Sure This Time

Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:

I started dating someone earlier this year, the first person I’ve seen

for more than a few dates since my divorce three years ago. I stopped

for a while because I was concerned about the fact that he showed up

smelling of alcohol for a date. I didn’t tell him why, just pleaded busy-

ness with work and a crisis with one of my adult children. After seeing

who else is out there (no one I even remotely cared about) I thought

I’d give him another chance, asked him for dinner and a movie, and

hoped for a good time. In fact it was, so I said yes when he asked me

for the next week. But then he showed up smelling like a mix of scotch

and breath mints. I gave a reason for needing to drive my own car

(awkward but avoided a direct confrontation). I want out. Do I just say

no or say why?

Sure This Time


Dear Sure:

Don’t accept any more invitations, as obvious as that may sound.

Don’t reply to any phone messages, emails, or texts. Take a week or

so to get your bearings. I say this not because I think you’re making

the wrong decision. On the contrary, you’re correct about cutting ties,

and were wise not getting in his car. But you’ll want what you say to

have teeth and be perceived that way.


Then send a very simple email saying roughly: I have struggled for a a

gentler way to say this, and I had hoped in the period when we were

seeing less of one another that you were dealing with this, but I have

simply decided that it is not good for me to spend time with someone

whose relationship with alcohol is not in alignment with my values. I’ll

be gracious if we encounter one another around town but I no longer

want to do things one-on- one. You might want to discuss this but I do

not. Please respect my boundaries. Then go back to ignoring any reply

other than saying Please re-read my email.