What are your thoughts on taking someone back when they didn’t choose you and mistreated you the first time? A man from my past recently reappeared after 6 years. He ghosted and disappeared after months of dating and right before an overseas trip that he had invited me to join him on (I even purchased airline tickets to travel with him). All these years, I assumed he ghosted me because he was an alcoholic having a mental health crisis, but he recently disclosed that he disappeared because he chose to pursue an exclusive romantic relationship with another woman. That disclosure shifted things for me and makes me feel like he is only choosing me now because the relationships he had during our separation failed, and because he doesn’t have any options left.
At the same time, since we reconnected 8 weeks ago, he has shown through his actions that he is trying to win my trust and seems to genuinely care about me. He has also been sober for over a year and seems to be truly remorseful for his past behavior. But the knowledge that I wasn’t his first or even his second choice makes me feel totally foolish for allowing him back in my life. I’m also an alcoholic in recovery, so I could accept his ghosting because of addiction, but it’s harder to accept his mistreatment knowing it was because he preferred other women.
Should I even consider giving him a second chance, or should I close the door once and for all?
Your feedback is appreciated.
Close the door tight and lock it.
The biggest red flag for me isn’t that he ghosted to pursue another option. People do that all the time. The red flag for me is that he told you he did it.
He’s using honesty to win himself points when the best course of action in this situation is to be vague. He could have said he wasn’t ready or it was a bad time. Instead, he chose to tell you he went in another direction and selected someone else as his partner. That’s all after wasting your time.
If he genuinely cared about you he never would have disclosed that information. A self-aware and emotionally attuned person would know what information would hurt your feelings and put their integrity into question. He’s not stupid. He knows telling you he opted to be with someone else will hurt you.
He just didn’t care.
He thinks you’re dumb. He thinks you’re alone and therefore will take him back. Worse, he’s probably using the sobriety angle to worm his way back in.
Addicts - recovering or otherwise - often engage in co-dependent relationships. One person is the addict. The other is the enabler. Sometimes each person plays both roles. At the time he ghosted you he was probably seeking someone who would enable his alcoholism. Now that he’s sober, he wants to be with someone who will support ( aka enable) him on that journey. What better choice than another sober partner?
He’s hit that recommended one year of sobriety before dating milestone and is ready to get back out there. But like many men, he’s lazy. He doesn’t want to do the work to build the proper foundation on which a healthy relationship could stand. Instead, he circled back to someone he already knew. Someone to whom he didn’t have to explain his history of alcohol abuse. Someone who would forgive his transgressions and associate them with his alcoholism. With you, he can skip a few steps. This reunion isn’t about you. It’s about him.
Unfortunately for him, he picked the wrong one.
You saw through him. You’re right to feel slighted. What you need to consider now is what will happen to you and your sobriety should you let him back in.
You are the priority. Not him.