Life Advice



Annie's Mailbox: Faulted for Falling in Love

Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar on

Dear Annie: My mother has been struggling to get clean and sober for many years. Unfortunately, every few months she seems to slip up and go on a binge. She has been in and out of treatment facilities for so many years that I truly believe she doesn't want to stop.

My question regards the upcoming holidays. Every year I have a party at my home and invite both sides of the family, as well as some friends. I worried in the past that it would be disrespectful to my mother to serve alcohol, even though she never puts much effort into her sobriety. (We had no alcohol at my wedding, only to find out later that Mom was sneaking drinks at the reception from a bar at another wedding in the same hall.)

I am tired of catering to her and am considering having alcohol at this year's party, as I am sure my other guests would enjoy it. Do you think I'm wrong? Should I tell my mother in advance? -- Anonymous

Dear Anonymous: You can serve whatever you like as long as you understand the risks with Mom. Please remember that alcoholism is an insidious disease and willpower alone is not always enough.

Yes, you must warn Mom that liquor will be served, and she may take this as an endorsement from you to drink, so be clear that it's not. Instead of free-flowing liquor, consider individually served wineglasses, so you can fill your mother's with a similarly hued soft drink or sparkling cider, and be sure to have plenty of non-alcoholic drinks available. She may still sneak drinks in the kitchen, but you can only do so much.

Dear Annie: I am a 30-something divorcee with two teenagers. I have been dating for a few years and finally have fallen in love with the most wonderful man. I've known "Dave" for a year, and I have never been this happy. Dave treats me like a queen and adores my kids. We were friends first, and that makes it even better.

What's the problem? My family! You would think after I went through such a bad marriage, they would be happy for me. But when I mentioned that Dave and I had talked seriously about marriage, I can't tell you the snide and nasty comments that came out of their mouths.

I love and respect my family, but I was quite hurt by all of this. Dave has never done anything to cause my family to think ill of him. Am I missing something? -- Faulted for Falling in Love

Dear Faulted: Your family members may not have warmed up to Dave the way you have. Also, they may have an attachment to your ex-husband, no matter how bad the marriage was. They also may question your judgment and worry that you are rushing things, even though it's been a few years since your divorce.


Unless someone can give you a reason for the antagonism, you do not have to pay attention to your family's opinion. Meanwhile, let them get to know Dave better.

Dear Annie: My husband retired several years ago as president of a large company employing several hundred people. He knew everyone by name, and on holidays we sent personal cards to everyone, and most reciprocated.

Though many years have passed, we still send cards to those we knew. My complaint is that even though they know we are Jewish, they send us Christmas cards rather than Hanukkah cards, although Hanukkah cards are readily available.

I'm sure these people mean well, but please let them know such cards are insensitive to those who worship in a different faith. -- Caring in Ohio

Dear Caring: Many people mistakenly believe Christmas cards cover everyone, which makes it seem as if the sender doesn't care enough to check. It's not a major issue, but when in doubt, we recommend a "Season's Greetings" card with a personal message inside.


"Annie's Mailbox" is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar. This column was originally published in 2016. To find out more about Classic Annie's Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit Creators Syndicate at




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