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Sun, Sept. 22

Dear Annie: Waiting for commitment

Dear Annie: I have been with my boyfriend for six years. He is still legally married to his wife, and his children are grown. I have a great relationship with his family and children. The problem is that, for whatever reason, he keeps putting off officially getting a divorce. He gives excuse after excuse. I love this man and his children, and want a home together with him. I have put it all on the line: I’ve told him that if he doesn’t get the divorce, then I can’t be with him. I don’t want to live out my older years knowing that if, God forbid, something should happen to him, I am pretty much left in the dust, with no say and no rights as far as he goes. I am desperate for help here. What do I do? — Losing Hope

Dear Losing Hope: You put the ultimatum out there — get a divorce or you’ll leave — and with very good reason. At this point, all that’s left to do is follow-through. Break things off. Either he’ll take this as the kick in the pants he needed to finally get a divorce and come to you ready to fully commit — or he’ll let you go, and you’ll be free to meet someone who’s more ready to commit. Both outcomes leave you far better off than you are now.

Dear Annie: I’m a 30-year-old man, and recently I suffered from a minor ulcer. Because of this, I’ve cut down on a lot of things that I once loved so that it wouldn’t be as painful — spicy foods, coffee, red meat, soda and alcohol. I’ve been really surprised over the last month or so with how easy it’s been for me to follow this new diet.

However, by cutting out alcohol, I also seem to be cutting out a lot of activities that I used to really enjoy. I’m known in my friend group as a beer snob, and for my birthday, a bunch of them wanted to take me to my favorite brewery.

I also had plans with a woman I’m seeing to go on a wine-tasting trip. They understand about my stomach issues, and are open to rescheduling these events for when I’m healed. A few have made jokes about I’m not fun anymore and how they can wait for me to get back to normal. However, I’m not sure that I want to drink again. After a couple of weeks without alcohol, I find that I don’t need or want it. However, drinking is so ingrained in my social circle that I don’t know what else to do with my friends, or how to let them know that I’m not interested in drinking. Annie, how do I cut out alcohol without cutting out my friends? — Sick to My Stomach

Dear Sick to my Stomach: Alcohol is indeed ingrained in our society (pun only partly intended). When it comes to planning social activities, many adults have a hard time thinking outside the bottle. Help jog their imaginations: Take the lead on planning creative outings, such as hiking, recreational sports, daytime picnics and movie nights. Some of your friends might want to drink at these activities, and that’s fine, too; the point is that the whole activity doesn’t center on drinking. And be upfront with them. Let them know you’ve noticed you feel better when you’re not drinking, and you’ve decided to keep it up. I wouldn’t be surprised if some friends find the change of pace inspiring and decide to cut back on drinking, too.

“Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie” is out now! Annie Lane’s debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette — is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to dearannie@creators.com.

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