Amy Dickinson is a general advice columnist.
DEAR AMY: I am in my early 20s and am engaged to a man in his early 40s. We were both big drinkers. Then we decided to have a baby. I stopped drinking, but he continued. It was definitely the cause for a lot of arguments. I hate admitting this, but there was a domestic abuse charge filed against him. I was pregnant, and I sort of blame myself. He drinks four to seven nights a week. He's not abusive, but is rude, annoying and sometimes mean. He wets the bed. We argue a lot. He takes the stress at his job out on me, and constantly makes me feel bad that I'm not the "breadwinner," since I am a stay-at-home mom. I'm 23 years old and I worry I will be forced to be with this man until my son is 18. I'm scared that my son will drink like his dad, or worse, like his Grandpa, who gets drunk every day. My mother loves my fiance and tells me to suck it up for my child. She says my baby's father is "a good provider." I know I can stick it out until my son is 18, if that's what I have to do. I love my son and I just want him to have the very best life with the best opportunities.
A Sad, Scared Mother
DEAR SCARED: You say you want your son to have the very best life. So far, it's not going well at all.
Unless you make some very big changes, you can be absolutely certain that you will be raising the latest generation in a long line of abusive drunks. Given the circumstances, "sticking it out" is the worst choice you could make (your mother should be ashamed of herself to suggest it).
You need to take a hard look at your own choices. Reread your letter and underline all things you should do differently. Staying in this abusive relationship should top the list of things to change.
You need positive mentoring in order to make a better life. Your life should not include this man, except at a distance. If he really is a great provider, then you should let the courts decide the amount.
Please seek professional help with a social worker through your local department of Family and Children's Services. You should seek some sort of professional training and child care so that you can learn to support yourself and your son.
DEAR AMY: Recently I received a photo from my niece, who works in a high-powered job. Her daughter is almost three years old. Although I love this child, I was very upset when I saw her getting a pedicure. A few weeks later, my sister (the child's grandmother) sent another photo of this child ... this time getting a manicure. My sister thought it was cute! I am far from amused. In fact I am disgusted. I am a generous auntie with no children but I will not pay for frivolity with my hard-earned money. While I am able to be lavish, birthdays are coming for this child and her twin brother, but I have no intention of sending anything and will spend my money on those in need. Is this behavior the norm? I would love your feedback.
DEAR DISGUSTED: Are you paying for this idiocy? If so, then yes -- definitely stop. Otherwise, you can pass judgment, but this parent's choice doesn't really have anything to do with you.
You imply that you are sending money to this family -- but you should not celebrate these children by sending money to a family that obviously doesn't need it. I also don't understand why you would essentially punish two toddlers because their mother is a bubblehead.
The twins' birthday is coming up. Books and puzzles would be a great gift from you.
DEAR AMY: "Waiting for a Ring" expressed the age-old question of how to get her boyfriend to propose to her. I loved your answer to her but you left something out -- she could ask him! I did that -- and the marriage really "took."
35 Years and Happy
DEAR HAPPY: Good for you!