Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Your Turn: “We Always Fight When We’re Drunk”

The “Your Turn” letter that was originally published here has been deleted at the request of the letter writer who seems to think I intentionally posted her letter and gave it a sensational title to generate comments. Note: I have never ever pretended to not care about generating comments or traffic on this site. Of course I choose letters that I think will generate healthy discussion on this forum. I would be a moron not to. So, yes, LW, I did publish your letter because I thought it was generate comments. I’m not sure what would have been a less sensational title and still truthfully reflect to the content of your letter. I guess I could have gone with “99% of our horrible, blow-out fights are alcohol induced,” which was an actual line from your letter.

The LW also told me this was the “Worst advice ever” mainly because I didn’t give any advice, but instead had you readers give it. Well, anyone who reads this site with some regularity knows: 1) I regularly (about once a week) post a letter strictly for readers to respond to; 2) I’m on vacation this week and next and am posting more “Your Turn” columns than usual; 3) If you want advice from me but don’t want your letter posted, simply let me know and I’ll honor your wishes (that is to say, I won’t publish your letter, though I never promise to respond to each and every letter I receive).

Please, please, please, if you think you can’t handle honest advice β€” either from me or from the readers here β€” do not write to me. I get many, many letters that take hours just to read, let alone respond to, and the time we spend reading and addressing your concern could be time we spend addressing someone else who genuinely wants constructive help.

193 comments… add one
  • avatar

    Callifax May 6, 2011, 7:27 am

    I’ve always felt that being drunk isn’t much of an excuse for bad behavior. I hate when people cheat and use the excuse “it didn’t mean anything, I was really drunk”. It was still YOU, wasn’t it? And there are plenty of people who can drink, even to excess, and NOT cheat or NOT berate their girlfriends. For me, personally, this would be a MOA situation. I wouldn’t put up with anyone who calls me “unlovable”, wasted or not.

    That being said, if you are super determined to make this thing work, you have to talk to your boyfriend about the situation in terms of the way it’s making you feel. Emphasize the hurt that you’ve been feeling – focusing on your emotions in the conversation will make it seem less accusatory. Try saying things like, “When you threaten to drive home without me, it makes me feel hurt and like you don’t care about me.” And while I don’t necessarily condone using ultimatums, this may be a situation in which you need to say “If this doesn’t change, I don’t think I can handle being in this relationship anymore”. It may be the only thing that will really drive your point home, and cause him to realize that he really needs to change.

    Because seriously, you shouldn’t have to put up with a guy who talks to you like that – not just once a month, but EVER.

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      elisabeth May 6, 2011, 9:04 am

      I agree with everything here BUT for the method of conversation. Rather than saying, “You did this and it *made* me feel this way” (which still implies that it’s his fault, which is accusatory and likely to make him become defensive), say “I felt X when you did X.” This way, you’re taking ownership of your feelings (which are yours, even if you can’t or don’t want to control them in this situation) and still labeling them as reactionary in the face of whatever he’s done.

      Good luck. =( This sounds like a long, upsetting road ahead if he’s not willing to cut back severely on his alcohol intake.

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    Addie Pray May 6, 2011, 7:47 am

    When your boyfriend is sober, does he acknowledge how bad his behavior was while drunk? Is he embarrassed and apologetic? Has he expressed any interest in changing? He needs to go to AA. But that’s a personal journey you can’t force upon him. For his sake, I hope he can get better. For your sake, you need to determine how much you want to put up with. If he shows no interest in changing, maybe that decision will be easier for you. But even if he agrees to go to AA and appears committed to getting better, you still have the option of moving on. This is not something he is going to be able to fix over night.

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      Monica M May 6, 2011, 10:08 am

      I was thinking the same things when I read this. She never states whether he ever acknowledges that his behavior is a problem or tries to change. I don’t hold out much hope for them if he doesn’t agree there is a problem. If she wants to try and save the relationship she needs to remove alcohol from their social events and see what happens. If he refused to even abstain for a month then that is her answer and he is an alcoholic.

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      demoiselle May 6, 2011, 10:19 am

      He may need to go to AA, but curing his alcohol problem won’t cure his girlfriend-abuse problem. In fact, alcohol is a very convenient excuse for him to behave just the way he wants. I think it a disservice to the LW to accept the alcohol as the main problem here. Alcoholism is serious, but being an alcoholic (if the LW’s beau really is) does not make one into an abusive man.

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        Lucy May 6, 2011, 4:17 pm

        This assertion is false. Many alcoholics undergo radical personality changes when they drink. Behaviour like this can be a reliable way to distinguish the true alcoholic from the ‘problem drinker.’ Most problem drinkers can (and do) learn to moderate their intake eventually, usually as they age. Alcoholics otoh typically cannot drink moderately – ever.
        To the LW I would say – your boyfriend is almost certainly an alcoholic. if he resists giving up drinking in order to prevent these incidents from recurring, then you can remove the ‘almost’ from my statement. It will probably take him years, if not decades, to come to the realization that he needs to quit. By then, he will have destroyed any love you feel for him, along with many of the other good things in his life. If he won’t quit drinking and go to AA – which I predict he won’t – MOA now and save yourself years of pain and heartbreak.

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        demoiselle May 6, 2011, 5:18 pm

        Perhaps I should try to carefully rephrase:

        A. If he’s just an alcoholic, maybe quitting drinking will result in a change in his behavior.

        B. If he’s both an abuser and an alcoholic, quitting the alcohol is highly unlikely to result in him stopping the abuse on a long-term basis.

        Either way, it may take years before he is ready to quit drinking–is it worth waiting for him to hit bottom and get treatment to (hopefully) find out whether he is an abusive alcoholic or a plain old alcoholic?

        My chief concern is that fixating on the idea that he’s an alcoholic and needs treatment for that will deflect attention from the possibility that he is both abuser and alcoholic, or even just an abuser who is benefiting from alcohol as a scapegoat for his behavior.

        I agree with you, Lucy, that this is a MOA situation, regardless of whether option A or B is true.

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    ReginaRey May 6, 2011, 8:22 am

    If I didn’t know any better, I would say that you just told the story of my first relationship. My first boyfriend was belligerent when drunk. In fact, like you, I got called some pretty awful things when his drunk alter-ego came out: “dirty skank” (I’d only ever been with HIM!), etc.

    I tried to control it. I tried to get him to moderate his drinking. None of it worked, because he didn’t think it was a problem. He started to resent me for trying to control how much he drank, and it got to the point that I became obsessed with his drinking – even when I wasn’t there when he drank, I would text him constantly and harass him about how much he was drinking.

    This is my personal story, not yours. But in my experience, the drinking wasn’t the only time my relationship was bad. My relationship was unhealthy in many ways when both of us were sober, but it took over 2 years for me to realize (I was pretty deeply in denial) that and get out.

    Your story seems a bit different, because you’ve said that your relationship is healthy otherwise. But here’s one thing I DO know – If he isn’t willing to seriously acknowledge this as a problem, nothing will change. And I urge you, don’t stick around trying to convince him to stop drinking or moderate his drinking if it becomes clear he won’t. I can’t say that your boyfriend is necessarily an alcoholic, but he certainly has a problem related to drinking that needs to be addressed.

    Your relationship doesn’t hit “pause” when he drinks. You can’t discount the things that happen during those times. Those times are VERY unhealthy, and if they don’t stop you need to leave. It’s no different than a boyfriend who hits you every once in a long while – it may not happen often, but when it does, it’s not to be ignored. Please don’t go through what I did. I stuck around for far too long, hoping he would own his problem with alcohol and spiraling into deep insecurity because of it. We broke up 2 and 1/2 years ago…and he STILL is a heavy drinker. And I STILL am wary when my current boyfriend gets drunk, even though he’s a very different person. The repurcussions have a lasting effect.

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      LTC039 May 6, 2011, 9:52 am

      I feel like if he really was a *great guy* he would stop doing something that hurts her. I think he knows how he gets when he drunks, I’m sure they’ve discussed what he’s says, yet he continues?
      It’s true…just bc he’s drunk does not mean it’s ok. I know she’s seeing it this way & that’s why she’s still with him.
      PS. I had a bf for 3 yrs that insulted me horrendously, *while sober*, & I stayed with him :/
      It’s happens to the best of us.

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        ReginaRey May 6, 2011, 10:10 am

        I agree that if he were a stand-up guy, he probably wouldn’t STILL be doing this after 4 years. Part of me wonders if it’s something he can’t control anymore, and needs help to stop. Another part wonders if, like my ex, he doesn’t think it’s a problem because “that’s just how I act when I’m drunk.” And if THAT is his mentality…I’m afraid it’s never going to change.

        I’m sorry to hear about your ex. In my case, I’m honestly GLAD that I experienced what I did with him. I learned some invaluable lessons from that relationship, and attribute it for teaching me how to have a healthy relationship now.

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        LTC039 May 6, 2011, 10:32 am

        Yes, you’re right, it depends on which of those two reasons are it. But that behavior cannot continue; I fear it may turn violent one night, because evidently he cannot control himself when he is subjected to alcohol, it’s always possible…?

        & thanks. I feel the same way. I also learned a lot about myself in that relationship & def. appreciate the positive things that came out (after). I went through a lot of self-hatred after we broke up, but I am a much better person in relationships now. So I def. understand what you mean! πŸ™‚

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        demoiselle May 6, 2011, 10:46 am

        IMHO, it has already turned violent: the LW’s boyfriend has threatened to leave her on the street in a dangerous city, to abandon her at bars, and has recklessly driven away drunk, almost running over her friends. These are threats of violent action, not just mean comments.

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        demoiselle May 6, 2011, 11:00 am

        And the driving drunk is overtly violent, not even just a threat.

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        LTC039 May 6, 2011, 11:01 am

        Not sure what “IMHO” means, but I was referring to hitting, punching, etc… I know it has already gotten way out of hand, but obv. the LW hasn’t felt it has been much of a reason to leave him, that’s why she’s still with him FOUR YEARS later…
        THAT is what I meant by violent. I understand all those things she mentioned, but obv. it has not been a deal breaker for her. So I was trying to point out I fear maybe one day he’ll actually slap her, punch, her, or maybe run the car into something out of drunken belligerence. Hope that clears things up!

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        ReginaRey May 6, 2011, 11:09 am

        “In My Humble Opinion” πŸ™‚

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        LTC039 May 6, 2011, 11:14 am

        Thanks! I’m not too familiar with internet acronyms. lol

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        SpyGlassez May 6, 2011, 4:10 pm

        I always thought it was “In My Honest Opinion.” Learn something new every day. πŸ˜€

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        ReginaRey May 6, 2011, 7:39 pm

        I always thought it was “Humble” but it could very well be “Honest”!…I’m not savvy enough to be sure! πŸ™‚

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        demoiselle May 6, 2011, 11:14 am

        That makes sense. Many people do consider punching and slapping to be completely different, and not just a matter of degree as I tend to do. If our voices reach the LW, that’s what really matters.

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        LTC039 May 6, 2011, 11:20 am

        Yeah. I hope we do! & I def. agree that driving recklessly & trying to run over her friends is indeed violent! The LW, obv. doesn’t hold it in the same regard. Maybe out of denial?
        I personally think she should’ve left him the second he drove recklessly while drunk!! I wonder if she was in the car with him, or just watched him drive off. I surely hope she was smarter than that!!

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      • avatar

        Lucy May 6, 2011, 4:23 pm

        Alcoholism doesn’t care if it makes him hurt the people he loves. In fact, the more he does, the better off it is. The more he drives away the people closest to him, the more he will come to rely upon and love only alcohol, because only alcohol is always there for him no matter what he says or does.

        You can’t apply reason to the mind of the addict, and it is very, very difficult to understand the behaviour if you are not an addict yourself. It’s diametrically opposed to the workings of a non-addicted brain.

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        WorstHangoverEver May 6, 2011, 4:51 pm

        Good questions — and yes he’s always extremely regretful the next days/weeks after. He will usually stop drinking all together for about a week and be extra helpful and nice to make up for it. After a while, we both forget about it and then eventually we have another blow up fight.

        I think the thing is, since usually we are just fine, and often don’t remember most of the details about our horrible fights, I am often totally encouraging of his drinking. Since it doesn’t happen that much, and we are “party people” so to speak, I’m usually the first one to get him to take shots and go out with me.

        And the thing is, I do NOT think it’s okay, and I don’t think it’s fair that many readers are assuming I am saying he was drunk so it’s no big deal — that is NOT what I’m saying, obviously, because I wrote in. I do take it seriously. But, this is just not an MOA situation. Perhaps I’m making it sound far worse than it is, or because you’re only hearing about his bad behavior and not mine it sounds more abusive/victimizing.

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        Yammy May 6, 2011, 7:14 pm

        Forgive me for stating the obvious, but stop feeding him shots when you go out. “Party people” go out, get drunk, and have a good time. You two are not party people. If anything, ya’ll are total buzzkills. There’s nothing wrong with being a party person, but it sounds like your bf’s personality is just not suited to it, so try finding new ways to go out and have fun. You could try rock climbing, base jumping, antiquing, cooking classes, martial arts, hiking, movies, making sock puppets, God I don’t know, just don’t get your bf drunk if you don’t want him to act a fool!

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        ReginaRey May 6, 2011, 7:59 pm

        What concerns me about what you just said is that he tries to stop for a while out of regret…but eventually it happens again. There could be a few reasons for that pattern, two of the most likely being – He can’t or doesn’t WANT to severely moderate or cut out alcohol from his life, or, after a while you downplay the severity of the last episode, and encourage him to drink again. Either way, it’s an unhealthy pattern that needs to be broken.

        You also say that this is not a MOA situation, nor an abusive/victimizing relationship. I’d like to argue that this certainly IS a MOA situation if this doesn’t change, and soon. If he can’t/won’t moderate or give it up completely, you need to leave. It’s not OK for your boyfriend to threaten you EVER. Being drunk isn’t an excuse. And those threats? Like threatening to leave you alone in a less-than-safe city or lock you out or drive drunk? Those ARE abusive. It’s verbal abuse, and being drunk doesn’t give him OR you a pass to call it otherwise.

        Don’t make the mistake of passing this off as “relationships have good times and bad times.” Yes, relationships have their trials and their ups and downs. But what you’re experiencing isn’t the typical ebb and flow of a healthy relationship, with some trials and hardships here and there. You’re experiencing an unhealthy and REGULAR pattern of behavior that isn’t changing.

        I’m not saying this relationship can’t be made better. But it 100% hinges upon your boyfriend’s desire and commitment to make sure this NEVER happens again. Please, please leave if he doesn’t change.

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        LTC039 May 6, 2011, 8:11 pm

        LW, you’re giving off a defensive tone. That’s worrisome…I understand you love this man but please don’t fool yourself into thinking this is not a MOA situation. Like I said, if you still can’t gather the strength to leave, then talk to him. Seriously. But I’m sorry, if he knows how he gets HE should be the one saying “Hey babe, don’t buy me a shot, you know what happens.” He’s fully aware of what he does when he drinks. & yes, please stop buying him shots!
        I know at the end of the day you’re going to do what you feel you need to do, but you did write to an online columnist for advice, & even if we’re not getting both sides of the stories, that doesn’t change the fact that his behavior is dangerous & wrong. Please hear us out & really think if this is the person you want to spend *the rest of your life* with.

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        Flake May 10, 2011, 8:47 am

        Again, the definition of insanity: repeating the same actions over and over again while expecting a different result….
        Albert Einstein was a very smart man…
        Just saying….

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      kali May 6, 2011, 12:03 pm

      I can echo ReginaRey’s story, only I was married to the guy. We fought other times too, but we had hideous battles when drunk. In our case, the alcohol removed the polite veneer that kept us mostly civil. As an adult child of an alcoholic, I decided that I needed out, I needed to cut out drinking almost entirely and let him figure his own issues out. The alcohol/drinking was a problem, yes, but there were additional issues in the relationship. I don’t know that we’d have fought if we had been happy, and I never will know.

      Bottom line for me is: you need to be safe and loved in your relationship, LW, and it doesn’t sound like that’s the case. If you can talk calmly and soberly with your bf about the matter, great. Is he willing to change? You write that you’ve asked him to cut back or stop altogether but don’t say what his response was. I would also suggest organizing some events or activities with your friends that don’t involved drinking.

      Right now, he’s hurting you emotionally and threatening physical harm. You may want to check out a few Al-Anon meetings for advice on how to handle your relationship. Take care of you, LW, and let us know what happens, please. We care.

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        SpyGlassez May 6, 2011, 4:24 pm

        I grew up with a father like that. He can be an amazing guy, especially since he has gotten the medication he needed for his depression and cut back the drinking. My dad’s an adult child of an alcoholic AND has become an alcoholic himself. He would never hurt any of us, and he was never skimpy with his praise and with telling us how much he loved us. But he was someone else when he drank too much too late at night, and the “Dad” we knew was gone. This is a form of emotional abuse, LW, and it is taking a toll on you, even if you don’t feel it most of the time. I don’t know that I would say MOA, but definitely put some distance between the two of you, especially when you’ve both been drinking.

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    Sarah May 6, 2011, 8:45 am

    This is an untenable situation. It is not fair to you to be in a relationship where you’re treated like this regularly (even if it’s only when he’s drunk, only once a month, whatever other minimizers we can apply to it, etc.). He has to know that it’s not acceptable behavior, and he has to take specific, actionable steps to make the behavior not happen anymore. He can dictate the steps, to my mind, but once he does it again (i.e. once it becomes clear his current action plan is not working), then he needs to take a different set of specific actionable steps to make it not happen anymore. So he tried to limit it to 2-3 drinks and he did it again? Okay, this time he gets to stop drinking altogether (or whatever).

    I don’t think you’ll be very successful trying to think of what steps those ought to be–I think it’s fair to put the onus on him to figure it out. This way, you’re not the mean girlfriend telling him to stop drinking; you’re the strong-ass lady who stands up for herself and insists on the type of treatment she deserves but is respectful and non-controlling enough to give him the space to figure out how best to treat her properly.

    If he’s not willing to figure out what those steps are or take them, or he sort of half-heartedly tries and fails and is unwilling to get his shit together, you need to MOA. Being treated like this regularly is not an acceptable relationship.

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    Meg May 6, 2011, 9:18 am

    I really think that the only way this situation can be salvaged is if he 100% acknowledges that his behavior while drunk is unacceptable, and takes concrete steps to change it. Any sort of excuses of “well I was drunk” don’t matter- if he’s a stand-up guy he would be horrified at how he treated someone he supposedly loves no matter what substance might have encouraged the behavior, and would want to do whatever he could to never hurt you like that again.

    In this case (and I know it’s hard to hear when you’re 23 and drinking is a big part of your social life), it really sounds like he needs to cut the drinking way back, if not out completely. There is nothing wrong with socially drinking, but it just doesn’t agree with some people for a variety of reasons. In some cases it’s a physical reaction, and others just become totally different (and completely unlikable) people. If every time he drank, he got sick to his stomach, he’d probably stop drinking. This is the same thing.

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    silver_dragon_girl May 6, 2011, 9:20 am

    My best friend’s husband is just like this. Great guy sober, but if he has one too many, he just becomes a total jerk to everyone. She has talked to him about it numerous times. He always promises to cut himself off before he gets too drunk, or that he’ll behave himself, and he’ll be good for a couple weeks after that, but he always ends up doing it again.

    Personally, I think your bf has some bottled up anger about something that only bubbles up to the surface when he’s under the influence. I don’t think he’s an alcoholic so much as someone in need of therapy. Not that I’m any kind of expert.

    However, I also know that you can’t change other people. I know that telling people you think they need therapy, or AA, almost never goes well, because I’ve done it. On the other hand, for the sake of your relationship, you might feel obligated to at least try.

    So sit your boyfriend down, sober, and calmly explain to him that this is a problem, and you can’t deal with it any more. Tell him that he needs to do something about it, of he’s going to lose you. I know that ultimatums are bad, but in this case, I really think you need to lay it down, because it’s the truth. It’s not like you’re saying “either start putting the toilet seat down or I’m leaving you.” You’re saying, “you need to learn how to handle this problem, or this relationship is not going to survive.”

    And then, when he (most likely) gets upset and swears he doesn’t need help, he’ll try harder, he’ll be fine next time, you need to actually leave him when he breaks that promise.

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    LTC039 May 6, 2011, 9:23 am

    Have you tried to talk about this with your bf when he’s sober? Like reallyyyy talk to him? In your letter you only mentioned that you asked him to moderate his drinking. Honestly, its easier said than done…depending on the person…
    I don’t want to jump the gun here, but honestly LW, if your bf truly cared about your feelings & you, he would realize his behavior & change it!!!
    To have a good lasting relationship, it is aboslutely neccessary to have good communication & *RESPECT*. It doesn’t matter if he’s disrespecting you when he’s drunk bc he KEEPS DOING IT! If it was a one time thing, & he was genuinely sorry & never did it again, that’s a diff. story…but this is a recurring issue!
    If you’re not totally ready to throw in the towel, sit him down, have a serious talk with him, tell him everything you wrote in your letter, tell him the future of your relationship DEPENDS on this. If he is serious about you, he will do w/e it takes to fix things, if he continues to do it w/o any regard & ignores your request, then you need to pack your bags & MOA! Just know that if he doesn’t change now, he most certainly will not change in the future! I’m glad you didn’t move in with him right away, shows you’re a pretty level-headed girl!

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      WorstHangoverEver May 6, 2011, 4:59 pm

      of course I talked to him about these issues when we’re sober. he knows it’s a problem. we both know it’s a problem. I’m really looking for ways in the moment to diffuse fights. He is not an alcoholic.

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        Denial May 6, 2011, 9:52 pm

        It’s more than a river in Africa, girl. Just sayin’.

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        LTC039 May 7, 2011, 8:39 am

        It’s evident you’re not ready to leave him. & nothing any of us say is going to change your mind. Honestly, there is no diffusing fights that are under the influence. You cannot reason with a drunk person, bc they are not in a state of mind that *can* reason. Short of literally leaving him when he goes off on a rampage, the only way to stop the fights, is to stop the drinking & that’s if *you* really really want to stay with him.
        But be honest with yourself before you cut to the chase. Do you really want to spend your life worrying about his alcohol intake because of how he gets? You’ve said several times he knows how he acts. What will be the dealbreaker for you?? Obv. none of the things you stated in your letter are…Please, if you’re dead-set on staying with him & he continues, worry about YOU & do not get in the car with him, or let him drive.
        Not gonna lie, I am worried.

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        Elizabeth May 7, 2011, 11:24 pm

        exactly. Believe me i had tried reasoning with him while drunk “sweetheart you probably shouldn’t have any more because it will lead to ‘X” and we have to get up for work in the morning etc.” Nothing helps unless HE finds a problem with this behavior. Once that happens, you can help diffuse the situation by preventing it..which is mostly on him. Figure out what alcohol brings this out. limit drinks. eat dinner etc. if he starts getting belligerent or looking for a fight. GO HOME and talk to him in the morning.

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    WatersEdge May 6, 2011, 9:26 am

    I agree with others that even though this is only how your boyfriend acts when he’s drunk, it still counts. Some people do react badly to alcohol and I don’t believe that he secretly wants to do the things he does when drunk, when he’s sober. He’s a different animal when drunk. But that animal still counts. Make sense?

    I do not mean to put the blame on you, but you are the LW and not your boyfriend, so all I can do is tell you what you did to contribute and what you should do now. I think that by staying with your boyfriend despite his uncontrollable rage when drunk for the past 4 years, you’ve really set the tone that this behavior is ok and you will stay with him no matter what he does when he’s drunk. It’s not ok to say or do any of the things he does when he drinks, and you know that. But you still have to deal with those actions as a result of his drinking, so it’s your boyfriend’s responsibility to ensure that he doesn’t make your life a living hell just because he wants to let loose. This is not how people who genuinely love each other treat each other. It may be a maturity thing. He may be too young and immature to see that his hateful actions towards you when drunk are something that he CAN and SHOULD control. Let me stress that point again… He can and should control his drinking behavior, either by drinking less or by removing himself from you when he feels the need to get drunk. You need to put your foot down and tell him that you won’t stand for this behavior, drunk or sober, and let him figure out how to ensure that it never happens again. It’s not your job to count his drinks or leave when he gets too drunk. It’s his responsibility to control his own behavior, and if he chooses not to, then you should leave him.

    Do you want to marry your boyfriend? I know you’re young to think about that but I assume after 4 years together the answer is at least “maybe”. I can tell you right now that this response to drinking too much will NEVER GO AWAY. It’s who he is. This means that major life events which involve alcohol could be ruined for the rest of your life, including office Christmas parties, your wedding, your kids’ birthday parties, and so on. Do you want to deal with this drunken monster on your wedding night? Do you want your kids to meet this cruel, angry man? “Angry drunk who likes to drink” is not a suitable life partner.

    My take-home point is that this is to an extent who your boyfriend is and always will be. He can make the choice not to get drunk in the future, and if he does and you want to stay with him and see how it goes, then ok. But it can’t be your job to keep him on track. That doesn’t work. He needs to want to stop drinking so heavily on his own. Tell him the next time he acts that way while drinking, you’re leaving him. And mean it.

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      ReginaRey May 6, 2011, 9:45 am

      Your third paragraph hit home for me. When I was with my ex-boyfriend, one of my biggest fears were big events like his birthday, Christmas, or vacations. I spent so much time agonizing because I KNEW he was going to drink a lot on his 21st birthday, or drinks beers with his family on Christmas, and it made me sick to my stomach. I can’t imagine how the rest of my life would have gone if I’d stayed with him – never getting to enjoy special occasions because I was too afraid he was going to use that as an excuse to get drunk.

      I also firmly second your point about “this is who he will always be.” You’re right. This is how alcohol effects him, and that mental reaction he has will never change. That makes it even MORE imperative that he either severely moderate his intake or give up drinking FOR THE REST OF HIS LIFE if he wants to be with the LW (or any girl…don’t know many who’d find this behavior OK). That’s a big commitment to make. My ex certainly wasn’t willing to make it, which was one of the best things to happen to ME, because it forced me to get out.

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        demoiselle May 6, 2011, 11:52 am

        And the consequences can be very far reaching. I have a mean alcoholic uncle, and it’s a huge problem for my aunt, because it’s almost impossible to even *visit* her, and every time she’s invited somewhere, people hold their breath hoping she won’t bring her husband.

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      kdog May 6, 2011, 10:53 am

      I wish I had read your response before I put in my comment. You said it perfectly.

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    TJ May 6, 2011, 9:30 am

    This one is not quite as popular, but very fitting:

    “Wanna be your lover/not your fucking mother/can’t be your savior/I don’t have the power/I’m not gonna stay/ and watch you circle the drain/watch you circle the drain/watch you circle the drain”

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      silver_dragon_girl May 6, 2011, 10:00 am

      It’s on the tip of my tongue! Gaaaah!

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      LTC039 May 6, 2011, 10:05 am

      Katy Perry-“Circle the Drain”

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      • Firegirl32

        Firegirl32 May 6, 2011, 10:12 am

        Shoot! You were faster than me. I thought I was gonna gets some points this round. πŸ™‚

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        TJ May 6, 2011, 11:35 am

        I guess it would make sense to keep score huh…lol

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    • Firegirl32

      Firegirl32 May 6, 2011, 10:12 am

      Katy Perry!

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  • fast eddie

    fast eddie May 6, 2011, 8:35 am

    It may be overly simplifying the situation but you should seriously consider limiting your own alcohol intake and not respond to his rants when he’s on a bender. Of course that’s a lot easier said then done, but avoiding the situations where drinking is a major activity helps a lot.

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    • Lana

      Lanchik May 6, 2011, 9:04 am

      I don’t think that this is a fair response. I feel like it puts all the responsibility on the LW to change her behaviour when her drinking habits aren’t the problem. She already wrote in the letter that she has a medical condition that prevents her from having much to drink, so I would assume that she’s usually fairly sober at social gatherings. And even if she completely refrained from alcohol from now on that would not prevent her boyfriend from getting drunk and being verbally/emotionally abusive towards her. This isn’t her fault. He needs to change his behaviour if he respects and loves his girlfriend. It’s been 4 years already. If he doesn’t shape up, she needs to get out and find someone who will treat her properly, regardless if he’s drunk or sober.

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        BoomChakaLaka May 6, 2011, 9:45 am

        I agree that she shouldn’t change her behavior, but I don’t think he’s saying that she should completely stop drinking, he’s merely saying that huge arguments could be avoided if she didn’t fan the fire. She mentions in the first paragraph:

        “The problem is, every once in a while β€” maybe once a month β€” we have horrible blow out fights, ninety-nine percent of which are when we are under the influence of alcohol.”

        So they are both drinking and two drunk people, while funny to watch, is still the perfect recipe for disaster. A blow out fight is different from one snide comment made unilaterally. She is, in some sense, pushing him further by maybe retorting to those comments.

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        demoiselle May 6, 2011, 10:35 am

        Abusers have a way of manipulating their victims until it is impossible NOT to respond. It is easy to say “don’t fan the flames” until you’re confronted with someone who is a master at this kind of game, and will needle you in a hundred ways until it is impossible not to respond *somehow* in self-preservation.

        I’m going to delve into a lengthy aside as illustration:

        Remember my story in the “deal-breaker” thread last weekend, about my ex picking a fight before a family wedding and trying to abandon me. This is how it went:

        demoiselle comes home from class, happy. abusive boyfriend mopes on couch.

        “What’s wrong?”

        “Nothing.”

        demoiselle goes about her business, packing. ex pouts more pointedly. demoiselle sits beside him and asks what’s up, suggests getting ready to leave for the wedding. ex protests that demoiselle is nagging. then he drops the bomb:

        “I’m afraid you’re going to cheat on me.”

        demoiselle, calmly: “Well, we’ve talked about this before. You know I’ve never cheated on anyone, so why would I do so now?”

        “But you might. You might accidentally. You might go to parties where you might fall in love with someone here, without noticing, and not tell me about it first. I need to know that won’t happen.”

        demoiselle tries to figure out this out. “Well, you’ve known me for a long time now, and you know how I am. But if you’re afraid I’m going to fall in love with someone else and not tell you first, because I didn’t know it was happening myself, I don’t know what to say. I can’t promise not to tell you before I do something that I don’t realize I’m even doing.”

        “But how am I supposed to FEEL about this?” says he.

        “I understand you’re nervous about being in a LDR, but there isn’t anything I can say to fix this except I’ve never cheated on anyone. I don’t plan to cheat on you, I promise. That said, this conversation really hurts me, and we’ve had it half a dozen times. I have promised that I won’t knowingly cheat on you, and I can’t promise to tell you before I do something I don’t even know I’m doing myself. Can we please set this topic aside for now and go to the wedding. My mom’s waiting with the car.”

        Ex, jumps up, suddenly screaming and crying: “That’s it! You don’t care about me at all. You only care about your own feelings.” And so forth, for twenty minutes.

        With an abuser, there is no way to respond calmly and reasonably enough to deflect the onslaught of abuse. If you are the picture of composure, you’ll get ripped apart for being cold and unfeeling to their pain or whatever. It’s easy to buy into the idea that both parties MUST be to blame. But an abuser is disproportionately provoking, and won’t let go until they get the result they want.

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        demoiselle May 6, 2011, 10:43 am

        I should not that this is *my* experience, and not *necessarily* the LW’s. I’m just putting into the ether an example of why “don’t fan the flames” is not viable with certain kinds of abusive people.

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        demoiselle May 6, 2011, 11:50 am

        That should read, “I can’t promise to tell you before I do something that I don’t realize I’m even doing.”

        ::Sigh:: I think that it is very difficult for anyone who hasn’t had to deal with an abuser like this to even *imagine* such a conversation or dynamic is possible… And it’s almost impossible to accept that the dynamic is happening the way it seems to be even when you’re in the *middle* of it.

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        G May 6, 2011, 12:01 pm

        4 years of my life. Never called him an abuser… but starting to come to terms with that term. I love reading responses on this site. Makes the world feel just a little smaller πŸ™‚

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        SweetChild May 6, 2011, 12:28 pm

        I can imagine that conversation, where there is *literally* nothing you can say that will make him feel better and drop the subject. He gets himself worked up and you’re sitting there mind blank not knowing what could possibly calm him down and make him believe you when the plain truth isn’t working. Well, that’s how I felt when my ex would get worked up about a friend of mine that he didn’t want me to communicate with anymore. He wasn’t an abuser per se, but he we fought so many times about this friend of mine who actually lived on the other side of the world! Like total other hemisphere! He’d always threaten to leave me over it and I wouldn’t know what to do because I would not be dictated to and told who I can and cannot talk to, but I was so in love with him I didn’t want to lose him. And then he did end up making me end the relationship 8 months later and it was the most painful thing I have ever felt. But it’s good to know what not to put up with, it definitely makes you stronger when one of these manipulators comes along. Ugh, SO glad I am rid of that loser from my life!

        As for the drunken dickhead the LW is with, some people have really bad reactions to alcohol and he clearly is one of them. He either needs to acknowledge that and understand that he can’t drink to excess because of his particular makeup that causes him to turn into a horrible person, or the LW needs to get the hell out of there because at best it’s not going to get better and at worst it could get a lot lot worse, a lot more frequent and a lot more serious.

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        emjay May 6, 2011, 7:14 pm

        Dem I totally know what you mean. But once you leave your whole world opens up and you can see what an asshole he was. I’m happy you got out before ne thing drastic happens. So many of us females are abused in every way possible, and it makes it hard to remember that there are really good guys out there. I finally find my good guy 4yrs ago, even tho he was under my nose for 3yrs b4 that. (Yes this is written from a phone). But I will say this, I have NO regrets because what I went thru made me a much stronger person then I was when I was in that horrible relationship!

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        Teresa May 6, 2011, 11:50 am

        This I understand better than most. Going through it now – on a daily basis. I think I’m almost done….

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        demoiselle May 6, 2011, 11:58 am

        Teresa, good luck in escaping the situation you are in. Although my breakup with the abusive ex hurt a lot and was difficult, my entire life improved immeasurably. Every year that goes by makes that more obvious. I can see in my minds eye where I am now versus where I would be if I’d stayed with him seven years ago.

        If there is any kind of support, advice, or affirmation I can offer, I’d be glad to do so.

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        Teresa May 6, 2011, 2:35 pm

        I truly appreciate the support and kind words. Dem, just from the segment of conversation you posted, I feel that you seem to understand better than anyone I personally know. I’m ashamed that I’ve let my situation get this far – we have a child together now, and he uses that against me – when I tell him that I will no longer tolerate his vicousness and jealousy and I am going to leave him if he can’t stop he accuse me of tryng to take his daughter away from him…. I’ve never dealt with such manipulation, and am glad that I am finally recognizing it for what it is, but unless you’ve been in this kind of situation, you can’t truly understand the pain and frustration – or how hard it truly is to “get out” – especially when you’re in love with him…

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        demoiselle May 6, 2011, 3:40 pm

        I would like to offer you my email … I’m trying to figure out how to get my address to you without “outing” myself, though.

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        Elle May 6, 2011, 3:50 pm

        Just a suggestion: make an email like [email protected]. it only takes a minute to set up. and hope that not a lot of people will write to you :).
        With Google voice, you can also get an anon phone number – It’s pretty good for online dating, just I’m case one of those guys is a stalker. it happened to me :(.

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        demoiselle May 6, 2011, 5:06 pm

        Well, since the email you made up for me was available, I’ve gotten it. Teresa, if you want you can write to me at [email protected].

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        Elle May 6, 2011, 3:56 pm

        *e-hugs* Teresa. I know It’s hard.

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        BoomChakaLaka May 6, 2011, 12:13 pm

        I haven’t been in that situation, but that is awful to hear. Teresa, good luck!

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        Red_Lady May 7, 2011, 8:38 pm

        Wow, it sounds like you were able to act very rationally with an extremely irrational person. Very nice!! I think I would’ve just busted up laughing in his face if it was me. I mean, seriously? WTF?!?

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      Christina May 6, 2011, 9:57 am

      I think not responding as he starts to get wound up is a good idea. Also, have a get home safe plan with your friends or a cab. My boyfriend starts to get easily offended and a little abrasive sometimes when he drinks and when I notice it start I don’t argue and also downplay the thing that he wants to get mad about. Fairly soon I say that I’m starting to get tired and we end our time together. Sometimes, when he notices my behavior change he chills out and the rest of the night is fine.

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        Teresa May 6, 2011, 2:37 pm

        I agree to try to not respond – this is actually the same advice I got from a therapist – but in my situation it didn’t help. He only became more enraged when I would no longer engage in his self created arguments. So, ya, it’s worth a shot, but doesn’t always work.

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        SpyGlassez May 6, 2011, 4:40 pm

        When my mom learned to disengage from my dad when he would work himself into a frenzy, he would turn to the next pliable target. She wouldn’t respond to his arguments, so he would pick fights with me. It is, as you said, worth a shot – but the bf may just become more furious if he doesn’t get a reaction.

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      WorstHangoverEver May 6, 2011, 4:53 pm

      To clarify, I am pretty much always drunk when we have these fights, but not nearly as drunk as he is. I usually have 4 drinks whereas he’ll have about 10. And yes, I think you’re probably right…limiting my own alcohol intake could help, especially because if I were sober-ish, he wouldn’t be getting drunk either.

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  • avatar

    Bethany May 6, 2011, 9:45 am

    I can relate to the LW, but not because my finace does this to me- I have done it to him. In the 4+ years we’ve been together the ONLY fights we have ever had have been when I was drunk. I pick and pick and pick until he gets mad, and I provoke him to fight with me. I have no idea why I do it, and I hate it that I act this way. It makes him upset and I really don’t want to make him upset.

    So what did I do about it? I stopped getting that drunk when he’s around. When he and I go out drinking together I really try to limit myself, and if I know that I’m going out with my girlfriend for a crazy night, I make sure I’m staying over at their house and not coming home that night. I don’t drunk dial or drunk text.

    When you really love someone you do what you can to make sure that they’re happy. And for my finace, that means having as little contact with “Drunk Bethany” as possible, so I try to make that happen for him.

    If he knows that his behavior is upsetting you and he isn’t doing much to change that, then shame on him. If you haven’t yet told him that it upsets you, then shame on you.

    If he’s unwilling to try to cut back on how much he drinks then, you need to remove yoruself from the scenario before he gets drunk the the point of getting out of hand. From what it sounds like, you guys live in a city- he can take a cab home or walk home, you don’t need to hold his hand to make sure he gets home ok- he’s a big boy.

    You need to take care of yourself first, and by hanging out with him in that state, you’re not doing a good job of taking care of yourself.

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    • mandalee

      amandalee May 6, 2011, 11:06 am

      Bethany, I ‘m so glad you spoke up first- I am also incredibly embarrassed that I can identify with the LW’s boyfriend. While we were in college, we were notorious for a few out of control fights, that I know I started. I would take the smallest thing and make it the the biggest argument. I couldn’t understand why this would happen because 95% of the time I was a happy person drunk or sober, and I really didn’t understand where these actions came from.

      After we moved on from college and moved in together, I made a conscious effort to stop doing this, because I truly cared about my boyfriend. I cut back on the number of drinks I had in a night and we made up a silly phrase to shake me out of my anger when I did happen to get to my fight picking stage. Eventually, the problem went away. I don’t feel I had a drinking problem because I didn’t go out every night or even more than once or twice a week. I felt like a had a problem controlling my emotions once I was drunk. I felt like when I started to have a little too many drinks my emotions started heightening and I started acting like a four year old. It was unfair to him and looking back I truly can’t believe he stuck with me through it.

      Having said that, if your boyfriend truly loves you, he will make steps to change. There comes a point in your life where it’s incredibly immature to say “that’s the way I act when I’m drunk” especially when it comes to hurtful behavior and not knocking one out of the park at karaoke. He needs to take ownership of what he does drunk and sober, and realize he doing serious damage to your relationship. If he refuses to do, then you need to move on.

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        demoiselle May 6, 2011, 11:38 am

        Thank you for both your posts. You beautifully illustrate a situation in which this kind of problem is potentially solvable. You both accepted responsibility and actively took steps to solve the problem and put an end to the unhealthy dynamic which had developed. I admire that.

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    BoomChakaLaka May 6, 2011, 9:48 am

    I don’t see anything in her letter that says she talks to her BF about this the next day, asks him to stop, or even something about him apologizing for his crass behavior. Unless he acknowledges his behavior and realizes that it isn’t healthy (and this goes for ALL situations ladies), you will never see a change in that behavior.

    If you are looking to salvage the relationship, bring this to his attention and explain to him that he needs to change or you’re out of here.

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      Addie Pray May 7, 2011, 7:32 am

      completely agree, boom.

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  • avatar

    Flake May 6, 2011, 9:53 am

    Short answer: yes, both of you should stop drinking altogether, before someone gets hurt.
    Join an AA group, find support somewhere. Once that is done, you will be able to see if he really is that nice, loving person you say he is when he’s sober.

    Real answer:
    1. Again, stop drinking. If your boyfriend could control his alcohol intake, I’m sure he would. Hopefully he doesn’t like what he becomes when he is drunk. Find better things to do with your money.
    2. I strongly believe in personal responsibility. Every single one of us is responsible for our actions(there are a few medical exceptions). For every action there is a reaction. That is one of the thing we learn in kindergarten. Stop excusing his actions. This didn’t happen once, it happens on a regular basis. He is aware that he cannot control his drinking. He still chooses to drink, therefore, he is choosing the consequences. Don’t wait until some one you know gets hurt.
    3. There is a saying in my language (there is one in English as well, but I can’t think of it now), that whatever you’re thinking when you are sober, alcohol brings that out. I am not saying that he actually believes and means all those nasty things he says. But you shouldn’t have to put up with that on a regular basis. It will kill your self-esteem. You already believe that it is normal to accept that kind of behavior if it’s fueled by alcohol. Get out before you start to believe the rest of the things he says.
    3. I find very it very helpful in these situations to imagine if the question were asked by someone you cared about. Let’s say your best friend, your daughter, your sister or any other woman you cared about came to you with it. What would your honest advice be? Would you tell her to continue that relationship and wait until something really bad happens? Or would you tell her to take care of herself and her safety and sanity first?
    I am not suggesting you dump the guy on the spot, but he has to be willing and able to fix the problem. You have to come up with a plan together and stick to it. You have to set your personal limits. If he crosses them, you have to move on.

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      callmehobo May 6, 2011, 10:41 am

      Flake, I believe the maxim you are looking for is “A drunk man’s words are a sober man’s thoughts”

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        Flake May 6, 2011, 10:54 am

        Exactly πŸ™‚

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      convexed May 6, 2011, 10:44 am

      ‘For every action there is a reaction. That is one of the things we learned in kindergarten’.

      Oh, man, am I jealous of your kindergarten. I didn’t learn that particular rule until high school science class :-).

      I’ll add another one that seems relevant here: an object in motion (the bf’s drunken rages) will stay in motion (continue to happen and continue to affect the LW) unless acted upon by a force (his taking action to change, or her taking action to leave).

      Hopefully, if our parental and teacher figures are good, we learn early that things we do have results, and if we don’t like the results, we need to change the things we do.

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        Flake May 6, 2011, 10:53 am

        πŸ™‚ Oh and I just thought of another one:

        ” The definition of insanity: repeating the same actions while expecting a different result”.

        Also applies here…

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        ReginaRey May 6, 2011, 10:59 am

        I have never heard that but I think it’s GENIUS. I’m thinking of so many people I know right now who fit this description

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        Flake May 6, 2011, 11:32 am

        I think that one comes from Einstein… Too lazy to google it though πŸ™‚

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    shoegal88 May 6, 2011, 9:53 am

    Oh man. I never comment on this site but this letter really touched my heart. I dated an alcoholic for over 2 years and it was horrible. The things you describe should NEVER happen in a loving relationship. Not even once. His actions are often just a few steps away from seriously abusive behavior–nearly running over your friends? Leaving you in the middle of an unsafe city? Threatening you?

    These fights are not your fault. You need to leave this guy and tell him it’s because of his drinking. You can’t jeopardize your personal safety while he works through his issues. What happens next time if he hits you? I don’t know if that’s crossed your mind but even worrying for a second your boyfriend might get physical with you is proof enough that it’s time to get out. You deserve a guy who will love and respect you ALL the time–drunk, sober, whenever–and would never, ever intentionally hurt you.

    The thing that really helped me leave my ex (believe me, I know how incredibly difficult it can be) was thinking about it this way: pretend it’s your best friend in the whole world and not you in the situation. What advice would you give her? Would you tell her she deserves better and there are so many other guys out there she would be happier with?

    I’m so sorry you’re dealing with this–sending good thoughts your way!

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    Jennifer May 6, 2011, 9:55 am

    Oh my God, honey you need to leave him. This is a recurring problem, and your so wonderful boyfriend doesn’t care to change it when he’s sober. He’s 23, not 17 getting drunk on his uncle’s stash. He should know how to control himself. He clearly doesn’t want to.

    And what if the next time he does lock you out, or take his fighting and emotional abuse to physical abuse? I know it sucks but you need to MOA to somewhere you can be safe and figure out how to find people who can control themselves and respect you no matter the situation.

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    AL May 6, 2011, 10:10 am

    There are several people in my family who are alcoholics, but their problems with drinking are all different. Alcoholism doesn’t look or act just one way. Just because your boyfriend doesn’t get drunk every day, doesn’t mean he has a healthy relationship with alcohol. I’d suggest checking out a support group like Al-Anon to see what information they can provide you. (This link seems helpful: http://www.al-anon.alateen.org/affected-by-someones-drinking) You cannot do anything to change his behavior, but you can change how you react to his. And the best thing for you to do might be to MOA.

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    demoiselle May 6, 2011, 10:11 am

    1. He doesn’t change when he’s drunk. He shows you who he really is, which is apparently mean and abusive. In general, people who are non-abusive don’t turn into abusive assholes with alcohol.

    2. Alcohol provides a great excuse for him to unload on you once a month. He scares you, which effects your behavior to him all the time. He feels better for having exploded. In another month, he feels like unloading again. So he drinks enough to have an “excuse” for his behavior, so you won’t kick his ass to the curb because you’re so busy blaming the drinking and thinking that if you could just find that *magic* amount of alcohol, he wouldn’t mistreat you. I doubt it’s an allergic reaction or something like that, because if it were, why is it inconsistent?

    3. If you really think alcohol is the problem, try telling him you won’t hang out with him when he’s drinking anymore. At all. It helps that you don’t live together. Then, follow through. When the alcohol comes out, you go home alone immediately.

    I suspect that you’ll eventually find that his abusive behavior will come out whether he’s drinking or not–perhaps in the form of berating you for being an unreasonable killjoy. But at least you’ll know the truth and be able to stop agonizing over the magic drinking that makes him treat you badly.

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      demoiselle May 6, 2011, 10:15 am

      And please note that you are in actual, physical danger with this man on a fairly regular basis. Is your well-being really that unimportant compared with trying to fix his “problem”?

      See the book: Lundy Bancroft, “Why Does He Do That?”

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  • MaterialsGirl

    Elizabeth May 6, 2011, 10:12 am

    This actually describes the first year or so of my current relationship. BF had been used to hard drinking every night since he was in college. I was not on that schedule. Maybe 3 times a year did I get drunk, and I’ve made an effort to make that a zero (I’m not talking slap happy, I’m talking the “get sick,” at least for me, type). Every time he would drink, we would get into a fight and he would say awful things and I had no idea where it was coming from or why. A lot of it stemmed from the news that his father had terminal cancer, more of it was from his own depression, jealousy and anger. Not the greatest cocktail of emotions. It was easier to lash out at me then address his real problems. I have to say I didn’t handle it well at first. Honestly, even though now our relationship is great and he has dealt with those underlying emotions so this has never happened again, I should have stepped back from the relationship until he had dealt with enough of his emotions that it wasn’t causing me panic attacks every time I saw him with a beer in his hand. Most of the time he didn’t even remember what went on the next morning. What eventually happened was that I put my foot down and said this: your anger/depression and excessive drinking is a serious problem to our relationship and if this is the way you demonstrate how much you love me, then I’m out.
    Like other readers said, you have to be ready to walk away, especially if you’re interested in a family and not wanting to have a man-child on your hands that you have to police. It isn’t an easy journey. Even if you love him and you still see a future together, don’t just hang on hoping he will change. Make yourself an ultimatum and say you will no longer accept being treated this way. If you see him getting on that drunk path: leave the situation. Taking a break so he can mature doesn’t seem easy, but if you want to really be with someone who takes responsibility for his actions, I think it’s the only way.

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    mf May 6, 2011, 10:15 am

    The answer is simple: either he gives up alcohol or you walk away.

    After all, if he’s not willing to stop drinking in order to stop treating you terribly, then he doesn’t really love you.

    If he does stop drinking, I suggest you do too. Then the two of you can work together to develop a social life that doesn’t require drunkenness. (Yes, it’s totally possible. My fiance and I hardly ever have more than one glass of wine each, and yet we have a lot of great friends and we do a lot of really fun things.)

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    demoiselle May 6, 2011, 10:21 am

    Please, please–Let’s do a Dear Wendy group Read-Along of Lundy Bancroft’s Why Does He Do That? Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men. I think it would be absolutely invaluable to readers of this blog–both now and in the future. And I think it would be an amazing community conversation, too.

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    • MaterialsGirl

      Elizabeth May 6, 2011, 10:23 am

      that sounds good! Helpful for all relationships: BF’s, bosses, crazy people on the street

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      ReginaRey May 6, 2011, 10:39 am

      Sounds interesting! I love reading any and all relationship books, so I’ll give this one a try!

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        callmehobo May 6, 2011, 10:41 am

        DEAR WENDY BOOK CLUB NIGHT!

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        demoiselle May 6, 2011, 12:22 pm

        It could be a really interesting Weekend thread.

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      WatersEdge May 6, 2011, 2:25 pm

      Ooo count me in!!! I have a few good suggestions, too!

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        WatersEdge May 6, 2011, 2:26 pm

        for books we read in the future, that is.

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    kdog May 6, 2011, 10:28 am

    I hate to say it, but I think it’s time to seriously consider Moving On. Although I could be wrong I am leaning with the idea that he has some issues with alcohol. And the truth is that issues like this with alcohol are often progressive.

    I’ve made the mistake of thinking that the other person would improve because I really loved them and thought the rest of our relationship was good. Before I knew it, even the healthy stuff in the relationship had changed. You cannot be repeatedly mistreated (even *just* once a month) without it rippling into the relationship.

    I’m sure you’ve heard this before, but your boyfriend really has to make his own choice to change. You absolutely cannot make him do it. BUT, you can get out and find someone that treats you well EVERY SINGLE NIGHT. That IS NOT too much to ask. I promise!

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    Addie Pray May 6, 2011, 10:34 am

    Side comment / follow up question to the you: I think it’s funny/interesting how alcohol affects people differently. When I get drunk: I say I love you to everyone (awkward!); I’m extra chatty (fine, whatever); I reveal all my secrets (d’oh!); I compliment the crap out of everyone (phony, but people buy it because most people think “people are honest when drunk”); and I just in general say silly things (funny stuff you can make fun of me for later). But I don’t get sad or mad or do stupid things like try to drive, etc. What do YOU do?

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      Addie Pray May 6, 2011, 10:37 am

      Meant to say, “follow up question to you,” not “the you.” (the “modify your last comment” option never seems to work for me.) Anyhoo, all in all, I think I’m a pretty fun drunk to be with. You?

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        Flake May 6, 2011, 11:56 am

        I have been drunk twice in my life.. Once at about 20 and once at 23… The first time I ended up going home with a guy that I just met ,who ended up my BF for a while, and not a bad one either, which in my opinion is extremely lucky. Now that I am older and wiser (hopefully) I get shudders when I think what could have happened that time. I never clearly remembered that particular night… The second time it was my birthday and I just got sick from drinking and not eating anything… So no, I don’t have any good memories associated with alcohol. But I never was i big drinker, so that is really not a problem.
        I have seen the effects of alcohol on a lot of people I care about though. I have seen brothers fight, and girls do really stupid things that they never would have done if they weren’t drunk. I guess it’s like any other drug to me, tried it, luckily never saw any appeal in it…

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      demoiselle May 6, 2011, 11:10 am

      I don’t drink to excess much now (never beyond “very tipsy”), but even when I was in college I’d just get a bit jumbly and loose-jointed feeling. No big personality shift. No confessions of unstated feelings. No sudden sexual advances.

      But I’ve always been hyper-“rational” (for want of a better word) about what I was showing to others–I would make a choice (Middle School: “Who I have a crush on is personal, and I’m not gonna tell anyone no matter how often they ask.”) and stick to it stubbornly. Therefore, I don’t think I experienced much internal conflict about what I *wanted* to do and what I felt like I *ought to be* doing in front of others. I think that tension is what accounts for a lot of the apparent difference between how people are sober and how they are drunk.

      The most dramatic thing that ever happened to me when drunk was when a very dear male friend and I got utterly trashed together (his buddies kept filling my glass when they thought I wasn’t looking, I assume they thought they were “doing him a favor”). I thought my friend was suicidal, and something he said set me off. I begged him not to do it. We ended up in each other’s arms crying on the floor together.

      A couple years later, we talked about the incident and I realized that *he* had thought that *I* was suicidal. Weird. But we both came out of that night feeling deeply cared about.

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      Kristen May 6, 2011, 3:06 pm

      This sounds a lot like me when I’ve had too much to drink. I have a bad habit of over-sharing personal things with friends or saying things that are completely silly, leaving me embarrassed the next day. Unlike you, though, drinking mostly brings all my emotions to the surface (good or bad), so I either end up super hyper and happy, or very sad and emotional. Never angry or hurtful, just happy or sad. I think part of the appeal of alcohol is that it erases that surface-level filter that everyone keeps a lock on (for better or worse). And I completely agree with whoever said that alcohol really just leads people to express the opinions/feelings they already have; it doesn’t suddenly make you racist or in love or whatever else accidentally comes out.

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  • Kate B.

    Kate B May 6, 2011, 10:38 am

    Alcohol lowers inhibitions, it does not put things in someone’s head that aren’t already there, What I am trying to say is, if he says cruel things to you when he is drunk, the time will come when he say them to you when he is sober. He needs help dealing with his problem and you need to distance yourself from him. Just my two cents.

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      demoiselle May 6, 2011, 10:49 am

      Yes, he does need help… but as his chosen target, the LW does not have the responsibility to fix him… that’s his responsibility. πŸ™‚

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      Lucy May 6, 2011, 5:02 pm

      This is a common belief but it really isn’t accurate. Alcohol increases rage, especially in the mind of an alcoholic. People who are enraged will say viciously hurtful things regardless of whether they ‘believe’ them or not. It’s tempting to believe ‘in vino veritas,’ I know, but the human brain on alcohol is a little more complicated than that.

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    abby May 6, 2011, 9:49 am

    I feel like the following phrase has been the answer to a lot of questions here on DW lately:
    “When someone shows you who he is – BELIEVE HIM.”
    He is a belligerent, angry, mean drunk who is apparently not willing to change because the behavior continues. You can decide that you’re ok with it and put up with it, or you can leave. But the middle is doing you no good here.

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    Michelle May 6, 2011, 11:13 am

    LW,

    You wrote because deep down you know what you need to do, but you are trying to find the courage. You don’t need us to tell you, just to reinforce. In fact, I am sure your friends, especially the ones he almost ran over, are already concerned and have tried to discuss the situation with you. Obviously you’re concerned too, or you wouldn’t have written.

    First, stop enabling him, making excuses for him, and rationalizing his behavior to yourself and others. If you do, you are as much a part of the problem as his drinking is for him.

    You have been together most of your adult life, so this is all you know. You may be asking yourself if this is normal. You may even think about the old adage “love conquers all.” Unfortunately, your bf and this dysfunctional relationship have undermined your ability to trust your instincts because when you live with an alcoholic or someone “with a drinking problem” the problems and hurt aren’t limited to the confines of the drinking episode. But think long term: Would you bring children into a life with this man if this behavior never changed? You deserve more and you deserve more of a ceratain future, too.

    And I feel for you. I too was in love with a man when we were both 23 and he was an alcoholic. I won’t go into details here–that’s my story particulars and not important–but suffice it to say he too was a Jekyll and Hyde. You try everything: drinking with him, not drinking, talking to him, arguing, threatening to leave. I walked away when I realized it was never going to change. I felt guilty and heartbroken at the time, but I knew I had to do it.

    Just recently, I discovered that he committed suicide at 36. (I am not saying your story will end this way!) I was sad for him that he never was able to get better, but it reinforced what I knew “deep down” at 23: you can’t make someone change if he or she is unwilling or unable.

    Be strong and be firm as others on this forum have suggested and have your heart-to-heart with your boyfriend and make your needs known. Go to AlAnon yourself if that would help.

    But really, you don’t need us to tell you what to do because you already know what you need to do. And, perhaps leaving him is the only way to make him consider change. Ultimately, you have to do what is in your best interests.

    Believe in yourself. The decisions may be painful, but the end results ( I am now happily married for 13 years) are well worth it. You are worth it.

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    Desiree May 6, 2011, 11:47 am

    I would like to provide an alternative perspective on one primary issue of concern here: whether or not people “change” when they are drunk. I would say, for most people, no. Drinking may enhance certain qualities, suppress others, make people silly, whatever. However, there is a segment of the population that has a different reaction. For some people, alcohol induces a strong psychological reaction (kind of like a prescription drug that has the potential side effect of mood changes and violent behavior). I have seen this more often in people with psychiatric disorders and abnormal brain chemistry, but I cannot presume that it is limited to that group. I *do* have a lot of experience with all of this. So I do think the alcohol is causing the cruelty, and not just revealing some secret self. The issue at hand, then, is that the boyfriend continues to drink. If drinking leads to behavior that hurts you and he doesn’t stop, that is the real problem. Your boyfriend is an alcoholic. Do him a favor: show him that his drinking will have consequences. WALK AWAY. I can’t promise he will run after you or change-23 is quite young for an alcoholic to reform. But until he sees that his alcoholism hurts himself, he doesn’t stand a chance of reforming.

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      HmC May 6, 2011, 12:05 pm

      I agree with you about alcohol changing people. Of course, I’d venture a guess that most people use drinking as *an excuse* for something stupid they regret, that wasn’t really out of character. BUT I have experienced a handful of situations where the behavior was completely and totally out of character, and did seem to be a result of alcohol, not some secret Jackal and Hyde hidden personality. I certainly disagree with people when they completely dismiss this as possible. I think it loses credibility as a possibility because it is abused as an *excuse*. Also, if you know you act a certain way when drunk and don’t make changes to avoid that, then it does become your fault.

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      demoiselle May 6, 2011, 12:17 pm

      Yes, it is certainly possible for alcohol or medication to have that kind of effect. Hopefully, though, if the behavior is completely out of character, the affected individual will be horrified and take action to prevent it from happening again. If the behavior is accompanied by blackouts, perhaps a tape recorder would be useful to illustrate what is happening.

      I can’t help wondering (and perhaps people here will have an answer for me)–Where does all the meanness and cruelty come from, if it isn’t something lurking under the surface from the start? Or is there an assumption that on some, deeply-buried level, *everyone* has fantasies of saying cruel things to others, or threatening to leave them, or whatever, but only Hydes ever let it out for any reason other than a genuine chemical interaction?

      That’s what I never understood…

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        Desiree May 6, 2011, 12:26 pm

        Not really. It’s bad chemistry, so to speak. Think of it this way. When someone has an acid trip, much of what they experience is the direct result of the drug, not necessarily things that are lurking in their mind previously. The effect of any drug on the brain can be significant, and it should not necessarily be seen as a reflection of that person’s character. As a fifteen-year-old I was prescribed Valium prior to an MRI because I am claustrophobic. As some adolescents do, I had a severely negative reaction, and ended up screaming at both the doctor and my mother in the waiting room. I had no negative feelings towards either at the time; it was a very bizarre chemical effect. Drugs ARE that powerful at times.

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        Lucy May 6, 2011, 5:09 pm

        This is often true. But what’s also a factor in a lot of cases is that alcoholics frequently have undiagnose/untreated depression or bipolar ii. Those ‘come with’ a big dollop of suppressed generalized rage, especialy in men. Alcohol ratchets up the rage level until it explodes at the closest target. It doesn’t mean the bf is secretly angry at the LW – in fact it’s probably quite the opposite. She just happens to be there and his disease uses her as a punching bag.

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        rabbit May 6, 2011, 7:21 pm

        Actually, this isn’t really accurate at all in regards to LSD. For most people it is an intensely introspective experience, and results in a lot of personal exploration. I would say that 98% of the experience is related to things that were already in the person’s mind – but you access them in a different, new way, and come to different, new conclusions about them.

        The one exception is possibly visuals – where the world distorts – but they are not actually the main thing a person experiences while on acid. And even there, it is really just a distortion of what their eyes are seeing – not something new out of whole cloth that the drug provided.

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        Quakergirl May 6, 2011, 12:36 pm

        I like the tape recorder idea, actually. Maybe when she talks to him about the situation sober, she can replay the things he said. He may remember them differently, but the tape doesn’t lie. If he isn’t completely horrified by actually hearing himself say those things to someone he’s supposedly loved and cared for, and who’s loved and cared for him, for four years, then he’s a d-bag and should be kicked to the curb immediately.

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        WorstHangoverEver May 6, 2011, 8:10 pm

        I have told him exactly what he’s said to me. He does love and care for me and recognizes how awful it’s been. He even knows I wrote to dear wendy looking for advice, but again, I’m looking for ways to diffuse fights while drinking.

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        vizslalvr May 6, 2011, 11:33 pm

        Please, read what everyone is saying. There is in all likelihood absolutely nothing – NOTHING – that you can do in order to change HIS behavior. You cannot control or change the behavior of others, no matter how much you love them. He needs to be responsible for changing the behavior himself. If he really, truly, recognized how much he has hurt you, and really, truly loves and cares for you, he would take steps to make sure that it never happens again. It isn’t your fault or something you need to do differently. It’s a problem he has and he needs to rectify.

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        CJ May 7, 2011, 8:56 am

        Nobody has great information on how to diffuse fights while drinking because everyone is different when they are drunk & being in an altered state of mind makes it difficult to think “okay, this is what Wendy’s readers said to do.”

        The drinking is what needs to change.

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        Laurel May 6, 2011, 1:59 pm

        I’ve gotten into a couple really long, miserable, drawn out fights with my boyfriend when I was drunk (both drinking, but with him more sober). It is something I am totally ashamed of and have taken steps to prevent happening again (which for me means not drinking if I’m ticked off or already upset about something). I’ve found that for me, when I get drunk and I’m in that state, I get really irrational and insist on dragging things out which would be better left unsaid (ie, the things you think in a fight but know you shouldn’t say when you’re sober—-not things you would think regularly, and not things you think because you’re *drunk* but because you’re *fighting*.)

        Granted, the fights I was having with my boyfriend were all about our philosophies of the world (me: but how you can live in the world if you think the world is ultimately neutral/bad??? how can you stand existence like that? everything is so depressing waaahhhhh….) or getting hung up on who is correct with some factual argument (the last time we got in one of these fights it was something about how political districting and townships work in Indiana), so it’s not exactly the cruel kind of stuff the LW is putting up with.

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      • mandalee

        amandalee May 6, 2011, 4:13 pm

        As someone who posted earlier in the thread that I was also guilty of LW’s boyfriend actions, I can speak for myself in saying that my actions when I was drunk and starting fights, this behavior was EXTREMELY out of my character for me. I never harbored any kind of mean feelings toward my boyfriend or anyone for that matter in my sober life (or most of the time during my nights out). I just seemed to have a terrible reaction when I mixed heavy liquors. While I am an extremely emotional person normally, it’s more in the sense that I cry at Hallmark commercials or when my favorite team wins a game. When I cut back on liquor (especially tequila aka the devils drink), I instantly went back to be a happy, slightly tipsy version of myself. I just think the chemistry equation of me+ liquor= bad news.

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        SpyGlassez May 6, 2011, 4:58 pm

        I knew someone with celiacs and some other condition (cannot recall, but it was physical and not mental) and she could not have any alcohol whatsoever because her body couldn’t process it (phosphates in wine, barley in beer, etc). She would feel sick and she would have blackout episodes and what she described as “bad trips.” She never got abusive or violent or anything, but she would sleep-eat or overshare or decide that today is JUST THE TIME to strip the bathroom wallpaper. Dunno if maybe that’s related…?

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        demoiselle May 6, 2011, 5:26 pm

        Thank you for all the replies to my question. With so many first hand experiences of alcohol having that radical an effect on the brain (putting in rage that isn’t usually there), I will try to soften my position in the future. Although I am likely to continue believing that for the majority alcohol reveals something that was simmering underneath all along, I will keep reminding myself that for at least some it really does *create* the monster rather than just revealing it.

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    HmC May 6, 2011, 11:59 am

    I didn’t see a single mention of the boyfriend’s reaction to any of this anywhere in the letter. LW, what does he tell you when you talk to him about this problem? Does he justify it? Apologize profusely? By continuing to drink and act exactly as he always has, despite knowing that he is jeopardizing his relationship with you and even that he almost killed your friend with his car, he is telling you with his actions that he doesn’t care to change the problem. Either he doesn’t care, or he does care and his behavior is out of his control. In other words, he may be an alcoholic.

    I’m not personally that familiar with alcoholism, but I’m afraid you may have to face that possibility. To me, the behavior you described seems so dangerous that I don’t know if he can handle drinking at all. And if his behavior continues, I don’t see how you can continue to put yourself (and your heart) directly in his destructive path. Something needs to change here, before someone is seriously hurt or even killed.

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    va-in-ny May 6, 2011, 12:08 pm

    It is my belief that our true selves come out when aided by alcohol. Clearly this man has a deep-seeded ability to be an abuser (emotionall, physically, etc.) and, LW, you’re allowing it to happen.

    Evenutally, the person he is when drinking will infultrate into the person he is sober. He will know that you’ll stay no matter what and he’ll stop being so ‘kind’ while sober. Protect yourself. No, he is not physically hitting you, but he is hurting you nonetheless.

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    Elle May 6, 2011, 12:12 pm

    What I would do:
    1. Tell him: every time you drink more than x beers, I fear for my safety. To protect myself, I decided to not be around you when you get that drunk. As soon as you order your x-nth beer, I am leaving. I will not tell you when I leave, because I don’t want you to stop me by causing a scene. You’ll eventually notice I’m gone.
    2. If you ever cause a scene like that ever again, we are history. I do not deserve to be treated that way, and I will no longer allow it.
    LW, say these things to your boyfriend, mean them, and follow through. My guess is, if you follow through with no.1, no.2 won’t be an issue if your boyfriend really cares about you and your relationship.

    If he is a mean drunk and starts fighting with whomever happens to be around, I think eventually cops will be involved. A DUI is also a possibility. LW, you have to understand that this is his problem, and he alone will face the consequences.

    If he ever tries to fight with you because you left him at the bar the previous night, tell him that he knew that was going to happen, and he chose that to happen by ordering that x-nth beer. End of discussion.

    Also make it very clear that you are not telling him to stop drinking. I am a firm believer in the fact that we can’t tell other people what to do. You are only changing the way you react to his drinking, because it negatively impacts you.

    And if your boyfriend doesn’t slow down with his drinking, you shouldn’t have any regrets to MOA.

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      WatersEdge May 6, 2011, 2:32 pm

      The reason I advised against counting drinks in my post above is because he will then start sneaking drinks, and you don’t want to create that atmosphere. People who want to get drunk will go to the bar, order one beer and two shots, down the shots, and come back with one beer. I think she should focus on making the hostile behavior stop and let him choose for himself how many drinks that means.

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        LTC039 May 6, 2011, 3:20 pm

        Yeah, from the sounds of it, he doesn’t sound like a guy that you could say “Ok, you’re only allowed x amount of drinks tonight.” Once he gets the ball rolling, he WILL sneak drinks & that will most likely create an even bigger problem if she confronts him as he’s drinking…
        Plus, why does she have to go through all that trouble? It seems like her life will slowly become *all* about trying to control him. That’s not good for anyone. She should not be a babysitter & relationships should not be structured that way.
        She needs to MOA & let this loser figure it out on his own.

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      Elle May 6, 2011, 4:20 pm

      I don’t have experience with alcoholics, thankfully, and it didn’t cross my mind that someone would sneak drinks. But sneaking drinks makes perfect sense. My advice was more on the lines of “no more discussions, start acting”. The LW said she made some suggestions, but nothing changed.
      If I were her, I would just remove myself from the situation. And make him understand, through my actions, that his behavior is no longer acceptable.
      In my opinion, the LW would do both of them a favor. If he’s an alcoholic, then she stops wasting time with him, and the sooner he realizes that his behavior has not so favorable long-term consequences, the better for him.

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    Lindsay May 6, 2011, 12:15 pm

    One, if someone has such terrible results when they drink, they shouldn’t drink. I can’t imagine someone would WANT to say those things to someone they love, so this really shouldn’t be a question. But I assume, as others, that he may have a problem quitting drinking.

    Second, there’s no reason to accept behavior from someone drunk that you wouldn’t sober. I live in a highly alcohol-saturated part of the country, where drinking is a part of everything (unfortunately), so I’ve been around a lot of drunk people. I don’t know a single one who I’ve witness get into a drunken rage. Sure, I have friends who get a littler friendlier and people have flirted with me who maybe shouldn’t, but that’s it. The fact that he’s saying such terribly mean things is a big problem. That’s not normal.

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    Quakergirl May 6, 2011, 12:32 pm

    LW, I’m going to give you the same advice I gave my best girlfriend about her boyfriend (who has different, but related and equally troubling issues): make your decision about this man based on who he is now, not who you want him to be in the future.

    I would sit him down and tell him honestly that this relationship isn’t working for you– you feel hurt, disrespected and unsafe. That’s not okay. You should feel completely, 100% safe with your partner– and that means safe from verbal, emotional, and physical abuse. Can you honestly say you do? If he’s not willing to change his behavior so that it doesn’t hurt you, then you need to leave. It doesn’t have to be like this. There are guys out there who will love and respect you no matter what, despite what your boyfriend says when he’s drunk.

    But honestly, the easiest scenario is if he refuses to acknowledge the problem or change his behavior. Then you walk away. But even if he does try to change, are you willing to live for the rest of your life with one eye always watching him to make sure he doesn’t drink too much? Do you want to worry forever about what sort of abusive or hurtful things he’s going to say if he does? Are you willing to hedge your bets that it really is the alcohol, and not his personality, that makes him act this way? What if he reacts the same way to stress in the future? Only you can say whether you’re willing to walk on eggshells forever in case he explodes. But I’ll tell you the same thing I told my best friend: you deserve better than someone who makes you his emotional punching bag.

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    emjay May 6, 2011, 12:45 pm

    I didn’t read any comments, and if I get thumbed down so be it,

    GET. OUT. NOW. GET. OUT. NOW. GET. OUT. NOW,

    I can not repeat it enough. This is the makings of an abusive alcoholic. I’m not going to sit here and tell you to talk to him, or try to reason with him. Wut he is doing and saying when he is drunk will eventually spill over into the sober part of the relationship. What he is doing is not only irresponsible, but very very dangerous. And he does not care what happens to you when he leaves you by yourself. He is not a wonderful man, he is a little boy who does not know how to conrol himself. And he will turn abusive physically if he hasn’t already! RUN and don’t look back! You are still young and will find someone better. Alcohol is only a cover for how we really feel, and this man truely has no respect for you. If he did, it wouldn’t matter how drunk he got, he still would not treat you this way. AND HE SHOULDN’T, SOBER OR NOT!

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    AKchic May 6, 2011, 12:45 pm

    Honey, it’s not the alcohol – it’s him. Alcohol is a “truth serum”. It is something that prevents him from censoring himself as he normally would, keeping him from keeping up his “good guy act”. This is how he truly is. Maybe you need to pay attention. I could sugarcoat it and say that it’s just the alcohol talking and that you need to avoid it, but eventually, when the two of you move in together, he’ll slowly start acting that way sober as well, and you’ll be writing again. Drop him now and save yourself some heart-ache. You can let him save some face by saying that you were scared of how be behaved during his alcohol-fueled rages and you were worried that it was a sign of worse to come; but under no circumstances should you ever live together, or should you ever be around him when he drinks again.
    I would also re-evaluate the statement of “most of our socializing with friends involves drinking”. It only involves drinking because you CHOOSE to involve drinking. There are many activities in this world that do not include drinking. Drinking is just a crutch, one that we as a society have become dependent on as not only a social lubricant, but as a way to fit in. You don’t need to have it around to have a good time. Step away from the bar and look for different entertainment.

    Good luck honey.

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      Desiree May 6, 2011, 3:12 pm

      The idea that alcohol is a “truth serum” is not completely incorrect, but there ARE people who have abnormal physiological and therefore psychological reactions to alcohol (just like some prescription drugs cause sever psychological changes in a minority of the population). It doesn’t apply to most people who drink, but it is definitely relevant. This does not absolve the boyfriend from his choice to continue drinking.

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    Heather Feather May 6, 2011, 12:02 pm

    Many times when someone is drunk, they release feelings in a way that is not acceptable. Couples often end up fighting over something they would normally have either forgotten or not even mentioned due to lack of inhibition.
    With that said, I think the problem here WHAT he is saying. Some people fight with a sharp tongue and say things they don’t mean, however they are still damaging.
    But I also believe there is some truth behind most things that come out of the mouth of someone who has been drinking.
    It’s time to have a sober sit-down and talk this out.

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    spaceboy761 May 6, 2011, 1:07 pm

    If you replace ‘boyfriend’ with ‘wife’, ‘alcohol’ with ‘Glee’, and ‘drunk’ with ‘watching Glee’, this is pretty much my marriage.

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      callmehobo May 6, 2011, 1:16 pm

      You should NEVER fight while under the influence of Glee.

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      WatersEdge May 6, 2011, 2:49 pm

      Why do husbands hate Glee?

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        AKchic May 6, 2011, 4:44 pm

        Because it’s a musical and “girly”. Same reasons why I don’t watch it. It’s just too “chick-flick-ish” for me.

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    MsMisery May 6, 2011, 1:22 pm

    One thing that struck me: most of your socializing involves drinking? And yet you live in a big city? Why can’t you ever find something else to do, maybe even meet new people who don’t need to get drunk to have fun? This would be a great character-building experience for you, but it would only benefit the relationship if *he* were accepting of his portion of the blame and willing to change. LW, you don’t mention whether you think he’s willing, but the fact that this has been going on for years, and that he’s willing to drive drunk make me think that alcohol has a stonger hold on him than it does you and he may need professional help. If he won’t go to AA or change his ways in the slightest, and you still want to stay with him, you can go to Al-Anon meetings yourself to learn how to deal with having drinkers in your life.

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    GerietheDino May 6, 2011, 1:46 pm

    You have put up with this sick, abusive behavior for 4 years? Why? MOA!

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    Sistine May 6, 2011, 1:47 pm

    If you discussed moderation before and it’s been years without any change/it’s still happening just as bad if not worse, it might be time to walk away. People only change if they want to. You have to decide for yourself what you are willing to put up with in a relationship and what you aren’t. Asking him to moderate his drinking because of his radical behavioral changes isn’t unreasonable. It’s actually a sign of some kind of deeper issue with him that he needs to work through. I would sit down with him and have a serious discussion about these episodes when he drinks too much. Let him know that you love him but you aren’t willing to tolerate this behavior any longer. At this point he’s been getting away with it for years and there’s no real motivation for him to change or that it’s a problem because things always return to normal afterwards. It’s time for you to lay down some ground rules about respect in the relationship and stick with them. Let him know you’ll no longer tolerate being treated that way and only stay in the relationship if he starts giving you the respect you deserve.

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    justpeachy May 6, 2011, 2:11 pm

    The thing I think that bugged me most about this letter was the fact that she justified the fact that the alcohol can’t be removed from her life because of “socializing”. Why is that people think that if you’re in your 20’s, unless alcohol is involved, you can’t hang out with your friends?

    If you are truly committed to this guy and refuse to leave him, at least try to change the situation if he won’t. Stop hanging out with your friends at bars. Do you only know people from bars? Probably not. Go to dinner, go to movies, throw dinner parties. Do things with your friends where alcohol is not a necessity to the activity.

    And since I gather he goes out without you and you don’t live together, stop trying to babysit him from afar. When he goes out, go out with your own friends, ignore his calls, and don’t let him in your apartment. It’s not your job to control his behavior once he lets it get out of control.

    These aren’t long-term solutions but it may be easier to get him to change his attitude with this gradual approach rather than cold turkey.

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      WorstHangoverEver May 6, 2011, 8:13 pm

      I don’t want to stop drinking. I don’t want him to stop drinking. As I wrote in my letter, MOST of the time when we are drinking we do not fight and get along just fine. Really what I am looking for is strategies for how to not let fighting get so out of hand when we are drunk.

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        demoiselle May 6, 2011, 9:08 pm

        LW, I really feel for you, but the only things I can think of to suggest is either don’t *ever* drink with this man or else stay sober when he drinks and see what happens if you refuse to engage with him when he gets tetchy.

        However, considering the gravity of what you recount him saying and doing while drunk, I am doubtful that any kind of “strategy” will prevent him from abusing you–because he *is* abusing you. There’s nothing you could do–short, perhaps, of pulling a knife on him and threatening to murder him–that would merit threats of abandoning you in a dangerous city, or having your friends nearly run over.

        It looks like you’re falling into the trap of always trying to figure out the right pattern of behavior that YOU can control which will keep HIM from blowing up. Don’t let him convince you (or you convince yourself) that despite the fact that he feels SO bad and guilty, you just keep doing something *wrong* to set off these fights.

        I’m sure this whole discussion is deeply upsetting to you. I hope, though, that you will take into consideration the near universal agreement among responders that there is something very wrong here, though.

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        Quakergirl May 7, 2011, 1:30 pm

        This is way off topic, but MAD props for use of the word “tetchy.”

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        Lucy May 6, 2011, 10:11 pm

        What you’re looking for doesn’t exist. The trigger for his rage is drinking; the way to avoid the rage is to not drink. Some

        It’s not that surprising that you’re so resistant to the idea that he has a problem with alcohol despite how textbook his behaviour is (and despite all the people stating the obvious). Usually the people close to alcoholics in the early years don’t recognize – or don’t want to acknowledge – what’s happening. No one’s going to be able to convince you – you’re going to have to come to the realization yourself. But just FYI – whether he has a problem or not is really irrelevant to whether you drink together, whether you fight every time he drinks, whether you encourage him to drink, whether you are ‘party people’. It’s about whether or not his drinking is causing problems in his life – which it sounds like it is. I wonder what it would take him doing for you to say ‘yes, he does have a problem with alcohol.’ Would he need to beat you up while drunk? Get arrested for DWI? Something worse?

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        LTC039 May 7, 2011, 11:02 am

        Ok. Not trying to be rude, but, how do you expect to execute any kind of “strategy” while both of you are drunk??? What exactly do you want? To stop the fights, right? Well obv. four years of drunken fights prove there are only two possible solutions, *stop* the drinking or *stop* the relationship.
        As someone else mentioned, people handle alcohol diff. I know in my case, I get very needy, very emotional, & VERY sloppy. My bf on the other hand shows *no* sloppiness or anything out of the ordinary. The last time I got really ripped I did not get into a club for my friend’s birthday. I could not stand up at ALL, I threw up in public (not one of my best moments) & I cried my eyes out & strangers thought my bf had done something to me. He was completely embarrassed, but he dealt with it, took care of me, cleaned my barf (sorry for the graphics) & we talked about it.
        I haven’t drank since that day. I made a decision its not worth it, I ruined my night & his & my friends got to go into the club & enjoy themselves.
        So point of the story is, if you don’t want to stop drinking, if you don’t want him to stop drinking, & you want to stay with him, then really all of our advice can go out the window. & that’s fine. Most of the time, you need to learn on your own. I just hope for your sake you don’t get hurt (physically) while trying to salvage this relationship & that you truly believe your self-esteem, sanity, & safety are worth compromising for this man. IMHO, it is not worth it for ANYONE. But you’ve made it clear it’s your choice. Good luck…

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        Crazymary May 7, 2011, 11:12 am

        I’ve got a good strategy… Grow up. Seriously.

        Do you even understand that when you’re drunk you CANNOT implement a “strategy” to diffuse HIS drunken behavior. You can only control yourself my dear, and I suggest you start now.

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    Amber May 6, 2011, 2:12 pm

    Your boyfriend sounds like a jerk.

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    CG May 6, 2011, 2:16 pm

    No, actually, your boyfriend is NOT a reasonable person. He is most likely an alcoholic, he’s verbally abusive and he has refused FOR YEARS to limit his alcohol intake and not treat you like crap. Why do you want to stay with someone who treats you like this, regardless of what he’s like when he’s sober? I don’t think MOA is strong enough in this instance, so I’ll say, in full Dan Savage mode, DTMFA!!!!!

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  • sobriquet

    sobriquet May 6, 2011, 2:33 pm

    When my boyfriend and I first got together, we were younger and drank heavily. We both prided ourselves on our “heavy weight” status. When we’d drink, it would be strong liquor drinks instead of wine or beer. And within the first year of our relationship, we got in a few horrible, blowout fights when we were wasted. It didn’t happen every single time we drank, but all it took was one comment to send one of us off on a tyrant. The next mornings we’d always feel terrible, yet no matter how much you apologize, you can’t erase your memory. So, we did the responsible thing and stopped drinking so much. A Makers & Coke turned into a glass of wine, or a couple beers at a bar. And voila! Terrible, irrational fights disappeared. Magic. We still drink, but we drink responsibly.

    Your boyfriend needs to grow up and realize his drinking is hurting your relationship. You know you have an alcohol problem when it’s actually a, well, problem. If he refuses to lower his intake, you should MOA.

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      AnitaBath May 6, 2011, 8:28 pm

      I agree with this. Obviously verbal abuse isn’t as high up there as physical abuse, but if a woman wrote in saying, “Well, my boyfriend is normally a sweet, amazing guy, but when he drinks he hits me. You know, it’s not every time, and I know he doesn’t mean to, and he feels bad about it afterward, but how do I make him stop hitting me?”

      Basically, the guy turns into an emotional abuser when he’s drunk. The fact that HE doesn’t see a problem with it and isn’t taking steps to change it himself (like cutting back on the alcohol) is a huge red glad, IMO. Your girlfriend shouldn’t have to resort to writing into an advice columnist to try and fix YOUR problems because you don’t seem to want to do anything about them.

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    sarolabelle May 6, 2011, 5:33 pm

    I guess I don’t know what to tell you LW. I’ve never seen my bf drunk because we don’t do things that require heavy drinking….so I guess maybe my best advice is: don’t go to the bar on dates.

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    emjay May 6, 2011, 6:58 pm

    LW, you wrote in to us and asking for our advice. But now that you are getting advice, it seems that you are trying to deflect the blame from him onto yourself. Why is that? We can only answer in our honest opinions based on the letter you wrote in. I’m not saying that you or him are innocent in this situation, because both of you are at fault. And you both are at fault because you both know that this happens when you two drink together and yet you both still allow the drinking and behavior to happen. What if you were kidnapped or raped on the walk home by yourself? Even worse killed? All because your boyfriend cannot control his behavior when drinking. By that time sorry will be too late. I think you need to be honest with yourself and reevaluate the whole relationship, everything about it. And then if you want to stay with him, you both need to stop drinking. Party people or not, alcohol seems like it brings out the worst in both of you, and it needs to stop. That is the bottom line. You can still be party people and have fun, and it doesn’t have to include alcohol. Or at least so much alcohol that these blowups happen.

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      WorstHangoverEver May 6, 2011, 8:18 pm

      I’m trying to get people to stop just giving lame oversimplified answers like “moa” and “he’s a jerk” because it’s just not helpful to me. I’m trying to get people to help with strategies on how to diffuse stressful situations when drinking. I don’t think commenters should feel so self-assured of their opinions when they can’t possibly know exactly what I’m going through or what my relationship is like, so I’ve tried to give more information — which you’ve labeled as “deflect blame onto myself.”

      So many of these posts are questioning whether or not he’s sorry and wants to change or if we even talk about it the next day. OF COURSE WE TALK ABOUT IT. How could I possibly say this is a great relationship and he’s a loving person if he wasn’t EXTREMELY apologetic about all of these incidents? It makes me feel as if your perceptions are completely incorrect. Not to mention the title of the article — “we always fight when he drinks” — is false. As I wrote in my original letter, most of the time when we drink, things are fine and fun and happy. It is a rare occurrence that we fight and even rarer that it becomes as bad as what I’ve included for examples. A more appropriate title would have been “he’s always drunk when we fight,” but maybe the converse is a bigger attention-grabber.

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        demoiselle May 6, 2011, 9:17 pm

        WorstHangoverEver, I’m one of the people whose responses you probably find oversimplified. To me, many of the responses you’ve gotten seem fairly nuanced and reasonable. Some of us really do know what you’re going through, because we’ve been in–or are currently in–similar relationships. That’s what’s giving the posts their urgency!

        BTW, my ex was always extremely apologetic when he finished venting on me. And when he wasn’t being bad, he was very, very good. My best friend. And it was golden. This is also part of the pattern of behavior that posters are recognizing and feeling alarmed about. If things weren’t often good, no one would stick around an abuser.

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        Lucy May 6, 2011, 10:25 pm

        WHO – you’re getting advice here from people who have been where you’ve been. I know you think that none of us can really know your relationship, and that we shouldn’t give you such cut and dried answers. That’s exactly what I used to think when I was in your situation. Your proximity makesnit difficult for you to see what is blindingly obvious to the rest of us. You know how they say hindsight is 20/20? Think of all these commenters as hindsight talking. You don’t have to listen, but it seems a bit churlish to ask for advice and then complain when you don’t like what people say.

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        vizslalvr May 6, 2011, 11:43 pm

        LW, he may not hit you, but he IS abusing you and the fact that he says he’s sorry means absolutely f*ck all when he’s not willing to change his behavior to prevent incidents like this in the future. Think about how you might advise a friend in your situation, or a friend who had a boyfriend who slapped her once a month – or once a year – and then was sorry afterwards.

        Once a month fights, in my experience and opinion, are not rare. Even in my worst relationships blow-out fights occurred less than once a month. And in healthy relationships? I can count on one hand the number of fights I’ve had, and none of them escalated to the point you are describing.

        The point people are making is that there is nothing you can do alone to diffuse these incidents. Unless one of you is willing to refrain from drinking or he is willing to deal with whatever issues are causing these fights (because obviously, there is some underlying issue), it is going to continue to occur. There is no magic abracadabra phrase to make him stop in his tracks and realize he’s being a jerk. He acts the way he does because he gets away with it – once a month – and nothing you can do, other than realizing that and setting a boundary as to when enough is enough, can stop that.

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        AKchic May 8, 2011, 8:45 pm

        Honey, my 1st husband was very sweet when we got together. When he was an ass, it was terrifying. There was nothing I could do to “difuse” the situation. There were no “strategies” to keep it from happening. Half of the time, it was because he’d gotten mad that someone ONLINE had figured out he was an idiot and called him out on it. I was the one that got to deal with the gun-waving lunatic telling me that the person online must die and that I couldn’t talk to that person anymore (I had no idea who it even was since I wasn’t on that forum). I couldn’t leave for work and leave my kids in that situation, and even if I did, I’d end up getting shot at! I’d have to call in to work and claim a kid was sick. Afterwords, he’d apologize, it wasn’t my fault, I know how he gets when someone accuses him of being crazy or psycho or whatever, I know that he is in the right, I know that this other person is an enemy, etc. On Christmas Day, he was supposed to drive me to my grandparents house for dinner. We had a bunch of his friends over and he decided to assert his dominance and play the “big man”. Told me he didn’t want to drive me. One of the guys (who later became my 2nd husband) volunteered to take me. He got pissed and said that I needed to stay home to cater to him and his friends. I flat out said no. He told me that if I wasn’t a dutiful wife, he would divorce me. I handed him divorce papers and told him all he needed to do was sign and I’d be gone that day. I was pistol whipped in front of his friends on Christmas Day for embarassing him. In front of my two sons (under 3). For two weeks after that, he was the sweetest person. He “allowed” me to sign up for my driving test. He “allowed” me to get my hair cut for the first time in a year. He “allowed” me to go out with an old friend that he approved of. Two weeks. Then we were right back where we started. Then he started telling people (my boss included) that I was suffering from post partum depression, borderline psychosis. He was making me stay home more often. I kicked him out in March of that year.
        Trust me, he is using alcohol now to get away with his abuses. He may not be hitting you, but he is abusing you. I had never been hit like that before until Christmas Day. He would make up the “Slug Bug” game as a way to hit me, but that was the only time he would hit me. All other abuse was mental/emotional. And he was good at it. Eventually, it will get worse. You take the alcohol out of the equasion, and yes, it will continue to happen. You won’t engage because you’ll be sober, but he will still do it. Your silence to try to get him to stop faster will only enable him because he feels your silence is an agreement of his words.

        Open your eyes. You are blind. Probably because you are embarassed about the situation. I don’t blame you. I was embarassed too. I didn’t want to admit what was happening. I didn’t want to admit that I was with an abusive, psychotic, asshole that would kill me and my kids. Unfortunately, I had to admit it if I wanted to change my situation. That is the only way you are going to change yours. By admitting the nature of the problem, you can change it. It may not be the outcome you WANT, but it will be change.

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        jena May 9, 2011, 11:07 am

        How to diffuse situations when your only problem is fighting when drinking? STOP DRINKING.

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    Kerrycontrary May 6, 2011, 8:38 pm

    Here’s a secret. When I get really drunk, I’m mean to my boyfriend. I mean really mean. So after the last time it happened I promised it would never happen again. I limit myself to 2 drinks and I never take shots. We have not had the problem since. I can still go out and socialize with friends at a bar, but never at the cost of my relationship.

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    AnitaBath May 6, 2011, 8:44 pm

    LW, you say you’re looking for ways to “diffuse the fight,” but I don’t think it’s as simple as that. When you’re both under the influence of alcohol, and your fights already get started over small things, I don’t think there *is* a way to simply diffuse or get over the fight. That’s like saying, “Hey, how do I stop a hand grenade from exploding after the pin has already been pulled?”

    There are only a few things I can think of. I wonder if your boyfriend would benefit from counseling, if there’s a reason he tends to explode when he’s in drunken fights (but the advice would most likely be to ‘stop drinking,’ and that doesn’t seem like a desirable answer to you).

    You’ve mentioned that you’ve talked to your boyfriend about this, but why don’t you sit down and talk to him again and ask him if there’s anything he can remember that specifically triggers it. Is there something that’s said? Something he thinks or misinterprets? A specific alcohol combination?

    Lastly, I wonder if you could safely talk about this with him when he’s sober so that it carries over when he’s drinking. If you two establish a safe word or something, so that if you think he’s starting to get into dangerous, drunken territory, all it takes is you saying a word to let him know that you’re scared he’s “going there” again, and you’d like for him to stop. The only thing is that this has the potential to make him even angrier and make the situation worse.

    Honestly, we all seem to be of little help. The obvious solution is the one that you don’t want to follow, and so the only other option is for YOU to find a way to get through to his drunken self while he’s sober, so that when he’s drinking and things escalate again, the rational part of his brain will hopefully think of your talks and react differently.

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    Heidi May 6, 2011, 9:31 pm

    Hi gang! long time reader,first time commenting so here goes… I hope this doesn’t come off as rude but I have to say it :to the LW, I think people are giving you in your opinion”lame oversimplified” answers is because (I think most of the opinions here are extremely helpful)this is an advice column, people are giving you their thoughts & advice! You don’t want to stop drinking, you don’t want your boyfriend to stop drinking, well guess what, you’ll keep having the occasional blow out. You have well over 130 people who have taken the time to respond & you don’t seem to be happy with any of them. Bottom line: you can’t reason with someone who’s drunk,so don’t try to (have you ever tried to? can’t be done!)

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    Elle May 6, 2011, 10:26 pm

    Come on, LW, you want to have your cake and eat it too! If drinking less is not an option for either of you, then just accept the fact that the price you have to pay for having fun and drinking with your boyfriend is a huge blowout fight with him every once in a while.

    No one here can tell you how to stop the fight, because we don’t know who initiates the fight, what the fight is about… and if you don’t want to fight with him, why do you? Remove yourself from the situation and let him fight with himself.

    I have a feeling though that you’re not exactly innocent here. Is your bf making those threats as an answer to what you’re saying? Then don’t say those things. If you say those things because he hurt you and that’s your way of getting back at him, well, be the bigger person if you don’t want to end up on the street in the middle of the night.

    (Sorry, LW, when you mentioned the gastrointestinal issue, I thought you were like me. My personal record is 4 drinks in one night. Usually, my stomach can’t handle more than two beers in one night. So I just stick to one. And I totally think you’re asking the wrong crowd here.)

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  • avatar

    demoiselle May 7, 2011, 12:24 am

    This is too bad. There was a ton of good advice in this thread. I hope that the comments, at least, may remain.

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    AnitaBath May 7, 2011, 12:37 am

    Wow, I just now saw the update. This is going to make me sound like a bitch but….

    LW: Get over yourself. You’re being incredibly petty, and you just come off like you’re having a hissy fit because *we* just don’t understand your plight. We’re giving lame, over-simplified answers? No. You’re wanting an easy solution to an incredibly complex problem, and you’re being petty by lashing out at everyone who is trying to help you because it’s not the advice you wanted and you don’t want to make any adjustments to actually fix the problem.

    That being said, I hope you’re able to find a solution on your own and you and your boyfriend can get past this, but I really hope you’ll at least consider the advice given on this topic.

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      SpaceySteph May 7, 2011, 1:29 am

      Sigh. I read this earlier in the day but did not have a chance to comment. I felt very sad for the LW because it sounded like such a difficult situation. I remember being in a similar situation, as did many of the other commenters. There is an old slogan that “Love shouldn’t hurt.” Its very true… it shouldn’t hurt physically, and it shouldn’t hurt emotionally either. From the outside we can see that he is an abuser and that this is a dangerous place for you to be.

      Sorry we couldn’t give you the advice you sought LW. I hope one day you will make it to the other side of this sad situation, safely.

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    HmC May 7, 2011, 1:11 am

    Just saw the update. LW: I don’t mean to pick on you personally with my response here, but I want to say something that I think would apply to any indignant letter writer.

    Your identity is not known to any of us. If you genuinely don’t think we or Wendy gave good advice, or your letter did not accurately portray your situation, then simply don’t take the advice. Why would you feel so threatened that you would need it taken down? That strikes me as immature and frankly, it makes it seem like the advice hit too close to home and you’re in serious denial about your situation. Whenever someone gives you advice, on here or anywhere else, you as a mature adult need to have the perspective to recognize what advice suits you and your situation best. It’s your life after all. But by asking for advice in the first place, especially from an online site, you are opening yourself up to answers you may not like. I really do think that most people here are genuinely trying to help.

    I have a feeling that many letter writers who never send updates don’t send them for a reason. Namely, they didn’t take the advice offered and/or are not proud of where their choices did lead them. And that’s ok. We’ve all got to live with our own decisions in life.

    LW I wish you the best with sorting out your current problem.

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      demoiselle May 7, 2011, 10:14 am

      She said her boyfriend knew she’d written in. Perhaps he was monitoring answers and she got blowback from him.

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        AKchic May 8, 2011, 8:47 pm

        Blowback or he escalated and actually beat her this time, without the “liquid courage” he usually needs?

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        demoiselle May 8, 2011, 10:37 pm

        I didn’t mean anything physical. Just that when everyone called him an abuser, perhaps he didn’t want their story online anymore.

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    Anon May 7, 2011, 1:26 am

    I haven’t read the original letter as Wendy deleted it off the site by the time I got the email alert. But I can glean from the comments posted what it was about and I have to say, I’ve been here.
    My now husband used to get very drunk and very abusive. If he was stressed at work or in some facet of our lives, it was almost guaranteed to happen. Ditto if he was silly and didn’t eat before going out or mixed his drinks or… whatever. It was unpredictable and yet it kept happening and I got called some pretty choice names at times. Threatened. In the morning he wouldn’t remember any of it and it would take weeks for me to feel ‘normal’ towards him again, even though he was clearly very sorry and completely mortified about it (it was the number one reason his previous relationships had ended in the past).
    Early on, I told him our relationship would not survive if he didn’t moderate his drinking. I like going out and my partner before him wasn’t able to drink due to a medical condition and it completely curtailed any social life because he USED to use alcohol as a social lubricant and once he no longer could, he just completely withdrew from any form of a social life. Even going out to dinner was off limits with my ex because ‘alcohol would be there’. So when I met my now-husband, I liked the fact we could share a bottle of wine together. It wasn’t about me saying, ‘Give up alcohol, you are an alcoholic’. It was more about saying, ‘I believe you’re a problem drinker but if you can moderate it and moderate your behaviour, we have a chance as a couple to make this work’.
    From the first time I said our relationship was at risk because of his drinking, he started keeping track of when it happened, writing it in a diary. He promised me every time it happened that it would happen less and less. And he kept trying. Moderating it when we went out. We established a sign between us that would indicate when we were out and he felt he was edging towards the ‘dark side’ and we would just stop drinking and leave. We left a wedding once. We left parties. We would just cut him off and go. He was completely complicit in this and over time, he has pretty much kicked the behaviour. It last happened a few months ago and it was probably 2 years since it had happened so it was a massive shock to me. Again, we started doing the things we used to do to stop it happening – have a big dinner before going out, making sure we didn’t mix drinks etc etc. I have had to be quite involved in this. But I don’t care.
    Our wedding recently was brilliant. Normally I would have been sick with dread for an occasion like that. He didn’t even get drunk. He moderated himself the whole night, did an amazing speech and it was fantastic.
    I hope we’ve kicked it, but I realise it might always come back during stressed times, so it’s probably going to be a lifelong process.
    I wish you all the best.

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    • MaterialsGirl

      Elizabeth May 7, 2011, 11:12 pm

      Sounds very much like my situation which I posted earlier. Congrats on the progress! Some people (like my boyfriend) have problems with that “off” button that tells us we’ve eaten or drank too much etc. You’ve posted some good behavioral modification exercises that I’ll snag from you πŸ™‚

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    CG May 7, 2011, 2:10 am

    YES!!!! Could not agree more.

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      CG May 7, 2011, 2:12 am

      That was supposed to be a reply to AnitaBath btw. For some reason the reply function didn’t work for me!

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  • bittergaymark

    bitter gay mark May 7, 2011, 2:25 am

    Dear Wendy: Whenever my boy friend and I eat twenty pounds of marshmallows in one sitting we both fall curiously and strangely ill. It’s horrible! And it has to stop. I mean, is there anything we can do to so we don’t fall ill? PS — We both love Marshmallows. We are Marshmallow people, so we don’t want to quit Marshmallowing. Thanks!

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      Fairhaired Child May 7, 2011, 3:16 am

      Maybe you should go to MA. I heard that they really help out with marshmellowing issues. However, beware of going during the winter, because they serve hot chocolate.. the kind with the mini marshmellows.. Almost no one drinks the hotchocolate, but snorts the package just to get a sweet sweet rush from those mini marshmellows.

      Also on a side note: have you seen those GIANT marshmellows in the store? Each marshmellow is big enough to count as 2.5 regular ones. I know that doesnt help curb your marshmellowing addiction, but maybe you could eat only one giant marshmellow a night? Good luck!

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      • bittergaymark

        bitter gay mark May 7, 2011, 3:28 am

        Why do people INSIST on giving me such simpleton advice? Hello! I already said that I don’t want either of us to have to quit Marshmallowing!!! We like our Marshmallow’s A LOT, thank you very much. They are not the problem. The stomach pains are. What I want is advice that miraculously enables us to foolishly and recklessly imbibe, all the while ensuring us a blissfully pain-free existence. Cutting back is not an option. And where is Wendy, anyway? How dare she NOT give me REAL advice. I didn’t pour my heart out to all of you clueless hacks just to hear what you had to say. Really! Of all the nerve!

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        crazymary May 7, 2011, 8:37 am

        Best. Letter. Ever.

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      • Chaotonic

        Chaotonic May 7, 2011, 9:11 am

        This totally made my day so far.

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        Red_Lady May 7, 2011, 9:30 pm

        Yup, that about sums it up πŸ™‚

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        Laurel May 7, 2011, 9:48 pm

        You two are literally making me LOL. My boyfriend even asked what’s up so I recapped the LW situation and read your replies to him and he started laughing too. πŸ˜€

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        HmC May 7, 2011, 9:55 pm

        My boyfriend also laughed at comments from bitter gay mark and spaceboy, lol.

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        AKchic May 8, 2011, 8:59 pm

        Sure… if it’s naseau you’re dealing with – take Fenegrine. It curbs naseau and allows you to continue eating until you literally cannot put another bite into your overstuffed gullet. The equivalent for these two knuckleheads would be an injection of a lovely chemical given to drunks in an ambulance (can’t remember the name right now) to immediately take away their inebriated state. They give it to junkies too. Helps treat them on their way to the ER.

        Constipated? Try Miralax. Gas? Well… Gas-X and Beano come to mind. *laugh* Or, do all and cover all bases so you can continue your marshmallow addiction in peace. Of course, I cannot help you with the subsequent weight gain, muscle loss, sugar high, diabetes, etc. πŸ™‚ I will recommend that Reece’s Cups make great substitutes to Hershey’s bars in s’mores πŸ˜€

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    demoiselle May 7, 2011, 11:28 am

    Please, let’s not let our pique make us take things out on the LW. She did not accept the advice with good grace, but let’s not turn on her. She didn’t like what we said. We don’t like what she’s said. But she’s in a much worse situation than we are.

    We can’t know why we got such a bad reaction from her. She said her boyfriend knew she was posting asking for advice. For all we know, he was standing behind her shoulder the whole time she was responding here. If he knew, I doubt that he liked what he was reading either, and that’s a lot more scary thought, isn’t it?

    We see plainly that she’s in a very dysfunctional relationship–even plainly abusive–and she doesn’t need for US to beat up on her too!

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    • Lana

      Lanchik May 7, 2011, 3:33 pm

      100% agree! I hope she gets herself out of her relationship before it causes her anymore emotional turmoil.

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      LTC039 May 7, 2011, 3:56 pm

      I agree with you. It just upset me because she asked for advice for a reason & then gets mad at what we offer? Not because of anything, just because of her safety! That she is def. portraying signs of a woman prone to abusive relationships.
      Then again, I don’t personally know her or her bf, so all I went on was her letter & comments. I’m just concerned that this will get worse & she’ll end up getting physically hurt bc she’s too wrapped up in this guy. Then again, it’s her decision…

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    Maracuya May 7, 2011, 12:25 pm

    I have to say, though, why is it your responsibility to find strategies to moderate fights? I think a lot of people gave simplistic answers because your letter was pretty simplistic. “Hey guys, my boyfriend is a great guy but once a month he calls me terrible names, threatens to leave me in bad parts of town, locks me out of his apartment and tries to run over my friends while driving drunk. But he’s a great guy. How can I get him to stop acting like that?” What kind of advice do you think that warrants with just those details?

    The truth is, you can’t stop the fights if he’s the one having the poor reaction. He’s the only one that can. Even if you just said you got into fights once a month because of alcohol, I think most commenters would say your boyfriend needs to do more than be apologetic for a week. If you read those comments talking about fights while drinking, it was on the partner that had the bad reaction to alcohol to figure out a way to stop it. And for most of them, it was to either cut out alcohol completely or to cut back. Like some other commenters said, sometimes alcohol can have side effects similar to drugs where it really isn’t a ‘truth serum,’ it’s just a bad effect. And only you will know which is which, but you’d really only know by cutting back. You can be “party people” without being drunk. A couple I knew who were the life of the party were so because they were crazy, not because they were drunk.

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    ReginaRey May 7, 2011, 12:50 pm

    I’d like to stand up for myself and other DW commenters who’ve been accused of providing “lame” and “oversimplified” responses like “MOA” and “your boyfriend is a jerk.” I speak for myself, and the VAST majority of us here, when I say that many of us spend time thinking about the advice we want to give. We strive to be thoughtful and helpful and to provide personal insight that LWs might find useful. I always try to analyze letters to the best of my ability, and provide a rational and carefully worded response that I hope is thought-provoking to the LW.

    I’m going to give the LW the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps these occurrences ARE rare. Maybe the big, blow-up fights that she mentioned are so occasional that she really doesn’t think they’re that big a deal. It’s just a weird quirk of her boyfriend’s that she wants help addressing.

    You asked for ways to “diffuse the situation” when it gets out of hand. I’ll echo the sentiments above when I say that, yes, you’re trying to have your cake and eat it too. “How can I diffuse these situations?” is a polite way of asking “How can my boyfriend still get wasted and NOT treat me like shit?” It’s not possible. This has proven to be a regular pattern, and asking your boyfriend to change nothing and STILL expecting things to be different won’t work. If you want to diffuse the situation, you need to either refuse to go out with your boyfriend, or your boyfriend needs to severely limit his alcohol intake when he’s with you. That is the only magic diffuser there is.

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    • MaterialsGirl

      Elizabeth May 7, 2011, 11:06 pm

      Amen, ReginaRey. Amen.

      I generally only respond to letters that I feel I may have some personal experience to help with the particular situation. I definitely read over all the advice that letter generated and most was very helpful and offered a variety of situations. I can only imagine that this LW is new to the site? If MOA wasn’t what you thought the situation warranted, there were plenty of other comments to address that.

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  • sobriquet

    sobriquet May 7, 2011, 2:00 pm

    Oh, how silly. If you want suggestions on how to “diffuse” a drunken fight, the only advice anyone can give you is to exit the situation. You can’t have a screaming match without someone to scream at.

    Is that the advice you wanted? Because there is no rationalizing with belligerence. There is nothing you can say or do to make him stop screaming and insulting you whenever he is 10 drinks deep. The only thing YOU can do is leave the situation. HE, however, can do so, so much more to keep this from happening. But apparently that’s not the advice you wanted to hear.

    Hope you and your boyfriend gain some maturity soon and start drinking responsibly. (And no, drinking responsibly does not only mean abstaining from drunk driving or getting your stomach pumped… it means not hurling insults at your significant other)

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  • avatar

    emjay May 8, 2011, 1:36 pm

    I believe the LW states they were 23yrs old. I was always mature for my age, but seeing how friends acted and stuff at 23 they are acting the same way. Young and dumb is wut I like to call it. Not them but the situation. This LW wanted us to say don’t worry it will be ok and we didn’t. That is what her problem is. She doesn’t want to quit the drinking and doesn’t see drinking to be the problem. And if she was a regular DW reader, she would have known that we give blunt unsugar coated answers. There are plenty of other people out there who have taken not just wendys advice, but our advice as well and it has helped them a great deal. So let’s not let one LW get us down. She has a lot of growing up to do. Let’s just focus on the people who really need, and want our advice because they are the ones who will benefit from it. Not this girl. Have a grt mothers day everyone. Ttalk to you Monday!

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    oldie May 8, 2011, 8:28 pm

    The big red flag is that most wife beaters only beat their wives when they come home drunk. That he gets this nasty when drunk, during the course of an evening that begins pleasantly with you out drinking together seems like a huge warning sign. Angry drunks do not become mellow drunks as they age, but husbands do go out drinking without their wives and come home nursing imaginary slights, which must be avenged. You are at the beginning of a classic, age-old pattern of misery. You can’t fix him. MOA.

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  • avatar

    jena May 9, 2011, 11:12 am

    Next time you DON’T want advice, don’t write to an advice column. Because at advice columns, they tend to give you advice. Just so you know for next time!

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  • avatar

    anna728 May 10, 2011, 5:38 pm

    What? I don’t understand why the LW got upset and wanted it taken down. Her boyfriend is a drunk jerk and she’s mad at Wendy and the commenters?

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  • avatar

    BreezyAM September 11, 2013, 12:48 pm

    I wonder whatever happened to this LW?

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