DEAR ABBY: My mother-in-law was a drug addict for most of my wife's life. Because of this, my wife refuses to use any addictive substances, including alcohol. I enjoy having a beer or three occasionally. I never get drunk, just pleasantly tipsy. This happens maybe once a month.
Every time I drink, she gets very judgmental, as if I'm some sort of alcoholic. I have tried talking to her about it when I'm not drinking. She claims she doesn't care if I drink occasionally. Then as soon as I do, she rolls her eyes at me, sighs if I get a second one and asks me why I'm drinking. I'm puzzled about why she acts this way. Please help! — JUST A DRINK IN THE EAST
DEAR JUST A DRINK: She acts this way because she is the child of an addict, and seeing someone imbibe one — or three — drinks at one time makes her remember how her parent behaved while under the influence, which makes her uncomfortable. And frankly, I can't blame her. There are support groups for adult children of addicts that can be extremely helpful. I hope your wife looks into them for her benefit and for the benefit of your marriage.
DEAR ABBY: I'm on the verge of a divorce, about to start a trial separation. There was no cheating involved on my part or hers. There haven't been any money issues, either.
My soon-to-be ex-wife decided, after 11 years of marriage and no sex for the past two years, that she wants to be alone and has no feelings for me. I'm totally floored, and I'm not sure of what I'm asking other than your opinion of this. She has agreed to go to marriage counseling. Do you really throw away a marriage over this, and should I move out and hope she misses me and wants me back? — BROKENHEARTED DUDE
DEAR BROKENHEARTED: Do not move out and "hope" your wife wants you back. If you separate, you may decide that you don't want HER back. I'm pleased she's willing to go to counseling with you. It may create a path toward healing your marriage, if it is salvageable. It will also help you to understand what went wrong. (I suggest you start exploring the circumstances under which your sex life died.)
DEAR ABBY: I recently received a cash gift from my mother. We are not close and rarely communicate. Being her daughter, I assume she loves, and likes, me. I cannot claim to share those feelings.
I am not in need of money. I have a decent income, but she doesn't know how much I earn. She likely needs the cash more than I do. Is there a way I can give it back to her without hurting her feelings? If not, how do I accept this gift that I do not want? — GUILTY NEW YORKER
DEAR GUILTY: Not knowing your mother, I can't guess why she gave you this money or what her financial situation is. Because you are afraid you will make an already fragile relationship even more delicate if you return the money, the prudent thing to do would be to graciously thank her for it — perhaps in a written note. Because accepting her gift makes you feel guilty, consider putting the money aside just in case at some point she may need it in the future.