Witness to a Friend's (Abusive) Marriage Dear Annie: As a witness to a friend's marriage, I vowed to help keep their relationship strong. Would you please print something I could give them about verbal abuse? His wife has a serious drinking problem, and when she's had too much, she goes …Read more. Girlfriend, Uninvited Dear Annie: I have been dating "Pete" for three years and never get invited to his place. He lives in a mobile home. At first, he said he was embarrassed for me to visit. I did see it once and thought it wasn't bad at all. He has since remodeled the …Read more. Turning Bad Health Good with Diet and Exercise Dear Annie: I would like to comment on Gail Rae-Garwood's letter about kidney disease. I retired in 2010, and like a lot of retirees, I was complacent about my health. I had been taking insulin for my diabetes for 20 years and had high cholesterol …Read more. Parenting Fail Dear Annie: My husband keeps telling our sons they can do whatever they want when I tell them "no," and that they don't need to listen to me. He is never on my side. The kids make fun of me and call me names, and Dad doesn't seem to care. When I …Read more.more articles
Evict Those Freeloading Children
Dear Annie: My wife and I are in our mid-60s. For most of our lives, we have done pretty well, but lately we've had financial difficulties because our incomes have been significantly decreased while our debt has not. My health is failing, and I don't know how much longer I can continue to work.
During the good times, we allowed our daughter and her husband to move into the second unit of the duplex we own. We charged minimal rent, which they soon stopped paying altogether. They don't work and do nothing to help around the house. They help themselves to our food without telling us, so when we go to the refrigerator, it is often empty. They have trashed their living space, and I need to get them out so I can get some rent coming in.
When I tell them about my financial situation, their response is, "It's not our problem." When I say they must move out, they tell me what an evil person I am. I don't know how to end this without totally destroying what little family we have left. Any ideas? — Slowly Drowning in Culver City
Dear Culver City: Your daughter and her husband are freeloaders who are taking advantage of your reluctance to throw them out. Where does your wife stand on this? You two need to present a united front when you inform your daughter that you can no longer afford to allow the unit to be occupied rent-free.
If they are willing to pay a reasonable rent, they can stay. Otherwise, give them a deadline to move out. Offer to help them find jobs and another place to live. If you can afford it, you could even donate something toward their expenses until they get settled in elsewhere. They won't like it, but unless you put your foot down, they will drain you of every last penny. It's your choice.
Dear Annie: My husband and I love each other dearly, but I am far more sociable. Occasionally, when friends invite us over, I go by myself. This is fine with me, but our friends will invariably ask, "Why didn't you bring Jim?"
The honest answer, "He didn't feel like coming," seems unnecessarily hurtful.
Dear Puzzled: If little white lies bother you, you can be direct ("You know how Jim can be.") or honest and evasive ("Jim couldn't make it."). But if these are good friends, they should not be surprised if you simply tell them that Jim finds socializing difficult and he'd rather be at home.
Dear Annie: I have a better response for "Dad's Personal Bank," who said he and his older brother provide for their father, who complains that it isn't enough and then takes vacations with their younger brother. You should have told him to cut Dad off.
I am 87, and my son is 62. For 30 years, we have given to relatives on both sides of the family. We have financed homes and cars and issued personal loans. If it is a gift, they know it. If it is a loan, they know it. We are the bankers, and we dictate the terms. If there are hard feelings, too bad.
We have invested a couple of million dollars in these relatives, and if anybody complains, they are blacklisted. We don't finance vacations or drug habits. I refused to bail out a nephew who got caught driving without a license. When I am 100, I will turn this whole situation over to my son, who will then be 75 and can have the fun of dealing with the relatives. — D.C.
Dear D.C.: Not everyone (especially a child) is willing to take such a hard line, but we're glad it works for you.
Annie's Snippet, credit Martin Luther King, Jr.: "Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase."
Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to email@example.com, or write to: Annie's Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 5777 W. Century Blvd., Ste. 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045. To find out more about Annie's Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
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