DEAR ABBY: After three years together, my fiancé and I are planning to get married next year. While we have the usual couples stuff going on, one of the concerns is that I’m considering postponing the wedding or ending the engagement. My fiancé has a son whose mental illness led him to drop out of high school at age 16. He hasn’t done anything since then. He is not working and his father has not treated him for his problems.
I made it clear at the beginning of our relationship that I don’t want us to be the lifelong caretakers of someone who refuses to help themselves. He doesn’t want to tell his son to leave. No one wants to take him in and he constantly switches between wanting treatment and wanting no treatment. I told my fiancé that he has until later this year to figure out what to do about this or we’ll have to postpone the wedding. He said if we put it off now, what’s stopping me from putting it off again in the future?
He said we should work through this as a couple and get married unresolved if necessary. I told him that this is an important problem that needs to be solved before the wedding. I applaud him for being a single father and raising his son from such a young age. Please let me know your thoughts on the situation. — BIG DILEMMA IN INDIA
BEST DILEMMA: When a person gets married in a family, they marry in his trouble. (No family is without them.) If you don’t want to share the responsibility of his mentally ill son, don’t marry this man. Instead of letting him choose between the two of you, take responsibility for making the decision.
If your fiancé isn’t already aware of The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), he should look into it. NAMI is made up of families with the same problems he faces, and it can help him know what has worked for them. The website is nami.org. Should you decide to go ahead with the marriage, you should consider getting involved as well.
DEAR ABBY: At what age do you stop holding hands when you go for a walk? I never say, but my boyfriend thinks we’re too old to hold hands because it’s a teenage thing. I am 61 and he is 60. I just started dating again and I love the feeling of holding his hand. I never had that in my two marriages.
I am white and he is black. He says it’s just something black people don’t do. I’m not sure because I’ve seen many couples of many ages and races walking hand in hand. How do I make sure he understands that holding hands gives me comfort and makes me feel good? — LOVE IN NEW YORK
BEST ATTRACTIVE: If you’ve told your boyfriend you need this and he responds by making excuses and ignoring you, face it – he’s not receptive. Is he also unwilling to hold hands privately? Hand in hand is not uncommon in black culture. éMany African American couples of all ages hold hands and enjoy doing it. From where I sit, your boyfriend is either not clingy or hesitating to show affection in public because you are an interracial couple and he is concerned about unwanted attention.
Dear Abby was written by Abigail Van Buren, aka Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or PO Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
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