Does she really want to marry a barfly?

Ask Amy

Amy Dickinson, Ask Amy Ask Amy

Amy Dickinson is a general advice columnist.

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DEAR AMY: I am a 44-year-old with a live-in boyfriend. We get along really well, and our families have blended quite nicely. But there is one ongoing issue in our three-year relationship. I am not comfortable with how many nights my partner spends sitting at a bar. He says he is just going for an hour or two to visit with the boys. These "boys" are all men over 50. Most of them are alcoholics. They all drink and drive on a regular basis. I have expressed my concerns several times, and when I do, he seems to go out less often but always slips back into the same pattern. He says he "only" goes three, four or five times a week. Most lunch hours he can be found at a bar, and he drinks at home daily. I am ready to run for the hills. He thinks he and his buds are popular because every bartender and waitress knows them intimately. It makes me cringe, and I am embarrassed beyond belief. I cannot think of marrying this man (he has proposed) because of these "red flags." Am I being a "nag" (his words) or a doormat?Sad

DEAR SAD: "Nags" nag because they feel they aren't being heard. Nagging is repetition, sometimes amplified for emphasis. I'm not sure what about this scenario makes you a doormat, unless you are comparing yourself to the mat your guy steps over on his way to and from the bar.

I venture a guess that he has been a habitual heavy drinker and barfly the entire time you've known him. If he has changed recently, then by all means ask him to change back.

However, the rest is on you. You are the person you can count on. Do you want to live like this? Do you want to live with this?

If not one thing changes -- or if your partner starts drinking more than he currently does -- what will your choice be?

He sounds like someone who might best be loved from a distance.