DEAR ABBY: My fiance and I have dated for almost three years. We plan to be married a year from now. We were close friends for 12 years prior to dating.
Abby, over the last two years, he has developed a bad drinking problem and lost 12 jobs in the last year alone. To his credit, he has been sober for a month now and has accepted a new job. Although I'm happy that he has a new job, I'm also concerned because he will be working in a bar.
I am bringing my daughter into this marriage and am worried that he will revert to drinking, which wouldn't be a good environment for my daughter. When I discussed it with him, he became irate and said I had insulted his job and was calling him a loser. Then he accused me of using him to support myself and my daughter. He said my "true colors" came through when I encouraged him to stay sober.
I am deeply hurt. I don't understand why he would say such a thing. We had discussed this before, and he didn't react this way. The last thing I would ever do is marry someone for money. I have always planned to keep my job after we marry.
He is barely speaking to me now, and I don't understand his anger. Please help. -- DEPRESSED AND ABANDONED IN TEXAS
DEAR DEPRESSED: Your fiance's attempt to turn the tables on you, along with his excessive drinking and inability to hold a job, are indications that he has an out-of-control alcohol problem. It is typical for addicts to be defensive and attempt to put anyone who confronts them in a corner. Do not accept the guilt trip.
It is admirable that he has been sober for a month, but his job in an establishment where alcohol is the prime product is an almost sure road to self-defeat. If someone is serious about surviving such an addiction, the person doesn't place him- or herself in temptation's way.
Encourage your fiance to reinforce his attempt at sobriety by attending AA meetings. (It is listed in the phone book and online.) Then do your part by attending Al-Anon meetings. Meanwhile, put your wedding plans on hold until you're absolutely sure he won't be detrimental to your daughter's -- and your -- future.
DEAR ABBY: We have a cabin on a lake in New England. It is next door to some of our relatives. We've made friends with neighbors on the other side and would like to invite them over for dinner. Our relatives are also friendly with the neighbors. If we invite them for dinner, must we invite the relatives too? -- JUDY ON "GOLDEN POND"
DEAR JUDY: Technically, you don't have to. However, if you have mostly socialized as a "threesome," feelings may be hurt if you suddenly change what has become customary.
DEAR ABBY: My wife and I are avid readers who sometimes find that we have too many books. Our solution is to donate our excess books to the local USO. We set up a donation box in our church's foyer, and once a month we carry the donated books to one of our city's two USO centers. Service members are encouraged to take them with them as they travel. We have found that there's always room on the bookshelves at the USO. -- TOM IN SAN ANTONIO
DEAR TOM: Thank you for a terrific suggestion. I'm sure many readers will appreciate it -- and so will the recipients.
What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with peers and parents is in "What Every Teen Should Know." Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)