DEAR ABBY: I have been in a relationship with a married man who is addicted to any drug, legal or otherwise, that he can possibly get his hands on. He’s a kindergarten teacher and also a licensed boat captain.

I am concerned that he is abusive to his students, works while high, and even fell asleep while driving a commercial dinner cruise. He gets mad at me when I refuse to be “his drug,” claiming that my refusal is the reason he cannot stop using.

Today I changed my cell phone number because I am so fed up with his dirty lifestyle and don’t want it around my family. He takes kickbacks from prostitutes for helping them find “johns” and for the use of his boat to do their business. He is around such seedy people that I’m a little concerned about retribution for backing out.

I want to move forward with my business and live a cleaner life than this. Am I wrong for judging him? – “LAURA” IN THE SUNSHINE STATE

DEAR “LAURA”: Are you wrong for judging him? What took you so long? You knew you were in a relationship with a married man – and it boggles my mind that a substance abuser would hold a position of trust around children or as a boat captain.

For everyone’s safety – including your own – he should be reported to the authorities.

DEAR ABBY: This is the scenario: A few friends were exchanging gifts and having a dinner party. During dinner, some decorations around a candle caught fire, and a few gifts burned before the fire was discovered. One of them was my gift to a friend who was attending the dinner.

Should I buy another gift to give my friend? What would be the right thing to do? – UNSURE IN VIENNA, VA.

DEAR UNSURE: Thank you for asking me that question, because although it may seem trivial to some readers, it touches on an extremely important subject: fire safety.

In recent years, candles have become common decorating accessories, and no one should ever forget how dangerous they can be when left unattended – or too near flammable materials. You and the other guests are lucky that only a few gifts were lost that evening.

You are under no obligation to purchase a replacement gift for your friend. Once the gift was brought to the party, it became the responsibility of the recipient, or the host/hostess.

DEAR ABBY: While eating in a restaurant today, I encountered a piece of coiled metal (maybe from the top of an opened can?) in my rice. I was terribly alarmed and slid my dish to the side, having lost my appetite.

When the waitress came back to the table, I showed the piece of metal to her. She apologized and started to take my plate away, but my friend stopped her and said: “Oh, wrap the rest of that up. I’ll take it home. I’m not so particular.” I was shocked, to say the least.

The restaurant took the price of my lunch off the bill, but I was stunned that my friend would take home the rest of a dish that had a foreign object in it. Am I “too particular”? – “FINICKY” IN EUGENE, ORE.

DEAR “FINICKY”: You were being prudent, not “particular” (or finicky) when you rejected the dish with the piece of metal in it. There could have been more metal shavings in the food, which could have caused a severe medical problem.

Someone should inform your friend that there really is no free lunch, and he or she was taking foolish chances taking the dish home.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.