I can understand why you are feeling confused. You are dealing with a complicated set of issues. Ethically, I cannot make a choice for you (i.e., whether to end the relationship) but I can provide some guidance and an objective opinion.
There are several understandable reasons why you may fear leaving this relationship. One, as you said, is that you don’t want to hurt him. You realize that ending the relationship will be very difficult for him. He will likely suffer. That guilt probably stops you from ending it.
A second reason why you may not want to leave is the fear of being alone. There is an idiom that seems appropriate here: “Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t.” What this means, in the context of relationships, is that many people would rather stay in their current situation with the known unhappiness than enter into a new lifestyle with the unknown unhappiness that it may bring. Also, for some, the thought of being alone is frightening.
Neither guilt nor having a fear of loneliness is a healthy reason to stay in a relationship.
Two other complicating factors are that he is disabled and he is addicted to drugs. You might erroneously feel guilty for ending a relationship with a person who is so disadvantaged. If so, please don’t. He may have problems but he is capable of making the changes that you have asked of him. He is a partner in the relationship and there are problems with his behavior. As you have pointed out, he could make many positive changes that would greatly enhance the quality of his life and of the relationship but he chooses not to. You have given him ample opportunity to make the necessary changes but he has not done so.
His drug addiction is another major issue in the relationship. It is impossible to have a healthy relationship with someone addicted to drugs. There may be happy moments throughout the course of the relationship but for all practical purposes, drug addiction ruins relationships. In addition, by not addressing his drug addiction you may inadvertently be supporting it.
You seem to have made legitimate attempts to improve the relationship. But even in light of some positive changes on his part, you are still unhappy. My belief is that you know that it is over but fear and guilt are preventing you from ending the relationship. In my experience people who stay for these reasons often feel resentment toward their partner. It is not healthy for you nor is it fair to your partner.
If you continue to struggle with how to handle this situation, consider consulting a therapist. A therapist could provide informed guidance and help to clarify your thinking. The find help tab at the top of this page can help you locate mental health resources in your community. Please consider writing back to let me know how you are doing. I wish you the best. Please take care.
Dr. Kristina Randle