Dear Abby: I recently got my husband back in touch with “Scott,” his best friend from adolescence and college. My husband’s ex had kept them apart, so this rekindling is extra special and appreciated. I don’t want to do anything that would jeopardize it. But Scott’s wife makes me very uncomfortable.
She is quiet, reserved, but very manipulative. Neither she nor her husband are drinkers, but she insists on bringing a gift of some form of alcohol every time we see them, which is about once a month.
Abby, I am a recovering alcoholic. I have worked hard for my 11 years of sobriety, and continue to work hard at it every day. Firm, but polite requests I have made to her have fallen upon deaf ears. Speaking to Scott hasn’t helped either, because he doesn’t stand up to her. My husband also hasn’t been able to get through.
He and Scott tell me to accept the gift and throw it away, or give it to another friend. But with addiction, it isn’t that easy. I have resorted to inventing excuses not to see them, but I don’t like feeling this way.
I believe she gives gifts because it makes her feel good, but at what point does my extreme discomfort trump her happiness? What can I do to get her to understand without ruining this relationship? – In a Delicate Situation
Dear Delicate: Have you told Scott’s wife that you are a recovering alcoholic? If you have, and she persists in gifting you with liquor when they come over, she is attempting to challenge your recovery. (Could her behavior be the reason your husband’s former wife kept them apart?)
Your husband’s rekindled friendship with Scott would not be ruined if he sees him on a one-to-one basis rather than the four of you socializing as couples. And if the clueless wife hands you another bottle of booze, that’s what you should insist upon.