DEAR ABBY: I am friends with a woman who is wonderful and caring. She calls to ask how I’m doing, makes coffee to say hello, etc. She has a big heart and soul. Our boys are almost old. That is the problem – I don’t like her children.
Her children are difficult and they run all over her. She knows discipline is a problem, but she doesn’t know anymore. My kids don’t like to play with it either. Her children are careless and do not listen to authority. I want to continue our friendship, but I like her better without the kids in tow. Should I speak or fade? — CONDITIONAL FRIEND
BEST FRIEND: Your friend’s kids can’t be blamed for things they never learned. Tell your girlfriend that when her kids come to your house, you’re going to make some “house rules.” If you do, you might be doing that whole family a favor. If her children cannot obey, tell her that your children no longer want to play with hers and why. She needs that information before her kids become social outcasts. If your friendship with her fades after that, and I sincerely hope it won’t, it’s que sera, sera.
DEAR ABBY: I have no family and few friends – no one around. My live-in girlfriend of two years and I argue constantly. We no longer share a bedroom and I feel more like a roommate. I really feel like I’m being used for money. Her 24-year-old son died of an overdose two months ago, so I can’t help but feel sorry for her. She’s not working and I don’t know when she can come back.
I have no money to move. I wish I did. I’m miserable, she’s miserable, and I feel stuck. i am 46; she is 44. I pay rent and 50% of utilities, which is fine. But how will I ever get out? Moving isn’t cheap anymore.
I’m desperate for hope that I’m not stuck here forever. I’m afraid that if I move – even if I live in a tent for now – she will give up everything. She has two adult children, but she was closest to the one who died. I feel guilty that I want and have to leave. At the same time, I feel miserable. She is in therapy and on medication. Please advise. — WITHOUT HOPE IN NORTH CAROLINA
DEAR WITHOUT HOPE: Start saving as much money as you can and explore options for other living arrangements, including renting a single room. Staying where you are under these circumstances will make it you sick if you don’t take control of your life. Your ex-girlfriend is under the care of a doctor. You are NOT her lifeline. She will survive.
HAPPY NEW YEAR TO MY ASIAN READERS CELEBRATING THE MOON NEW YEAR: Today begins the year of the rabbit. In Chinese culture, the rabbit is known as the luckiest of all 12 animals in the zodiac. People born in the Year of the Rabbit are calm and peaceful. They avoid arguments and fights, are artistic and have good taste. However, they can be insecure, sensitive and dislike criticism, making them averse to change. I wish everyone who celebrates this holiday a happy and healthy New Year. — LOVE, ABBY
Dear Abby was written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.