What Behavior Is Unacceptable in a Relationship?

love u podcast

Sure, cheating, lying and abuse are no-nos. But what about porn? Flirting? Drinking? Smoking? Drugs? Video games? Working late? Traveling? Time with friends? Family? Hobbies? In this week’s Love U Podcast, I’m going to help you figure out what is acceptable and unacceptable, once and for all.

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  1. 1

    Michelle is dating a functional alcoholic. When Evan explained that drinking every day after work is a sign of this, she disagreed and thinks that having 4 beers isn’t a big deal. She only has a problem with his behavior when he’s drunk. Some women don’t mind it when their boyfriend gets drunk and acts like a fool. They think it’s funny. Michelle doesn’t and it affects her attraction for him. Eventually, she will lose respect for him and it’s really difficult for a woman to maintain a happy relationship with a man she doesn’t respect. I would be less focused on the possibility that he’s on a slippery slope and more focused on the fact that his current behavior is a turn off. A conversation isn’t going to solve the problem. If he agrees to always drink responsibly, etc, it won’t change the fact that she’s turned off when he gets drunk.

    Lynn dodged a bullet. Adults should know who they can vent to and who they can’t. Some people like creating a dynamic where everyone is on their side and at odds with each other and those people should be avoided like the plague.

    1. 1.1

      Agreed. So often, talking about this with someone who wants to do that behavior, just results in that person hiding the behavior. If you can’t accept exactly what they are showing you, then that’s a person you don’t want.

    2. 1.2
      dlw sport

      I am dating a guy who drinks about 4-5 bottles of wine per week. He has so many great qualities. However, the drinking is so unacceptable that I have quit drinking because he would blame me for issues as he would say, “we drank too much”.

  2. 2
    Dr LoriAnne Page

    Safe drinking for men is 14 drinks per week or an average of 2 per day. Safe drinking for women is 7 drinks per week or an average of one drink per day. Having multiple drinks in one day increases the risk of unsafe drinking and is indicative of a problem. So if a man has all 14 of his drinks in a one to two day time frame, this is a kind of binge drinking behavior and may signify a problem. I’m a clinical psychologist and have specialized in the treatment of addictions.

    1. 2.1
      Another Doc

      Please read and respect Dr. Page’s explanation of safe and problematic drinking. It is too easy for individuals (especially on the internet) to dismiss the facts and opinions expressed  by experts en lieu of their own and their friend’s and family’s experiences. The latter is called anecdotal experience and, while helpful, is not data-driven and powerful as the studies involving multiple individuals that experts such as Dr. Page are knowledgeable about.

    2. 2.2
      Lisa D Merrill

      Safe drinking for men is two drinks a day for every one of the 7 days of the week? NO! NO! NO! That cannot be right. I would be looking down my nose at any man having two drinks per day EVERY day of the week!

  3. 3

    Okay , if you want to know what the medical definition is of alcoholism, or EXCESSIVE alcohol use, or BINGING – read on :  http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/alcohol-use-disorder/basics/definition/con-20020866

    Only YOU can decide what is best for yourself. Drug and alcohol use has many forms, i.e. though someone may binge every three months, they are not, by medical terms, considered an alcoholic. Too much of anything can lead to addictions, medical problems, etc…   Case in point – if it doesn’t work for you, then don’t stay in the relationship. Not worth the time.

  4. 4

    This Podcast was just what I needed to hear, I feel like I’m Michelle. I’ve been dating a man for almost four months who treats me well but like Michelle is a hard partier,   he’s almost 50 (I’m almost 40) so it’s not like he’s a 20 something. He works hard but plays harder and it’s having an effect on me, I’ve brought it up more than once that his level of drinking bothered me and really nothing has changed. He is divorced with three mostly grown daughters, and has mentioned a few times he needs a “release” when he drinks which I think bothers me most. I have no reason to worry about him cheating, he just likes to go out – a lot. I like to go out and have fun but not 4-5 times a week getting plastered, he also “smokes” a lot which is legal here but he gets annoying and it’s hard to feel a connection. I should also mention he travels a lot for work and weekends are mainly our time together so it’s hard to enjoy those as much when he’s messed up so much we can’t even have real conversations and build anything. I hate to throw out an otherwise good guy but I feel like I’m losing respect for him which is the death of a blooming relationship. I’m not ready to make a decision right now, it’s hard, but I’m going to sit back and like Michelle try and process this. It’s only four months in.

    1. 4.1

      ” otherwise good guy”

      How’s that a good guy? Any guy is only as good as he treats you.

      1. 4.1.1

        Its a shame more people dont work on their codependency

    2. 4.2

      Hi Kh77,

      Your boyfriend sounds a lot like the boyfriend i had in my late teens. He had just started studying and was enjoying the party hard lifestyle with his roommates 24/7. While his roommates were able to balance it with regular quiet nights, the drinking of my boyfriend spiraled out of hand, until i felt i was dating a moronic stranger, not the wonderful boy i had first gotten to know. I am sorry to say that this behaviour doesn’t usually change because the partner finds it a problem, they need to get a grip on it and that can take years if not decades. Whenever i was about to leave he would sober up for a few days and be the boy i fell in love with. Only for him to fall off the wagon and go on a drinking binge a few days later. It’s a nasty cycle, and i hope you are able to make a decision that is good for you.

    3. 4.3

      I am sorry if this sounds harsh…

      But in 4 months you have noticed he parties hard. 4-5 times a week? How hard is his job that he needs a release from it almost every night?

      He is using drugs and alcohol to escape – something? BUT if he is always “messed up so much” you can’t even have a real conversation or build anything – what kind of relationship is that? It isn’t your job to fix his problems  – he needs to fix himself.

      You know logically that nothing is going to change or get better – and if you aren’t happy now – why stay? What is there to process? You know you deserve better.

      1. 4.3.1
        Gail B

        Couldn’t agree more, Queen Bee – had a relationship with an alcoholic for 18 months…nothing changed because he couldn’t or wouldn’t see his problem, and own it.   It almost destroyed me – until I got smart.   No-one deserves this kind of crap in a relationship.   We are worth so much more.

        1. Malika

          I am so glad you realized this. A friend of mine is a former alcoholic and he admitted that he went into arrested development when he developed an addiction to alcohol in his early twenties. Now in his early thirties and sobered up, he is getting round to the developmental milestones he avoided while subsuming himself in alcohol. The perpetual child-like state of an alcoholic  is frustrating, and not something you want to subject yourself  to by being his or her romantic partner.

          Note: I don’t know if that is the case for Michelle. A heavy drinker can still be highly functional in life. While it’s not an aspect you crave in a romantic partner, a heavy drinking pattern is not the same as being a full blown alcoholic.

  5. 5


    “I hate to throw out an otherwise good guy but I feel like I’m losing respect for him which is the death of a blooming relationship”.

    Loss of respect is the death of a relationship. Whether you wait a month or a year, you’ll eventually have to deal with it. I hope you’re able to do it sooner so you are able to meet someone who is a better match for you. Good luck!

    1. 5.1

      Thank you everyone. Yes, I need to face the music and end this. I know it’s not a reason to postpone things but I’m turning 40 next week, then there’s Valentines Day and I’m also moving next month to another apartment so it’s just something I don’t want to deal with. I’ve been dating so much and one finally seemed to stick and it just sucks, it’s like I can’t win. I know it’s not a reason to settle and I certainly have enough self esteem to know I deserve more from a partner but it still sucks and hurts a bit.

      1. 5.1.1

        If it helps at all, I am 44, sole parent, had been single for 8 years and had finally committed to one man 9 months ago. From the outset he was sonderful and had been my best friend for 4 years previous. Turns out he is bi polar and unmedicated. During our time together I compromised my goals and what I believe as acceptable treatments just to be auccessful in a relationship …….don’t put this off…. Your birthday will be much better without him. And Valentines Day is a crock… Every day can be special if it is spent with those that respect and adore you. It is the 4th day after my break up and I can tell you that I love the man I broke up with with all my being … But… His behaviour made me question my worth…. Best to get the hell out and work on you and realised how amazing you are…. Because you are worth it. Wishing you the most beautiful day X

      2. 5.1.2
        Lisa D Merrill

        Well there are lots more much older men out there than just this guy looking for a much younger woman like yourself Hun. I’m sure you will find another one! They certainly do not want to date age appropriate! So you shouldn’t have a problem.

  6. 6

    As Evan said, you are wrong for staying with a man hoping he will change.

  7. 7

    I am Michelle too and just left a guy like that after 9 months of relationship, waiting, and many unconfrontational talks. The bottom line was he didn’t change. He likes to drink and he likes his booze. He told me that if I couldn’t accept him for who he was it was my problem.

    I couldn’t.   I am 2 months after break up and after reading about alcohol everywhere I could I understand 1) it is progressive disease   2) he was like that before me 3) he will be like that after 4) nothing I can do about that. He was in his 40s there is no point trying to change a grown man. I heard about ex wife leaving too and her lack of commitment. Now I understand none can commit to someone who puts alcohol first above everything and above my happiness. All those words and Him being good guy didn’t matter. At the end he became non reliable. I couldn’t imagine my kids growing up with him having beer in his hand on a daily basis and thinking it’s ok. I left and have no regrets.

    My advice to Michelle- run, you are wasting your time with this guy. Read about alcohol , co dependency, don’t even think you can fix him with conversations. Stay ink   If you can tolerate drinking.

  8. 8
    BTU Queen

    If Michelle’s boyfriend gets drunk every other weekend she’s not getting much quality time with him.   He’s a sloppy drunk on Saturday and hungover on Sunday.

  9. 9

    porn, drinking, smoking and drugs are not acceptable in our culture. western culture is very different from eastern   culture.

    1. 9.1

      Oh well I guess I’ll leave.

    2. 9.2

      That’s a weird thing to say.   Being a female you might not know what eastern men get up to, because you are stuck at home.   My last relationship was with an Egyptian- him and his eastern and middle eastern mates from various countries in the east/middle/ Asia including India   snorted mountains of coke, drank buckets of alcohol, viewed porn, took any drug they could get their hands on, smoked and then drove home to their loving, oblivious wives who knew none of this.    I have found middle eastern men the absolute worst hypocrites on earth.   That has been my observation.   I also have a close Sri Lankan male friend who gets slaughtered out of his brain regularly. I’ve met plenty of Asian drunks as well.   I’m not sure what country at this point doesn’t have men that don’t behave that way behind closed doors in it!!   Alcohol is a worldwide problem.   Some are better at pretending they don’t do it, than others I’ve discovered.

  10. 10
    Sally A

    You’re being WAY too understanding.   This guy is choosing his alcohol over his relationship(s).   He’s running from something emotionally and is self-medicating.   This is his problem, Michele shouldn’t take it on.

  11. 11

    I was married to a man who did n’t smoke or drink or look at porno.   Not a rich man, but decently attractive.   He was polite during the time we dated.   After our marriage he let anxiety take over his entire formerly nice personality.   He would yell for hours every Sunday. I would go to work feeling drained every Monday.   He would yell about the garbage bag being put in improperly, because the phone rang and I didn’t let all the air out.   He would yell about my hours at work, that I didn’t come home in time to make our dinner slooooooowly–(but at least I had a decent dinner 90% ready when he walked in the door, so I was confused as to why he was complaining.)   I couldn’t understand this unreasonableness, and he would never tell me what was eating away at him.   This behavior was unacceptable and it caused our marriage to ultimately fail.   But not before he got more extreme with his complaints, and I started fearing him, fled at odd hours in the night from the house, to sleep in my vehicle for safety.   Unacceptable behavior only escalates.   I still cannot figure out the reason for his anxiety, but it was unacceptable.

    1. 11.1

      Men having an affair quite often become nit picking tyrants at home.   It appeases their guilty consciences if they can find every single fault wrong with their spouse while they are boning a deplorable piece of shit…… It’s a common phenomenon.. Something to think about??

      1. 11.1.1

        So true, I found this out after the fact.   They pick fights.   And in fairness women do the same when they are having an affair.

  12. 12

    No addiction of any kind is acceptable. A healthy relationship wouldnt even require anyone looking at porn or seeking outside stimulation. People in healthy relationships continuously have sex. If each person is in their right mind, there will not be any abuse.



  13. 13

    My boyfriend of 3 years and half and i only have sex when i force him. Ok not literally but i get rejected 9 times out of 10. Iam thin, clean and i have a high sex drive. Iam not a prude. We used to have awesome sex at the begaining of the relationship and he eventualy lost interest, refusing that i touch him etc. We still have sex but i feel he is else where in his head. He also has an addiction to ps4 and has been unfailtful with several of his ex’s. 8 months after we were togueter he confessed he was sexting with a co worker and exchanging photos of his self masturbating. Since then our sex life started to be bad. I should prolly have left but i didnt and now i feel like crap each time he rejects me or even when we have sex as i feel no real intimacy. We are both 42.

    1. 13.1
      Lisa D Merrill

      Wow are you settling for crumbs. What? Are you afraid to be alone? No self confidence? You are with a JERK! GET the eff out! TODAY!

  14. 14

    lol I wish I had issues in past relationship such as he is good but maybe he plays video games, he is good but maybe he socially drinks a little too much, or he is good but this that and the third. im trying to get to not having a cheater problem lol

  15. 15

    Evan was too weak on this one.   He should have told her to dump his sorry ass … he is an alcoholic and she needs to get out and stop making excuses for him.

  16. 16


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