My boyfriend of six months and I, recently moved in together, and are so happy.
However, we had a bad start. He was with his previous girlfriend for ten years, and it ended badly. She’s 29, had been previously diagnosed with a personality disorder, and had a psychotic episode when she learned we were dating.
Recently, she’s left us mostly alone. My boyfriend made it clear she could no longer contact us.
Since we live in a small town, I’ve heard that she’s having a hard time: drinking heavily, behaving promiscuously, and smoking pot (things she wasn't doing before).
I’ve recently learned from a sure source that she may get fired. I feel badly, knowing it's the only element of stability she has left.
I worry that she might then actually commit suicide, as she’s threatened this many times, and was once put on suicide watch.
I feel helpless. What can we do? While it isn't our duty to care for her, we don't want her to harm herself.
My boyfriend says he’s accepted she might go through with it, but I know that we’ll both feel incredibly guilty. Where do we turn?
Fearing A Suicide
This is a delicate situation as your intervening may be a provocation to her, with the opposite result you seek.
Discreetly ask a “sure source” to alert her family and whomever treats her mental illness.
Do not obsess on your fear or sense of guilt, as this is beyond your control. But you can try to assure her that she’s being watched and supported by others.
Recently, my husband and I hosted a party for over 20 people. Two of the guests (relatives) did absolutely nothing to help, which was annoying.
One also commented negatively on two of the dishes, and the other one barely spoke to us or thanked us for what was a lovely evening.
A week later, one of them asked if I’d host a shower for their daughter. I said, No, but would be glad to attend if someone else held it.
It seems they’re no longer talking to me.
I did nothing wrong, but I can' t seem to get over my anger and don't want to discuss it with family members and cause more problems. I hate feeling like this toward anyone.
One guest was rudely critical, one was presumptuous, and both were noticeably unhelpful. I suspect their behaviour wasn’t that surprising to you.
You likely resent having had to include them.
Yet you did. So while your annoyance is understandable, move past it. Be polite when you see them, and consider contributing to the shower s a peace-offering.
FEEDBACK Regarding babysitting comments from readers (July 7):
Reader – “My eldest sister and her then-husband, have two sons. She was my only sibling to have children.
“When my middle sister and I lived with our parents, we babysat a lot for our nephews.
“Once, my father angrily complained about how the rest of us were never able to do anything on weekends because of the amount of babysitting we did.
“Dad blamed Mom for not saying No to my sister and her husband about it.
“I later realized that Dad himself could’ve/should’ve said something directly to them.
“I believe that my sister and brother-in-law sometimes took advantage of people.
“I would now tell young parents that grandparents are not obligated to be babysitters and have a right to say No.”
Recently, I gave my number to a guy I’d just met. But I can't remember his face.
He was a customer I met at work.
Should I tell him I can't remember his face or somehow wing it the next time I "see" him.
I’m so nervous that he’ll walk in the door and I won't recognize him.
The next move is his, not yours. If he wants to date you, he’ll likely call. That’s fine since you already know you were receptive to that.
If he calls, suggest meeting at a specific place and time so there’ll be no difficulty knowing that it’s him.
However, at work, you’ll just have to treat the men who greet you there as you always do – and with a smile - until one of them says something about getting together, and suddenly looks familiar.
If you end up together, this’ll be an anecdote you’ll laugh about later.
Tip of the day:
If an ex-partner’s mental state is seriously worrisome, alert those who remain supportive of, or involved in, her/his treatment.