Amy: His bar habit has her ready to run away

  • Article by: AMY DICKINSON
  • November 26, 2012 - 2:30 PM

Dear Amy: I am a 44-year-old with a live-in boyfriend. We get along really well, and our families have blended quite nicely. But there is one ongoing issue in our three-year relationship.

I am not comfortable with how many nights my partner spends sitting at a bar. He says he is just going for an hour or two to visit with the boys. These "boys" are all men over 50. Most of them are alcoholics. They all drink and drive on a regular basis.

I have expressed my concerns several times, and when I do he seems to go out less often but always slips back into the same pattern. He says he "only" goes three, four or five times a week. Most lunch hours he can be found at a bar, and he drinks at home daily.

I am ready to run for the hills. He thinks he and his buds are popular because every bartender/waitress knows them intimately. It makes me cringe, and I am embarrassed beyond belief. I cannot think of marrying this man (he has proposed) because of these "red flags." Am I being a "nag" (his words) or a doormat?

Amy says: "Nags" nag because they feel they aren't being heard. Nagging is repetition, sometimes amplified for emphasis. I'm not sure what about this scenario makes you a doormat, unless you are comparing yourself to the mat your guy steps over on his way to and from the bar.

I venture a guess that he has been a habitual heavy drinker and barfly the entire time you've known him. If he has changed recently, then by all means ask him to change back.

However, the rest is on you. You are the person you can count on. Do you want to live like this? Do you want to live with this? If not one thing changes -- or if your partner starts drinking more than he currently does -- what will your choice be? He sounds like someone who might best be loved from a distance.

Begging for forgiveness

Dear Amy: I screwed up badly. My wife and I have been seeing a therapist since June.

In July, I got friendly online with a married lady living overseas. What started out as innocent flirting became naughty. I was enjoying the thrill without thinking of the consequences.

My wife stumbled across something suspicious and started snooping in my e-mail account. She got hold of my chat history and confronted me for cheating on her emotionally.

My second biggest mistake was to lie to my wife and our therapist; I promised I would mend my ways. My wife bought the argument, but I was dumb enough to offer to communicate with my overseas friend through a different e-mail address.

Two weeks later my wife confronted me with all the evidence, and now I'm ashamed beyond words. I begged my wife for forgiveness and deleted everything related to my online activities.

My wife is deciding what to do next. She's not ready to forgive me. She says she's not ready to give me another chance just yet. What should I do to win back her trust?

Amy says: Stop being a jerk. Stop lying. Offer your wife complete and total transparency, online and otherwise. Explore this from every angle in therapy. After that, you can only hope that your wife chooses to trust (because trust is a choice). In her case, trust will be the ultimate triumph of faith over experience.

Send questions via e-mail to Amy Dickinson at

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