Dear Dr. Date,Dur…

Dear Dr. Date,
During the school year I became friends with a sweet, charismatic guy who I loved to spend time with. We began dating each other in the spring. During the summer we are keeping in contact through letters (we live in different states). However, I am not sure that it is a good idea to continue our relationship once we return to school because of an incident that happened. One night he was a little drunk and we were horsing around when he got aggravated and he hit me. It didn’t hurt very much, but it was enough to make me upset. I told him that if it would ever happen again I would end our relationship. He seemed horrified at his own actions and he apologized with much regret. I can’t shake the incident from my mind, though. I never saw it coming, so how am I supposed to trust that he won’t do it again? Am I naive for giving him a second shot? Or am I too sensitive for letting this overshadow what has otherwise been a great relationship?
— Split

This is certainly not a situation to be ignored. You should always be concerned when a relation expresses himself violently. Although it seems implausible to you, your boyfriend matches the description of the typical abusive partner. The unfortunate pattern you describe happens all the time — a person gets drunk and hits their partner, only to apologize profusely about it later, promising to never let it happen again. Unfortunately, it usually does happen again. I think you did the right thing by giving him the ultimatum, but please stick by your words. Too often, the person in your situation will find small excuses that give the abuser yet another chance. This leads to an endless cycle of abuse and misplaced forgiveness that can cloud your mind and muddle your ability to see what is really happening.
After years of association with alcohol, I’ve come to regard it as one of the most ugly drugs you can take. I dated a woman who was a joy most of the time, but when she got drunk she became physically, mentally and verabally abusive. She would apologize for her behavior, but then a while later would get drunk again and become ugly. Being drunk is no excuse for treating people improperly. It’s amazing it took me so many years and regretful situations to realize what a disgusting filth abuse of alcohol is. I wasn’t an alcoholic and I don’t think your boyfriend is either, but what does a name matter when you are doing such horrible things to people you care about while drunk? People mistakenly think alcoholism is something you just suddenly arrive at and that you can simply turn around and go back before you get there.