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Holidays could get awkward

Updated: January 22, 2013 6:05AM

Dear Abby: I’m a 25-year-old guy with a unique problem. Since I was 16, my father has been dating a woman who has a daughter my age named “Emma.” Over the years Emma and I became good friends — then more than that. We hooked up a few times.

About a year ago, I told her I had developed feelings for her, which drove her off pretty fast. We haven’t talked since.

With the holidays here, Dad expects me to go to all of the events and get-togethers. I want to escape the awkward interaction with Emma and her boyfriend because I still have feelings for her. I don’t want to disappoint Dad, but I don’t know how to handle this. Help, please.

Running From
the Holidays

Dear Running: You don’t have to attend “all” the events and get-togethers, but you should attend a few. When you do, consider bringing a friend with you and minimizing the contact you have with Emma and her boyfriend. Observe the social amenities, keep the conversation brief and casual.

The awkwardness will pass if you concentrate on something else.

Dear Abby: I have been living with my daughter and her family for two years because I lost my job. I don’t pay rent but do help out with the utilities and buy my own groceries. I also baby-sit for them several days a week. The only money I have is an inheritance.

I have met a man and I plan to move in with him soon. The problem is my daughter and son-in-law owe me money. They promised it would be repaid, but when I ask when, they give me the runaround. They also expect me to baby-sit for them on weekends.

How do I tell them I want to live my own life? I want to be free and not have to worry about them needing me to baby-sit. I’m afraid they’ll say that because I lived with them, they no longer owe me the money. I don’t know how to tell them without it turning ugly. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Frustrated In K.C., Mo.

Dear Frustrated:

I presume your daughter and son-in-law have met your boyfriend? Announce the good news that you will be living with him. Ask again for the money that they owe you. Be pleasant, but firm. If they say they don’t have it, ask them to sign (and date) a note promising to repay it at a later date. That will be your proof that a loan was extended.

As for the baby-sitting, do it when it’s convenient for you. If they want their “freedom” on some weekends, let them pay you instead of a sitter and work off part of their obligation that way. But insist on cash.

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