Every time my spouse drinks too much, it leads to a fight—either at the bar or on the way home. Can’t we just have a fun time?
It’s another Friday night, you’ve finished the week and all you want to do is go out and have a couple of drinks with your significant other. Unfortunately, you already know that this scenario can be tricky. In our society eating and drinking are equated with having fun. However, this situation can get a bit more complicated because when alcohol is in the mix, behaviors change, arguments arise and it becomes an issue that really needs to be looked after.
First of all, is it truly happening all the time or does it just feel that way because the two of you have different drinking styles? When you and your spouse drink and your behaviors begin to change, do you have different versions of fun? If that is the case, their drinking may take you out of your comfort zone, which could easily lead to fighting. So, do some self-reflection and if your versions of fun are different you may need to ease up a bit.
If your spouse is doing this every time you go out, it may mean there’s a larger drinking problem that has to be addressed. Pay attention, because a drinking problem would show up in other life situations as well.
Of course, your needs count too, and fighting in public is embarrassing. While it’s happening, one of the ways to avoid the fight is to control your reaction. Though it may seem difficult to do, it will be easier than trying to control him. You might even attempt some humor with the people your with. Later, when things have calmed down, you and your spouse can talk to each other; you can let them know that you find this continuation of behavior unpleasant and you feel that it is disrespectful toward you.
Here are some other pointers to improve the situation in the future:
Have a talk with your spouse where you express your concerns.
Make sure when you talk they understand that you recognize how they want to have fun.
Discuss the matter in an understanding way.
Be factual about the situation and speak about your feelings.
Above all, stay away from accusations and attacks.
There are a couple of things that can be done to slow the drinking process down—“nurse” the drinks ordered or switch to or alternate with club soda that looks like vodka.
Also, work out a signal between the two of you when you realize that the other is starting to go a bit overboard. Finally, remember that responsibility is the key and I hope you and your spouse enjoy many happy, fun occasions in the future!
Karen Sherman, Ph.D., (www.drkarensherman.com) is a practicing psychologist in relationships and lifestyle issues for over 20 years. She offers teleseminars and is co-author of Marriage Magic! Find It! Make It Last.