I've been seeing a girl for a little less than a month and she's already let me down big. We're both under the legal drinking age (not by much at this point) but I still disapprove of underage drinking. Underage drunkeness is even more disapproved of. Well, to make a long story short, she got completely wasted recently, and not even for 'good' reasons, if good reasons even exist to get drunk. She was angry at me and was stressed about some other things, so to "ease her pain" (or something) she got drunker than she ever has (her admission, not my judgement). 

When I found out about it I felt extremely let down and like my trust was broken. It's sad to me to think of her expressing her sorrow or stress by taking to the bottle and drinking an insane amount of alcohol. It scares me as well because she's done this in the past. Not often, but it occurs. and usually because she's depressed, stressed, angry, etc. It's not like she got drunk at a wedding or a family BBQ. She got wasted for the worst possible reasons.

She felt incredibly bad about it and admitted that it scared her too. I think she recognizes it was wrong but she's not really willing to own the problem. Anyway, I forgave her and I told her that from now on I'm trusting her not to get that drunk again (social drinking is another issue that has yet to be discussed). I figure that the guilt/shame on her own end coupled with the stakes being raised by my trust will incentivize her to not do it again. At least not to that level. 

Despite the forgiveness and my trust, I'm finding it hard to trust her in this area. She let me down immensely and it's not so easy to live up to my own word about trusting her. My question: how does one move past the let down, the disappointment  the resentment, and move on with the relationship? As I noted, the relationship is young (less than a month) so this shouldn't be enough to break things off. My friend suggested just to let time take its course and the trust will come back and with it my feelings of disappointment and resentment will disappear. What say you all?

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I think that your friend is right, time is the most important part of rebuilding trust.

However, I think that there are some unresolved issues between the two of you that are also complicating things, namely, that the two of you have different views on drinking at this point in life.  It sounds like some of your mistrust is related to your general disapproval of underage drinking, making it harder for her to regain your trust while engaging in that, even if she doesn't get hammered for stupid reasons again.

Time may also resolve this, once you're both of legal age, but for now it might behoove you to try to come to a better shared understanding of drinking and what's right and prudent regarding it.

Why should she apologize to you?  She doesn't answer to you.  I can almost guarantee you that it didn't scare her as much as she told you it did.  She most likely said so as damage control because she knows you are fragile.

I think she may just like to drink, but can't tell you because you would judge her, so she has to tell you something else causes her to drink, like depression or anger or stress, with which she can play the victim, which causes your man instincts to kick in telling you to help her even when she breaks your trust.

Another possibility is that she has a genuine substance abuse problem and needs professional help, not yours.

Either way, I think your expectations may exceed reality in this case.  I could be off base, I don't know you or her, but my humble, non-expert, misguided, dilettante opinion is that you probably need to lighten up and get some perspective.

Also, don't use guilt as an incentive, even indirectly.  That's only going to make her hate you and, even worse: you hate her.  If you're trying to incentivize behavior for your one month old girlfriend (age of relationship, not girl) who has crushed you because of a night out drinking, it's time to reevaluate yourself.   

Save the unhealthy guilt and shame for your children.

Let's think about how she let you down, instead of herself.  If she let you down, based on what you said, it means she didn't live up to an image you had of her.

I think it's not so much a  matter of forgiveness (she didn't do anything to you by drinking, and you werne't even present), as adjusting to the realization that she is different from your image.  This is not something to let time heal; it's a good thing to know this difference.

What will you do about that difference?  Decide you're fine with who she is, or stop seeing her.  An uncomfortable place to be in, to be sure.

I think if she chooses to drink, then there cannot be much you can do about it...her behavior that is.  You cannot guilt someone into following the right path...that is taking the responsibility that belongs to is not your burden to carry.  If you make it your responsibility all you are saddled with is fear, worry, and an overall sense of things being out of control which I am sure you are feeling already.

It really comes down to how much you value your feelings for this girl vs. your values of what you want.  If you don't want to be in a relationship with alcohol involved, then you must hold fast to that value!  The risk is that she may not be in agreement with that...and may either result in her resenting you for badgering her about it or feel suffocated by the increase of intensity/negativity.  Yet you must allow her the freedom to choose her own path. I know you are in an early stage of dating...but that is when our emotions are the most keyed-up toward our object of affection...where we just ride this wonderful super-high...and to see this probably opened your eyes and just killed it for you.  Don't ignore it, don't brush it away no matter what she means to you right now.  It is important to communicate to her your discomfort with her underage drinking and possible reliance upon alcohol.  You have to step into your role as a man and stand by your values...and let her know you would like to continue dating, but you cannot move forward as long as she is boozin' it up.  You are not her cannot change her.  She has to do the work herself.  Cos if you don't clearly set that boundary and man-up to follow through with cutting her loose if she hits the sauce, then congratulations!! you will officially be a codependent and an enabler!!!  She will do whatever she wants and you will let her as long as she doesn't leave you.  Set that boundary and be ready to tell her to kick rocks if she doesn't like.  Otherwise, you are setting yourself up for a relationship where you are acting like a parent and she the sneaky, immature teenager.  Totally dysfunctional.

Also, if you are only a month into dating and you already feel resentful and mistrustful...then it may be a good idea to move on and take this as a lesson.  A hard choice, but it may save you from a major relationship disaster.

Break it off now before you do her any harm.


She doesn't owe you anything, she didn't break your trust. She likes to drink now and then like 90% of other college aged kids. Hmm, it is the end of the semester, and she has you breathing down her neck about trust bullshit after not even a single month. Yeah, she had stress.


Break up with her and find someone who has the same set of non-drinking values that you have.

Sounds like the two of you are just not compatible.

As for reasons to get drunk in college I'm not to sure that is how it works. More likely than not there are reasons not to get drunk. When I was in school and it was a Tuesday night and I didn't have a test the next day that there was no reason to not get drunk or stoned. If I had the opportunity then there was nothing to stop me. I didn't get stoned or drunk on a weekly basis although some did (some did daily).

I'm not saying your views are wrong or bad but I do think they are different from most other college kids. There are girls that share your views this girl is just not one of them.

You sound like a great guy too. 

Apology accepted. Thank you. 


An apology when needed shows, well, something I admire.  "Like" this subthread.

I don't see this ending well.

Others have said the same but I'll make thoughts in point form.

- Just what would you consider a good reason vs bad reason to get drunk? I think I would consider being stressed or anger a much better reason than being at a wedding.

- She has nothing to be sorry about. Her actions didn't hurt you, they only hurt (as Will said) the idolized version that you had of her. That's not her fault.

- Never use guilt or shame to alter someone else's behaviour. That is terrible, Likewise with the raising the stakes nonsense. Honestly, some day she'll look back and think you were as big of an asshole as the guys who tried to use the same technique to sleep with her.

- This still may not be over. Not sure if you are still in school or if your exams are over but I find women are great at compartmentalising their lives while in college. Once exams are over she may take that extra brain space and suddenly focus on dumping you.

- But back to you. I think you have a lot of growing up to do. And I don't mean this as an insult just an honest opinion from someone who's older and had to grow up once himself. I remember when some of my friends discovered drinking before the rest, the rest looked at them with the same sort of disappointment you seem to have with this girl. They caught up in experience sooner or later (and some even leapfrogged us and went on to drugs like marijuana) and mellowed. Not saying drugs and alcohol aren't dangerous nor that many have problems with them but usually by our early 20s, most of us realize that some people will indulge in one and/or the other without it being the end of the world).


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