Tell Me About It: Girlfriend refuses to celebrate sobriety

Published September 4 2018

Q: Iíve been in a serious relationship with someone pretty wonderful for the most part of a year. It could be the real thing. But now something has come up that has made me question it.

Iím a recovering alcoholic, and got sober with the help of my family at a time when it threatened my life. Itís been nearly nine years.

My sobriety birthday is coming up. I have an Alcoholics Anonymous home group. I have a lot of friends in the group, and Iím looking forward to my birthday meeting. I really want her to come with me, but she refuses. She doesnít think sheíll be comfortable.

The fact that she wonít spend an hour on something this important to me has me wondering what other land mines we might find in our relationship. It doesnít feel as if itís enough to break up over, but it feels like a bad omen.

Do you think this could be a sign of bigger trouble ahead?

Sober and Thankful

A: This is clearly important to you, and she wonít give it an hour? Hm. I actually think this is potentially breakup-worthy. Donít respond rashly, but donít rule anything out, either.

On top of that significant issue, though, thereís also the issue of her refusal and her excuse-making in general, and thatís where your bigger challenges might lie.

She has refused your invitation for reasons that are, respectively, the emotional equivalent of a hangnail and breezily insulting.

And that leaves you two possibilities that arenít terribly promising. Either these are her actual reasons and she freely prioritizes her hangnail over your emotional core, or she has excellent reasons and canít or wonít articulate them to you.

Or, that she just doesnít grasp how high the stakes are for you and/or you just havenít made them clear.

Spell out your concerns and ask for a reckoning: Is there more to this that she isnít saying out loud? Itíll speak volumes how, in this context, she chooses to speak for herself.