DEAR AMY: My girlfriend and I are both 28 years old. We have been living together for two years now, and I love her very much, but we are far from perfect. My girlfriend is the most emotional woman I have ever met. She cries almost every day — several times a day over the smallest things. For example, she cries when she’s out of cigarettes and can’t afford more and when she’s out of marijuana to smoke (it’s possible she has post-traumatic stress disorder); she has been prescribed Xanax for her anxiety). Sometimes she doesn’t even know why she’s crying. She also has anger issues, which end up causing her to have accidents and get hurt. She just got over a broken hand from punching a wall and a broken foot for the same thing. She tells me I’m the best thing that’s ever happened to her. I do everything she asks of me, and more. Amy, I would die for her, but sometimes I feel resentful because she takes advantage of me. It stresses me out because nothing I do helps and her self-loathing and cursing tongue add to my stress level. She hints at how she would be dead if I weren’t in her life. Recently, I made a horrible mistake and started a flirting relationship with a friend of mine. I feel bad now because of how I flirted, and I worry even more because my girlfriend can become manic over the smallest things. Can I let this slide, if I promise myself I’ll never do it again? Help!
DEAR WORRIED: You are alarmed about the wrong thing. Your girlfriend seems to have very serious emotional problems and possibly mental illness, and she needs a (fresh) professional assessment and treatment. Clearly, the Xanax is not working. Nor are the cigarettes and pot.
You appear to be a hostage to your girlfriend’s illness and behavior. Your choice to flirt with someone else should tell you that you need some relief from the oppressive atmosphere at home.
Despite her hints that she owes her life to you, please understand that it is not your job to fix your girlfriend. Her emotional, mental and physical health are her responsibility. Her behavior is extreme, and her illness has the power to profoundly affect your life. You are walking on eggshells at home. You are afraid of your girlfriend’s reactions.
The relationship you are in is abusive, violent and frightening. It is not normal, and it is not safe for you. Please put your own health and safety first, and consider leaving this relationship unless she gets professional help and is able to change.
DEAR AMY: I am reaching out to you because I am struggling with a decision about what to do about my neighbor. He appears to be meeting up with “other” women late at night and engaging in secular affairs. There are two different women he meets, and he either gets into their vehicle with them or they hang around on the playground equipment of the park next door to his house. This area is surrounded by houses overlooking the park. I know his wife. We’ve been neighbors for a long time. I know that he and his wife do things together. They have three children. Do I tell his wife? Do I confront him? So far I haven’t told anyone, but I started recording the dates and times of when I see him with the other women in the park. I am not comfortable with what he is doing. Any advice would be appreciated.
DEAR NEIGHBOR: I’m not sure what a “secular affair” is, but unless you suspect there are late-night drug deals or other illegal activity going down on the swing sets outside your house (in which case you should call the police), you should close your curtains and mind your own business.
If you wonder what your male neighbor is up to, you should ask him — not his wife.
When you discuss this with him, make sure you tell him that you are closely monitoring his playground activity; he deserves to know that he lives next to a surveilling busybody.
DEAR AMY: “Big Brother” decided that his sister was married to an abusive husband. Brother responded by cutting the sister out of his life. I agree with you that distancing himself from his sister will do nothing to help the situation. I hope he reconsiders his stance.
Also a Big Brother
DEAR ALSO: I hope so too.