DEAR ABBY: I am extremely concerned about my wife, “Jackie’s,” drinking. She has only two glasses of wine every night after work, but the glasses are large, and two of them measure out to an entire bottle.

When she drinks, she slurs her words and her mood swings from happy and gentle to confrontational and angry. Some nights are worse than others. She drinks even more on weekends when we go out.

At times, our children are the target of her verbal abuse. (She is never physically abusive.)

I have read that a glass or two of wine is good for your health. I think a bottle is excessive. I have confronted her, but nothing changes. Her drinking continues.

Abby, what is considered a “glass” of wine? Is a bottle a day substance abuse? I’m afraid I’m married to an alcoholic. I want to end this, but I won’t for our children’s sake. Please help. – LIVING WITH AN ALCOHOLIC

Your fears are well-founded. Your wife must be using a water goblet and filling it to the brim. This is not beneficial to anyone’s health. A “glass” of wine is 4 ounces.

Before your wife’s verbal abuse damages the children any further, give her an ultimatum, get help or get out (and you’re keeping the children). This may sound extreme, but immediate action is called for. You and your children may also want to consider seeking support from Al-Anon. It’s in the phone book.

DEAR ABBY: I am a 45-year-old woman in love with a 61- year-old man I’ll call Edgar. We have been together for 22 years. We are not married. This entire time, Edgar has been married to another woman I’ll call Sherene. He has not lived with or slept with Sherene for 30 years. When I bring up the subject of marriage, Edgar always says he is going to get a divorce. After 22 years with me, it hasn’t happened.

Abby, if Edgar dropped dead tomorrow, Sherene would be recognized as his wife – not me. She will be able to draw his Social Security and take anything and everything – our car, house, etc.

I need to know, should I put my foot down and demand marriage or separation? – SLEEPING BEAUTY IN MIAMI

I’m pleased you finally woke up. Your assessment of the situation is 100 percent correct. If anything happens to Edgar, you will be shafted.

A person who cares about the well-being of another wants to ensure that person will be safe and secure if disaster strikes. The only two things we can be absolutely sure of are death and taxes. Talk to a lawyer!

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: Smile and the world smiles with you. Snore and you sleep alone. (Tillie M. Brehl; submitted by her daughter, Ilene R. Bauer)

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

For an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more attractive person, order “How to Be Popular.” Send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $5 (U.S. funds only) to: Dear Abby Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447.

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