DEAR ABBY: For more than a year, I have been troubled by my fiancee's drinking. (I'll call her Julia.) Last week, Julia admitted to me that she is addicted to alcohol.
She continues to push me to set a wedding date. It has become a major issue for her because most of her friends are married, and she feels humiliated about being single. We have set tentative wedding dates in the past, but then have scrubbed them.
I am less worried about the date of the wedding than I am about Julia's drinking problem. I love her dearly, and with my encouragement she has gone to counseling, but I believe she has a long way to go.
She pushed me for a date again tonight. When I told her I wanted to discuss it with her in person rather than over the phone, she hung up on me. I'm sure that she had been drinking. She gets a "buzz" two or three nights a week and is a different person under those circumstances.
This would be the second marriage for both of us. I am 53; Julia is 48. We both have grown children.
I don't think I've handled this very well, and I'm not sure what to do. However, I don't want to spend the rest of my life with a partner who abuses alcohol. -- CONFUSED IN SAVANNAH
DEAR CONFUSED: I would say you are wise to delay setting a wedding date until your fiancee has been sober for at least six months. Encourage Julia to continue counseling and to attend AA meetings. You can gain insight into the situation by contacting Al-Anon, a program for friends and family of alcoholics. Consult your phone book for the location of your nearest chapter.
Alcoholism is a sickness, and I hope Julia wins the battle, but if she doesn't, don't feel guilty if you decide to get on with your life without her.
DEAR ABBY: My ex-wife and I have been divorced for almost seven years. We have one daughter together. During our separation, my ex-wife became pregnant and gave birth to a girl. She told me the girl was mine; however, I didn't believe her. I was positive her new boyfriend was the father.
Recently our daughter went to visit my ex-wife's family. She brought home a photograph of my ex-wife's second daughter. When I saw it, my heart started pounding. She bears a strong resemblance to me!
If she is my daughter, I want to be part of her life. At the same time, she seems to be happy with her family and I don't want to disrupt her life. Should I demand a paternity test to see if she's mine? -- FATHER OF TWO?
DEAR FATHER: Do not start out by "demanding" anything. Tell your ex-wife that you saw the child's picture and were struck by the child's resemblance to you, and you feel you may owe her an apology. Explain that you would like to be part of the little girl's life, but you do not want to disrupt the new family. Then listen to what your ex-wife has to say. It is important that after all these years, the subject be dealt with in a friendly manner.
If she refuses, there is plenty of time to pursue the matter legally if you must. However, I urge you to try diplomacy first.
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