Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Man's Violent Relationship Scares Roommate

DEAR HARRIETTE: I am fed up with my roommate and his boyfriend. They are constantly fighting, and my roommate's boyfriend is a complete psycho. One night they got into a huge fight while my girlfriend was sleeping over. When she went to get water in the middle of the night, she said there was a tiny puddle of blood on the floor and some blood splatter on the walls. My roommate and his boyfriend had gotten into an altercation, and the boyfriend got a nosebleed.

I am about to move out because I cannot take it, but my girlfriend thinks that he should leave since he is the one causing all the problems. It is a great apartment in a great neighborhood near my school. Do I kick him out, or should I leave? -- Scared, Syracuse, N.Y.

DEAR SCARED: Being safe is more important than living in a nice neighborhood. Living with someone who is actively involved in a violent relationship is dangerous. You should speak to your roommate directly about what is going on. Point out that you saw blood on the wall one day after one of their fights and that you are concerned about his safety and your own.

Ask him to forbid his boyfriend from coming to the apartment. Remind him that you share the space and that you consider this person to be dangerous.

Next time there is an altercation, call the police immediately. The violence must be documented. Definitely ask him to move out if the violence continues. Ask the police for support if needed. Ultimately, if he will not move, you should.

DEAR HARRIETTE: I have known my best friend, Amanda, for about 20 years, and we even go to the same school. I get along great with her parents. Her dad and I have a great relationship, especially since I grew up without a father. Her dad always jokes that Amanda dates bad boys who treat her poorly, and he says she should go out with me. I have always had the biggest crush on her, but I am not the guy she normally goes out with. I would like to try to go out on just one date. I feel like I should just tell her -- if I don't, I think I will regret not going for it. However, if I do it and she says no, not only will I feel rejected, but how will this affect our friendship? -- Betwixt, Jackson, Miss.

DEAR BETWIXT: Here's the thing: You have been friends for 20 years. If dating has never come up, it is probably because you do not share romantic feelings for each other. That said, a safe way to find out is to ask her if she has ever thought about the two of you dating. You can put it out there casually and see what the conversation yields without putting either of you on the spot.