Dear Abby

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - FEATURES - Abi­gail Van Buren

Hus­band aid­ing ex-lover may be help­ing him­self.

DEAR ABBY : My hus­band went to Florida three months ago to care for an ail­ing for­mer lover. He told me she will be leav­ing him a siz­able in­her­i­tance and he needs to pro­tect her from “vul­tures.” I ad­mit I am sus­pi­cious of his mo­tives. I think there may be more go­ing on than what he’s telling me, but he has been paint­ing a pretty pic­ture of how rosy our fu­ture will be with her gift.

He has now sug­gested that we get a tem­po­rary di­vorce so he can marry her in or­der to get her en­tire es­tate! He claims it will be noth­ing more than a busi­ness ar­range­ment. His sug­ges­tion left me flab­ber­gasted. Even though our mar­riage has been rocky at times, I have never seen this side of him. I don’t know whether to be­lieve him and be sim­ply dis­ap­pointed at his cal­lous be­hav­ior, or not be­lieve him and con­clude that he really wants a di­vorce so he can marry her. Any thoughts? – HEART­SICK IN SOUTH CAROLINA

DEAR HEART­SICK : Your hus­band ap­pears to still be car­ry­ing a torch for his old flame. Are you sure she is really sick? If it’s the truth, then the “vul­ture” I see on the hori­zon may be him.

I hope you ap­pre­ci­ate how ex­tremely ma­nip­u­la­tive your hus­band ap­pears to be. Be­cause of it, and since he has spo­ken the “D” word, con­sult a lawyer to en­sure that your in­ter­ests will be pro­tected re­gard­less of his mo­tives. I’m say­ing that in case the woman turns out to be health­ier than both of you.

DEAR ABBY : How do you help some­one who doesn’t want to be helped? My adult son, “Greg,” who lives with me, is slowly drink­ing him­self to death. He was laid off two years ago, and I know he is de­pressed and has given up on life.

It has reached the point where he is show­ing signs of cir­rho­sis, but he re­fuses to do any­thing about it. The last time he saw a doc­tor was three years ago. The doc­tor said Greg’s liver func­tions were not nor­mal and he needed to stop drink­ing. I’ve tried to make my son lis­ten to rea­son, to no avail.

My sis­ter tells me if I don’t get Greg some help, I could be charged with adult ne­glect. But I don’t know how to fix this.

The out­come is in­creas­ingly bleak. What can I do? – MOM WITH A PROB­LEM

DEAR MOM : If the in­abil­ity to con­vince a sub­stance-ad­dicted adult rel­a­tive to get help were against the law, there wouldn’t be enough pris­ons to hold all the “of­fend­ers.”

As much as you love your son, you can’t “fix” his al­co­hol ad­dic­tion. You should, how­ever, find the near­est Al-Anon group and at­tend some meet­ings. And while you are at it, bring your sis­ter with you be­cause she has a lot to learn. Chief among the lessons is that some­one else’s drink­ing is not an­other per­son’s fault or re­spon­si­bil­ity to con­trol. I am sorry for your pain, be­cause I’m sure it is con­sid­er­able.

DEAR ABBY: I’m an at­tor­ney. Re­cently at a party, an ac­quain­tance was talk­ing about some lit­i­ga­tion his com­pany is in­volved in. I com­mented briefly on some­thing he said, and he re­sponded, “We take ad­vice from at­tor­neys we PAY,” and walked away. Should I feel in­sulted, or should I have stayed out of the con­ver­sa­tion to be­gin with? – HURT FEEL­INGS IN FLORIDA

DEAR HURT : Some peo­ple think that any­thing that’s of­fered for free is with­out value, and it ap­pears the man you en­coun­tered is one of them. Be­cause this is his world view, try not to take it per­son­ally. Your mo­tives were gen­er­ous. I see no rea­son to muz­zle your­self in the fu­ture if you think you have some­thing help­ful to say.

Dear Abby is writ­ten by Abi­gail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Con­tact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los An­ge­les, CA 90069. What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and get­ting along with peers and par­ents is in “What Ev­ery Teen Should Know.” Send your name and mail­ing ad­dress, plus cheque or money or­der for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Teen Book­let, P.O. Box 447, Mount Mor­ris, IL 61054-0447. (Ship­ping and han­dling are in­cluded in the price.)

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