Drinking Drama

Submit your questions for Dear Hoopers here 

Dear Hoopers,
I’ve reached some trouble in my 3-year long relationship. We can’t seem to agree on the topic of going out and drinking any more. We do love each other and want to work something out but can’t seem to make it work. He likes to go out and he says it helps him blow off steam and feel good to take a break from everyday life stressors. His mom used to and still does go out clubbing with her friends somewhat frequently so he thinks this is normal and acceptable. I feel abandoned when he goes out. He drinks too much usually and has in the past gotten into some trouble, not serious but drinking with friends usually leads to drama of some sort. He generally keeps in touch less and usually doesn’t have a plan for where he will stay and how he will get there. This gives me anxiety. I usually stay up all night worrying if something happened or went wrong. I don’t know how to compromise and make something work that doesn’t leave us both unhappy. We are almost 30 so I thought this would be behind me but it seems like it keeps coming back up. He doesn’t go out frequently, only like once every few months but whenever he does it usually a really bad experience for me. Any advice is appreciated.
-Drinking Drama

Dear Drinking Drama,
Blowing off steam and taking a break doesn’t have to involve drama-filled overconsumption of alcohol. Especially repetitive events like this. Have you vocalized to him that you feel abandoned and worried when he does this? Does he know that you are sleepless?

Sometimes it’s easy to think that these behaviors will fade with maturity and age, but that’s not always the case. Drinking problems can be hereditary, and by your description of his mother’s frequent nights out at the club, this may be a bigger concern.

Sometimes it’s easy to think that these behaviors will fade with maturity and age, but that’s not always the case.


If you are thinking of a future with him, these incompatible drinking habits may spiral into even bigger issues in the future. It’s important to speak up now. If I were in your situation, I would let him know how you are feeling and propose a compromise. Can he handle responsibility and setting some boundaries?

Create some together. That can mean setting a limit on drinks out or even a time to come home. He can still have a good time while respecting limitations. By taking action you are not being controlling, but rather verbalizing that you care about him. He needs to understand that his drinking all-nighters and bad behavior affect you and that it is compromising your relationship.

Dear Drinking Drama,
You’re at a point in your life where you like to stay home for a relaxing weekend while your boyfriend prefers something more lively. In addition to your different Friday night values, his drinking has gotten him into some trouble. No legal issues or anything overly serious, but it causes interpersonal drama with others and most importantly with you. You find yourself sitting up all night, worried about where he is and what he’s doing.

Your boyfriend is clearly not as bad as our friend Henry Hill, but his drinking habits may be a serious barrier to a healthy relationship with you. First, I am curious about his level of drinking. Here is a screening he could take to figure out if his current drinking is hazardous. Depending on his pattern of drinking, this may not be as much about your different weekend lifestyles and more about problem drinking. He may not be ready to make any changes but it is worthwhile for him to know if his occasional binge drinking may cause health problems for him and how his drinking compares to the general population.

Given how this is affecting you, I think it is fair to ask him to change some things.

-Dr. Ryan

Relationships are always about meeting in the middle, and given how this is affecting you, I think it is fair to ask him to change some things. Perhaps he agrees to be smart about how much he drinks or that he will always find a safe way to get home. Whatever the agreement, I believe this will be progress towards making your relationship work. If he refuses to compromise and doesn’t want to hear anything you have to say about his occasional benders, know that this is likely a hint of things to come.
-Dr. Ryan