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by Abigail Van Buren

Couples Are Not Destined to Grow Apart With Time

DEAR ABBY: A former professor of mine was a good friend and very supportive last year when I was experiencing some personal difficulties. Recently I have heard that he has not been acting like himself. I was told he has developed a bad attitude, curses in class, and uses his degree to demean his students' opinions on topics. One of his current students told me he's surprised the professor hasn't been thrown out of class for his behavior.

This is not the same professor who helped me last year. It seems like his evil twin. I suspect he may be having some personal problems. Because of our previous professor/student relationship, I don't think I can get involved. However, because of the help he gave me when I needed it, I care and would like to offer support. Is there anything I can do? I want my friend back. -- STUDENT WHO CARES

DEAR STUDENT: While it might not be appropriate for you to reach out to your former professor directly, it still may be possible to get him some help. Tell the student who spoke to you that he and some of the other members of the class should talk to the head of the department or the dean about what has been going on and the fact that the professor may be in need of help. If the man is, indeed, having personal problems, his supervisor would be in a better position to see he gets it than you are.