Dear Annie: I’ve been dating “Dayna” for eight months, and we moved in together three months ago. We fell in love from the moment we met.
I’m normally a calm guy. However, two months ago I made a mistake. I went out drinking with friends and was dropped off at home so drunk that I briefly blacked out. I got into an argument with Dayna and apparently gave her a black eye. I spent a month in jail on domestic battery charges. To my surprise, she did not break up with me, although we no longer live together. We each moved back in with our parents.
I know our relationship was moving too fast, but I believe in my heart Dayna is the one for me. On the night of the incident, I had so much alcohol in my system I’m pretty sure I would have fought with anyone who crossed my path.
Currently, I am enrolled in court-ordered classes on domestic violence. Although I know I don’t deserve her anymore, Dayna is still by my side, and I feel blessed for that. I made a promise to God while in jail to put the bottle down for good. I lost my job because of it, and it could have cost me my girlfriend. I’m not that person anymore.
Alcoholism runs in my family. I’m a 27-year-old college-educated guy who dealt with problems by drinking because that’s what my family did. I’m determined to break the cycle and have made the first step toward that goal. I see life differently now, and all I want to do is make Dayna happy again. I know it will take time, but I’m determined to make it right with her and her family.
I love my girlfriend and hope to marry her one day. How do we bounce back from this horrific nightmare? — Sad and Depressed
Dear Sad: You need to rebuild Dayna’s trust. We are glad you acknowledge your drinking problem and have taken steps to overcome it so you don’t repeat your mistakes. Dayna needs to know you will remain sober over the long haul, through good and bad, and this takes much more time. Find a job, get your own place, live a solid life, and prove to Dayna you are a man she can respect.
Dear Annie: I have been a widow for 12 years and am now engaged to a wonderful man. I want to invite my close friends and family to our wedding. Do I also need to invite my late husband’s brother and sisters? It would make me sad to think about my late husband with my fiance’s family there. — Indiana
Dear Indiana: If you are close to your late husband’s family, they would undoubtedly appreciate an invitation and would be hurt if you excluded them. But if you believe they would not want to come or could not enjoy themselves, it’s perfectly OK to send an announcement instead.
Dear Annie: I had to respond to the letter from “New Jersey,” who is upset her son’s girlfriend does not clear her plate or say “thank you” for gifts.
Our son’s wife was exactly the same, and initially, I was equally appalled at her lack of manners. As time went on, I realized our daughter-in-law is a sweet girl who grew up in a family where she had no modeling of these social behaviors. She simply didn’t know what was expected or required.
I started asking her for help with the small tasks involved in putting on a meal, and she happily complied. Over time, she began to catch on to these social conventions. She has come a long way, and we love her for all she does to make our son happy. — Pleased Mother-in-Law
Dear Annie: “Indianapolis” said her brother is in hospice and the wife has disconnected his phone and won’t let anyone visit. Please tell her that even with power of attorney, the sister-in-law and the hospice care facility cannot interfere with his visitors without evidence such visits are not desired by the brother or are prohibited by a court-ordered restraining order based on the visitor being a danger.
I would suggest “Indianapolis” contact her local Adult Protective Services or Long-Term Care Ombudsman program (ltcombudsman.org). Long-Term Care Ombudsmen are federally mandated, state-certified volunteers dedicated to ensuring individuals in long-term care facilities are treated with dignity. — Kathy Terry MS, Field Services Coordinator, Long-Term Care Services of Ventura County, Calif., Ombudsman Program
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Email questions to email@example.com.
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