DEAR ABBY: I am a woman, 34, who has finally met the man I want to spend my life with. He’s 31, and his family lives about six hours away. He plans to move his mother here to live in the near future. She doesn’t work or drive. She’s on state assistance, and her Section 8 isn’t enough for her to get an apartment on her own here.
My boyfriend plans to buy a duplex in the next year or so and have her live in the other apartment. This would involve me paying for part of the house because we’ll likely be married by then. The problem is, the state won’t give us any money for her to live in it, so we’ll have to cover all her expenses. On top of that, I’m not comfortable with the lack of privacy.
I have tried bringing this up to him, and although he has been receptive, I haven’t been as straightforward as I should have been. I know it’s a touchy subject, and I’m not sure how to approach this. I don’t want to lose him, but I’m afraid this will affect our lives too much. Help! – Things Don’t Look Bright
DEAR THINGS: You admit you haven’t been as straightforward as you should have been with your boyfriend. In a case like this, honesty is the best policy. I urge you to start telling him exactly how you feel now, because your concerns are valid. His mother will be depending upon her son – and you – for everything when she relocates. If you aren’t up to sharing the responsibility – in addition to the loss of “personal space” – he needs to know now. And if it spells the end of the romance, so be it.
DEAR ABBY: I have a neighbor who stops by several times a week unannounced and uninvited. What complicates the matter is that he has some form of mental disability. He’s in his 20s and lives with his mother a block away from us. We tolerated his presence when he used to stop by only occasionally, but since meeting my 24-year-old daughter who is staying with us, his visits have increased to about five times a week.
When he comes over, he can be very demanding and rude. For example, if someone is sitting in “his seat,” he assertively tells them they must get up. Other times he’ll interrupt my daughter to tell her to come watch television with him or sit next to him. In response, she tells him, “No, thank you.”
We don’t want to be rude, but his visits are making everyone uncomfortable and have become an issue of boundaries. How do we tell him and his mother we would like him to stop coming over? – Unwelcome Neighbor in Florida
DEAR NEIGHBOR: That young man is lonely, but it should not be your responsibility to entertain him. Tell his mother exactly what you have written to me. It should be up to her to tell her son to stop dropping over. Depending upon how disabled he is, he should be working or in a program where he can do something constructive with his time.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.