DEAR ABBY: I have been seeing "Gil" for a little over seven months. I love him, but he drinks a lot. A couple of nights ago he called me, roaring drunk. I told him he needed to stop drinking.
He swore on the love he had for me that he would quit, and asked me how long I wanted him to stop for. I asked him to stop for one month. I told him that if he drank during the 30 days, I'd break up with him.
Now Gil says that the promise he made doesn't count because he was drunk when he made it. He says he would never have made such a promise if he'd been sober. He told me he could quit for a month if he wanted to, but he doesn't want to stop.
I don't think this is fair to me because he swore on the love he has for me. Should I keep my word and end the relationship if he drinks? He's only 17, and I don't want him to ruin his future. -- SAD IN TEXAS
DEAR SAD: He may be only 17, but your boyfriend is already a problem drinker. He may care for you, but it appears he loves his alcohol more. Much as you might wish to, you can't save another person; you can only save yourself. If you're as intelligent as I think you are, you'll keep your word and end the romance so you won't ruin YOUR future.
DEAR ABBY: My niece and nephew were living with their father, "Ron," and their stepmom, "Anita."
Ron walked out on Anita, and she turned and told the children -- ages 11 and 12 -- that it was their fault that their daddy left. They have since moved back with their mother, but they continue to cry and worry because of what Stepmommy Dearest said. (She had also hit my niece with her fist and lied about it when confronted.)
How can I help the children to adjust and understand? They are precious young people who badly need stability in their lives. -- DOTING AUNT IN ALABAMA
DEAR DOTING AUNT: What your niece and nephew need in their lives, even more than words, is continuity. Assure them that you will be there for them as long as they need you. Praise them for their good qualities. Explain that regardless of what may be said in the heat of anger, adults rarely end their marriages because of anything a child may have done.
Have their father repeat what you have said. From your description of the stepmother, everyone will be better off with her out of the picture.
DEAR ABBY: Our marriage was wonderful until my wife cut back on her Premarin. Now she's argumentative and her libido is shot. I'm really suffering. I want a wife, not a sister. I love her dearly, but had I known this was going to happen, I might not have married her. Is there any alternative to splitting up? -- DESPERATE IN ARIZONA
DEAR DESPERATE: Yes, and it involves your wife being willing to level with her gynecologist about the disappearance of her sex drive since she stopped taking the Premarin. Women have been helped by using small doses of testosterone, but this is something that needs to be determined by a physician.
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