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He says I’m weak and pathetic

Love Letters

Love Letters

What’s been on your mind? Send your relationship question to loveletters@globe.com or fill out this form.

Q. I decided to move out west temporarily during COVID to be closer to my sister and her family, and to take the opportunity to ski and hike more while we were working from home. I met someone through a dating app (we’re both in our mid-late 30s, no kids, never married), which was surprising because I hadn’t met many people in Boston that I clicked with.

We have a great time in the outdoors and going out to dinner. We’re both career-focused, and family is important to both of us. Everything was going great and I felt so lucky that I finally found my person. Within a couple of months we were having some serious conversations about a future together … but he also started to show me who he really is – an alcoholic (which runs in his family). When he would drink, he would say mean things to me (“you’re pathetic, you’re weak, you’re annoying”) and then not remember any of it in the morning. It made me feel so small and like I actually was pathetic and weak, etc. In the morning he would apologize, and when I brought up his drinking as a problem, he would get mad at me for being a nag and “trying to control him instead of just loving who he is.”

A couple of months ago he decided to get sober (yay!) but now he’s slipping back into his old ways, starting to drink more regularly, saying some cruel things. I’m so anxious about all of it that I have become a nag and I don’t know what to do. I do love him but the ups and downs are really hard to get through. I want someone I can depend on and build a family with. How am I supposed to trust that he would be there for me and a future family? Making matters worse is that I’ve officially moved out here and my sister has moved back east. I feel really lonely and stupid for making this big move.




A. You’re not a nag. You want to live a happy life with someone who treats you well. That’s not a character flaw.

I know you love him, but this letter is a list of reasons you should end this relationship.

You want to build a good future for yourself. He’s proving that he’s not the partner for that.

After bad nights, his morning response isn’t even an apology. It’s, “Put up with this. Don’t ask for more.”

You are not weak. You can let go of someone who makes you feel unsafe and bad about yourself. Yes, you’ll miss the good stuff, but there’s not enough of it anymore — and no consistency. End this relationship and consider where you want to live. Is it best to go back to Boston? Maybe somewhere new? Or would you like to build a life, on your own, where you are? Put everything on the table and ask your community (family and friends you trust, etc.) for help as you do it. Maybe visit your sister to sort this out so you have some space to think.

As you make these plans, consider therapy, even in a group setting. Anything to build yourself back up.


His version of what’s happening is not your truth. Start planning for something better.



Mere suggested therapy and I’m going to suggest something more specific: Al-Anon or a therapist who deals specifically with addiction and the families of addicts. Wishing you all the best. Get away from him. Like, yesterday.


He’s an alcoholic who tells you nasty, cruel things when he’s drunk and when he’s sober. You’ve said nothing appealing about him. I’m struggling to figure out what you love about him, except that he’s there.


I see myself in this letter because I dated and moved in with someone who had a drinking problem. I didn’t know it at the time I moved in, but it slowly revealed itself. Like you, I thought I could encourage him and love him enough so that he would want to get sober. I had to walk away. Strongly consider doing the same. He is not able to give you the stability that you are looking for. He needs to get sober on his own.


Send your own relationship and dating questions to loveletters@globe.com. Catch new episodes of Meredith Goldstein’s “Love Letters” podcast at loveletters.show or wherever you listen to podcasts. Column and comments are edited and reprinted from boston.com/loveletters.

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