Question about someone who drank in the past but doesn’t now

by Marcia

HI! I have been seeing someone who has been clean for 8 yrs. He has a good job and attends meetings regularly. I met him Ballroom dancing as we both enjoy it. We have gone out quite a few times together outside of Ballroom dancing. Have noticed a certain behavior and don’t know if this is a red flag. I have never dealt with an addictive person in my life at all – Married 35 yrs and my husband died of cancer 2 1/2 yrs ago. We raised 5 children together; so this is all new to me being 60 and single!!

Yesterday he invited me to have dinner w/him. My doctor texted me before AL and I met for dinner and I called her, but she was unable to talk at that moment. Before we sat down to eat I explained that she may be calling back. Well of course she called DURING dinner and I took the call as she had a medical issue going on.

When I got off the phone my dinner was on the counter and the coffee disposed of. The TV was turned off and he was reading his E-reader!! I sat next to him and he said I’m reading now. So I went to my car and got my Bible out to read while he read his E-reader. I addressed what was wrong and Al said he ate his whole meal by himself and I ruined the day. I could go home now…I refused because I wanted some resolve. He told me I was rude to take the call and left him alone eating! He even asked what kind of Bible I read to do that!!

After I thought about it I decided it was bad manners to take the call and apologized, but was concerned how he reacted and NOT responded. I told him also that I read the same Christian Bible that he read and it speaks of forgiveness when someone asks for it. I also told him we both come from different walks of life. He has been single for 58 years and knows nothing about family or being a “MOM” like I don’t know what its like to have had an addiction. He saw my point and was okay afterwards. I stayed for a few hours and we had good conversation after that. RED FLAG???>>>I think he felt rejected or it was like a little boy appeared and didn’t get my undivided attention and he didn’t like it one bit…Is this a personality insecurity??? Just don’t feel like this is “normal” behavior for most people


It’s hard to tell without actually being there and without speaking to him. You may have been inconsiderate in the length of time you spent on the phone or he may be overreacting or a little of both. I can’t be sure. It’s also hard to say if this has anything to do with past alcoholism. There are so many factors that could play into an overreaction on his part including a lack of communication skills or the idea that he may be emotionally abusive. From the way you describe it, it sounds as if he wanted you to apologize and grovel. It seems he wanted to have you one step down from him, begging for his forgiveness. Overall, it seems that he was being emotionally irrational and catastrophizing the situation. It also seems that he is selfish and uncaring about the need of the person calling you or your need to take the call.

Since you are new to dating, it would be appropriate for you to research signs of emotional abusers. You need to understand their tactics in order to keep yourself safe, whether with him or someone else. Many of the signs are subtle and go unnoticed until the relationship has progressed.

You are smart to pay attention to these things and be on the lookout for red flags. As you navigate new relationships, continue to keep your eyes open and educate yourself on toxic vs. healthy relationships. Your vigilance will serve you well!

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