DEAR AMY: I am a retired woman in my 70s. I met a wonderful guy online. He said his wife of 20 years had recently left him — she moved out and he kept the house.
He was sad and angry about the break-up.
After corresponding for several weeks and my visiting him, I made the decision to move in with him, even though I live 1,300 miles away. This was to be a trial relationship.
However, as time is going on, I see that he is still very much in contact with his wife. She has complete access to the house because he says that she still pays part of the bills for the house and has a right to stay in communication.
Recently he told me that they will not be going forward with the divorce, but are looking to go into counseling. He said that because I’d moved so far to be with him that I am welcome to stay in a guest room for now.
He is giving me no guarantees about what will happen, and she is not moving back in for now. They are considered a “power” couple in their circles. It has been very difficult for me to get to know people.
Do I stay, or do I go? If he decides to stay with her, of course there’s nothing I can do. But if he changes his mind I would still like to be available, because he’s a great guy and delightful company.
DEAR THIRD WHEEL: Your wonderful guy has shown you the door to the guest room. Do you really want to stay in the guest room while Mr. Wonderful and his wife work things out with a counselor?
The answer to your question is: you go.
You don’t say why you were so eager to move so quickly, and to move so far from your home for a “trial relationship,” but consider this trial phase to have ended. Things did not work out.
I don’t know if Mr. Wonderful is being honest about his situation with his wife, or if this is his way of showing you the door, but the message he is sending is very clear. It is time for you to go.
I hope you can return to your home base and pick up your life where you left off. I hope, too, that you consider this to have been a useful experience. If Mr. Wonderful wants to resume your relationship down the line, he should demonstrate his interest by visiting you (not the other way around).
DEAR AMY: I’m from a rather large family. My mother has six children.
Ever since we were old enough to start making money, she’s been guilting us into paying her bills.
She lives way above her own means, because she gets five incomes: Her own, plus money from four of us.
I used to be glad that I could help my mother.
Now, I’m 29 and still broke because I’ve given my mother so much money.
I don’t like seeing her cry over bills.
I see this cycle does not help either of us, but what should I say to her? I’m not living with her any more, but she still collects money from me. I want to stay calm with her, though inside my blood boils.
DEAR BROKE: You should check with your siblings to see the exact amount each of you are contributing to your mother. Because she is taking money from four of you, she is involving you as partners in her upkeep, and so it is very much your business to know how much she is receiving, and what she is doing with the money. Does she have credit card debt? A gambling problem? Your enabling ultimately is not helping her to cope with her own problems.
After that, you will have to set limits, learn to say a firm “no,” and understand that your primary responsibility at this point in your life is to take care of yourself.
DEAR AMY: While you supplied a sensible answer to “Concerned Daughter” about getting her elderly mother to stop driving, why not encourage her to sell, or better yet, give away the cars to a child or grandchild in need of some wheels? Then she can rest assured that these cars are kept not only in good running order but are providing a valuable service for someone who will really appreciate the gesture.
Avid Amy Fan
DEAR FAN: Absolutely.
You can contact Amy Dickinson via email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Readers may send postal mail to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or “like” her on Facebook.