Mean Drunk or Nagging Wife?

Mean Drunk or Nagging Wife?

Q: My wife tells me that I’m drinking too much. I don’t think I have a problem; I drink a couple beers to unwind at the end of the day.  She tells me that I get mean when I drink, but I’m not trying to be mean, I’m just trying to point out her irrationality.  I actually find it kind of annoying that when she nags me about drinking, when drinking is what I’m doing to try to relax.  Any suggestions, I really just want to be able to enjoy my beer in peace?

He: There are two kinds of drunk:  “I love you, Bro” –drunk, and the “what the fuck are you looking at?”-drunk.

Everybody loves the “I love you bro” drunk. He may vomit on your dash board while you’re in line at the Taco Bell drive-through, but he’s affable, and he’ll want to hug it out after slurring his 30th apology.

Nobody likes the “What the fuck are you looking at bro” drunk.  He may also vomit on your dash board, but he will blame your driving, call you a dick, and tell you that your car is a piece shit anyway.

It sounds like you are the latter.

Now it’s time to sort it out: are you a drunk or an asshole?

You say that you don’t think you have a drinking problem – but the whisky and urine soaked hobo sleeping on the park bench probably thinks that he doesn’t have a problem either. So we are not always the best at gauging our own substance issues.   It seems like alcohol is impacting your life, so a problem may exist.  But my guess is that you’re just kind of an asshole. Having your wife, your life partner, refer to you as “mean” points in that direction. Your use of the words ”nags”, and “pointing out her irrationality” also points in that direction.

She: There are two possibilities; one is that your wife is an unreasonable, irrational nag.  The other is that you are seriously minimizing your drinking.  If the reality is that your wife is an unreasonable, irrational nag, you have to try to communicate to her (when you are sober!) about how frustrated you feel when she gives you a hard time, and micromanages you.  I would encourage you to get more information from her about what you are doing that is making her feel like you are mean.  This is certainly not a way that you want your wife to feel, so getting specifics about what she is considering mean and then making efforts to change this behavior will certainly help to increase the harmony in your relationship.

That being said, I am more apt to believe that you are seriously minimizing your drinking.  As Andy points out, people typically become happier when they drink (that’s why we drink right?), and there are those who tend to become angry when they drink.  You say you’re only having “a couple” of beers when you get home from work, I wonder how many “a couple” beers turns out to be.  I think if you were really drinking a couple (two) beers, your wife wouldn’t be nagging you about your drinking.  I think it is time for you to be honest about your relationship with alcohol, it may be time to cut back or quit.  I also worry about the feedback that you turn mean when you drink.  In my experience, angry drunks are really angry people with decreased inhibition.  I would encourage you to do some soul scrubbing and try to work through any issues that may be leading you to have anger issues.  Once you have done this, I would bet that you will not only have a decreased need for alcohol to relax, but you will be less of an asshole when you do.

Dr. Jen Semmes and Andy Wilson have been (mostly) happily married for nine years (currently happily).  They are the owners of Coastal Counseling therapy center in Carlsbad, California.  Jen holds a license in clinical social work and a doctorate in psychology, and is a therapist at Coastal Counseling. Andy just tries to hold it together.

If you, or anyone you know, has a question for ‘He said, She said’ please send a private message to Coastal Counseling on Facebook or email the question to


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