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9:55 PM Fri, Dec. 14th

Dear Abby | Friend can’t hold tongue about woman’s pattern of bad choices

Dear Abby: I have a friend who’s 22 and has two children, which I helped her to deliver. She is also my neighbor.

Since she moved in and divorced her husband, my husband and I have watched her make bad choices over and over again, starting with the derelict men she dates to the way she gets drunk. She blows her money on tattoos and then asks us for food. It’s become exhausting.

She’s now dating another man who’s obviously using her. He won’t get a job and he keeps her in perpetual relationship limbo, which forces her to focus all her attention on him and neglect her children and home.

What can I do? She constantly posts on social media that she’s lonely and everyone always leaves her, but she gets mad at me for telling her where she keeps going wrong. How can I help her see her errors, so she can move on from this awful phase? – Caring Friend In Florida

Dear Caring Friend: Your friend has a job. If she weren’t supporting her boyfriend, she would be able to support herself and her children. The more you give her, the more reliant she will become on your handouts.

Dear Abby: My fiance and I are both 68. We have been engaged for a year now. When we shopped for an engagement ring, we also purchased wedding bands because the jewelry store was having a sale.

Because of our ages, I have come to feel that there is no compelling reason to get married. It would be a big legal hassle, and there’s no reason why we just cannot live together. He agrees. However, we have made a commitment to each other, and I call him my husband and he calls me his wife.

Would it be OK for us to wear the wedding bands, even though we are not legally married? Your thoughts? – Happily Together

Dear Happily: No law forbids the two of you from wearing wedding rings and calling yourselves married. In some states, after a period of time, the arrangement would become a common-law marriage.

Before making a final decision to do this, you and your fiance should discuss it with a lawyer. There are certain guarantees to being legally wed, because spouses have rights of inheritance and decision-making.