In the last few months I’ve heard two stories of midlife women learning the man they were dating had an addiction.
* A 60-something woman had met a similarly aged man and they started seeing each other. She enjoyed their local short outings and he seemed to be a good companion. They decided to take a vacation to Hawaii.
The first morning they arose and she asked what he wanted to do. She’d wanted to sight-see, snorkel and swim in the adjacent lagoon, take in a local show, shop and go for an easy hike.
He said he wanted to have a few mimosas then have lunch. Then he planned to “relax” at the hotel for the rest of the day. They went to the bar for his mimosas, then he had more during lunch. After lunch, she wanted to get out of the hotel, he told her to enjoy herself and he’d be at the bar when she returned. He didn’t move except to the dining room for dinner, then back to the bar for after dinner drinks. He drank from 10 a.m. to midnight. She had a glass of wine with dinner, then got bored and went to bed.
Her vacation with her partner turned out to be her doing everything by herself as he drank all day long. She expressed her disappointment and he said it was his vacation and he’d do what he wanted. Needless to say, they were not a couple when they returned home.
* A 58-year-old widow found a local man with similar interests. They played tennis, went to the movies, and cooked for each other. When they dined together once a week, she noticed he could polish off a bottle of wine by himself. She liked a glass or two, so didn’t think it was a big deal. Until they went away for the weekend.
Like the aforementioned guy, she witnessed his drinking all day long. He was too tipsy to hike, bike, play tennis — none of the things they’d discussed doing beforehand. She realized she hadn’t noticed his drinking at home because they weren’t together for more than a few hours, and he abstained during those activities. He never seemed sloshed, so she had no idea he had a drinking problem.
She, like the woman mentioned above, realized his drinking was more important then she was. Even after the women shared how the men’s drinking affected them, the men had no desire to work toward sobriety.
Alcoholism is a disease — one that can be very difficult to address and keep in check. However, I have many friends in recovery and they tell me that with desire, strong will, and often support from others it can be kept in check. However, if one doesn’t want to do anything about it, there’s not a lot someone else can do, other than make sure you don’t become an enabler or victim.
I briefly dated a man who I quickly saw was an alcoholic, although he didn’t see it. In our day’s outing, he had two drinks every few hours. First, it was with lunch. Then, a mid-afternoon “snack.” Then before-dinner drinks, wine with dinner, and a few after-dinner drinks. This was too much for me to feel comfortable. He became more and more surly as he drank. We didn’t continue after that outing.
Have you dated someone whose addiction become apparent? If so, how did you deal with it?
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