DEAR AMY: My daughter was married for 14 years. They were not able to have children. Her ex was verbally abusive and convinced her she was the one with the fertility problems.
After her divorce she became involved with a man and soon became pregnant. She had told him she could not get pregnant, and he was angry and accused her of lying to him. They are still together, engaged to be married, and now have a beautiful daughter. However, usually when he has had too much to drink, he will bring up the fact that she "lied" to him and trapped him.
She has told him that they can raise their daughter together without being a married couple.
When not drinking, he seems devoted. There are two problems here: his drinking and his anger. He agrees he drinks too much and keeps promising to "cut back." I see him starting to be disrespectful, and I do not want to see her in another unhealthy relationship.
I have told my daughter she is a strong, beautiful woman and she should not allow anyone to belittle her. I have also told my future son-in-law he needs to let go of his anger and get help for his drinking, but he does not see himself as the one with the problem. It also breaks my heart to see my granddaughter exposed to this.
What can I do? -- Worried Mom
DEAR MOM: You seem to have clarity about this situation and have communicated your views to both parties.
Your daughter should not marry someone thinking he will change after marriage (the stress of marriage often makes these problems worse). She was in an abusive marriage for a long time and is embroiled in another relationship that seems headed in that direction. She is the common denominator. Use your influence to urge her toward change.
She should attend Al-anon meetings to learn how others cope with a loved-one's drinking. She should also see a counsellor. She is embroiled in a pattern that could seriously undermine her future (and that of her child).
DEAR AMY: My best friend's adult daughter has recently been diagnosed with a rare and aggressive cancer. The prognosis is not great, and my friend has already been through much tragedy. She has e-mailed me sporadically but will not telephone me.
I want to know how to help her through this. In my opinion, she has been given false hope that her daughter may survive this. I would never divulge my fears to her. I want to try to ease her pain and give her my support. I feel that she is not contacting me because she knows how direct I can be. Maybe she's afraid I will say to her something she doesn't want to hear.
I really feel that she needs my strength right now but is pushing me away to protect herself.
I have always appreciated your candour; please give me some ideas as to how I can help. -- Concerned Friend
DEAR CONCERNED: This is not about you and your qualities vs. your friend's deficits. You describe yourself as strong and opinionated, but I wonder if you are strong enough to keep your opinions to yourself. I suspect not. It is exhausting and depleting to deal with others' opinions/theories about a personal tragedy.
Your friend might not need your strength right now -- but I bet she could use some compassion. Drop her a line to let her know she is in your thoughts. Include an affirmation. ("You are a wonderful mom -- through and through.") Say, "I'm always in your corner" and sign off with affection.
DEAR AMY: "With Friends Like This" is a gay man worried about his estrangement from his conservative sisters.
This man came across to me as bigoted, judgmental and unkind. He attacks the religion and politics of his siblings who have a different point of view from him. He should do them a favour and leave them alone. -- My View
DEAR VIEW: I saw this letter as an attempt to reconcile with the siblings who rejected him, but other readers agreed with you -- that this man was the one who is bigoted.