He’s still drinking

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I am 30 yrs old and have been dating a guy who is 44 for about a year. I have recently admitted to – and am seeking help for – drinking problems (self-medicating over the years). My boyfriend continues to drink even when I have told him I'm trying to cut out alcohol. When he isn't drinking, our relationship is amazing. He's the most loving respectful man and my best best friend. He tells me daily he wants to spend the rest of his life with me/marry me. When he is drunk, he verbally puts me down, says he wants to die, and screams out his ex-girlfriend's name.

When he wakes up in the morning, he doesn't remember and he is very sad and apologetic. He says he will get help and that he has a problem. I've heard this several times before and his actions are proving differently. I love him and care deeply for him. I know that he has a drinking problem but I am hopeful he will change. When I realized I had a problem, he told me he wasn't going to be with a "drunk woman." Thoughts?

– Help


One thought: You do not need this kind of partner right now. You're taking care of yourself and finding the help you need to give yourself a better life. This man hasn't caught up. Also, it doesn't sound like he's been very thoughtful about how can support you as you work on yourself. He hasn't behaved like a best friend. If you're going to prioritize your own health (and you should), it might be time to be single.

I do understand that when he's not drunk, things are quite wonderful, and that walking away from him would mean losing the good stuff too. It makes sense that you don't want to give up the person you love. But your letter implies that you spend some of your best moments worrying about what comes next. That makes the great times harder to enjoy.

You can love him very much and still understand that it's time to walk away.

– Meredith

Readers? How can a couple navigate these kind of life changes?