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His Drinking is Turning Me Off

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We are at odds over his drinking, and I don't know what to do.

woman thinking about her boyfriend drinking what do i do

Guestblogger lovehimorleavehim: My soon-to-be husband likes to drink ... a lot, and it's really starting to affect me. I am worried about how it will affect our future, and whether or not I can accept the way he is. The more I think about it, the more I become clear of how much of a deal breaker it is for me. I grew up in a household with lots of drinking, and I don't want to repeat that situation. Now, don't get me wrong, he isn't the town drunk, but when he drinks it's excessive. I can't have a conversation with him, he definitely cannot drive, and, well, he tells me things he doesn't remember the next day (even nice things...they lose meaning after a while). I have become the alcohol police: I worry about him when he is out at night, I cringe when we go out to dinner with friends and as a result I end up not having any fun. The problem, is that he doesn't think he has a problem, he thinks I am exaggerating. My question is this: Why does someone need to get DRUNK? Why not just have a few drinks and call it a day? I am losing respect, and more than that, I am getting turned off by his behavior. What do I do? Is it fair to ask him to curb it or is he going to resent me? How do I even begin to talk to him when we are on such separate pages? I talked to two different therapists for help ... and this is what they had to say:

1. Momlogic's Shannon Fox says "being with someone who cares more about the relationship than the alcohol is crucial." Sit him down, and tell him his drinking hurts you, and ask him to stop. His reaction alone is a good gauge as to where he stands.

2. Family and marriage therapist Dr. Jane Greer says "avoid pointing the finger. When you talk to him, make it about 'us or we,' not 'you.' For example, instead of saying 'I think you have an alcohol problem,' say 'The drinking is creating a problem in our relationship, what should we do?'"

3. Don't become the "mom" (aka alcohol police). Make an agreement that if he drinks too much and you are both out, that you will head home alone. You have to take care of you!

4. Saying "the drinking is spilling onto our relationship, and I am starting to get turned off," allows him the decision on how to proceed without you telling him what to do. No one wants to be told they are a turn-off.

5. If your partner has been drinking, do not bring it up while he is drunk. It will only lead to combustion, says Dr. Greer. Nine times out of ten, it will create more conflict.

Though this problem seems bigger than the sky, I can only start with talking to him. I know now to stay calm and share my feelings. The rest ... is up to him.

Dr. Jane Greer is a family/marriage therapist and lives in NYC. She's on call at

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12 comments so far | Post a comment now
ashley October 24, 2008, 7:21 AM

Basing it on my own personal situation, you do not need to get married until the problem has been resolved. I married my husband knowing he had a problem. It was a major issue that almost ended our marriage several times. Now we have been married 6 1/2 years and I can say that the past year has been the best because he is now sober. But those first five were very rocky and at times I was miserable. I am glad I stuck through it, but you don’t need to go through that. It is a long, long miserable and lonely road when your married to an addict. Best of luck to you!!

jackie October 24, 2008, 10:42 AM

I would say see if he does get better and then proceed. Some men just need to be whipped into shape, and scared they’re going to lose you. it sounds like you are willing to walk away from the relationship and that is good! That means you are not dependent. He needs to shape up or ship out!

chris October 24, 2008, 3:58 PM

I agree with Ashley. My husband drank alot before we got married and I also grew up with a father who drank too much and I let my husband know before we got married that I loved him but I was unwilling to marry him and have a family with him if he couldn’t control his drinking because I know first hand the effects that it has on the whole family. He also like your husband got really drunk (couldn’t seem to only drink “socially”) and it got to the point that I hated going out with friends or family with him. It was really hard for a long time. He agreed to slow down and we did get married and now have a family. I can’t say that he’s always good boy (maybe a 2 or 3 times a year he may over drink and only at home) but he’s a hella lot better than he was and my kids (14 and 11) will not grow up knowing what it like to have an alcohalic parent like I did. If he is not willing to slow out or stop, please think very carefully about marrying him because it’s a hard hard life.

DeAnna November 22, 2008, 8:37 PM

I’m in the same situation as you are. Honestly, my only advice is go to couples counselling. Don’t say that you want to do it because of his drinking. But if you can convince him to go, the drinking situation will come up and get solved. And he will listen to the counselor a lot better than just you at home.

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