DEAR ABBY: I have a 16-year-old stepdaughter, ”Candy.” My wife recently discovered three bottles of liquor in the car Candy drives. When confronted, she told my wife the booze was for an upcoming party. We grounded her.

My wife called her ex-husband to tell him their daughter is grounded and he would have to pick her up on his visitation weekend, as she won’t be driving. He then informed my wife HE was the one who bought her the booze! I’m dumbfounded and don’t know how to handle this. Please advise. — SHOCKED IN HOUSTON

DEAR SHOCKED: Candy is only 16, so she can be forgiven her lapse in judgment. Her father is old enough to know better than to hand over bottles of alcohol to his minor child. In the state of Texas, he has violated the law. The legal age for consumption or POSSESSION of alcohol is 21, with few exceptions. If you are smart, you will stay out of it. Your wife and her ex should discuss this and reach an agreement about how this will be handled in the future.

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DEAR ABBY: I am writing to share a positive experience I hope will help others. It’s what a relief divorce can be.

I was miserable married to my husband. I used to hear people on the radio talk about their beloved husband or wife, and my heart would twist with regret that I never felt that way. I spent years almost numb because I was lying to myself about my marriage. I spent years reading books on how to improve our relationship, years going to workshops. Nothing changed.


I was always walking on eggshells waiting for him to yell. I didn’t trust my husband to be kind to me, and frankly, I don’t think he ever loved me.

After much therapy and a lot of very hard work, I finally got out of the relationship. I thank God every day for my freedom. Sometimes I’m so happy being by myself reading a book or making my own plans that I feel I’m going to burst with joy. My days are precious to me now. For me, divorce has been an awakening. — PATRICIA IN MASSACHUSETTS

DEAR PATRICIA: While divorce can be therapeutic, it isn’t the answer for everyone. Because you were married to an angry, abusive man, it’s for the best that you finally ended the marriage. I can’t help feeling that what you did was a positive step for both of you.

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DEAR ABBY: When we go to church with our daughters, ages 9 and 11, we are greeted at the door by an usher in his 70s. He has told our 9-year-old several times that he’s going to marry her when she grows up. She doesn’t know what to say. My husband and I don’t like it. What should we do? — DUMBSTRUCK IN THE EAST

DEAR DUMBSTRUCK: Tell the usher privately that his comment is not appreciated. Discuss it with the minister afterward, if necessary. Your daughter is a nice girl, but I wouldn’t blame her if she told him, ”If you’re still alive and breathing by the time I’m grown up, I’ll consider it.”

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

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