General Question

chelle21689's avatar

What to do when your partner doesn’t know their drinking limit?

Asked by chelle21689 (7078points) 1 week ago from iPhone

My fiance and I have been together for several years, we finally set a date to be married next year.

I love him, he will be a great husband. He treats me well, we are like the best of friends, we are partners and a team, but there’s one thing. He enjoys his whiskey and beer a bit too much. He doesn’t drink every single day but it is too often where it’s almost every day where he will have a glass to unwind. It’s when he’s social drinking or with friends is when he seems to not know his limit. He will assure me he is fine and then the next thing you know it, he’s throwing up in the car with a horrible hangover the next day.

It doesn’t happen every weekend but enough times in a year for me to lose count. Maybe every other month. Tonight really upset me because he broke my trust. He had me believe he has it under control because I was so concerned with meeting our officiant tomorrow. He ended up very drunk. This is not a very good way to meet someone who will marry us.

I was too angry to sleep next to him so I’m in the guest bedroom crying and unable to sleep…it’s now 6 am…I’m thinking maybe we should cancel seeing the officiant because he will be hungover (not sure if we will even make it) and I’m so tired because I have not had a second of sleep.

How can I approach fiancé about not knowing his limit and having him limit drinking? How do I let him know how this really affects us seriously? It makes me want to pull away and I recoil when he’s a sloppy drunk that’s brought it upon himself. We are adults!! The last time I threw up from alcohol was several years ago, and I know how to enjoy a couple glasses without getting crap faced. He’s limited it before with friends where he would avoid drinks but sometimes I think he doesn’t realize how much he’s had. Also, I don’t think his body reacts well to alcohol as time goes on because even with a little bit to drink he starts to get nauseous now even when he’s not buzzed.

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30 Answers

seawulf575's avatar

Time to have a serious heart to heart with him. Tell him of your concerns. Let him know his behavior bothers you and why. There are many people that don’t understand that when you go out on a social evening, you don’t need to see how much you can drink in a short span. You can spend the time with friends without getting blasted. Drink a beer, but don’t chug it. Drink a glass of water between drinks. It allows you to stay out with friends without pushing the drinking limits and it will help alleviate the hang over the next day.
You are about to commit your life with this person. You need to start off with honesty. Don’t make this a nag-session and for God’s sake don’t do this conversation publicly. Those things will just put him in a defensive position. You have valid concerns. Eventually he could hurt himself physically through damage being done with too much alcohol. He could eventually get a DUI. And if nothing else, you will possibly have children in the future and you want to set good examples for them. Those are all in the future, but right now, it bothers you. That is an important thing.
It is likely (almost a certainty) that you do things that bother him as well. Be prepared to have those conversations as well and go at them with open ears and open mind. But don’t let them be deflections from the discussion of drinking.
It sounds like you truly love this guy. That is a great start to this discussion as well as the next phase of your life. I wish you both the best that life can offer. Good luck!

chelle21689's avatar

Thank you so much for your words. I hate that I can’t sleep right now stressing over it.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

I’d give him an ultimatum.

jca2's avatar

He has a problem. My guess is that when you speak to him about it, he will minimize it. He’ll say it’s not that big of a deal. He might even wait a bit longer until the next time he gets drunk, so that you stop thinking about it. If you pursue the issue, he will react with anger. He may even start hiding his drinking so that you are not aware of it.

It’s not a problem that’s going to go away.

I don’t think it’s a problem that is going to change with just a conversation either.

chelle21689's avatar

I laid out my feelings, concerns, etc. and fiancé said he realizes he has a problem and said maybe to stop altogether. It’s only when it happens socially so I suggested limiting to one to two glasses. He feels really bad he disappointed me. The limit to x amount of drinks worked for his sister so far.
I decided to cancel to meet with the officiant today, it is not good to meet with her if my eyes are puffy from crying and he’s hungover so we are holding off on meeting with her. We will work together on this. Working with friends and his stepdad on the drinking is going to take a lot of understanding from them. They suggested a bourbon trail soon and he won’t be going if he is working on this.

KNOWITALL's avatar

I hope you let time and actions show his sincerity before marriage.

seawulf575's avatar

One of my step-sons went through a period where every time he went out it was like a race to see how drunk he could get and how fast. He didn’t understand moderation. It took him 4 DUIs and thousands of dollars in penalties to finally realize when he goes out he either plans on someone else driving or he is walking. And to be honest, he has toned down his drinking quite a bit. Maybe your fiance needs to lay out a game plan before he goes out as to how much he will drink and when he will be leaving the festivities.

chelle21689's avatar

@seawulf575 yes, that’s what the plan is. It worked for his sister when she just drank nonstop. She’s learn to really limit and has done well. I haven’t seen her drunk in a year.

Our wedding is October, so there’s time. If I need to postpone and I’m having doubts I will to work on us.

LadyMarissa's avatar

Ultimatums don’t work. Talking to them doesn’t work much better. I suggest that you postpone the wedding as long as you can as the problem will most likely grow worse!!! Get used to having a LOT of sleepless nights because that is what is most likely in your future. You might get lucky & he will just willingly stop…but that does NOT happen very often!!! Alcoholism is a disease, it’s a mean disease, & one where you need to be willing to watch him hit rock bottom while taking you with him before he can get himself together enough to make it out of the hole you’re both existing in!!! You can’t do it for him & the easier you try to make it, the MORE you are enabling his behavior.

I know I’m NOT saying anything that you want to hear because you love him & feel that you’ll do anything to get him through this. Well, as someone who was where you are, the future will be a very rocky road & I wish you the best NO matter what you do!!!!

Inspired_2write's avatar

The drinking problem is his to solve.
Go to an AA meeting to learn “why” he drinks to that level.
He is avoiding something..perhaps too much pressure to marry?
Don’t marry anyone until ALL is unraveled and that can only happen WHEN HE is ready to reveal and address his OWN problems.

Instead of just a bonfire as a heavy drinker you will have a husband that is ,plus the prospect of future children with a man that will not get help for himself before it gets much worse married to him.
If He won’t go to AA, you go and learn what to do that will help him and you especially decide whether to marry or not at this time.
The drinking is a symptom of another problem that he does not want to face…and HE needs expert help.

Inspired_2write's avatar

The word bonfire should be Boyfriend..typing error.

The fact that he chose to get drunk the day that he was to go to the telling you that “HE DOESN’T” want to get married yet and least of all pressured into it!

He is not ready to commit to marriage and STOP pressuring him to do so or you will regret the marriage .

canidmajor's avatar

Contact your local AlAnon group and get advice from them as soon as possible. They will likely have better and more situation-appropriate information and advice than anyone here.

I found them to be exceptionally helpful when I have had relationships with alcoholics and overdrinkers.

Good luck with this.

chelle21689's avatar

Thank you @canidmajor I’ll check it.

janbb's avatar

I would postpone the wedding until he is sober for some time. It sounds like he is an alcoholic and probably needs a program like AA to help him recover.

I’m very sorry for your hurt and hope the two of you can work it out.

MrGrimm888's avatar

The guy needs help.
It’spossible that he loves you, but is an alcoholic. If he really loves you, he’ll listen to your talking points. There are shots, or pills, that can help him. But, he has to be willing to change.

I would follow the above advice, and confront him. I’ve been in a similar situation, both sided. It’s impossible to trust a drunk, or drugged out person. They’re unpredictable, and therfore, untrustworthy.

That’s not good for any relationship.

Shut it down, or be prepared for heart break, and/or an STD….

That’s certainly my experience
Protect yourself from this type of person….

Sagacious's avatar

Educate him or her.

LadyMarissa's avatar

I didn’t find Al-Anon to be very helpful, but maybe I was in the wrong group. I had limited groups available near me & I chose the closest one due to my situation at the time!!! Check them out to see IF they can help you as much as they did @canidmajor. At my lowest point, I commented to him that he had a problem. He informed me that HE did not have a problem…I did. Boy was he right!!! He didn’t care that he was staying drunk & I couldn’t watch him slowly killing himself (& me)!!!

JLeslie's avatar

If he suggested stopping drinking altogether I would grab that opportunity! Are you willing to do it? This could be something you do together. If he can quit on his own great. If he winds up not being able to then he can try an AA meeting maybe. If you are willing to go dry and have a dry house then this could be an amazing thing you do as a couple.

I don’t think he can be halfway, but if you want to try that you can. Maybe never have more than one drink. It’s just that people who like to drink to excess, they usually will have just one more, even though they promised themselves they wouldn’t. Same as how I just had 2 pieces of chocolate and had promised myself I wouldn’t.

chelle21689's avatar

His sister has done it successfully, so we will see if he can. But of course if it doesn’t work, we will look to becoming a dry house.

dabbler's avatar

He is not going to change, accept that. If that is unpalatable then you must let him go.

If you accept that then it will help you both to establish procedures to keep him (and you, and the car) safe when he’s going to be like that. When you are going to a social situation where he’s going to overdrink, put a bucket and towel in the car (“Just being helpful, dear!”). Seeing that ahead of time might help his sober mind get a handle on what it’s like to deal with his unsober mind.

janbb's avatar

@dabbler That’s not necessarily true. If he comes to accept that he is an alcoholic or at least has an adverse reaction to alcohol, he may with help get sober. But I think something has to shock him into that realization.

janbb's avatar

@chelle21689 The fact that he got drunk the night before your meeting with an officiant may indicate some ambivalence on his part. I suggest some counseling for the two of you.

zenvelo's avatar

I second @canidmajor‘s recommendation that you check out Al-Anon Family Groups.

An alcoholic is someone who cannot control his or her drinking once they have a drink. There are many recovering alcoholics who were binge drinkers- they did not drink every day or even every week, but most times when they drank they drank way beyond their “limits”.

Binge drinkers often use the fact that they don’t drink everyday as part of their denial of having a problem. Al Anon will help you come to terms with your fiance’s drinking.

SEKA's avatar

Dick Van Dyke said he only had 1 drink every night after getting off work. He put himself in rehab because he said that he “had to have” that one drink and that classified him as an alcoholic. Today he’s clean and sober.

Good friends can be an alcoholic’s worst enemy. They mean well but they will egg the drinker on to have another drink “Come on, have another. Just 1 ain’t going to hurt you”

MrGrimm888's avatar

Alcoholism, is one of the worst diseases. Alcohol, is EVERYWHERE. Every gas station. Most restaurants…
And there’s usually a liquor store, nearby.

There is a monthly shot, called Vivitrol. It’s expensive, but also available in pill form, for much cheaper. It prevents people from feeling the effects of alcohol, by blocking the receptors, in the brain. It can help people a LOT. Once they don’t/can’t drink for a while, they come back to their senses. There are many places, in the US, that can provide the drug for free. Counseling, is usually a stipulation…

Look into it…

longgone's avatar

This sounds like a big issue, possibly too much to deal with on your own. I’d suggest professional help. The Gottmans have a research-based approach to couples’ counseling. Very much needed. Even if you can’t get to a therapist at this time, they wrote some excellent books.

JLeslie's avatar

I agree with @janbb getting drunk before such an important appointment regarding your wedding might be a sign of ambivalence.

I hate to say that people who date a long time too often get married because it feels like marriage has to get done or break up. That’s not the same as getting married because you really want to get married to that person. It sounds to me like you really do want to get married, the question is does he. I know lots of people who get married after years of dating, because they dated in high school and/or college and their marriages last forever, don’t get me wrong, but both people were on board with getting married. They always both planned to get married to each other but were waiting to get their education, and start their jobs.

I also agree with the jelly who said friends can be the worst influence for alcoholics. Drinking buddies are for shit when it comes to sobering up. Alcoholics hate to drink alone generally speaking. His friends who he drinks with probably won’t help him if he choose to dry up, but rather they will do the opposite. They will tell him just to have one, or have one more. They need to feel ok with their own drinking so they try to coerce others to drink.

LadyMarissa's avatar

@MrGrimm888 It has been my experience that alcoholics won’t take the drug that stops them from drinking. It doesn’t matter how efficient the drug is IF it’s NOT in their system!!! Plus, @SEKA was right…when their drinking buddies are pushing them to have 1 more, they’re going to choose their drinking buddies over what they KNOW to be the right thing to do!!!

@chelle21689 Just to make you aware, my house was a dry house & still he stayed drunk. At his worst, I found ½ empty vodka bottles hidden in my piano, my dog’s house, in the tank of the toilet, in the ceiling over the toilet, under the bed linens in the linen closet, hanging behind the clothes dryer. When I confronted him about the bottle in the dog’s house, he responded that obviously my dog had a drinking poblem…he did it with such a straight face that I begin to think it was my imagination although I knew it wasn’t!!!

I truly hope that your experience is completely opposite of mine!!!

KNOWITALL's avatar

The biggest red flag to me is she mentioned his family drinks. Sister had a problem, too. Probably in his dna and part of his upbringing.

People can change, but family is a tough one. Trust me.

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