Ask a Guy: Dating an Alcoholic post image

Ask a Guy: Dating an Alcoholic

Someone I recently met decided to ask me if we could make things official.

One problem: he admitted to having an alcohol problem. Although he says he is getting counseling for this from alcohol rehabs, I’m afraid what impact this could mean for a relationship.

It’s one thing to be a friend to help someone out, but as a girlfriend I wouldn’t even know how to handle this if he were to relapse and am not sure I want to stick around to find out.

Any advice?

I can say this much: When you date someone, you date all of them.

In the beginning, when it’s all sunshine and sweetness it’s easy to fall for them and expect things to always be that way.

But after a few months, you end up seeing other sides of each other. Some you like, some you don’t. That is true of all relationships.

In terms of dating an alcoholic, you at least know upfront that he has had a problem with alcohol and he’s taking steps to deal with it.

That’s a good sign at least, but there’s still plenty you don’t know about him. You don’t know what triggers his drinking or what his follow-through is like in general.

You said you’ve met recently, so I would imagine there’s plenty that you don’t know about each other.

I am all for seeing the best in people and believing that people can improve, but you said it yourself: You’re not sure if you would want to stick around if he relapses.

Unfortunately, as with many addictions, not all recovery attempts have a happy ending attached. If you’re uncertain at this point whether or not you would want to be there in the worst case scenario, this might be a good point to decide against being in a relationship with him before things get deeper.

I feel kind of heartless writing that, but I’m thinking in terms of what I would tell my closest female friends or my sister if they asked me what you asked me.

There’s nothing wrong with being a supportive friend to him while he figures out his alcohol addiction. I am fortunate to say that I have never battled with an alcohol addiction, but I have to imagine that truly addressing that issue is very emotionally, psychologically and mentally intense.

If he has that on his plate to deal with, I don’t think that this is the right time for him to start a new relationship either. It just seems that he would be better off figuring out his own issues first before he starts a new relationship. All-to-often a new relationship can be used to delay or cover-up dealing with our problems.

If you had been dating him for a while or were in a long, loving relationship, my answer would have been to help him see it through, learn about what it’s like for an alcoholic to recover from alcohol addiction and be as supportive as possible.

But you’re at a crossroads and from what you said in your question, it sounds like the best thing for both of you would be to not start up a relationship. At least, not until he’s really worked out his issue and has had it under control for a while.

People certainly can recover from being alcoholics – I have seen it and I can tell you that it’s entirely possible he’ll handle it too. In the meantime, I’d say hold off on starting an “official” relationship for both your sakes.

Hope it helps,

eric charles

Written by Eric Charles

I'm Eric Charles, the co-founder and co-editor of A New Mode. I love writing articles to help people free themselves from suffering and have clarity in their love life. I have a degree in Psychology and I've dedicated the last 20 years of my life to learning everything I can about human psychology and sharing what gets people out of struggling with life and into having the life they really want. If you want to contact me, feel free to reach out on Facebook or Twitter.

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I was dating a guy who wanted to move very fast into a relationship. He seemed to bounce from long term relationship to long term relationship. He was using the L word within 3 months and these were all red flags for me. I tried to explain you don’t really know a person for the first six months of a relationship. He kept saying he knew what he had. At about the six month mark he went on a big binge and I discovered he was a alcoholic. I still had lessons to learn and now two years later I have collected a bouquet of red flags and have walked away.

Reply December 17, 2019, 7:26 pm


I am here because i wantd to make my own decision because like you i have met this really great guy recently
N when he is sober he is very good but when he is drunk he is everythibg i dont want in a guy

I remember the frst time we met he got drunk n started saying shit like i dont love him why would i love him if other girls he approaches dont want him
He tried to slap me that day and he insulted me several times and i even found out on that day that
He is texting another girl
I do like him but there is afretest part of me that says run away as fast as u can

Reply December 31, 2018, 11:12 pm

Courtney Goff

Al Anon. Go to Al Anon.

Reply March 18, 2016, 10:55 pm


Do not get involved with him until he’s sober for at least a year. Even if you support him, he can easily relapse because he knows your there to help him up. He needs to have the courage, conviction and determination to recover on his own. I meet a wonderful man 9 Years ago, we went out and he drank I didn’t think anything of it, I didn’t even know what an alcoholic was never had it my family growing up. We moved I together after dating 2 years, he went from the wonderful man I fell in love with to Dr Jekyle and MrHyde, OMG, I had no idea what was happening, I was so naive. He hid it pretty well. Time went on and it got ugly finally I moved out I had evough. He was in denial. I still see him couple times a month but he’s still drinking. There is a website called coping with alcoloics, alcolohol friends its a live forum, I would strongly recommend checking it out. This will help you with your decision, you see alcoholics are cunning, manipulative they suck you in and they don’t even know it. Good Luck

Reply August 5, 2013, 9:47 pm


This is an old thread but in case anyone else runs into the same problem & pondering about whether or not to enter a relationship with an alcoholic or anyone dealing with addiction problems – please visit the Soberrecovery forums. I was in a relationship with an alcoholic & it devastated me. I felt alone, scared, ashamed (for staying & being judged), hopeless & helpless until finding the compassionate community at Soberrecovery. Addictions like alcoholism have ruined many relationships & broken many families. I consider it more dangerous than marijuana due to the bad effects it has on all levels of society. It’s legal & it’s socially accepted. Which makes it harder for a lot of people to quit for good.

Reading the posts at SR & being able to relate to people who were in the same place or have already gone through the hell that only those who have loved & lived with an alcoholic can truly understand. Most ‘normies’ (those with no close & longterm experience with addicts) don’t understand the true nature of addiction & the collateral emotional damage it does to loved ones of those who are addicted. That forum & the amazing people in it, saved me from going insane & it helped me quell anxiety issues. A true lifesaver!

Reply December 3, 2012, 7:51 pm

Angelena Wist

This post are exciting. a lot of thanks.

Reply December 22, 2010, 3:39 am


I would steer clear of dating this guy. Having a friendship and supporting him through recovery would be helpful if you don’t get sucked into liking him more (like most girls do:). Alcoholism is a vicious disease that makes people change into “ugly” and getting sober could be difficult for some people and also take years to accomplish. I would tell him that you will support him if he chooses recovery, but you don’t want to risk dating him until you see progress with meetings/recovery and see that he is staying sober over time.
Oh, and do expect him to say all the right things that your ears want to hear. But don’t be naive and fall into it. Actions DO speak louder than words and you will see through his everyday living if he is going to be sober or not. If it’s meant to be, it will all fall into place. For now, guard your heart and be smart

Reply May 24, 2010, 6:15 am


My ten years of experience says “run” away as fast as you can

Reply November 30, 2012, 2:50 am


Know more than I’d like about alcoholism. If he’s in early recovery, he shouldn’t be in ANY romantic type relationship. Those in early recovery who get into relationships before they’ve done their ‘homework’ are at higher risk of early relapse. It sets them back since relationships trigger emotions & alcoholism is used to numb emotions. It usually takes at least 2 years for a recovering alcoholic to be healthy enough to even consider a real relationship. The ones really serious about longterm sobriety aren’t focused on getting a partner. They are focused on working whatever recovery program they choose & fighting for their lives like they are drowning & gasping for any air at all. These are the ones who tend to succeed longterm. The former is more prone to repeated relapses and/or switching addictions. It’s quite common for alcoholics to change their drug of choice, booze, to another drug of choice, sex/love – Google alcoholism & sex addiction, there are tons of articles that mention this. Some alcoholics with years of sobriety are still dry drunks who switched addictions & behave in similar ways as when they were drinking.

I would say educate yourself as much as possible if you want to be just a friend & support him as he goes through recovery. Learn some detachment skills or you’ll be more prone to being sucked in closer when he hits a ‘crash’/’trigger’ point. You need to know what you may be getting into, even on a friendship level, in order to make the decision that works best for your life. If you go in head first without some valuable knowledge, be prepared to be shocked & hurt somewhere along the line. Read a bit about codependency too as family, friends & partners of addicts are prone to catch that at some point.

Reply December 3, 2012, 8:05 pm


I wish my friend had known this before she got involved with her boyfriend. He’s just a plain alcoholic, no recovery involved, no matter how many AA treatments he’s been through.

Reply May 22, 2010, 2:13 pm

Clint Stonebraker

I agree, the recovery has to be top priority. When entering a relationship with a recovering alcoholic, it is important to remember there are several emotional ups and downs. Good advice

Reply May 19, 2010, 10:39 am

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