Have I totally screwed up
May 15, 2011 9:22 AM   Subscribe

How do I stop my girlfriend hating me?

Last week my girlfriend's dad was diagnosed with leukaemia.

On Friday I went out for a few drinks with some friends, and ended up getting rather drunk. On my way home my girlfriend called, in tears at the thought of her dad suffering. Unfortunately at this point I was completely inebriated, and hung up on her while I got some food. Of course, this didn't go down to well.

I called her today, to apologise. Understandably, she was incredibly angry, and she described me as a "horrible person" and an "idiot" and someone she's wasted the last six years of her life with. She hung up on me and we haven't spoken since.

I don't want to be judged on this - I know what I did was reckless and stupid. Although I've usually been a kind of mellow and friendly person when I'm drunk I really think it's been bringing out the worse in me recently. I tend to binge too, and it's becoming a big problem. I'm going to my first AA meeting this week.

I still really love my girlfriend. We've had a rocky relationship, but recently things had been going incredibly well - better than they ever have before. She needs me now, more than ever, and I want her to know that I'm there for her, and that she can count on me. I find the thought of her being alone with no one to comfort her upsetting.

So my question is, how do I regain her trust? Will she ever trust me again? Alcohol has been a major factor in our lives, and I have said that I'd quit many times before, so obviously she doesn't believe that I will. Our relationship is my priority right now though, and these recent events have been a definite wake up call. I just don't know what to do.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (31 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Tell her all this. Emphasize that you were drunk during the incident. Tell her you're going to AA. Hope for the best.
posted by elektrotechnicus at 9:25 AM on May 15, 2011

Whenever I was a kid and I told my mom I was sorry about something shitty I'd done, she would say "dont tell me you're sorry. Show me you're sorry." ask your girlfriend to give you the opportunity to show her how sorry you are. If she gives it to you, go out of your way to show it.

And for fuck's sake, stop drinking.
posted by to sir with millipedes at 9:28 AM on May 15, 2011 [47 favorites]

All you can do is make this change inyour life with regard to your drinking. What you did was stupid but not worth ending a relatuonship, in my opinion, but she is in a difficult place, and may not see things the same way. Best of luck to you and her and her family.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 9:30 AM on May 15, 2011

The only way you can earn back her trust is to truly change your behavior. Please get sober for yourself, though, not for the sake of this relationship. If it's not for you, it's not going to stick.
posted by something something at 9:33 AM on May 15, 2011

First of all you could try actually going over to visit her instead of just calling her on the phone. Bring some flowers, etc.
posted by delmoi at 9:39 AM on May 15, 2011 [3 favorites]

if you've said this, or some variation of this,

She needs me now, more than ever, and I want her to know that I'm there for her,

to her, I can't blame her for not speaking to you.

Where do you get off deciding she needs you? She's quite clearly told you that she doesn't. Not only does she not need you at this moment, she doesn't want you right now. Don't try to change her mind, because you can't. The only thing you can change is your behavior.
posted by bilabial at 9:44 AM on May 15, 2011 [22 favorites]

She may very well might not want to deal with supporting/fixing/negotiating with you right now. She has more important things to focus her energy on, and you may be making things more difficult for her. She shouldn't have to deal with you and her father at the same time, not if she doesn't want to. So step back and offer to be there for her as a friend. Make no demands or promises.
posted by yarly at 9:47 AM on May 15, 2011 [8 favorites]

I don't want to be judged on this

Of course not. That's understandable. But the reality is that this has happened.

how do I regain her trust? Will she ever trust me again?

She has to agree to let you have a chance to regain her trust. The best course of action, it would seem, would be for you to be there for her -- tell her you'll help her with whatever she needs, whenever she needs it, you're there for her, or not, if she doesn't want you to be. She's completely in control of this now. You did something really contemptible (no offense) and this may be the end, but whether it is or not, she decides. Show her that this was an aberration and that she can rely on you to be the partner she really needs.

At least, that's what I would normally say, if not for this:

Although I've usually been a kind of mellow and friendly person when I'm drunk I really think it's been bringing out the worse in me recently. I tend to binge too, and it's becoming a big problem....Alcohol has been a major factor in our lives, and I have said that I'd quit many times before, so obviously she doesn't believe that I will. Our relationship is my priority right now though, and these recent events have been a definite wake up call. I just don't know what to do.

I think you have serious issues here that you may only be taking semi-seriously. Get yourself in order, my friend, you can't be an equal partner in this if you're struggling with patterns that make you unreliable and difficult to be with.

Your priority should not be the relationship right now, because if it is (and I'm guessing here) you're going to continue drinking, which will push the relationship toward failure. Make your drinking problem your priority and hope that she still wants you when you're in a better place.
posted by clockzero at 9:58 AM on May 15, 2011 [2 favorites]

At first glance, this seems like a little one-off incident, but it's not, is it? If it is part of a larger and more alarming pattern, treating it as a one-time thing that should probably be blown off (as I think you do here) is part of the problem. Take responsibility for your drinking and change.
posted by grouse at 10:09 AM on May 15, 2011 [2 favorites]

Why aren't you at an AA meeting today, instead of posting here? Or yesterday? I think you should be going to AA--more than once, maybe daily--before you show up promising this time is different.
posted by min at 10:18 AM on May 15, 2011 [9 favorites]

Your relationship shouldn't be your priority right now. Your priority should be getting and staying sober. If that saves your relationship, that's great. But it might not. Your girlfriend might not want to save your relationship, and if it's been six years of dealing with your drinking and having you repeatedly break promises to get sober, I can't say I blame her. But you still need to stop drinking, and you need to do that for yourself.

Your drinking may have cost you this relationship, but it will cost you much more if you keep letting it control you. You need to take responsibility for your actions, which means not only taking this incident seriously, but also taking seriously the fact that your drinking is a big problem in your life. Get some counseling, get into AA, and then when you've been sober for a while, reevaluate and decide then how best to make amends to her.
posted by decathecting at 10:24 AM on May 15, 2011 [12 favorites]

Frankly, your relationship shouldn't be your priority now. Your priority should be sobriety. It's a function of your alcoholic way of thinking to focus outside of yourself to ease your suffering. That's what you're doing whenever you drink. It's also what you're doing now to stop feeling like a bad person. The truth is, it doesn't matter whether or not you're a good person to her at this moment. Trying to assuage your guilt feelings, repair your wounded ego, and calm your panic at the prospect of losing her is understandable but really inappropriate right now. Were I you, I would send her a card sincerely apologizing for my insensitivity. Then, I would step away from her, work on my own problems, and, as they say, work the steps to figure out why I did what I did.

The reality is, yes, you messed up here, but this incident is probably a part of a much, much larger pattern of behavior that your girlfriend is fed up with. She's probably seeing many things through a whole new lens now, a circumstance not unheard of when people start to deal with startling, high stakes realities like cancer, suffering and/or death of a parent, etc. Put another way, she may view life as too short to put up with your alcoholic carelessness and callousness anymore. You ought to prepare yourself for the real possibility that, if you take seriously a commitment to getting and staying sober, lots of things will change, up to and including changing or ending some primary relationships.

I wish you the best of luck. Get sober, work on yourself, and start taking responsibility for your actions.
posted by TryTheTilapia at 10:24 AM on May 15, 2011 [7 favorites]

Ask yourself if you really truly will stop drinking, or if you're going to try for a few weeks and then decide that your drinking isn't so bad after all. Because if there's a chance that you won't quit, she does not need to be put on the emotional rollercoaster of believing you and then being let down. You can try to be there for her in the meantime if she accepts you being around, but don't make promises to her about the drinking until you've actually done it.
posted by never.was.and.never.will.be. at 10:29 AM on May 15, 2011

I still really love my girlfriend. We've had a rocky relationship, but recently things had been going incredibly well - better than they ever have before. She needs me now, more than ever, and I want her to know that I'm there for her, and that she can count on me.

But you weren't there for her. What she needs is someone who actually is there for her 100%, not someone who hangs up on her so he can her some food.

And maybe she can't forgive you. Maybe she needs to be apart from you in order to be okay. That's her call. All you can do is be apologetic, acknowledge your problems and fix yourself. Because you can't be there for others if you're not altogether there yourself.
posted by inturnaround at 10:30 AM on May 15, 2011 [3 favorites]

This is going to be a bit harsh, but, from a random stranger on the Internet:

Why did you go out Friday night with friends, rather than be there to support her? If you've been together six years, I imagine you know her family, and even if she was with them, you would have been welcome.

Additionally, why didn't you call her Saturday? It's Sunday, you said you waited till today to call her.

If this is typical of how your part of the relationship is, no, she doesn't need your support. What support are you showing her? On top of dealing with her father's illness, she is also dealing with your carousing, hanging up on her, and half hearted apologies a day & a half later.

Like I said at the start, I am a stranger on the Internet. I don't know anything about her relationship with her family, your relationship with her family or why you went out and got plowed Friday night.
posted by kellyblah at 10:33 AM on May 15, 2011 [21 favorites]

Ah, yes; the queue could explain a bit of that. I had erroneously thought that some questions had come through late last night/earlier this morning, my mistake.
posted by kellyblah at 10:43 AM on May 15, 2011

Leave her alone and deal with your own demons. This was not a one-off incident, this was the final straw. She doesn't need to deal with an alcoholic boyfriend on top of her dad's illness.

Let this be the wakeup call that might eventually save YOUR life both literally and figuratively.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 10:58 AM on May 15, 2011 [6 favorites]

I've been with someone like you. You'll make grand gestures and say you'll try to change, she'll take you back, but everything will eventually end up the same again. Don't try to repair this relationship. Just let her move on and find happiness with someone else who doesn't have alcohol problems and wants to really be there for her. In the meantime, you need you work on yourself and your sobriety.
posted by side effect at 11:35 AM on May 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

I want her to know that I'm there for her, and that she can count on me.

But you're not there for her and she can't count on you. You've proven this. More than once. She doesn't know this thing because it isn't true. You should try to come to terms with the fact that you are unreliable and not to be trusted because of the way you've behaved, and especially because of the drinking.

If you are rationalizing to yourself that really, you're a trustworthy, reliable partner except for that one time, and that other time, and that other time, but those don't really count.. consider that to other people, this constitutes a pattern which says you can't be counted on - or that you can only be counted on when you feel like it and aren't drinking, which means you can't really be counted on. I'm just saying, if you really want to change it's important to recognize what you've done and that it matters.
posted by citron at 12:15 PM on May 15, 2011 [16 favorites]

I can understand people here being triggered or upset by your description of your behavior - you sound like a classic alcoholic personality, and this can be very painful to be around for others.

But let me put it a slightly different way, a hypothetical: Your girlfriend's stuck on the 2nd floor of a burning house. You're outside with two broken legs and no ladder. What you're asking for here is for us to support you in getting your girlfriend to jump down and bandage your legs, then run back inside so you can pretend to save her. You need help yourself, but you want to feel like you're the one who's helping.

It doesn't make sense, and it's not gonna work. You don't sound like you're in a position to help her, or to be in a relationship, frankly. You sound like you need to be treated for alcoholism.
posted by facetious at 12:17 PM on May 15, 2011 [12 favorites]

This is going to be very long. It will be very long because I have something important to explain to you, and it is hard to explain.

Understanding what it's like to see a parent suffering in a grievous, life-threatening situation is something that's impossible until you've experienced it yourself. In fact, ten years after I did experience it myself, I find that I no longer really understand it. Watching your strong, mighty, all-powerful parent lying helpless, and finally taking his last breath, hearing the last horrifying groan of air coming out of his lungs, seeing him lying there in front of you with his mouth frozen open in a wide skewed O, and the distance between him and you now is so close, like God reaching out to touch Adam's hand, and he was here only moments ago, and if you could only reach far enough, you could pull him back across that great divide.

But I couldn't. I couldn't.

Okay? See what I mean? She is dealing with this and with everything that comes before it, and all of it is ugly.

But that's only part of dealing with a dangerously ill parent.

Part of the horror of the experience is discovering that all the systems that are supposed to be there for you, really aren't. Let me give you just one example: one day, there was a ring at the doorbell. I answered to see a cheerful green-suited paramedic. "Is Mr. Alien ready?"

"For...?" It turned out that the ambulance had come to take him to his very first radiotherapy appointment. The paramedic was crestfallen to learn that Mr. Alien had already been dead two weeks and that we were busy cleaning the house for his funeral that afternoon. That experience was consistent with the way the health system treated my father from start to finish. And I had to fight every step of the way for that much. It was time-consuming, arduous and exhausting.

I just cut out a lot of paragraphs from this. There's just so much more to tell. I'm only going to say that at a time like this, all the irresponsibility of everybody you ever knew comes home to roost. Many times I felt like the only responsible person on my side. But here is one relevant example.

At the time, I couldn't drive, and the bus service was nearly nonexistent where we lived. My mother was late for a crucial appointment (cancer brings financial problems, and when your father's paralyzed hand can't open his own mail any more, you find out about the serious debt problem he's been hiding), because she had unbeknownst to me been trying to pull my obese father onto and off the toilet without any assistance or training in lifting him. (Later, on his medical chart, I saw that the nurses were instructed to use a hoist to move him.) I called the cab company, which had recently changed management, and really wasn't particularly bothering to provide any service any more. Nevertheless, I explained it was really urgent. They said five minutes. Fifteen minutes later I called again. Ten minutes after that I called again, desperately hoping to salvage what was left of the appointment. The controller said I should have pre-booked it the night before. I explained that the previous time I'd done that, it hadn't turned up and I'd been told I should have phoned right when I wanted the cab. "It happens sometimes," said the controller. I burst into tears and he hung up on me. I ran down the street screaming and screaming and screaming and screaming and screaming. Because why not? Why the fuck not? It was all in a day's work, believe me.

What is my point? Although this narrative may seem, and in fact be, very self-indulgent, I am trying very hard here to impress upon you what your girlfriend is going through now and what she has ahead of her. This is what it is like when your parent is diagnosed with cancer. This is your girlfriend's foreseeable future. Please take this in.

And here is the part where I explain to you exactly how making your relationship with her a priority is not going to help her.

The one light in the darkness was that I'd made a friend at my new job, and he was more than happy to drive me to the hospital. It made so much difference, and I really enjoyed having him to talk with about everything under the sun. What a blessing this was in my life.

Then I started to suspect my friend was taking wrong turns on purpose in order to spend more time with me.

Then he started dropping hints, but carefully never giving anything I could say "no" to. He even sort of nearly asked me out, but he took it back right away, so the "no" I said to him didn't count because he wasn't really asking in the first place, right?

The day after that I went home to find an email from him, ten paragraphs long, in which he confessed that he was in love with me, and every detail of his emotional odyssey in coming to this realization, and exactly which of our cow-orkers he had confided this to over a period of how many weeks and in how much detail and under the influence of how much alcohol. He was at pains to emphasize how much he valued my friendship and hoped it would continue. I replied thanking him for his honesty and all the support he'd given, and explained that although I couldn't return his feelings I too valued the friendship and was glad he wanted it to continue.

The next day, I forced myself to go in to the office and face out the situation even though I desperately wanted to stay home. My friend sat there sniffling for about half an hour and then went home claiming to be "sick".

I felt bad, but there was nothing I could do. And I had a rare evening with no chores in it, and I wanted to go home on time and spend it with my father, just being, enjoying as best we could the small bit of time we had left.

On my way out, my friend's jealous wingman collared and interrogated me about my callous exploitativeness. This made me late, but I managed to escape and I ran home. Where I found another email. This time from my supposed friend, accusing me of failing to be straight with him about "your lack of desire to 'marry' [that is, sleep with] me" and leading him on and taking advantage of the rides to hospital and the conversation.

I phoned him up and burst into tears and screamed and wept. The rest of the evening was consumed by dealing with the problem. He was surprised at my reaction: "you seem to be more upset than me about this." Too bad I spent so much time on it, then, because I never got to spend any of that evening with my father. And the next day, I once again had to leave my dad to go in to work and face it out. Where I found that my "friend" was still home "sick".

A week or two after that my father died.

My friend and I patched it up, supposedly, but it was a pretty negative kind of frenemyship, in which my friend never really got over his resentment and seemed to be trying to find a way to break my spirit so that I would finally admit he was right and sleep with him. I wish I could say we recovered from that one unfortunate conflict and went on to enjoy a constructive, life-enhancing friendship, but we didn't. Therefore, I can't reassure you that trying to fix things with your girlfriend now is going to be a good idea for either of you.

But that's not even quite what I'm trying to explain here.

I had one precious evening with my father, and my friend took it away. Just helped himself to it. I'll never get that evening back.

To me, my father was the most important thing. To him, his unrequited love was the most important thing. I don't think he handled it in keeping with his 35 years, and the behaviour would have been more understandable in a 21-year-old, but it's moot. To me, it was about getting to the hospital and relishing the joy of conversation with a good friend, and to him, it was about investing in a romantic relationship. We had inherently incompatible goals. Often, during the six years of our association, I wished I could explain to him that he didn't have to avenge himself, because he'd already had his pound of flesh, already taken away something that no-one would ever be able to give back. But what would be the point. There was no way of telling him that he would have been able to hear.

But I am telling you now. Can you hear me?

I know you understand that she's angry, but I don't think it's humanly possible for you to understand how angry she may be at this point.

Also, you're aware that alcohol has been a problem for a while, and it's only lately that it's been turning sour. But as an alcoholic, you'll be experiencing something called "euphoric recall" in which your memories are much much rosier than what actually happened. So, I'm sorry to have to tell you, as bad as you think it's been lately - it's worse. You have had problems for longer than you realize.

You say "She needs me now, more than ever, and I want her to know that I'm there for her, and that she can count on me." But what she's told you is that right now, she needs you to be away from her. Please consider that that might actually be true. Alcoholics are very very hard work, as I know from firsthand experience of living with one. What facetious said is 100% accurate. I know you want to help her, but you are in too much trouble yourself to be able to do that. Even under the best of conditions, it would be an absolutely huge thing to ask for her to be around while you go through recovery. And, as I have explained above at great length... these aren't the best of conditions for her right now.

What I think you should do is write her a letter, on paper, explaining that you are profoundly sorry for failing her at this time in her life, and that you have mailed the letter on your way to an AA meeting, and that you promise not to contact her at all until you have achieved one year of sobriety, unless she specifically asks for it, in which case you will support her to the best of your ability.

Then do what you say you'll do in the letter.

Don't make this about you by imposing your emotions on her. Because if there's any possible way of undoing the damage, making your relationship your priority is in fact exactly the worst thing you can do.

This is your chance. Don't blow it.
posted by tel3path at 2:51 PM on May 15, 2011 [102 favorites]

Change your life for yourself, not your girlfriend. If you need to go to AA, do it for yourself, not to impress anyone else. Tell your girlfriend you are sorry and you will be there for her, then actually be there. Actions speak louder than words. You are in charge of yourself.
posted by fifilaru at 3:07 PM on May 15, 2011 [2 favorites]

You need to fix yourself, not her situation or even what you have done. Focus on that.

You can't be there for her unless you're first there for yourself. Until you're willing to get help, you can't help her.
posted by mleigh at 4:38 PM on May 15, 2011

If you were ambulatory enough to be out and about; ordering, paying for and consuming food, then the alcohol couldn't have prevented you from calling her back. Your behaviour was weird-ass shit that you need to take responsibility for.

You can offer to help (and for god's sake, follow through completely if she takes up your offer) but it sounds like whatever relationship you guys had is over and whatever support you can provide is going to fall outside the realm of the boyfriend/girlfriend dynamic.
posted by bonobothegreat at 5:12 PM on May 15, 2011 [4 favorites]

Drop her a note and say "If there are any misunderstandings, it might have been a momentary thing. You are very important to me. I want you to know that you can count on me today, tomorrow, and forever."

Also, if you want to help your girlfriend, you have to remember to take care of yourself. Show her that you are a good example. Show her that she can rely on you. And that will mean a lot to her.
posted by Grandma Cutie at 6:21 PM on May 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

You say your relationship is your priority right now, but it most likely won't be hers, as tel3path so eloquently illustrated. So here's what you do: You say "I totally fucked up. I wasn't there for you. I have a problem with alcohol. I am getting help to deal with it." And you follow through on that. Do not make any excuses, like it was the alcohol speaking, she called at the wrong time, etc. You have an alcohol problem, and it's interfering with your life and your ability to be a good partner - this incidence just illustrates that. Commit to AA and sobriety - that's how you show you've changed, are trustworthy, etc., but like everyone says, you have to do that for yourself, not to show her that you're not such a bad guy (which I think might be more of a motivating factor than you're willing to admit). Let her focus on how she wants to cope with her dad's illness - bilabial is absolutely right. If she wants your support, let her tell you how she wants your support; you don't get to decide that.

Also tell her: "I really want to be here for you, but to be completely honest, I won't be able to because I've got to focus on my own sobriety." Telling her that you can or will be there for her will likely be a lie, and she'll know it, and it won't do either of you any good - not for her while she's coping with family illness, and not for you, while you're working towards sobriety. Being honest about how you can't be there for her, paradoxically, will help her much more than saying "I'll be here for you", and then not doing that because you can't. It's not because you don't want to, it's because you can't. By being honest with her like this, that frees her up to find other, more effective supports. Being honest is a way more loving action than wanting to be there for her while you're not able to right now (which is more about you, than her).

What this all means for your relationship right now, I don't know. Bottom line: focus on you, and let her focus on what she needs to do.
posted by foxjacket at 7:57 PM on May 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

I find it telling that your question is "How do I stop my girlfriend from hating me?" and not "How do I stop making my girlfriend's life worse, given that I've already been a complete ass?"

Hopefully, you're at a meeting right now. But you definitely need to do some serious thinking about what you're able to give to a relationship at this time.
posted by KathrynT at 8:38 PM on May 15, 2011 [2 favorites]

Actions speak louder than words. Go to AA. Then go again and again.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 9:15 PM on May 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

Go to AA, but please don't make the mistake of thinking that going to AA means you've changed. It's only a step toward change. It isn't the change.

That being said... You need to tell her this, point-blank: "She needs me now, more than ever, and I want her to know that I'm there for her, and that she can count on me."

Tell her this. Then, prove it. Remember that words are not actions, and so, just saying it means nothing. You must prove it. And then continue to prove it, because only if it remains true will it be true.

Best of luck!
posted by 2oh1 at 9:36 PM on May 15, 2011

Wow. What telepath wrote made me cry. Please take something away from that story and don't compound your girlfriend's grief and stress by trying to involve her in a selfish relationship drama at this painful time. Don't insist on her attention to you and Your Problem and seek her gratitude and admiration – and trust(!) – that you are addressing your issues. Don't be like, "See? See what I'm doing for you, because I love you so much. You gotta support me baby, 'cuz this is hard, and I'm doing it for you, baby."

Don't make a big giant deal about taking steps to try to upgrade yourself to the bare minimum of relationship material (ie Will Not Abandon You to Get Stinking Drunk and Then Insult You When You've Just Learned Your Dad is Dying).

Most importantly (and this is the part where my sad cynicism insists on beating its drum the hardest), if she forgives you (and she may, out of sheer emotional exhaustion, if nothing else), I beg you to resist the Addictive's awful algebra of X HORRIFIC BEHAVIOR - (REMORSE + Y ACTION) + FORGIVENESS = FUTURE HORRIFIC BEHAVIOR N.

The terms of your question frame this problem mostly as how to get your girlfriend to do something: trust you, believe you, feel that she can count on you. As others have noted, the real questions should be "how can I be trustworthy? how can I be honest? how can I be a person my loved ones can count on?" The answer to your question is simple: be trustworthy and dependable, and eventually your girlfriend will believe you are trustworthy and dependable; there's no other answer that doesn't end in pain, betrayal and bitter disappointment.
posted by taz at 2:39 AM on May 16, 2011 [6 favorites]

I didn't plan on responding to this -- there are so many good and thoughtful responses already, but I went to bed and this question just haunted me, the worry that you would disregard what people wrote, so I got up again and here I am.

Honestly, I think questions like yours are metafilter at its best. You convey so much about yourself and the situation just from the way you ask, your word choice. I think it's very easy to write off harsh advice with the line "fuck all y'all. you don't know me." but...we do. and I want to explain to you how what you wrote reveals who you are.

1. Apparently you got really drunk shortly after her dad was diagnosed with a very deadly and painful disease. There is no way around it -- this is not the behavior of an adult. There is a basic selfishness and lack of empathy that those actions entail. Whether she ended up calling you or not that night, the fact that you felt entitled to get wasted -- it's just really, really weird behavior and raises up some major red flags about your character. Why would you party when someone you love is suffering? *How* could you party when someone you love is suffering?

2. "hung up on her while I got some food. Of course, this didn't go down to well."

Why this particular word choice? This jokey understatement -- "it didn't go down too well," is an indication that you really don't understand (or care about) the extent of your girlfriend's suffering or the pain that your actions have caused her. It's not "Of course, it didn't go down too well." It's "Of course, this was cruel and hurt her very deeply."

3. "I don't want to be judged on this"

If you love this woman, it really shouldn't be about what you want, other than you not wanting to make her life worse.

4. "what I did was reckless and stupid."

NO. What you did was selfish and cruel. Reckless and stupid are about how your actions affect yourself. Do you love this woman? If you do, you need to start thinking about how your actions are affecting her, NOT how they're affecting you.

5. "Alcohol has been a major factor in our lives...I have said I'd quit many times before...I'm going to my first AA meeting this week"

GO TO AA TODAY. Based on your actions, your characterization of alcohol as a major factor in your life, and your apparent inability to stop drinking... you are an alcoholic. And an alcoholic is not going to provide any comfort to anyone until they get themselves clean. She does not need to be caring for you while she's caring for her dad. That's not fair, it's not right, and it's not loving.

6. "She needs me now, more than ever"

These are the words of a deeply deluded human being. Seriously? She needs someone who will hang up on her because he got drunk with his buddies? She needs someone who binge drinks, who keeps promising to stop, but never actually does? No one needs that. And like it or not, that's you, that's who you are right now. She doesn't need you. She doesn't need any particular person. What she needs is unconditional support, love, consistency, and sacrifice. And if you can't provide all those things, then no, she doesn't need you. In fact, she needs NOT you.

7. And finally "How do I stop my girlfriend from hating me?"

You're asking the wrong questions. Once again, your concern is apparently you and not your girlfriend. Your word choice is so telling. You don't ask "How do I help my girlfriend through this difficult time now that I majorly screwed up?" You say you love your girlfriend, but your actions and your words lead me to believe that you love being in a relationship, and you love how being in a relationship makes you feel, but that your girlfriend is sort of secondary to your love of your own feelings.

If you love your girlfriend, really love her, listen to the people on metafilter. Listen to tel3path. Jesus, just read that and read it again and again and again until you get it. "To me, my father was the most important thing. To him, his unrequited love was the most important thing." That's it. Do you really want to be that guy? So many of the mefi responses are giving you really priceless insight into your own character, insights that could change your life in a very intense and positive way if you are open to them.

Get help with the alcoholism. Tell your girlfriend that your priority is her feelings (not your feelings), her healing process (not your relationship). Follow her lead. And for God's sake, go to AA. And keep going. For her sake and for yours.

If you love your girlfriend, you must reconcile yourself to the probability of the relationship ending. Major trauma (a parent dying) often dissolves even strong relationships. If the relationship is still your priority -- over her feelings, over her desires, over her relationship with her sick father -- then there is something deeply wrong with you and I would advise you to get professional help.

Good luck. I wish you & your girlfriend the best.
posted by MaddyRex at 6:43 AM on May 16, 2011 [20 favorites]

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