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Can Tequila Make Your Boyfriend Violent?

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My boyfriend is a good guy with a good job but sometimes he drinks too much and he has a bad reputation around town as a guy who fights. But he has never been violent with me before and he said that he would never hit a woman.

Last night he and his friends were drinking when someone brought over a bottle of tequila. He told everyone that he couldn’t drink it because tequila made him really crazy but his friends wouldn’t listen and they made him do shots because it was someones birthday. They went out for a while and when he came back he was really drunk and I made some little joke about him stumbling around and he just freaked out and he pushed me down and hit me a couple of times. He was really sorry right away and he has apologized to me so many times already. He says that when he drinks tequila he just gets like that and he promised he would never drink that again. My parents want to kill him and they say that it wasn’t tequila that made him violent it is just the way he is. Is tequila something that makes people go crazy like that? I don’t know what to do because I really like him but he really scared me last night.

Stephanie Adams Says...

First off, his friends didn't "make" him drink tequila. He knew he had a problem with drinking, and he did it anyway. That's a choice. Unless he was kidnapped & tied up, he made that choice of his own free will. Don't let him try to tell you otherwise. 

If people were all bad or all good it would be easier to know what to do with them. Your boyfriend's a good guy sometimes. Sometimes he's a guy who abuses you. Is he a good enough guy to put up with being abused "sometimes"? (Or to potentially have children with him someday that will be "sometimes" abused?) Because you have a choice here too. You are never responsible for being abused. That's the choice of the abuser. But if you stay with him without his making some SIGNIFICANT changes, you are choosing to put yourself in a situation with a high potential for harm. YOU HAVE THE CHOICE NOT TO DO THAT.

This can (can, not will) just be a one-time thing IF he agrees to go to AA, anger management, and/or set some concrete limits, such as never having more than two drinks (or one shot) a night. That means never getting drunk. He will probably try to tell you that you shouldn't worry so much about it, he just had a bad night, he'll control himself better next time. If that's true, then he should have no problem setting some limits to make sure it never happens again. A person who is truly sorry will do that for you. If he doesn't set those limits, he's not sorry, and he's not ready to change. After all, if he knows you'll forgive him without his having to make any changes in his life, why should he stop drinking? He knows you'll put up with it.

The bottom line is make him back up his promises to change with actions, or he will do it again. Statistics say that a woman goes back to an abusive partner 7 times before she leaves for good. That means he has the chance to change and still abuses her SEVEN DIFFERENT TIMES before she sets a boundary. Don't wait that long. You deserve better. I want better for you.

And if he does make changes, but you still don't feel safe with him, you do not have the obligation to continue being with him. Don't feel guilty if you can't get past it. You have a right to be in a relationship where you feel safe. 

You have a lot of hard choices ahead of you. But you can handle this & make the choices that are best for you. I know it!

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Page last updated Jul 18, 2012

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