I broke up with my boyfriend of two years a little over a month ago and it’s been the most miserable time in my life. We met a almost 3 years ago through mutual friends and and struck up conversation and became closer with time. I have never known anyone like him, he is kind, thoughtful, he puts me first, he shows attention and I have never doubted or questioned his commitment, he makes me feel so loved. Being with him has been a great time.
We have our minor issues but we try and resolve them as amicably as possible. All that is good but here is the why. I have never had a problem with his light drinking but in the two years we have dated he has gotten a bit drunk once in a while and I loathe it when he does. We went to my cousin’s wedding and even when we knew there was an open bar, we agreed to just have a little then go home. Mandem went ahead and got quite sloshed and we had to leave the car and cab home. I was so pissed that he actually did that and he woke up and apologised before he picked up the car. I felt horrible and told him we needed to end this . He was upset but said we would work it out but I am now worried that I gave up something that was good. He has talked before about marriage and to be honest I don’t know what to do. This is someone I would like to spend my life with but I am also hurt. I have been thinking of the response you gave B but I also feel like I need to fight for this, for my joy but I am so conflicted.
Manzi wa Accounts
Dear Manzi wa Accounts,
I am sorry for how you feeling. It is not easy to break away from someone who you love and have invested time in. Especially when that person who you say loves you and is committed to you and has never made you doubt, hurts you and doesn’t respect a course of action that you have both agreed upon.
I am curious, what does fighting for the relationship mean or how does it look like to you? Does it mean that you accept that he will get drunk once in a while and that you will not get angry about it or does it mean that he stops drinking too much? Because you know there is only one person’s behaviour you can control here. And that’s you.
In fighting for the relationship, this means understanding that asking him to stop and him not stopping is something that will likely happen again. He has to be the one to initiate that change. He has to be willing to stop for his own sake, because he sees that it is detrimental for him and by extension the relationship. Not because you think he should because you asked him or because you think that if he really loved you he would change. That is not how it works. And if this is not something that you can accept, then maybe letting go of the relationship is what is the best option for the sake of your peace.
My position? Bend but don’t break. Keep in mind that he might not change and if that is something that you are willing to live with, you do so, without the expectation that he will change and without any resentment. No one is perfect and I don’t even think you expect him to be but the truth is, there are certain elements of a person that with time can cause disagreements and resentment so I suggest you think long and hard about what matters to you and if this is something you are willing to rethink your stance on.
Joy isn’t a finite thing. There is a lot of joy in this world Manzi wa Accounts. And you deserve it.
I want to share two things that I thought about with respect to your question:
The first is this quote:
No one can persuade another to change. Each of us guards a gate of change that can only be opened from the inside. We cannot open the gate of another, either by argument or emotional appeal.
And the second is a Twitter thread which you can read by clicking here.
May you find peace.