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DEAR ABBY: I come from a very close family, and I am the rock of the family. If someone needs help, I’m the one they come to. Recently, my nephew has been in a downward spiral because of drugs. He is now in jail.
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He is only 19 and was always an amazing young man, but he started on the wrong road after witnessing his father take his own life a few years ago. When he gets out of jail, he wants to start over — come live with me, go to rehab and begin a new life.
My problem is my fiance. He does not want to help my nephew, especially if he will be on house arrest. I know my nephew’s potential, and I can’t throw him away and refuse to help. How do I get my fiance to understand this without jeopardizing our relationship? — CARING AUNT IN INDIANA
DEAR AUNT: It may be a challenge, considering the role you have assumed as “the rock of the family.” What your nephew witnessed was horrific. Compounding the tragedy is the fact that he didn’t receive counselling for the trauma and turned instead to drugs.
I understand your desire to take in your nephew, and I also understand your fiance’s reluctance to have a substance-addicted relative under house arrest in your (and his, I assume) home.
Perhaps you could agree to a compromise. Lock up your valuables and give your nephew a temporary tryout with the understanding that if he lapses, he goes straight to rehab and a halfway house. You could then support his recovery in other ways, like helping him find a group such as Survivors of Suicide or one that supports sufferers of PTSD.
DEAR ABBY: I’m a professional travel adviser who works on commission. Many of my clients are friends or relatives, and I sincerely appreciate their patronage. Many years ago, my husband and I became friends with a delightful couple. We patronized the husband’s business, and they introduced us to many of their friends. We sponsored them into a social club, and they made many new friends because of it. We have entertained them in our home numerous times for private dinners and summer pool parties.
They booked an inexpensive cruise through me once. Unfortunately, a few years ago there was a disagreement, and we prevailed. In retribution, they distanced themselves from us. They travel with many of the friends they introduced us to, and since then, the entire group arranges their travel through someone else, although they still accept our dinner and party invitations.
It’s distressing that the spite of one couple has soured our relationships with two other couples who apparently feel closer to them. I consider the others to be “collateral damage,” and we have distanced ourselves from them, too. Am I too sensitive? — TRAVELLING AWAY IN TEXAS
DEAR TRAVELLING: I don’t think so. As you stated, these people were always closer to the couple who distanced themselves from you after the disagreement than they were with you. It may be disappointing, but it isn’t a big personal loss. A loss of income, yes, but that’s business, and business is replaceable. It’s time to start cultivating some new friends, and this time, don’t mix business with pleasure, which, as you have learned the hard way, can be risky.
— Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.