Recently I received this email:
“My boyfriend and I have dated for 9 months. I am annoyed by the fact that he drinks more than I am used to. He occasionally stays out when he says that he is going to come home. When I bring this up, he blows me off or it becomes an argument. I really do love him, but I am not used to partying as much as he does.
Dr. Jackie, can a good girl and a party boy really make it together?”
Focusing on the partying behavior is only a distraction.
The real, more important and frankly bigger issues are related to (1) building a committed relationship based on good will and good intention; (2) crafting meaningful agreements; (3) honoring agreements and commitments; and (4) treating each other with kindness and respect.
Is he drinking more and or more frequently than he has been since they have been dating? Or did she make his drinking okay in the early stage of the relationship and now her willingness and ability to tolerate his drinking is diminishing.
Saying he is going to come home and staying out is completely unacceptable in a dating relationship or a committed relationship. It is a matter of personal integrity to “do what you say and say what you do.” Anything less puts you out of integrity and assaults the trust between you and your partner that is building or that has been built.
“Blowing off your partner” or using your partner’s dissatisfaction with you as a reason to start an argument is also completely unacceptable in a dating relationship or a committed relationship. Fights and arguments that ignite when someone is hurt or disappointed, or asking for a change in a behavior, are distractions that result in couples never talking about the real issue(s) and never resolving upsets or meeting each other’s legitimate needs.
When she says, “I love him.” What does that mean? Love is not a feeling. Love is a combination of experiences with another person; experiences that are based on being valued and respected; behaviors highlighted by thoughtfulness and consideration; interactions and time spent that is characterized as enjoyable and meaningful. Often people confuse being in love with being entangled; and being loved with one’s dependency needs being met.
What is the state of your relationship? Do you feel treasured, valued, respected and cared for? Do you treasure, love, value and care for your Honey? Can you ask for what you need? How well do you listen? Are your requests of your partner met with his or her eagerness to hear your ideas, feelings and needs?
These are just a few things to consider when you begin to evaluate whether or not your relationship can make it.
Remember, only YOU can make it happen!