Tuesday 19 March 2019

Ask Brian: When I drink I get the urge to cheat on my girlfriend with men

Our no-nonsense agony uncle gets straight to the point of your most pressing issues

(Stock image)
(Stock image)
Brian O'Reilly

Brian O'Reilly

I'm struggling with alcohol and my sexuality.

I have a young son and another baby on the way with my girlfriend.

I've struggled with alcohol for many years, I started binge drinking when I was around 15. If I ever have a problem I turn to drink like my parents did, but that shouldn't be an excuse.

About three years ago I had a sexual encounter with a guy while I was split from my girlfriend. I never had any previous serious sexual encounters with men before, I tried to hide it and my emotions from my girlfriend, but every time I would drink they would come out.

Now me and my girlfriend have tried to give it another go, I still drink although I have cut it back some what.

It's like I build up all my emotions and then I explode.

I just want to be the man she wants me to be for our kids, I love her more than anything.

I work, we do things together as a family and I love spending my time with her and the kids. We go away together and spend time together. She really is my best friend and I can't see my future with out her.

But when I drink I get these urges and the more drink I consume the more I don't care about anything.

Before I know it I've tried to add gay people on social sites, some times I can't even remember doing it, I feel like this isn't me because I'm so embarrassed by what I've done. I also have downloaded Grindr.

I've the constant feeling that I'm letting my family down.

I just don't know what to do and why can I can't stop drinking because I know that's the root of it all.

I don't want to be gay, I've come to terms with me being bisexual but I still find my girlfriend attractive and other girls, but when I drink it's a different story.

Brian replies:

I always begin these sort of responses with the major caveat I am in no way qualified to help you with an alcohol problem, I can only offer advice on your situation.  I've included some links below on where you can seek help and I'd really urge you to speak with a professional.

I think you've already identified a lot of the issues you're facing.

Using alcohol as a coping mechanism is learned behaviour from your parents. You began it as a teenager, and there is an increasing body of evidence of the effects binge drinking alcohol in your teenage years can have on your developing brain.

There are two main types of alcohol problems - alcoholism and problem drinking. Alcoholism is the physical dependency and addiction to alcohol, and although you don't say how frequently you drink your inability to stop despite wanting to is a worrying sign in this regard.

You certainly seem to be a problem drinker - you act in ways you normally wouldn't and risk your relationship when you drink.

Everyone knows someone who the phrase 'the drink doesn't suit them' applies to. It's the colloquial Irish way of describing a problem drinker - someone who could be a lovely person sober but morphs into a very different - usually aggressive - person after consuming even a small amount of alcohol.

You're feeling shame for the way you're acting because when you drink you're acting in ways you wouldn't dream of while sober.

You were with a man while split from your girlfriend - you don't say whether you have been with once since you have resumed your relationship.

Downloading dating apps and adding people on social sites is cyber cheating, even if it hasn't crossed into the physical realm yet. The infidelity is wrong, regardless of whether it's with a woman or a man.

You obviously have a physical attraction to men as well as women, and you shouldn't feel ashamed about that. But you shouldn't be unfaithful to your partner, regardless of gender.

All of this is triggered by drinking, so you know the solution is to stop - but you can't seem to overcome the compulsion.

You say you 'build up emotions and explode' - which suggests you haven't developed proper outlets for your emotions.

You've tried to quit drinking and sort your problems alone; I think it's time for you to admit that has failed and you need to seek professional help. Your problems won't magically solve themselves overnight. 

You can start by making an appointment with your GP who will be able to refer you to the appropriate services in your area.

For further advice and reading you can visit askaboutalcohol.ie or the HSE's website.

 

Do you have a problem you'd like some advice on? Email askbrian@independent.ie  to submit in confidence.

Twitter: @Brian_O_Reilly

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