DEAR AMY: My husband of 15 years is a high-functioning alcoholic. I knew this going into our relationship 18 years ago but now I have some new resentments popping up. Now that our daughters are busy teens with active lives and part-time jobs, I find myself constantly driving them around town. This is fine. It’s part of being a mom. However, my husband never participates in this because he “has been drinking and it wouldn’t be safe.” I totally agree with this and don’t want him driving our kids even a little under the influence. Despite everything else I’ve been through, I find I resent this the most. When I put up with this (not silently, mind you) — am I being an enabler?
DEAR CURIOUS: Yes, you are enabling your husband to stay drunk during times when he might otherwise have to stay sober.
Mind you, whenever you take care of your children — you are simply seeing to their needs and you should feel good about that. This is what parenting is all about. But what would your family do if you weren’t there? What would your husband do if you decided to get an evening job and weren’t available, or if you decided to get drunk yourself one evening?
You are the main person feeling uncomfortable over this whole situation and one way to stop enabling is to try to spread out the discomfort and share it with others who are impacted by your husband’s drinking.
Let’s say you decide to tell your family, “I will very happily drive on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Dad is responsible for the other days.”
Your husband either has to stay sober, or he will have to go through the process of finding someone other than you to drive the kids. If the children are put out or made uncomfortable by this restriction, they can tell their father how they feel and he can explain to them why he isn’t available when they need him.
I certainly hope you and your children avail yourselves of Al-anon and Alateen meetings. Alateen has helped many young people try to make sense of a parent’s drinking. Check al-anon.org for the location of meetings near you. Perhaps your husband could drive his children to a meeting.
DEAR AMY: Recently, an acquaintance contacted me about a guy she was talking to on Tinder (the dating app). Tinder shows when you and a connection have mutual Facebook friends, so this acquaintance asked me for an honest opinion, as I knew the guy she had been matched with. He and I went to college together. He and I hadn’t talked in a few years, so I checked Facebook to make sure it was the same person (it was). However, then I saw that he is engaged and is due to be married within the year. I told my acquaintance to dodge the bullet, but now I’m not sure where my responsibility ends: Do I confront the guy? Stay out of it? His fiancee seems really happy to be engaged and is posting all sorts of wedding countdowns and photos of them together, so I’m feeling conflicted about potentially ruining her happiness. But in this case, I’m not sure ignorance would lead to marital bliss.
DEAR CONFLICTED: Given that you aren’t ongoing personal friends with this person but have basically stumbled onto this via social media, you are not obliged to protect his fiancee. These two might have some sort of mutual agreement to hang on Tinder during the engagement phase of their relationship (unlikely, but possible).
However, I can understand your desire to try to share your knowledge in order to perhaps inspire him to make different choices. You could message him on Facebook and say, “Hey, what a coincidence! My friend got matched with you on Tinder! Hope you are well. I’m enjoying the photos of you and your fiancee, which she is sharing on FB. She seems really happy and excited about your wedding.”
DEAR AMY: I’m responding to “Sisyphus,” the millennial who had to redo some work because of an older co-worker’s technological error. Sisyphus should just move on and not say anything. Think of that co-worker as job security.
One of the Old Guys
DEAR GUY: You are implying that the younger worker absorbing the older worker’s mistakes will somehow protect the younger worker. However, in my experience, these days older workers are frequently let go first, taking their (implied) protection with them.