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My Boyfriend Is Trying Not to be an Alcoholic; He Is Unbearable

by katharine

He is struggling and is taking the odd drink. He figured that our relationship would bounce back the minute he came home from rehab and is constantly nagging me that I am not committed enough, have lied to him, does not think that his alcoholism (he figures that he should be treated as if he had any other chronic illness) should have had the effect on our relationship that it did.

Now that he is mostly not drinking, life is quite hellish, his expectations and demands of me are enormous, one sided and self-centered. I am not sure if I want to be with this man anymore and not because I don't love him but because his insecure and self-centered demands are ridiculous and childish and not at all understanding of what it takes to grow and nurture a relationship between two people in their fifties/sixties.

He does often mention to me that if he doesn't get 100% full commitment from me that he feels he has to lock me out and be alone and this "not knowing" will cause him to return to alcohol .... Answer

Unfortunately rehab is only a stepping stone to helping someone overcome their alcoholism and transform their life. So how successful your boyfriend is in achieving that will depend on how much work and effort he's prepared to put into dealing with his shortcomings and developing the emotional maturity required to have a healthy relationship.

That takes time, so on the one hand you need to be patient, and understand that while he may now be sober, he isn't suddenly going to turn into a nurturing, understanding and supportive partner who has the emotional capacity to acknowledge all the pain and hurt he's caused you.

And there are no guarantees he will reach that point either, even if he does stay sober. For many alcoholics in recovery it remains about 'me' and they expect their other halves to just forgive and forget, while fitting in with their new expectations/demands.

So you need to ultimately decide whether you're prepared to be patient and give things a chance to see if your boyfriend does developed the emotional maturity you're hoping for ... or if you're that unhappy make a call whether you'd simply rather make a fresh start.

Remember you can't change your boyfriend. He either changes and grows because he wants to, or he simply won't. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't have a voice and be clear about what you want/need from him, or that you shouldn't have boundaries about what is/isn't acceptable to you.

It should be about making a fresh start with finding middle-ground you're both happy and comfortable with. That boils down to honest and open communication. Sometimes couples therapy can help with that.

No one can tell you what to do. You're going to have to do what's right for you and is going to give you the best shot at long-term happiness. Don't be emotionally blackmailed into staying in the relationship if that isn't what you want. Nothing you do can cause him to drink. If he does it's because he chooses to.

So some honest reflection is needed from your side, and then decide what course of action to take from there ...

Best of Luck

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