Fa­ther and son en­gage in de­mo­li­tion derby

Sentinel-Review (Woodstock) - - LIFE - AMY DICKINSON Email: askamy@tri­bune.com Twit­ter: @ask­ingamy

Dear Amy: I’ve been dat­ing a won­der­ful man, “Don,” for a year.

I am wor­ried that Don is be­ing used by his fa­ther, “Don Sr.”

Don Sr. moved in with him three years ago. In that time frame Don has not only paid for ev­ery­thing, in­clud­ing his fa­ther’s bills, but he has also bought four cars for his fa­ther, and his fa­ther has put these cars into der­bies, al­ways with­out ask­ing.

This year Don Sr. put his only car into the derby, again. Af­ter a few fights, ev­ery­thing seemed OK.

Now he needs an­other ve­hi­cle, oth­er­wise he won’t be able to drive to work.

He hasn’t even started to look for a ve­hi­cle, and ev­ery time Don or I tell him about a car that we saw for sale, he shrugs it off. He is so con­tent with Don hand­ing him ev­ery­thing. He said he doesn’t care if he gets his own car, be­cause he can just drive one of Don’s.

It’s not my place to say any­thing, and when I do, it usu­ally ends up with Don and me fight­ing. I’m tired of him be­ing used like this. I don’t want to fight with Don about his fa­ther, but what can I do to help?

— OUT OF PLACE

Dear Out of Place:

Un­der­stand with clar­ity that this fa­ther/son re­la­tion­ship is its own con­tained sys­tem. Things would change if Don Jr. wanted them to change. But the fa­ther is a user and the son is an en­abler. The son is ac­tu­ally train­ing his fa­ther to be com­pletely re­liant on him.

I love a de­mo­li­tion derby as much as the next gal, but what a colos­sal waste this is of a driv­able ve­hi­cle!

The way out for you is to adopt to­tal de­tach­ment. I’m go­ing to pro­vide two phrases which will help you:

“That’s too bad,” and, “You’ll fig­ure it out.”

Don Jr. says, “Dad won’t look for a new car!” You say, “That’s too bad.”

Don Jr. says, “My fa­ther is us­ing me!” You say, “You’ll fig­ure it out.” That is the ex­tent of your commentary or in­volve­ment.

If you sim­ply refuse to get wound up about this, this fa­ther-son re­la­tion­ship will ei­ther con­tinue as it is, or the son will fi­nally set some lim­its. Ei­ther way, you will grad­u­ally stop car­ing.

Dear Amy: I came to the U.S. al­most 20 years ago. I have a niece who lives on the op­po­site coast — a six-hour flight from where I live. I am her only rel­a­tive in the U.S.

Last year, she got mar­ried to a nice guy at the court­house. My sis­ter and hus­band came to the cer­e­mony from over­seas. We were in­formed and in­vited two days be­fore our an­nual over­seas va­ca­tion. We could not go to the wed­ding.

This year, my niece had a re­cep­tion. Again, my sis­ter in­formed and in­vited us less than a week be­fore the re­cep­tion and right be­fore we went on va­ca­tion. This va­ca­tion, like the one last year, was planned months in ad­vance. Both my hus­band and I work, so we had to re­quest leave, buy air tick­ets, etc.

We were not given a good or clear rea­son of why we were not in­vited to these events in a timely way so that we could at­tend. We have helped our niece with school, jobs, visas, dat­ing, etc., be­cause we are her only rel­a­tives in this coun­try.

Should I reach out to my sis­ter, her fam­ily, and my niece about this?

I don’t think I will have a clear an­swer from them about why we were ex­cluded from the wed­ding. Can you help? — UP­SET AUN­TIE

Dear Up­set: If you don’t be­lieve you will be of­fered a clear or hon­est an­swer, then don’t ask the ques­tion.

You should send an email to all par­ties, say­ing, “We are very up­set that we have missed these very spe­cial events, but be­cause we haven’t been in­formed in time to ar­range travel, we’ve missed the op­por­tu­nity to be with you. In the fu­ture, we hope you will give us more no­tice.”

Dear Amy: I loved your firm an­swer to “Un­sure,” whose hus­band was bat­tling their Home Own­ers As­so­ci­a­tion

(HOA) over his right to put up Hal­loween dec­o­ra­tions.

I am on the board of my HOA, and we board mem­bers also fight the good fight over ridicu­lous rules.

I liked your ad­vice that this man should con­tinue his protest by join­ing the board. — HOA HAPPY

Dear Happy: I was sur­prised (and pleased) by how many HOA board mem­bers con­tacted me, sup­port­ing this man’s po­si­tion.

Dear Amy: I loved your ad­vice to “Lucky Sib­ling” re­gard­ing shar­ing her wealth, but you per­pet­u­ated a com­mon mis­un­der­stand­ing re­gard­ing the tax im­pli­ca­tions of gifts. Most peo­ple be­lieve that the “gift ex­emp­tion” rule ap­plies to the per­son who re­ceives the gift. It ap­plies to the giver. — TAX AD­VISER

Dear Ad­viser: I have heard from dozens of ad­vis­ers, help­ing to cor­rect my mis­take. Most im­por­tantly, any­one giv­ing a sub­stan­tial gift should con­tact their own fi­nan­cial ad­viser, as I sug­gested “Lucky Sib­ling” should do.

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