DEAR ABBY: I am 35 and have been dating "Julie," a 38-year-old woman, for nearly a year. Drinking is a pleasure we both enjoy, but sometimes Julie goes overboard, and it creates a strain on our relationship.
A few weeks ago, we got thrown out of a rock concert because she forced her way to the front of the stage in a wild, drunken state -- to the chagrin of other concertgoers. Security threatened to carry her out if we didn't exit the premises at once.
The tickets cost me $300, and I'm angry we were asked to leave because of her lack of consideration. I love Julie a lot and don't want to ask her to stop drinking because that would be hypocritical. But at the same time I feel she should control herself and drink responsibly. What should I do? -- ANGRY IN L.A.
DEAR ANGRY: Julie wasn't asked to leave because of "lack of consideration." She was ejected because she was so drunk she was out of control and bothering the other attendees. (And at a rock concert, that's quite a feat.)
It's time to face the fact that your lady has a drinking problem. Of course, she needs help for it. (Alcoholics Anonymous would be an excellent place to start. It's listed in your local phone book.) Please give her a push in the right direction, and while you're at it, consider curbing your own drinking so it won't encourage her to continue.
DEAR ABBY: I have seen so many letters in your column regarding people who are concerned about children in weddings. My sister insisted on having a 3-year-old as her flower girl, so I quickly came up with a "bored child" safeguard.
While the little girl stood next to me during the rehearsal, I crouched down and showed her where her mommy would be sitting -- in the front row on the end. (We'd put her there for this reason.) I then told her that if she got tired or bored, it was OK to walk over to her mommy.
Sure enough, halfway through the ceremony our little doll was bored. So she quietly turned and walked to her mother and sat and worked in her coloring book (crayons were at the ready). After a while, she wanted to be part of things again, so she walked back and stood next to me again, and I gave her a little hug. It was a complete success -- there was no disruption. -- MAID OF HONOR, MILAN, MICH.
DEAR MAID OF HONOR: Congratulations. You planned ahead for a method of dealing with the child's short attention span before it created a problem. Your clever "insurance" paid off. And that same planning should be done when small children are included at dinners in restaurants so they are occupied and out of harm's way.
DEAR ABBY: How do I get a person to stop regifting me? Often it's her used clothes, used decor and knickknacks that she no longer wants. This person can afford nice things, which is why she thinks I would like her old stuff. I find it insulting when I get it in the form of a gift. It is always wrapped beautifully and presented as though I should be so grateful.
I might also add that this person will never keep a gift she receives if it's not exactly what she wants or matches her decor. How do I tactfully get this to stop? -- SECONDHAND ROSE
DEAR ROSE: If I selected a gift for someone and she didn't keep it -- or exchanged it -- I would give it one more try. If it happened again, from then on I would send a lovely card to mark the occasion, or a bouquet or plant. And if I was really ticked off, I would regift her gift back to HER.
P.S. Another thought: When you open her regift, smile and say, "Oh, honey. I can't keep this. You're too generous -- and it looked too nice on your shelf."
For everything you need to know about wedding planning, order "How to Have a Lovely Wedding." Send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $6 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Wedding Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)
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