Tales From The Front: Looking for Trouble
Dear Cheryl: After 38 years, I reconnected with some former high school classmates, including Sheila, who didn't pay attention to me during grammar and high school. But in college, she kept calling me to go out. I ignored her. Now, after all these years, it suddenly hits me how much I love her. I'm married and so is she. I don't want to ruin my marriage or hers, but I want her to know my feelings. There will be a 40th reunion in two years. What do I do? -- I FINALLY SEE THE LIGHT
Dear I FINALLY SEE THE LIGHT: Here's what you do: You say, "You know, Sheila, I was a fool; you're a great girl." Here's what you don't do: "You know, Sheila, I was a fool; you're a great girl and I love you." There is nothing to be gained by sharing your feelings with her. Nothing. And so much to lose.
You could start a chain of events that could upset the lives of two couples plus children and grandchildren. If you respect your wife and want to stay married, keep your feelings to yourself. And please don't spend the next two years obsessing over this woman and what might have been. Put that energy into spicing up your marriage.
Dear Cheryl: My brother Mark is an alcoholic. His drinking had become a serious health concern, and family and friends came together for an intervention. He went into rehab. He's checking out in the next week. Mark has a problem being alone. He's gone from one relationship and/or marriage to the next. He's currently getting divorced from his third wife.
Just prior to going into rehab, he got involved with Kitty. She's divorced from an alcoholic and abusive husband and has a teenage daughter and a grown son, both of whom live with her. She has called the rehab facility to talk to my brother numerous times each day even though we told her his focus needs to be on his treatment. She has contacted family members numerous times each day wanting to know if we've heard from him.
It's apparent to all that she views herself as a leading candidate for the Wife No. 4 position. She's offered to let him come and live with her and her children when he's released, even though his counselor suggests he stay in a halfway house. I've been told that AA recommends no relationships during the first year of sobriety.
I understand that any choices Mark makes are his and his alone. But we're all worried that Kitty might feel he's more controllable when drinking and entice him to resume his alcoholic ways. Is there anything members of the intervention team can do? -- CONCERNED SISTER
Dear CONCERNED SISTER: Have you contacted Mark's counselors? You need to ask them how far you and your family can go in convincing Mark to back away from any relationship, especially one that might be toxic. And have you talked to Kitty? You might want to tell her how wrong it would be for her to take a recovering alcoholic, newly released from rehab, into her home with her two children who already have an alcoholic father. Maybe somebody could convince her that she and Mark have a much better chance of a successful life together if he's able to stand on his own before he takes on an instant family.
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