DEAR ABBY: I’m in love with a man with a big heart. He was my boyfriend when we were both 6 years old. We lost touch for many years, but when I ran into him again we reconnected with a vengeance. We are great together, and I can’t imagine spending my life with anyone else.
We come from a small town, and he remained there until a year ago, when he moved in with me. We now live in a major city, and things are very different here. Applying for jobs requires a background check. In the small town we are from, it wasn’t a common practice. He was, to put it gently, quite “mischievous” when he was younger. He has a couple of DUIs, plus a few other things.
During the past year he has turned things around, but despite his efforts he has been unable to find work. (He has no felonies.) There are websites to assist felons, but none to assist people like him. He has been to unemployment and temp agencies — nothing. I’m getting desperate. How does someone with a criminal history find employment? — Feeling Helpless in Virginia
DEAR FEELING HELPLESS: That’s a good question, and it’s one that legislators have been looking into. Some laws in certain jurisdictions limit an employer’s ability to look at criminal records.
It might be worth your while to discuss this with a labor lawyer in your state to find out what the statutes are, because it is not the same in all states. While it might not solve your problem, it will give you a realistic idea of what the two of you are facing in the future.
Hooked on chewing tobacco
DEAR ABBY: I have been married to my dear husband for 20 years. Several years after our wedding, I found out he was dipping chewing tobacco. I was very upset because I realized he had been keeping a major secret from me. He has tried to quit several times, but starts up again.
It makes me furious every time I see proof of this disgusting habit. I have had to lie to my kids when evidence was left in his truck. I’m at my wits’ end. I know he will quit only when he is ready, but how do I live with it? — Unhappy About It in Texas
DEAR UNHAPPY: People who are addicted to chewing tobacco are at risk for cancers of the mouth, tongue and throat. I would be shocked if your husband’s dentist hasn’t discussed this with him more than once, because these cancers can be not only disfiguring but also life-threatening.
There are medical interventions to help people who are hooked on tobacco, but only if they WANT to be tobacco-free. An online community, TheQuit.org, offers information on helping someone stop chewing tobacco. Check it out.
My advice for living with an addict is to join a support group. It will help you recognize that you can’t “fix” your husband. He and he alone is responsible for his own fate.
Write Dear Abby at DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
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