Jul 19, 2001 at 2:06 pm

Dear Dating Diva,

When I first met Dave he worked at a veterinarian's office with a girl named Millie. I didn't like her right off because when I brought my dying cat to the vet's, she would not give me Dave's discount. A girl can tell when another girl is being catty and I got the feeling from the way she looked me up and down that she did not like me dating her old friend Dave. He quit that job shortly after.

Let's forward to five months of Dave and I dating. He had not really spoken to her in those five months until one day she shows up at our apartment out of the blue in full sex gear. Leopard skin everything, tons of nasty makeup (whoops, I'm being catty) and her hair all done up. She said she wasn't going out or anything but was just in the neighborhood. Dressed like that?

We sat at the kitchen table and I sat between them.

All she did was talk about herself non-stop for three hours. She tried to get sympathy so badly with stories (that were really personal). She just met me! She told lies all night. Dave nodded fascinated by every word.

She touched him, squeezed her boobs, talked about how she loves sex and tried to ignore me all night. She then left without saying good-bye to me until I yelled it out to her. I told Dave that she was the most fucked-up Jerry Springer individual I had ever met and he got mad and protective of her because I shouldn't judge "his friends."

I agreed but then I asked if he had slept with her. He hung his head and said that yes, once when he was drunk. I had heard one of his friends say when we first started dating, Dave had had a crush on her but I never believed that he would ever like anyone that nasty or messed up in the head. He agreed to cut off the already thin friendship with her and as of lately he has done so with flying colors.

Well, this morning I was by myself eating breakfast when I heard our answering machine come on four times with her voice each time. She said that it was a long time since she had seen him, but she wanted to go out with him. The last sentence of the last message said (sarcastically) "Tell your girlfriend I said 'Hi.' "

I deleted the messages and the caller IDs. I never told Dave about it but I had a feeling she would call tonight. Sure enough, when I came through the door, he was on the phone talking quietly. He told the person that he would love to go out. He then hung up quickly and acted like nothing happened and I didn't ask who it was. Mysteriously the caller ID machine was not on and when I asked him he did not seem concerned. This bothers me because it has never been off. Dave has been nothing but good to me and we tell each other everything and I have never felt jealous or felt he would cheat on me.

I don't know how to react to this. Do I have any right to tell him who to be friends with even though he had a massive crush on her, believes everything she says with sympathy (he is really bad reading people), and had a fling with her? Or should I just let this go on and trust him not to let her sway him? I know she wants him and I think it is because he believes her stories. He says to lay off because she's had a hard life. So has everyone else! What do I say or do to handle this?

- Chiquita

Dear Chiquita,

There's so much I want to say but given my space limitations let me just make some bullet points. First this girl must shit in a litter box because she is definitely catty. Second she poses a real threat to your relationship because (a) she has a sexual history with your man, (b) your man defends her although I agree the hard life crap is just no excuse, and (C) she's determined.

To protect your relationship, your man owes it to you to completely sever all contact with the cat woman. No secret phone calls. No meetings. If she is trying to get back with him - knowing he has a serious girlfriend — then she is just a predator, not a friend, and he needs to see this. Every man has a past so I can forgive him for sleeping with her. If he wants a future with you he needs to keep her in the past. If she's had such a hard life, her solution is get therapy, not to fuck your boyfriend.