The Reporter (Lansdale, PA)
Woman’s living arrangement leaves her feeling trapped
I live with my longtime boyfriend, “George,” and his 88-year-old father, “Frank.” Frank is not your average 88-year-old. He does almost everything anyone in their 60s would do. However, he’s used to us having dinner for him at the same time every night because he’s very regimented about everything.
Frank gets everything taken care of and never has to worry about a thing. He pretty much keeps to himself. We have a coffee machine that’s easy to use, but Frank expects to have his coffee at a specific time as well. He refuses to even try to make it himself, which means we can’t sleep in even if we want to (we are retired).
I hate that Frank lives with us because it has caused a lot of problems between George and me. I feel trapped. If I have a disagreement with Frank, George takes his father’s side, even when he’s wrong.
We cannot financially have Frank in his own place, either. I own a third of our house (no mortgage). All three of us depend on our Social Security for household expenses, and Frank pays the insurance on the cars. I just feel that as much as I do for them, I should get some backup. Please let me know your thoughts.
— Feeling Used In Florida
If you haven’t told George how trapped and unhappy you feel, you should. If you are the maid, cook and laundress, perhaps it’s time he assumed responsibility for his father. Suggest he invest in an automatic coffeemaker that can be set for a specific time the night before Frank’s morning coffee is expected. That way you can sleep in if you wish.
From your letter, it’s clear to me your problems with the men in your life go beyond coffee duty. If you are truly unhappy with this arrangement (which, predictably, won’t last forever), consider consulting an attorney or a financial adviser about how to access the money you have invested in that house so you can live independently.
DEAR FEELING USED >>
My wife and I had an excellent relationship that involved a lot of partying. After I was injured on the job, I became addicted to painkillers, which resulted in a 20-year battle with addiction. Over the years of trying unsuccessfully to get sober, I asked my wife to slow down her drinking to help me get sober. She refused and, ultimately, our marriage fell apart.
We decided to stay together until our kids were out of school and, wouldn’t you know, no sooner did we separate than I was able to get sober. I know it wasn’t her fault I was addicted. I think I’m probably better off getting divorced, but I still love her, and I’m curious if you think we should end it or give it another try.
— Sober Guy In Massachusetts
DEAR ABBY >>
To drink or not to drink is a choice. If your wife was unwilling to sacrifice imbibing in order to help you overcome your addiction, you were right to separate from her. Congratulations on your sobriety. If you wish to maintain it, follow through with that divorce. You have my sympathy. I hope you find someone more supportive in years to come.