Abby: Suicide attempt a signal for friend to act

Dear Abby
Jeanne Phillips

Dear Abby: I’m 13, and I’m writing you about my best friend. Her life at home has always sucked, but now it has reached a new level. Her grandmother is no longer paying for her tuition, her parents verbally abuse her and yesterday she attempted suicide. Luckily, she called me and I talked her through it.

I don’t know how to help her. I can’t talk to her parents because they’ll be no help, but I don’t know what will happen if I tell my parents. Please help me.

Needs Answers in California

Dear Needs Answers: You are a caring friend. The one thing you SHOULDN’T do in a misguided effort to “protect” your friend is to remain silent. When someone threatens suicide, it is time to act.

You should absolutely tell your parents everything you know so they can inform her parents. If your parents are hesitant to do that, confide in a trusted teacher or counselor at school so your friend can get the help she appears to desperately need.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline’s toll-free number is 1 (800) 273-8255. Please share it with your friend. But if she tells you again that she has injured herself, call 911.

Dear Abby: I have a 23-year-old stepson who continues to bully my wife into taking care of him. She recently helped him to buy a home, even though she knew his current earnings would not be enough to cover his car, insurance, phone, cable, etc.

He continues to make his problems ours. He called yesterday telling his mom he needs brakes. We already pay his insurance on the vehicle and other small, unexpected bills.

Oh, and by the way, he has a baby on the way.

I’ve tried repeatedly to talk to my wife about enabling him, but she refuses to see she’s keeping him dependent.

What can I do or say to help her get on the right path?

Man-Child Problems

Dear Problems: Ideally, spouses are supposed to agree before spending large amounts of community assets. Marriage counseling might help you to get through to her. But if it doesn’t, consider consulting a lawyer about protecting your assets.

I agree that your wife is enabling her son, and she’s not doing him any favors in the long run. However, if the money she’s giving him is her own, you can’t stop her from doing it.

Dear Abby: Five years ago I discovered my wife had been cheating on me with an ex-boyfriend for eight years. We have two young children, so we resolved our differences and didn’t divorce.

Now she says she wants us to have another baby. I feel I cannot handle a pregnancy with her because of her infidelity. As a hands-on father, I would want to be part of the pregnancy and the complications/changes that come with it.

How should I handle this and tell her why I cannot (at this point) have another child with her?

Hands-on Dad

Dear Dad: Clearly you aren’t over your wife’s infidelity I can’t blame you. The best way to get the message across to her would be during marriage counseling.

Dear Abby: Is there a proper way for a man to introduce himself to an attractive woman in a public place like a store or a museum?

Dan in San Francisco

Dear Dan: It’s not difficult. If you’re in a store, ask for her advice about a product. If you’re in a museum, strike up a conversation about an artist or a painting, sculpture, etc. Then introduce yourself and keep talking. If she’s receptive, she’ll give you her name.

Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.