Uncertain About Dating An Alcoholic


Guest post: This post was submitted by one of our readers who is seeking advice on how to handle dating an alcoholic. Please feel free to leave a comment that could possibly help her during this uncertain time.

Last year I came in contact with my high school sweetheart. It had been 30 years since graduation. We are both divorced and started to talk, one thing led to another and we are now dating.

We live in neighboring states, so our main communication was via phone. After a few weeks of talking, I realized, that he drank everynight. He would call everynight and it was not always a full on drunk but I would say the weekends were bad and maybe a day during the week.

I did confront him about his drinking and he admitted that he drinks everyday and this is how his life has been. I started to talk to him to see if he would go into a facility but no go…just does not want to hear it.

He holds down a full time job and runs his house well but when he drinks heavily, I tell him not to call me because I am not dealing with it. He is not very nice when he drinks and I have a horrible temper, when dealing with addicts.

He has a friend, who is also a miserable drinker and when the two of them get together, it is a mess.

Recently, I told him that our relationship can go no further until he decides to address his situation and mostly get away from the rotten friends. I know he makes his own choices but hanging around the same crowd just makes it worse.

He was pretty put out by my request and has been doing better but without him seeking help, I know it will just end up back at square one.

My temper and personality will not tolerate a liar and his lies are plentiful, when he needs to cover up.

Please advise if I am handling this correctly or not. I am a no nonsense type of individual but I do care about his well being. I just wish that he would…

Response to article: First off, thanks for sharing a small portion of your situation with us. I’ve read through your article several times and do see some very positive things that you have been doing. I’ve linked articles that can help you with a few of the things you are encountering while dating an alcoholic.

It appears that you are setting boundaries with the alcoholic very well by saying thing like: “I tell him not to call me because I am not dealing with it.” My encouragement to you would be to set them with a loving attitude. This could be challenging because you have admitted that your temperament is a little on the hot side at times. This is an area that usually requires learning how to do this and then practicing the various techniques until they become second nature.

There was one place where I noticed you gave him an ultimatum when you said:”I told him that our relationship can go no further until he decides to address his situation. “I feel it is really important to only do this sort of thing when we are certain that we will be able to stick to our guns.

As far as the lying goes, the sad truth of this situation is that he will continue to lie. As crazy as this may sound, the sooner you can just accept that lying is apart of  his  alcoholic personality right now-the more peaceful your emotions will be. As long as he continues to drink and you remain dating one another, this will be a recurring problem.

Only you can decide what is right for you in your life. It appears that you understand well what you are up against. We can be in love with an alcoholic and learn how to stay in these relationships for a lifetime.  It’s very possible to learn how to love an alcoholic unconditionally.

Perhaps you could make a list of the positives and negatives as they relate to dating an alcoholic.

I would also encourage you to start keeping a journal that is specific to the events happening in this relationship.

Finally, it’s important that we take care of ourselves while being in relationships with alcoholics.  If we are not careful we can become so obsessed with an alcoholic that we totally lose sight of the beautiful person that we are.


2 comments to Uncertain About Dating An Alcoholic

  • Marli

    Wow! Are you me and I don’t recall posting? I am in a relationship with a high school crush from 22 years ago and we live in neighboring states. In the 18 months we’ve been together, he got a DWI, spent 30 days in rehab, got out and got drunk and lost his 6-figure salaried job of 17 years, almost died..twice, finally went to inpatient rehab for 60 days, got out and got drunk and ended up in an ATV accident where he was fortunate to escape with a badly broken thumb.

    I’ve never heard “I love you” so much in my life… and I believe he does love me. However, I’ve studied his disease carefully and I am not fool enough to think that I can save him from himself. I have to get out. As much as I love him and want him well, but I don’t want to spend the rest of his life walking on eggshells if he’s drinking or worrying about when he’ll pick up the next bottle if he’s sober for the moment.

    I love this life, but that doesn’t mean that he has to. He has the ability to live his life however he chooses. He knows I’m here for him as long as he’s sober. Drunk… I have no patience for him. Unfortunately, drunk is what he is. So, how do I cut the ties and get on with life?

  • Caitlyn

    With an alcoholic you must accept them for who and what they are and to not dictate how to manage their lives. They need to work this out for themselves. Otherwise their well meaning attempts at recovery only works for a short while before they resort back to their old ways. It takes resolve and commitment from their part and their will to overcome their problem with the bottle. The alcoholic must find the want and will to quit themselves.

    Ask yourself a few questions and jot down your answers or if undecided, jot down your pros and cons. It may help you in your decision making. Why did you start after 30 years? Curiousity, longing to recapture the past, nostalgic reasons? Or real attraction? You have to be strong and supportive to stay with an alcoholic, but never have to wear the pants. You can maintain balance in the relationship through pushing agendas back to even up the scales. Reject the load if it is weighted heavily on your side. At the end of the day, many alcoholics want and need a special someone they just need to be guided to accepting responsibility for their actions and shown how to behave fairly normally without resorting to anger and creating anxiety in the lives around them.

    Be firm and strong and honest too. Marli: to cut the ties, tell them as it is. You can’t live as the partner of an alcoholic and you are moving on. Firm, strong and honest should get you through the difficulties of cutting ties.

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