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Parallax - Advice            December 18, 2000

  He drinks, but she's still tempted

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I'm seeing a guy whom my parents already hate. I find him to be very funny and attractive, but I'm scared of his past and of his present (he drinks a lot - though not with me). I'm afraid of getting into another failed relationship. Should I end it right now, or believe he can change his habits?

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Her view:

Dear Unsure,

Your parents hate him, but he's not the first boyfriend to be hated by the in-laws, and that component is probably surmountable. However, the drinking raises a flag. I've never known anyone with a drinking issue, but that could be a large problem.

You like him quite a bit and he makes you laugh - that's important. However, it doesn't sound as though you know him very well. I think it's a little difficult to reach the right decision on this if you really don't know him. When you say that his past may be an issue, you need to figure out what actually happened. Was it excessive drinking or promiscuity? You need to get yourself a bevy of data. Then decide how important his past is to you and how big a problem his drinking is.

You won't be able to do this on your own - you will need to involve him. I suggest you be upfront and honest. Tell him about your concerns, ask a slew of questions, and then reach your decision in your time. Get to know him better - I have a feeling that when you do, the answer will be quite clear.

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His view:

Dear Unsure,

Do you still believe in the tooth fairy?

Odds are, he's not going to change. Whether his problem is alcoholism or heavy social drinking, the end result is the same if it bothers you (and your parents, understandably). Unless you are willing to become his nurse, caretaker, and designate driver-in-residence, I suggest you end it right now - more so, if he has a past history of alcohol-related 'usual suspects,' like violence.

The more intriguing problem, however, is your seeming inability to steer clear of failed relationships and parental disapproval. Maybe the one who seriously needs to change something is you.

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