Dear Annie: I divorced my husband seven years ago and moved into a townhouse with my children. By chance, I met a wonderful, caring, attentive man and we decided to move in together. After two years, things changed.
“Ward” refuses to pay for anything other than half the rent. Only in the last year have I been able to get him to contribute a minimal amount toward the groceries. Mind you, when his three children come every other weekend, they consume every bit of food I have in the house.
I asked him for help with the cable bill, as he plops himself in front of the TV for a good number of hours each night, but he tells me if he lived on his own, he wouldn’t bother with cable. I don’t watch much TV, since he monopolizes the remote. When I ask him to pay a portion of the electric bill, he threatens to move out.
I pay for half the rent, half his motorcycle, my car, car insurance, all electric bills and 80 percent of the food and cable bill. Recently, I had a job change and took a huge pay cut. I had no milk in the house, and when I turned to him for help, he claimed he had no money.
My family says Ward is using me, and I feel conned. He has recently become a bit verbally abusive, yet he blames me for the worsening of our relationship. He says I am not a fun person anymore. I admit, it’s hard to be fun when I’m so stressed. I have gained 60 pounds and am raising three young girls away from my family. I work two jobs to make enough money to live. When things get rough, Ward picks a fight and leaves. What should I do? — Sponged
Dear Sponged: It’s time to leave this relationship. We don’t care how wonderful this man was two years ago, right now he is a freeloader and a verbal abuser. You are better off, financially and emotionally, without him. (If you don’t have the backbone to get him out of your life, at least cancel your cable subscription.)
Dear Annie: My brother died two years ago last May. Somehow his name became connected to my address. I get mail addressed to him several times a month. Today I received an offer for him to buy life insurance. Every time I receive something addressed to him, I hurt over his loss all over again. This is cruel and I want it to stop. How can I make that happen? — Missing My Little Brother
Dear Missing: You can contact these companies and ask them to remove your address from their files, and you should mark each of these envelopes “Deceased — Return to Sender” and put them in the mailbox. You also can fill out forms to remove your brother’s name and your address from these mailings through the Direct Marketing Association online at dmachoice.org/MPS, or for $1 by writing: Mail Preference Service, P.O. Box 282, Carmel, N.Y. 10512.
Dear Annie: Please reconsider your response to “Tormented in the Suburbs,” who inherited a family estate and her husband is demanding that she sell it.
The wife inherited the house, not the husband. It’s outrageous for him to declare that he’ll resent her to his dying day. This is blackmail.
You offer a practical solution, but what about the emotional issue of control between them? Putting the emphasis on the wife’s ownership has another advantage. It forces her to take the responsibility of figuring out how they’ll manage to own the two houses without going broke. — Santa Fe, N.M.
Dear Santa Fe: We agree it’s the wife’s property to do with as she pleases, but she’s been married to this man for 43 years and there is no indication that he is otherwise controlling. We think a compromise, not an ultimatum, is in order.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. E-mail questions to email@example.com, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611. To find out more about Annie’s Mailbox, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
Published in The Messenger on 11.29.07