Updated: September 28, 2013 6:45PM
Dear Abby: I am a divorced woman with three children ages 24, 22 and 16. I live on my own with my girls. I have been dating a man, “Reed,” for three years. We are very much in love and have been working to blend our families. (He has two children.)
We have decided to move in together at the end of October. My lease will be up then, and Reed has sold his condo. We will be moving into the house he shared with the ex-wife while they were married. I’m comfortable with the move, and our kids are very excited about it.
Everything is fine except for one thing: His ex-wife has not yet found a new home to move into. With little time to go, he’s now suggesting that we move in and live with his ex-wife until she finds a new place. He believes this will be very short-term — a month or so.
The house is big enough for all of us, so that’s not an issue. Reed’s ex-wife and I are friendly, so that’s not an issue either. But I’m not comfortable with this plan.
Am I being irrational? Should I just act like a grown-up and make the move, or should I refuse? — SECOND THOUGHTS IN MASSACHUSETTS
DEAR SECOND THOUGHTS: You are neither immature nor irrational. You are thinking ahead — and that is what grown-ups do. What if Reed’s ex can’t find a place that suits her in a month or so? What if it takes six months or even a year? While you may like the woman, do you really want to share your dwelling with the “Ghost of Marriage Past”?
If I were you, I’d talk to my landlord and ask if you can work out a month-to-month extension of your lease. If that’s agreeable, Reed can move in with you for the “short term.” I’m sure you’d both be happier.
Dear Abby: My mother is in her mid-50s. She’s a wonderful woman, but she makes us late for everything. My husband and children, my siblings and I often attend family functions and other events as a group. When we go to pick up Mom, she announces she has “just a few” chores she wants to do first, and they take forever.
We are not “a few” minutes late; we’re significantly late, and sometimes miss events altogether. These have included weddings and funerals, and we have wasted hundreds of dollars on tickets to missed events. She’ll often make a show of apologizing, but her behavior never changes.
We have stopped inviting Mom to some events, but she makes us feel guilty if we don’t take her to a family event. We have tried helping her do her chores the day before and lied about starting times. Nothing works, and Mom finds more to do.
We have asked her friends about this behavior. They say she never pulls these stunts when they pick her up for things. When we talk to Mom about it, she insists she needs to get things done ahead of time. Her house isn’t messy, nor is it known for being overly tidy.
She’s in good mental and physical health. We’re fresh out of ideas on how to deal with this. Help! — LATE FOR A VERY IMPORTANT DATE
DEAR LATE: It’s interesting that your mother doesn’t behave this way with her friends. That tells me her behavior is controlling — although it’s hard to understand what perverse pleasure she gets out of it.
I would handle it this way: Tell Mama you will pick her up at a certain time and that you will wait no longer than five minutes for her. If she’s not out by then, you will leave. And then do it.