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stuck in splitsville

I have a friend who recently split up with his wife. She is just awful and has put him through so much. They have two great kids that he has taken full charge of, since she can’t seem to stay sober or interested for too long.

I have listened to him vent and have been very supportive. But lately, he is on this roller coaster ride with her. One day, he says it’s totally over and they are through.Then she gives him some sob story and he says they are going to try to work it out.

This has been going back and forth for months. But every time he is in the “it’s over” phase, he has all this emotional stuff he drops on me. I am getting to the point where I can’t take it anymore! It’s the same complaints every time.

I want to be a good friend, but he keeps making the same mistake over and over.The first few times I thought it was good if she really could change and work it out...but I really don’t believe it can happen at this point, and he keeps going back for more.

Worse yet, the kids are getting really confused. One day mommy is there, and then she’s gone again.

What can you say to a person who is clinging to something that is never going to get better?

—Good listener

The Practical Cogitator says: Well, clearly she has big problems that need to be worked out. AA can help, if she’s willing to go. As for your friend, he should go to Al-Anon, and so should the kids, depending on their ages. Al-Anon is a fantastic program geared toward helping co-dependents of Alcoholics. If you can tell your friend about it, and perhaps even go to the first meeting, to make things easier, it would be a fantastic move. These kids need stability. Hopefully, they have consistent care coming from somewhere…other family, daycare, etc.

The Moviegoer says: This is a very sad, but all too common tale. Your friend needs to think of those kids first. Believe me, it’s better to have one parent than a parent plus one train wreck. I understand your frustration. I think you should encourage him to get counseling. Try to stay supportive, even though you want to smack him.

cheap date

Okay, experts, I’m counting on you. What’s the most fun you can have on a date when you don’t have any money to spend?


Dining Out says: Go hiking, stroll through the parks, or find a walking trail. Attend free concerts, art openings, galleries, and festivals. Find a lake to swim in or play tennis at a public court. Make dinner from everything that grows in your garden. It’s summer so there should be no shortage of free entertainment.

The Practical Cogitator says: Well, now is the time to go sifting through all your old Christmas cards and find all the gift certificates and gift cards you misplaced back in December. Better spend them now before they expire. It can be fun to let the random cards structure your night.

Or a good cheap date night is a picnic on the waterfront, and a stroll. The people watching is fantastic, there is karaoke on Fridays, the boats are nice, the sunset is fantastic, and it’s all there, free and easy. Of course, a few bucks to spare for an ice cream cone makes it all the sweeter.

Finnbar says: Walk the breakwall from Ferry Street with a bottle of wine. Go at sunset when there are rowing club boats on the water, or when there is a sailing regatta Wednesday nights.

Dr. Sigmund Fraud says: This reminds me of the years I spent as a beggar in India. I was fresh out of college and had taken a job teaching English in Vietnam, when I got side-tracked by an actress from Bangalore who was playing pool and drinking a Singapore Sling in an American bar. She started me on a quest to expand my consciousness through various chapters of the Kama Sutra, and before I knew it, I was begging for scraps on the streets in her hometown. But at night with her…the sex? Nirvana.

I’m not saying you need to follow my extreme vow of poverty (which really wasn’t all it was cracked up to be), but I’ll tell you what—the Kama Sutra was translated into English from the Sanskrit in 1883. Ever since then, the wonders of ancient Indian lovemaking have been available to any couple with the good fortune to have at least one valid library card between them.

Ask Anyone is local advice for locals with problems. Please send your questions for our panel of experts to

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