DEAR ABBY: Our son, "Jonas," got into trouble with the law because of drugs. He is now in rehab seven days a week, and lives here with his father, "Harry," and me. I'm proud to say Jonas is doing well. However, one condition set by the court is that alcohol not be on the premises where he lives.
When Jonas told Harry about it, Harry went ballistic and claimed his own rights were being infringed upon by the courts. Harry stubbornly insists that he will drink beer in his own home if he chooses even though it could get our son sent to jail.
I am standing my ground that alcohol may not be brought into our home. I used to have a glass or two of wine in the evenings, but I'm willing to sacrifice that in order to protect our son's freedom.
I am so torn. I love my husband, but I can hardly stand to look at him right now, because he is willing to risk his son's freedom for a beer. How can he think like that? -- WORRIED MOTHER
DEAR WORRIED: You have every right to be concerned because if there is a surprise search, your son will be blamed for something that's not his fault.
It's unfortunate that your husband is either so wedded to his beer, or such a stubborn contrarian, that he's unwilling to sacrifice his transitory pleasure for the sake of his child. You can't force him to make a mature decision. Since he's unwilling to cooperate, it might be in your son's best interest to live elsewhere.
DEAR ABBY: I was 15 years old when I met "Andy," and by my 19th birthday we were married. We have been together 31 years and have two wonderful sons. Now that they have moved out, it's just the two of us. The problem we seem to have is communication.
It is difficult to talk to Andy about anything without getting into an argument. The only safe topic we can discuss is his job, which he absolutely loves. Most of the time, I just sit here nodding and pretending to be interested while deep inside I want to scream.
When I want to talk about something that interests me, I call a friend or family member, but I would much rather spend quality time talking with my husband. Abby, please tell me how I can break down these barriers of communication and open Andy's mind and heart to me. -- TOTALLY FRUSTRATED IN MARYLAND
DEAR FRUSTRATED: It's possible that your husband's range of interests extends no farther than his office walls. It's also possible that this didn't become obvious before because your attention was focused on raising your children, and his role was cast as being "the provider."
It would be wonderful if the two of you could cultivate an interest together -- travel, a class of some sort, etc. Another excellent option would be to explore Marriage Encounter. The telephone number is (800) 828-3351, and the Web site www.marriage-encounter.org. Please consider it. They have saved many marriages that were on the brink.
DEAR ABBY: My father has a mistress! I know this because I saw them together. He doesn't know that I know. Should I tell my mother? They've been married since 1982. There's someone downstairs, so I must finish this quickly! If I tell, I will be betraying my father. If I don't tell, I will be betraying my mother. Help. Please! -- ANONYMOUS DAUGHTER IN BRAZIL
DEAR DAUGHTER: I don't know what you saw, or how you "know" that the woman your father was with is his mistress and not an acquaintance. However, the first person you should tell is your father. If there isn't an innocent explanation, then tell your mother what you saw.
What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS, and getting along with peers and parents is in "What Every Teen Should Know." To order, send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $5 (U.S. funds only) to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)
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