Can I trust him after a drink?

This letter writer fell hard for her boyfriend – but that was before he got a bit too intimate with another girl at a party. Should she stay with him? 

Our elder weighs in.


Dear EWC

Hi! I’m writing because I could just use some advice from an outside perspective. I’m 17 and a senior and even though I’m young, I have been involved in some pretty nasty relationships. I have never really felt safe or happy in relationships in the past few years. Recently, I took a long break from all relationships and eventually met the perfect person for me. I have never been treated with such kindness. He would pick me up from my door every time, insisted that he pay, planned dates for us, really got to know me as a person, wanted to be around me, had deep conversations and inside jokes, etc. He even told me that he loved me. I was hesitant at first, but eventually, I fell hard for him. 

This past weekend we went to a party (it was with his friends so I told him I would be the designated driver). He ended up getting really drunk and wanted to stay at the party rather than coming home with me and my friends so he did. However, after I left one of our mutual friends got a picture of him cuddling with a girl. He claims he hardly remembers anything but that she initiated everything and he left and Ubered home soon after. I truly don’t think he intended to be disloyal but I’m not sure what to do now. I don’t want to be manipulated again but I’m wondering if there is a chance, he’s being true.


PJC replies

I have a couple of thoughts about your situation. The first is that your boyfriend can’t be trusted when inebriated. So, if he over-indulges on a regular basis, then I believe that you can never be sure of him, and can never trust him fully.

I am glad to read that he is treating you well. It’s a real blessing for you to know that there are young men out there who know how to treat a young woman with respect, who are willing to listen and become a good friend. And I do think it’s OK if you decide to continue your relationship with him. My advice is to pull back a little from your deep dive into love with him. Through observation and questioning him and his friends, determine how often he gets drunk. My guess is that if he’s drunk and you’re not around, then his behavior is going to be questionable. It may also be questionable if he’s drunk and you are around.

Whenever drugs or alcohol are involved, people’s inhibitions drop and they can engage in behaviors that they wouldn’t engage in were they sober. Perhaps he’s telling you the truth and she did come on to him, and he did leave soon after. But at some point, it’s my guess that he will be drunk enough to have sex with someone other than you. And he’ll probably hardly remember it. 

People also can use alcohol as a way to distract them from some deeper issues that need addressing. I’m not saying that this is the case here and now with you and your fellow, but all relationships have their ups and downs – even good relationships. And sometimes when a relationship is in a down period, one of the partners can turn to alcohol to numb the discomfort, and to avoid dealing with resolution of the deeper issues that can put the relationship back on track. So that is something else for you to be aware of in the future.

If you determine that he has a drinking problem, or even just if his drinking is a problem for you, then perhaps you should check out an Ala-teen program. You can Google them to find a meeting near you. It’s for the partners of people who drink too much.

The other thing I want you to keep in mind is that teenage romances rarely go the distance. You are both growing and changing, and you will probably grow and change in different directions and apart from each other. The human brain does not complete its growth until the age of 25, and the part of the brain that finishes up last is the part that helps you understand the consequences of your choices. Because of this, it’s best not to make any lifelong commitments until after the age of 25.

You write well, you’re articulate. I hope you are college bound. And if so, then I hope you will be open to meeting and getting to know other young men. You already know that, even though your current boyfriend is flawed, he has many qualities that are important to you. So as you move through life and as you meet other young men, you can observe their positive qualities – qualities you would like your partner to have in a life-long relationship. And you will also notice qualities that are deal breakers – qualities that you know you will not be able to live with.

Eventually, when you are past the age of 25, you will meet someone who has those qualities that are most important to you, and none of the deal breakers.

I hope this helps. I applaud your taking a break, and I even think you did well to meet this current fellow. Time and your investigation and observation will tell if he has a drinking problem that is a deal breaker for you. Please don’t be discouraged, even if you do wind up breaking up with him eventually. All of your relationship experience can be valuable to you, even the ones that don’t last, as long as you’re able to add to that list of positive qualities you want in a future partner, and the qualities you don’t want.

Article #: 483480
Category: Dating/Relationship

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