In­ter­net match­ing leads to dog sit­ting

St. Thomas Times-Journal - - LIFE - AMY DICK­IN­SON Email: askamy@tri­bune.com Twit­ter: @ask­ingamy

Dear Amy: I met my boyfriend (on­line) a year ago. I lived in an­other state, was in­de­pen­dent and had a de­cent job, but strug­gled fi­nan­cially.

I have no fam­ily left. When my guy and I talked, it was elec­tric! This man of­fered me so much. Af­ter only a few months, he asked me to move to his state. He said he would take care of me. He is seven years older than me (I’m no spring chicken).

We dis­cussed this at great length. I didn’t want to move and be stuck with some crazy lu­natic.

Af­ter be­ing here for a short time, our sex life went down­hill. We now sleep in sep­a­rate rooms. He has taken care of me fi­nan­cially (like he said he would). He has five cor­gis that I have fallen in love with, but I now feel like I am be­ing used.

He has gone on sev­eral “work” trips, and I have kept his dogs. He is now plan­ning a three-week trip, say­ing that it’s “work,” but signs (and my gut) say oth­er­wise!

The prob­lem is that I am broke and de­pen­dent on him. I feel I am be­ing used as a house­keeper, cook, and dog watcher — pe­riod.

I am at a loss. I’m so scared to start over. I have health is­sues that pre­vent me from do­ing the type of job I’m used to.

If I catch him in this lie (my friend sug­gested a GPS tracker), do I have grounds to go to court to sue for fi­nan­cial aid?

He is good to me oth­er­wise, although I do have is­sues with his racism and his habit of damming God. Please help! — LOST IN BAMA Dear Lost: This is a dan­ger­ous game. You ig­nored your own sense of cau­tion, and have landed with­out a safety net. You should make ef­forts to get out.

If you are a re­li­gious per­son, you should join a church to meet peo­ple, and ask for help with hous­ing. You might be able to rent a room in some­one else’s home in ex­change for the same ser­vices you are of­fer­ing this man. If you are an able and en­thu­si­as­tic dog lover, once you are out of the home, you might be able to charge him (and oth­ers) for dog sit­ting.

Use the in­ter­net to ex­plore other cre­ative liv­ing op­tions, with the same en­thu­si­asm you used this medium to meet him. Peo­ple who have sea­sonal homes some­times hire house sit­ters to stay in their houses dur­ing the off-sea­son. An in­ter­net search re­veals sev­eral ways of con­nect­ing with house-sit­ting ser­vices.

I hope you will vet th­ese op­por­tu­ni­ties more care­fully than you vet­ted this man.

Dear Amy: A friend with whom I’ve oc­ca­sion­ally trav­eled re­cently re­tired from a ma­jor air­line. He has great travel ben­e­fits. Now that he is re­tired, he has time on his hands, and ex­pects me to drop what I’m do­ing and take off with him, but I still work full time.

My friend is not fi­nan­cially welloff, while I am com­fort­able.

The real rea­son this friend is so keen to have me as a travel part­ner is that in the past I’ve paid for ho­tels as a way of say­ing “thank you” for the free or re­duced-cost air­fare.

Not only do I not have the time, but I don’t en­joy trav­el­ing with him be­cause he is self­ish and ex­pects me to do what he wants and not what I have an in­ter­est in.

I told him I won’t be trav­el­ing with him be­cause I pre­fer to travel solo, and now he isn’t talk­ing to me. This hurts — af­ter more than three decades of (sup­posed) friend­ship. What now? — TRAV­EL­ING SOLO Dear Solo: You have noth­ing to lose, and be­cause you miss this friend­ship, you should try to re­wire it by con­tact­ing your friend and kindly of­fer to bury your dif­fer­ences.

Tell him, “I re­ally value our long friend­ship. I just don’t want to travel to­gether. I hope we won’t walk away from th­ese decades of com­pan­ion­ship over this.”

Dear Amy: The let­ter signed “Help Not Wanted” told of a 95-year-old mother-in-law who re­sponded harshly when the daugh­ter-in-law of­fered to help her out of the back seat of their car.

I ap­pre­ci­ated your take on this, but this fact jumped out at me: When I drive el­derly peo­ple, I al­ways of­fer them the front seat. Rid­ing in the back seat might have both­ered this older wo­man. — BEEN THERE Dear Been There: Yes! Not only is the front seat more com­fort­able, the vis­i­bil­ity is bet­ter. Thank you.

Dear Amy: Re­gard­ing the let­ter from “What May I Say?”, who wanted to know whether it was OK to tell her close friends that the rea­son for her di­vorce was her hus­band’s cheat­ing, my ad­vice would have been for her to say, “I wasn’t the per­fect wife my­self, but he made some con­scious, un­for­tu­nate choices that the mar­riage just could not over­come.” — BEEN THERE Dear Been There: Great re­sponse.

Dear Amy: “What May I Say?” was won­der­ing how to de­scribe her ex­hus­band’s phi­lan­der­ing to friends.

I have a girl­friend that was mar­ried for 30 years to a guy like that.

When she fi­nally left him, I asked, “What took you so long?” She burst out laugh­ing and replied “OMG! That’s what EV­ERY­ONE is ask­ing me!”

Trust me, no one will be sur­prised. Ev­ery­one al­ready knows. — CON­NECTI­CUT READER Dear Reader: I sus­pect you are right.

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