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by Abigail Van Buren

Boyfriend's Angry Threats Must Be Taken Seriously

DEAR ABBY: I have been dating "George" for nine months. Since the day I met him, I knew he was a little odd, but that was one of the qualities that first attracted me to him.

In the last three months, his behavior has become worse. He is now homeless, penniless, jobless, and has problems with alcohol and depression. He was recently diagnosed with schizophrenia.

I love George dearly, but my role in his life has switched from girlfriend to caregiver/provider. I am not sure what to do. He refuses to get help but is stuck to me like a lost child. How can I save his and my life before it is too late? -- DESPERATE IN NEW YORK

DEAR DESPERATE: True lovers must also be true friends, and right now George desperately needs one.

Tell him, as a concerned friend, that because you love him, he must get professional help.

If he doesn't have money, he can still find help in New York in a number of places. One of the large academic hospitals might be the place to start.

In any meaningful relationship, both people involved switch caregiving roles at various times. This is called "nurturing." But being made to feel obligated beyond affection is entrapment -- and that you must avoid.