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Problems communicating with boyfriend about drinking issues.


Merrific

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Hi. I am a 32 (f) and have a 39 (m) boyfriend. We have been together for 9 years and have no kids. We have been living together for about 7 years. I love him but he has always sort of had a complicated relationship with alcohol. It has caused many arguments in the past and continues to. He does not drink every day, but when he does he drinks typically a lot. I would hesitate to say he is an alcoholic but he surely has problem drinking. For example, on the weekends if we see friends/family for a party or hang out he will typically drink about 10 drinks or more depending on what it is. He has sometimes caused himself to be sick in front of people which has embarassed me, this has happened a handful of times over the years. He has also sometimes become so intoxicated that he doesn't respond very well and stumbles around which has happened a handful of times over the years and ended in confrontations the next day. Also, although he doesn't drink every day, he will sometimes drink during week nights when we work the next day. He even drinks without me joining him. He can drink up to 2 bottles of wine a night on any given night, and sometimes even a bit more.

 

I do not have problem drinking. I enjoy a drink or two occasionally, socially and to no excess. I would says he probably drinks something about 4-5 times a week. I have tried to discuss his drinking before and every time it is met with defensiveness, excuses or promises to change which never really lasts long. I even told him a year or so ago that his drinking problems affect me to the point that I have pondered leaving him over it. He was insulted but seemed to listen to what I had to say. His dad even came over one day after I confronted him to tell him he should consider stopping to drink after witnessing him being very drunk at a gathering. He refused to stop.

 

Sometimes he likes to drink to take the edge off, to unwind, or while watching sports. I think he has abuse/tolerance problems. I have cried in front of him while discussing these issues. I have even reached out to some of my closest friends and family to share my feelings. They all showed concern amd support but don't know the whole story of the day to day obviously.

 

Recently he has had some significant and stressful life challenges such as failure of a business venture due to covid and financial struggles, although he still has another full time job. His finances took a big hit. He also has a job he doesn't particularly like. Long story short he has to forfeit his house (that I've been living in and contributing to for about 7 years). Right now we are at the point where we have to find another place to stay, either an apartment or a house, but I would be the one buying it because of his financial struggles and he would contribute. This is a huge stressor for both of us. He feels very ty about himself and says it is "emasculating" to go through this. I have always been there to support him. However I sometimes feel like I am taken for granted. He can be a very loving person but he can also be a jerk at times.

 

He drank Friday and Saturday socially. On Sunday night he drank 2 bottles of wine to himself. On Monday he drank only a few beers. Tuesday he drank almost 2 bottles and Wednesday he drank almost 1 bottle and about 5 beers. I was being distant because I wasn't liking how much he had been drinking. This is not uncommon by the way. Sometimes I will have a glass or two with him, sometimes not at all. I try not to drink more than 1 or 2 on weeknights and never every day. Especially now that I see how much he likes to drink I try to not drink myself as much as possible. Last night he asked me why i was being distant and weird, at first I didn't feel like bringing anything up because he had been drinking, but he kept persisting so I broke down and told him that I didn't like how much he drank. Told him this is not new. Empathized with his problems but told him he seems to use that as excuse or crutch. Said I was stressed because I have to make an important life decision to buy a house we can live in and that his behaviour continues to upset and concern me about the future of our relationship. Etc. He was defensive, as he usually is. He tried every angle to deflect every argument like -what is too much? Etc. And said things like 'so I'm a loser'. To the point where he finally said well yeah maybe I drink a lot. Then state reasons why. Or blames me for being the beer police. I have a degree in psychology and work in the field so I like to think I know how to communicate my feelings as effectively and empathetically as possible but he has lots of difficulty communicating. Then he cried a bit about his personal struggles but we still went to bed upset. He said he would try not to drink so much but he has said that before and in the grand scheme of things it never really has long lasting effect. I am baffled that even the threat of losing this relationship doesn't appear to phase him or has had an effect in the past. In my opinion he has poor emotion regulation, some anger issues and impatience, and sometimes I feel he can be selfish and not very empathetic. He has qualities but his faults overshadow his good traits. I've suggested getting help before to no avail.

 

Fast forward to the day after, he ignores me all day (although i am pretty quiet too) and we are both working from home. I make him lunch (we have a habit of making lunch for each other), tell him it's ready but he doesnt respond he eats after I do, when I have left for an work errand. I come back, he continues to ignore me and i make dinner for us. I tell him it's ready, he comes over and takes his plate and retreats to the living room. After a few mins, I can't bare it anymore and I ask him why he's being such an ass (poor choice of words but I was becoming very irritable)? He says he is not and he is watching the game. I try to tell him he is being distant and not talking to me. He denies anything is wrong. Later in the evening I try to make conversation, he responds short and non descriptive answers. I confront him about what is going on and and he says he doesn't have anything to say to me, and that i pisses him off enough last night. I tell him that now I am the bad guy? Things like that. I try to ask him what he needs from me... etc... just doesn't work out. He just says he doesn't want to talk about it again tonight. So we sat in silence most the night and now we are going to bed without a word. I am at a loss as what to do with this kind of behaviour. I feel like I'm not important enough, like he takes me for granted. He even mentionned something about the house hunting tonight and I didn't answer much because how can I be thinking about that when all this is going on around me? I told him that and he didnt respond. I think he feels hurt that I don't feel confident making an important decision about our lives together and he was blindsided a bit by my discussion last night. Last night he said he thought things were going well with us. Anyway if anyone has any insight into what I should do let me know because I've tried just about everything here and I have no idea if I should keep supporting this relationship or not. I feel like I'm the only one making an effort all the time and I've been through a lot with this guy and I feel so ty sometimes. We have good times and get along most of the time and have fun together but this kind of thing keeps popping up every once in a while and it just makes conflict with our relationship.

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