DEAR ABBY: I am a 55-year-old woman who had a few good jobs earlier in my career, which enabled me to buy a lovely townhouse in New England. I now work as a consultant, and I no longer earn the same kind of money I did back then.
My problem: About 20 years ago, my parents borrowed money from me to fix their home so they could sell it. After it sold, not only did they not pay me back, but they moved in with me. It was supposed to be temporary, but they have been staying here rent-free for the last five years.
In addition to my frustration with my parents, my sister (who is in her 40s) was living down south with her boyfriend when their relationship imploded. So she moved back to New England and moved in with us. She is not paying rent either and brought her two dogs with her. I am at my wits’ end. Please give me some advice. — GOING BONKERS IN MASSACHUSETTS
DEAR GOING BONKERS: You have been patient and tolerant for far too long. You have been a pushover. Contact an attorney for help, because you may have to evict these relatives. Grow a backbone and TELL your parents you want them not only to move but to take your sister and her dogs with them. I SINCERELY hope you have something in writing memorializing the loan you gave your folks because, if you don’t, you probably will not see that money again. (Sorry.)
DEAR ABBY: My husband of 37 years passed away four months ago. When we were first married, we were happy, but his drinking increased and he turned into a miserable, mean drunk. When I decided I’d finally had enough, he got sick and could no longer work, and I felt obligated to take care of him. More than a decade of my life was spent looking after him, for which he rarely, if ever, expressed appreciation.
One month after his funeral, I was contacted out of the blue by my high school sweetheart. I was reluctant to respond at first, but I decided it couldn’t hurt to meet him and enjoy dinner and conversation. The attraction was immediate. It felt like we were back in high school. It has been three months now, and we are ready to take our relationship to the next level. He makes me feel better than I have ever felt in my life.
My children know how miserable I was for decades in my marriage, but I’m still concerned about how they’ll feel about me seriously dating so soon after becoming a widow. — LONGING FOR LOVE IN THE MIDWEST
DEAR LONGING: If you explain to your adult children that you and your friend from long ago have reconnected, they shouldn’t react badly to the news. However, a word of caution: This is still a budding relationship. If by “taking the relationship to the next level” you mean becoming intimate, you are an adult long past the age of consent. However, if it means dashing off to marry this person, take more time before making a formal commitment. Doing that will enable you to observe how he reacts in a variety of situations — including whether you agree about issues you feel are important, as well as how he reacts when he’s frustrated or angry.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.