In every romantic relationship, there are certain rules that we typically agree to, like being loyal to our partners or helping them when they’re sick.
But there are limits to what we should be willing to do, especially if it means enabling someone, admitted the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor daisyashi decided they were over taking care of their boyfriend every time he drank too much, so they established a new boundary.
But when their boyfriend pushed back against it, the Original Poster (OP) wondered if they were being too harsh.
They asked the sub:
“AITA for heading out when my boyfriend drinks too much because I’m sick of playing nurse?”
The OP noticed a change in their relationship after the pandemic.
“My boyfriend and I are both pretty social and extroverted. For years we’d been generally on the same page, and we’d both drink in moderation.”
“For some time, we stopped going out because of the pandemic. But this summer, we started hanging with friends more often.”
“And about a quarter of the time we go out, he’ll drink to excess, so he’s vomiting, not able to navigate the bus system, losing his things, etc.”
“And for a while, I’d be a caretaker. I’d get him water, get him onto a bus or in an Uber to his place or mine, stay with him, keep spare keys for his place, etc.”
The OP tried to talk to their boyfriend about it.
“It started being a recurring thing, like maybe 1 in 4 hangouts he’d drink to a point that I’d need to care for him in some way.”
“And I had some talks about it with him, saying I wanted him to do what I do when I drink, be mindful of how much I drink, always have a way to get myself home, and a backup plan, keep an eye on my own things.”
“I felt like his nurse or something, and it was really a turn-off to be wiping a grown man’s vomit like he was a baby, or helping him home.”
The OP set a new boundary.
“I decided to draw a line in the sand and told him that I couldn’t play ‘nurse’ anymore.”
“If we were out somewhere and he had over 3 drinks, I’m heading out.”
“He can drink more if he wants but it’s his responsibility to hold onto his keys, find his own way home, and clean his own puke.”
“And I held him to that. A month ago, we went out to a party and he had two beers, then the group took shots together. So that was three drinks for him.”
“So later in the night when he went to crack a new beer, I said I was heading out.”
“He got argumentative, saying he didn’t have much to drink.”
“I said he had 3 drinks like we’d discussed.”
“He said he had two light beers that he hardly felt.”
“I reminded him he took a shot too, and that was 3.”
“I met up with my own friends, then went home to bed. I missed his texts saying he was locked out of his apartment and could he come to mine?”
The pattern continued, including the new boundary.
“A few more times, we were out with friends, and when I saw him have more than 3 drinks, I’d head out and meet up with other friends.”
“He’d often get argumentative, saying it was only 2, not mentioning one was a double pour, or arguing that they were light, or that 3 was not many for a larger man.”
“I just kept heading out, and a few other times he had trouble, like when someone who was supposed to be a DD (Designated Driver) for him forgot to get him before leaving, he missed the last bus, he got on a bus going outbound instead of inbound because the sign was broken?”
This led to an argument.
“Each time I stuck to what I said and didn’t come by. But over the holidays we had a big fight.”
“He said some of those things were out of his control, and it wasn’t about his drinking, and I was being a s**tty partner by not helping.”
“I said that what I asked him to do was be responsible for his own keys and his own way home, which means always having a backup plan to get home safe.”
“AITA for leaving when my boyfriend drinks a lot?”
Fellow Redditors weighed in:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some wondered if there was a reason to worry about the boyfriend’s behavior.
“Have you asked him why he drinks to excess? We have all had a night where we had too much and end up worshipping the porcelain throne, but usually people realize it is not fun and learn their limits.”
“It is almost like at this point he is wanting to get that drunk, does he have a reason why he just keeps drinking?”
“If someone cannot stop, even though they should, could be worrisome about possible alcoholism where he is using it to escape something.” – GuvnaBruce
“I think your tactic clearly isn’t working.”
“I think given his resistance to the fact that he may be drinking to excess, it might be time to explore whether he has a drinking problem and recommend resources to that end.”
“If he doesn’t want to take you up on that, then that’s on him and you’ve done what you need to do. Feel free to leave him.” – TheFamousHesham
Others said the OP and their boyfriend needed to seriously communicate.
“If you want this relationship to continue (which honestly I would be questioning the compatibility but that’s just me), then I think on a sober day, you should sit down and really explicitly lay out why you dislike it.”
“Also state why it makes you uncomfortable, and most importantly – and say this very clearly – that this repeated behavior is making you less sexually and emotionally attracted to him.”
“If that doesn’t wake him up, then he has a bigger problem then he can only deal with by himself.” – peeved151
“For you to have made this rule, he must have been doing this a whole lot. Setting boundaries and communicating them clearly is a good, healthy thing for you. He’s a grown adult and making you feel obligated to cate for him is silly. Totally NTA.” – zoomerang93
Some questioned instead if the relationship was salvageable.
“Is this how you want to live, OP? He’s an alcoholic. You can’t make him get better. And he likely won’t.”
“Source: daughter of 2 alcoholics” – WhoIsYerWan
“The thing is, he knows you’re right about this. He’s proved it over and over! He hits three drinks, argues he’s fine, you leave, and surprise, he’s a s**tshow later that night.”
“The fact that he knows your limits, blows past them, then gets upset at you for having boundaries is laughable.”
“You: ‘I won’t be caring for your drunken ass anymore.'”
“Him: ‘Who, me?! Never, I’m fiiiine.'”
“Him, sloppy drunk, puts self in harm’s way. You, avoiding that mess.”
“Him: ‘Why are you so mean to me?!'”
“Repeat.” – GobsOfficeMagic
“It sounds like it’s time for him to face the music. Break up with him. He needs to get his life together.”
“He’s not in good enough shape to be in a relationship right now. You need to prioritize yourself.” – StepRightUpMarchPush
While their boyfriend was trying to make them feel guilty, the subReddit thought the OP was handling the situation like a functional adult.
Until their boyfriend was ready to communicate and work on keeping this boundary together, it seems safe to say that this pattern will continue, and the boyfriend’s not going to be happy about it.