Ask Gabby Gayle: Confront Spouse About Heavy Holiday Drinking And Offer Help

By Gayle Lagman-Creswick

Dear Gabby Gayle:

With the holidays upon us, I find myself filled with uneasiness. My wife does pretty well managing her liquor intake most of the year, but when the holiday parties begin, her drinking seems to get out of control. She is normally a pretty, vivacious person that I am proud of. When she gets drunk, she becomes boisterous and loud and slurs her speech. I hate seeing friends look at me as if they feel sorry for me and to see them obviously embarrassed by her behavior. Any suggestions?

Signed, MM

Dear MM:

Years ago, I worked on an alcoholic unit. One thing I learned is that if your drinking is causing problems, chances are you are an alcoholic. I also learned that if you don’t confront her with the drinking problem, you are probably codependent. My advice is: Confront her and offer to go with her to get help. Sometimes a spouse is not ready to have their partner give up drinking because they enjoy having drinks, and they feel if the wife quits, they will have to quit too. Alcoholism is a disease. If your wife had pneumonia, you would certainly want her to be treated, right? If she refuses to go, I suggest you go to Al-Anon. There you will learn how to deal with it. Good luck and I hope your holidays go well.


Dear Gabby Gayle:

I feel I may be the only person with this problem, and I admit I am somewhat ashamed, but at the same time I can’t seem to help it. My marriage since our kids left home has been miserable. I guess the kids were a buffer or something. Even then my husband complained about everything and everybody. The kids just stayed out of his way and so did I. Now here we are. He doesn’t like my food, he doesn’t like the way I dress or wear my hair. I actually dream about him dying or me dying and freeing me from this misery. That is what I am ashamed of. I feel at our age it is too late to get a divorce and go out on my own. He handles the finances and keeps them close to himself. I am trapped. Help!

Signed, Miserable

Dear Mis:

You did not tell me your ages. I am tempted to tell you it is never too late to get out, but I know it is complicated for anyone at any age. I definitely feel that you both need professional help. I doubt he will go, but even if he does not go, you need to go. Like I said, it is complicated, but a good counselor will help you work through this. Life is too short to continue this way. Best wishes. Let me know how it goes.


Dear Gabby Gayle:

I have been dating a woman ten years older than I am. I really love this gal, but she seems to be hung up on the fact that she is so much older and fears that I will lose interest after a few years. I tried to tell her that older men often marry women 20 or more years younger, so what is the difference? Can you help me convince her? We always read your column! Thank you.


Dear J:

I would like to address this message to your friend, since you two read this together. Dear J’s friend: What is wrong with you? Count your blessings that this guy loves you! Some men are not hung up on age. Some men even prefer older women. I think we are blinded by the fact that many men want younger women and have even left their wives for younger ones. My personal rule of thumb is: They must be at least 10 years older than my oldest son. Nothing scientific, but I could just hear my sons teasing me about getting them a new brother. What a compliment to you that this younger man loves you. I think he must be quite a guy. Grab him!