The Functioning Alcoholic Who Wants to Live with You

Readers repeatedly ask me questions about their relationships with the functioning alcoholics in their lives. Today I will look at the case of the woman who is not yet living with her boyfriend, but wants to. She is concerned, however, about his alcohol consumption. It usually goes something like this:

“I’ve been wondering if my boyfriend has a drinking problem. He says he’s a functioning alcoholic, with the stress on “functioning.” I like the odd drink myself, but I can take it or leave it. We love each other and want to live together. Should I move in with him?” Signed, 29 and single

Well, 29 and single, it’s good that you are acknowledging right up front that there could be a problem. You show a healthy level of self esteem and confidence.

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The Healthy Marriage: Discover the Single Biggest Secret to a Pollution-Free Marriage

Is it possible to have a marriage relationship unpolluted by criticism?

Answer: Yes.

Could a relationship without criticism be healthy?

Answer: Yes. (One of them would not have to be dead, as an uncle suggested to me when I was entering my first adult relationship.)

Could you express your emotions and strongly disagree about something and yet still not criticize?

Answer: Yes.

The Upward Spiral of Communion

When you first meet someone, you talk, you get to know each other, you find you like each other, and you both want to talk more. Communication, knowledge and affection lead to a deep connection between you, so I call the process “the upward spiral of communion.” You are connecting at the heart, mind and spirit level. There can be no criticism.

If he or she were to criticize you early in your relationship, it would break the connection and you would part. If you were to feel critical, you would just leave with a silent “I don’t need this.”

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Personal Boundaries and Healthy Relationships

A lot of difficulties and stresses in marriage and other relationships arise from underdeveloped personal boundaries. But to understand this, we need to make sure we’re on the same page as to the meaning of the term “boundaries.”

Some confuse “putting up a wall” with “maintaining good personal boundaries.” A wall is a solid structure that keeps you inside and keeps everyone else out. I’m sure you’ve seen it happen that a family member will hear nothing you have to say and will reveal nothing of their thoughts or feelings to you. They “put up a wall.” Have you ever been there yourself?

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Reconnecting after a Death or Divorce

Dr. Neill Neill

Again and again I hear from people who are having difficulty with a new relationship in which one of the parties has recently been in a relationship which ended. 

The ending may have come through the death of a partner or a separation.  I define "recently" as during the past year or two. In either case a multitude of emotions will be surfacing.  In either case there will be grief, fear, resentment and anger before it’s over.

The one seeking help or advice is sometimes the person recently bereaved or separated, and sometimes the person who has entered a relationship with someone recently bereaved or separated.

Before going into a discussion of the issue, I must declare that I have been there…

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