A Second Opinion: March 22-29

Dear June,
I read “Shattered’s” e-mail about a chronically ill mother and a father who has a sweetie. I’d like to add something for shattered from the mother/wife’s viewpoint . . . I’m married, my liver is going fast, and I’m not a candidate for a transplant, which is my only option to stay alive. My husband is devastated by this, and there’s nothing I can do about that except try to stay in good spirits for him. It’s so painful to see him in such emotional pain over me.  I’ve been unable to be a wife to him in all terms of the word. IF he had someone on the side, I wouldn’t want to know. He’s a man, he has needs, and he’s hurting over me. If someone can give him the comfort and the strength he needs to come home and deal with my illness, I’d tell her thank you for caring for him. He loves me but needs more than I can give him now. “Shattered” needs to let this be between the parents and stay out of it. Chances are she knows something is going on with her husband, and might feel like I do. There’s no need to cause her pain by letting her know “Shattered” knows. Let her have what peace she can get out of the time she has left, and that means NOT telling her personal issues about her husband. HE is hurting over “Shattered’s” mother as much as “shattered” is, and SHE is hurting over the fact that she’ll be leaving her family at some point. “Shattered” needs to be an adult about this, instead of crying like a hurt child to his mother over his father’s personal life. Does “Shattered” really feel so vindictive that he or she would willingly cause his/her parents even more pain than they’re already dealing with? I hope you will print this in order to give “Shattered’ a viewpoint from a woman who is in his mother’s shoes as far as illness. I hope it will help him or her deal with what’s obviously a painful issue. — Anonymous
  Dear Anon,
  Thank you for taking the time to write a powerful response, and sharing your feelings.  I am so sorry to hear your news, and wish you all the comfort and good wishes I can to both you and your family during this time. You certainly offer advice from a compelling vantage point, and I appreciate your ability to recognize the needs of others. I agree that it may be best that “Shattered” not share what is going on with her mother as it will only cause more pain, but I think it important to recognize that “Shattered” is dealing with her own feelings of loss about her mother and betrayal by her father. She likely needs support at this time as well.  I hope she gets it from other family members, friends, or even a counselor. I hope also that she is able to repair the rift with her father after her mother is gone.
Dear June,
I have been dating a girl for a few months, and I just cannot figure her out. One day she seems really happy with me, the next she seems really aloof and uninterested. We have never had an argument, and she has not voiced any major concerns with me or our relationship. On a few occasions she pointed out something that bugged her, and I made sure to listen to her concerns. So I just don’t understand why she runs so hot and cold. I have tried backing off a bit (thinking that maybe we were moving too fast), being affectionate (thinking that she thought maybe I wasn’t interested), and I am truly at a loss as to what to do, or where her head is at. We haven’t been dating for too long, but long enough for me to really start feeling an investment, and I want to know whether she and I are on the same page. — Confused
  Dear Confused,
  It sounds like you are getting some mixed signals here. A few things to consider: are there other things going on in her life that could be causing her stress or worry such as school, work, family situations?  It may seem obvious to state, but you are not the only thing that can affect how she is feeling on any given day. That being said, it does seem as if there is a very real possibility that she is dealing with some sort of ambivalence when it comes to you. Whether this stems from an unresolved issue, uncertainty about how far she wants to take the relationship, or something else altogether, is unclear. It sounds like your communication could use a little work. You are not sharing with her the fact that her emotional vacillations make you uncomfortable, and she is not sharing whatever is bothering her with you. Take the first step. In a non-blaming way, tell her how you feel. Certainly, it will be uncomfortable, and you run the risk of upsetting whatever balance you have in your relationship right now, but without discussing it, you deny your relationship both the chance to be authentic and the chance to grow in intimacy.
Dear June,
How do I know if I have a problem with alcohol? My parents and some of my friends have mentioned to me that I drink too much, and I think I have on occasion, but that is different from having a problem. I mean, anyone can drink too much a time or two, but that doesn’t mean they have a problem with alcohol. I am in my early twenties, and it seems pretty normal to me to go out two to four nights a week. I have a lot of friends that do that. And my life is going fine. I am finishing school and working part time. So what is the big deal? — Likes to Party
  Dear Party,
  There are several questions that you need to evaluate. When you go out, how many drinks do you have? Do you ever ‘black out’ or ‘brown out?’ Do you often feel hungover? Have you ever engaged in risky behavior because you were drinking such as driving under the influence, having unprotected sex or sex with a partner you recently met, doing drugs, falling or harming yourself in other ways, hanging out with people you know aren’t good for you, or spending money you need for other things in order to drink? If the answer to even one or two of these is yes, it may be a good idea to think about what you are doing and any life consequences you are having because of the amount that you drink and party. It seems you are already having some strife in your friendships and family relationships. What about at work and school? Are you hung over a lot while there? Do you miss a lot because you need to recuperate from drinking? Are you behind on homework or other responsibilities? If you are starting to see yourself in these questions, I suggest you at least talk with a doctor or counselor about what is going on. You can find one for a reasonable price at your university.
June Hoyer is an Irvington resident. She has degrees in School Counseling and Community Counseling, and has worked with adults, children and families. June is currently working as a counselor. E-mail your questions to her at asecondopinion@live.com.