My problem with your response is that it invites so many heartfelt further responses that it really wants a whole article in and of itself.
I want to acknowledge what, at least for me, is one of the most if not THE most potent thing you wrote: What am I getting out of her drinking (his beating me, her lying, her drug addiction, the list is endless)? This is so rich from the standpoint of whether or not I am willing to look at the dynamics that feed me. Feed my need to be a hero, Prince Charming, the White Knight. My need to be the savior or the know it all or the fixer or the….you know. If I am willing to go toe to toe with that question, well, the prison cell might begin to open. I’ve had to ask that very question, and to be fair, I often cringe at the honest answers.
I believe powerfully that we all draw our circumstances and people to us for very specific needs. If I own that, then that changes how I see them. Rather than buy into poor me, here we go again, another drunk (did plenty of that) then that invites me to look at what it is inside me that draws that into my world. Different question set. That also places the work in my hands to heal it, deal with it, and seal off what needs to be forgiven and/or forgotten rather than dragged out as an excuse for why “I always attract angry men or alcoholic women or-or-or.”
Once I own that I am in charge here, that my choices and feelings and emotions and issues are all mine, then that gives me a roadmap to go to work. That work never ceases. That’s why it’s called “working on ourselves.” AT 103 and counting- should I get that far- I’ll likely still be annoyed that I can at times be short-tempered or irritable or not as quick with a funny response as others. Never stops.
The other piece (there’s a lot here, Dr. T) that I love is that in ANY coupling, not all our needs can possibly bet met. To wit, my current BF isn’t into deep spiritual conversations. Not his thing. There are, as you rightfully point out, a broad range of interests and activities that I have which he doesn’t share. Horses, for example. Meh to him, a passion for me. Not only do I not want him in all my world, but he doesn’t want me in all of his. Without healthy distance and time apart with others who feed different aspects of our Selves, we end up being boring/annoying/one-dimensional or any number of things that don’t work. Nobody can be the be all end all to someone else. That’s a killer expectation.
Maybe it’s being halfway through my sixth decade with most of my adult life largely lived alone. Perhaps. Who knows. If anything, time alone, which I cherish, provides me avenues to see, think, process and come to grips with the noise within. Not all of it. Some of it. At least that has made room for a modicum of sanity and sobriety in my thinking (I’m a teetotaler). It also doesn’t make me right. This is just what I see.