DEAR ABBY: I have shared a friendship for 40 years with a woman who is known for having a quick temper. Although I have been on the receiving end of her anger many times, we manage to maintain our relationship.
She lives across the country now and, unfortunately, suffers from a major debilitating illness. She lives with a man she argues with often, in his small apartment. They struggle financially, and she recently confided that when they argue, she dunks his toothbrush in the toilet to get even. Obviously, it is without his knowledge.
I have never met him, but he is very nice to me when I call. I want to tell him what my friend has been doing. I feel he needs to know the health risks he’s facing when he brushes his teeth.
Of course, if I do, I know I’ll incur her wrath once again as she’ll know I ratted her out. And he will undoubtedly evict her from the apartment. She doesn’t have the finances to get her own place, and the eviction may result in her becoming homeless. I’m struggling with which is worse: his health risk or her homelessness.
So far, I have kept my mouth shut, but each day I know he is brushing his teeth with bacteria. Should I continue to remain silent? — YUCK FACTOR IN THE DESERT
DEAR YUCK FACTOR: While dipping his toothbrush in the toilet may not kill him, it could make him sick. Tell him what has been going on. If your friendship with the woman ends, so be it.
DEAR ABBY: I’m a 34-year-old single mother of a 7-year-old son who wants me to get married. I’m not dating anyone, so marriage is nowhere in the near future.
I know my son’s wish for me to be married is due to the absence of his “father” in his life and his desire to have a dad. I have technically been single for more than 10 years. I dated a lot over the years but haven’t during the last two years, instead focusing on my mental, emotional and physical well-being in addition to securing a decent career path, which I’m just a week into.
I have contemplated dating for months, even prior to my son saying anything. Being an only parent, I have very little free time, and dating can be very disappointing. I don’t have time to waste. Should I get back out there for the sake of my son or not? — DATING FOR TWO IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR DATING: Should you date because your son wants a father? No. You should date because you meet someone whose values and interests are similar to your own, someone you think is worth getting to know better.
You are starting a new career, and in time you will meet eligible men. In the meantime, because your son needs a masculine influence in his life, consider having him spend time with male family members. If that’s not possible, contact Big Brothers Big Sisters of America and try to arrange a mentor for him. The website is bbbs.org.