DR. WALLACE: My mom's boyfriend is an alcoholic. He doesn't live with us, but he spends a lot of time here and much of it is spent consuming booze. He's not so bad when he's not drinking, but that doesn't happen too often.
I keep telling my mother we don't need an unemployed alcoholic hanging around our house, but she says she loves him and plans to marry him as soon as I graduate from high school — which will be in about a year. In the meantime, all this has ruined the family life I once had with my mother.
I shudder to think what her life will be like after she marries this guy. Mom works hard and makes a decent wage. This guy doesn't work because he has some sort of disability that pays him $900 a month.
After I graduate, I'm moving to Cleveland to live with my grandmother. I'll look for work there and possibly go to college, if my grandparents can afford it. I might get a scholarship because my high school grade point average is above 3.70. If my mother would stop seeing her boyfriend before I graduate, I'd continue to live with her. Without being a nag, what can I do to get her to realize this guy will make her life miserable as long as she's with him? — Troubled, Dayton, Ohio.
TROUBLED: Whoever said "Love is blind" was on to something. Encourage your mother to get her boyfriend to stop drinking. A good start would for him to join Alcoholics Anonymous. It would be very unwise for your mother to marry him while he's still drinking. Continue to remind her of this and have trusted adults (ministers, counselors, friends) do the same.
If possible, you and your mom should go into family counseling. Mom calls it love, but there might be a hidden reason why she wants a man around the house and a family counselor might be able to uncover the reason. Above all, keep loving and communicating with your mom. Showing nonjudgmental concern is always more effective than being a nag, which almost never brings the desired result.
MY BOYFRIEND IS SHORT, BUT HE'S ALSO WONDERFUL
DR. WALLACE: I'm 16 and dating the guy of my dreams who is also 16. He is wonderful and I care for him very much. My life would become miserable if we stopped seeing each other. It so happens that Mother Nature made me 5-feet 8- inches tall and she decided that Mitch was, at this time in our lives, going to be 8 inches shorter than I am.
My older sister and some of her friends think I look "dumb" going out with a guy who is shorter than I am. One of my sister's friends told me I should buy my boyfriend a pair of elevator shoes for his birthday. I know they are laughing at me behind my back, but I really don't care. I wouldn't trade boyfriends with any of them. My sister's boyfriend is 6-feet, 3-inches tall and he is a big, egotistical jerk.
Lately, my mother has been making a few snide remarks about my boyfriend's lack of height, which bothers me. Last night, when I was getting ready to go out on a date, she knocked on my bedroom door and reminded me I had better wear my flat shoes so it wouldn't look like I was towering over my date. I didn't say anything to her, but I resented the jab. Should I just let this slide, or should I tell Mom I resented her remark? - Nameless, Tulsa, Okla.
NAMELESS: Don't make a big issue out of your mom's remarks, but do remind her that your boyfriend's stature is not really important and what is important is that he is a wonderful guy and you enjoy going out with him. Trust me, your mom will get the message and the snide remarks will cease.
Dr. Robert Wallace welcomes questions from readers. Although he is unable to reply to all of them individually, he will answer as many as possible in this column. E-mail him at [email protected] To find out more about Dr. Robert Wallace and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.