Dear Annie: My girlfriend, “Inez,” has been a single mom for 14 years. After many months, she met a man online. “Sam” is a nice guy when he isn’t drinking. He is in his late 40s and was just diagnosed with emphysema along with other medical conditions. He knows he needs to quit smoking, but he is having a hard time, which I understand. He doesn’t have a job, so Inez bought him a car so he could get back and forth to his parents’ house. He takes care of his mother who is ill.
The real problem is this: When Sam drinks he gets very nasty to everyone, including Inez. When she drinks with him, the situation turns into a shouting match. They recently had a disagreement, and he didn’t call for a few days. She found out from his family that he was in jail, picked up for a DUI. Of course she jumped in to bail him out. It was his third offense, and he now faces jail time.
Inez’s daughter does not get along with Sam and can’t understand what her mother sees in him. I want to be supportive, but I, too, don’t understand the appeal. I like her company, but when Sam is around, things are different. Should I tell her how I really feel? – Best Friend
Dear Friend: Yes, but do it with concern. Explain that you find it difficult to be with her when she is drinking and when she is under Sam’s influence. Let her know you think she’s a great gal who deserves better. Of course, unless Inez agrees, she will continue to pursue the loser boyfriend and there is nothing you can do about it. Sorry.
Dear Annie: My cousin “John” is almost 40 and still lives at home. His widowed mother complains about how she doesn’t like the way John talks to her and that he comes home at all hours of the night. She says she can’t go on with him living there and doesn’t know what to do. When I say she should kick him out, she makes excuses why he can’t leave.
Last night, my aunt called again to complain about John and ask for advice. This time, when she made excuses, I blew up and told her she just likes to complain. She immediately got huffy and said she had to get off the phone.
How can I help her realize she’s doing more harm than good for both of them? – Melissa in Frustrationville
Dear Melissa: Your aunt doesn’t want John to move out, but she enjoys the attention and sympathy she gets by complaining. Your honest appraisal simply annoys her. You might try talking to your cousin and mentioning that he seems a little long in the tooth to be living with Mommy. But we doubt it will help.
Dear Readers: Don’t forget to set your clocks ahead before you go to sleep tonight.
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