About the Author

Honey's main interests are online dating, long distance dating, and long term relationships. She met her boyfriend on MySpace and they have been exclusive since their first date over three years ago. Currently they live in Tempe, Arizona. Honey graduated with her PhD in Composition and Rhetoric in May 2009. You can contact Honey via email here or online here.

Drinking, Cheating, and Other Concerns

I am not in a very good place right now.  Every summer, the BF’s supervisor takes a month-long vacation (must be nice) leaving the BF all his normal work plus all his supervisor’s work for that month.  Even though summer is the slowest time in his office, then, he’s always stressed out and overworked.  He has yet to find a constructive way to deal with this.

Last year, it was kidney stones.  This year, it has been binge drinking.

And then Wednesday night I caught him embracing another woman.  Here’s how it went down (times are approximate):

8:30 p.m. He calls and says that he’s at the bar with some friends from work (he’s obviously been there for awhile, and I’m a bit irritated because we had specific dinner plans at home, because he didn’t invite me even though it would have been really easy for me to join him, and because he is trashed and slurring).  He says that he’s trying to decide whether to take the light rail home or drive.  Then a work friend says he’ll drop the BF off, so we’re good.

8:35 p.m.  He calls and says that he’s at the bar with some friends from work.  He says he’s trying to decide whether to take the light rail home or drive.  When I ask whether friend from work can still drop him off, he doesn’t remember that happening.  He also insists that he did NOT call me before this and that this is the first time we’ve spoken this evening.  I tell him to take the light rail; he says he’ll call me back when he’s on the train.

9:30 p.m.  He hasn’t called, and he’s not picking up his phone.  I call his co-worker, who says he got home half an hour ago and has no idea where the BF is.  Since the last time the BF got this drunk he didn’t call me but instead got off the light rail and sat on a bench (I was at the station waiting for him and saw him get off, which is how I found him), I go to the light rail station.

10:30 p.m.  He picks up his phone (finally).  I say I’ve been at the light rail station for an hour waiting for him.  He is surprised, since according to him this is the first time we’ve spoken tonight.  He says he will call me back.

11 p.m.  I start to drive downtown (I’ve been calling him nonstop since about 9 p.m., since every time we speak he says he is pretty sure he can drive, and I’m panicked when he doesn’t pick up because I’m afraid he–best case scenario–is getting a DUI).  He finally picks up, and is surprised to hear from me, since according to him this is the first time we’ve spoken tonight.  He says he’ll get on the lightrail — I tell him I’m already on the highway to come pick him up.  He sounds thrilled and grateful that I would do this (he has no idea I’ve been looking for him for at least 2 hours) and agrees to meet me across the street from the bar after he goes upstairs to his office to get his briefcase (his office is on the same corner as the bar).

11:25 p.m.  I get to the pullout across from the bar.  I see someone who could be the BF crossing the street and going up the stairs to his office building, but I’m not sure as it’s from behind and there’s a woman with this person.  I am calling and calling, he’s not picking up.

12 p.m.  I park the car and go up the steps to his office building.  I turn the corner and there he is — embracing this girl.  She’s against the wall and he’s leaning against her, talking into her neck.  Her shoes and jacket are off and on the ground, as is her purse.  Neither of them see me.  I stare in shock and then tap his shoulder.  He turns around, his hair is mussed.

Her: “Who is this?”

Me: “I’m his girlfriend.”

At which point she hugs me, says she’s so excited to meet me, he talks about me all the time.  I give a withering stare.  She looks at the BF and herself and then starts to apologize, saying it’s not what it looks like, blah blah.  I couldn’t respond to this even if I wanted to.  She gathers her things and takes off.

The BF says, “I owe you an explanation.  She asked me how I got [interested in his profession].”

This is not an explanation.  I get him to the car and we drive home – he is surprised that I came to pick him up/knew where he was, since according to him we haven’t spoken all night.  We get the dog walked and he goes to bed.  I know I’ll be late to work the next morning because he doesn’t have his car and there is *no way* he’s getting up when I do (6:30 a.m.), as it’s after 2 by the time we get to bed.  Plus he’s snoring since he’s drunk, so I don’t fall asleep until 3:30.

He is physically ill most of the next morning.  I don’t get to work until after 1:30 and he doesn’t get in until about 2 (it takes about half an hour to get to his work from mine on the light rail).

Obviously he’s sorry, and he wasn’t kissing the girl (he may actually have been leaning on her since he couldn’t stand up on his own, though he admits that he remembers that she was hitting on him).  She’s a summer intern in any case, so her job’s over in a week and his office isn’t going to hire her next year.

The bigger concern is that this is the 4th or 5th time in the last two months that he’s been this drunk.  His original compromise (several weeks ago, after a similar phone exchange about how he COULD TO drive) was to always take the light rail home if he went to that bar after work.  New plan: two drinks, MAX, on a weeknight.

What would have happened if I hadn’t shown up?  Would he have gone home with her?  Fallen asleep drunk in his office or on the stairs to his building, to be found by one of his bosses the next morning?  Would he have remembered anything that happened, or even told me if he did?

What would you do?  Let me know in the comments below.  Then check out these dramatic posts:

  • http://hammer86blog.com Hammer

    Yea, I don’t put up with that type of behavior, particularly the binge drinking. I would have nipped it in the bud the first time, but you didn’t, so you need to be very forceful about it now. I find it hard to imagine someone naturally being that forgetful, so it sounds to me like there was either anti-depressants or roofies involved.
    .-= Hammer´s last blog …FU Report – Long Weekend in Austin (Part 2) =-.

  • http://honeyandlance.com Honey

    His sleeping pills cause him to black out, too, and only his recent drinking has caused blackouts, so I wonder if this tendency has been increased because of taking the sleeping pills (although he didn’t take any that night).

    He definitely admitted that he was binge drinking when I confronted him about it before, which is why he agreed to always take the light rail (though this vow seems to become malleable for him when he’s drunk). But I think that there’s not much the other person can do if the drinker isn’t motivated to change.

    He’s definitely terrified this time, because of the memory loss, the fact that this has occurred more than once, and the fact that I told him that I almost broke up with him after Wednesday night and that if this happened again I wouldn’t have a choice but to leave him. So I think he’ll stick to it.
    .-= Honey´s last blog …Drinking, Cheating, and Other Concerns =-.

  • Jonsi

    I do have to be the DUI police on this one: you can be charged and convicted of DUI with a BAC less than the “legal” limit, and Arizona is an aggressive state. I had two drinks and was charged with a 0.05 for going through an intersection where the stop sign on the right hand side of the road was STOLEN. Pain in the ass hiring a lawyer to resolve it. Two drinks max is a good general rule, but you can still be fucked, and your bf is asking for trouble even considering driving. Clearly he’s not capable of making that decision when drinking. He’s going to hurt someone or end up in tent city for a week.

    And that sentencing should pale in comparison to what you should give him. Put the smack down on him: no drinking AT ALL during the week. That is not a big sacrifice. He’s putting himself, other people, your finances, his career, and your relationship at risk. His actions were irresponsible and uncaring. He belongs in the dog house and it should take a long time to work his way out.

  • http://honeyandlance.com Lance

    Honey, that sucks. Doesn’t sound like a good situation. Were there any other meds involved, like Xanax or something like that? I can’t imagine being that drunk and not remembering multiple phone calls even if I was blackout drunk. Unfortunately, I have experience in this area. The few times I’ve mixed pills with drinking it’s had that affect where I couldn’t remember shit even if I was only mildly drunk.

  • http://honeyandlance.com Lance

    As far as plans go, I’d suggest he take a full month off drinking and get into something else, like take up a gym membership. I usually go dry for 1 month per year (at least) and it’s wonderful. Too, the training has a wonderful way of straightening you out.

  • http://runningleap.wordpress.com C

    This may seem harsh, but I’ve known and loved a few alcoholics in my life…
    I would tell him (and follow through): go to AA and quit drinking, or I leave.
    He is an alcoholic. That is alcoholic behavior. Alcoholics don’t stop drinking during the week and never binge drink again. Alcoholics eventually lose their jobs, and their lives fall apart. Trust me on this one.

    That being said, I KNOW it’s easier said that done. But you can’t start becoming his enabler (which is what you are doing every time you rescue his ass and take care of him when he’s sick or has consequences to face from his drinking). In fact, you should consider going to AlAnon yourself, if you want to help him.
    I’m a little trigger happy when dealing with alcoholism, I admit, but having recently seen one of my best friends deal with this… I think it’s absolutely true. The binge drinking will get worse with time, not better.
    .-= C´s last blog …Wishful Thinking =-.

  • http://honeyandlance.com Honey

    Oh, believe me, I know – my best friend in grad school got a DUI when she was driving my car – she was the DD.

    Ha, tent city! I think Sheriff Joe would teach him, that’s for sure!
    .-= Honey´s last blog …Pick Your Path And Take It To The Max =-.

  • http://honeyandlance.com Honey

    At this point, his stress seems clearly situational to me; he’s never been a big drinker before this summer.

    I have definitely gone through longer periods where I was abusing alcohol far worse than this in my life. So I’ll see where things go from here.
    .-= Honey´s last blog …Drinking, Cheating, and Other Concerns =-.

  • dan

    is sounds like he may have ingested a strong depressant, possibly some type of ‘date rape’ drug. if the memory loss seems genuine, it is congruent with the violent nausea the next day. instead of adding to the effects of alcohol, many variants of these drugs compound the effects, as they affect the brain in a slightly, but similar way.
    although unlikely, it is a possibility.
    also, i apologise to anyone that has already posted something similar. i didn’t bother reading all the posts.
    +dan

  • http://dadshouseblog.com dadshouse

    Sounds like he was drunk off his mind. If he’s binge drinking, that’s truly worrisome. Not knowing when or how to stop, and blacking out and not remembering he talked to you, are signs of alcoholism, no?

    As for the girl – who knows whether he might have ended up in her place or not. But if he’d ended up there, he would have been too plastered to do anything but pass out. No excuse – he should respect your relationship. I’m really sorry to hear you’re forced to deal with his behavior.
    .-= dadshouse´s last blog …Podium Girls Polka Dot Passion =-.

  • http://casualencounters.com/blog/ Janak

    I guess I’d probably do exactly what you have: namely to come up with a plan to avoid a repeat performance and have him agree to it.

    I think it’s important that you come up with some consequences for him if he doesn’t stick to the plan, though. I mean it doesn’t sound like an “…or I’ll walk!” ultimatum is required, but there’s a lot you could threaten short of that.
    .-= Janak´s last blog …Interview with Evan Marc Katz =-.

  • Me T.hinks

    I hate to say this but honestly I have been in this place. My ex was bipolar. Would drink and get whacked occasionally beyond a normal “drunk” level. And sleep meds like Ambien are crazy dangerous when mixed with drinking. The binge drinking and not remembering talking to you over and over? Odd. Just how much is he drinking?

    another thing – everyone knows intern = casual sex. Yikes. There is no amount of booze that would make that situ okay for me.

    Be careful! Just because you “set the date” even if it is nearly 3 years off, it is still enough to make a guy freak out.

  • http://20-forty.com/ lisaq

    Ugh! So sorry you’re dealing with this. I’m not going to jump to the conclusion that he’s an alcoholic since I know so little. That being said, I was married to an alcoholic and spent several nights just like the one you described. It’s a horrid thing to have to go through and deal with. Hopefully, your plan works well and you don’t have to go through it again. Thinking of you…
    .-= lisaq´s last blog …Auntie Gwen’s How Not to Date Guide-Guest Post =-.

  • http://www.beforewisdom.com beforewisdom

    He is doing all of this to cope with stress from having to do his job and his boss’s job while his boss is on vacation.

    Given the time crunch going to the gym might be a problem.

    Then again, your suggestion has merit. If he has time to drink after work he has time to hop onto a cardio machine for 30 minutes and work the tension out.

    The long term solution is to get a job with a company that is set up so people can take a vacation without pissing all over their coworkers.
    .-= beforewisdom´s last blog …Cats mimick human babies =-.

  • http://honeyandlance.com Honey

    I think the drinking is more a sign of depression than alcoholism, at least at this point. He is going to start looking for new jobs out of state in January. All he’s talked about since I’ve met him is how he hates Arizona and wants to live somewhere else, and all he’s talked about since starting this job is the fact that he’s getting paid almost a third below industry standard. I think those two things will help a lot.

    I agree, I don’t think he could have slept with anyone that night even if he’d gone home with her. But I also agree that doesn’t change how hurt I am by the whole thing. I’m going to ask him what his plan is for us to reconnect, because I think we need to do something and I know I’m not going to be the one planning it.
    .-= Honey´s last blog …Random Thoughts On A Pickup Convention =-.

  • http://honeyandlance.com Honey

    Yes, maybe I’ll revisit the idea of getting us both memberships at the campus gym. This is where he went for his undergrad so he loves the facilities and I think there’s an emotionally attractive component to working out in the same place.

    We’d just have to figure out what he’d do about parking. I don’t think there’s any public parking near there and I have to pay $800 a year for parking – and it’s not anywhere NEAR the gym.

    Once it cools off (sadly, probably late October) he wants to start jogging and I want to start biking (though he has to get me a bike for my birthday first!).
    .-= Honey´s last blog …Random Thoughts On A Pickup Convention =-.

  • http://honeyandlance.com Honey

    Ambien is really scary, but so far the only thing that will put him to bed before 6 a.m.

    Well, if he’s freaked out then he shouldn’t have set the date! J/k, though I hadn’t thought of that as a factor.
    .-= Honey´s last blog …Random Thoughts On A Pickup Convention =-.

  • http://www.beforewisdom.com beforewisdom

    A cheaper and more convenient solution might be to get a used stationary bicycle, ski machine, rowing machine etc from Craigs List or your local paper.

    If you don’t have people below you who would be disturbed by the noise that could work.

    As far as stress relief goes a gym can also help out by being a third place to go to — besides work and home.

    I used to blow off a lot of workouts, particularly when I was stressed. I reduced this by choosing a gym that is on my way home from work,is close to my home for the weekends and having a policy of never going home first on a gym night.

    If I go home first on a week night the emotional momentum to stay there is intense.
    .-= beforewisdom´s last blog …Cats mimick human babies =-.

  • http://www.worklovelife.com Holly Hoffman

    As a recovering alcoholic, I definitely see some red flags here, Honey. Nobody can say the BF is an alcoholic *except* the BF. But, hello, using alcohol to cure “situational stress” is alcoholic behavior. The best definition of alcoholism I’ve ever heard (and it definitely hit my nail on the head) was “alcoholism is when drinking causes problems and they don’t stop drinking.”

    Normal people stop drinking when it causes problems. Alcoholics keep drinking. It is THE answer to our problems.

    I reiterate – no one can say it but the BF. While I can’t judge from one story or one side of things, he can. Tell him to check out an AA meeting. He’ll know if it’s right for him or not. If so, swell. He’s found a solution that works. If not, then it’ll probably scare the shit out of him enough to knock his shit off.

    And by the by, don’t get walked on, m’dear. His behavior is rude, disrespectful and questionable at best. I hope you’re giving him some serious consequences to ponder. You’re way better than this.
    .-= Holly Hoffman´s last blog …Your touted “workaholism” isn’t a badge of honor =-.

  • http://honeyandlance.com Honey

    Thanks, Holly. He hasn’t had anything to drink since, which is a good in my book. He’s pretty scared. In addition to the two drink max, he’s going to sign me up to some sort of google locator so I can always find him.

    I can say that as an atheist I think he would find AA detestible.

    It is hard for me to stand up for myself in a way that is productive.
    .-= Honey´s last blog …Random Thoughts On A Pickup Convention =-.

  • http://honeyandlance.com Lance

    Besides the religious element, what’s wrong with AA? It’s helped a lot of people and it will help many more. I’m sure it’s effective, even for atheists. Like Holly said, at the very least it would knock him a round a bit.
    .-= Lance´s last blog …Random Thoughts On A Pickup Convention =-.

  • Jonsi

    There are some non religious “AA” type groups out there and there may be one in your area since you live in a large city. It doesn’t hurt to look and I would approach it saying “there were times in my life I abused alcohol more than you for stress, and it was a problem. Your recent behavior is a problem for us. I’d like to go to one of these programs a few times together, so we can both have more education about it.” I’m not sure what the best wording would be, but adult alcohol education is different than the crap they give you in high school, and even groups that preach moderation have high efficacy.

  • http://www.vcarded.com The Virgin

    Not defending him, but there was one occasion when I drank too much alcohol at a rave (my own drink that I brought in) and what happened between a four hour timespan was completely beyond me. Woke up in a field with a missing set of car keys (found later) and no recollection of what happened. In fact, watching the movie The Hangover felt like deja vu.

    Scary shit. Didn’t plan on ever going through that crap again, and I never did.

  • http://www.worklovelife.com Holly Hoffman

    Actually, AA is not religious. It’s a common misperception. You have to admit that there is something more powerful than yourself, but that can be anything… a door knob, electricity, kinetic theory, a group of sober people… I knew a guy who used a cactus as his “higher power.” But more than that I know a lot of people who use quantum physics, which should appeal to an intellectual.

    I think the phrase that comes to mind here is “contempt prior to investigation.” That’s why I don’t think there’s any harm in checking out a meeting. I know lots of people who have gone to a meeting and said, “You know, I can’t relate to one thing that was said. But this is great information for so-and-so.” I got sober thanks to a friend who went to a meeting because she was court-ordered after a DUI. She didn’t have a drinking problem, but I did.

    If he needs a Google locator to keep him in check, there are problems, Honey. That’s not normal. You must realize that.

    And if you can’t find a productive way to stand up for yourself, you might want to speak with someone who can help you.
    .-= Holly Hoffman´s last blog …Your touted “workaholism” isn’t a badge of honor =-.

  • http://honeyandlance.com Honey

    I actually thought that the Google locator was a ridiculous and unnecessary idea…he was just throwing things out there because he didn’t know if it would help.

    I’ll probably post an update today, but tomorrow’s a week and he hasn’t had anything to drink since then, so I’m happy with the way things are going at the moment.
    .-= Honey´s last blog …Random Thoughts On A Pickup Convention =-.