Marriages and illnesses complicate land proposal

Published 8:37 am Tuesday, December 13, 2022

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DEAR ABBY: My husband and I moved into a new rental house on my best friend’s property a year ago. We love living here. We moved to be closer to my friend, “Noah,” who is like a brother to me. He and his wife live on the same property.
Noah was diagnosed with heart disease two years ago, and was given a year to live. He has surpassed that estimate. He now wants my husband and me to buy the house we are renting. I’m hesitant because Noah’s wife suffers from a mental illness.
She has always been threatened by our close friendship, and if anything goes wrong in her life, she accuses me of sabotaging her. When she’s stable, she’s a nice and generous person, but recently she has been experiencing hallucinations and severe paranoia.
Noah wants us to stay because he needs our support. I’m afraid that after he’s gone, she’ll make our lives miserable and try to contest the ownership of the property. The property is in Noah’s name only. He bought it before they got married. What should I do? — TORN TO PIECES

DEAR TORN: Your question is of a legal nature and in no state of the union am I licensed to give legal advice. That is why you, your husband and Noah need to schedule an appointment (ASAP) to discuss this business matter with an attorney who can give you guidance to ensure your interests are protected if this transaction takes place. Because it won’t solve the issue of Noah’s unstable wife, that question should be up to you and your husband to debate separately.
DEAR ABBY: I have been trying to develop a relationship with my half-sister, and I’m getting very mixed messages. She is mostly polite and distant. But then there are times she’ll disinvite me from her child’s birthday party or “unfriend” me on Facebook, etc. She explains later that she did it out of anxiety, and she seems worried about being hurt. She has an excuse every time I ask to get together.
I know she’s affected by our father dying of cancer when she was young (she was 10 or 11), so I attribute her behavior to that and try not to take it personally. However, it hurts, and I’m tempted to give up. It is clear she has no interest in spending time with me. Should I stop trying to engage her? She talks warmly with our other shared relatives but not with me. I don’t think I’ve done anything wrong, so I’m baffled. — SLIGHTED IN MINNESOTA

DEAR SLIGHTED: Your half-sister appears to have emotional challenges in addition to her anxiety. That she would disinvite you to a family function after you had accepted the invitation was rude. It’s time to take the hint and step back. Having a parent in common does not guarantee siblings will have a close relationship. My advice is to go on with your life and quit pushing for something this woman is apparently unable or unwilling to give.
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 or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
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