DEAR ABBY: I’m a 24-year-old teacher and graduate student. I have started dating a man, “Winston,” who makes me feel incredible. We have crazy chemistry like I’ve never had before, and our personalities work perfectly together.
Here’s the problem: Winston is a recovering heroin addict with horrible credit and two felony charges related to having stolen money from his parents when he was desperate for drugs.
I know what you’re thinking: I’m an idiot for dating someone like this, right? But Winston and I have had heartfelt talks, and he revealed a troubled upbringing that helped me understand where his addiction came from. He’s in a rehab program to try to get his life together.
I’ve dated a lot of guys. All I’ve ever wanted is someone who will give me “butterflies” for the rest of my life, and Winston may be the guy. He’s attentive, affectionate and loving. He treats me like a princess. I understand his past will cause financial strain. Isn’t it more important to have a man who treats me right than one with a lot of earning potential? Please give me some advice. — Dream Come True in New Jersey
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DEAR DREAM: You have been seeing Winston for how long? Has he completed his rehab and been able to maintain his sober lifestyle for a long enough time that the chances are it will continue?
Few things are as exciting as infatuation — every one of our senses is heightened. You say you feel “butterflies,” but what if you wind up with only a moth-eaten carpet? This is not to say that Winston isn’t a wonderful person. Many former addicts can be. However, I think it’s premature for you to consider a future with him until you are sure about his stability.
Dog takes control
DEAR ABBY: My widowed 86-year-old mom was living by herself. My unmarried sister, “Anne,” has become ill and has moved in with Mom. Anne wanted a dog. At first Mom was against it because they both have cats, but she finally gave in, and Anne got a year-old beagle mix from the dog rescue.
I have been afraid of dogs since I was little. My family knows this. Usually, once I get to know a dog I’m OK, and I have had several of my own. But this animal has abandonment and abuse issues. He’s very aggressive and barks, growls and lunges at anyone who comes into the house. It makes me afraid, so I have quit visiting and hardly ever drop by.
Mom and Anne have very little control over the dog. I worry that in an emergency, whether for Mom or Anne, the EMTs would not be able to get past the animal. What can I do? — Scared in Iowa
DEAR SCARED: Explain to them that not all emergency medical technicians have been formally trained to handle unruly or vicious animals, and precious time might be lost. If your sister or mother wasn’t around to control the dog and the EMTs were unable to lure it to another room, animal control would have to be summoned or a neighbor found who could assist, and the consequences could be serious. Then cross your fingers that nothing bad happens.