Mean Boyfriend or Drunk Guy?

Q: I'm so confused. I'm in love with this really great guy, but I can't say that the relationship is perfect. Then again, not all relationships are. Anyhow, all my friends want me to leave him, saying that he treats me badly. And now there's this guy who is giving me signs that he's interested in me. The problem is he only does that when he's drunk. Is that weird? I have to admit that even though I love my boyfriend and would not cheat on him under any circumstances, I do have feelings for this guy, feelings that I can't deny. When I don't get to see him I'm fine, but when I do get to see him and communicate with him, I can't stop thinking about him for a while. What should I do? Is he worth my time, or should I just stay far away from him? -- Missy, 18

Dr. Susan: I feel confident that I can give you one piece of advice that will help you in life: don't hang around drunk men. And above all, don't base ANY life decisions on what people say or do when they're drunk. But this is important too: your regular boyfriend, whom you say you love, may be abusing you without you recognizing it as such. Not that you ought to trust your friends' judgment above your own, but you really ought to take their observations seriously. A lot of women in abusive marriages can look back to the early signs that they ignored because they were "in love." Your relationship doesn't have to be perfect, but it needs to be mutually respectful and safe. You have two decisions to make, and the first one has to be whether you are going to stay with your boyfriend. This new guy, the drunk one, should not have any part in that essential decision. It's not one or the other. Perhaps you haven't found the right guy for you yet. Don't rush yourself into a really bad choice.

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