Hi Carolyn:

I have been dating a guy for more than a year and a half now, and he wants to marry me. I don't want to settle down until my later twenties--at least five years away. Still, I'm not so sure about him. My biggest concern is his use of antidepressants.

I've known since a couple months into the relationship that he takes them and it didn't really bother me until recently, when we actually started to address the depression. He says he doesn't like to talk about it because he's afraid I will think he's weird. He has never been to a psychiatrist, even for consultation, which bothers me (his father, a doctor but not a psychiatrist, prescribed the medication for him four years ago).

I think I have less stereotypical views of mental illness than the average person, and I don't feel it's fair to drop him over this problem he can't help, but it makes me really nervous at the same time. Yet if I ask him more about his depression and decide I can't handle it, it will perhaps keep him from talking about it to anyone.

--Pittsburgh

First of all, let's just dispense with this fairness thing up front: Since when does dumping someone need to be just? You have a bad feeling, you act on that bad feeling. Period. If we had to be fair, we'd all be married to that really really nice person we were supposed to love but somehow never could. When it comes to choosing life companionship, all anyone owes anyone else is kindness, decisiveness and a compassionately edited truth.

That last part is up to you, but there's a big fat truth right under your nose. He won't talk about his illness, he won't see someone about his illness, and he's relying on his father to essentially cover up his illness. Red flag, red flag, red flag. You're open-minded about mental illness, but hello--he isn't. He's afraid you'll dump him over the depression, and you've known about it more than a year! Methinks you're inoculated against that particular guilt trip.

Love comes in all forms, shapes and illness sizes; that's not the issue. The issue is both parties accepting, fully, freely and openly, whatever form it comes in. Until he starts dealing with his illness responsibly, how can he expect you to? How can he expect you to sign on to his denial forever? Give him one more chance to cope with his lot in life. If he doesn't, then go--and by all means, tell him why.

Hi Carolyn:

The other night, I got obliterated at a party at my friend's house. Not just drunk--plastered, lit up. This wouldn't be a problem if I could remember what happened. Sadly, I cannot. Now, being a college student, I'm no stranger to not remembering a thing about what went on the night before, but I have this terrible feeling I may have done something bad. I know this is vague, but it's the best I can do. Probably something along the lines of telling my friends I hated them all, or peeing on the living room sofa. I don't remember leaving the party--all I know is the next day, miraculously, my car and I were home safely.

At school, I could do some damage control the day after, and not worry that anyone really remembered my moronic antics because they were all as drunk as I was. But this is home, not school, and nearly ALL my close friends were at this party. I haven't spoken to anyone since this disaster, and I know I'm being a wuss, but I have no idea how I should go about placing a "Hi, how are you . . . what did I do at that party?" phone call, and it's driving me CRAZY not knowing!!! --Spineless

Bad, bad Bluto. I think the bingeing's gone to your brain--facing your friends is the least of your worries. Call the closest friend you had there, ask for a damage report, call another and confirm. Apologize. Drop it.

Now think: Blacking out is hardly part of the natural progression of an evening out. It's actually an item on the checklist to alcoholism (the next one: recognizing this and not being able to stop it). It's also a short ride to moronic, even unforgivable behavior, since you surrender all judgment and control over yourself. For women, it's an engraved invitation to date rape.

If you're all going to persist in being this stupid, at least institute a buddy system in which one of you resists drinking himself brain-dead, and then keeps an uncrossed eye on the rest of you.

And now, the final order of business: Until you establish a two-drink maximum and stick to it religiously, the car stays home. Can you tell me, honestly, that your mysterious "something bad" wasn't "killing somebody"?

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