Being in a relationship with an alcoholic significant other is painful, scary, and often difficult to handle.
There’s no right or wrong way to deal with an alcoholic significant other, but understanding the warning signs and when to seek help may help you make a more informed decision regarding your future together.
Warning Signs of Alcoholism
It’s hard to be objective when determining whether or not your significant other has a problem with abusing alcohol. Also, it’s not always easy to know how much is too much when there’s a culture of drinking among young people.
Although it’s not always clear-cut, here are some of the most common warning signs of alcoholism:
- They lie about or hide their drinking from you
- They regularly black out after drinking
- Once they start drinking, they are unable to stop or cut themselves off
- They drink in dangerous situations such as before work or driving
- They neglect their responsibilities like work or school
- They struggle to maintain positive and healthy relationships
- They’re able to drink significantly more than they used to
- They experience withdrawal when they try to stop drinking
- They try to quit but are unable to
How To Encourage Them To Get Help
Although it may not feel like your place, it’s not unreasonable to ask your significant other to get help for their addiction. You are their significant other, and their addiction has a serious effect on your relationship. However, it’s often a difficult subject to approach.
Sit down one-on-one in a quiet setting and talk about the situation. Let them know how you feel and your concerns about their drinking habits. Express your love and concern, and encourage your significant other to get help – whether it’s by attending AA meetings or entering inpatient alcohol treatment.
Don’t be surprised if they’re in deep denial or defensive when it comes to their addiction. This is common among high-functioning alcoholics, but there are ways to deal with it.
When It’s Time To Leave
There are many reasons a person chooses to stay with an alcoholic significant other, but it mostly boils down to fear.
Although the fear may be there, it’s no reason to stay in a relationship that makes you unhappy. If your significant other is committed to getting help and is ready to make a change, by all means, stay with them. But if you’re stuck in an unhealthy relationship full of lies, arguments or abuse, the best thing you can do for yourself is leave.