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Thread: Our relationship doesn't "feel" like a relationship.

  1. #1
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    Our relationship doesn't "feel" like a relationship.

    My boyfriend and I have a very odd relationship these days, and I need some input ...

    We've been together for a little bit over a year, but we've been friends for around 5 years. He's older than me by a good stretch, however that's not the reason we're having problems. The thing is, we're both independent people and like solo time, and at the start of our relationship, we had a good balance down. We saw each other every other day or so, spent the weekends together, went on holidays together. We were invested in each other's lives. But for the past 2 months or so, things have changed. We barely see each other. Not because we're busy, but because he's started to drink more alcohol - and I really dislike him when he does. He doesn't get abusive or anything like that, he's quite the happy drunk usually, but I can't stand the nonsense conversations, staying up till morning, his slurred voice. He's not like himself and I don't like the person he becomes. This has led to a sharp decline in the time we spend together because I don't want to stay with him when he's drinking.

    As a result, I barely have a clue what's going on in his life, and he doesn't know what's happening in mine. It really doesn't feel like a relationship anymore. Neither of us is prioritising the other, and at this point we're like random friends with benefits basically and it breaks my heart. I want to spend more time with him, but I don't know how. I've asked him to lay off the wine at dinner, but he sees no reason to of course. Do I really have to give him an ultimatum? Those never work. And I know I'm overreacting here. He doesn't get super drunk, he doesn't drink every day, he's not an alcoholic. He just likes a good wine with a good dinner and it's unreasonable of me to react so strongly to this.

    Because we spend so little time together lately, he seems to believe I don't want to be in a relationship with him. But this isn't true. I love him and I know he loves me too, even though he refuses to say it. And I really, really miss him. I want us to work out and be a team again. But neither of us seems to know how to go about it.

    Do you have any advice for me? Besides "talk about it". We do try to talk about it, but it seems to to push us more towards conflict and less towards solution because neither of us can find the right words to express what we feel and mean. I can't even clearly write down what I mean here, after all. I'm not sure how I feel.

    The last time we talked about it, he asked if I didn't like him anymore, if I was annoyed by him. I said "No, I like you. But I'm annoyed by the way you behave when you drink, because we frequently misunderstand each other and it's overall not a great situation for me to be in because I feel uncomfortable around you. So I'd rather be by myself at those times." He was very offended and told me if that was how I really felt, then he'd have to overthink our relationship as it was clearly not good for me.

  2. #2
    Platinum Member Wiseman2's Avatar
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    Sorry to hear this. How did you meet? Was he a heavy drinker when you met? An alcoholic's primary relationship is with alcohol. Everyone else is just a tool or pawn to be used. Read up on alcoholism. it's not about being drunk constantly.

    Research the AA sites and educate yourself. Get on an AlAnon site for yourself and learn why you are subsidizing and destroying your life with an alcoholic. The longer he tells you "it's not a problem stop nagging" and the longer you tell yourself "But but but he not an alcoholic" the longer you will perpetuate this lonely misery for yourself and ruin your life.

    All you have in common now is that you are both in denial about it despite the problems it's causing. End it. Do not nag, have sex, try to fix him etc. Just leave.
    Originally Posted by kathyb

    We've been together for a little bit over a year, but we've been friends for around 5 years.
    he's started to drink more alcohol. I can't stand the nonsense conversations, staying up till morning, his slurred voice.
    at this point we're like random friends with benefits
    I've asked him to lay off the wine at dinner, but he sees no reason to of course.

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    Thanks for your reply.

    Originally Posted by Wiseman2
    Sorry to hear this. How did you meet? Was he a heavy drinker when you met? An alcoholic's primary relationship is with alcohol. Everyone else is just a tool or pawn to be used. Read up on alcoholism. it's not about being drunk constantly.
    We met at a mutual friend's birthday party. No, he wasn't a heavy drinker then. He has only started to drink more recently, no apparent cause. And I know partners of alcoholics are part of the problem and refuse to acknowledge there is a problem, so what I'm going to say next probably has little value in that context - but I really don't think he's an alcoholic. I've read several books on alcoholism and discussed this with a therapist. The increased drinking is a red flag, but I don't believe that suddenly turns him into the stereotypic addict. He has no issues not drinking. His life doesn't revolve around it at all. He doesn't generally drink more than anyone else around us. I think I just have more issues with this than the average person because I don't drink alcohol at all.

  4. #4
    Platinum Member Jibralta's Avatar
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    I don't think you're overreacting. If his alcohol use is getting in the way of your relationship, then he does have a problem with alcohol.

    You have to be careful with your sense of responsibility here. This is his problem, not yours.

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    Originally Posted by kathyb
    And I know I'm overreacting here. He doesn't get super drunk, he doesn't drink every day, he's not an alcoholic. He just likes a good wine with a good dinner and it's unreasonable of me to react so strongly to this.
    If that's accurate, then I am curious how it's led to not spending much time together over the last two months. Enjoying a good wine with a good dinner sounds fairly innocuous, but in the same breath you identify it as a cause of conflict over the last while - to the point where you don't even want to be around him much. It must be happening with some frequency if it's interfering in the relationship to this degree.

    So, to clarify, how often does he drink to the point of being drunk?

    What has led to his increase in consumption? Or has he always been a bit of drinker but was abstaining to appease you, until recently?

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    Originally Posted by MissCanuck
    What has led to his increase in consumption? Or has he always been a bit of drinker but was abstaining to appease you, until recently?
    I have no clue what led to the increase in drinking. He says there is no reason, he just feels like enjoying dinner with me and a bottle of wine is part of that. However, that wasn't the case a few months ago. He's never been into drinking a lot, but he has always been into wines - he used to be a professional sommelier. So he'd get together with friends who also had in interest in wine on the weekends. But overall, he only had alcohol maybe 3-4 times a month or less, which was never an issue.


    If that's accurate, then I am curious how it's led to not spending much time together over the last two months. Enjoying a good wine with a good dinner sounds fairly innocuous, but in the same breath you identify it as a cause of conflict over the last while - to the point where you don't even want to be around him much. It must be happening with some frequency if it's interfering in the relationship to this degree.

    So, to clarify, how often does he drink to the point of being drunk?
    I understand that sounds contradictory, sorry. It's weird. He basically only drinks when I'm with him. So when I meet him say, 3 evenings in a row for dinner, he'll drink those 3 evenings. If I don't meet him for dinner, then he won't drink usually. And I cannot for the life of me figure out why he does that. He has explained this, but the explanation sounds like he doesn't understand either. He said it's simply a sort of ritual he wants to keep up: my company, dinner, and a bottle of wine. Without me he doesn't feel like drinking as it's not the same.

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    It seems odd to me too that he only drinks in your company, particularly if you don't drink at all. Are you sure he's not drinking when he's alone?

    Also, when he drinks with you, is he getting drunk nearly every time?

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    Originally Posted by MissCanuck
    Are you sure he's not drinking when he's alone?
    Also, when he drinks with you, is he getting drunk nearly every time?
    I can't be a 100% sure obviously but I'm certain. He wouldn't lie to me about this and he'd have to be hiding bottles etc, which I would notice. When I call him in the evening he isn't drunk either and his friends have also told me he isn't drinking when they stay over. He only very rarely drinks on his own. I'd say that happened once in the past month.

    He gets drunk nearly every time when I'm with him in the evenings, yes. There have been some memorable times when he's stopped after a glass but usually, he finishes the bottle. It seems the more I complain the more he feels justified in continuing. So if I say "thanks for stopping after one glass," he raises his eyebrows and pointedly pours himself another one while saying "you know, I wasn't planning on drinking more but now you mention it I might as well keep going." And I really don't know what to do with that. Is he being immature? Does he get enjoyment out of riling me up? I don't know.

  10. #9
    Platinum Member Wiseman2's Avatar
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    Ok google "problem drinkers". You are both in denial and both think alcohol is not a problem. Yet...you are nagging and trying to control his drinking and claim it has a negative impact on the relationship.

    If you want to use semantics to stay in the relationship then try educating yourself on 'problem drinkers', if you can't handle the idea that you are with someone who has an issue with alcohol. If you think his drinking level is normal then consider the relationship is crumbling due to incompatibility. That may help you wrap your head around things.

    Educate yourself: [Register to see the link]
    Originally Posted by kathyb
    I really don't think he's an alcoholic. I've read several books on alcoholism and discussed this with a therapist. I think I just have more issues with this than the average person because I don't drink alcohol at all.

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    Originally Posted by kathyb
    He gets drunk nearly every time when I'm with him in the evenings, yes. There have been some memorable times when he's stopped after a glass but usually, he finishes the bottle. It seems the more I complain the more he feels justified in continuing. So if I say "thanks for stopping after one glass," he raises his eyebrows and pointedly pours himself another one while saying "you know, I wasn't planning on drinking more but now you mention it I might as well keep going." And I really don't know what to do with that. Is he being immature? Does he get enjoyment out of riling me up? I don't know.
    Yes, that response is immature. But I have a feeling he would have kept drinking anyway; he is likely just using your comment as an "excuse" to keep it up. How old is he, anyway?

    It is developing into a problem if he's getting drunk every time you him. People who have a non-problematic relationship with alcohol don't drink like this. He's on a slippery slope here, and my strong suspicion is that it's not coming out of nowhere. It's just not something you really knew about until now, and perhaps something he's been able to keep under control for a long time. How many folks do you really know go from a couple drinks a month to getting drunk several nights in a row, in such a short period of time? I would venture that unless he's experienced some significant trigger in the last couple months and is (misguidedly) leaning on booze to cope, this isn't an entirely new habit for him.

    How to move forward? Well, if he isn't open to listening to your concerns and it's not something you can accept, you might not be able to more forward with him. How do you two generally deal with conflict, apart from this issue?

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