Lately, my boyfriend drinks a lot more than he used to. I know we’re in college, so I’m trying to be patient because I don’t drink and know I’m in the minority in a city like ours. However, this has gotten out of control. He spends at least a hundred dollars a week on alcohol and comes to class hungover, unable to concentrate. He says he’s got it under control – but I know his grades are slipping and he’s lying to his parents about where the money’s going. When I try to talk to him, he acts like I’m no fun and I don’t understand that college students are “supposed to drink.” I don’t mind being around people who just want to have a good time, but I’m tired of helping my boyfriend as he’s hunched over the toilet and driving him home from parties on nights I need to study for my own classes. What should I do?
Dear Sober Sally,
First off, you’ll never talk sense into someone who won’t admit they have a problem. Trying to be rational with someone whose vice is leading their life will always end up with them shifting the blame back to you so they don’t have to admit there’s an issue.
Give up on trying to have “the talk” with your boyfriend, and start taking action.
The first thing to do is to refuse to be around him when he drinks. If you’re around and having a good time while he’s getting hammered, he’s not going to think he’s doing anything wrong. When the booze comes out, step out. Tell him this policy beforehand, and walk out the door at the first sight of a sip.
The second thing to do is to stop being an enabler. If your boyfriend knows you’ll always have his back when he’s wasted, he’ll use you as a crutch. Stop being there while he’s hunched over the toilet, and do you instead. You’re not his Uber driver, so don’t act like one. If he needs a ride home from a party, tell him to arrange it with one of the guys he’s getting trashed with (hopefully the DD). Sure, it’ll be scary to not check in and make sure he’s okay, but at some point, you’ve got to realize he’s an adult and look out for yourself.
If your boyfriend doesn’t start to change his behavior after you pull away, then maybe it’s time to call it quits. You can’t save people who don’t want to be saved, and it’s not worth you being dragged down with him.
So put down the cape and stop trying to be Super Girl. Give him a little tough love instead. If nothing changes, you might have to leave him sitting at the bar and find someone whose vice isn’t the type to make his liver quiver.