Direct Answers – Killjoy

I've reached trouble in my three-year relationship. We can't seem to agree on the topic of going out and drinking anymore. We do love each other and want to work something out, but can't.

He likes to go out. He says it helps him blow off steam, and it feels good to take a break from everyday life stressors. His mom still goes out clubbing with friends somewhat frequently, so he thinks this is normal and acceptable.

When he goes out, I feel abandoned. He drinks too much usually and in the past has gotten into some trouble, not serious, but drinking with friends usually leads to drama of some sort. He keeps in touch less and usually doesn't have a plan where he will stay or 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. I thought this would be behind me, but it seems to keep coming back.

He doesn't go out frequently, only once every few months, but whenever he does, it usually leads to a bad experience for me.

~ Carol

Carol, you didn't tell us what bad things happen when your boyfriend goes out. You didn't tell us that he and his mother are budding alcoholics.

What you told us is, every few months, say four times a year, your boyfriend likes to go out and have a good time. Going out and having a good time is not a scripted event. His mother likes to go out, dance and be in a youthful, high-energy atmosphere. So does he.

He doesn't need to be in constant communication with central dispatch.

Perhaps at 30 your parents were sitting home playing Parcheesi and watching the telly. That was their idea of a good time. But it is not his idea. Your boyfriend is not yet 30, a free adult male without kids, doing things that are perfectly legal to do.

Do you want him to stop being who he is? Are you going to demand that he go out half as much as he does now, then half as much and half as much until he no longer goes out at all?

He's not a caged bird. He won't be yours because you cage him. If you fear he will escape from you on these outings, he is not yours anyway.

When he goes out, do something that takes all your attention: volunteer at a hospice, help out at a homeless shelter, go clubbing with your worst girlfriends or learn how to hang glide. Think about someone other than yourself and contribute.

What is the goal of sitting at home, seething, like a martyr? Are you trying to make him feel guilty for going out and being a young man? Are you trying to trick him into not knowing that you want him to do only what you want him to do?

If you are telling us you want him only if he will stay at home, marry you, have kids and do what you want, you are guaranteeing that he will be unhappy or you will be unhappy. You can't squash his ability to live.

The closing question is, would you do this to him if you loved him? No matter what the slave says, the master doesn't get to think the slave acts from his own free will.

~ Wayne & Tamara

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