DEAR ABBY: My girlfriends are always trying to get me drunk. I don't need alcohol to have a good time, and in fact, I rarely drink. They say I'm "no fun," which is probably true. But that's just who I am.
Although they never drink and drive, they drink a lot and are embarrassing when they sing loud, stumble on the dance floor and slur their words. I'm afraid if I get drunk I may say something hurtful to them, and they will no longer be my friends.
My boyfriend says they're not true friends if they want me to drink to excess. My college days are behind me. I am mature enough not to succumb to this peer pressure. Is my boyfriend right? Do I need new friends? -- TEETOTALER IN PENNSYLVANIA
DEAR TEETOTALER: There are few things more unattractive than a person who is drunk. Your boyfriend may be right that you need some new friends, if yours can have a good time only if they use alcohol.
If I'm reading your letter correctly, it appears you may be their designated driver. My advice is to take yourself out of that equation, and if possible, socialize with them in situations that do not involve drinking. If that's not possible, then for your own sake, start cultivating friends with wider interests.
DEAR ABBY: My wife and I have been married for 20 years. Before our two children started high school two years ago, we had a great marriage. Unfortunately, my wife has put our children's high school education above everything else. She's a classic "helicopter mom" who says that once the kids leave for college, our relationship will become great again.
As the months go by, I find myself being more of a father and a tutor than a husband and "intimate friend" to my wife. We have little in common with each other, little intimacy, and everything revolves around our children -- not us.
I have talked to her about this, and we have seen a counselor and a priest who told my wife that what she's doing is wrong. But things are getting worse, not better.
Any suggestions on how to get the message across before we get totally separated or even divorced? Or am I the one who needs to see things differently? -- NO HELICOPTER DAD
DEAR DAD: Your letter touches upon a conversation I have had several times over the last few years, and it involves whether helicopter parents are giving their children an advantage, or preventing them from developing social skills and independence. If your kids are having problems in school and need extra parental guidance, then I'm all for it. But if they aren't -- and their teachers should be able to tell you that -- then your wife isn't doing this because of their need but her own.
Because you say you're not sure your marriage will be intact by the time they graduate, I'm urging that you both have more marriage counseling NOW. I hate to see a 20-year marriage go down the drain, because that's where it's headed.
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