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My girlfriend and I have been together for 5 months and enjoy going to parties together. We both always have a great time and are comfortable doing things together and splitting off to do our own thing and then reconnecting. We have a lot of the same interests which helps. We both drink but (without being insulting) my girlfriend drinks more than I do or at least often ends up more drunk. So the main thing I find challenging is how to look after her without spoiling her fun? Obviously I get worried seeing her drunk and doing things that are probably safe when sober but no so much when not eg. jumping from heights, swinging on unsafe things etc. But at the same time I don't want to act like her dad, so that fine line is hard for me, especially when surrounded by groups of people who are doing the same things she is. A few specifics now:

  • What are some good ways to look after her when I can see she is not sober?
  • What are some good ways to encourage her maybe it's time to go home or to slow down for a bit?
  • What should I do if I'm worried about her going to the bathroom (at house party) by herself? Eg. she could slip, vomit, pass out etc.
  • If a friend(s) of hers say they'll 'look after her' what should that mean for me, since I still feel responsible?
  • If things get to a point where I am really concerned but not able to encourage her to leave/slow down what should I do?

We have already talked about the above together and she trusts me enough to do what I think is right to keep her safe (she's fully aware of how 'fun' she can get), it's just that how a person reacts to the above when sober vs not, is different (eg. stubborn), especially when you are having fun.

Some of the things I've tried is just being there for her until the party is over and we are pretty much forced to leave, although this can feel more like baby sitting than having a fun time together, although she has done the same for me on the rare occasion our roles were flipped so perhaps it's fine? I have tried to get her friends to help me convince her, but they aren't always sober enough and I feel bad asking them since I kind of see it as my responsibility.

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  • Can you give some morev specific examples of things she's doing and what you're worried about happening? The only one I see is using the bathroom, but drunk people use bathrooms all the time without incident. If she's going to vomit, that's certainly the place to do it. So what's the actual problem?
    – Kat
    Jun 1 at 9:00
  • I guess you also mention trying to get her to stop drinking when she's had enough. Are you concerned about something serious like alcohol poisoning or just that she'll end up not feeling well?
    – Kat
    Jun 1 at 9:01
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    @Kat alcohol poisoning is always a concern although to our credit that's never happened yet. In terms of specific examples; we're both quite active at sports (girlfriend is a gymnast) and generally thrill seeking people. So activities we do such as jumping from high objects, swinging from things etc are dangerous enough for a sober person who roughly knows what they're doing. Landing incorrectly can lead to twisted/broken ankle/ wrist, and that's of course not even close to the worst case scenario. Now of course when you combine this with alcohol and doing the above in an unknown house...
    – FrontEnd
    Jun 1 at 10:53
  • @Kat re the bathroom question, it's mainly concern over slipping and hurting oneself or passing out while they're alone. I have previously asked different female friends if they could go with her but most of the time they told me that's weird. If the party was at a licensed venue not a random person's house then I think it would be easier because going as a group is normal.
    – FrontEnd
    Jun 1 at 11:01
  • That gymnastics example is very helpful. Maybe edit that in with some details of her doing something risky like that and what you tried to dissuade her. I have one last question, then I'll write an answer: How much experience does she have drinking? Is she new at it or does she have several years of experience? Someone who is 30 and has been getting trashed for a decade needs less babysitting than a teenager.
    – Kat
    Jun 1 at 18:14
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You can't keep someone else sober. Many people have tried. I don't think you are responsible, but I get that you feel that way.

I have dealt with multiple drunk people in my life and I have been drunk. In my opinion it's impossible to keep people from getting drunk, as someone makes those choices themselves and people don't react well when you try to change this decision for them. I even experience people drinking more to spite the people that said they should stop drinking. I feel like your best bet is handle your girlfriend better when she is drunk and discuss the problem when she is sober.

I feel like you can trick drunk people in some ways. You can make them down water by making it a game. You can try to promise them food. Basically treat them as a child and you will get pretty far. For me, I love food when drunk and will probably always say yes to getting food and after that I'm too tired to party more anyway. Like when she gets drunk promise her a milkshake/fries/whatever floats her boat.

I feel in some ways your girlfriend is spoiling your fun sometimes by being to drunk. You feel like you need to be there to rescue her. It's good to set expectations before going to a party. Like will you get hammered drunk? Both stay kind sober? Get a nice buzz? Drink but don't do shots? Join in drinking games? I feel like if you kinda set those expectations, it's already a lot easier. You can also discuss a estimate on end time. Then stick to those expectations.

If it's a pattern and she doesn't want to change, you need to make a choice. Do you want to take care of her your entire relationship when at parties or not? Can you go to parties separate or do you worry about her then as well? Don't assume people stop partying at a certain age, they usually don't, just the types of parties change.

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  • Thanks that helps a lot. My girlfriend's parents aren't my biggest fans so maybe that's where my sense of responsibility is also coming from. If she got hurt at a party we went to together you can imagine who would be presumed at fault in their eyes, but I guess I shouldn't make that my problem.
    – FrontEnd
    Jun 1 at 11:05
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    @FrontEnd No, I get how that can add extra pressure. But still, her drinking is her own responsibility. I do think it might be a good idea to discuss this problem with your girlfriend when you're both sober and there is no party 'in sight'
    – josephine
    Jun 2 at 7:58
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    Your first line is critical to note. Too often people try to assume accountability for others' behavior, which is a fool's errand. This answer overall is good advice; this SE does ask for backup. Is this something you've observed? Something you've experienced? Something you've had training on? I'd suggest including that to meet that criteria - we've got some folks here who are pretty aggressive about closing unsubstantiated answers. Jun 8 at 16:40
  • @baldPrussian I tried to back it up a bit. It's mostly experience being on both sides tbh. Thank you for your feedback!
    – josephine
    Jun 9 at 7:43

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