Girlfriend living rent-free racks up bill of resentment
DEAR ABBY: I am divorced, successful, and the father of two teenage girls. I have been seeing my girlfriend, "Stella," for a year and a half. She also has two teenage daughters. When we met, Stella's divorce was becoming final, and her house was near the tail end of a foreclosure. The sheriff removed her from her home a few months later.
I bought a couple of condos and let Stella choose one she wanted to move into. She agreed she would pay the bills and some rent once she settled in.
Two weeks after she moved in, she quit her job. It has been almost a year, and she hasn't gone on one job interview. I pay all her bills now, and I'm getting resentful.
It's not the money (I've got plenty), but I feel she continues to see me only so she can live rent-free. Our communication isn't the greatest, and she gets angry if this topic is brought up. How should I approach her without sounding like a cheapskate? – DON'T WANT TO BE A SUGAR DADDY IN CHICAGO
DEAR SUGAR DADDY: Of course she gets angry! Have you never heard the saying, "The best defense is a strong offense"?
If you want to resolve this, you must be prepared for Stella to react negatively. Start the conversation by saying, "When you moved into my condo, you agreed to pay your own bills and some rent. It's been a year, and you haven't even looked for a job." Then give her a date by which you want her to move out.
Because she has been living there for some time, she may have certain tenant's rights that will have to be respected. It doesn't take a crystal ball to see that you will probably have to evict her – so talk to your attorney before you discuss this with Stella.
DEAR ABBY: I am the mother of a 31-year-old son, "Johann," who is in the Navy. He just posted a picture of himself in his uniform on Facebook. I am praying it's not his official photo, because he made an incredibly stupid face on it.
He used to do this when he was a child. Even his high school photos look like this. It is embarrassing to me! I could never show it to anyone and proudly say, "This is my son."
Johann is an accomplished young man, a supervisor. But I can't reconcile this picture with the man he is. What can I do? – FREAKED OUT IN GERMANY
DEAR FREAKED OUT: Your son is an adult. If he is making this expression in photographs on purpose, perhaps it's time you asked him why. While it may be a display of immaturity on his part, it could also be that he is uncomfortable in front of a camera. (Many people are. It's referred to as "deer-in-the-headlights" syndrome.)
Explain that you would love to have a picture of him that depicts how he REALLY is, and ask if he would be willing, as a favor to his mother, to sit for a session with a professional photographer when he comes home for a visit. If he isn't, then perhaps he'd be more relaxed posing for a photo that YOU take.
DEAR ABBY: My fiancee, "Tina," and I made a resolution to lose weight for our wedding. Everything has been going great except for one thing. Because men lose weight faster than women, I now weigh less at 6 foot 1 than she does at 5 feet 4.
Tina already has self-esteem issues. I want to look good for our wedding, but not at the cost of my fiancee's hurt feelings. What can I do? – AT A LOSS IN MICHIGAN
DEAR AT A LOSS: Continue being supportive and help Tina to maintain her self-esteem. But her weight issue is her responsibility, not yours. If she becomes frustrated or depressed that she isn't losing quickly enough, suggest she consult her doctor or a registered dietitian about the reason why.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.