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relationhip advice please

By Anonymous September 13, 2009 - 10:17pm
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My boyfriend and I have been together for almost two years and it's been a pretty rocky road. Most of the time he is my best friend, and a reliable boyfriend, but in the same sense he is not. He is a borderline alcoholic. He will go a couple weeks without drinking and then he will basically lose the will and get wasted, and it ALWAYS leads to a fight. Other than the first three months, we have pretty much fought everytime drinking is involved. About three months ago we finally got on the same page and things were going really well, and then I got pregnant. I am so very excited, and so is he. But after a really nasty drunk incident on his part( after we found out I am pregnant) he vowed not to drink again so that he would not stress me out. That of course lasted almost three weeks, and now, after many more broken promises he now says that he should be able to drink whenever he wants, and that he will not fight with me, yet he still fights. I tell him that I will leave him because I will not raise a baby that way. He says "who are you to tell me what to do." My boyfriend is six years younger than I am, and while very mature in many areas, he is still younger. On one hand, he is the best friend that I have ever had, I can say that I know we have a very deep love for each other, but respect is another issue. He is very controlling and to be honest can be a real asshole at times. On the other hand he is one of the most compassionate, caring, helpful, nurturing person I know. I have asked him to get professional help, he wants to do it on his own. I know, it doesn't work that way. I really just don't know what to do, I love him but I WILL NOT RAISE A BABY THIS WAY, I have no money, I really have no one to talk to. I don't know how to make him realize that I am going to leave unless he stops. I have no where to go. And I don't believe in abortion, and adoption is out of the question. He makes me wish that I wasn't pregnant, and that is not at all what I want. I'm so happy to be able to have a child. I just don't know what to do. Unfortunately I know that people won't change unless they want to, and I am smart enough to realize that he doesn't want to. I guess I could just use some advice or words of wisdom so that the pain in my heart might lessen.

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I'm so sorry you're in the middle of such a tough situation. But I can tell from what you write that you are smart, compassionate and have your priorities in the right place -- with your baby. The fact that you feel grateful to have a child and are already committed to how that child will or won't be raised is awesome. You are acting for both yourself and the baby now, so your actions are doubly important.

When I was about 18 months old, my mom left my dad because he was an alcoholic. Like you, there had just been one too many incidents, and she wasn't going to raise me in that home. She had to get a tiny apartment and go back to teaching. She had to find someone to watch me. She took me to public clinics for my vaccinations and scrimped every penny to take care of us. Of course I don't remember any of this, but as an adult, I respect her more than I can even write for having the courage to leave.

Our story ended this way -- my dad went to AA, got sober, and my mom allowed him back into our lives a few months later. But when she left him, she didn't know whether, or if, that would happen. She didn't give an ultimatum. She just said, we won't live here if you drink, and when he did, she left with me.

Susan is right -- if you wait until the baby is born, it will be so much harder to take charge of this situation. Are you getting good prenatal care? Do you have a job? If it would help, please tell us what city and state you are in, and we can help research resources for you.

I admire you for looking at the situation so honestly. Now you have to be courageous and act on it. Your boyfriend is right when he says that you can't tell him what to do. None of us can change another person. The other person has to want to change. If alcohol is more important to your boyfriend than you or your baby, it's good you know now. The controlling aspect of him is something that can get dangerously out of hand. Partners and parents need to be equals, and you and your baby deserve better.

September 16, 2009 - 8:46am
HERWriter Guide

Dear Anon

Congratulations on your forthcoming baby and welcome!

You are definitely in a bad situation and I think you know this. You elected to have a baby with someone who is an abusive person when drunk (and he's drunk a lot) so you know that you have to take ownership in this. You must know that getting pregnant by an addict was a huge mistake. Remember that the only time he's your "best friend" and "compassionate and caring" is when he's not being a controlling abusive drunk. You are in for a very difficult time if you remain in this relationship as is.

Your choices are obvious - to stay or go.

If he is willing to stay absolutely sober (social drinking is NOT staying sober) then you can both get into counseling and he needs to get into a rehab program - it can be a 12 step or something else. These programs are national and AA is free.

Or you can leave. If you have no money or no place to go, find one! You can apply for state benefits and as soon as your baby is born, you can get WIC (food stamps). You can also apply for government sponsored housing. Get out now, if you think he won't change. If you remain there and your baby is born into this home, it'll be much harder to leave.

Are you working? You'll need to work as many hours as you can for now and see how much you can save. Apply for medicaid so your labor and birth will be covered.

Right now is not the time to wonder what has become of your relationship. You are going to give birth to a tiny, helpless human being and now is the time to be practical. If you weren't about to give birth, we could spend plenty of time figuring out how to "fix" your boyfriend but time is off the essence. Seek as much help as you can, financially and get independent really quickly.

Do you have anywhere to stay? A friend? A relative? Are you working?

What he tells you (all the promises) is not how he acts. He can promise you the world but his actions are abusive. As I said, the time is now for you to stop waiting for him to change. You are the one who has to change. He has proven he won't, so prove that you will.

Take control! Get yourself into a safe place and start preparing for the new life you're going to have. You can't make your boyfriend stop drinking - and sadly - nor can the baby you share. Your priority is you and your baby right now. Your boyfriend is a grown man and his choices are his own.

I'm not telling you that your relationship is over or that it should be. But so many women talk about an abusive partner and then go back and forth on the reality - he's an "asshole" and the next minute "but when he's nice, he's just so nice!" That just doesn't mean anything in the real world. We're all nice when we're not being jerks!

Ultimatums don't work. So don't have a big showdown or a confrontation. But you need to clearly and distinctly tell him that one more drink and you are gone. Alcoholism is a disease but it's also a choice in as much as he decides to lift the bottle. If he can go three weeks without a drink, he can go longer. With therapy and support, he can do it. But that's up to him.

What you do is up to you. Don't allow his actions to dictate your life. Please focus on you and your baby for now. If you don't know where to turn for practical help (state assistance etc) please let us know your state/city and we'll help you further. You can do it in a private message if you prefer.

It's easier to backtrack and think "well, it's not so bad, really! I mean, he got me flowers last week and said the nicest things, and sometimes he's so sweet" but picture things as they stand right now and then picture an innocent child in the mix. Babies never mend relationships, they make them even harder. And it's not a baby's job to improve mom and dad's situation.

Things CAN get better between you, but right now you need space and somewhere else to live. You need to get out and clear your head and be practical. With determination and a good plan, you can all be happy together. But it'll need to be a serious effort and hard work - and total sobriety. Until then, you are safer - and healthier- on your own. And if his ultimate choice is drinking and being abusive then I think you know what to do.

I truly wish you the best and please update us!

September 14, 2009 - 1:35pm
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