Marriage, middle-aged son stuck in time for 30 years

Published 8:40 am Monday, October 9, 2023

DEAR ABBY: My wife and I have been married since 1968. The last time we were intimate was in 1984. The house is in both of our names. Nine years ago, she asked one of our sons to come live with us. She never asked me how I felt about it.
Our son continues to live here, and he pays no rent or anything else toward our living expenses. He literally lives the life of a teenage boy, although he’s almost 48. I pay all the household bills. He has a job and makes more than I do (my pension).
I do not want a boarder in my home, but I can hardly evict him. Our other four children are all successful, own their own homes and live the lives of responsible adults. Do I need a lawyer, or perhaps a backbone? – OVER IT IN OHIO

DEAR OVER IT: You may need both. Although it’s late, consider also engaging the services of a licensed marriage and family therapist. I don’t know what the laws about community assets in your state are, but a lawyer can enlighten you. Because your 48-year-old teenager has been living with you for so long, you may need one or both to pry him out of there.
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DEAR ABBY: Forty years ago, my husband had an affair that left me emotionally damaged. I took him back when he asked, and we went on with our lives – well, HE did. Even today, if I hear a song from that time or her name, I freak out. When I remember how he told me he loved her, something inside me dies.
I went to counseling, but all I got from it was a bill I couldn’t afford. He treats me well and says “I love you” every day, yet the cut is still fresh and deep. Any suggestions? – LIKE YESTERDAY IN FLORIDA

DEAR LIKE YESTERDAY: After 40 years of torturing yourself, the memory of your husband’s transgression has become ingrained. By holding onto this, you are only hurting yourself. You took him back after the affair but have never truly forgiven him, which is why you cannot let it go. Consider consulting another licensed mental health professional to see if there is any way for you to obliterate the intrusive memory of his betrayal.
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DEAR ABBY: A friend is throwing a joint birthday party for herself, her daughter, son-in-law and sister. Their birthdays all fall in the same month. I am close to all of them. This joint celebration has been a ritual for the past three years, and presents are expected.
I have come to feel that this is unfair. For a single-day, one buffet party, I must buy presents for four people. I’m considering buying one decent present and having it raffled off among the four. What do you think? By the way, this also happens a few months later for her husband and son. – PARTY POOPER IN CALIFORNIA

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DEAR PARTY POOPER: I think it’s fair IF all six people reciprocate when your birthday rolls around. If they don’t, then when your friend’s (the hostess’s) birthday arrives, skip the party, entertain her separately, for lunch perhaps, and give her her present then.
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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 www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
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