Savage Love

My 18-year-old sister met a creepy old man (COM) when he snuck into a dorm party at my sister's college. He proposed to her on their first date after the party. Our parents were immediately suspicious because of the large age difference—COM is older than they are. My sister also told COM that our family is well-off. This made them suspicious about COM's sudden "proposal," so our parents hired a private investigator.

It turns out that COM is thrice divorced and has numerous children. The PI also uncovered spousal-abuse charges, restraining orders, two dropped rape charges, tens of thousands of dollars owed in delinquent child support, a slew of canceled credit cards, court judgments against him for other unpaid debts, liens for unpaid taxes, repossessed cars, a foreclosure, several DUIs, plus stalking charges. COM hasn't worked in 10 years and subsists on a small military pension that cannot be garnished to pay his debts or child support. No wonder he wants to marry my sister!

We showed my sister the PI's findings. She denied that any of this information was true, accused us of conspiring against her, and is now more determined than ever to marry COM! My sister will not listen to reason. Our parents have tried. The PI has tried. I have tried. My friends and her friends have tried to talk some sense into her—but she won't hear it. She's planning a big wedding—for which our parents have told her they are not paying—and says she's in love with "an older gentleman." I am so worried about her and what COM will do with her if she marries him.

Dan, is there anything we can do to prevent her from ruining her life?

My Sister's Keeper

Nope.

Your letter is so long, MSK, I feel somewhat obligated to pound out an equally lengthy response, but "nope" pretty much covers it. It's your sister's life and you can't stop her from ruining it. You and the parents have done your due diligence, but any further attempts to pry your sister away from COM will only cause her to cling to him more desperately. One day your sister will leave the asshole and apologize to you and your parents for not listening, and the only course of action now is to avoid doing anything that pushes that day further into the future.

And how do you avoid doing that? By shutting the fuck up already. By allowing your idiot sister to screw her life up without forcing her to deny that she's doing just that. Let your sister know that you've said your piece and you're done. Once you've stopped putting her in the position of having to defend COM, maybe you can patch things up. And once you've patched things up, MSK, maybe you can take your sister out and get her good and drunk. And once she's passed out, maybe you can slip an IUD inside her.

I'm 47 and have three kids. One son is 19 and has his own place, but my 22-year-old son and my 12-year-old daughter live with me. My salary is a bit above minimum wage and I live in a two-bedroom apartment, so I sleep in the living room.

Some years ago I met someone, but he wasn't interested because I didn't earn enough. Another man told me to leave my daughter with my son the whole weekend if I wanted a chance with him. I told him that, like it or not, my daughter is part of my life. Some friends told me that guys were not interested because I'm no longer "Playboy material."

I have gained weight, but I'm not a monster! I always thought that there's one right person for everybody. Now I don't know. I know you will tell me that there's someone out there for everyone and that people find love at 50, 60, even 70. But I want someone now. I want to go out, have sex, and have fun. I have a good life—I read mystery novels, I watch TV, I surf the web. But I feel so alone and I just want to cry it hurts so much! Please help me!

A Lonely One Needs Encouragement

I'm going to tell you that there's someone out there for everyone? When did you start reading Savage Love? Last week?

I hate having to kick you when you're down, but here it goes: There isn't someone out there for everyone. If there were, no one would be alone, and I don't need to tell you that there are lots of unhappily single people out there. (Unhappily single people are not to be confused with happily single people; content singles get annoyed when folks assume that all single people are miserable.) So the best advice I can give you is to reconcile yourself to the possibility of being alone, while at the same time making some changes that will increase your odds of meeting someone. Novels, TV, and web surfing are nice, but they're not great ways to meet men. (Well, web surfing is—but it's not a great way to meet men who aren't going to judge you on looks alone.) If money is tight, charge your 22-year-old son rent. If it's childcare you need, ask your 19-year-old if he can look after his sister once or twice a month. Then get the fuck out of your apartment, ALONE.

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