DEAR ABBY: I live with my boyfriend and his father. I moved in two years ago to help them pay bills so they could keep living in the house my boyfriend grew up in. But the situation has become unlivable.
My boyfriend’s father is rude, racist and self-centered. It doesn’t matter that we are struggling; he goes out and spends all his money on guns and fancy dinners for other relatives. Then he complains about how he’s broke and has no money to help buy things for the house. He has also raised our rent because he has “debt to the IRS,” which has literally nothing to do with me or my boyfriend.
We can’t talk to him without a big argument breaking out, and I’m at the end of my rope. It’s too expensive to move, so please, any help or advice would be much appreciated. — UNHAPPY ROOMMATE
DEAR ROOMMATE: I hope you now realize that your boyfriend’s father isn’t going to change; his nature is fully formed. This rude, self-centered racist is who he is. Instead of continuing to buy things for the house, pay the man his rent and start saving for another place to live. If your boyfriend can contribute to that fund, he can move with you. If he’s unwilling or unable to do that, leave and find a roommate with whom to share expenses. And be grateful, very grateful, you haven’t married into this family and can escape with no entanglements. Move on — the sooner, the better.
DEAR ABBY: I have been happily married for 22 years. We have three beautiful children. We laugh and love a lot. For the past 10 years, I have been trying to keep a brave face when it comes to my mother-in-law. She makes fun of my looks (and my mother’s) often, and puts me down in front of my husband. I’m embarrassed, appalled, angry and sad all at the same time. My husband has told me he talks to her about this, but nothing has changed. It has reached the point that I no longer want to be around her.
Tonight at dinner, she grabbed my stomach and told me how fat I was. I adore my husband so, while she has been cruel to me, I have remained kind to her. I recently told him I would begin speaking to her the way she speaks to me. Please help. — HARD TO STAY KIND IN MARYLAND
DEAR HARD: Stop expecting your husband to run interference for you. You both should have asserted yourselves with the old biddy years ago. The next time she pipes up with a criticism, tell her you don’t like her rudeness and will no longer tolerate it. The next time she grabs you or puts her hands on you, point out that what she’s doing is committing assault. Your husband should have put a stop to this when it started, by telling her to leave immediately. At the very least, he should back you up now. The longer you continue to silently put up with her abuse, the longer it will continue.
Dear Abby is 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.