When we first met, I was 19 and my boyfriend was 25. I’d just finished high school and was trying to figure out why I was going to college.
We moved in together after dating for a few months. Three years later, we’re living at my dad’s place, for financial reasons.
My boyfriend isn’t employed, and we’re living off my wage.
And I’m trying to save to get us an apartment and pay off debt, so I can go to school for a business course.
My father thinks that my boyfriend enjoys living off my wage and will never have a stable full-time job.
I’ve been wanting to break off the relationship for some time. But I’m afraid to do so, because he has nowhere else to live.
I feel like I'm taking care of a child. How do I end things?
Need to Move On
Tell your boyfriend you plan to go to school, will have to work less, and won’t be able to support him.
Be clear that it means he needs to make plans too, separately.
If you think he’ll react badly when you start this conversation, ask your father to be around (but not in the same room unless you need him).
You’re not responsible for him, especially if he’s employable but has chosen not to work, or is lax about looking for a job.
You can make suggestions – e.g. that he takes any job he can get, rents cheaply, and considers how to improve the skills and interests he has to support himself.
In order to make this go more smoothly, you might consider being willing to pay his first and last month’s rent, if you can manage it, or if your father is willing to help.
But that must be the cut-off of his free-loading on you both.
I wanted to have a good old-fashioned fun family Christmas - the lights, the tree, the presents, and most important, family.
But as soon as both my in-laws and my parents arrived from out-of-town, they immediately began to bicker with each other.
I tried to maintain a positive attitude. However, then my wife's cousin arrived with his wife, two kids, and a dog, unannounced.
He eventually broke down and told me that they were near bankrupt, had to sell their house, and were now living out of a trailer.
I went out and bought presents for his kids.
However, unbeknownst to my wife, we’re not in the best financial situation either.
I’d taken out a sizeable loan based on a promised big Christmas bonus from my boss, that I have yet to receive.
How can I turn a Christmas nightmare around?
A “prank” question, too accurate to deceive. You describe National Lampoon’s 1989 comedy film, “Christmas Vacation,” starring Chevy Chase, scene for scene.
Sadly, my mailbox of emails reflects the reality of many people who yearn for a perfect family Christmas, but a toughened economy and other challenges intervene.
With bankruptcies escalating along with layoffs and slashed bonuses, many real people have to handle 2016 on less resources.
My answer to anyone dealing with all this (even Chase’s characters, the Griswolds and their hapless relatives) is to be open with those who love and trust you.
You are each others’ emotional supports. And honesty is the bedrock of those close relationships.
It makes forgiveness natural, and provides the motivation to tackle problems one by one.
It’s no joke.
My in-laws gave us a very generous Christmas gift – a grandfather clock.
We’ve never expressed interest in such a clock.
Problems: 1) it’s not our taste; 2) doesn't match our décor; 3) we don't have space for it in our home; 4) we have a baby and plans for more kids. I don't want to worry about fragile furniture.
We told my in-laws that we couldn't accept this clock at this time and explained why.
They’re now barely speaking to us.
We truly appreciate the thought, but the gift just wasn't for us, not now. I don't understand their anger, though I understand their being hurt.
Can we fix this?
Apologize for hurting their feelings.
Ask if they’d keep the clock until you have a larger home where it won’t get damaged.
If not, could they please save their money towards something else you can all enjoy together, e.g. a family weekend getaway.
Tip of the day:
Free-loading on a partner, by choice, eventually destroys respect and ends the relationship.