DEAR AMY: I’m concerned about my 24-year-old daughter’s choice in a boyfriend. She is an intelligent college graduate, working in her field.
She met her boyfriend at work, and they quickly became serious. He is an unskilled laborer in the company’s warehouse, working there since high school.
He moved into her apartment. He works just enough to pay his bills and go hunting and fishing. He has no long-term plans.
When she met him, he was dealing with a DUI, having lost his license with a blood alcohol level of .15 and a subsequent accident.
She helped sort out all the court documents and necessary steps to finally get his license back, which was just finalized a few weeks before Christmas.
Then, on Christmas Eve, he left our house in her car to go to a dispensary and was pulled over for erratic speed. He was charged with another DUI.
I told him privately how disgusted I am with his behavior (he’s 27).
I thanked our daughter for all she did for Christmas, but also told her that she had some thinking to do.
I said that he clearly hadn’t learned from his first DUI, but she didn’t want to discuss it.
We are disappointed and frightened for her.
Should I pursue any further conversation with her? I don’t know if it will be productive.
Should I let her figure this out on her own?
Would a written letter be effective?
— Concerned Pop
Dear Concerned: Your daughter’s boyfriend was nabbed for DUI while driving to a dispensary on Christmas Eve. This means that he was either drunk or high when he was pulled over, and that he was headed out to purchase more.
It is illegal in every state to drive under the influence of marijuana.
He obviously has a problem.
Yes, your bright and successful daughter has some thinking to do.
I don’t think you should push too hard, because pressure and judgment might push her toward him.
Some people need to personally experience the real-world consequences of addiction before they can take action.
Your daughter protected her boyfriend from some of the trouble associated with his previous DUI.
Any attempt by you to control her might actually insulate her from the actual consequences of living with such a needy and troublesome partner.
Convey that you care about her and are always in her corner. A “friends and family” support group like Al-anon could introduce her to others who are also powerless over another’s addiction. That might be a persuasive influence.
DEAR AMY: My husband’s family gathered for their annual holiday party. After 35 years of marriage, I acknowledge that these parties are stressful events for me.
I develop physical ailments approaching the dates of these gatherings and am unable to sleep.
There is excessive drinking and bigoted talk.
My husband’s stance on this behavior is to ignore it.
I chose not to attend this year.
Apparently, my husband made up a story about my having to get together with an out-of-town friend.
Now, my sister-in-law is asking how my visit was with my friend.
I prefer not to lie. I also do not intend to attend these events in the future.
How do I handle the inquisition from my sister-in-law?
How do I encourage my husband to stop making up excuses?
— Done with the Toxicity
Dear Done: Your husband can explain your absence. You don’t have to affirm it, however.
Your sister-in-law might be hunting for an explanation because she senses that your husband was not being truthful.
You can respond: “I always find this party pretty stressful, so I decided to skip it. ‘Barney’ enjoys it, so we decided to go our separate ways this year. I hope you all had a good time — and that you have a great new year.”
DEAR AMY: My son and his wife have five children!
They don’t go out often, but to put a 20% tip on top of the cost of meals would make going out to eat impossible.
The children would never know the joy of experiencing new places or new people.
If you can tip 20%, by all means do.
But I do not believe all waitresses are as cold-hearted as you seem to be.
Dear Upset: The reason I was a waitress was because my family (of six) lacked the funds to go out. We all worked our way through high school and college.
My point is that skipping restaurant dining isn’t exactly deprivation.