Will My Boyfriend Ruin Me?

By Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

My name is Ashley, I am 20 years old. Still very young and have a lot to learn, that is what brought me here. My boyfriend, Michael, is 27 years old, lives with his grandfather and just recently finished Cosmetology school. I have known him for almost a year, but we have only been dating for 7 months. In those 7 months we have spent almost all of our time together and have only had a few big fights. My parents found out about 2 months ago that Michael was on Methadone. He used to do Heroine and Opiate Pills. When I met him about a year ago he was at 40 mg of Methadone a day and now he is down to about 25 mg a day. In the time that I have known him he has never done Heroin that I am aware of and I trust that he hasn’t. However, he has taking a few Opiate Pills, which my parents are not aware of. The first time he took a pill while we were spending time together he got very mean and violent. The next morning, he didn’t remember a thing, but apologized and promised it would never happen again. And it hasn’t. When him and I first started dating he drank a lot and when I told him that it bothered me, he stopped. Now, he only drinks once or twice every two weeks. My parents believe he is going to ruin me life and turn me to drugs and other bad substances. I know myself and I trust that I would never do anything to put myself in harms way. I have made it very clear to Michael that if he ever goes back to Pills or Heroin that I will leave without giving him the opportunity to explain. He is working, and finishing up his last few exams at the Cosmetology school. He currently does not have a license due to the DUI he received about 6 months ago, but he has been going to classes to get an occupational license. He only has once class left before he receives that. For the most part I am truly happy with Michael. The only times I’m not is when he drinks which is not often. Like I said, once or twice every two weeks. He knows he messed up in his past and continues to make mistakes, but he claims he is trying. And I see him trying everyday, but my parent’s do not. They refuse to see him, speak with him. They have not spoke to him since they found out he was on Methadone. I am torn. I love my family, but I love Michael as well. When my parents found out about him taking Methadone and began pretending that he didn’t exist, I moved in with Michael and his grandfather. Recently, Michael and I have seriously been talking and looking into getting an apartment together. I’m not sure what to tell my parents. But him and I both are serious about making this work and having a life together. Him and I have been through so much bad things together in the last year that should have torn us apart, but instead just brought us closer together and made us stronger and I truly believe that it will all be worth it in the end, when it comes to the issues with my parents. He is a good man that made big mistakes, but is doing everything in his power to make his life right, now. I just wish my parents could see that. Am I making the right choice by choosing Michael and possibly losing my family? My parents are smart people, but I feel like if I don’t live my life the way I want to even though I might get hurt and I just walk away now because it is what my parents want, I will always wonder what could have been if I just continued to have faith in Michael, have faith in us that we would make it? I would always wonder what could have been.

A: Thank you for asking this question. Your letter is very touching because it is so sincere. Your parents want the best for you and that is likely to be what is causing the trouble. Michael has a very long road of recovery in front of him, and I am glad he is off to a good start. Recovery from the kind of addiction he has is difficult and it is common for there to be achievements mixed with setbacks and disappointments. You letter speaks of these already. While taking methadone he has taken opiate pills, you say he has cut back, but hasn’t stopped drinking, and he is still struggling with the aftereffects of his DUI. In other words, Michael is far from being out of the woods.

If you are serious that you want to stay with him, your love will not be enough and it will cause strife between you and your parents. If you want to be a partner to someone with an addiction you need to work very hard at not losing your family, your friends and yourself.
Your love needs to be mixed with the wisdom of the millions of people who have come before you who have loved those with drinking and drug problems. I recommend you go to six Nar anon meetings or six Al-anon meetings in your area to learn more exactly what you are up against.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 11 Oct 2012

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2012). Will My Boyfriend Ruin Me?. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 22, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2012/10/11/will-my-boyfriend-ruin-me/