DEAR AMY: My partner of 25 years recently went through a period of binge drinking. I bailed him out of jail twice, but he drove under the influence again three days later (without a license) and is in jail for a felony.
Some of his colleagues have been told he is on personal or medical leave. His supervisors know and are very supportive.
I feel overwhelmed, lonely and depressed. On three occasions I have talked to very close friends of many years about my feelings. They each immediately told me I should break up with him. It has left me speechless and hurt. The thought of breaking up never entered my mind. Yes, he has lied to me, but only about alcohol. In every other respect -- financial, relational -- our level of trust and honesty is strong.
I thanked my friends for their advice, but it has created a strain in our friendships. They seem annoyed that I haven’t terminated the relationship, and they have stopped communicating with me. I asked for their advice, and I thanked them when they offered it. But I didn’t take it. I wouldn’t walk out on my partner if he had cancer or a stroke. I’m not going to walk out on him because of this disease.
I need a support system of friends for the many months ahead. What now? -- Sad
DEAR SAD: Advice is tricky. As a professional advice-giver I have learned through experience that sometimes what people are really asking for when they ask for advice is just a supportive presence.
On the other hand is this simple truism: If three people you trust tell you the same thing, you should listen.
Please understand that your friends’ perspectives on your long relationship might be very different from yours — for instance, they might have seen this crisis coming down the pike (as you bailed him out of jail twice, for instance). Your situation can be heartbreaking and frustrating for others. The disease of alcoholism is different from cancer, in that the alcoholic does not suffer alone, but frequently creates circles upon circles of fellow sufferers, including friends, family members and innocent people who are killed by drunk drivers on the road.
I think you should acknowledge how tricky this is for your friends and ask if they are willing to maintain friendships with you, regardless of your current choice. You should attend Al-Anon meetings (al-anon.alateen.org) and also private counseling with an addiction specialist.
DEAR AMY: I work at a company that often has openings for new positions. Being a good friend (and admittedly, hoping to possibly get a referral reward) I always let my friends and acquaintances know when they are hiring.
Whenever I do, people will come right out and ask what the pay is. I can’t say I blame them for asking but answering this question will also reveal to people what I make and, frankly, that is information I would rather not share with everyone.
Is it rude of my friends to ask this or am I just being a baby about it? I don’t feel comfortable discussing my income with everyone I know. What’s a good way to dodge this question without annoying people? -- Referrer
DEAR REFERRER: You are being a baby. Big time. “What is the pay?” is the first — and for many people, the only — important question when pondering whether to pursue a new job.
The way to answer is to say, “My understanding is that the range for this position is . . .” Or tell them to inquire when they apply. What you shouldn’t do is blame them for asking.
DEAR AMY: The letter from “Not Camera Ready” complained about the increased presence of filming at church ceremonies, including funerals.
I know it is easy to complain about this, but after a recent family funeral that I could not attend due to health reasons, I was comforted by being able to view the ceremony (and see friends and family members). -- Grateful for Cameras
DEAR GRATEFUL: I believe this is a compelling motivation behind filming funerals — and I am completely behind it, as long as the camera operator is not intrusive.