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Published October 09, 2010, 12:00 AM

Annie's Mailbox: Cut man loose because he has no backbone

Dear Annie: Eight months ago, I started dating “Ron.” His wife died two months before my companion passed away. We started as friends, and then it became something more.

By: Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, INFORUM

Dear Annie: Eight months ago, I started dating “Ron.” His wife died two months before my companion passed away. We started as friends, and then it became something more. We have similar interests and get along great with one exception: Ron’s 41-year-old married stepdaughter, “Sonya.”

Sonya told Ron that he is not allowed to date anyone, and any woman he sees will not be part of her family. The first time I met Sonya, she threatened me, saying I would get hurt if anything happened to Ron. Ron just sat there and made no effort to stand up for us as a couple.

Since then, Ron has broken up with me three times because Sonya pressured him. The last time was when she criticized him for taking me to see the Fourth of July fireworks. Ron sat there cowering while Sonya jumped on his case. He now says he can’t date me because he might go back to his church. I offered to go with him.

Lately, he’s been treating me like dirt. He doesn’t call and won’t do anything with me, and if I see him, he acts distracted and makes me feel bad for wanting to be with him. I have fallen in love with Ron and don’t want to lose him. Do you think he is cheating?

– Hopelessly Confused

Dear Hopeless: No. We think he is tightly wrapped around Sonya’s finger. She completely controls him, and he permits it because he is too weak to stand up for himself, let alone you. This relationship is going nowhere. Unless Ron develops a backbone, you will lose every time. Do yourself a favor and cut him loose.

Dear Annie: I grew up in a large family where alcohol was part of the lifestyle. My parents were major alcoholics. Mom died five years ago. Dad eventually saw the light and got sober (to our amazement) and completely changed his life. He’s now married to another recovering alcoholic, and we are all very happy for him.

Here’s the problem: Dad thinks anyone who takes so much as a sip of beer is a raging drunk. He is obsessed with other people’s drinking habits and gossips about them constantly. I found out that Dad thinks some of his family members have an alcohol problem. But, Annie, no one has had a drink around him for 20 years out of respect for his sobriety and a fear that he’d relapse.

He seems to be envious of people who can have a drink. Do all recovering alcoholics feel this way? We aren’t the type of family to discuss personal things, but we feel Dad owes all of us an apology for everything he put us through. Is this too much to ask? He is 74 and gets hurt easily. – Perplexed

Dear Perplexed: Alcoholics Anonymous encourages its members to apologize to those they may have hurt due to their drinking. Yes, Dad may be envious of those who drink, but it is also possible he needs to see his doctor. Sometimes paranoid thoughts can be indicative of dementia. Suggest he make an appointment, and offer to go with him. Also contact Al-Anon (al-anon.alateen.org) at (888) 4AL-ANON for support and suggestions.

Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to anniesmailbox@comcast.net or write to Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 5777 W. Century Blvd., Suite 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045.