Dear Annie: I have been married for 25 years to a husband who provides well for his family. We are now empty nesters. However, my husband feels he has to be a social butterfly with everyone on the golf course or in a bar.
When he drinks, he doesn’t know when enough is enough, and it leads to major fighting and stress in our marriage. He feels that because he doesn’t physically touch me, he is not abusive in any way. But he is mentally and emotionally hurtful.
All of his friends think he is such a nice guy. But his friends have plenty of affairs, and some are on their third or fourth marriages. Although my husband says he has never had an affair, it is hard to believe him when he takes in so much alcohol with his cheating friends.
How do I convince him that his marriage is more important than the social partying? We have attempted counseling, but he manipulates the conversation to the point where I am the only one with an issue and he is a perfectly good guy. Do I continue to worry myself sick, or do I push for counseling again even though it doesn’t do any good? I don’t want a divorce, but I also cannot continue to let him do whatever he pleases while I sit home getting worked up about it.
— Hurt and Alone
Dear Hurt: We think there is a disconnect between your expectations and your reality. Presumably, your husband has been a social drinker with the same types of friends for 25 years of marriage. Without children around to occupy your time and thoughts, you seem to be more focused on your husband’s shortcomings.
If you think he’s cheating, go back for counseling, either with him or without him, and gain some perspective on your choices. If he is constantly drunk, cannot function or becomes belligerent toward you, contact Al-Anon (al-anon.alateen.org). But if your problem is that he seems to be having fun while you are sitting at home fretting, we strongly urge you to get involved in activities that interest you, make some new friends and live your life the way you want it to be.
Dear Annie: My daughter is a bridesmaid for a sorority sister’s fall wedding. She bought her dress, and the bridal shower is planned.
The bride’s younger sister is her maid of honor. Since she is under 21, she will not be able to get into bars. So the bride decided she wants to go out of state for the bachelorette party for two days. The cost is $350 per person, but it doesn’t include meals or gasoline for the 11-hour car trip that no one has offered to drive yet.
Needless to say, this is way over her budget, but my daughter feels she has no alternative. I’ve heard that other bridesmaids also feel this is excessive but won’t speak up at this late date. Isn’t this asking a lot? Are there no limitations to expenses once you agree to be in the wedding party?
— Not Made Out of Money in Maryland
Dear Maryland: Brides have been known to go overboard with their financial demands on attendants. Your daughter should have spoken up early on. Now, her choice is to pay up, back out of the bachelorette party or back out of the obligation to stand up altogether, allowing the bride to choose someone more eager to part with the money. Once she speaks up, the others may, too.
Dear Annie: I read the complaint from “Frustrated,” the woman whose friend does not drive. In our area, transportation services are offered at low cost. The services in the Los Angeles area are Dial a Ride and Access. Both are great. “Frustrated” can then offer her driving service on her terms. It also will give her friend the feeling of independence.
— Been There in California
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