I’m a widow in a long-distance relationship, starting to wonder if I’m being used.
We’re both retired. I have my own house and car, and just enough money to cover my bills, food, and car expenses.
He shares a house with his daughter and son-in-law. His only bills are car, gas, and insurance.
He visits me, sometimes for a month or two, and often for a week or two. He doesn't offer or contribute anything while he’s here.
He uses my cell phone. We always use my vehicle. He does takes me out once or twice while he’s here, to a fast food place.
How much should I ask him for? A daily amount?
My total monthly expense when I’m on my own is $1800 including food.
I only want what’s fair to both of us. I don't want to split up over this, but I can't afford this added expense.
He must know he’s been taking advantage of your generosity.
Be straightforward. When you raise this, simply say that you enjoy his company but can’t afford the extra expenses without his sharing them.
But first, check with a lawyer whether splitting your house expenses with him in an agreed way, might allow him a legal claim through common law, should you break up.
If that’s a possibility, continue to carry your own house expenses, but insist that whenever he stays with you, he buys the groceries, pays for gas, and outings (start suggesting places beyond fast-food outlets, unless you like them best).
Do you know what resources he’s living on… a pension from work, from government? Savings? Does he own part of the house shared with his daughter?
You’re together enough for this to be an accepted and fair conversation. It’s one that’s waited too long.
My brother and sister-in-law are expecting their first child any day. They’ve been indecisive about baby names when asked.
Eight months ago, I requested from my sister-in-law that they please not use one specific name which means a lot to me, as I’d chosen it for my future child's name years ago.
Now they’ve said that they want to use that name.
I’m extremely hurt, especially because, when confronted, they were dismissive of my feelings.
They stated that it’s the only name they agree on, and that I don’t have a say because I’m not pregnant.
I’ve expressed my feelings, and was met with hostility and self-absorption about the whole issue.
I’m very bothered by this needless drama when we should all be celebrating the soon-to-be birth of their first child.
It’s only a continued drama if everyone keeps it up. Yes, they ignored your request, and may even have forgotten it. And they just don’t get your hurt reaction now.
It does point to their self-absorption at this time. But that’s not unusual among imminently expectant parents.
The name is still available should you still want it in the future.
Like many other families, mine was one in which many cousins were named for the same person. Three of my first cousins were named “Irene.” No one thought it odd or unfair, and each was still seen as a unique person.
Consider this: The baby will carry a name that sounds and feels very special to you. Rise to the important role of new Aunt, and say you now see it as a great compliment.
That’ll put an end to any further drama on their side.
FEEDBACK Regarding the writer whose "friends" have been mooching at her place for several months (April 13):
Reader – “The writer should check with a lawyer before doing anything. Since she’s been charging rent she may, depending on the residential tenancy laws in her jurisdiction, have to give more than one month's notice to get them to leave.
“Also, there may be restrictions or requirements for grounds for evicting them.
“These sound like the sort of people who’ll cause trouble in revenge if they can.
“It’d be best for the writer to make sure that this legal aspect is not an avenue of attack they can use.”
Ellie – Many ongoing “agreements” (albeit casual and unwritten) can turn out to have legal implications. This applies in relationships, such as the widow’s experience in the first letter, and in the case of this couple taking advantage of a friend’s generosity while they “get settled.”
Tip of the day:
Relationships that don’t address unfair financial arrangements, usually build damaging resentments.