DR. WALLACE: I'm 16 and have a huge problem. Please help me. My mother was married to her third husband for over a year. They divorced two years ago because he drank excessively and was sexually aggressive with me.
About a month ago, he called my mom and said he had stopped drinking, found peace via religion and was a new man. Mom has now been seeing him regularly as of recently. In fact, they are planning to get married again. Ugh!
I not only despise this man, but I hate him for the things he said and did to me. I do not want him living in the same house with me. My father is living in California, has remarried and has two young children, so I can't move in with him and his new wife.
My mother said I could move in with a friend or a relative if I wanted to. That means she cares more for her third ex than she does for me. The only place I would feel comfortable would be living with my grandparents (my mom's mom). They would be willing to take me but said I would have to obey their rules, and they are quite strict. I don't know what I should do. — Stuck in Tight Spot, via email
STUCK: I'm sorry you've been put in such a tough situation. Your grandparents are your lifeline right now, and I suggest that you take it. Move in with them when your mom remarries, if she indeed does so. There are far worse things than living in a strict household, as I'm sure you know. I don't think it will take you too long to adjust. You will benefit there by being in a safe, stable environment, and I trust you will soon be feeling at home. Be sure to thank your grandparents often for offering you this opportunity and maintain regular communication with them on all topics that are important in your life. I think they just might surprise you with their compassion and love for you. This is the best situation for you at this time.
DON'T MARRY HIM AT THIS TIME
DR. WALLACE: I'm 19, and my fiance is 21. He wants to set a date for our marriage, but I keep stalling because I'm not so sure I want to marry him. Don't get me wrong; he is a great guy with many fine qualities, but he has one major flaw. He consumes a lot of alcohol, virtually daily, for a guy who only recently turned 21. Furthermore, his father is an alcoholic who has been hospitalized several times for his alcohol-related illnesses. His mother considers herself a safe "social drinker."
Both of my parents are nondrinkers. I, too, have never tasted alcohol, and I don't intend to. I know what misery it can cost a family, as I saw my best girlfriend go through some horrible times that I won't detail here.
Also, my fiance has asked me several times to take a sip of his cocktail, but I've always refused. I try to get him to cut down on his alcohol consumption, but he always says that he can control his drinking whenever he wants to. And yet, he just keeps on drinking once he starts. Sometimes he drinks at night by himself and passes out once he's had a series of several drinks.
My parents like him but think he might already be an alcoholic, so they keep preaching to me about not marrying him until he has stopped drinking altogether. I'm not sure this will ever happen. I fear he, like his father, is an alcoholic and not like his "social-drinking" mother. Would it be possible that he could quit drinking for me after we are married? He says he loves and would do anything for me, including stopping his drinking sometime in the future if that would make me happy. Am I worrying too much and overthinking all of this? — Concerned, via email
CONCERNED: Don't plan to get married at this time. His promises to quit "sometime in the future" are insufficient. Make sure he understands he has no chance of being your husband until his alcohol problem is eliminated. Do work with and encourage him to seek the help he likely needs. I trust you'll find your answer over the coming months if you let him know now that his excessive drinking is a deal breaker for you when it comes to marriage.
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. Email 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.
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