Home » Expert Q & A » Counseling » Counseling: Arthur Matthews

Is it time to move in if we are constantly fighting about her drinking?

  • anonymous Asks ...

    I am in a very volatile relationship which is weird because I am normally a calm man. For the last 6 months I have been very serious with my new girlfriend, but we fight like cats and dogs at least once a week. Normally I would not be able to stand this but I have intense feelings for her. Is there anything we can do to stop fighting so much all the time? One thing we fight about a lot is about how much she drinks and how she gets kind of flirty when she is drunk and then she totally denies this after the fact. She is a very fiery person but I think she feels the same way about me as I feel about her. I floated the idea of couples therapy but she thought it was ridiculous so early in our relationship. I am thinking about asking her to move in with me but I am not sure if we can get along.

  • Art Matthews Says ...
    Art Matthews

    What you can do to decrease the volatility and fighting is either accept that this is who she is and choose not to be bothered by her behavior or convince her to cut back or stop drinking. Having said that, I imagine I have just summed up the content of most of your fights. Your argument is she should care enough about your feelings that she controls her behavior and/or drinking, and her argument is that she isn't that bad and you should stop trying to tell her what to do. The bad news is, you cannot get her to change without her permission, and she is making it clear she is not giving her permission.

    I should think my next comments won't come as much surprise. My answer to whether you should discuss moving in together: "When in doubt, DON'T!" With the situation you are describing, it would be potentially disastrous for the two of you to live together at this point. Living together in a relationship is something that should only be considered when the relationship is on solid ground and the two partners have similar goals, values and expectations. Moving in should never be considered as an answer to a conflict in the relationship. The two of you need to overcome this hurdle before considering any steps towards making this a permanent relationship.

    The reality of the situation is she could have an alcohol addiction or at the very least, she is abusing alcohol... and your trust. This is not a recipe for a successful relationship. You, my friend, need to look at why you are accepting this abusive behavior and a partner who is inconsiderate of your feelings. The intensity of your feelings could be masking some very real problems and issues. If you fear losing her or the relationshiip too much, you will accept just about anything and that will give her the power to use emotion as a manipulative tool and could lock your relationship into a death spiral.

    The best hope you have with this woman is to set boundaries, enforce consequences, and identify and communicate to her your deal-breakers. You have a right to have expectations of her when it comes to expressing her affection or flirting with other men. You deserve to be in a relationship with someone who treats you with respect and is considerate of your feelings. If you set boundaries and enforce consequences and the relationship is as important to her as it is to you, she will be forced to make a change and/or ask for help. And if it isn't, you'll have your answer about whether you should be moving in together or even be in this relationship.

    You have some difficult decisions to make. I recommend considering some support while you go through this. Dysfunctional relationships can take a toll on self-worth and make us wonder if WE'RE the ones who are reality-challenged. Make sure if you rely on a lay-person, they are able to be impartial and tell you what you need to hear and not what you want to hear. From my experience, this won't get better on it's own.

Like what you're reading?

Featured Experts

Find Treatment
Browse by region »