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DEAR HARRIETTE: I got together with my ex after being apart for nearly 30 years. We had two good years together, but then he went back to his old ways. He started lying and not following through on promises. It is so sad and disappointing, but I feel like I have given him every chance I could. I can’t trust him anymore. That’s why we broke up in the first place. He has been so hopeful, though, that I hate to let him down. I know he counts on me for being his rock, but I don’t feel safe being with him when I never know if he is going to show up when he says he will or be in a decent mood or simply be a human being. I bet he is what is known as a narcissist. He won’t see a therapist, so there is no diagnosis, but what I am experiencing is a man who thinks only of himself. That is not the kind of partner I want. How do I let him know that his second chance is over? — No More Second Chances
DEAR NO MORE SECOND CHANCES: If you are done, say as much to him. There is no rule that says your job is to care for this man. If he has proven, twice now, that he does not know how to care for your heart, believe it. To paraphrase Maya Angelou, when somebody shows you who they are, believe them the first time. You need to accept what this man has shown you to be true about his behavior. Give yourself credit for trying one more time, but let him go. You don’t have to wish him bad thoughts. You simply have to understand that he is not your soulmate. And that’s OK.
DEAR HARRIETTE: My brother and his wife are expecting their first child together, and I am thrilled for them. However, I am growing increasingly concerned about my sister-in-law’s lack of caution during her pregnancy. As someone who has had three children of my own, I feel confident in my knowledge of the do’s and don’ts of pregnancy. I am constantly seeing my sister-in-law do things that make me worry for the safety of her and her unborn child. There are specific foods that you are supposed to stay away from while pregnant, and I’ve seen her eat them on multiple occasions. I can only imagine what she’s doing in private. How do I approach her about this delicately? — Careless
DEAR CARELESS: Now is not the time to mince words. Sit down with your sister-in-law and tell her you need to share some important information with her. Remind her of the obvious — you have given birth to three children already — and there are some things you have learned about pregnancy that you believe she should know. Make a list and share it with her. Point out the foods that are considered unsafe to eat, along with the impact eating them may have. Tell her about any other behavior of hers that worries you. Note that pregnancy is a short but critical time for the life and health of the baby. Encourage her to be more cautious.