DEAR ABBY: I recently got my husband back in touch with "Scott," his best friend from adolescence and college. My husband's ex had kept them apart, so this rekindling is extra special and appreciated. I don't want to do anything that would jeopardize it. But Scott's wife makes me very uncomfortable.
She is quiet, reserved, but very manipulative. Neither she nor her husband are drinkers, but she insists on bringing a gift of some form of alcohol every time we see them, which is about once a month.
Abby, I am a recovering alcoholic. I have worked hard for my 11 years of sobriety, and continue to work hard at it every day. Firm, but polite requests I have made to her have fallen upon deaf ears. Speaking to Scott hasn't helped either, because he doesn't stand up to her. My husband also hasn't been able to get through.
He and Scott tell me to accept the gift and throw it away, or give it to another friend. But with addiction, it isn't that easy. I have resorted to inventing excuses not to see them, but I don't like feeling this way.
I believe she gives gifts because it makes her feel good, but at what point does my extreme discomfort trump her happiness? What can I do to get her to understand without ruining this relationship? -- IN A DELICATE SITUATION
DEAR DELICATE: Have you told Scott's wife that you are a recovering alcoholic? If you have, and she persists in gifting you with liquor when they come over, she is attempting to challenge your recovery. (Could her behavior be the reason your husband's former wife kept them apart?)
Your husband's rekindled friendship with Scott would not be ruined if he sees him on a one-to-one basis rather than the four of you socializing as couples. And if the clueless wife hands you another bottle of booze, that's what you should insist upon.
DEAR ABBY: I have been talking to someone I know is a genuine person, someone who has all the qualities I would want in a lifelong partner. However, I am still in love with my ex.
My ex has moved on but still contacts me, and we do deeply care about each other. I'm afraid if I decide to move forward, I'll always second-guess whether or not I did it for the right reasons. I'm afraid that because of my feelings for my ex, I won't be able to open up to anyone. I also know we would have many issues to resolve if we ever decided to give it another chance.
I guess I'm afraid to let go and afraid to move forward. What should I do? -- EQUALLY TORN IN THE WEST
DEAR EQUALLY TORN: Move forward as your ex has. And while you are at it, put more distance between the two of you. Whether the person you are talking to -- who seems to look good on paper -- is someone you'll wind up with is anybody's guess. So consider taking a break from romance for a while until you get your head straight. You're not there yet, but with time you will be.
Good advice for everyone -- teens to seniors -- is in "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It." To order, send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)