Boyfriend hitting the bottle

I’ve been seeing “Dave” for four years. Even in the midst of this recession, he has no trouble finding good jobs.

Dear Annie: I’ve been seeing “Dave” for four years. Even in the midst of this recession, he has no trouble finding good jobs.

The problem is, he gets depressed, drinks too much and gets fired, or decides the job is not for him and quits.

He spends all his money, often losing his apartment. Then he ends up on my doorstep.

I cannot afford to support Dave. He is considerate and does all the housework and cooking when he is here, but the situation drives me crazy.

My landlord could throw me out if someone reports that Dave is living here. Dave is a veteran and eligible for Social Security benefits. I think he needs more help than I can give him. If things continue, we may both be out on the street.

Please help. — Baffled in the Midwest

Dear Baffled: You are right that Dave needs professional help to find out why he sabotages every job and spends his money until he loses his apartment. Suggest that he go to his local VA for assistance. Then decide what you want from this relationship because you cannot change him, and the situation will continue until he gets help or you break it off.

Dear Annie: I am 13 years old and school starts next week. Last year didn’t end so well.

My best friends, “Becky and Amanda,” started befriending people who use drugs and alcohol. I don’t want to be around that stuff.

We all knew the friendship wasn’t working anymore, so I decided to do us all a favor and end things. I began by ignoring them for two weeks, hoping they’d get the hint. I told Becky we were through, but she never told Amanda.

I know I should have done it differently, but I didn’t. By the time Amanda found out, everything was going downhill. They would talk about me loudly on the bus. I moved seats, listened to music, anything to drown out the sound, but nothing worked.

I don’t want another year like that. I have other friends, but they don’t take the same bus. What should I do? — Helpless with Old Friends

Dear Helpless: You are learning a painful lesson in growing up, but you sound smart enough to handle it. Your ex-friends will continue to taunt you as long as they can get a reaction. No matter how loud and obnoxious they are, you must learn to ignore them. Open a book, put in your earbuds or make friends with someone else on the bus. In time, they will find better things to do and so will you.

Hang in there.

Dear Annie: Please print this for “Nightmare in Maine”: Thank you for writing to Annie about your friend Kelly, who got drunk and was raped by her brother’s best friend. I experienced a similar incident. Because my parents would never have approved if they’d known I was drinking at a party, it complicated telling anyone who could help me.

I am now 34 and just finding the clarity from the anger, shame and guilt I have carried around. I convinced myself I was responsible for allowing the rape to happen, even though I was passed out when it occurred. I told a pastor about it a few years back, and when he discovered there was alcohol involved, he said, “Well, you can understand how he might not have seen it the same way you do.” That response made things worse.

While I agree with Annie to be gentle with Kelly, please try to convince her to speak with a professional.

I have gone through rape crisis/sexual assault group therapy and cannot stress enough that I wish I had told people sooner. Kelly did not deserve to be raped.

Her brother deserves to know about his friend and to be given the opportunity to stick up for his sister. The rapist deserves to know what he did was wrong and cannot be allowed to continue. He, too, needs help. — Healing Without Church

Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to anniesmailbox@comcast.net, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611.

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