Amy Dickinson is a general advice columnist.
DEAR AMY: I dated a young lady -- 26 years old -- who has five children by multiple fathers. I was aware that she has psychological issues, but I loved her and tried pushing her to seek help, which she agreed to, but it never happened. Now that we have broken up, I've sought counseling and done some reading of my own to try to understand her better and recognize my own mistakes. I've learned that she neatly fits the profile of someone with borderline personality disorder. Here is my dilemma. She is dating a 20-year-old man who seems to be madly in love with her. He is not concerned that she has so many children by multiple fathers or that she lost custody of two of them. She has never been monogamous. While I was reasonably aware of what I was getting into (I'm college educated and in my 30s), I'm concerned she could do real damage to him. I tried talking to her, to no avail (we are still friends). I suppose there is nothing I can do and I should mind my own business, but I do know one of his parents. I've considered telling his parent what I know so they can at least offer guidance to their son, but I'm afraid I'm overstepping my bounds and will just make things worse because of my own past involvement with her. Your advice?
DEAR WORRIED: Unfortunately, as you know from your own experience, the insidious ferocity of someone with borderline personality disorder often matches the depth of the hubris of the person she is with. While it is not a good idea for amateurs like you (and me) to diagnose others, people with this psychological disorder are often very compelling and find themselves matched with people who think they can manage, help or cure them.
You should not tell this young man what to do but only offer your own experience as a guide. Do not go through his parents. You can expect that your warnings will fall upon deaf ears and that this guy will have to experience this human tornado on his own, just as you did.
DEAR READERS: I want to offer a special shoutout and thank-you to all the great fathers out there. Fathers (and stepfathers and grandfathers) don't always get all the respect they deserve, but so many dads do the true heavy lifting of family life.
I hope my readers take the time today to thank and celebrate the dads in their lives. Happy Father's Day.
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