Dear Prudence answers readers' questions live at Washingtonpost.com.

Real-time discussions with Slate writers.
June 8 2009 2:46 PM

The Pill Popper Next Door

Prudie counsels a man whose neighbor swipes his painkillers—and questions from other advice seekers.

Emily Yoffe, aka Dear Prudence, is on Washingtonpost.com every Monday at 1 p.m. to chat with readers about their romantic, family, financial, and workplace problems. (Read Prudie's Slate columns here.) An unedited transcript of this week's chat follows.

Emily Yoffe: Good afternoon, everyone. Let's get to the questions.

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Washington, D.C.: Dear Prudence, I recently got engaged to an absolutely wonderful woman. We are now deep into the wedding planning and everything is going great. There is just one little problem with the guest list. We have a family friend that we would like to have at the wedding, but she has a husband that is loud, obnoxious, and generally rude. Is there any way that we can get away with inviting her but not her husband?

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Thank you.

Emily Yoffe: It would be more direct if you just informed your friend that she has enough time to divorce her obnoxious husband before your wedding invitations go out. That way, it will solve her life problem and your invitation problem.

Actually, in pursuit of your "perfect day" you don't get to make over the poor choices loved ones have made in their choice of loved ones (I will make an exception for known child molesters, or people who have brandished weapons at previous gatherings). Part of the fun of a wedding is that the guests get to talk later about how horribly Harry behaved, or how overdone Judy's facelift was. If you're inviting your friend, her husband comes along.

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Bethesda, Md.: How should you react when you find out your wife of 20 years had an abortion when she was 15 years old? She has always been a committed and loving wife. Should this impact your relationship?

Emily Yoffe: My suggestion is you hug her and say that must have been an awful and frightening time in her life. You're sorry she feels she couldn't tell you all these years, but you're glad it's out in the open now. You're happy to talk about it if she wants to, but won't press her if she doesn't. Oh, and don't forget, "I love you so much."

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D.C.: Hi Emily. I was briefly dating a man who told me that, although he felt at ease with me and enjoyed being with me, he couldn't see me anymore because of issues related to work and the commitments of being a divorced, full-time father. I miss him terribly and I very much want to reach out to him to ask if he would reconsider his decision, but I also don't want to open myself up for more heartbreak. Do you think it would be worth it to get in touch, or is everything he said simply guy code for "I don't like you enough to want to keep seeing you"?

Emily Yoffe: Yes, it sounds like a nice way of saying, "This isn't working out." You could send him an email in a few weeks saying you were thinking of him and hoping his life was going well. If he sends a polite, non-committal response, work on getting over him. If he suggests seeing each other, you could give it another try, but be mindful of not getting hurt again.

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Park City, Utah: Dear Emily,



Several months ago, my wife and I began to suspect that our neighbor and good friend, who is in her 40s, was taking prescription pain killers from our medicine cabinet. I had received a prescription for 20 Hydrocodon after having a root canal. Our friend, who lives just down the street would "pop-in" to use the bathroom on her way out to go shopping. When we began to suspect something, we counted the remaining pills and found over half of them were missing. I had only taken one of them. We disposed of the remaining pills immediately. After we had disposed of the remaining pills, our friend came by one evening on the way home from work and came right out and asked if we had any Codeine or old pain pills. We said no and that we wouldn't give anything to anyone even if we did.

One time when we were out of town, she told us that she went into our house "to check and make sure that the dog sitter was doing her job." We have the same sitter for quite a while and this was totally unnecessary. We have remained civil with her and her husband whenever we run into them in the neighborhood, but have pretty much broken off most contact with them. They know we're upset about something, but have not approached us to find out what. Should we just leave it as it stands or confront them together about what we suspect was going on?

Emily Yoffe: You've already had a direct discussion with your good friend about the fact that you aren't going to be her friendly, neighborhood narcotics supplier. I think you need to talk to the husband and explain that "Elaine" has asked you directly for pills, and you have good evidence she has stolen drugs from your medicine cabinet. Say you care about her very much, but she is putting herself in extreme physical danger—if she doesn't get arrested first—and she needs a medical intervention for her addiction.

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Bay City, Mich.: What do you do when the man you have been seeing for 4 years except for a few months last year tells you that he is the father of a child that was a created during the time you did not see each other?

We were supposed to move in together this summer and start working on a child of our own when he was informed that he is the father of a child due in September.

He is now trying to decide if he wants to be with me and raise his son via a custody agreement or live with the mother of his child so he can have his son with him full-time. He does not love the mother of his child. Their relationship was based on sex, she was seeing someone else at the time and was going to stop seeing my boyfriend when she found out she was pregnant. A paternity test has been done and my boyfriend is the father.

He says now that he is not sure what to do. Make a life with the person he loves or make a life with the mother of his child? I have told him I am willing to help him raise his son. The mother of his child says she has fallen in love with him since she found out she was pregnant with his child and wants to raise their son together under one roof.

I am asking two questions:

Do you have any advice for him?