DEAR ABBY: My boyfriend and I have been dating for a year and a half. We are planning on moving to California together in a few months.
I flew to Monterey to job hunt, and he is supposed to be flying in soon. However, last night I found out he and his buddy went to a strip club. My boyfriend knows I’m uncomfortable with him going to strip clubs and he assured me that they would not be going when we spoke on the phone earlier in the evening.
He says I’m controlling and childish for being angry at him. I told him it’s either me or the strip clubs – mostly just to see how he would react. His response was that freedom of choice is very important to him. I even went as far as to say if he feels the need to go to strip clubs, then I would start stripping on the side to spite him.
I’m tempted to cancel his ticket to California. I don’t want him flying here if we are just going to fight. Is this situation worth the cost of a relationship? How do I deal with someone so stubborn to the point he can’t see when he’s in the wrong? Abby, he is in the wrong, isn’t he? – Choice is Clear
DEAR CHOICE: A wise woman chooses her battles carefully. If your boyfriend spent more than an occasional evening hanging out in strip clubs, I can see why it would be a deal breaker. But unless you left something important out of your letter – like the fact that he did more than look – it doesn’t appear that he does.
You escalated the situation and you shouldn’t have. However, if you feel so strongly about strip clubs, perhaps you should consider finding another man to spend your life with because it really isn’t possible to control the actions of another adult.
DEAR ABBY: My 33-year-old daughter recently moved back home after failing to finish a graduate program. I discovered she was an alcoholic a few years ago and encouraged her to get treatment. She was in an outpatient recovery program and making progress, but recently relapsed.
Before her relapse, her dad and I helped her to buy a business, which is not doing well. Her employees quit, and she lost a lot of income. She started going to AA meetings, and hired some people she met who attend and live in a halfway house.
I regret helping her, and I now realize I must stop all interactions with her. She has a huge sense of entitlement and does not appreciate my help. I feel I have failed as a parent and hope I can move past this and work through my depression. Any advice you can offer is welcome. – Best Mom I Can Be
DEAR BEST MOM: You have not “failed” as a parent. Your daughter has an addiction. Her addiction is not your fault. Substance abusers have been known to fall off the wagon on their road to sobriety, and this is what happened to your daughter.
It would be helpful for you to talk about your depression with a licensed mental health professional who is familiar with addictions, and to attend some Al-Anon meetings. Because you feel your relationship with your daughter has reached the point that she can no longer live with you, tell her she must make other living arrangements and set a date for her to move out. Do not do it in anger. In fact, it may be better for both of you.