DEAR AMY: I am in my late 20s, and have been seeing my girlfriend, “Tami,” for more than three years. We have been long-distance for the past year, but managed to get to a point where we were looking at engagement rings and shopping for a home. A couple of months ago, things started changing. She became less affectionate and involved. Even her family noticed a change in her. I found out that she was cheating with a co-worker. She confessed, and asked for another chance. I agreed to try to move past it, but the very next day, she told me she was pregnant, and that the baby was 100 percent his. I was crushed. The other man said he would deny her and this baby any support, and insisted that she get an abortion. (He was also cheating on his long-term girlfriend). She plans to keep the child. She wants me to marry her and for me to be its father. She wants me to lie, so that our family and friends will believe that it is my child. Is it wrong for me to only want her, but not her child? I am not sure I could love it. I don’t know if I could tell a lie my whole life, or if people would eventually find out. Is it wrong to feel upset that only she and I have had our lives turned upside down, while the other guy has a free pass? I am really confused about how I’m allowed to feel, while trying to stay level-headed and control my heartbreak.
Devastated and Confused
DEAR DEVASTATED: You are “allowed” to have any and all of your feelings, whenever you feel them. Don’t ask permission to feel a certain way.
You are not allowed to lie about your feelings, her actions, this baby’s parentage, or any other aspect of this situation to family members. Doing so will have a direct and negative impact on all of you.
Being discreet is one thing. Choosing how to disclose this (and whom you should tell) is different from actively lying.
You are not allowed to accept “Tami” but reject her child. They are a package deal forever.
She is panicking, and enlisting you in her ill-conceived (excuse the pun) plot, in order to make her anxiety go away. Don’t make any sudden moves because of her panic. Pregnancy lasts for many months, and over the course of this time your views (and hers) could change radically. She should name the father of this child and pursue financial support from him through the court.
You should not have to “control your heartbreak,” nor should you be with her if you don’t wish to take on the entirety of this family situation, which — so far — you obviously do not want to do.
DEAR AMY: I have a 25-year-old granddaughter who will call a taxi or use a designated driver if she is going to be drinking, but she thinks it’s fine to smoke pot and get behind the wheel of a vehicle. I have told her that she is probably more impaired after smoking pot then if she had a couple of drinks. She totally disagrees. I have spoken to other pot smokers and a lot of them agree with her. How can I get her to understand the severe consequences that could happen to herself or some innocent person if she drives impaired?
DEAR FRUSTRATED: I shared your question with a spokesperson with the National Institute on Drug Abuse, which has published studies on this.
Their response: “There seems to be a common misperception — that people can compensate (and in fact drive more slowly than normal) under the influence of marijuana. But the research says something different — marijuana increases your risk of being in a car crash about two-fold, and also increases your risk of being at fault for the accident.”
“These effects are not as dramatic as the effects of alcohol (which increases your risk about five-fold at the 0.08 legal limit), but the combination of the two — marijuana and alcohol — is even worse than either one alone.”
That last point is important. If your granddaughter is using alcohol and marijuana at the same time (as many people do), she should not drive.
For more information check drugabuse.gov.
DEAR READERS: Sometimes people who dispense advice run out of answers. If you’ve ever been curious about the life behind my advice, read my new book, ”Strangers Tend to Tell Me Things: A Memoir of Love, Loss, and Coming Home” (2017, Hachette).