Don't Turn a Temporary Molehill Into a Permanent Mountain Dear Annie: I have two teenage children from a previous marriage. For the past 12 years, they have lived with their mother 90 miles away, and I have visitation every other weekend and alternate holidays, etc. I have always exercised visitation …Read more. There Will Be Blame Dear Annie: My 18-year-old cousin, "Rick," has been seeing a friend of mine for some time. Now I am in an awkward position. My friend "Joanie" told Rick she liked him, but he told her he didn't feel the same way about her. They were together for a …Read more. All About That Tap Dear Annie: I am a 14-year-old boy. I'm on the swim team, and I take tap dancing lessons. But when I told my mom that I'd like to continue with both, she told me tap was a waste of time and that I would never go anywhere with it. Only when one of my …Read more. This Relationship Requires Clara-fication Dear Annie: I am in a 14-month-old relationship that is rapidly falling apart. I consider this relationship serious. "Clara" is in her early 60s and several years younger than I am. After the first three months, we began discussing marriage. We talk …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 firstname.lastname@example.org, 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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