Dear Annie: My 25-year-old daughter, "Nola," lives in Alabama, as does her father, and I live in Florida. Nola is bipolar. She finally acknowledged that she needs medication, but has a hard time affording it because she has no insurance.
Nola has a difficult time maintaining relationships, male or female, and creates a lot of drama and conflict. There is always some crisis or something someone did to hurt her, and it's never her fault. She is better on medication but still not completely normal. She has had legal problems and there is a warrant out for her arrest in Florida because of unpaid traffic tickets and court costs. We have helped bail her out of jail a couple of times. When Nola visits, even when she is on medication, my husband and I barely make it through the week before we are ready for her to go.
Nola now finds herself homeless in Alabama. Her most recent boyfriend left her suddenly, and she doesn't want to move in with her father because there are already a lot of people living there and she claims they are all rude to her. Her dad is willing to have her but acknowledges that she causes a lot of conflict. My husband absolutely doesn't want her to live with us, not to mention that outstanding warrant. I feel guilty for not letting Nola stay here, but I know she would ruin my marriage. How else can I help her?
- Jacksonville Mom
Dear Jacksonville: Without a place to live, Nola is at serious risk. Contact the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (dbsalliance.org) at 1-800-826-3632 for assistance and suggestions. Meanwhile, if you can afford it, send money (or gift cards) for groceries, rent and medication. And consider buying her a cell phone with some minutes on it so you can stay in touch.
Dear Annie: I am a 39-year-old single woman. I've worked hard in my career and always thought I would have time to start a family later, but time has slipped by.
I joined an online dating site and met "Aaron." His profile said he was going through a legal separation and has a 4-year-old child. I would never have considered him in the past but figured I needed to be more flexible. Annie, with our first kiss, my knees buckled. I'd never felt that kind of chemistry with anyone.
Aaron is so special. Sometimes, however, he seems withdrawn and our conversations are shorter than usual. I ask if he is OK, but he doesn't open up much. I've never dated a man who had unresolved issues. He says he is over his wife and ready to move on with me, but is that realistically possible? I'm trying to patient, but how do I handle the emotional ups and downs? Could we have a future together, or am I wasting my time?
- On a Roller Coaster
Dear Roller Coaster: Life doesn't come with guarantees. Yes, Aaron can get over his ex and move on with you, but if your instincts tell you he is not being entirely honest, it's a legitimate reason for concern. We'd wait until the divorce is final before expecting any commitment, and in the meantime, tell Aaron your future together rests on open communication and that he needs to stop shutting you out.