My boyfriend dated his ex for four years, and had very strong emotions for her. When they broke up, he began drinking and became an alcoholic. Despite the four years it has been since they broke up, in the year we’ve been dating, constant mentions of her and even obsessive contact has been an issue, yet he swears they could never be together again. Is it possible that his chronic drinking is preventing him from creating new memories with me (to a point) while keeping the memory and emotions associated with her fresh in his mind? Essentially, did his alcohol abuse prevent him from ever really moving on?
I think you are asking a very good question, but I don’t think it’s the right one. While I don’t know the answer to your question , I do know that this cannot be a satisfying relationship for you if he’s talking about his ex-girlfriend excessively, contacting her and doing it all the while he knows it upsets you. The real question is why you are staying with him? Regardless of if it’s a drinking issue or an unresolved love issue, the end result is that you not being treated well.
My suggestion is to focus on whether or not this relationship, as it is right now, is enough for you. Not its potential, but as it is right now. If he hasn’t changed in four years and hasn’t been able to curb his behavior in spite of knowing how difficult it is for you, you’ll want to question whether or not staying in the relationship is the right thing.
Dan Tomasulo Ph.D., TEP, MFA, MAPP teaches Positive Psychology in the graduate program of Counseling and Clinical Psychology at Columbia University, Teachers College and works with Martin Seligman, the Father of Positive Psychology in the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program at the University of Pennsylvania. He is Director of the New York Certification in Positive Psychology for the Open Center in New York City and on faculty at New Jersey City University. Sharecare has honored him as one of the top 10 online influencers on the topic of depression. For more information go to: http://www.dare2behappy.com/. He also writes for Psych Central's Ask the Therapist column and the Proof Positive blog.
APA Reference Tomasulo, D. (2018). Problems Due to Alcohol Abuse. Psych Central.
Retrieved on May 22, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2014/02/23/problems-due-to-alcohol-abuse/
Last updated: 8 May 2018 Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018 Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.