"Gray areas" with Cleo Stiller

Cleo Stiller is the author of the recently published "Modern Manhood: Conversations about the Complicated World of Being a Good Man Today." We talk about #MeToo and the private questions men have been asking, and sharing with her, since then. Later, Cleo helps us answer a question from a man whose drinking is leading him to say regrettable things to his girlfriend.

Cleo Stiller is the author of the recently published "Modern Manhood: Conversations about the Complicated World of Being a Good Man Today." We talk about #MeToo and the private questions men have been asking, and sharing with her, since then. Later, Cleo helps us answer a question from a man whose drinking is leading him to say regrettable things to his girlfriend.

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Hey Man, 
I’m writing to you for some practical advice about an issue that’s come up between me and my girlfriend.  I’m 28 years old, work in marketing in New York City and have been dating the same woman for the last 2 years. Overall, our relationship has been great and we’re planning on moving in together in the Spring when her lease expires. Over the course of our relationship, there have been a few isolated moments where the same issue has come up: I get really drunk (like blackout or pretty close) and I found out in the morning that I have said some really mean things to her. I don’t remember saying any of these things and they’re not things that I really believe. For example, I might say things like “You’re such a fucking pushover, you let everyone walk all over you.” Or “I know you’re only with me because I make more money.” It’s horrible and hurtful and not true. I think it’s important to add: as a kid, I always had a reputation for being angry and out of control. I’ve worked really hard to temper that as I got older, so it’s really bothering me to hear myself described this way. 

I don’t think I have a drinking problem because this really just happens maybe once every three months, max. Usually after something like this happens, I cut back for a while, slowly start drinking again and then eventually drink too much. My entire social life revolves around drinking and so, on a weekend, it’s not uncommon for all of us (my girlfriend included) to be hanging out drinking for the better part of an afternoon or until late at night. I play in a lot of recreational sports leagues and usually we all get together to drink after a game. 

I have a high tolerance and it’s hard for me to notice when I’m getting drunk. All of a sudden, it’s too late. My girlfriend is telling me that if this doesn’t stop, she’ll break up with me, which would devastate me. But I’m also worried that if I stop drinking or drink less it’ll be weird in my social circle since so much of our hanging out has to do with drinking, playing drinking games, etc. What should I do?

Signed, 
Blacked out in Bushwick


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2019 Hey Man Podcast