Dear Amy: I am a retired woman in my 70s. I met a wonderful guy online. He said his wife of 20 years had recently left him; she moved out and he kept the house. After corresponding for several weeks and my visiting him, I decided to move in with him, even though I live 1,300 miles away. This was to be a trial relationship. However, he is still very much in contact with his wife. She has complete access to the house because he says that she still pays part of the bills and has a right to stay in communication.
Recently he told me that they will not be divorcing but are looking into counseling. He said that because I’d moved so far to be with him that I am welcome to stay in a guest room for now. He is giving me no guarantees about what will happen, and she is not moving back in for now. They are considered a “power” couple in their circles. It has been very difficult for me to get to know people.
Do I stay, or do I go? If he decides to stay with her, of course there’s nothing I can do. But if he changes his mind I would still like to be available.
Amy says: Do you really want to stay in the guest room while Mr. Wonderful and his wife work things out?
The answer to your question is: Go.
You don’t say why you were so eager to move, and to move so far from your home for a “trial relationship,” but consider this trial phase to have ended. Things did not work out.
I don’t know if Mr. Wonderful is being honest, or if this is his way of showing you the door, but the message he is sending is very clear. It is time for you to go.
I hope that you consider this to have been a useful experience. And if Mr. Wonderful wants to resume your relationship, he should visit you.
Kids pay mom’s bills
Dear Amy: My mother has six children. Ever since we were old enough to start making money, she’s been guilting us into paying her bills. She lives way above her means, because she gets five incomes: Her own, plus money from four of us. I used to be glad I could help my mother. Now I’m 29 and broke because I’ve given my mother so much money.
I see this cycle does not help either of us, but what should I say to her? I want to stay calm, though inside my blood boils.
Amy says: You should check with your siblings to see the exact amount each of you is contributing to your mother. Because she is taking money from you, she is involving you as partners in her upkeep, and so it is very much your business to know how much she is receiving and how she’s spending it. Does she have credit card debt? A gambling problem? Your enabling is not helping her to cope.
After that, you will have to set limits, learn to say a firm “no” and understand your primary responsibility at this point in your life is to take care of yourself.
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