Dear Annie: I have been living with my partner for 36 years. By all outside appearances, he is a very good man. And in many ways, he is. But in the important ways, he is not. Birthdays and special holidays are never acknowledged; he makes snide comments about my weight; he's never been there when I've really needed him; he drinks until he is drunk every night, an average of 10 drinks; he smokes weed every night; and he watches porn at least three times a week. He is never mean when he is drinking; he just forgets things he says and stumbles around and makes stupid comments.
He is not only destroying his life and his brain but also making my life intolerable. I do everything for him. Many of my friends have told me I do too much and need to stop.
I don't want to leave, but I feel I am at the point that I may need to. He will probably find another relationship, but I sense he has no idea of the kind of woman he will draw into his life — most likely a weed user, a drinker and one who finds regular use of porn acceptable. I am none of those things. I never have been and never will be.
My soul is so fractured by trying to figure this out. I am extremely depressed. I would not know where to go. I have no family nearby, and starting all over on my own seems physically impossible because of my broken spirit. Infringing on friends is not something I want to do. — Veronica
Dear Veronica: There is so much to address here, but I'll start with the biggest red flag. This man is an alcoholic. He needs to seek treatment. And you should attend an Al-Anon meeting on your own, as it would help give you some perspective, especially if you were to stay with him. But I really hope you don't stay, because even if this relationship was healthy at some point, it isn't now. And having a history with someone is not reason enough to have a future. Close your eyes and picture yourself still with this man in 10 years. Do you look happy?
I'm guessing your friends would be overjoyed to help you get out of this relationship and would get right to making up a bed for you. Reach out to them. (You can alternate friends every week or two, if you're worried about overstaying your welcome.) Also, consider seeing a therapist. It can make a world of difference just knowing you have a place to pour your heart out every week.
Leaving him won't be easy. In fact, it will be excruciating — for a little while. But if you push through the pain and heartache, you will find bliss on the other side.
Dear Annie: I recently read a letter from "Not Good Enough." I am very concerned by the parents' response to struggling grades. This is never a small thing to a child, especially a teen, who is not only beginning to develop a sense of identity but also dealing with a changing body. Parents who have this attitude need to refocus their priorities. Parents, please, instead of whining about not being able to brag about your kid's grades, offer to help. Encourage your kid after a job well-done. A small compliment can go a long way. As this young man stated, he just wants to know he's valued and appreciated. Isn't that what we all want — and need — in this life? — Bewildered
Dear Bewildered: Amen to that.
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