Need help breaking free from addiction?
1-888-993-3112
Call 24/7 for treatment options. Who Answers?

When Will My Boyfriend Grow Up?

Question:

I have grown out of the ‘bar scene’ in the past year but my boyfriend of 3 years hasn’t as much. I don’t think he has a problem with alcohol, but I’m starting to worry that someday he will. He tells me everything is fine but I can’t get him to understand how concerned I am about his health and how he spends all the money. What can I do to make him understand? I can’t see myself living like this forever, constantly worrying about his life while still trying to live a healthy live myself. I love him and we have discussed our future together, but I can’t see myself with someone forever who abuses alcohol like he does. As much as I think he has just not grown out of it yet, I worry that maybe he never will.

This Disclaimer applies to the Answer Below
  • ‘Anne’ is the pseudonym for the individual who writes this relationship advice column.
  • ‘Anne’ bases her responses on her personal experiences and not on professional training or study. She does not represent herself to be a psychologist, therapist, counselor or professional helper of any sort. Her responses are offered from the perspective of a friend or mentor only.
  • Anne intends her responses to provide general information to the readership of this website; answers should not be understood to be specific advice intended for any particular individual(s).
  • Questions submitted to this column are not guaranteed to receive responses.
  • No correspondence takes place.
  • No ongoing relationship of any sort (including but not limited to any form of professional relationship) is implied or offered by ‘Anne’ to people submitting questions.
  • ‘Anne’, Mental Help Net and CenterSite, LLC make no warranties, express or implied, about the information presented in this column. ‘Anne’ and Mental Help Net disclaim any and all merchantability or warranty of fitness for a particular purpose or liability in connection with the use or misuse of this service.
  • Always consult with your psychotherapist, physician, or psychiatrist first before changing any aspect of your treatment regimen. Do not stop your medication or change the dose of your medication without first consulting with your physician.
Answer:

There are two issues here. One of them is alcohol and drug use on the part of your boyfriend, and the other is whether he is mature and emotionally sound enough to be able to really make a commitment to a relationship with you. In reading your note, it seems to me that the worries over his partying are really a subset of your worries over whether he will committ to a relationship with you. Men do tend to grow up in this way slower than their female peers, so it is not unusual that you should be emerging into an adult way of thinking faster than he is. Keep in mind that you cannot control his decisions, but you can control your own decisions.

<

p> I recommend that you tell him the following and see how he responds: That you love him. That you want to make a life with him. That you want him to make a commitment to you so that you can justify a similar commitment back for him. That his drinking is troubling to you and incompatible with your comfort. That you would like him to drink less (specify how much less you’ll be okay with). That you are not wanting to make any sort of ultimatum, but that you won’t wait around forever for him to figure out if he wants the same things you do. That if he does want a life with you he will have to reduce his drinking (and similarly, reduce his investment in a single lifestyle composed of hanging out in bars). That if it becomes clear that he doesn’t want a commitment with you, you’ll figure it out eventually and will leave him when you can take no more. I’m not suggesting that you hit him over the head with this. All this should be said in a loving way, but your firmness should come through. You are making him an invitation and you won’t wait for him all your life to decide whether to accept.

More "Ask Anne" View Columnists

Close

Call the Helpline Toll-FREE

To Get Treatment Options Now.

1-888-993-3112 Who Answers? 100% Confidential

Get Help For You or a Loved One Here...

Click Here for More Info.

Close

Call The Toll-FREE Helpline 24/7 To Get Treatment Options Now.

100% Confidential
Get Treatment Options From Your Phone... Tap to Expand