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Drinking in your relationship


Chriz

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Has anyone ever had any issues with drinking habits of their SO? My girlfriend is basically asking me to make a decision of either giving up drinking or give up on her. This to me seems completely unreasonable and I have asked her to change her stance and accept me as I am.

 

Here is the thing. I don't drink much. I don't really drink while I'm at home, but I might have 1 or 2 drinks when I go out socially. If I'm having a night out with only the guys then I might have a few more, unless I'm driving. I like having the odd social drink. There have been times when I went out and didn't drink and some freinds thought that was weird, but that doesn't really concern me. I even told my girlfriend that I would try not drinking when I am out with her and I've done that for the past 6 months.

 

My girlfriend basically has two reasons for not liking me drinking. The first is that she doesn't like the smell of alcohol breath after drinking. The other is more to do with the fact her father is a bit of an abusive alcoholic type. The abusive side was more the case years ago when she was younger. She doesn't drink and says the smell of alcohol makes her sick. Given the circumstances is it a reasonable request for her to ask me to give up drinking? Giving me a decision between her and alcohol seems to be an irrational thing to do.

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I have not had that situation, but my brother has and he broke up with his girl over it. I don't think it's unreasonable. It bothers her on a straightforward and deeper level. YOU may think it's unreasonable but that's you. What she feels is reasonable because they are her feelings and they affect her.

 

I think she has a right to express her feelings and wishes. You choose to listen or not. And she chooses to act on your decision.

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I don't think it's fair for her to give you the ultimatum of choosing her or the alcohol.

 

If it was a constant thing and she was worried about your health then it's one thing, but if if she is simply telling you to stop because she doesn't like it then it's another.

 

I would agree that if it makes her sick, you should not drink when you see her, otherwise you have every right to do so when hanging with your friends.

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Well, I am in the same situation as your girlfriend... I have an alchoholic father, and dont drink alcohol... I'm not "against" other people drinking, but I just choose not to do it myself.

 

My ex did not drink either. He would have a beer like once a month, and that was never an issue. He didnt drink with his friends or go to bars or anything like that. So he made it pretty easy on me.

 

Personally, I dont think i would have an issue with your drinking. You're not drinking in front of her and you're being honest about it when you. You dont say how often you go out, though... If you're going out and drinking socially 3-4 times a week, it might be different than going out and having a few drinks on a friday night.

 

from what you've said, sounds like youve been more than reasonable enough though. I dont think it's fair for her to ask you to give up drinking altogether. She can chose whether or not it is ultimatley a deal breaker for her

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The smell of alcohol has negative connotations to her. Every time she gets a whiff she likely remembers, consciously or unconsciously, the abuse perpetrated by her father.

 

Under different circumstances I might say the request is unreasonable given you've cut back a lot, and compromise would be in order, but in this case I think it's important to realize that if she's not 100% over the abuse that happened (and maybe even if she is), every time you drink you basically slap her in the face with a torrent of bad memories and emotions. You open the floodgates to the pain she has inside and over time I'm sure that's worn on her, and as much as she cares for you and wants you to be who you are she probably can't continue this way because it hurts too much every time you drink.

 

It's up to you what you want to do, but the more she associates what you do with her abusive father, as unreasonable as it may sound to you having not experienced what she has, the worse off you are.

 

EDIT: To be fair, I vote you not quit. If she needs therapy to deal with the past, then so be it. I think ultimatums in relationships are unfair in general, especially when the other person has already compromised very fairly.

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I don't think it is reasonable to make what is her problem (and I had exaxtly the same problem for the first 25 years of my life - I didnt touch a drop of alcohol myself because my dad had not been so nice when he drank when I was younger) your problem.

 

Maybe you could remind her that most people who drink socially and responsibly don't turn abusive or become alcoholics later in life. It's not a necessary consequence of drinking, for instance.

 

Maybe a compromise - have a few drinks that don't smell/taste so bad. I.e. don't drink beer..

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She did know that I liked drinking with friends early on and I thought she accepted that. But it turns out part of the reason she doesn't like me going out with only the guys is because she thinks we do it only to drink. I also accepted that I would not drink when I was with her so she knows I made the effort. In fact she thinks since I cut back I should just stop completely all of a sudden.

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She did know that I liked drinking with friends early on and I thought she accepted that. But it turns out part of the reason she doesn't like me going out with only the guys is because she thinks we do it only to drink. I also accepted that I would not drink when I was with her so she knows I made the effort. In fact she thinks since I cut back I should just stop completely all of a sudden.

 

Well that is a problem for both of you. It's not her problem nor yours. You either come to an agreement or break up. She's not unreasonable but you have your reasons. So what do you want to do?

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I think if she knew you drank socially when you first got together, then it is being unreasonable for her to tell you to quit altogether or she goes. If you have been with her for quite a while, then she knows and can see that you can handle your alcohol intake.

 

It would be like you telling her that she needs to start drinking alcohol or you will leave her.

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Assuming that you do not abuse alcohol, that you have not gotten yourself drunk and done something foolish (drive drunk, cheat on your girlfriend, verbally, emotionally or physically abuse her in any way) then I think she is projecting her issues on to you. She has had a bad history but she needs to get a grip that not everyone who drinks behaves like her father did. Here is another bit of food for thought: sometimes people learn behaviours of their dysfunctional parent. As an abusive alcoholic I suspect her father was controlling and manipulative. Does your gf show controlling and manipulative tendencies? Controlling and manipulative people have a "my way or the highway" approach to things...there is no compromise and they will give you a million and one reasons why you need to do it their way or else. Her ultimatum of "stop drinking or else I leave" when you are a responsible drinker smacks of control and manipulation. Cave in to that demand and I can guess there will be other demands in which she will try to guilt you first and then if that doesn't work it will be a threat to the relationship status.

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>>Giving me a decision between her and alcohol seems to be an irrational thing to do.

 

Actually, considering his history with her father, it is a reasonable request for her to make. She has such an awful experience with this, she probably can't relax if she fears you might drink more and end up like her father. It happens all the time.

 

A child of an alcoholic may be very traumatized by the alcoholic parent, such that even the smell of alcohol triggers bad memories. So her personal history makes her someone who just can't be with a drinker. It's not that she is right or you are right, it is just that based on her history, she needs to be with a non-drinker to relax.

 

So i think you do need to choose which is more important, and if you like alcohol that much, perhaps she just needs to go off and find herself a non-drinker, and you need to find someone who is fine with drinking.

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This ^^. Also, some people who come from abusive and/or alcoholic backgrounds need to control other people so they can feel 'safe'. Of course, this doesn't work, partly because they can't entirely control others, and partly because even if other people are compliant, it doesn't address the real issue, which is their own shaky sense of themselves.

 

If your girl wants to deal with the traumas of her past, she needs to do so by attending one of the support groups around the issue, such as Adult Children of Alcoholics, or therapy, or both. Her first business is with herself, not you.

 

If you are confident that your drinking is within appropriate limits and not endangering you or anyone else, and you're OK about not drinking before you see her, then carry on as you are. She may choose to end the relationship, she may not - but caving in to a demand like this will not do you any good in the long run.

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btw, many children of alcoholics suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, so it is not 'optional' nor unreasonable for her to need to avoid the triggers that will give her mental flashbacks or throw her into a fear state.

 

It is just like a rape victim who was bound and gagged when raped, may never be able to be with someone who likes bondage and S&M because it triggers too much emotional trauma and memories. Doesn't mean either of them is wrong, just that they are not compatible based on their preferences and histories.

 

So if you don't respect her history here and think she is worth trying to accommodate on this, then perhaps you just aren't meant for each other.

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If you say you drink as much as you say you do then what she's expecting of you is ridiculous. I can understand someone's concern if the drinking is getting out of hand, but a few here and there is nothing wrong with that and in fact is very much the norm. Tell her you don't want her wearing make-up because you dont like the way it feels and see how she likes it or if she listens to you. I'd continue drinking socially if you like it and she can deal with it or try to find someone who never touches alcohol which I would assume would be 1 in maybe 50 guys.

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Cave in to that demand and I can guess there will be other demands in which she will try to guilt you first and then if that doesn't work it will be a threat to the relationship status.

 

This is probably the main reason why I don't cave in to her demands because there have been other irrational reactions from her to things in the past. I can forsee other "issues" popping up in the future. If you're interested, you can find my thread on porn and how the fact that I looked at porn in the past before I was with her is a major issue for her as well.

 

For the record, if I drink it would be maybe once a week if I go out with freinds and it's usually between 1-3 drinks. I don't go out very often. If I drive I hestitate on having even one drink, unless I know I'll be at wherever it is for a while. Maybe every now and then a few times a year when a friend celebrates a major birthday I may drink a bit more, but even then I drink within my limits.

 

Actually, considering his history with her father, it is a reasonable request for her to make. She has such an awful experience with this, she probably can't relax if she fears you might drink more and end up like her father. It happens all the time.

 

This may be true, but the fact is I've made compromises and not drank around her. Therefore this shouldn't really be an issue. People at the end of the day need to deal with their issues as others have suggested and not burden others with them. I'm not trying to detract from the past hardships she may have endured, but from other "issues" she has found it sounds more like a control issue as Crazyaboutdogs has suggested.

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This is probably the main reason why I don't cave in to her demands because there have been other irrational reactions from her to things in the past. I can forsee other "issues" popping up in the future.

 

Unless there your drinking has caused real damage to you, you health or your career, there is not legitimate reason for you to be abstinent.

 

And I agree that you should not cave in this time. If you did comply to "keep the peace" you would be training her to know how to get her own way in the future when she felt like asserting her wishes.

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I think your drinking is very reasonable. Unfortunately, I see both of your sides. Drinking obviously brings bad memories to her. And you are not being unreasonable with your requests. In fact, I would even say you are very accommodating! But at this point, no one but you can decide what is more important. Standing your ground to continue doing something you enjoy, or being with her.

 

Try talking to her about this some more. Bring up your responsible behavior, the fact that you haven't done anything wrong while under the influence. If she just won't budge and you don't want to either, I guess keep doing what you are doing and take your chances.

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Perhaps I'm just hanging on to the hope that she'll grow out of this phase/midset. But the problem is that she thinks I'm the one with the problems. I'm not sayin I'm perfect, but she just turns really emotional about things like this and tries to make me out to be the bad person, when I clearly have made some changes and compromises. She thinks I am not sacrificing things for love. She can see that I have made some changes, but wants to try and test me and take it further. She thinks that one day if we ever had kids, they would see me drinking and think that is OK. I most likely wouldn't drink in front of my kids and certainly not let myself get out of control.

 

My main issue is that I can see I'd start resenting her if I just let her have her way.

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