Dear Annie: I have been with my boyfriend, "Harry," for three years, and I love him very much. Last year, we had a child together. I think Harry will soon be popping the question. There is one big issue that will stop me from saying yes.
Harry is an occasional drug user. He has never brought drugs into the home, but every few months, he will "disappear" for several hours or even a whole night. We've had many discussions about getting him help, but he refuses. He claims he is not an addict because he only uses on occasion. Plus, he says we don't have the money for a rehab facility.
I can see myself spending the rest of my life with this man, but the last thing I want to do is commit to Harry when I can't be sure he will commit completely to his family. I know when you love someone it should be for better or worse, but I cannot accept this part of him. What do I do? — Cautiously Hopeful
Dear Hopeful: We appreciate that Harry doesn't bring drugs into the house, but he also should not be disappearing overnight or require a rehab facility in order to shake a once-every-few-months habit. Are you sure he is not using at other times? Is it possible his drug use will escalate? Contact Nar-Anon (nar-anon.org) and Families Anonymous (familiesanonymous.org) for support. Since you have a child together, there is already a commitment in place, so please work on this until you get the answers that satisfy you before you say "I do."
Dear Annie: Our 13-year-old son has three friends he likes to have over to our house. However, two of them have younger brothers, and when he invites these friends, their mothers always ask whether the other boy can come, too. I always say yes because I don't want to seem unkind, but my son wishes he could just enjoy the friends he invited.
I think it's a bit rude for these mothers to ask whether their younger sons can play, too. What's your opinion? — Only Child's Mom
Dear Mom: These parents know that their sons would like to play at your house (and the mothers probably enjoy the extra free time). But no one can take advantage of you without your permission. We recommend learning to say no once in a while. Practice saying, "We don't mind entertaining your younger son now and then, but 'Johnny' would like some time with just 'Billy' today. Sorry."
Dear Annie: You missed the mark with your advice to "Desperate Housewife," whose husband was having a flirtatious email correspondence with another woman. You suggested "Desperate" do some flirting of her own with her husband.
The couple has been married 40 years, and I'm sure the little wifey's days of flirtation are long gone. Why would you suggest that she spruce up the marriage with flirting, compliments and all the other little things that stroke a man's infantile, fragile ego? He is clearly cheating on her. To suggest that she flirt to appease him so he won't be tempted to communicate with a woman on the Internet is ridiculous. The "next step" for me would be divorce, not marriage counseling. — Disgusted in Louisiana
Dear Disgusted: You sound very bitter. All marriages require regular tending, even (and especially) after 40 years. Husbands and wives absolutely should flirt with each other, compliment each other and take the time to make the other feel special and desired — for their entire marriage. We don't understand why a spouse would be unwilling to do that for someone they love. Our advice stands.
Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to [email protected], or write to: Annie's Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. To find out more about Annie's Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.