Good Evening
Good Evening

At impasse with boyfriend over alcohol

HELLO, CAROLYN: My boyfriend and I have been together nine months. When we first met, I made it really clear I did not want to date someone who drinks alcohol, and he told me he would quit. He did, and two months after that we became a couple. Four months later, he wanted to start drinking again. We argue about this constantly and I feel like we have hit an impasse where I don't accept his drinking and he won't stop. He claims he does not drink often, maybe five drinks a month, but I want it to be zero. We love each other, but I don't know how to get past this.

No Alcohol

NO ALCOHOL: Break up.

You don't get to tell people what to do or how to live. You can ask for things, but they can say no. And you asked, he agreed to it, he changed his mind. That's the end of the line. Argument over.

Reminder: Any time you "argue about [anything] constantly," then whatever problem you're arguing about is now secondary to the main problem of refusing to accept reality. That is always, always, the relationship equivalent of an own goal.

HI, CAROLYN: I'm a high school student who struggles with her mental health. It's really hard for me to motivate myself to do schoolwork, and my parents just discovered how horrible my grades are. My mom says we'll discuss it tonight, but she never wants to talk about my mental health or acknowledge it's a struggle for me. I really want to succeed, but I don't feel like I'm getting the support that I need, and she doesn't even want to talk. How do I get across to her that I need more help than I'm getting and I'm not just lazy?


STRUGGLING: I'm so sorry your mom doesn't hear you.

It's possible she's too scared to, or just feels out of her depth with mental health issues but feels like she "knows" school and grades and their black-and-white metrics. So she keeps returning to that as if it'll solve your other struggles.

Some suggestions:

First, talk to a school counselor or a teacher or coach you trust. Give yourself more than one place to go in case one of them lets you down.

Second, confide in your other parent one-on-one.

Third, writing. You do it clearly, so use that tonight and hand your thoughts to your parents. Just as it's a different process to write something versus say it, it's a different process to read something versus hear it. Let your mom read (and reread) how you feel. Don't accuse her, just explain yourself.

Fourth, if needed, ask to see your pediatrician. It's a confidential setting and this is just as much about your overall health as a flu would be, or a broken bone.

Good for you for articulating this. It might not be a straight path to getting what you need, but it is a brave first step.

TO: STUDENT: I think the best part of an educational professional's day is helping a student who wants to be helped. They want you to succeed. Asking for help is a great skill to have.


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