My Girlfriend Blacked Out, Then Dumped Me

A guy who was dumped after his girlfriend blacked out wants Eli and Josie’s help in figuring out what is going on with her.

Originally appeared at She Said He Said

Dear Sexes: I dated my gf 10 months and suddenly she breaks it off. It stemmed from us getting drunk and it bothered her that she blacked out. She left for a week and ultimately said that night opened her mind to the relationship and that for 10 months she saw signs that we were not to be, and that she loved me like a brother. BS because a week prior we were intimate and for 10 months she was happy, there was a twinkle in her eye, we made future plans, I don’t know what to think. I love her!!

She Said: First, let me say that I’m so sorry for your heartbreak. Sometimes it feels like we could die from loving someone who doesn’t want to be with us. Fortunately, you will not die from this. You can recover. It takes some time, but you can do it.

Here’s how I see this situation. You guys got drunk and she blacked out and this freaked her out. It should freak her out. Blacking out from being drunk is a sign that your drinking has well passed “normal” and gone into “dangerous”. Black-out drinking is horrible for your body, bad for your psychology and plain old stupid. She is damn right to be bothered by it.

If she’s dumping you over it, my guess is that the two of you party a lot together and she wants to stop or at least greatly slow down her drinking. For some reason, she feels she cannot do this with you. The important question to ask yourself here is why.

Is it because you party to excess too, and that’s all you guys do together? Is it because for some reason she feels she needs to get far away from that lifestyle in order to get her life to a point where she feels better about her habits? Or does she not trust you for some reason, relating to this incident?

These are important things to know, and if she will answer them for you, at the very least you can take this opportunity to figure out if you have ways in which you need to grow. At the best, perhaps you can explain to her that you want her to be happy and healthy, and that you’ll help her get to wherever she needs to go.

I think the part about feeling like you’re a brother has less to do with whether you two had a good sex life before the black-out, and more to do with the fact that she just doesn’t want to be in that relationship with you, but loves you very dearly. That’s a good thing, and you can be happy about that.

And it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ve done anything wrong. Perhaps this has nothing to do with you. People change and they grow apart. This is your opportunity to grow—either with her or on your own.

He Said: First off, I’m truly sorry for your pain. But we’re here to help you, and we’ll do our very best. Now let’s get down to business. It doesn’t get much more “she said he said” than this. She says it’s not meant to be, but you say she still has that twinkle in her eye.

Regardless of what may or may not be in her eye, getting through this constructively (for everyone involved) is going to come down to hearing her. If you love your (ex)girlfriend (and know her fairly well after 10 months of dating), why do you doubt her motivations/feelings/reasons for breaking up with you? Do you have a good reason to NOT take her at her word? Maybe you don’t believe her, because you don’t like what you’re hearing?

If you’re confused about how and why the relationship has come to an end, you certainly deserve an attempt at clarity (a conversation), and your (ex)girlfriend will most likely oblige you (it seems clear, she cares about you deeply as a friend).

Ultimately, you can’t make someone feel something they don’t feel on their own. Maybe she got freaked out, because she blacked out. Excessive drinking is dangerous, and blacking out should be scary. Maybe she didn’t like drinking so heavily with you. Maybe she didn’t like the reasons for her actions. Or maybe she just felt she couldn’t NOT drink with you. The two of you can uncover the real answers here, but it requires a conversation. And that conversation requires you (both) to listen honestly, whether or not you like the things you hear.

Do you have a question for Eli and Josie? Ask it here, anonymously!



Photo courtesy of Swift Benjamin/Flickr

About She Said He Said

Eli and Josie, friends since college, realized how lucky they were to have one another—an honest friend of the opposite sex who tells it like it is. They wanted to share that with the world and so was born.


  1. “……..and that for 10 months she saw signs that we were not to be, and that she loved me like a brother.”

    You were “friend zoned” later rather than sooner. At least you did get laid before she did so. Bottom line is she has decided to move on to bigger fish. She was never really that into you.

    Women terminate 70% of all relationships. That’s just the way it is Bro!

    • Joanna Schroeder says:

      I’d venture to say he was “friend zoned” sooner, actually. There are enough marriages that start because people think 10 months (or 2 years or whatever) commits them to marriage, and they settle. Really, I feel for this guy, but on top of everything I said in the column, it’s better to know it now than when they have a baby and a mortgage together.

      • Not sure I would trust her enough to be a friend though, what she did was a right C(aussie version, not the version that refers to genitalia) act. Doesn’t sound good at all unless we’re only getting a small portion of the picture but aren’t there better ways to let someone down?

        • How is breaking up with someone a C*** move? Would you rather she stayed with him even though she didn’t see him romantically? And Joanna is right. She DID friend zone sooner rather than later. 10 months isn’t very long as you grow older. Better now when the breakup can be clean.

          • @Aya…

            “She DID friend zone sooner rather than later.”

            Really? Most men who are “friend zoned” do not even make it to first base.

            They dated for 10 months. She dumped him. He was put in a the friend zone AFTER dating for 10 mos. This is not your typical friend zoning done by women to men. Remember, it goes like, “Oh, I don’t love you like that….or You are a great guy, but…..”

          • Um, she dated him for months, long enough to get him falling for her and then suddenly decides it’s over after blacking out? No trying to work things out, just straight to dumping him? How is that not a C**** act?

            This is worse than friendzoning, at least friendzoning doesn’t leave much room for someone to fall madly in love. It depends on how she broke up with him, but not trying to work it out isn’t a great move. Did she blackout and have her brain computer reset, losing the romantic program.exe as it wasn’t written to the hard drive?! If it isn’t a C*** act it’s fucking strange.

            Sure it’s better to find out earlier, but 10 months sounds like she was using him for something or has a lot of personal issues, either way this poor guy got fucked around.

            • Jules–It’s sooner because like Joanna said, it could have ended up in cohabitation, marriage, kids, shared bank accounts, relatives involved, etc. 10 months is nothing when you’re an adult. She gave it a try, and when she realized it wasn’t going to work, she cut it off.

              Archy–10 months isn’t that long of a time. She could have been trying, you don’t know that. If she sees him as a brother, should she really try? If she’s already seeing him like that after such a short time, what hope does the marriage have when things get less exciting? There should be some passion there, at least this early on. Obviously it will wane and you’ll need to work things out, but it helps if it was there in the first place. Also, she could have been trying to work it out in those 10 months, just realized it wasn’t going to happen. The blackout thing seems like it’s a separate issue from the brother thing. But sometimes, certain events trigger something, positive or negative. You might meet a brilliant chef and realize that you want to go to culinary school. You might have an event occur that makes you realize that this isn’t the relationship that works for you and that you’ve been kidding yourself.

              • Once again, I want to note that I completely understand his pain. That kind of thing SUCKS. But one of my worst fears is being settled for. If a man sees me as his sister, please leave me so that I can find someone who doesn’t and so that I’m not wasting my time with you. I’ll be hurt and devastated, but at least it’ll give me a chance to find someone who feels passionately for me.

              • It’s still a C*** act in my view to string it along for so long. I can understand why she might do it, doesn’t change it though. Remember they made plans together for the future and as far as he can tell she was fully into it, the blackout happens and a week later she’s only seeing him as a brother? To me that’s a C*** act. But there isn’t really any decent way to let someone down like that, maybe talk about it and give it another shot but either way someone will probably end up hurt. Why make plans together if you’re questioning your feelings?

                I’ve been in a situation before where I had to cut it off with someone, I felt absolutely terrible over it and felt like a real C***, but I made sure not to make plans for the future or lead her on. It was horrible telling her my feelings weren’t the same, I freaked out as it was my first romance and at the time couldn’t handle it, had a major panic attack due to going from very little contact with people to full on sex in the first few days we met (knew each other online for a while). If I had led her on for months n months, planning the future though it’d be far far worse, I always said we’d see how it goes but it didn’t work out well. I thought I wanted a relationship n more but I went way to quick, and she was also quite clingy and really freaked me out which didn’t help. But I still felt like a major asshole for it.

                I’m not saying she should stick with him, the damage is done, he’s been led on n quite frankly treated pretty poorly. She shouldn’t stick around just to appease him or anything, but the future plans + time isn’t a good thing. People should be more careful about what they say with future plans etc, I’ll be avoiding them as much as possible till I know for a fact any future gf holds my heart and I can be certain of my feelings.

                • Leading on is different from realizing at a later point that it’s not working. Why is it so difficult to distinguish the two? I remember a boyfriend and when we dated, we really thought we were going to spend the rest of our lives together. We were even ‘engaged’ (although we were really young, so I wouldn’t count it as real. Now we’re good friends and do have sort of a brother/sister relationship long distance. When we’re in the same area, we’re excited about seeing each other, but it’s completely platonic. We’re both seeing other people. When we were dating, though, we had no idea that our relationship would go there. We weren’t leading each other on, the nature of the relationship just changed. And yeah, there were signs there the entire time, but we chose to ignore them.

                  • “Leading on is different from realizing at a later point that it’s not working. Why is it so difficult to distinguish the two?”
                    I know the difference, what makes you sure she hasn’t led him on? Disappearing for a week? That’s pretty suspicious especially as the week before they were very intimate by his words. I’m sure he has a good understanding of her feelings of being into him, to just change it up on him like that to me sounds like there is a huge problem. Doesn’t sound like a gradual loss of feelings as you seem to be saying.

                    There is a MASSIVE difference between a platonic friendship and a brother/sister friendship. Brother/sister relationship is devoid of any sexual attraction, you are not a potential mate and never can be to them. Why do people insist on using such bad terminology for romances? Why can’t they say you feel like JUST a friend instead of calling them a brother/sister? It’s fucking strange if you ask me.

                    She saw signs for 10 months that they weren’t meant to be, that sounds like she was leading him on as she already knew. The later point was at the start of the relationship, far from “realizing at a later point that it’s not working”.

                    • I think the terminology is used because it’s more final. There’s still a chance when you say ‘friend.’ As has been said, platonic friendship can turn into romantic and the other way around. A brother/sister thing is final. It’s a forever thing.

                      You said earlier that she should have given it ‘a shot’ and tried to work it out. Maybe when she saw the signs, that’s exactly what she was doing.

                      I agree that disappearing for a week is odd. I can’t understand doing that, but some people need time while they figure out things. Personally, it would piss me off if someone did that, but everyone deals with this kind of thing differently.

  2. If she truly means the brother thing, then it’s over. It’s good that she did it now, rather than wasting your time. This way you have more time to recover and to move on to someone who sees you in a different light, as tough and sad as it will be. I don’t know about the ‘BS.’ Even if she was happy and had a twinkle in her eye, it doesn’t mean that she still had romantic feelings for you. It’s possible that it was because you two got along so well and she has a wonderful time with you. You can have those things with a brother and a friend, but they don’t necessarily equal *that* kind of love and lust.

    For some reason, something clicked in her head. After only 10 months, she’s calling you her brother? Imagine how how it would be years down the line when that initial romantic buzz is gone. It’s one thing to have that crazy passionate early relationship stuff fade over the years, but it’s another to be straight up brother-zoned that early. Something told her you’re not right for each other in that way. At least she had the guts to tell you. Who knows, maybe you would have come to the same conclusion and she just did first. Not all people are romantically compatible.

    • And as she/he said, none of this will make it any easier. If it ends up working out and she was just having a weird week and saying those things, great. If she did mean them, I hope you’re able to get through this. It’s a terrible thing to go through. Try and distract yourself with friends, work, and ideally, dating. Good luck.

  3. She freaked out about something she did and decided to blame you. It happens. Lots of people are crazy that way.

    • Copyleft, where at all did you get that from? Did she say she was ‘blaming’ him for anything? If something is going on in her life and if she is freaking out over something, maybe she realized that this isn’t the best relationship for her. Something about this relationship isn’t working for me. For some reason, this dynamic is bringing me down. It doesn’t mean that he’s a bad person or that I’m a bad person or that it’s all his/her fault. Doesn’t mean that any blaming is involved. Just that she realized that he’s not right for her at this point in her life. And it’s better for him to know this than for her to string him along.

  4. That’s a tough one to hear, about being considered a brother, although Josie is right, it’s a good thing because it entails deep love.
    Both what he and she said was thorough and insightful. A conversation is in order. If for nothing else, closure

    • “loves you like a brother” is one of the worst things you can hear when you want something more. There is nothing good about it, it’s proof she doesn’t see you as a sexual being anymore. When you’re in love with someone in the romantic sense, no feeling of love like a brother/sister should EVER arise. Whilst a close friendship can be beneficial it can also be a disaster, especially when feelings of love remain with one partner.

      • Joanna Schroeder says:

        I actually strongly disagree with this, Archy. I’ve been married for 8+ years and I can tell you with certainty that in a life-long marriage, sexual desire waxes and wanes… so to speak. There should always be chemistry, but desire comes and goes on both the husband’s and the wife’s part. Sometimes loving your partner like a sibling is enough to get you through a rough patch back to the place where you want to tear each other’s clothing off. If a couple doesn’t rebound relatively quickly, they should seek outside help for this (doctor or sex therapist), but feeling sibling-like as opposed to like lovers is pretty normal at times.

        That being said, I feel VERY strongly that in the first few years of a relationship, there should be a strong physical chemistry, or else you’re setting yourself up for a lifetime of platonic love. Marriage won’t always be lusty, but it should consistently be a bit more lusty than not. I mean, we’re talking about 50 or so years here… You gotta be realistic.

        • Loving like a brother to me is incestuous and fucking disgusting. Never ever would I want to feel like my partner is a sister to me. I can love them like a friend vs a lover maybe, but never sibling style. The definition of sibiling is removal of all sexual feelings for most people so no I don’t think it’s normal or healthy to love your partner like a brother at times.

          Are you sure you don’t mean you just love them like a close friend? To me close friends can still be attractive, family members are off limits and are never attractive. Freud would have a field day with this:P I have a feeling you mean love them like a platonic best friend?

        • I actually strongly disagree with this, Archy. I’ve been married for 8+ years and I can tell you with certainty that in a life-long marriage, sexual desire waxes and wanes… so to speak.
          But there is a big difference between wax and wane and a constant 0.

        • It sounds to me like you’re treating “sibling love” sort of interchangeably with “platonic love”. I’m with you on the waxing an waning stuff, and sometimes needing to get through rough patches with the help of some non-sexual love, but I think that’s way, way different from loving like a sibling. If I love someone like a sibling, that means no sexual interest *evar*, because that kind of interest is out of the question for a sibling, no matter how good we’re getting along. It’s a pretty nice kind of love to get from an actual sibling, or someone you only want friendship with, but I agree with Archy it’s one of the shittiest things you could hear from a romantic partner or spouse. If my wife ever told me she loved me like a brother, I would be devastated. I’d rather hear “roommate” than “brother”, because at least “roommate” wouldn’t sound like I’ve been permanently assigned to an asexual category.

          • Yep, it’d be extremely painful, instantly you’d know you weren’t sexual to them. It’s the same as hearing your wife/partner tell you that you’re ugly pretty much, that you turn em off, either way it’s a sign they have not only lost sexual attraction for you but think of you in a category that never should be sexually or romantically attractive.

        • Hearing “I love you like a brother” from a woman is a good thing? Holy crap have you people lost your minds?
          It’s possibly the worst thing to hear. I can tell you with 100% certainty my wife and I have never felt this way about each other “in the rough times”. That’s absolutely insane and kind of disgusting.

  5. It sounds like she may be going through an emotionally unstable period in her life and she may not be able to articulate why she broke up with you. You may just have to accept it and move on. Note, if she has a pattern of emotional instability, violent mood swings, heavy drinking, and impulsive behavior, she may have issues like bipolar disorder that need professional help.

  6. I broke up with someone in a near blackout once. Though spectacularly weird and cowardly, it was the right move. We’re pretty good friends now.

  7. I dated my gf 10 months and suddenly she breaks it off. It stemmed from us getting drunk and it bothered her that she blacked out. She left for a week and ultimately said that night opened her mind to the relationship and that for 10 months she saw signs that we were not to be, and that she loved me like a brother. BS because a week prior we were intimate and for 10 months she was happy, there was a twinkle in her eye, we made future plans, I don’t know what to think. I love her!!

    I can understand wanting to shout BS on this but getting heated about it may not be the way to go.

    Personally I think that given the sudden circumstances of the breakup it is not out of line for you to have questions and want answers to them. Even if it ends up leading to no answers or answers that bring closure, it sounds like you need a real conversation about your relationship.

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