Dear Abby: Veteran feels used by friend demanding her discount

Jeanne Phillips, syndicated columnist

DEAR ABBY: While shopping with a friend recently, I was put in an awkward situation in regard to a store discount. Having served in the military, I qualify for a discount at that particular store. She was aware of that discount, and while she was at the checkout lane, she yelled at me, “Hey, you! What’s your phone number for your military discount?”

We are both retired and living on one income, although I am married and live on my husband’s pension. She’s retired from a job in the medical field, owns her home and shows up conveniently at friends’ homes for coffee and food.

I was so dumbfounded at her request for the number that I gave it to her. I’m uncomfortable going shopping with her now. I haven’t addressed it with her, and I have tried to avoid any shopping trips with her since that incident. It feels like she’s stealing my valor since my husband and I served in the military. Am I too easily offended? — RETIRED IN ALASKA

DEAR RETIRED: I’m glad you mentioned valor in your letter because it’s time for you to summon up some more. Unless you want this person to continue taking advantage of you, set her straight. She is not entitled to the discount, and you must learn to refuse if and when she puts you in that position again.

DEAR ABBY: My ex-husband always had a difficult relationship with his family. I never understood and would force him to call them on holidays, birthdays and special occasions. We divorced after he had an affair. It was ugly at the start, but we are civil now.

Following the divorce, COVID and some bad decisions on his part, he has lost everything. He’s now homeless and lives in his car or at motels. The other day he came to me desperate. I took him out of the cold for a while, fed him and dropped him off at a friend’s. I then reached out to his family to tell them about how bad he is doing. I didn’t even get to tell them before they cut me off saying they have washed their hands of him because of his bad decisions.

My ex isn’t perfect, but although he never did anything to his family like he did to me, they are punishing him for that. Should I reach out to them again and tell them he needs them now more than ever, or should I just let it go like he told me to years ago? — EX WITH A HEART

DEAR EX: If you think it will soften their hearts, contact them once more and tell them that you have forgiven him for the hurt he caused you and suggest they stop punishing him for it. However, it’s entirely possible that some of your ex’s other bad decisions may have affected his relatives. If that’s the case, let the matter drop. Remember, there’s a difference between being softhearted and softheaded, and he must solve his own problems without you being dragged back in.

DEAR ABBY: After a bad breakup, a good friend and her husband offered me a room in their home. They have two wonderful teenagers. Then the pandemic came, and we all became infected.

What started out as a few months’ plan for me to get back on my feet has lasted 14 months. I have offered to pay them some money, but they will accept only $200 to help with the groceries.

My problem is I have noticed that the husband is not very happy with my presence. I told my friend I’m ready to start looking for my own apartment, but she insists that I stay just a little longer so that I will be really stable on my own. She tells me how “I am family,” and I’m not bothering anyone, and they have no complaints about me. I did not tell her what is really driving me out.

I’m really uncomfortable with his attitude toward me, and I understand that perhaps I have overstayed my welcome. My question: Should I leave and tell her I felt that I was no longer welcomed by her husband? Or should I just leave without telling her? Thanks for your input. — UNCOMFORTABLE IN MIAMI

DEAR UNCOMFORTABLE: Do not sneak away. Do find a place of your own. Express to your friend that she has been a saint to allow you to live with them during this extended period, but it is clear the time has come for you to go. Tell her you will not only be fine but forever in their debt for their kindness to you.

P.S. As soon as it is feasible — not before — give them a nice gift for their home.

DEAR ABBY: I recently have been dating a neighbor woman who is a cat lover. I assume she owns many of them. (I haven’t yet been inside her apartment.) My problem is, when she comes over to my place, the odor of cat urine is overpowering. How do I disclose that I’m disgusted by this cat smell without hurting her feelings or offending her? — HOLDING MY NOSE IN OKLAHOMA

DEAR HOLDING: You have to say something. While the odor of cat urine may be attractive to other cats, it has also been known to act as people repellant.

Start slow. Lead into the subject by asking her how many felines she owns. When she answers, ask if they are all OK. Regardless of her response, explain that you are asking because one (or more) of her pets may be spraying her furniture or her clothing, and it has left an odor. This will give her the opportunity to rectify the problem. However, if she finds the truth offensive, so be it, because the relationship would not have worked out anyway.

DEAR READERS: I wish a very happy Mother’s Day to mothers everywhere — birth mothers, adoptive and foster mothers, stepmothers, grandmothers who are raising their grandchildren and dual-role dads. Orchids to all of you for the love you give not only today, but each and every day. — LOVE, ABBY

EDITOR’S NOTE: 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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