Nowhere to go
Dear Annie:About a year and a half ago, I met a woman whom I liked very much. She moved in with me after about six months. After living together some time, I’ve come to see that our relationship is impossible and I would like her to move out. The problem is that she has nowhere to go. She has one daughter, whom she was living with when I met her, but the daughter is in the process of moving. Other than her, she has no one.
Her only income is Social Security, and that is $1,000 a month. She is a good woman, but impossible to live with. She doesn’t love me, and I feel used. I have always felt sorry for her, but I can’t go on in this loveless relationship. She is 72, and I am 73. I can’t put her out on the street, but I’m not sure where to turn or what to do. I am willing to give her some money to help her move, but I am not sure where she could go. I have been good to her and helped her as much as I can. Do you have any idea of how I can get out of this dilemma? — Time to Go
Dear Time to Go: This woman made it through 70 years of her life without you. Have a little faith that she’ll figure out how to carry on. Let her know as cordially as possible that this relationship is no longer working, and you’ll need for her to move out. Give her a deadline that you think is fair, whether that’s two weeks or a month or some other amount. (It rather depends on how much stuff she needs to pack up.) But be firm on the deadline — and don’t delay in breaking the news. Your heart is in the right place, to be sure, but you aren’t doing either of you any favors by staying in this relationship out of pity.
Dear Annie: As an attorney, I was appalled and repelled to read “Not A Hugger’s” letter and how this man continues to stalk the women at his church for hugs. My husband (a retired cop) was appalled, too. He seems to feel entitled to do this for whatever reason, even in the face of her refusals and even to the point of waiting for her till she exits the church and interrupting her prayers. She has been extremely tolerant of this behavior while trying to avoid it.
What he is doing is stalking, harassing and assaulting the women, and it should be stopped. This is abuse, and the abuser is very clever in doing this at a church to make it look innocent. It could even be a form of bullying.
The legal definition of assault is an “unwanted touching.” That is what this man is doing. Perhaps she should tell him he is assaulting her and get a warrant for his arrest to get the point home (an extreme measure but possibly effective).
I’m surprised that the priest has not stepped in to alter the situation. Or her husband. Or perhaps the women of the parish could do this as a group to stop this offensive and abusive behavior. That’s my two cents worth. — Concerned Attorney
Dear Concerned Attorney: I’m always grateful to have my readers enriched with some expert advice, and I thank you for offering yours. I’m printing your letter to give “Not a Hugger” some added confidence: Even if it doesn’t get to this point, knowing that you’ve legal ground to stand on can help you find firmer footing in standing up for yourself.
Dear Annie: Your column with the letter from widower “Neil” brings back sad memories for me. I lost my mother when I was 13 years old, and it was staggering. I had no siblings and an alcoholic father. Life was a mess.
Years later, I attended a seminar, and the most important thing I learned was how to handle major upsets. Here’s the way to do it. When thinking about an upsetting incident, write down the following questions and your answers: When did it happen? Where did it happen? Who was involved? How did you feel? What happened?
You might want to write the same upset down several times. Just do it. It will work. — Art in Oregon
Dear Art: Writing is a wonderful form of therapy. I second your suggestion. Thanks for it.
Editor’s note: Send your questions for Annie Lane to firstname.lastname@example.org. To find out more about Annie Lane and read features by other Creators Syndicate columnists and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.