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What Should I Do About My Boyfriend's Drinking Habits?

"My Boyfriend's Drinking Habits Are Ruining Our Relationship"

This question is from a Group Therapy post in our community. Add your advice in the comments!

Basically I am on the verge of breaking up with my boyfriend of four years. Before I say anything, I do want to add that obviously we have had good times and love each other, but there have been some ugly times, too. Essentially the problems that have led me to this point — they stem from us not communicating as well as some misconceptions that began at the beginning of our relationship. Sometimes I have these moments where I take a step back, look at him, and feel like I don't know him at all.

In the beginning of the relationship, we had many discussions about drinking and going out to bars. I'm 26, but he's 34 and he gave me the impression that he was done going out drinking and partying. I have a long history of alcohol abuse in my family, which culminated with my father getting a DUI a year and a half ago — this has been a source of major strain on me and my family. Even before the DUI, I wasn't a big drinker: I can really take it or leave it and sometimes I don't tolerate being around it very well.

Over the past two years or so, my boyfriend's complaint has been that he never gets to do what he wants. The problem is that I feel like we always do what he wants. My home life is difficult — which is another source of strain on our relationship — so we spend most of our time at his apartment. This means that we are always around his friends and on his turf, to put it bluntly. Of course, I've adapted to this lifestyle but I often feel left out and unimportant.

Whenever he's with his friends, he drinks. This started to take a toll on our relationship because I don't always like to drink. Sometimes I feel like it's a frat party — it's just an endless stream of drinking. Sometimes when my boyfriend drinks, I really have no idea who he is and he seems to take back all the things that he told me early on in our relationship. In four years, I have seen my boyfriend's best friend without a beer in his hand maybe a handful of times. Seriously. I understand that we are together a lot, and he wants guy time, but whenever he has guy time, I always feel like I'm the absolute last priority and a burden. I understand that he also has family problems and that his friends were his family for a while, but I'm getting old enough and to the point in our relationship where I want to feel like his family. I'm not saying there's not room for both, but I need to feel secure and like he will stand beside me no matter what.

Anyway, last night he wanted to go hang out with "Always Drinking," as I'll refer to the guy, and I didn't go over right away because I had spent the morning at the beach. When I finally made it over, they had each consumed a can of Four Loko and were probably three vodkas in. My boyfriend was sloppy — which didn't surprise me — he was stumbling, slurring, and proceeded to get scary-pissed when he got the hiccups. I tried to calm him down, but I was irritated on the inside. When we finally got back to his place, he passed out, and I left after tucking him in. This morning, he was so angry with me that he walked out. I have no clue why he was so mad. The night had ended with him kissing me, and it seemed OK. I just got my graduate degree two days ago and I had been hoping we'd celebrate this weekend by doing something that I wanted. But we didn't. It turned out to be all about him as usual.

I want to save this relationship, but I have no idea how to do it: I don't know what to say tomorrow when we talk. I haven't cried at all yet. I feel numb, confused, and hurt. How should I go into the possible breakup conversation? Any advice?

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