Elderly mother considers helping out her daughter

Published 8:13 am Thursday, December 21, 2023

DEAR ABBY: How can I help my financially drowning, 57-year-old daughter without being pulled under myself? I live comfortably now, but that could change in an instant with a stroke or a fall and the need for assisted living.
My daughter had been employed throughout her adult life but was recently part of a group layoff. She has failed to find another job in her field, and her benefits have run out. I don’t blame her for the job loss, but I do think she could have been earning some money by working part-time. She didn’t do that until the benefit well had run dry.
I “loaned” her some money but have made it clear that it will be short-lived. She hasn’t asked for my opinion but, boy, do I ever want to give it. She would have had a nice financial cushion had she not blown a $300K inheritance some years back.
I feel guilty going out to lunch with friends or buying something unnecessary for the house when she’s close to being homeless. My house is large enough for my daughter to live here, but she has I-don’t-know-how-many dogs (she hides the number). Am I awful for living my life (well) while she flounders? Is there help for her? – MEAN MOM IN TEXAS

DEAR MOM: At 57, your daughter is an adult. She, not you, is responsible for the poor choices she has made, including blowing her inheritance and not immediately looking to add to her benefits before they ran out. You are not “awful” for living your life, so stop flagellating.
Tell your daughter she may need to find a job that pays less than the one she lost. This is a fact of life for many people. And if she needs to move in with you, draw the line at how many dogs she can bring with her, and make the responsibility of finding safe homes for the rest hers.
DEAR ABBY: I left my husband of 17 years six months ago. He is a good man, loyal, funny, bright and successful, but a complex person with a history of trauma who is hard-wired to always see the negative. He’s very rigid and critical, and he has a need to control everything. I love him, but I am not drawn to him physically or emotionally. We have done couples counseling numerous times.
He desperately wants me back, so he’s now doing everything in his power to dig deep and change. It kills me to see him in such emotional pain. We have young children who want us to reunite. Our families want us back together. He’s making progress, but I still have no desire to be with him, and I haven’t for a long time. Any wisdom would be greatly appreciated. – BEYOND CONFUSED IN OREGON

DEAR BEYOND CONFUSED: It’s sad to say, but your husband could twist himself into a pretzel and it wouldn’t change the fact that you are no longer attracted to him physically or emotionally. You may need some sessions with a licensed psychotherapist before you deliver the news, because the time has come to be honest with him about your feelings (or lack of them) so he can move on with his life.
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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