Dear Annie: Several friendship dynamics make the traveler play the role of cruise director

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Dear Annie: I’ve been going on a Super Bowl cruise for 14 years with the same group of people, including two couples and two women, one of whom is married and the other single. We meet every day for breakfast, then we part ways and I hang out with one of the couples all day. The others usually find us in the afternoon and hang out with us. We part ways several hours before dinner but eat dinner together every night.

Here is my problem. I have a friend who comes on a cruise who encouraged me to take this trip over 17 years ago. She’s coming with a few of her friends, and she’s only been on this cruise once since she stopped sailing about 10 years ago. She and I know another couple who are our best friends. She talked to them about coming on a cruise. The wife didn’t really want to come, but her husband convinced her to come, telling her that the four of us were going to hang out. My problem is that the cruise couple I’ve been hanging out with for 14 years and the other couple and the single girl who comes on board expect me to hang out with them. The other couple I’m close friends with know the couple I’m going on a cruise with, but I don’t think the husband wants to hang out with them.

I’ve been on another vacation with this couple and the single girl and her same friends, and the husband didn’t want to hang out with these other people all week, just the four of us. How can I date both couples? I feel like I should say something to my friend, but I don’t know how to put it. I think he will go crazy. — Reluctantly at sea

Dear At Odds: Just because you know everyone is on the cruise doesn’t mean you should be the cruise director. You don’t need to keep an eye on how the groups get along. Anyone boarding is an adult and must act as such.

Enjoy your vacation and mingle with all your friends. Extend invitations for dinner, excursions, and outings to everyone, and let everyone decide whether they want to join you and others in attendance. It is possible that this trip will spark new and genuine friendships. If not, that’s OK too. There are plenty of activities to take part in during the cruise that will keep everyone busy and fun, whether alone, with you, with a significant other, or with new friends.

Dear Annie: I have been married for four years now. My husband drinks a lot every day and every night. I try to tell him to stop, but he’s bossy and says mean things to me. I try to talk to him about my thoughts, but I don’t know how to tell him some of these things. I was married before to a man who was drunk. He hit me, said mean things and put me down with our daughter all the time, so we got divorced, and now I put up with the same things from the guy I’m married to now. — Above alcohol

Dear Over the Alcohol: It’s not uncommon for those with an alcohol problem to not realize or admit they have one. Try as you might, in the end, the choice to sober up is a choice only your husband can make. Continue to let him know your concerns about his drinking and make sure that when you approach him, you do so when he is sober.

As someone who has been an alcoholic in a previous marriage, you might find it helpful to attend your local Al-Anon meetings or talk with a licensed therapist about ways to cope with your husband’s behavior and put order in your thoughts. Of course, if your second husband becomes violent towards you because of his drinking, as your first husband did, you should definitely seek help. The National Domestic Violence Hotline can provide free local resources and support if and when you need them.

Send your questions for Annie Lane to [email protected].

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