Dear Amy:

I have been dating my boyfriend for a while. I can tell him anything, and he can tell me anything.

Recently, two of my friends died. One died in Iraq, and the other died in a car crash. I was talking with my boyfriend about this. I told him how bad I felt because the last time I talked to each of these guys, I got into arguments with them, and then they died.

My boyfriend responded with what he thought was a smart joke. He said, "With your evil force, does that mean I'm the next to go when we get into a fight?"

I didn't tell him how much that hurt because I didn't want to get into a fight. I thought that might have been his way of trying to make the situation lighter. But then I was crying about the fact that two of my close friends had died, and he told me to talk to him later, when I stopped crying. What I really needed at the time was his reassurance and for him to be there for me.

What should I do?

Loving ConfusionYou say that you and your boyfriend can tell each other anything, but evidently you can only tell him things when you're not crying, sad, confused or trying to explain how you feel. That just leaves the weather, Jessica Simpson and baseball as suitable topics.

If your guy can't be appropriate in even the most obvious situations (how hard is it to hug you and say, "there, there" when you're crying over the death of two friends), then how can you count on him for anything?

From your account of things, you are on an emotional roller coaster, and he is a goofball. You're a mismatch.

You've been through a lot, but sticking with this relationship will only make you feel worse. It's time to send him, and his tacky punch line, out the door.

Dear Amy:

My husband of six months has twice disappeared for hours with no reasonable reason or excuse.

The first time, he left the house at 11 a.m. and came home the next morning. His excuse was that he was at a friend's house and had too much to drink. He cried and admitted that he's an alcoholic, so I let him off the hook.

The second time he was next door at his brother's house from 7:30 until midnight. Ten minutes after he came home, he grabbed the keys to the van and left again. He came home the next night, leaving me alone all this time pregnant and sick.

This pregnancy has been really rough. I have three kids of my own, and he has a daughter, whom we have every weekend. I love her like my own.

Should I divorce him now before this baby is here, or should I wait and hope that he becomes more responsible?

What reasonable-thinking adult would think that abandoning his wife and kids for such long stretches of time is okay?

Sick at Home in OK Alcoholism is an explanation, not an excuse. "Waiting and hoping" for your husband to miraculously turn his behavior around is not a suitable strategy.

I hate to recommend preemptive divorce, so I can only urge you to realistically consider what life will be like for you and your children if things don't improve after the next baby is born -- and things aren't likely to improve. Your husband needs to take many steps before he would be considered a suitable husband and father, starting with stopping drinking.

Unless your husband somehow became an irresponsible doofus overnight, you should seriously examine your choices. With so many children, the stakes are simply too high for you to make such a poor choice in a partner.

2007 by the Chicago Tribune

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