Ask Amy

The Denver Post - - LIFE & CULTURE - by Amy Dickinson

Dear Amy: A dozen years ago I mar­ried a very in­tel­li­gent, kind and highly ed­u­cated man. We were both in our 50s. I had more money than he did, but I felt that, with his good job, he could cer­tainly pay his share of our liv­ing ex­penses. We set up a joint bank ac­count to do so, but af­ter sev­eral months I found that I was the only one putting any money into it.

We live in my home and I now pay for all of the ex­penses, in­clud­ing food. His money goes to pay for his house, where his 40-year-old daugh­ter and her hus­band, a lawyer, live rent free.

I feel used, to the point that I want to end our mar­riage. When I bring up the sub­ject of money, he says that he pays, in kind, by tak­ing care of cer­tain house­hold chores. Frankly, so do I.

He will soon come into a sub­stan­tial amount of money. Should I charge him rent or throw him out? — Tired of Pay­ing

Dear Tired: This does not seem like a mar­riage of con­ve­nience, ex­cept, per­haps, for him. I can see how it would be quite con­ve­nient for your hus­band to let you pay for your shared hous­ing, food and house­hold ex­penses.

First, you should let him know that your mar­riage is on the line. If you two want to sal­vage what is left of it, you should both be pre­pared to be to­tally trans­par­ent re­gard­ing in­come, sav­ings, as­sets and debts, divvy up your ex­penses and then abide by what­ever agree­ment you draft. You could seek the ser­vices of a mar­i­tal me­di­a­tor who would work with a coun­selor to help you find an eq­ui­table so­lu­tion.

You should see a lawyer, re­gard­less of whether you in­tend to stay in the mar­riage. Keep de­tailed records of ev­ery­thing and work to­ward pre­serv­ing your own as­sets. De­pend­ing on what state you live in, the dou­ble­whammy for you would be if your home was con­sid­ered com­mu­nity prop­erty, but his wind­fall was not (if it comes to him by way of in­her­i­tance or le­gal set­tle­ment). That’s the worst-case sce­nario, which is why you should get le­gal ad­vice.

Dear Amy: I’m a straight male in my late 50s and get­ting back into the dat­ing world. I’m rel­a­tively at­trac­tive, but a lit­tle awk­ward around women I am in­ter­ested in ro­man­ti­cally. I can over­come that, but what would prob­a­bly be a deal breaker at the be­gin­ning of a re­la­tion­ship is that I’ve been a cross-dresser since an early age.

I don’t want to keep it a se­cret, but I am sure a woman will bid me adieu if I tell her this when we are first get­ting to know each other; how­ever, I don’t want to wait too long to tell her. Amy, at what point in a re­la­tion­ship should I share my se­cret? — Clos­eted

Dear Clos­eted: It would help if you started to see your cross-dress­ing not as a se­cret, but as some­thing ele­men­tal that is sim­ply part of you.

Your pref­er­ence doesn’t present a health risk to a part­ner, so you don’t have to dis­close this be­fore sex­ual in­ti­macy. You should not lead with it too early, mainly be­cause if a po­ten­tial part­ner has no other in­for­ma­tion about you, she won’t be able to put this into con­text.

You should dis­close this in­ti­mate as­pect of you when you find your­self fall­ing for some­one. Don’t present it as a deal breaker, but as a piece of in­ti­mate in­for­ma­tion you want a part­ner to know. Some women will be turned off by it, but oth­ers will be open to it.

Dear Amy: “Two Decades of Guilt” de­scribed be­ing sex­u­ally as­saulted by two men when she was a teenager.

This hap­pened to me. I was as­saulted by a state worker while tak­ing my driver’s test when I was a teenager. He in­structed me to drive to a fairly se­cluded place, where he as­saulted me. I was so shaken; I told my boyfriend im­me­di­ately and he re­ported it to the di­rec­tor. No one be­lieved us, be­cause this man was a “fam­ily man.”

I later heard that he had done this to other teenagers. This was 50 years ago. I wish I had gone to the po­lice. I saw his obit­u­ary in the news­pa­per and it turned my stom­ach. — Guilty

Dear Guilty: This is an ap­palling abuse of power. Fifty years ago, turn­ing him in might have dam­aged you fur­ther, as vic­tims were some­times blamed for their own as­sault.

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