DEAR AMY: I am a 24-year-old woman who has been involved with a man since high school.
In high school we'd hook up, and then afterward he'd act like he didn't know me. Now we are dating, and I still haven't met his family. When we get together he only seems to want to have sex, whereas I'd be happy to sit and watch a movie or make dinner.
I feel my biological clock ticking but want to get married before I have children. I don't know, but I don't see this happening with him because it feels more like a fling to me. Is he my boyfriend or am I just a fling? — Confused About His Motives
DEAR CONFUSED: I'll state what you already know: You are a booty call. After several years of hooking up, if an actual friendship or romantic relationship was going to develop between you two, it would have happened long ago. I don't know if this arrangement even qualifies as a "fling," because, frankly, a fling sounds like more fun than what you are experiencing.
If you find you enjoy these encounters and accept them for what they are, then by all means continue. Do not try to marry this person. Do not try to "date" him. And, please, do not have a baby with him. If you are ready for commitment, you deserve to have someone in your life who wants to be with you in the daytime, who wants what you want, and who, yes, will be brave enough to go out in public with you.
DEAR AMY: My husband and I have two young children. I have been contemplating a divorce for more than a year.
My husband has been mostly out of work for five years, so I went to work full time. He was then diagnosed with operable cancer, and I understood his depression and his inability to find a new line of work and to get back in the swing of things.
Since our daughter was born, his drinking happens more and more and working happens less and less. It's been three years of him on unemployment, visiting the bar with drinking buddies almost daily, doing the minimum in caring for the children (who have both been in child care/school the entire time), coming home half in the bag and even urinating in bed, on the couch, etc.
I have been trying to fit in Al-Anon meetings and have been reading its literature as much as possible.
I don't yell at my husband very much anymore, but I find it extremely difficult to mask how I feel (disappointment, disgust, etc.). I don't want a divorce, but I know anything short of a total transformation probably won't make a difference in the long run. He refuses to seek treatment or therapy; he says going to the bar is his therapy. He has an incredible lack of patience and tolerance for our little kids, sober or not.
I worry most about our children being raised with him (like this) or without him. What do you suggest I do? — Terribly Troubled Mom
DEAR TERRIBLY: You should take a long, dispassionate look at your home life and make a choice that puts your children's well-being first.
Your household (as you describe it) consists of one deeply depressed, angry and alcoholic parent, and one detached, frustrated (and paralyzed) parent.
Acceptance of your powerlessness over your husband's drinking is essential in maintaining your boundaries (and sanity), but it can be a cop-out if you can actually do something about your situation. I suggest a separation. Your husband has some challenging choices to make.
DEAR AMY: I'm responding to comments about the use of "party buses," on which bridal parties get drunk together between the wedding and reception.
The increase of binge drinking has taken an ominous turn. Binge drinking has quadrupled among young women since 1990.
I am a researcher on fetal alcohol syndrome. Half of all pregnancies are unplanned! Therefore, many young women drink at the most critical stage of pregnancy — before they are aware they are pregnant. — Laura in Wilmington, N.C.
DEAR LAURA: Binge drinking may also be a factor in some of these (unplanned) pregnancies.
(You can contact Amy Dickinson via email: askamytribune.com. You can also follow her on Twitter askingamy or "like" her on Facebook. Amy Dickinson's memoir, "The Mighty Queens of Freeville: A Mother, a Daughter and the Town that Raised Them" (Hyperion), is available in bookstores.)