Question of friends’ sobriety requires delicate handling



Dear Nicole:

I heard from a mutual friend that one of our couple friends (let’s call them Stan and Fran) are dry, even to the point of having gone to some AA meetings. Then not even two weeks later, I heard from a different mutual friend that Stan and Fran were splitting a bottle of wine at a local restaurant.

I guess I’m a bit confused. I want to support Stan and Fran as friends if they are trying to be sober, but I’m not sure how. Help?

— Trying to be a Good Friend

 First of all, both situations are hearsay. Neither Stan nor Fran has disclosed this (let’s assume) change in life circumstance to sobriety. The next time you are in their company, ask them what’s new. You could even offer to get them a drink. If they disclose their sobriety, now you get to be a supportive friend. If they actually aren’t sober, guess what? You get to treat them as you normally would.

Maybe Stan and Fran have been trying to lose a few pounds (or save a couple bucks) by only drinking in moderation. Maybe Stan and Fran are “off the wagon.” Maybe Stan and Fran did not want to drink the weird punch and said they weren’t drinking so as not to hurt the host’s feelings that one time. But as adults, unless they are being self-destructive or destructive of others, they get to make their own decisions about their behaviors. Of course, if there really does seem to be a problem, I hope you’d say something, even if it cost you their friendship.

I have recently heard two rumors about myself: one that I am “very religious” and one that I bought a building on Main Street. In my case, the truth lies somewhere in the middle, much like I’m sure it does in this case.

 Dear Nicole:

Our daughter, 28, is a very bright, educated, self-actualizing young woman. She has had a few relationships growing up, all apparently nurturing and healthy, none permanent. She’s been going with a man five years her senior who was married and has joint custody of a minor child (a son). Our daughter likes the little kid and she and the boy’s father are planning to marry. So far, so good.

But the guy wants her to sign a pre-nup. She doesn’t seem bothered by this (she tells us lots, but she doesn’t tell us everything) and I guess she’s going to go ahead with it. But it certainly bothers me. Why a pre-nup? That sounds like the kind of thing a guy wants if he’s marrying for the fifth time. If it’s a question of providing for his son, couldn’t that just be in his will?

We haven’t brought this up with our daughter as it is her business, not ours. But can you tell us anything about pre-nups that will make her parents feel less icky about the whole thing. It’s just so unromantic. Where’s the love and trust?

— Very Traditional in Trenton

 Your daughter doesn’t mind signing the pre-nup because she’s marrying him for the long term anyway. Under most pre-nups, any assets she takes into the marriage will be protected should it dissolve and anything acquired together will be split in the event of a divorce. Is there anything bad in that reasoning?

Your daughter’s fiancé’s first obligation is to his son, second to your daughter. Whether this pre-nup is to protect the son, make sure your daughter is marrying him for the right reasons, or has a placebo effect thing that just makes him feel better going into it, it doesn’t matter. Unless the pre-nup has some icky clause, like she has to produce a male heir to get money or something, it shouldn’t feel icky to her to sign a little legal paperwork. It sounds like your daughter and her fiancé are putting thought into this marriage by thinking about terms. Any communication leading up to a marriage, in my opinion, is A-OK… even if that communication involves a signature and a notary.

Nicole Ouellette

Nicole Ouellette

When Nicole isn't giving advice she's completely unqualified to give, she runs an Internet marketing company in Bar Harbor, where she lives with her husband Derrick and their short dog Gidget. She loves young adult novels, cooking and talking French to anyone who'll talk back. [email protected]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *