I love my husband, but I’m getting tired of being a second-class citizen in my house. It started when we bought a van from a friend of mine. We talked about various things we could do with it — fix it up a bit and sell it, or use it for vacation — but somewhere along the line it was suggested that we let my ex, “Paul,” buy it from us because he’s homeless and for that matter. chooses to let everyone take care of him.
The van has now been repaired. Paul lost his job and now lives in the van – in my driveway. The problem is, he doesn’t stay in the van. He crashes on my couch, uses my electricity, water, etc, and now eats my food. I told my husband that this is not healthy for my mental well-being.
My husband and I have our own business and Paul is now involved as well. My husband says he can use the help and it gives Paul money to move. The only problem with that is my ex doesn’t use the money for bills – he blows it on junk he doesn’t need. I’m tired of raising a 41-year-old grown man. Help out!
— Fed up in Oklahoma
You are not a second class citizen. This arrangement seems crazy. Since it is getting in the way of your marriage, tell your husband that the situation is affecting your mental health and insist on a deadline by which Paul will be out of there. Guests, like fish, start to smell after three days and Paul has far surpassed that. He has a van, so whether or not he’s saved enough for a place of his own, he won’t be without shelter. Your mental health is more important than your husband having an extra hand in the business.
I have several creative friends who have written a book or made a music CD. I am being asked to read or listen to these creations and submit an online review. The book was written about a very tough divorce, and my “boyfriend” described her ex with some gossip (and horrible) information that I knew wasn’t true. She put all the blame on her ex when it was she who committed adultery (a fact she conveniently left out of the book). The music CD wasn’t to my liking either – my boyfriend can’t sing.
How do I handle these review requests? So far I just haven’t submitted a review because I’m not going to lie or give a bad review. But what do I say when they ask?
— Critical Critic
Tell your writing friend that while she may be a talented writer, you don’t feel comfortable approving her book because it’s used as a weapon to make her ex-husband look bad. Point out that if her book succeeds, he can retaliate by suing her for libel, and you don’t want to be a part of it. As for your musician friend, all you need to say about the CD is that “it’s clear that the singer has music in his soul.”
If you are asked to write a review in the future, decline by stating that because you are a friend, you cannot provide an unbiased review. Period of time.
Dear Abby was written by Abigail Van Buren, aka Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or PO Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
This article originally appeared in The Providence Journal: Dear Abby: Ex moves into couple’s driveway