My boyfriend doesn’t treat me well and drinks a lot. What should I do?

Auntie – I broke up with my boyfriend because he doesn’t treat me well and drinks a lot. He kept telling me that he was going to kill himself and so I told his parents, but he kind of manipulated me to be back with him. Now he is super clingy and obsessed with me. I don’t know what to do. I don’t want to be with him, but I also don’t want him to hurt himself. We have been together almost 3 yrs. I am 21 and he is 27 if it matters any. Please help!!

It sounds like you know what you want and what’s best for you. Now it’s a matter of putting those thoughts and beliefs into action, in a way that is safe for you and your boyfriend.

You may guess what I’m going to say…but in matters like this, you’re going to need support, like professionalsupport. It’s going to be one of the hardest calls to make, but for the sake of your safety and your boyfriend’s, you’re going to have to reach out.

  • First check with your local tribal clinic and ask about their counseling services. If your town is too small for comfort, check out the services in the next big town. A simple google search for counseling services + the name of the town should give you some references. 

Once you’ve scheduled a time to talk to someone, let the counselor know what your main concerns are, and together come up with a plan for changing yourrelationship status with your boyfriend. You’ll also want to come up with a plan for coping with his manipulation tactics, and a plan for what to do ifhe does threaten to hurt himself.

It sounds like your boyfriend has got a lot going on in his life that he needs to deal with; like the drinking and suicidal thoughts. Because you obviouslycare about his well being, give him some resources for getting better. Your counselor should have a list of local resources.

Since you’ve already talked with your boyfriend’s family, it might be a good idea to let them in on what’s going on. Your boyfriend is going to need theirsupport through your breakup. If he is suicidal, they can get support 24/7 from the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at: 1-800-273-8255 or

When you finally talk to your boyfriend, be clear about what you want. Be sure not to give him false promises, like, if he gets better you could maybe get back together. You can practice having the conversation with your counselor beforehand. If you’re not clear on what you want your future to look like, then he can’t be either, and that’s when it becomes easy to slip back into old habits or roles.

I think this is a good place to start…scheduling a time to talk with a counselor. As you go through this process and need some more support, write back.

Best of luck to you. Stay strong and stick to what’s best for you and your future. You’ll be in my thoughts.

Auntie Manda

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