I was in a three-year relationship with a man I met online. He had a good job then and a nice place to live.
But his alcohol addiction, compounded by a traumatic brain injury from an alcoholic binge, caused massive personality problems.
He lost his job last year, went to rehab, but relapsed. We broke up several months later.
He has unemployment insurance but he’s now no longer employable, and can’t properly care for himself or his home. He’s facing eviction very soon.
I care for him. We maintained contact but he became increasingly hopeless, then abusive and hostile.
He says he doesn't expect me to help him but contacts me frequently about losing everything.
I’m concerned that he’ll expect me to rescue him. I advised him to get professional help, but his commitment to sobriety is very erratic.
He’s alienated all family and friends. I don't want him to end up on the street but have no capacity to care for him.
I fear he’ll show up at my home asking for help and I won't have the courage to turn him away.
Do the research, now, and connect him to all the resources you can track down for him in your location.
(I can’t be specific because, to keep promised anonymity, I don’t identify locales.)
Contact community services, the Salvation Army, and Al-Anon for any help you can steer him towards.
Attending an Al-Anon support group session yourself can be helpful because others will have faced these same questions.
Also, you need your own support to know that until he’s ready to commit to sobriety, he’ll lean on anyone who listens.
I’m hoping that readers will also have suggestions for you.
A friend in his late-60s is “losing it.” He’s always been active – sports, and community work – and was excellent at his job.
But he’d started to second-guess his decisions and couldn’t keep up with the technology that was constantly increasing in his field.
So he retired. He’s staying home way too much, and communicating less with friends.
During phone conversations, he loses his train of thought, gets flustered, and hurriedly hangs up.
I tried to discuss this with his wife but she blocked that conversation, saying, “He’s just tired,” or “fighting a cold,” etc.
As a longtime close friend, should I be raising the topic of possible dementia, and urging him to see a doctor?
The responsibility to address cognitive changes lies within himself and his own family, first.
Unless you’re a doctor, for you to “diagnose” dementia could be perceived as intrusive and insulting.
Many seniors have some difficulty with memory, especially if they’re feeling depressed by other changes.
Also, there may be some health factors, affecting his energy for going out as well as his concentration.
Meanwhile, this man’s retreated abruptly from an active, engaged life involved with people. He may well be feeling insecurity about his life now, making him sad as well as lonely.
Encourage him towards gentle get-togethers with you and other friends – lunch, a movie, etc.
Open the topic of the changes in his life. If he responds, suggest he talk to his doctor about how to make the “transition” to this new phase.
If that doesn’t work, try talking to his wife about your worries for him, and therefore for her too, regarding his “low spirits.”
The conversation should naturally lead to the idea of an overall health check, and the possibility that she accompanies him.
FEEDBACK Regarding the bride-to-be who doesn’t want her groom’s adult daughter at their wedding (Jan. 31):
Reader – “Though not stated in the letter, I suspect this has to do with prior behaviour of the daughter.
“This may be more of a daughter issue, with the daughter unwilling to accept any new woman in her dad’s life.
“Can they couple live with the adult daughter not being a part of the wife’s life, but the father and daughter can still spend time together?
“I know of a number of situations where children don’t accept the new woman, so the wife finally just says see your children whenever you like, but I won’t spend time with them.
“The woman often ends up questioning why she married this man.”
Ellie – You’ve made assumptions here that had no reference in the man’s letter. So your answer reflects someone else’s situation (or your own?) with which you find commonality.
Tip of the day:
Finding available help for someone is more beneficial than taking on what you can’t handle.