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When Is It Right to Report a Friend?

Ms. Vicki

Dear Ms. Vicki,

Help! I have a friend who has been handicapped since birth. She regularly asks me to babysit her child, help her clean her house and for advice about her relationship with her boyfriend.

This all started after my friend went to West Virginia to visit and spend the weekend with a friend and his wife. His wife felt that something was going on between my friend and her husband, and she kicked my friend out of their house the next day.

A couple of months later, the husband told my friend that he was going to be separated from his wife and would like to date my friend. He asked her to be his concubine, and they even got rings to seal their deal.

He left his wife and filed separation paperwork saying that his wife was abusive. That was three years ago, and now he and my friend have a child together.

He moved into my friend's house and is not paying or even offering to pay her any rent, or to help with the monthly bills. He works from home (as a government employee) in order to take care of the child full time, and he is a wonderful and caring individual and father.

My friend is a hoarder. When I go over their house to visit, I have to clean a spot off to sit down. I trip over things, and things are piled up. And now his stuff is there as well as hers!

I am concerned that someone will report to Social Services that a baby who is less than a year old is living in a dirty and unsafe apartment. I don't see him really offering to help her clean the apartment nor offering to hire a maid service to help her out around the house, and her handicap limits her functionality.

She often calls me over to her house when her boyfriend is at a social gathering and she needs to take care of the child. I know she does this when she gets behind at work, wants help cleaning her house and taking care of her child because she cannot lift nor carry the child, but she has started to treat me like dirt and take advantage of me.

Ms. Vicki, I am unhappy with this situation and feel uncomfortable being around them. I don't know how to tell her that she needs to fix her situation because he is not going to marry her and she might get her baby taken away from her.

How can I help her out without becoming her maid service or babysitter?

-- Retired Military Member

Dear Retired,

I don't think there is anything you can do to help your friend. She made her own bed and now she has to lie in it. After all, she is a grown woman. She may have some physical limitation, but nothing is wrong with her mind.

It sounds like she took on someone else's headache when she should have left the man alone. Your friend was sneaking around with him in his house while he was married to his wife. She was visiting this guy, but acting like she was visiting his wife too. Obviously, his wife heard or saw something, which is why she kicked your friend out of her house. Honestly, I would have done the same thing.

Now, he hasn't married your friend, and he doesn't pay any bills BUT they had a child together. You have concerns about the baby, and I can't blame you for that. The guy is lazy and your friend is a hoarder. What a mess!

Everyone is a mandatory reporter, maybe not by law but certainly by morals. If you feel like a child is in danger, you can call the Child Protective Services and make an anonymous report. It's your duty because you have concerns.

Lastly, you don't have to keep a friendship with her and you don't have to keep being the maid or the babysitter. Your friend can get a nanny and a housekeeper. You can simply say no when she asks.

It may affect your friendship, but this is her little horse to ride, not yours. Let me know what you decide.

-- Ms. Vicki

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Contributor

Ms. Vicki is a native of Dallas, has been the Dear Abby for the military community since her column began in 2005. A licensed therapist and licensed clinical social worker, Ms. Vicki holds a Master of Science in social work and a Master of Arts in clinical psychology.

Ms. Vicki appears regularly on Military.com and in the Fort Campbell Courier. Her column has also appeared in the Washington (D.C.) Times and in the Heidelberg (Germany) Post Herald. She has been featured on CNN, CBS, ABC and NBC.

Looking for advice about your military life? Email Ms. Vicki here. Find Ms. Vicki on Facebook here.  Find Ms. Vicki on Twitter here.

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