Post # 1
My fiancé joined the military last winter and now that he’s graduated basic training and settled into his new duty station, he drinks every weekend (Friday, Saturday, sometimes Sunday). I have heard and noticed at least with the younger wave of military personnel that it’s a very common “practice”. His entire company as well as the neighboring companies get together in either the barracks or someone’s home on base and get together and get drunk. And it’s not “hanging out and having a few beers”, they all drink cases of beer and bottles of liquor. My fiancé drinks a qaurter to half a bottle of Jack Daniels plus a few beers in one night. While I think that is a lot, the rest of the guys go even harder so compared to my fiancé it’s not even that much (in his eyes). His excuse is that the week is stressful and filled with hard grueling work (no doubt, it’s the military) and they have little freedom so they relax by getting drunk. It went from drinking with all his company buddies to drinking with a few, to drinking with his roommate, to drinking alone. He is not an angry or agressive drunk, and isn’t sloppy – he’s very happy and laughs a lot when drinking. We talk every night and when we do talk and he’s drunk the only difference is he’s a bit more silly. So you wouldn’t think any of this should bother me, but it does.
My fiancé and I met as late teenagers and we were both considered outcasts among our peers because we didn’t enjoy going to parties/ragers and getting drunk. In fact neither of us liked drinking anything at all. Even into his 20’s he didn’t like to drink. Prior to leaving for basic after his enlistment during the holidays is when he started having a beer or two at night here and there when we called it a day, that’s fine with me. Alcoholism runs in both my family and his and we have both seen first hand what it can do and are constantly around it and reminded when we go home. He always said he didn’t want to be like our family members on both sides and always had a very strong opinion against drinking. I expected him to over come that when he got older and he did when he started having a few beers on occasion like I expect an American man to do. (I say American because my family and I are Islamic-Slavs, and even casual drinking is not practiced among us). But I fear he is becoming like the rest of some members of his family and mine. I’ve brought this concern up to him before and he says he won’t be like this when he gets out of the military, and that he’s only drinking because it’s stressful. But that worries me. What if he turns to drinking when faced with daily life stress? He has a few more years to go and I’m afraid if he continues to act like this it will become a problem. He refuses to say he has a problem and defends himself by saying it’s only two days out of the week. But it’s two days out of the week EVERY week for the next few years! Some weekends it’s not as heavy of a flow of drinks, but I still think even several beers in a day all weekend is just unnecessary.
I can’t go to his mother because she sees him as the golden child and will take his side, and she is also known to get too wild with drinking. I can’t go to his father because he is a classic man who doesn’t see anything wrong with a man having a drink and he has a drinking problem (just beer, but still!). I can’t ask my father for advice because he is not a fan of him to begin with (because by marrying him I’m going against cultural, traditional reasons). And I can’t go to my own mother because she is absolutely against drinking herself (she has never drank a day in her life up until recently since becoming divorced, more free and “americanized”, and then she only has half a glass of the sweetest wine on the menu once in a blue moon) and men who drink. So his parents won’t see the issue and my parents will blow the issue out of proportion.
I am just worried this will become a habit. It is not affecting him THAT MUCH right now, but he is more irritable during the day/week, forgetful, and low on energy (I’ve pointed this out to him but he denies it’s because of drinking). Based on his situation should I be more lenient and understanding? Or am I correct for getting upset with him and being worried? What can or should I do?
Post # 2
I come from a family with an alcoholic father so my views might be a little biased against drinking but honestly “stress” is an excuse. He drinks because he wants to and he won’t stop after he gets out of the military and it won’t be different.
It is not unreasonable of you to want something different for your life, no matter what his drinking behavior is. So what that he’s not mean or abusive when he drinks? He doesn’t need to be for you to not like his constant drinking.
This would quite honestly be a deal breaker for me. If someone needs substance to handle stress, I think that says more about the personal behaviorally than anything else ever could. No one NEEDS anything in this life but oxygen, water and food and the mindset that they do is rather dangerous.
You can’t choose your family or the fact that you’ve dealt with their alcoholism in whatever way you were subjected to it in the past but you can choose who you spend your life with and what you will put up with in the future.
Best of luck to you.
Post # 3
I agree completely with you, and I don’t want to put up with this. In the long run do not want it to become a habit. If I could have him stop entirely now I would, but he won’t right now so I’m at least hoping for doing it less and more responsibly. I’m wondering how I can go about getting him to realize it’s a problem rather than being so defensive.
Post # 4
irmela : hi bee,
I‘m sorry you are going through this. First off I want to assure you that how you are feeling is legitimate. His pattern of drinking is not healthy. I don’t think this is a dealbreaker though.
It’s a tricky situation to be in. Imagine being in his shoes and someone telling you they think your drinking is out of control? It would be usual for the first reaction to be defensive as it is probably embarrassing.
I would try talking to him again when the mood is good and he’s not had a drink etc and take the lead from him, so when he says things like “I’m so tired recently” maybe suggest “I’ve noticed that too. Have you thought about whether it is related to drinking?”
What did he do in the past to combat stress? Exercise/ movies/ etc? Maybe suggest to him trying to do those things or go with him.
There’s support groups and advisors you can speak with online (in the UK) so I imagine there is the same in the US. Good luck bee.
Post # 5
I’m sorry, bee. Former military here. We drank a lot on the weekends. Mostly just Fridays and Saturdays, because we had to be back to work early on Sundays. However, I had Soldiers (I was an officer) who would show up to work at 0630 hungover/still reeking of booze. It definitely is part of the culture, and more than one of my Joes got shipped out to rehab (with countless more probably needing the same treatment, but they were “functional”). I’d keep an eye on it for sure.
Post # 6
Addiction runs in my family and my dad is a hoarder/ alcoholic. He doesnt get shit faced drunk but he does drink everyday. It used to be only on the weekend. And little by little it went from a cup of wine to a whole box a day. Wine made him angry so he switched to beer which made him gain weight Nd now hes taking shots of hard liqour. He drinks a beer before he goes to work
And all this started as weekend thing. Eventually he will not know how to enjoy himself of have fun witnout alcohol. He will become that guy who needs liquor to relax. And then it turns into alcoholism. Im 27 now but i noticed it when i was 7 or 8. Its not an instant deal breaker for me either but i dont and wont put up with no excuse. Im extremely drastic and controlling when it comes to addictions as i feel im generically inclined to it. I would ask for him to be sober for a whole month and the. He could pick either friday or Saturday’s to get shit faced. If i dont get me way. Im going to show my way out fhe door because i dont need no uncertainty in my life because he wants to live that way.
Pick a side and be firm.
Post # 7
I also come from a family with an alcoholic parent so I may be biased too.
His drinking alone due to ‘stress’ (BS) and not willing to dial it back or admit he has a problem indicates to me that he’s a high-functioning alcoholic. Don’t be fooled by his jovial drunken self, an alcoholic is an alcoholic.
However, when you say he is drinking on his own, how much is he drinking? A couple of beers? Or the half bottle of Jack plus beers?
Post # 8
irmela : You’re definitely *not* being unreasonable.If he wouldn’t stop, this would be a deal breaker for me… sorry.
Post # 9
spendabuck85: Thank you for your advice, it sad and helpful that you’ve confirmed this is part of the military. I hope it doesn’t get to the point of rehab…
“If i dont get me way. Im going to show my way out fhe door because i dont need no uncertainty in my life because he wants to live that way.”
It’s getting to that point. I have such a hatred towards alcoholism because I’ve seen how it affects people close to me, and some of my dearest friends even had alcohlics for parents. I do not want to put up with it and have very little tolerance left. I do not want to deal with his alcohol problem, nor baby a grown man because he can’t put the booze down. I told him I would really only like to see him drink when there is an occasion. That’s how I was raised and compared to the other lifestyles I’ve seen it’s the best way, because it seems so easy to lose control when you’re drinking every week even if it’s just a day or two. He thinks my wish is absurd, but I’m worried about the future. He said he won’t be like that because he’ll be husband/father and have responsibilities as if he doesn’t have any now?! He doesn’t see that if he keeps doing this every weekend for the next few years it is going to turn into a bad habit and escalate. He thinks he has the willpower to not do so when his contract is over, but if he can’t give it up at least for a few weekends than how am I supposed to believe he can give it up entirely years from now?
Post # 10
irmela : How are you supposed to believe it? You’re not – so don’t.
He’s drinking to get drunk on a regular basis and it sounds like he’s smashed all weekend. As far as I’m concerned he meets the definition of alcoholic. And nothing will change until he decides to change it and that gets harder to do as the years pass.
Post # 11
- Wedding: December 2018 - City, State
Using drinking as a coping mechanism for stress is a major issue on a regular basis. And I guarantee it isnt going to be n ow and change later like he claimed in your original post- he is setting up a pattern.
I can imagine the you pressure he is under to socialise like his mates plus work. But these red flags are serious red flags.
Can you talk to the other girlfriends/wives/fiances?
Post # 12
His buddies are all single bachelors with no concern to anyone but themselves and the only girlfriends they have are Tinder dates. The only one who is married is his SGT who drinks with them, and his wife and kids live off base. My theory is his SGT has two different modes/lives when he’s home versus on base. My fiancé is in a different position than them and I constantly remind him that he has a future to start growing up for if he really wants what we always talked about when we were younger, while his buddies still haven’t figured any of it out. I also don’t live on base with him, I’m across the country. So no, I really don’t have any other ladies to talk to (besides you bees).
Everytime I bring this up it just sounds like I’m nagging. He says “I know, I get it. I’ll change. Just give me time.” And when I get upset for not seeing any effort he says he’s trying and that it’s just not good enough for me. I’m 20 and he’s 21 so I understand we’re young and don’t expect him to have it all together but we’re moving faster/on a different track than his friends and mine and I just expect some maturity.
I don’t know what to do. I spoke to him last night about it and again it went in one ear and out the other, it always does unless we fight, then he “wakes up” and realizes he should pull it together. I don’t want it to come to me having to get angry with him for him to start acting right, I wish he heard my concerns the first two, three, four times and I told him this. And even when we think the issue is resolved, I feel like he only says “Okay, I’m sorry, I love you and I’ll get it together” just so I get off his back.
We dated four years prior to getting engaged but we are still fairly young and I feel like with more serious issues arising we are not capable of solving them together and it’s starting to plant a seed of doubt if we’re right for one another. This issue is the biggest one we have on top of poor communication/half assed attempts of resolving things. I don’t want to jump the gun and break it off because we are still young and are both aware that relationships take a lot of work and that there are a lot of things new young couples need to figure out. But I don’t know how to approach him in a way he’ll listen and understand the first time.
Post # 13
Unfortunately I doubt that you bringing it up as an issue will lead to any change on his part. HE has to see it as an issue and see that there are going to be consequences of the behaviour to make him want to change before any real change will occur. Right now it sounds like he doesn’t have any interest in changing and is just giving you lip service. Even if you got angry enough to make him cut back on the drinking, I’d bet it would only be temporary.
This is such a tough spot and I feel for you. 21 is young, yes, but I think you’re right to expect a higher level of maturity than “Well they all do it, so I can too!” I understand why you wouldn’t want to break it off right now, but you’re right to have some doubts, I think. Even having dated for 4 years, at your age people are going through a lot of personal change/growth and incompatibilities may arise (I’m 22 – no judgement on your young engagement, to be clear!). Poor communication and a lack of real effort to resolve issues with his partner would be red flags for me already, but the drinking is also very concerning and if that’s a dealbreaker for you now or down the road, that’s pretty reasonable. You absolutely should not have to baby a grown man, he should know his limits and the consequences of irresponsible behaviour.
Relationships are work but you can’t be the only one putting in the work – that will never end well. You seem to know what your priorities and goals are right now, and if his no longer align with yours then it may be time to move on. At the very least I’d put any upcoming wedding on hold because no way would I marry someone on their word that they’ll change, especially when they’ve made no real moves towards that. I’d need to see some concrete, lasting change before tying myself to someone with a potential alcohol abuse problem. “Give me time” is bull, in my opinion, and it sounds like he’s just buying himself time to keep doing what he’s doing without you “nagging” him.
Post # 14
I’m going to give some advice you might not want to hear. Growing up doesn’t always mean growing together, sometimes it means growing apart. You guys are 20 & 21. That is young, even though you feel grown. You guys started dating as teenagers and you said yourself you weren’t into the party scene in high school. Now he’s 21 and it sounds like he’s making up for lost time so to speak. This situation sounds so classic textbook, committed guy starts a new job, makes new friends, and is around all bachelors living the party life. After a while the grass starts to look greener on the other side.
I think a serious talk is due. Tell him your feelings and see where he is on the matter. You might find it’s something you can work through, but if it’s not it’s better to figure it out before you get married.