“Not a real reg”

Since: Jan 13

Location hidden

#1 Sep 27, 2013
DEAR AMY: I am in my mid-60s but I am still struggling with an issue with my ex-husband. He is an alcoholic and due to that, and all that goes with that, I divorced him more than 20 years ago.

Recently he moved to where I live to be closer to our children. My children and I are close and we get together for holidays, birthdays and sometimes just to talk.
My divorce was hurtful and it took years to get child support, so I do not have any good memories of my years with my ex. He has no family and thus, I have invited him to Thanksgiving and other events at my house.

Lately, he has shown up to several family events (not at my house) with beer. He has become so drunk that he had to be driven home. It makes all of us uncomfortable; and more than once, he has acted out (yelling in one childís face; threatening, being rude and inappropriate).

Recently I decided not to invite him to a family party. I really want to set a good example for my children and it seems that at my age, I should be able to be around him and not react, but truly, I do not want to be around him. What do I do with this? Am I selfish and small because I canít get past his behavior ó past and present? I need help!-- Haunted

DEAR HAUNTED: The most significant thing you could do for yourself at this point would be to attend Al-Anon meetings (urge your children to do the same) Sharing stories with other people connected to alcoholics will give you insight about how to continue to cope with this relationship.

You must continue to establish and enforce your own personal boundaries regarding your ex-husband. You sound generous and also long-suffering. You can continue to be generous but diminish your own suffering by employing natural consequences when it comes to your exís drinking. If he brings alcohol or becomes belligerent while with you, then he needs to leave. If he drinks or becomes belligerent while you are with others, then you need to leave.

DEAR AMY: Due to several recent health issues, I have a very restricted diet. Iím wondering how to handle dinner and weekend invitations. The restrictions are too many and varied to ask the hosts to arrange a meal around my needs.

Should I tell them Iíll bring my own food? Or should I eat beforehand and eat whatever I can at the dinner table? How should I respond to othersí questions about my own food or a limited partaking of the hostís meal (yes, they ask)?

How should I handle meals when Iím staying for a few days with friends? I donít drive so I canít bring my own groceries or pre-cooked meals. Because I enjoy the socializing, Iíd hate to decline dinner or weekend invitations.-- Digestive Distressed

DEAR DISTRESSED: You should inform your hosts that you have a complicated dietary issue and ask in advance if it would be okay for you to bring your own meal, which you could plate and eat alongside the other guests.

If you are invited to spend the weekend with someone ó if you are packing and transporting your clothing, then whatís to prevent you from also bringing groceries for your meals ó and also to share with others? You simply need to be organized and have a cooler.

DEAR AMY: I am an avid reader of your column. I think you may have missed the mark with ďIn a Quandary,Ē who was torn about attending the memorial service of her abusive brother-in-law. You told her to attend because it presents an opportunity to reconnect with people she has been forced to avoid. I think her real opportunity here is to practice forgiveness before and during the memorial service. Practicing forgiveness will take the sting out of listening to nice things said about him at the service and help her talk to her sister in a truly supportive, nonjudgmental way.-- Bob

DEAR BOB: Forgiveness is a ďpractice.Ē And when we practice forgiveness, eventually we get good at it.

“A Programmer is not in IT!”

Since: Feb 09

Neda, stay with me! Charlie

#2 Sep 27, 2013
1 Dont invite him, and your kids are grown adults, no need to sheild them.

2 How do you get groceries in your own house? Well, thats how you get them in theirs.

3 We also agreed that being forced to forgive is not really forgiving at all.


“Where is Everyone?”

Since: Jul 12

Location hidden

#3 Sep 27, 2013
L1: I get wanting to be a good example even though your "kids" are all adults. But really, they're adults and they'll understand. I would invite him. Your kids can arrange something either later in the evening with him or another day. It's not your responsibility any longer.

L2: You need to tell people and bring your own stuff so you can be sure it's what you can eat since it is so restrictive. Most people will understand, some will try to undermine and other will say nasty things. Good way to know which are people you really want to hang out.

L3: I really don't get the forgiveness thing. If forgiveness means you're going to stop having it affect you in the here and now and continue on, then fine.

“The two baby belly, please!”

Since: Sep 09

Evanston IL

#4 Sep 27, 2013
LW1: I would stop inviting him and tell him why. If your children want him at Thanksgiving badly enough, they can host it.

LW2: Bleck. What Amy said, except for the grocery part. If the LW is taking a bus, extra baggage may cost extra money; same with an airplane. I doubt that the out-of-town hosts would have a problem taking the LW for a quick trip to the grocery store.

LW3: Fake it 'til you make it, right?

Since: Jun 09

Saint Petersburg, FL

#5 Sep 27, 2013
LW1: WHat squishy said (again).

LW2: I don't think LW can bring groceries and a cooler on teh plane. But he can go to the grocery store when he gets there.

Since: Feb 10

Location hidden

#6 Sep 27, 2013
"How should I respond to othersí questions about my own food or a limited partaking of the hostís meal (yes, they ask)?"

Helen lets that nasty dog eat out of the pan while she's cooking. I can't believe the rest of you are OK with that.

Marina, CA

#7 Sep 27, 2013
LW1: Do not invite him. He is unrepentant and acts entitled. You are neither selfish nor small. You are establishing healthy boundaries, making him responsible for his own reckless behavior, and setting a good example for your children.

LW2: I'm a big fan of bringing your own food if you are on a restricted diet. My vegan friends always pack their own food.

LW3: I don't remember the original letter, but if LW was going to be hugely uncomfortable going to the service, I hope she skipped it.

“Not a real reg”

Since: Jan 13

Location hidden

#8 Sep 27, 2013
L1: Agree with the "don't invite" comments. Having him around in a drunken state will just bring her down, even after all those years. She doesn't need Al-anon. She just needs to be away from him and not feel guilty by doing so. Even adult children are affected by an alcoholic parent and probably need some counseling.
I speak from experience, although not to the degree of her situation.

Since: Aug 08

Location hidden

#9 Sep 27, 2013
Lw1: don't invite him.

LW2: bring your own food.

Lw3: you don't need to forgive ... You do it if you want to. You can also choose not to forgive someone and move on such that it doesn't impact your life in a negative manner

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