He just drinks and drinks the night through

Dear Suzie,

I really need some help and advice about my ongoing relationship with my partner of four years. We are both 22 years old, engaged for one year and living together now almost 2 and a half years! At first everything was great between the two of us, never an argument or disagreement. Then a few months of moving in with each other different things began to happen. Firstly, my partner and I regularaly went out every weekend but that has now stopped as I feel embarrased and scared due to the fact that every single night we go out my partner gets very drunk and agreesive. He just drinks and drinks the night through and ends up getting into fights all the time.

Then when it comes to the end of the night I literally have to beg him to come home with me as when he is drunk he just does his own thing and its as if he doesn’t care about me or what happens to me, which is completely different to the way he is when sober! If he does decide to come home with me he ends up arguing with me and picking out small things to make a massive argument then he decides to leave me alone in the house and do his own thing and come back when it suits him. The next morning its the usual case of “Im sorry etc etc” but this has been happening for two years now Suzie.

Also he is extremely jealous. I am not allowed to speak to another male unless its family! I am currently looking for another job at the moment but my partner dictates wether or not it would be right for me to work there depending on the amount of other men there is working there! Even though we desperatley need money to save for our wedding and house! If he sees another man speaking to me he demands to know what it was about and accuses me of all sorts even though I have never given him anything to doubt. He says the way I act around men can me mistaken for flirting, which I know deep down it is not I just be friendly with these men as they are his friends…I just dont want to be seen as being stuck up or sour for not speaking to thme, thats it. I never flirt with other men, I would never do that to my partner. I don’t even have any friends now Suzie as I never get a chance to go out on my own with the girls as he thinks I will cheat etc, even though my partner will go out with the boys when ever it suits him regardless of what I say and some nights he might not even come home at all, he goes to friends house partys etc while im left alone crying in our bed. I trust him, and deep down I know he’s not out with other women, I know that he is genuinely out with the boys and thats where he is spending his nights.

But im just so upset and angry that its one way for him and another for me. I know deep down that his behaviour is unacceptable and there has been many nights I have swore to myself to leave him, but when it comes to it I just cannot get the strengh to do it and also the fact that I have no friends to turn to for help or support! My partner has often threatened to end things when he is drunk and even though I be so distraught and angry with him, I actually beg him not to.

I know i sound so pathetic and hopeless but i do really love him Suzie but I just cannot cope with the stress and also depression I am going through due to this, ive contemplated sucide as I feel it will allow me just to let go of everything! He is an completely different person without alcohol, but I just cannot cope with this anymore, its destroying me but i dont want to let go!

You tell me it’s love. It sounds to me like battered wife syndrome. It’s very easy to slip into dependency and apathy, to react to emotional as well as physical battering by closing down and pulling in. I suspect that since his behaviour came on slowly you’ve not been able to get it into perspective and see exactly how abusive it is, and how unacceptable.

People who behave with jealousy often say it’s about love and protection. In fact, it’s about their own low self esteem and anxiety. That’s an important insight because if it was about either love or care or a need to protect, once they could see their behaviour was harming you it might stop. But the key is that it’s about them, not you. And that means whatever you do it will continue.

You can be a complete hermit and instead of being reassured, the jealous person will make up even more fantastical accusations. Your not ‘flirting’ will not stop the belief you cannot be trusted because it’s his anxieties that lead him to say this, not your behaviour.

You say it was fine until you moved in together. In many relationships the real violence starts when the couple marry or have a baby. In other words, when your intimacy deepens he gets anxious, and he begins acting unreliably and indeed, dangerously. At present it’s verbal violence. Trust me – sooner or later it will be actual violence.

My advice? No ifs, ands or buts – draw a line now. Tell him his behaviour is totally unacceptable and he has only two options. You’re going for counselling to sort it out, and if he faces up to and amends his behaviour, your relationship may survive. Or, he can leave now.

It really doesn’t matter how wonderful he was or how many promises he makes or how acceptable he is when sober. The truth is that his behaviour has well crossed over a line and he is a danger to you. You can’t change it or him. Only he can change his behaviour, and only by seeking help. If he doesn’t, you are going to end up a statistic. Whether it’s as battered wife or worse – that is up to you. I’d strongly advise you to contact National Domestic Violence Helpline (run in partnership between Women’s Aid and Refuge) who provide a free telephone helpline for women experiencing physical, emotional or sexual violence in the home on 0808 200 0247


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