Advice from A Lexis

Should I stay or should I go?

When it makes sense to take someone's word


Dear Lexis,

I started dating a guy five years back, and after a while, I realized that he has a drinking problem. By the time I discovered the issue though, I was already in too deep. When he told me that he would work on it, I believed him. Now, he still has a problem and he says that I might as well leave if it's a problem because he isn't going to change.

While it makes sense to take him at his word, I don't want to leave his sweet adolescent daughter behind. I've gotten to know her in the years we've been together and I don't want to abandon her. I also don't want to feel like I've wasted years of my life on a lost cause. What would you recommend?


          ~ Stuck in Tumwater

Dear Stuck,

I would definitely recommend that you take your boyfriend's word on this one. Thankfully, he's at least honest enough to admit that he has no intention to change.

Whether you choose to remain with your boyfriend or not may need to be a separate decision from the choice of whether or not to remain in the daughter's life.

Unfortunately, there is not much you can do concerning his daughter other than to make an informal arrangement with him to see her (whether you choose to have a romantic relationship with the father or not).

Given his willingness to separate over this issue if necessary, he might be open to something that helps his daughter.

To be sure, it's a very tough situation you've found yourself in. However, one thing you do not need to worry about is whether you have wasted your life thus far or not. None of this has been a waste for you; you've no doubt learned a lot about yourself and relationships through this process, you've learned what it's like to deal with someone who has an addiction, and you had the opportunity to get to know a wonderful young lady. All of these things are beautiful gifts that you have received due to the relationship.

On the other hand, if you choose to remain in a relationship with this man, it is possible that you would be wasting your life in the future. He has told you that things will not get better from here, so if that's what you are hoping for, you're likely to wind up futilely trying to change someone who doesn't want to change. You cannot force someone to change, so in some ways staying in this relationship could wind up feeling like you're beating your head against a rock.

If you are okay with the way things are and want to remain in the relationship, you are certainly welcome to do so. However, if you are not, as I suspect is the case given your letter, then I would suggest removing yourself from the situation.

I know that it's hard to leave something, or someone, behind. This is especially true when you have invested so much time and energy. The same would be true if you wanted to get married and wound up in a relationship with someone who says he will never marry. This is the person you chose; taking the steps to leave as you recognize that you cannot get what you want from them, is a challenge.

It's extremely likely that you will go through heartbreak and a mourning period should you leave, but consider how many broken hearts you may be saving yourself from by choosing to leave now. I can tell you that I have already experienced various heartbreaks in my marriage and I can't imagine having to face more without the assurance that my husband is willing to work with me to resolve issues.

You deserve to have a partner who wants the same kind of relationship that you do. However, the decision is ultimately yours to make. Decide what you are and are not willing to put up with and decide what kind of future you want. From there you can make an informed decision and take the necessary action even if it hurts to do so.

I wish you luck,

~ Lexis

Lexis is Alexis Rae Baker. She writes from her home in Olympia.   Got a question about life, relationships, spirit?  Visit her at or write to Lexis at 


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here