Dear Abby: My best friend of more than 12 years — the pastor of a large church — was sent to prison several months ago for soliciting sex with two minor children. While I despise what he did, I have enough intimate knowledge to know this was a one-time thing. He’s a sex addict and, while this does not forgive the act, it was just an escalation of his addiction.
I have decided to forgive him and be supportive. I send him a small amount of money each week and provide emotional support. My problem is, I knew about his addiction for 11 of the 12 years we have known each other. I feel I could have prevented all this from happening if I had told others, intervened and helped him get treatment. How do I apologize to all of those who loved and supported him, not knowing he wasn’t celibate?
The Guilty Enabler
Dear Enabler: Excuse me? “Just” an escalation of the man’s sex addiction? The man’s lack of character is appalling. That you would turn a blind eye to what he was doing indicates that you have issues of your own that need resolving. Forget about apologizing. You can’t make this better. What’s done is done.
Dear Abby: My boyfriend was raised in a family that didn’t celebrate holidays, including birthdays. They converted to that religion when he was 10, and while he no longer identifies with that religion, he still doesn’t recognize any celebrations.
I was raised with all the traditions surrounding the holidays and the family time that comes with it. I feel they are very important. I have tried explaining this to him, but his attitude toward holidays borders on hatred.
He recently told me he wants me to stop including him in activities or conversations related to holidays and birthdays, and I’m not sure what to do. He finds the same activities acceptable as long as they don’t happen around a holiday and are not associated with one.
Would it be unfair to ask him to compromise and share certain traditions with me, in light of the fact that he has no family traditions to bring to the table?
No Happy Birthdays
Dear No Happy Birthdays: You could ask him to compromise, but it would be unrealistic to expect that someone with his ingrained attitude will do so. A fish and a bird may love each other, but it doesn’t mean they can happily cohabit. If you want a happy relationship, find someone whose traditions more closely resemble your own.
Dear Abby: I’m an almost 18-year-old girl. I hoped that by now I would be over my fear of the dark, but I’m not. I can’t sleep without the TV, go outside after dark or walk through my house at night without being terrified. I always feel as if there is “something” there, no matter how many times I shine a light to check. I’m pretty sure this is irrational, but I don’t know what to do.
Dear Scaredy-cat: When someone has an irrational fear, the thing to do is to consult a licensed psychotherapist and discuss it. There are counselors who specialize in phobias, and your physician may be able to refer you to one.
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 www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.