KATHY MITCHELL AND MARCY SUGAR \ Annie's Mailbox Couple must learn to debate politics respectfully
Dear Annie: I am dating a very nice guy whose politics are completely opposite mine. We've gotten into shouting matches about recent Supreme Court decisions, gun control, abortion, etc. He tells me that it seems like he says "potato" and I say "sunflower." He's also hyper-rational, and I am more emotional.
Other than this, we get along well. He likes me as a person, and I feel the same way about him. We enjoy spending time together. I also like that he's easygoing (except when discussing politics), smart and funny, and he respects my intellect (although not all of my opinions). Also, he really loves children.
Tell me, Annie, how important are similar politics to a relationship? How serious is the emotional divide? He's willing to work on things with me, so I thought maybe we should go for counseling, but if politics is too great an obstacle, then maybe it's not worth the bother. (And please don't remind me of James Carville and Mary Matalin, which my friends keep doing. They seem to be the exception that proves the rule.) Unsure in New York City
Dear Unsure: You've got a great guy who is more politically conservative/liberal than you are. So what? If the two of you are compatible in other ways, and he is willing to work with you on areas of major conflict, you will have a problem only if you insist on creating one. Politics should never be more important than your relationship. The trick is to learn to debate while respecting each other's position. (And don't make politics the focus of your conversations.)
Dear Annie: My husband and I are planning a party for our 50th wedding anniversary. I would like to invite all of my family and friends, but my sister has a 48-year-old son who is mentally unstable. "Roy" is on medication, but when he drinks, he tends to get out of hand. I feel sorry for him and know he needs help, but I'm afraid he will embarrass me in front of my friends.
I love my sister, but she has no control over Roy. Should I not include him? I don't want to hurt my sister's feelings. Loving Sister
Dear Loving: Please invite Roy. If you can afford it, hire a bartender and let him know about Roy's problem with alcohol, so he isn't served more than he can handle. You might also assign a friend or one of Roy's cousins to keep an eye on him. (You can even hire someone specifically for that purpose.) If the worst that happens is he embarrasses you, please don't let that be a reason to exclude him. You will get over the embarrassment, but you will not get over hurting your sister.
Dear Annie: This letter is for the woman whose husband refuses to follow his diabetic diet. Actually, this is for the husband:
Dear Diabetic Husband: Have you considered how selfish you are? What makes you think it is OK to jeopardize your health just because it's your body? Your wife obviously loves you or she wouldn't have written. Consider the effect you have on those who love you.
I have a friend (in her 20s) whose mother is dead. They found her in the garden at the age of 42. She was diabetic and wouldn't do what she was supposed to. My friend's little girl has been deprived of a beautiful relationship with a grandmother.
Two years ago, I watched my diabetic husband die surrounded by paramedics in our living room. Most of his life, he ate and did whatever he wanted. In the last six months, he worked very hard to reverse the damage, but it was too little, too late.
You need to learn what happens to your body when your insulin is out of control. Everything is affected -- your heart, your breathing, your tissues. Then make up your mind to be around for your family as long as you can. Grow up! B.F.
Dear B.F.: We hope he is listening to your heartfelt plea. Thanks for writing.
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