Behind Closed Doors: When Your Partner Drinks Too Much

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I have recently begun a new relationship – I’m just about three months in. We’re getting on really well: we both love long bike-rides, wild-camping, hiking; we have similar political opinions, a similar taste in films and we make each other laugh. The sex is great. We have said that we love each other and he has given me keys to his house.


So far so good. Except that there’s one giant problem.


He’s a bit of a drinker. Let me clarify: he’s definitely not an alcoholic. He doesn’t drink in the mornings or even at lunchtime. But he does drink what is, for me, a substantial amount pretty much every evening. We have ‘sleep-overs’ approximately twice a week and we polish of a bottle of wine, a couple of G&Ts and perhaps a beer over the course of the evening, chatting, laughing, debating, eventually crawling into bed at around 1.30am.


I love my job – I live for it – but its extremely intense and requires maximum mental capacity. I can’t work with the slightest hangover – on the rare occasion I go to the pub with friends during the week, I set my limit at 2 pints. I have a lot of deadlines and sometimes need to work long hours, including weekends. Let me repeat: I simply don’t have time for weekday hangovers. Furthermore, I never stay awake until 1.30am when I’m by myself. Normally I’m in bed before 11!


I’ve broached all this with him and we have said that we’ll address it and start going to bed earlier, drinking less. But every time we see each other it’s a celebration, there is so much to talk about, and of course wine loosens the tongue and makes early nights seem so boring. It seems that we end up thinking, subconsciously, “let’s start behaving ourselves next time.” I have told him what I need to function and do often refuse the last gin, hoping that we’ll go upstairs soon. But the following morning, I wake up once again exhausted, frustrated, miserable and unable to do any decent work.


Recently it came to a head. I was away at a conference for the weekend. On the way home I texted him to ask whether he fancied a sleep-over, but stated clearly that it would need to be an early night for me as I was exhausted. When I got there he was engrossed in work and didn’t emerge until quarter to ten. We made dinner, watched a film… drank a bottle of wine and ended up going to bed at our usual time. During the film I kept repeating how tired I was, but I hadn’t seen him for a while and didn’t want to go upstairs on my own. “The film’s nearly over”, he kept repeating.


I woke up the next morning furious and feeling dreadful. When he asked me what was wrong I burst into tears, saying angrily “I feel like you’re making me choose between being with you and doing my job. And frankly I know which one I’ll choose!” He replied, stunned perhaps by my bluntness, “Just stop worrying about it!” Of course that only made me more angry and the tears flow faster. I won’t relay the whole conversation; suffice it to say that it ended with both of us reiterating that wanted to be with each other, and he saying I should do what I need to do and he will be waiting for me. Lovely, but I want us to drink less, go to bed earlier and be together now!


So what do I do? Currently, I have run away back to my own flat with an important impending deadline, and am considering letting the whole affair just fizzle out. But that would be a real shame as I haven’t met a man yet whose company I enjoy as much as his. Ideally I’d like to be spending more time with him rather than less, but I have wasted so much time already staring at my computer with brain fog, that in order to catch up properly I’ll have to work every day for the next month including weekends.


What do you wise women think? Have you managed to resolve a similar problem – for better or for worse? Do you have any pearls of wisdom? I would greatly appreciate any guidance as I really don’t know what to do!

Categories: Behind Closed Doors
37 interesting thoughts on this


  1. Posted August 21, 2013 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    Does he have to have a drink every night? Because if he does, then he is an alcoholic – a ‘modern’ alcoholic as in he manages to function fine during the day, but an alcoholic all the same.

    Why are you breaking your own two pint rule for him? Do you have to drink when you have sleepovers? And you are a grown up – go to bed when you want to, I’m sure if you took yourself upstairs he wouldn’t be too far behind you! So don’t place the blame of you being knackered and exhausted on him – you are responsible for you and therefore are perfectly capable of making your own choices

    Maybe try both of you not drinking on sleepover nights and see what he does – if he is willing then there might be room to develop the relationship…..if he can’t forego the booze for one night, perhaps It may just have to fizzle out as it won’t improve the more comfortable he gets with you

    • Anon
      Posted August 21, 2013 at 8:57 am | Permalink

      I guess the difficulty is that I do enjoy a glass of wine as well. The difference is, I would call it a day after a couple of glasses while he moves on to the gin. But you’re right that I need to be more assertive – and more self-controlled.

  2. Posted August 21, 2013 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    Hm, this is a really difficult one to answer, my instinct is that although he drinks a lot, the drinking isn’t necessarily the only issue, it’s also a problem that he doesn’t seem to be listening to you, or making any compromises to his life to fit with you, while you’re constantly compromising yourself. To be honest, that’s not a great thing. If he isn’t prepared to make some compromises then it doesn’t bode well. I think you need to take some time out, which you have done, and then both of you need to have a very honest conversation about what you want/need to carry on spending time together. There might be a workable compromise, but it depends on the two of you.

    On a side note, I assure you it is possible to be an alcoholic without morning drinking. Or lunchtime drinking. Alcoholism is dependency on alcohol, and it is possible to have that without secret drinking or pouring vodka on cornflakes, or any of the other obvious stereotypes. I’m not saying your man is an alcoholic, just that what you’ve described doesn’t actually rule it out. It’s important that people know that alcoholism can exist in many forms, and functioning alcoholics may never even appear to have a problem. Sorry, lecture mode over.

    KL x

    • Anne
      Posted August 21, 2013 at 9:25 am | Permalink

      Wholeheartedly seconded. Couldn’t have said it better myself, KL.

      • Anon
        Posted August 21, 2013 at 9:32 am | Permalink

        He is actually a very caring and giving person. I think it’s me who hasn’t been assertive enough.I have realised (thanks to the great comments posted here) that instead of waxing lyrical about the need to go to bed earlier with a glass of wine in my hand, I actually need to show him that I mean business and take control!

        • Posted August 21, 2013 at 9:55 am | Permalink

          Although I think this is great, I have to be honest and say that there’s still a warning bell in my head that says you’re STILL being the one to make a change and make an effort and he’s continuing with no compromise. It makes me feel slightly uncomfortable that you seem to be taking all the responsibility for addressing the issue, without any action from him. However, as someone else has wisely said, no-one can ever see into anyone else’s relationship, so I don’t know how the balance on yours sits. To me this still seems slightly unbalanced and that’s a warning sign, because this is both of your issue, but I do very much hope that making a stand works for you and makes you both happier.

          KL x

    • Posted August 21, 2013 at 9:31 am | Permalink

      Hi, I agree with a lot of what Katielase says here.

      Firstly it is perfectly possible to be a functioning alcoholic. By no means does that mean that I am saying that he is one but it is possible and this could be the behaviour of someone who is a functioning alcoholic, though that does not necessarily mean that he is.

      Also, my big concern is that this relationship does not seem to be even. You do have agency and if you need an early night you should feel you can have one. So though some of the not drinking and going to bed early when you need to is in your own hands, if he really resists you doing those things that would raise a warning flag in my eyes.

      It is hard to comment on a relationship from the outside with any clarity but if he wants you to change your behaviour to be more like his and you do not want to then that could be a problem, particularly if this is behaviour that makes you feel uncomfortable.

      When I first started seeing my husband he hated early nights and I craved them. I quickly realised I need those early nights so go to bed early and so does he, sometimes he even goes to bed before me! So this could be something you can resolve, if you do what it is you need to do and you can find room to compromise or find support for you doing what it is you need as well as what he wants/needs.

      If you are not doing this because you fear repercussions then that is a worry. If it is just a kind of fear of missing out then you need to be firm with yourself and with him and see what happens next if this is causing you problems. I hope it resolves itself and that you find a way to exist symbiotically, and with you getting the downtime you clearly need.

  3. Marie p
    Posted August 21, 2013 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    That’s tough. It is early days but my instinct is that if you can’t reach a compromise on this you are unlikely to manage bigger, harder thing in the future. He doesn’t seem to be willing to change his lifestyle at all to fit in with you now so I wonder how he would cope with marriage/parenthood etc. seems like he expects you to fit in with him rather than the other way round or a compromise. Will it always be your career that has to come second.

    If staying with him is important then perhaps you need to only see him at weekends, use the week for your own life and friends. Maybe in time he will start to fit in with you more? Stand your ground, he obviously is.

  4. ChirstyMac
    Posted August 21, 2013 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    The only way I managed to address a similar situation was being super-strict with myself: NO alcohol on weeknights with the man. I realised (too slowly) that even one made me throw away best intentions and carry on until we were both sozzled. Again.

    So I went cold turkey and saved it for Fridays and Saturdays only. Yes, it sucked in the short term, and I did find myself going to bed at my pre-decided time solo and lying there thinking ‘why am I being so stubborn and missing out on time with him by not staying up late’.

    But it did gradually change things. And the time between me taking myself off to bed and him joining me got smaller. He didn’t immediately cut down, but it did open the floor for the serious talk we finally managed to have that broke the back of it. He didn’t stop mid-week drinking entirely – I never expected him to; he never got the hangovers I did and, I’ll be honest, if I didn’t get hangovers I’d probably do the same! But he cut down, and we managed to start spending less time holed up on the sofa of an evening and more time doing other things like the cinema or evening walks.

    The one bit of advice I would offer is; don’t move in with him until you feel it’s sorted one way or another. I made the mistake and lost the bolt-hole of my own place. It definitely made it harder and slower to address.

    I hope you can find a way to address it together. X

    • Anon
      Posted August 21, 2013 at 8:54 am | Permalink

      Thank you so much for sharing your experience! Really great advice – incredibly helpful and has inspired me to do the same! It is tough being the ‘killjoy’ isn’t it? But if I make a stand hopefully he’ll follow suit. Not least because I also worry about his health…

  5. Posted August 21, 2013 at 8:16 am | Permalink

    Whoah, that’s a hard one. It really sucks when you KNOW you need to be doing something different, but you don’t actually feel able to do it.

    I think that Vivienne is right – you’re placing the blame on him for a problem that isn’t really his. It’s always your choice to drink/stay up when you’re together, whether it feels like a choice or not. You have been clear about your needs, but when it comes to the crunch, you’re not following through and looking after your needs, so why should he. I think that now you need to make him (and you!) realise that you’re serious. Have the sleepovers, but skip the drinks and go to bed early. I’m willing to bet that he’ll be following soon after.

  6. Posted August 21, 2013 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    This is an interesting one, I recognise the feeling from early on In our relationship of treating every date like a celebration, but it not being sustainable, we found that things settled down the longer we had been going out and the more we saw each other. But I think chirstymacs suggestion of being strict with yourself is very good, his reaction to that will help you decide a way forward. Also find things to do together that don’t involve drinking, cinema, walking, cycling?

    On the late bed times we still struggle I need to be in bed before midnight and rod can function on no sleep and likes to stay up late watching tv, we have decided that most nights he comes to bed with me but 2 nights a week he stays up til whenever watching whatever. That way we still get the intimacy of snuggling most nights but I don’t feel like his mum telling him to go to bed.

    Another idea is to only see him on weekends with the excuse that you don’t want the hangovers mid week, then if he wants to see you mid week he will have to forgo the drinking?

    Hope you work things out.


    • Anon
      Posted August 21, 2013 at 10:07 am | Permalink

      Yeah it seems that co-ordinating workable life rhythms in relationships can be really tough, especially when one person needs substantially more sleep than the other. Ideally I would have 9 hours a night while my new man only needs 6! My sister, who also needs a lot of sleep, says that in her relationship of five years, they have still not totally resolved it. Argh! Your two nights/five nights compromise sounds like a good idea though.

      I have also been hoping that things will settle into a routine the longer we see each other. Trouble is the situation is making me want to see less, not more, of him. ChirstyMac is also right that I need to sort this before I move in with him…

      But is it possible to meet someone who has exactly the same rhythm and needs as me? Or are the first few months of a new relationship about working it out together and establishing compromises?

      I just hope he can compromise on the booze thing, otherwise I really will have to call it a day…

  7. Fee
    Posted August 21, 2013 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    I’m going to have to skirt around my experiences a bit for the sake of others’ privacy but I think the big question is COULD he not drink for a few days? If so, then it’s more of a lifestyle/communication issue that I guess you would have to work through to develop your relationship.

    I have a lifetime of experience of being around every day drinkers – not in the morning or even at lunchtime – but every day and an alcohol dependency none the less. I won’t elaborate on all the ways this has affected me but suffice to say that although I am definitely a social drinker, I never drink at home and fear even falling into the trap of just having a glass of wine every night.

    I would hate for you to suddenly find yourself in a similar situation, intimidated by and to an extent controlled by someone else’s drinking. I couldn’t remove myself from the situation but as an adult, I think I would.

    Whether or not it’s as serious as that or more of a communication issue, I really hope it all works out x

  8. Posted August 21, 2013 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    This is a tough one – and while I fully support the other comments, I also think that you shouldn’t be too hard on him. You’re still early on in the relationship and it sounds to me like this is just the process of figuring out each other’s different lifestyles as part of the longer process of finding your own joint lifestyle should you stay together for the long term. My advice would be to be a bit more assertive about what you want and see how that goes. And as a couple of other people have said, if you head to bed early, he shouldn’t be too far behind you :) Hope it all works out for you x

  9. Anon
    Posted August 21, 2013 at 10:15 am | Permalink

    Hi Anon, it took such bravery to write this, I hope you can take comfort in the fact that we are all 100% behind you.

    All relationships take a period of adjustment, particularly when you have different ideas about bedtimes/appropriate drinking and what not and my own opinion is that you feel trapped between wanting to stay up and have ‘fun’ (and drink) and knowing that actually you want to go to bed and be in a great place for work – which is super admirably, actually. In my humble opinion the trick is, firstly, to be your own person. If there’s a film on and you want to go to bed, go to bed. It doesn’t have to be a drama and you don’t have to feel like a killjoy – hell, it’s your life!!! If you start adjusting to the point you resent it that resentment will be there your whole relationship and that’s not fun. Communicate it to him without using the drinking as THE issue, if you can. He may feel defensive and judged, too. If he can’t see your side then I wouldn’t advise sticking around as it is totally unfair on you.

    I haven’t addressed the drinking bit so far. Does he drink that much every single night? Either way it’s not my place to say whether he is an alcoholic or not, but it is always worth approaching gently to understand where he is coming from on this. My parents are not big drinkers at all and they think that sharing a bottle of wine over dinner and then possibly having an inch whisky chaser once a week is alcoholism – which, I guess for some people it is. I’m not trying to belittle anyones comments about alcoholism, it is a tricky and destructive disease, but sometimes when someones lifestyle is so different to our own we can make sweeping statements and, yes, judgements. Some of my friends drink way more than me, some way less, some not at all – people have very strong opinions when it comes to drink (for very good reasons) but my honest opinion is if you think he needs help (whether you stay around or not) go to the professionals and ask for some advice on handling it.

    Lots of love and thinking good thoughts xxx

    • Anon
      Posted August 21, 2013 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

      Thank you for your balanced and non-judgmental response! :) You’re right – the key is to be stronger in myself. I am seeing him on Friday and as I am having a working weekend will test out my resolve and see what happens!

  10. Posted August 21, 2013 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    I think you have been given so much wise and wonderful advice from the ladies of AOW here already this morning but I want to share my thoughts with you, too, as lots of perspectives can only be a good thing!
    I’m not sure I’m one to really talk about past relationships, but when I was younger I was often guilty of fitting into the relationships as dictated by my older boyfriends. Some were drinkers, some were drug users, all were terrifically controlling. I found myself doing things that weren’t me to fit into the relationship I thought we should have. If he wanted a night on the tiles, I went just so I could spend time with him; I skipped classes, lied, smoked and quite often did things I know now weren’t legal. Looking back I know that this was incredibly unhealthy, but a young Laura didn’t see that. I quite often got into the wrong crowd and did many things I regret just to fit into to his lifestyle.
    I’m not saying your partner is controlling, or that you might do something you regret, I merely want to ask you, Anon, if you are doing things that aren’t you. To me, it would seem this way. You shouldn’t have to change who you are and what you like to fit in with your partner.
    I’m afraid this comment is perhaps a little blunter or harsher than I was hoping, but I’m not eloquent enough with my writing to phrase this in a kinder way. I’m just hoping instead of saying that ‘he drinks too much’ perhaps you also need to be thinking about why you feel that you need to join him in having late nights and a few extra?

    • Anon
      Posted August 21, 2013 at 10:58 am | Permalink

      Yes, that’s a really perceptive comment. There is definitely an element of me ‘fitting in’ here. And he is also 15 years older than me. I will have to have a think about why I have been doing it. Part of it is certainly because I do enjoy a nice glass of wine with dinner and sometimes it can be difficult to stop, especially when the other person carries on.
      Food for thought – thank you! :)

      • Posted August 21, 2013 at 11:05 am | Permalink

        Phew ! So glad I could be a help. It’s often so hard to give advice when really I know nothing about you or your partner other than the above. I really hope you come to some sort of peace about the issue :) x

  11. Bex (GingerBee)
    Posted August 21, 2013 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    This is a really tricky situation. I’m just going to be honest and hope I don’t hurt anyone’s feelings as that’s not my intention!!

    I’ve totally been where you are. I can’t drink for medical reasons but the going to bed late because of his drinking and desire to stay up late and feeling crap the next day is very familiar. I would justify his drinking saying that he wasn’t an alcoholic (and I still don’t know if he is/was) by saying that it wasn’t needed in the mornings. But as KL says, that doesn’t mean it’s not the case. I’m not saying that your man is an alcoholic but I do worry about the justification of it only being in the evenings.

    No one knows what’s going on inside the relationship apart from you but it’s hard to see clearly when you’re in it. You need to look after you. If you feel you can be assertive and go to bed when you want to and not drink with no repercussions then go for it! But be honest with yourself. If you think it’s going to drive a wedge between you then maybe it is best to call it a day.

    I didn’t manage to fix my similar relationship but we had other issues too. On the going to bed separately, my husband and I do that all the time. We often work different hours so its not practical for him to go to bed as soon as he gets in from work. But he does ‘tuck me in’ and then gets up again. Maybe try that?

    I wish you so much luck Anon, we’re here if you need us!!

  12. Posted August 21, 2013 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    I don’t know, anon.
    I don’t want to make a bigger deal of this than it actually is, but on the other have there may be a real issue here that I don’t want to underplay. Its hard to know without knowing you and your relationship better.

    It sounds like you only hang out and drink. And while he may be lovely and you have a great time this in itself is an issue. How can you know him fully or he you like this?

    I’ve known people who drink a lot. The important thing is to stand your ground. Don’t think you can change him or try to, but do what you want to do and feel comfortable with and if he wants to he will adjust, as you have. And together the two of you will work out how to be together. If both of you want to enough.

    • Posted August 21, 2013 at 10:48 am | Permalink

      “It sounds like you only hang out and drink. And while he may be lovely and you have a great time this in itself is an issue. How can you know him fully or he you like this?”

      <- great point katy!

      • Anon
        Posted August 21, 2013 at 10:53 am | Permalink

        Ahh – no. Have a look at the first paragraph. We go bike-riding, camping and walking. We also go to the cinema. We definitely don’t just ‘hang out and drink.’ That would be plain boring and I would have left ages ago!

  13. Jessie
    Posted August 21, 2013 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    This might sound a bit harsh & I apologise for that, but if you have only been together for 3 months & you are already this concerned about things, are you sure it’s the right relationship for you?

    We all know you have to work at relationships – but if this is how you feel at 3 months how will you feel in 6 months, a year or longer? Is it worth it to you? No one else can tell you this, as no one else is privy to the full details of your relationship, but I genuinely think that if after 3 months you are writing an anon letter to the internet voicing your (understandable) concerns then you already know the answer.

  14. deltafoxtrotcharlie
    Posted August 21, 2013 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

    Does he drink that much and stay up that late when you’re not having sleepovers? Or is it that ‘every date is still special’ thing?

    If its the former then I would be worried that you’d end up never being able to resolve matters – if that’s what he likes doing (and I assume has been doing for some time given the age difference) it could be hard to change his habits.

    If the latter then maybe time will change things but you have to look after yourself in the meantime regardless of how fun he is and compatible you are. You already said you would pick your job over him but you’re not doing that right now. Get selfish.

    I’ve been there and it doesn’t end up in a good place.

    DFC xx

    Oh and nothing against the age gap BTW, the future Mr DFC is 13 years older than me :)

    • Anon
      Posted August 21, 2013 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

      That’s just it – I don’t know how much he drinks when I’m not there. I know it is less than when we’re together, but I don’t know how much less. Perhaps I’ll affix a hidden camera in his living room! But yeah, am definitely going to start putting my needs first from now on, rather than pretending I’m fine will all this boozing.

  15. Posted August 21, 2013 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

    I’ve been thinking about this one all morning, trying to get my head around what to say if you were my friend and we were chatting it through. I would be raelly blunt face to face, but seeing as I don’t know you or the full story, I’d say the following:

    If you want to stop – then you should stop. If you’re not wanting to drink as much as him then don’t do it. If you continue to drink and stay up late, and continue to be exhausted etc, then you will continue to resent it. That’s not a healthy start to a relationship. To be blunt – you’re an adult, you should be able to make that sort of decision for yourself. If he persuades, cajoles, or mocks you because of it, then I don’t think that would be someone I would want to go out with. If you find yourself giving in, then I would wonder how long are you going to continue giving in for? How long will you continue damaging your health?

    I’d also agree with the others, that if he drinks that much regularly then he has an alcohol problem of some sort. Alcoholics don’t all wear trench coats and lose their jobs.

    Really though, what it comes down to for me is whether or not he respects you enough to cut down and compromise, or at least understand your point. If he does – then stick with it. If he doesn’t – why would you want to go out with someone who doesn’t respect your feelings on it?

    At the risk of sounding preachy though – seeing as I don’t think anyone else is saying it – this isn’t good for your health. Why would you do something that makes you feel this awful? And, I’m sorry, but I’d say it to a friend if we were face to face – I really hope you don’t drive to work the next morning.

    • Anon
      Posted August 21, 2013 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

      You are right. But I would just like to point out that there are many complex reasons why people might do things that are bad for them. In my case it is because I am having trouble establishing my boundaries in this new relationship.
      And I cycle an hour to work every day ;)

  16. Amanda M
    Posted August 21, 2013 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

    Yes, and my husband is 12 years older than me!

    I am not qualified to talk about alcohol abuse but personally I have a ‘no drinking during the week’ rule – I do break it sometimes but not routinely, it would have to be for a special occasion. It’s very easy to fall into the aperitif, wine with dinner thing (that’s usually my lot!) because I really love wine but this hedonism is for Saturdays only for me – and just some wine on Sunday if we’re having a nice meal. I pretty much do it because of the gazillion calories that booze represents but there are of course a lot of other issues to take into account. My husband goes through phases of drinking a lot on the odd weeknight, and apart from being a bit tedious when he’s drunk and I’m sober (and the SNORING!), I’m okay with that

    As others have said, if you want to go to bed early and sober – that’s up to you! Personally I don’t think you can change someone but it may be that if you do that he will start to drink a bit less and/or come to bed early – that’s his call. You know what you want so do it; at the moment you’re sending mixed messages by saying one thing and doing another. You’ll either work though it and come to an equilibrium or things will fizzle out.

    As to biorhythms, my husband likes to go to bed early and get up early and I like to go to bed late and get up late. I usually go to bed with him for a cuddle and just for closeness and then get up – and he gets up early and drinks coffee and reads the paper until I’m up. I think it would be just very lucky to meet someone who was totally in sync with you – it’s how you compromise and deal with the differences that’s important.

    Hope I don’t sound preachy.

  17. Ashley
    Posted August 21, 2013 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    I haven’t had time to go through and read everyone’s responses so I apologise if I’m repeating other peoples comments.

    When I first got with my now husband every night we got to see eachother was a ‘celebration’. We were so excited to see each other and if we knew that it could be a few days before we’d see each other again then we’d stay up chatting for ages. I loved my time with him but my job involves intense concentration and so being tired wasn’t good. He on the other hand never needed that much sleep and for me to tell him to come to bed earlier than he was used to resulted in him tossing and turning the whole night long and he got less sleep than usual. So that would be equally unfair of me to expect that of him.
    As time went on we found a balance and ever since about month 4 we’ve gone to bed together every night (it’s been 7 years now). The minute I actually got up from cuddled up on the sofa with a glass of wine and said I was going to get ready for bed, he would end up following.

    I don’t know what to suggest about the drinking, from reading this I actually don’t think he has a problem as you are early into the relationship so every date is special, but guess the only way to tell is to suggest a night where wine won’t be involved and see what happens. The fact that you enjoy each others company makes me think that it’s worth giving it a go, so good luck :-)

  18. holly
    Posted August 21, 2013 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

    Hmm, managing alcohol consumption can be tricky, and setting boundaries in a new relationship is definitely tricky. I would agree with the advice above that he needs to respect your preferences, but you need to firmly stick to them as well. I think it is important to establish this early on.

    My husband and I are a bit similar in that he tends to go to be later than I do, and often has insomnia if he tries to go to bed earlier. Over the years, my bedtime has gotten later, but we also often go to bed separately. . . and he has learned that it is important to let me get enough sleep!

    Final note on the alcohol – like many here, to me the amount you describe sounds like a lot for midweek drinking. I understand “celebrating” a bit, and indeed in my family we frequently have wine or beer with dinner on weeknights. But not a lot. I would be very interested to know what his drinking habits are like when you aren’t around. Maybe you can check the recycling bin? :)

  19. Anon
    Posted August 21, 2013 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

    Although not the same, I was in a similar situation with my husband a year or so ago. I am very much a part-time drinker – 1-2 glasses of wine if I’m out with friends, but nothing at home and I’m really not too fussy either way. I could easily give up for a few months and not miss it. My husband, on the other hand, drinks 2-3 pints every night at home, and has a big night out with his friends most weeks. When we moved in together it really surprised me, and we had a few very frank discussions about both our drinking attitudes. He didn’t see any problem with what he was doing, but I was worried he was verging on alcoholism.

    We trundled along for a few months without any resolution, neither of us really saying what we thoughts: me “I’m uncomfortable with how much you drink and it makes me worry that you are an alcoholic” and him “you are over-reacting and your worry makes me angry”. Eventually we hit a breaking point, and he agreed to spend 3 months not drinking a drop to show me he could do it. I was pleased, as I was sure he would infact prove to himself that he has gone too far.

    In fact, neither thing happened. He spent 3 months not drinking, over which time our relationship stayed the same, his health stayed mostly the same and he saw as stressed/relaxed as he would have been overwise. At the end we talked about it again, and I realised that maybe by preconceptions of drinking were clouding my vision. Now, he drinks some evenings but not all, we try to go out for nights out together so drunken late night arrivals home aren’t detrimental to the other, and I acknowledge that, just because I don’t need alcohol to relax doesn’t mean that he doesn’t either.

    A little different I know, but I just wanted to point out you can work through these things, and sometimes you just have to compromise. And sometimes there isn’t even a problem there at all, it’s just perceived. Go to bed when you want to, and he’s sure to join you. You can chat in bed without the drink, and feel much better for it in the morning! And on the odd night when you want a drinking partner, you know he’ll be there. Good luck!

  20. Posted August 21, 2013 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

    When I saw the post title I instantly thought of my previous relationship with a man who drank like that, but upon reading the post I’m not sure the situation is the same. I now refer to my ex as an alcoholic, because that’s what he is, but that doesn’t mean to say your fella is one too. Alcoholism is much more than just drinking too much, and in my ex’s case he was definitely a man with a problem. It sounds to me like you’re in the early stages and like you said, it’s a big celebration. Getting drunk together is fun, but as you’ve pointed out, too much getting drunk can have inconvenient consequences. I think it’s definitely worth saying exactly this to him and asking him to consider how important this is to you. Only then will you really know if there is a problem (based on what happens next). I would say this though, you don’t like this behaviour and that’s really worth standing up for. It’s ok to make allowances in relationships, but it seems to be like this is a biggy, so make sure you’re clear about what is important to you.

  21. V
    Posted August 21, 2013 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

    I think that this is up to you to set your boundaries. Next time you’re sat watching a film wanting to go upstairs, and he doesn’t, then go upstairs. Without him. And I bet you that a) he will follow you upstairs not long after or at least b) you will feel better about yourself the next morning.

    I totally hear what you’re saying but I think you can turn this around, perhaps without the man even realising! You’ve tried talking about it. That doesn’t work. So take the bull by the horns and you start calling the shots. I’m not saying you should order him about- just go to bed when you want, even if it’s without him. He will feel the gap and I think he needs to realise that you won’t just “be there” as and when. Make him work hard at keeping you! And this is obviously something which is important to you.

    I think this is a bit like when you dump your girlfriends for the new boyfriend… It’s only yourself who is to blame because you haven’t set your boundaries, though of course we all do it.

    Good luck sweetie, I’m glad you’ve found someone you love and I’m sure you will work it out!


  22. Lucy Brownless
    Posted September 21, 2016 at 4:12 am | Permalink

    Meet my Partner 2004
    I noticed stright away his urge to drink – as he finshed of my last bit of wine .
    everytime we fell out ,he would go home and drink himself stupid .
    I knew he drank to much but i fell head over heals in love and I lived in denial .
    He loved me in so many ways ,but he would not give up the drink ,he acted like it was normal ,not a problem and its what men do .
    He spent most of his wages on it and we had very little for anything else ,He go work,go stright to the pub drink two pints ,than go to supermarket and purchase 3 bottle of wine for a tenner ,this went on for years ,He have the sakes ,when he did not have a drink availiable .
    I read your email ,i fond it heartbreaking ,as it is heartbreaking falling in love with drinker as you watch them die ,
    for a long time he seemed ok ,he never got that ill ,but than in 2010-2011 his drinking got more out of control he was drinking as much as he could get his hands on -spending my money ,manipulating me and than he became aggressive ,belittleing ,reclusive so he got worse .
    2011 I was in france and I had to get his friend round the corner to rescue him ,call emerncy service as he was having pancrea attack he ended up in hospital and he was in sever pain.
    He stayed a few days but discharged himself as he need a drink .
    Live was painful and i was heart broken ,i kept his illness a secret from my family as they were disappointed i stood by him ,they told me i was enabling him,which was insulting as i did not have the strength to walk away as i love him deaply he was my world ,felt all i had as i had a unhappy childhood and i had a Mum that drank ,you think i know better ,but oh no I gave myself more pain.
    I guess i am writing this as i am hope you set yourself free ,as you deserve to be happy not stuck with a alchiolic as if they don’t stop unfortunatly it get worse and you will become his low paid disraspected slave carer and you end up hate him almost wish him dead as they take your live as well as there own .
    Alchiol is a selfish illness ,there is no compassion ,respect and you are not mircle worker so cut your loses that all i can say ,
    Get sopport ,from close friends ,make new friends ,take up interest you will get over him .
    I say this as i don’t want you to make the same mistake as me .
    2012 i ran of with someone else as i felt so rejected,lonley iceolated and abused .But that did not work out ,i stayed alone for a while but it was hard and i wondered how he was .
    Big mistake as in 2013 he did the same again manipulitive ,said he was sucidle and i was back with him as i felt sorry for him and felt guilty for hurt him ,it allowed him to be abusive and i was in the palm of his hands .
    He went into hospital time and time again ,flirted with other women ,told me i was being stupid and bullshite all the time .
    the final straw was 2015 he ended up in a bad way with his trousers wrapped round his ankles poe blood ,called 999,but he never stopped .
    Oh and before than physical accidents fallen of his bike breaking his arm ,brusing from falls endless I felt so helpless and i felt sucidle myself as just could do nothing to save him .
    I meet someone else Dec 2015 and i am trying to move on .
    the last i saw of him he was in hospital again lost count and look like on death row 8 stone at 6ft 3
    I had to walk away ,as the Guy i meet 2004 is dead ,,he still want stop .
    I am heartbroken .
    But hopefully i shall save myself and love again but hopefully with someone who don’t love drink are drugs more .

  23. Kenzie
    Posted April 12, 2020 at 10:46 pm | Permalink

    I came to this thread looking for perspectives on this issue to help with my life situation. Right now we are currently experiencing the covid crisis and are isolating together in our apartment (I’m 23f and he’s 27m, been together year and a half). Both have mental health issues and past trauma but are passionately in love with each other. He is the first person I have considered my life partner. He is a personal trainer at the gym in our small town and amazing, but lost his job to covid as the gym shut down. I am a casual care worker on the off seasons of tree planting, and this year I am continuing care work and opting out of the planting season due to the pandemic. When first buying supplies for our first entering isolation three weeks ago, we stoked up on plenty of booze. I was trying to cut down my chronic spliff smoking (cannabis and tobacco) in light of the respiratory illness floating around, and was enjoying having a few drinks. I will admit that I am an alcoholic same as I am addicted to cannabis and tobacco. I go through periods of heavy drinking as a form of self harm and to escape, and often experience powerlessness to it.. So I’ll go through periods of complete abstinence, eventually return for a healthy balance, but other life things can throw me into abuse again.

    This winter I struggled with mental health and our alcohol consumption for was starting to affect me. I voiced this, but I was met with what I feel was defensiveness and denial. I ended up going to the hospital asking to be checked in, but changing my mind after talking with a therapist and psychiatrist (I had been on a waiting list to get connected to help). Those days my partner had started drinking on weekdays and at home in our apartment, it bothered me because I felt I had nowhere to get away from it. He agreed to do a « dry January » with me and that felt good, I was able to even continue my sobriety into February as he started drinking on weekends again and it was the best I had felt since the tree planting season ended!

    At the start of isolation, I was enjoying drinking (cheers to the end of the world spirit, plus I’m not smoking so I deserve it, etc), but I made it clear my plan to drink every second night, and every hangover day I would abstain. Probably didn’t last a week, I would crave a beer so badly as the sun was going down and if my love was pouring a drink I couldn’t resist. This very negatively affected my mental health. I have never had a period in my life where I have drank every night, and this feels horrible. Paired with the world covid epidemic and the end of events, plans, everything feels so hopeless. Nothing to look forward to but the drink at the end of the day, even when i feel sick and hungover.

    My partner was working at 6am before this, and I enjoyed going to bed early with him, snuggling, and kissing him when he woke up. Then I’d go back to sleep for a couple hours or go to the gym with him. Sometimes I felt like I’d want to stay up and watch Netflix for a bit longer, but i wouldn’t as I didn’t like when he stayed up so late drinking on weekends. After the gym closed, he was stoked to stay up late and drink and play video games, and I totally understood! We all are trying to find the joys in this situation. But I would have a very hard time falling asleep when he was in the next room with the tv on and even with him using headphones, we have a tiny apartment with thin walls and I can hear the controller clicking, his emotions to the game, his drinks, and I couldn’t stop the light shining through the door frame. I felt like what was the point in trying to go to bed early and stay sober if I can’t even fall asleep, so I’d try drinking myself to sleep, get blacked out, and wake up feeling like shit. It got to the point of waking up and drinking right away, feeling suicidal, self-harm, and lots of fighting..

    One solution I came up with which worked for a while is that I blew up the air mattress in the spare room that his daughter sleeps in when she comes over (but not right now cause of covid ): ), and was able to have my own comfy space, with less light from the tv, slightly further away from the sounds, and less chance of him waking me up when he came to bed and keeping me up with drunk snoring lol. I was able to take control back and go to bed when I felt like it, retreat into my alcohol free space and read or fall asleep to sounds of a fav show on my phone. But again my self control around alcohol (and I started smoking again, trying any way to cope) and the trigger of having my partner drink every night is enough for me to drink most nights even if I go to bed earlier.

    With the late nights, he also sleeps in very late. It started with 2am-noon, but now it’s gotten to 5am-2pm. I understand there are night owls that enjoy those hours, but I’ve tried to communicate how much it affects my mental health. I feel like I don’t have the opportunity to do what I need to do, as practicing dance, yoga, working out, and playing the violin in the room right next to my sleeping partner isn’t an option, and by 2pm my mental health is already so frayed that I feel unable to communicate properly or function and I ruin the rest of the day, and drink in the evening again because fuck it.

    Im also still working casual hours at my care job in town and after a stretch of morning shifts, I feel like I’m at my wits end. I am proud of myself for not drinking one of the nights, but was hurt to wake up throughout the night to drinks being poured and bathroom fan at 4:45 am.

    My partner has experienced much trauma that I can’t imagine or know how to help with other than to listen. It’s difficult for him to put into words and he mostly avoids it. I have finally said I feel like I need him to at least try to begin a relationship with a therapist over the phone, I have discussed this with my therapist and was able to tell him calmly, when we were both sober.

    Typing this out has been therapeutic in itself, and reading the OPs situation and the comments gave me lots to think about. Every day is a new day. Take care everyone, Peace.

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Hello! We're Clare, Aisling and Anna and welcome to a corner of the world where smart, flawed, real women talk about the bigger picture; about their experiences, stories and opinions on all aspects of being a woman today, from marriage to feminism to pretty, too.

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