ask dr-robert

ask dr-robert ask psychologist todos santos ask psychologist dr robert saltzman

Hello and thank you for your site. I looked through previous posts to

make sure that I wasn't asking for you to repeat anything but I didn't

see this question.

I have had a crush on my boyfriend since 1994. Two and a half years

ago, we met once again at a bar and we went to his house after the bar

closed. All we did was talk and dance. A week later, I made plans to

meet him again. That night, we had sex.

Later I found out that he often met girls at the bar and went home

with them, having unprotected sex. He was always drinking when this

happened. Apparently, I was supposed to be another one night stand but

then we stayed together because I don't believe in that and he said he

always found me attractive. For about a year or so, we purchased a six

pack and shared it almost every night. I had never been a big drinker,

but became one and thought we were bonding.

I cut down on drinking and quit hanging out in drinking situations.

One night, he went to a house where he always drank and cheated on me

with a young girl. I forgave him and we began to discuss living

together because I was always at his house anyway. He would rarely

stay at my house. We moved in together but right after we signed the

lease, he got really nervous and tried to postpone it. We ended up

moving in anyway.

From the get go, he said he hated this place and didn't feel

comfortable here. He has spent so much of his time at the old

apartment and with his old roommate who he used to drink almost every

night with.

He has cut down on drinking, but only after I kept threatening to

leave him if he didn't stop partying so much. Every time he is around

his family he drinks. Almost every time he hangs out with friends, he

drinks. It's gotten to the point where I don't go with him to hang out

with friends because they cannot seem to hang out without drinking. We

are night owls, up all night and it seems there is nothing else to do

for these people but to drink.

At least once a week, he stays out all night. He says he will not

drive drunk and that he has had too much to drink. Once in a while, he

will come home around 9am or so and crawl into bed with me. I get

upset with him when he's going out because I know he'll be out all

night. I tell him that drinking is bad for him and that I think he's

looking for answers in the bottle that he needs to look for in

himself. He has fantasies about having sex with groups of girls at the

same time. He says he doesn't know how to love. He's never told me

that he loves me.

In October, we split up for around 3 weeks. He went to a party, got

drunk and had unprotected sex with a girl he didn't know. He didn't

tell me when we got back together. We had slept with each other

several times when I got a feeling and asked him if he'd been with

anyone else and he said yes reluctantly. He said it was a mistake and

he regretted it. I told him I was upset that he risked my health and

made him promise to go have STD tests done. The day the clinic was

offering them, he hung out with his old roommate instead of going.

This past week he stayed out all night four times, tonight being the

fourth time.

I love this guy. He's generally fun to be around. I enjoy his company

when he's sober. He says that I am too controlling. He says he goes

out to drink because I won't let him do it at the house. This is true.

I don't want to be around him when he drinks because I don't do it. I

feel if he's drinking that I almost have to be drinking too to have a

good time because I don't like how he acts. I feel that he is a jerk

to me when he drinks. He gets an attitude, and is a little pushy, but

not really bad. Two of my friends have told me they noticed the same

thing. One of my friends said that when we hung out, I began to

babysit him once he began drinking. I wanted to make sure he didn't

get too loaded.

Does this sound like I am codependent or controlling? Does it sound

like he has a problem? Should I just get over this? I'm so confused

I'm going crazy.

Thanks so much for your time. I'm sorry to give you so much info but I

don't know what is crucial to understanding the situation.


ask dr-robert

Hello, Sarah--

First off, thanks for checking my site to find out if your question already had been addressed. I get many questions from people who obviously have not gone to that trouble.

I don't know if your boyfriend has a problem or not. He hasn't written to me for advice. You have, and so, as always, although endeavoring to be as gentle as possible, I will not mince words. Sarah, you have a problem, and it is this: you are trying to maintain a monogamous relationship with a man who clearly is not interested in monogamy, has no intention of restricting his amorous attentions to you alone, and is not interested in loving you or anyone else. He has said that, but for some reason you refuse to believe him, and so you keep trying to make a silk purse from a sow's ear, which cannot be done.

Make a choice, Sarah. Either decide that sex with this guy, and the drama of this roller coaster affair is so interesting to you that you will accept his wandering ways, the risk of sexually transmitted disease, and all the rest, or else find a new boyfriend who wants to love you as you wish this guy would do (he won't). There is no feasible middle ground.

Insanity, they say, consists of repeating the same actions while expecting different results. Of course that is just a joke, but it has relevance to your situation. You can call your behavior codependency if you like (I dislike that term, by the way, along with a lot of other stuff invented by AA and its imitators, the other twelve step programs, which pretends to be psychologically insightful, but really isn't), but I prefer to understand your behavior an outcome of the desperate, wretched, miserable condition--quite common, by the way--of loving someone who doesn't love you. In my experience, letting this one-sided love affair continue will result in nothing more than ever increasing misery, constant self-doubt, and an eventual total loss of self-esteem. Are the orgasms and the drama really worth all that? Only you can decide.

Be well.

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