and also I'm in the middle of a break up. Butch has been my best friend and boyfriend for such a long time that now having him put me through such shit here I feel betrayed and angry at him all the time. I find it hard to be nice to him which only makes the situation worse but I don't know how to get over these feelings of resentment when he keeps messing up.
If anyone has any honest thoughts on my situation I would love to hear them. I'm feeling very lost and lonely and some advice would be lovely.
Thank you to anyone who even took the time to read all of my rambling.
If the man's treating you disrespectfully because of HIS drinking problem, then it doesn't matter where you are or what the circumstances are, you need to get out ASAP regardless of how you feel about leaving "this short of time in". Ask yourself what your family and friends would think of you living in circumstances in a foreign country with a borderline alcoholic.
Butch's drinking problem is his to fix and while you attempt to get him home early before he becomes obnoxious to all and sundry, you're really only dragging yourself down to his level to what you describe accurately in your post, as a miserable, angry and depressed person. Why should you bother 'babysitting' a drunken individual, be it at home or abroad, when it's plainly obvious that, going by your post, you're miles ahead of him? Your friends in the States have every right to dislike him.
Your post tells us in a most direct way that you have had enough and now the choice is yours as to when and how you leave. Given your circumstances, you're responsibility is to yourself and not Butch. Where's there's a will, there's a way.
The situation you are in sounds very difficult and I can understand why this is so difficult for you.
I am in no way condoning Butch's drinking, but you mentioned that it has been much more frequent since you got to Spain. Could it be that he is experiencing stress from being in another country also and that is the way he deals with it?
My suggestion, if you are seriously considering staying with Butch, is to have him get counseling and possibly go to AA meetings. My guess is that is available even in Spain. It may mean you have to change what you do with friends when you go out, but if you really love him it will probably help him and your relationship.
If he will not do that, then you should consider coming home immediately. The only reason you have for not doing so is not wanting to leave that soon into it. What good does it do to stay if you are miserable? Come home, look for a job that you went to school for, and make an honest decision about you and Butch without the pressure of being in another country.
Good luck - keep us posted
it is good that you wrote and gave all the information that you did. Butch's drinking
problem is not unfamiliar to me having lived 20+ years with a "functioning
alcoholic" father. Have you heard the term "functioning alcoholic"? You
can find information on the different types of alcoholism at https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/.
This link will give you some good information on the different types of alcoholism. The
link might also help you make a plan and give you some resources for talking to Butch
about your concerns/worries. Most people who have a problem with drinking alcohol or
almost any other problem for that matter think that it is not a problem. In the
Christian world we call the problem that we have sin. We ALL have problems, we all have
sin, and it's pretty hard to deal with. Are you finding that to be true with Butch?
Even yourself some times? But there is some good news for Butch 1) He has someone who
cares about him, YOU and 2) This has not taken over his whole life yet there is hope for
him! You have talked with Butch before about the problems don't give up communicating
with him - it may be hard - but it is very important. Please don't let his
discouragement or lack of cooperation discourage you from the steps you need to take. If
you need to go to a local support group by yourself at first do it. If you need help in
finding a local support group you can call or visit the American Embassy. You are doing
the right things by being concerned.