Could excessive drinking ruin this relationship?

John is happy in his new relationship, until his partner has a drink that is.

Mature couple enjoying smell of wine

John is happy in his new relationship, until his partner has a drink that is. Should he hang around and deal with the issue or cut his losses and run? Jo Lamble has some sage advice.

Q. John
After losing my wife I thought I would be alone for the rest of my life but after a chance encounter, I met a woman who I really liked. We get on incredibly well most of the time but when she has a drink, even just one glass of wine, she gets snarky and can be quite cutting with her comments. I’ve tried to suggest that we don't have wine with dinner or that we do activities that don't involve drinking, but she says she likes a glass of wine now and again to relax.

She’s started to suggest we move in together but I can't live with someone who has this side to them. When she’s not drinking she really is someone I could see me spending the rest of my life with. What should I do? Cut my losses and run or hang on in there? 

A. I’m wondering whether this woman has had the same feedback in the past. I can’t imagine that her changed behaviour while drinking only happens with you. Perhaps it has happened in the past, but no one has told her. I’d advise you to be really honest with her. Tell her how much you love spending time with her and how you have imagined a future together.

Remind her that a strong relationship is one where you bring out the best in each other and so you would hope that she would tell you if there were something you were doing that was jeopardising your relationship with her. Now it’s time for some positively delivered honesty. Gently tell her that her cutting comments after a glass of wine makes you question the relationship. In other words, you have tried the subtle approach.

If she doesn’t take the feedback well, you will have to seriously consider whether it would be better to end things before it goes any further. 



    To make a comment, please register or login
    17th Jan 2017
    From the sounds of her personality change when she has a drink or two of alcohol, I would suggest that she could be "hidden" alcoholic, who cannot drink successfully. There are many people who have this problem, and can't or won't acknowledge it. I worked in the AOD field for over 20 years, and many people's perception of the alcoholic is the park-bench drunk, but this is no longer the case, and far from the truth. Her nastiness after a few drinks could escalate to violence over time, so stall her on moving in together, and if these episodes continue after discussing it with her, bail out, and find a woman whose personality doesn't change after a few drinks. Otherwise you're in for a rough ride!
    17th Jan 2017
    In my experience it is the truth coming through, when someone becomes nasty & starts putting others down, after a drink or 2.

    The loss of inhibitions after a drink allows what they really think of others to be expressed. Her comments after a drink is what she really thinks of you, but is concealing when fully sober.

    Drop her like a hot potato, there is nothing good for you there.
    17th Jan 2017
    I have been in this position, although the person's drinking problems were a little more extreme than in John's case. After some time, together we sought help and in my one-on-one interview with the counsellor, I admitted that I was planning to end the relationship. He asked me: "If you found she had cancer, would you just leave her?"
    Alcoholism is an illness and she may be showing the first symptoms. Yes, it could be a helluva rough ride, but she needs help and support, not abandonment.
    17th Jan 2017
    Of course Piotr, but I'm assuming that your friend/partner wanted to get help. It is impossible to assist anyone who refuses to acknowledge that they have a problem whether that is drinking, drugs, gambling, overspending etc. In these circumstances they will just drag you down. There has to be an end in sight otherwise get out now.

    17th Jan 2017
    As with ALL things in life, you get what you settle for.
    17th Jan 2017
    How does the saying go?
    In vino veritas. If she only has the "courage " to say nasty stuff while drinking the thoughts behind the words are already festering!!
    17th Jan 2017
    Like a ticking time bomb.
    17th Jan 2017
    There is no way on earth either of them is ready to move in together. John MUST talk to this woman and be brutally honest about how he feels. No condemnation and no anger just simply the truth about how he feels. If this woman cannot accept her own behaviour and the effect it has on her relationship, then she is not ready for any next step. She needs to recognise her behaviour is causing pain to the man she is involved with and ultimately her relationship. Frankly, she gets help and they both take time to ensure it is under control before moving in together. Or they call it quits now before more pain is caused. Their choice!
    18th Jan 2017
    I'd be out of that relationship quick smart. A nasty drunk is horrible.
    29th Jan 2017
    John says "... even just one glass of wine, she gets snarky and can be quite cutting with her comments". - This could easily be a false correlation, and may not be anything to do with a glass of wine but more to do with the fact that it is also the same time when they are relaxing in the evening and have the time and space to talk, so this is when she takes the opportunity to express things that she is not happy with - and rather than acknowledge these things suddenly she is an alcoholic.

    I'd be interested in what these "cutting" comments are, and what they are about. Interesting he left that info out. Maybe she is offended by something he is doing and saying but he sees any criticism is a 'cutting' blow to his perfect conception of himself.

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