midlife crisis or dislike

The Question


My partner and I have been together for 26 years (we are in our early 40s) and have two adult children. My partner drinks every night and when he drinks, he is not nice. He is rude, aggressive and hurtful. He has been arrested for his drunken behaviour.

Up until the last couple of years, we have been busy with our children and also he has been coaching AFL. As our children are now adults, I thought this would be a great time to reconnect. I have organised trips, outings, concerts, dinners. He is happy to go to the club for dinner, but doesn't want to go anywhere else because it is too expensive. He doesn't seem to be interested in anything, most particularly, me. Although I buy new clothes, wear makeup etc, he never says that I look nice or makes any comment on my appearance. I try hard, but I think he doesn't like me.

We want completely different things in life. He drinks every night, I don't drink at all. I want to buy a house for security, he doesn't want to go into debt. We both have very good and stable jobs so although we are not millionaires, we are not poor.

Noel's response

From what you say, I think there is a very good chance your partner has a drinking problem. He most likely has drunk a lot for many years, and alcoholism is a progressive disease.

He may feel guilty, remorseful and resentful, and think that alcohol is the only friend he has left, as he only feels ok when he is drinking. The fact that you do not drink at all may simply be increasing his guilt about his own drinking.

I suggest you go to a few alanon meetings (at least six) to see whether you can get some help there.

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