This is my first post. I stumbled across this forum while doing a google search for relationship help. I am hoping for some insight in regards to my boyfriends drinking habits. We've been together for nine years, very happy and no kids. We've only been living together for just over a year. In this last year, I've noticed that he drinks everyday. This is not an exaggeration, but a reality. I can't say for sure how much he drinks everyday, but my guess would be about 3-4 servings. It's hard to say, because he buys boxes of wine, not bottles. I have noticed that if we're hanging out, he'll wait until I'm out of the room (bathroom for example) to fill up his glass. That in itself weirds me out a little.
That being said, he has a great job, he gets up for work in time etc and doesn't treat me any different when he's drinking. He's still kind, attentative etc. However, it does concern me that he drinks everyday. I believe strongly in moderation, and don't like the thought of being reliant on substances.
I haven't brought it up, because I don't really know what to say. I don't really have (or feel that I have) grounds to be upset. He's not hurting me in anyway. However, I'm concerned he might be doing long-term damage and this "habit" might increase in time. I don't have a problem with him drinking, but I do think that every day is a little excessive. I think it is more of a habit than a serious addiction, maybe he is just unaware?
Is it normal to drink everyday? Should I talk to him or mind my own business? If I should talk to him, how can I bring this up without upsetting him?
I know things could be a lot worse (he could be abusive, or addicted to serious drugs) but it is still something that I would like to discuss and work on with him. If I had an addiction, I would want him to discuss it with me.
Health experts have said that a glass or two of red wine every day is good for the heart
Drinking a bit every day wouldn't raise red flags for me. Getting wasted every day would. We have much more conservative views on alcohol consumption in north America than they do in Europe too, so maybe there's a cultural thing.
If his drinking is not adversely affecting his life then I wouldn't worry too much about it. Discuss it with him, sure, and keep an eye out, but don't freak out too much!
It is a problem if he:
drinks and drives
get cranky if there is none
it affects his health, relationships, or job
he is using it cope with life, or stress
he is not able to stop. ie, if there is none in the fridge, he immediately goes and gets some. Instead of just going without until tomorrow.
If he is hiding it, he is aware that others might not approve. That is a very small red flag, if it is the only one. Do you drink at all?
Hope1964: Any suggestions as to how I could bring it up? It's probably not a big issue, but I would like to understand why he drinks everyday. I would like to see him take a night off here and there, just so he is not so dependent. Thanks for the reply, I'm probably over-reacting, and will try not to worry about it too much.
Deejov: "No" to the first three "flags", but "yes" to the last two. He definitely relies on alcohol to help him relax and sleep. He has never in the last 14 months we've lived together, not gone to bed without a glass beside his bed. I think he uses alcohol to cope with stress, and to help him sleep. I would like to see him try other methods to relax. Also, he never lets his supply go down to nothing. Like I said, he drinks every single night and definitely buys more if we are out. I also see the hiding as a red flag. I just think he would rather I not notice that he drinks everyday (which I have never brought up by the way). To answer your question: yes, I drink. But very infrequently. Usually only socially on the weekends with friends, or occasionally if we go out for a nice meal. I don't like drinking during the week, because I feel groggy in the morning and don't sleep as well. I don't think there is anything wrong with drinking during the week, but just not every day.
I would just like to understand why he drinks everyday. Also, I would like to see him take a night off (like once or twice a week) just so it is not everyday. I don't think drinking everyday is a good thing. Just like, I don't think eating cookies or eating chips everyday is a good thing. Nothing wrong in moderation, but everyday is too much (IMO!)
Any suggestions on how to bring this up, without sounding like I am judging him or making him feel bad about his actions?
Hmm...good suggestion, but I don't think that'll work. We have a good, healthy and regular sex life. He still gets up after sex and grabs (another) glass of wine. I really don't think he could replace his wine drinking with sex and it might confuse him if I suggest he slow down on the drinking and get intimate with me instead.
I'd really just like to talk to him about it, but don't know how to broach the subject without sounding judgmental. How can I have an honest talk about this? What is the best way to bring this up?
If your concern is more the frequency than the amount, I don't think every day wine drinking is a problem.
I encourage my husband to drink red wine every day, about a glass. His family has a really bad history of heart attacks and I am a bit obsessed with keeping him healthy. And I buy the box wine too, because at the rate of one glass a day, it's the only kind of wine that doesn't go bad (the kind where it comes out a spigot at the bottom) and doesn't have to be chilled.
[For context, we live in a European country where getting drunk is considered unmanly and pathetic. He says he got drunk once in college, but I've never seen him so much as tipsy.]
Daily wine consumption if it's not excessive is probably completely fine.
Now if the AMOUNT is worrying you... does it alter his behavior? Is he becoming tipsy? If he's acting completely sober, he may just have a higher tolerance than you do because of body size / being male, so it may appear more than it really is to you. I do think that drinking so much that one's behavior changes, on a daily basis, is a definite problem.
(By the way, I never drink. I have a cardiac sensitivity and can't have alcohol unless it's cooked off in food. So I'm not some wino telling you all this!)
It is frequency AND amount that concerns me. It is not one glass of wine a day, it is usually either 2-3 beers, or 3-4 glasses of wine. It does not alter his behavior or interfere with his working life, or our relationship really. I just think he has a strong reliance on wine (and alcohol) for him to be able to relax.
I don't think it's a good idea to do anything EVERY single day. And this applies to sex, exercise and drinking...all activities that I think are wonderful and healthy. However, not to the point where you would never go a day without it. I am not exaggerating when I say I haven't seen him go a single day in 14 months without having a drink in a day. If he went to the gym for 14 months straight, without taking a single day off, I too would be concerned. Same goes for sex. I think a day off once is a while (once a month or at least once in a while) is healthy and very necessary. I am concerned that his is addicted, or highly reliant on alcohol in order to be happy and to function. This is why he does it every day. If it wasn't a problem, I think he would have not had a drink at least ONE day in the last 14 months...no? He has not gone a day without a drink, since I have lived with him. He lived alone for 5 years before this, and I think he developed a habit for daily drinking, and this concerns me.
Now, how best to bring up my concerns without making him feel bad? I don't want to sound naggy, but I am concerned. I think he subconsciously recognizes his "problem" because he does try to hide it (filling up his glass when I'm not around). It feels like the elephant in the room and I just want to talk about it. Suggestions?
Yeah, that is a bit odd. I was trying to play devil's advocate, but every day without fail is weird.
I wonder if you approached it really openly, not trying to play tricks like "accidentally running out of wine" to provoke a confrontation - but said something like "there's something I'd like to talk to you about - I don't want to upset you but I'm concerned about your health." And couch it in terms of loving concern. Don't accuse. I'd focus more on the "can we find other ways for you to de-stress that might help remove the stressors rather than just numbing them out?" rather than "you are turning into an alcoholic and it's freaking me out."
Maybe suggesting a massage, or to see if there are some things stressing him out that could be dealt with - if it's finances, something as simple as implementing a budget, if it's deadlines, maybe there's something eating up his time that he could cut out. Is there something actually CREATING stress for him, or is he just a stressy person?
Omega: great advice! I think I will approach it as you suggested. He will be home from work soon, so hopefully I can muster up the strength to bring it up tonight. Hopefully I can find tactful and caring words so that it doesn't come across wrong. I would hate for him to be uncomfortable to drink around me, and have to hide it or something. I think it's fine that he drinks and that he drinks regularly, I would just like to see him take a night off now and then.
Also, no he's definitely not a stressy person (I am ) but I think he suppresses a lot of emotions. We've both been through a lot of loss in the last year (his dad and my mom) and I think alcohol makes it easier to deal with. While drinking, and exercising and making love are all wonderful things in life that should be enjoyed, I don't think they should become crutches for avoiding feelings or emotions. I think alcohol has become a crutch for him. We all go through rough patches, and I just want him to be aware of his drinking and perhaps explore other methods of relaxation and coping. I just hope it doesn't upset him to talk about!
I was drinking everyday for awhile. We made a deal. I would not drink during the week if she didn't chastise me about it on the weekend. Seems to work. BTW the last 2 weekends I have had little to none.
Thanks for sharing your experience joe kidd. Can I ask how this conversation or "deal" came about with you and your partner? I definitely don't want to make a deal with my partner, or make any "drinking rules" but I would like to discuss it and hopefully he will drink a little less or at least take a day off now and then. Did your partner discuss it in a way that you found helpful? Any suggestions as to how I should bring it up?