DEAR ABBY: I recently got back in touch with an old flame from 12 years ago. We never dated in the past because he was an alcoholic and not in a good place. A month ago, he added me on Snapchat, and we picked up right where we left off.
He has been sober for three years, has a steady job, a house and a good support system. We spend hours on the phone and have a lot in common. I was excited to see if our friendship would evolve into something more, and he also wanted to see if we could be more than friends.
Abby, I went over to his house and it is filthy. It’s not cluttered, just dirty — like it needs a very good deep cleaning.
He has a large dog in the house, so the place smells very bad. I wouldn’t sit down on any of the furniture, and I couldn’t wait to get out of there. What do I do? Do I tell him how I feel about his house and see if he’s willing to change, or must I end the relationship we are starting to build? I don’t want to settle, but I don’t want to miss out on what could turn into a wonderful relationship.
— PUT OFF IN IOWA
DEAR PUT OFF:It is entirely possible that this man doesn’t realize how dirty his home, furniture and dog have become because he is used to living that way. You have no choice but to tell him he needs a cleaning crew for his home on a regular basis, and his dog needs to be bathed and groomed regularly for the sake of the health of the animal. If he’s willing to listen to you, it could turn into a wonderful relationship. If he isn’t, it’s better to find out now, don’t you think?
DEAR ABBY: I recently began talking to this woman online. We met on an app and have a lot in common, including that our fathers have had or currently have cancer. One night we got into a discussion about depression.
I mentioned that in the past I have been suicidal, and she admitted she has felt that way, too. She tells me she thinks about ending her life a lot. I’ve told her about suicide hotlines and numbers to text someone.
The other night, she said she had started writing her suicide note. She wants to die after her father and her cats die. I’m trying to help her, but it’s like she doesn’t want my help.
She has my number, and I urge her to text me whenever she needs to. We don’t live close, so I can’t just go to her house and check on her. If she does take her life, I don’t know how I could go on, feeling I didn’t do more to help her. I don’t know what to do anymore.
— DON’T KNOW
WHAT TO DO
DEAR DON’T KNOW: You have given this woman a willing ear, emotional support and information that can help her if she chooses to use it. You have NOTHING to feel guilty about. In the final analysis, the person who must “save” her is herself. Continue to offer support from afar.
Give her the toll-free number of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1-800-273-8255. Your conscience should be clear. For your own sake, please keep it that way.
DEAR ABBY is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.