DEAR ABBY: My husband of 43 years, an alcoholic, has started going to the local grill/bar in our small town. He spends three to four hours there, six days a week. He would go more often if they were open on Sundays.
People who know us tell me things that have been going on between a single bartender and him. This bartender has given him gifts, and I heard he overtips her. I have also been told there’s more going on than the outward flirting, and my husband has been saying bad things about me.
The bartender is not a young woman, and she tells anyone who will listen that she’s looking for a man. I have asked my husband nicely to stop going there, and he does for a few days, until her calls and posts on Facebook start about me “keeping him from going to the bar.” When he gets home, he continues drinking until he passes out.
I have told him that if he gets a DUI and goes to jail, I won’t bail him out. He doesn’t really care, and I don’t know what to do. Help! — DISASTER IN GEORGIA
DEAR DISASTER: Your signature is correct. Your marriage IS a disaster. As long as your husband continues to drink, nothing will improve. Keep uppermost in your mind that, as much as you might want to, you cannot change him.
Contact a divorce lawyer and find out what you need to do to protect yourself financially. And join an Al-Anon group. There may be more than one near you. When you do, you may find not only some much-needed emotional support but also perspective. I am sorry for what you are experiencing, but once you attend a meeting, you will find you are not alone and that there is a way out.
DEAR ABBY: I am a single 30-year-old female who is child-free. (I never wanted kids, ever!) My personal stance and views on the subject are well-known by my co-workers, all of whom have children.
I share an office with “Elise,” who’s about 18 years older than I am. Over the years, she has made remarks such as, “You have no right to be tired. You don’t have kids!” or “You don’t count because you don’t have kids!” or “You’re not a real adult because you don’t have the responsibility of having kids” (my favorite).
How do I deal with her, or what do I say to counter her remarks? When she makes them, it hurts my feelings. I don’t react because I know if I do it will hurt her feelings and cause friction in the office, which I don’t need. But I’m sick to death of people like her who have children saying those things about people like me. — FREE FOREVER
DEAR FREE: Your co-worker appears to be voicing her frustrations about the responsibilities of parenthood and somewhat jealous that you are free of them. The next time she hurts your feelings, it would not be overreacting to tell her that she has and ask her for an apology.
If she’s doing it hoping to get a rise out of you, ignore her. But if it persists, as a last resort, talk to your boss or human resources about it because she’s creating a hostile work environment. (It’s the truth.) She should be talking with you about work, not her personal opinions about you.