col Solve alcoholism before getting married

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar

Creators Syndicate

Dear Annie: I have a major problem with the man I love. "Craig" and I have been together almost four years and have been living together for the last 10 months. We are engaged now and planning our wedding.

The problem is Craig's drinking. It's not as if he drinks all the time, but when he does, he gets very drunk. That is not the worst part. Craig has two friends who do nothing but drink every weekend, and he goes bar hopping with them until 3 or 4 in the morning. Sometimes he comes home so inebriated that I've considered calling the paramedics. I think this behavior is irresponsible and destructive.

Craig knows I object to his drinking, but he does it anyway. We fight every time he goes out. I tell him I am concerned for his welfare, but he insists I am just trying to put chains on him. In truth, it's both. Craig drives when he's drunk, and I am sick with worry that he'll be in an accident. However, I also do not believe a man in a committed relationship should be out all night carousing in bars.


Craig can be a nasty drunk, and we have had some bad fights. He doesn't think he has a problem and says I am messing up our relationship by making his drinking an issue. This is the only thing we argue about, but it is enough to make me consider ending the relationship. How can I stay with a man who does not respect my feelings about this and takes foolish risks every time he drinks? I am hurt and confused, and I don't know what to do. -- Concerned in Ohio.

Dear Ohio: Craig has a serious alcohol problem, and if he doesn't admit it and get help, you are in for a lifetime of pain. Do not marry this man unless and until he is willing to do something about his drinking. He can look in the phone book for Alcoholics Anonymous, and you can contact Al-Anon, but if he refuses to take this seriously, get out of the relationship before it's too late.

Dear Annie: I am a single woman and have always displayed great caution in having conversations with men, because I have respect for the sanctity of marriage. I would never intentionally get involved with a married man.

I have noticed lately that fewer and fewer men seem to wear wedding rings. This is really the only clue single women have for knowing whether or not a man is available, and it's the first thing I look for. I realize that some jobs discourage the wearing of rings for safety reasons, but I am talking about men in airports, conferences and social settings. I have even started observing that some obviously married men don't bother to wear their wedding bands.

Is this a dying tradition? If so, what are we single gals supposed to do when a man strikes up a conversation? I hate the thought of interrogating a guy about his marital status. Please tell any married woman in your reading audience to put a piece of gold on her husband's finger, so single women will receive the "hands-off" signal. -- Married Men Are Off-Limits

Dear Off-Limits: Men have been removing their wedding rings for as long as there have been weddings. If guys want to fool around on the side, they will find a way to do it, no matter what is on their finger.

Wives will appreciate that you don't want to jump in the sack with their husbands, but unfortunately, you will have to look for additional clues. Striking up a conversation is fairly innocent, regardless of marital status. However, any guy you date who refuses to give you his home phone number, won't tell you where he lives, and won't introduce you to his family or friends, may be stashing a Mrs. somewhere.

Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to, or write to: Annie's Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611.

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