DEAR HARRIETTE: I just got a call out of the blue from my ex-boyfriend's most recent ex-girlfriend. I loved this man for many years, and he turned out to be a heartbreaker. We broke up eventually because it was too hard for me to be with him and know that there were other women lurking in the wings. It was too bad because he has lots of wonderful characteristics, but being faithful isn't one of them. He and I have remained friends. The only downside to that is what just happened. He gives his exes my number to talk to me when things go south. I don’t want to get involved in his messy love life. What should I do when I receive these calls? I feel bad not answering, because usually the woman is distraught. -- Drawing the Line, Milwaukee
DEAR DRAWING THE LINE: You need to re-evaluate whether your friendship with this man is worth it. It sounds like he is sending his “roadkill” to you to clean up. What kind of a friend does that? Based on what you have described, he is manipulating you, his former girlfriend, to manage his continued bad behavior. You need to tell him to stop making you the go-between for his foibles. He needs to be responsible for his behavior, not pawn it off on you.
Further, you need to have a serious talk with him about why he continues to be unthoughtful and cruel to the women he dates. What is that? And seriously, ask yourself why you continue to stick around.
DEAR HARRIETTE: My mother is suffering from a degenerative eye disease. Recently, her sight has diminished even more, and she is scared. I had told her before about things to do to prepare for potential blindness, which I had learned from a friend whose mother lived alone even though she was blind for nearly 20 years. My mother didn’t want to talk about it then. I want to recommend that she talk to the American Foundation for the Blind to learn strategies for remaining independent as she loses her sight. So far she is afraid to consider it. How can I help her? -- Mom Is Going Blind, San Jose, California
DEAR MOM IS GOING BLIND: You can do your own research to discover ways that your mother can support herself and share your findings with her. Researching the American Foundation for the Blind at afb.org is a great idea. You can also take her to the local Foundation for the Blind and have her talk to someone about her condition and her fears.
Determine whether she will be able to live alone and what support she will need. Talk to her insurance company to see how much financial support you can expect. Your mother’s life is changing dramatically. Together you will need to determine how to care for her as her condition worsens.
(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to email@example.com or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)