Dear Margo: Can You Say “Enough Already”?

My stepson is 25 and coddled; how do I tell my husband he is enabling his son? Margo Howard’s advice

Can You Say “Enough Already”?

Dear Margo: I need advice regarding my stepson, who is almost 25. He’s been in a two-year college since he was 19, and after flunking out, missing classes, etc., he is still in a two-year college. My husband basically has been supporting him the whole time. We pay for his iPhone (he has gone through three); we bought him a new car and make those payments; we pay his credit card bills (he can charge up to $2000). My husband has paid for his classes and books; his mother pays for car insurance. We even paid some parking tickets for him!

I am ready to lose it because I feel he is a grown man. He lives with a girlfriend and her child from a previous relationship. Shouldn’t he be on his own by now? This has been an ongoing fight between my husband and me. I feel we are enablers. What say you? — Had It Up to the Gills

Dear Had: I don’t know that your husband is enabling him so much as crippling him. The kid is either an idiot or totally uninterested in getting an education. And why should he? It sounds as though both parents are happy to coddle him until the end of time or until he gets Social Security, whichever comes first.

I think six years at a two-year college speaks volumes and your husband is deaf to the message. Even if he feels guilt about divorcing, he is doing the kid no favors. He is not making amends; he is making a mess. And he is clearly tuning you out, so I would suggest making an appointment with a psychologist who can explain to him that he is robbing his son of any motivation to get his act together. It will be hard, after all this time, to tell the sponge, I mean the young man, that the jig is up, but he absolutely must be “encouraged” to begin to be self-sufficient. — Margo, incredulously

Wheelchair Etiquette

Dear Margo: I have Muscular Dystrophy. I am beginning to need my wheelchair full time. Friends and family are doing whatever they can to make their homes accessible to me so I am not left out of activities. My friends and family mean everything to me, and I depend on them a great deal. My wheelchair can be unforgiving when around doorways, hardwood flooring, etc. It is inevitable that I will damage something in someone’s home, and I will feel terrible about it. What should I do when I damage something? Many times, I may never know. I can’t fix every scratch I may make or clean every tire track I leave on the rug. I want to be invited, but I also want to be a good guest. What do you think? — Richard

Dear Rich: How thoughtful you are. I get the feeling that your friends and family are all in your corner, so I’m sure they will all be understanding about whatever marks there are from your chair. You might call the manufacturer and ask if they can recommend certain products for scuff marks or scratches. If they have suggestions, pass them on to your hosts. I feel certain that apologizing in advance for any marks made by the chair will put you in the “good guest” category. People know these things can’t be helped, and your awareness of this will surely be appreciated, so go forth and party on! — Margo, sociably

* * *

Dear Margo is written by Margo Howard, Ann Landers’ daughter. All letters must be sent via e-mail to dearmargo@creators.com. Due to a high volume of e-mail, not all letters will be answered.

COPYRIGHT 2011 MARGO HOWARD
DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM

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39 comments so far.

  1. avatar Kate Olsen says:

    LW1 – I lived with a man whose two grown brothers lived at home.  2 different beings.  Mort worked any job he could find and gave his parents half of what ever he earned and did chores around the house to help out.  Thom, the youngest, demanded special meals, would only eat frozen pizza, burgers etc, never lifted a hand and the world was to bow down to him. The worst was that at his sister’s funeral Thom decided to out himself as gay and belittled everyone that did not pay attention to him, forgetting that everyone was their to grieve the loss of Paula.  My boys were then 3 and 4.  I began then to educate them that if they want to college I would help all I could but if they did not – they would get a job and be on their own once they finished school.  It got to be comical when at age 4 and 5, friends would ask my kids – “What happens when you grow up?” to which they answered “Get a job and get out”  Today, I am proud to say that I have one son who served 5 years as an Army MP in Iraq and Afghanistan and the other son is the proud father of my soon to be 7 year old daughter.  Both have always been gainfully employed and out on their own for years.  They know they can come to me for help at any time but they prefer to be self sufficient.  It is the parent that teaches these skills.  I loved my partner’s parents but they did a disservice to their kids by allowing such behavior in the youngest spoiled child.  My youngest is my most responsible one.  Please, get some counseling for your husband before this brat bankrupts you. 

    • avatar JCF4612 says:

      Think you mean GRANDdaughter, or at least I hope you do! Your kids sound great, and are role models for what “Enough Already” dreams of for her stepson. 

      • avatar Kate Olsen says:

        OH MY – what a bad typo – people will really think I am weird – yes – it SHOULD HAVE READ GRANDDAUGHTER – yikes

      • avatar Lila says:

        Ha, Kate, we knew what you meant! What people SHOULD be paying attention to is the fact you educated your kids from their toddler years on what was expected of them. By the time they’re 16 / 18 / 25, it’s a little late to instill those values.

    • avatar bright eyes says:

      Kate I totally agree. I have a 13 year old son and I’ve been teaching him from the time he was younger that he needs to go to college and get a job. He also knows how to do dishes, laundry and cooks. He has been told that in order to go to college, he has to get scholarships. I’m not sure how I got such a responsible kid, but I’m certainly glad I did – been going through a rough patch and he’s been right there doing anything I ask him to.

  2. avatar David Bolton says:

    LW1: You will never, ever, ever win this battle—not with fighting words, or logic, or counseling, prayer, or what have you. My advice is to keep your finances as separate as possible, and make it your husband’s problem. Like Margo said—he likely feels guilt over the divorce, has a need to be needed, or likes being in control of his son via finances.

    Unfortunately, the only way this situation will stop is if your stepson does something to piss off his father, your husband runs out of money, or one or the other drops dead. Sad—but there you go.

    LW2: Communicate your concerns in advance, and this will give your hosts time to accommodate your presence. Barring extra soft floors, your chair isn’t likely to do much damage to hardwoods. You can also cover areas of your chair with duct tape, which should provide even more protection—and it comes in cool colors, not just gravestone gray.

    • avatar Kate Olsen says:

      cool idea for LW2 David – i would have never thought of that – kudos to you

    • avatar Cindy Marek says:

      “LW1: You will never, ever, ever win this battle—not with fighting words, or logic, or counseling, prayer, or what have you. My advice is to keep your finances as separate as possible, and make it your husband’s problem. Like Margo said—he likely feels guilt over the divorce, has a need to be needed, or likes being in control of his son via finances.”

      –My sister faced similar situation with 2nd ex-husband and his THREE “kids.” She unwisely did NOT separate their finances (she had a full-time job, same as hubby). I think my sister was also trying to appease and/or buy some peace in the household. Around 10 years ago she had a nice bank account. After the divorce, she was nearly flat broke (and has her own son from a 1st marriage). I am SO glad I have never faced this problem, and truly feel for the people who do have to deal with it.

    • avatar impska says:

      “You will never, ever, ever win this battle—not with fighting words, or logic, or counseling, prayer, or what have you.”

      You are so right. My brother is 30 years old and has been receiving support from my father his whole adult life (and before – but really my mom received that). He’s unsuccessfully gone to four different universities/programs, ran up debt, had my dad pay his rent, give him spending money for him and his live-in girlfriend (Since she did not contribute to expenses, I suppose my father was also supporting her).

      My step mom couldn’t understand it. She fought it, complained about it, reasoned and prayed, but it didn’t matter. My dad died last year and my brother received a modest life insurance policy as well as the bank accounts set aside with money for his support – from both my father and one he was maintaining with money from my grandfather (!! Not sure when that started!)

      On the day of the funeral, he went to my stepmom’s home and demanded she give him his father’s belongings. There’s another, younger half-brother and a stepbrother that my father raised, but my brother didn’t care. He started picking up anything “of value” and claiming it was sentimental: some of it didn’t even belong to my dad. I told my brother “You can’t do this. This is someone’s home. They live here. You can’t go pulling the art off the walls!”

      Later, after receiving the money he told me that it was good that he at least got that because our father had never given us anything. I was horrified (more than I was already). I can’t even look at him now.

      Whatever parents are trying to make up for when they support their kids in this way, it doesn’t work. They create an entitled brat. The brat is not grateful, or loving or forgiving. The brat only wants more, more, more. And when their parent dies, they’ll come along and pick through the remains like a vulture, because all they see that parent as is a big fat wallet.

      • avatar impska says:

        I was. I left a day earlier than he did (we are both out of town) and my stepsister told me there was a repeat performance the next day. My stepmom wasn’t in a great place and gave in to some demands for things, but my stepsiblings stepped in before it got out of hand and he was asked to leave.

        Unfortunately, he also badgered my stepmom about the money and told my father’s family that she was intentionally keeping it from him (my father died without a will, so it took time to resolve the estate: she certainly could have kept the money if she wished to, but did not). It seemed like his outrageous behavior knew no bounds.

        And that’s the thanks my dad got for supporting him. My dad took money from his wife, his minor children and himself in a misguided effort to help my brother, and that’s what he got back.

  3. avatar BC says:

    LW#1, I had a friend like that.  Her son was 25, still lived at home, never went to college, and never kept a job more than 3 months.  I came to realize that she WANTED him dependent on her.  If the same is true of your husband and his ex-wife, nothing you can do or say will change their behavior.  Just do as the previous poster suggested and keep your money separate!

    LW#2, I wouldn’t care if you scuffed anything in my home, I’d only care that you were able to come visit me!  I’m sure your friends feel the same way, at least the ones who are making their homes accessible.  If any aren’t doing it, that kind of tells you to meet them elsewhere.  However, plain white toothpaste and a rag easily removes scuff marks.

  4. avatar Amy says:

    TBH If your husband will not listen, go to counseling or tell his son to be self-sufficient, get out of the marriage. Unless you have a pre-nupt, I think there’s a serious risk that horrid leech of a man-child could very well bankrupt his poor parents. All of the money you and your husband have earned to go towards retirement are instead going to his worthless son. You should get out and save your assets!

  5. avatar Brooke Schubert says:

    LW#1-Your letter made me think of the day I moved out of the family home.  I was 18, all packed up and ready to go away to college (in a different state) and was taking one last sentimental look around the house and feeling a little nervous and scared, all the while with my Mom in the driveway with the car filled with my stuff and honking the horn and yelling, “Hurry UP, let’s GO!”  I’m 33 now and I still I chuckle about my mom’s eagerness to boot me into the next phase of my life, but it was time to move on and my parents had prepared me well to be a hard-working adult.

    Sadly, this kid’s parents apparently gave him no tools and no motivation to be a functional adult.  WHY on earth would any parent pay for a car, a phone and credit card bills for an adult child?!  It sounds like the whole family needs counseling and the son needs a kick in the pants to get a job and pay his own way.  If the stepmother can’t get the father to cut off the kid, this might be a deal breaker in the marriage for me-you can’t sacrifice your own future for a leech.

    LW#2-Bless you for caring about your friends’ homes, but I’m guessing they don’t care and are just happy you can still be with them for parties.  Do the best you can to keep your wheelchair from causing damage, but don’t fret over a few little dings.

  6. avatar Susan Thomas says:

    I married a wealthy man with three “grown” sons who were in their twenties when we met. Because he felt responsible for the divorce he over indulged them. They worked for his company but stole from large amounts from him, did drugs, used his garage without permission for other activities, ran up charges all over town, didn’t show up for work, etc. I was ot the reason for the divorce (ten years before we met) so I stupidly believed that with love we could make it work. His ex was a bitter, hateful woman who had no one in her life, not really a big surprise, who wanted to be the only grandmother to the grandchildren, and did everything she could to make that happen. It has. I felt we were so blessed that we should help her with a new car, pay for her home, etc., but seeing him happy must have eaten at her soul. 21 years later, the oldest is a hated filled man with two little girls and a replica of his mother for a wife, the middle is a useless drunk/drug addict who cannot hold a job, and the youngest has done nothing except dream of living off his father’s coat tails. Sad, but true. We are still happily married, and we have a daughter who is a blessing in every way with grandsons, from a previous relationship. I. had them over to dinner for years, the holidays, loved the grandchildren, but every time they felt their spoiled needs weren’t being met, they cut off all contact. This father is NOT helping his son, he is making him unable to deal with reality. My husband lives with this every day, and it breaks my heart for him. The only time they call is when they need daddy to rescue them or they want something from us. Thank God for our daughter because she is an amazing human being and makes him feel that he is not a total flop as a father. As for their hated filled mother, she is hated by the DIL, but has to stay with them, and they deserve each other. I feel sorry for the grand daughters but we have not seen them in years, so they do not even know who we are, except in curse words I am sure. So, this is also a word of warning for divorced women who raise their children to hate their father, you may hurt him, but you are crippling your children. To my husband’s ex, great job, and I am sure that karma is waiting for you.

  7. avatar Cindy Marek says:

    L #1: Your husband is a big-time enabler. And you’re helpless to stop it, because you’re stepmom (and probably being cast as Evil Stepmother?). Your husband needs to seriously see the light. Good grief, this younger generation needs to GROW UP and GET TO WORK.

    • avatar David Bolton says:

      I can almost guarantee you this is yet another production of “I Am So Sorry About Letting You Down,” starring the Husband and the Brat.

      Of course, there may be other issues in the husband’s past that are fueling this need to repair. My ex’s were that 1) he had abandonment issues from his mother’s death, so He Was Going To Make This Right Somehow, 2) he had abandonment issues from his first and second divorces, so He Was Going To Make This Right Somehow, and 3) he was incredibly afraid of letting his already disapproving and distant father down about the fact that he was gay, so He Was Going… (you get the picture).

      Instead of concentrating on admitting to and fixing his problems, he spoiled and poisoned his children by replacing affection with money, teaching responsibility with coddling to the point of ridiculousness and so on. Not one of the kids takes money seriously—other than to ask their dad for it, and not one is a functional parent. And already, the second generation of divorces has begun…

  8. avatar Cindy Marek says:

    L #2: You’re wonderfully considerate. :-) I’m sure your hosts will notice you are trying your best to not bump, knock, scrape into/onto things. If you feel the need to give an apology, do it explanatorily; but don’t get over-anxious about it (might make hosts anxious or uncomfortable). If they are reasonable people, all will work out.

  9. avatar Lucia de Jesus says:

    Dear Margo. I love to read your articles and the advice you give to people.
    I agree with you on Dear Had. Our children should be given (in this case “forced”) independence from our care when they reach a certain age otherwise they get crippled, dismotivated and a pain in the ass. It’s high time he was sent on his own.
    Dear Had, your husband is a “fool”. Sorry in being so frank, but there is no other word for such a father…
    Hope you will show these comments so that he wakes up!!!! Take care.

  10. avatar Belinda Joy says:

    Letter #2 – I agree with Margo, how thoughtful a guest you are. Yes, apologizing in advance for possible nicks, scratches or damage is the best way to go.  I would also say that even though Richard is in a wheelchair I am sure he has the attitude he doesn’t want special treatment because of it. However, this is one are where special treatment is warranted. It IS a big deal to have to manuever through life in a wheelchair and should be treated as such. So Richard should rest his mind and realize most people (99%) would be sensitive to his needs.

    Letter #1 – Boy oh boy does this young man sound like a piece of work. This letter writer needs to sit down with her husband and have a long, detailed and serious discussion about her feelings on the matter and demand (yes I am aware that I used that word) demand that he cease with the inflated generosity he is extending to his son. As Margo said it is crippling him. Our parents teach us our morals, values and life lessons for how to flow through life.

    She needs to ask her husband to take a long hard and real look at how he is molding his son. I disagree with Margo from the vantage point that it isn’t too late to turn off the money tap, he can and should. This would be the best thing for him.
         

     

  11. avatar Chris Glass` says:

    On Letter 2 You are worrying far more over possible nicks and scuffs than your potential hosts will. Reasonable people recognize that homes generate wear and tear marks on occasion. My father-in-law ran into walls, door frames and furniture with his walker but he was more important that the walls and furnishings. Pets and children will do far more damage to homes than your wheelchair will. The people willing to make their houses accessible to you will feel the same way. If you do have nit picking or squeamish people in your life invite them to where you are or meet in a public place. Do not put duct tape on your wheels – it will leave a sticky residue until it wears off.

    • avatar David Bolton says:

      I wouldn’t put it on the wheels either—put it on sharp corners to blunt them, or to give a visual cue that you’re getting too close to something.

  12. avatar Debbie Ciaravino says:

    LW #1, some children never grow up and feel entitled to everything. Whatever happened to make your husband feels like he has to do all these things for his adult son, doesn’t really matter. What matters is that you need to have the same security he is providing for your stepson. Someone commented you should separate your finanaces, I couldn’t agree more. You should also remove your name from any charge accounts or loans for your stepson. Make all of it your husband’s responsibility. One day, when your husband is tapped out financially, you will need to be able to take care of yourself.

    My mother still supports my 42 year old sister and bails her out of every bad decision she has ever made in her life. I really hope her lastest one catches up to her and she ends up in jail, even for a little while. Maybe that’s what she needs to grow up and take care of herself. At the very least, it will hopefully give my mom a financial break. She only sees my Mom to pick up money, groceries, or presents. Whenever my Mom needs something, she it too far away to help and it is always left on my shoulders. But, for whatever sick reason, my mother needs to feel needed and enables her every chance she gets. It will never stop because your husband doesn’t want it to. You’ll have to either live with it and separate yourself financially for protection or you need to leave. There’s no easy solution.

  13. avatar Jody says:

    OH GOSH! I would tell my wheelchair bound friend(s) to forego caring about anything scuffed or broken! Who cares?! Let’s just sit together and enjoy each others’ company. Besides, if you’ve ever had kids, you know how unimportant that is. lol

    What a kind-hearted thought. I hope it makes others thing more.

  14. avatar Miss Lee says:

    Please keep your money separate!  Talk to a lawyer about how to protect your finances especially if you live in a community property state.  This is hard earned advice. I left a marriage broke and in debt because of the expenses related to a step-daughter’s health issues. I don’t regret doing what it took to keep her alive but have not been able to recover my finances since and am too close to retirement for comfort.  I see the dead-beat child in their 20′s time and time again among my friends and relatives.  This may well destroy your marriage but don’t let it destroy your financial future.  Looking out for yourself is not selfish if your survival is at stake and trust me, no one in this world looks after single women in their 50′s.  You are on your own. 

  15. avatar Jody says:

    I regards to LW#1: I believe with all of my being that this 25 year old needs to become responsible for his own life. And, I also agree with what David said, that the LW has no power in the situation. This is simply because she does not share DNA with this 25 year old step-son. The unconditional love that the father feels for his son is different from the love he shares with his wife. Apples and oranges.

    Here’s a twist I’d like to add that I’m not sure anyone has touched on…

    This 25 year old probably doesn’t know any different in his core. What I mean by that is, his father has established… Money is how I show you love, so as long as I am giving you money and taking care of you, you are loved. It could be completely subconscious. OR, this could be happening on a higher awareness level, but no one involved (the father or son) knows how to change it. This behavior isn’t any different from other toxic ways we show our love. But, because it involves money, and money itself has so many meanings to so many people (sometimes an evil charge is on it), it becomes a worse offense. The truth is, this is their relationship, regardless of how toxic it is. AND, it is possible this is the ONLY way they can have a relationship at all. Without counseling and awareness, neither party will be able to change this old habit and build awareness needed to create a relationship beyond what they have… which is superficial it would seem.

    I’m NOT condoning the son’s behavior. At some point we all grow up and make our own decisions. It is imperative to take responsibility of your own life in order to find true happiness. And, it sounds like this 25 year old suffers from low self-esteem and was never given the tools to create his own life. Let this be a lesson to all of us parents. It falls on our shoulders to give our kids high self-esteem and self-worth UNTIL they learn how to give it to themselves. We have to work at it full-time when they are young.

    I don’t know the law AT ALL really, AND I’m assuming the LW works and has her own money… But, I agree with the above comments in that this LW should have her own finances apart from her husband’s (as should every wife in my opinion, if it’s possible). I also believe she should have her own retirement, etc. set up and not include the step-son (or whomever) as beneficiaries if she wants. It is her money. Again, I agree that she should take her name off of any credit cards, etc. that are being used for the step-son, so that it becomes solely HIS debt should something happen to her husband. I also would like to add that I believe she should exclude herself from any decisions her husband makes regarding his son. I believe she should make it very clear that she is not involved with anything of the 25 year old’s, and hire an attorney if needed. Like I said, I don’t know the law, but certainly there must be a way she can protect herself if something happens to her husband.

    • avatar Lila says:

      Jody, I would add that self-esteem comes from being given the freedom to try things on one’s own, and succeed or fail on one’s own, from an early age. As young children, the parents are there as a safety net. As teens, they must be allowed to bear some consequences themselves (e.g., bad grades, getting kicked off a team, wasting money and then not having it for something they really wanted; my Dad once let my teen brother spend a night in jail after he did something stupid, and that un-stupided him really fast). By the time they’re adults, they should be confident in their own capabilities and proud to be able to accomplish things.

      Too many parents think self-esteem comes from never getting your feelings hurt, never failing or losing at anything, and they can’t stand the idea of their Little Precious having any kind of hardship. This makes them into permanent little children.

      Your advice for the wife to separate herself and protect herself from anything to do with the 25-yr-old is wise. I agree, she should have all of her own accounts in her own name only. God knows what the husband’s will says. And I hope they are not in Louisiana where Napoleonic law still prevails… widows routinely lose out to children in that state.

      • avatar Jody says:

        Hi Lila,

        Yes, I agree with you on how to cultivate self-esteem in a child. All of the things you talked about in your post are things I have repeatedly done with my own children. If I was not clear on that when I said it’s a full-time job, I apologize. In my world, that’s a full-time job because not only is it difficult to step back and watch your child go through the pains of those things (mis-spending money, dealing with mistakes they’ve made, etc.), but it’s also a lot of work to keep encouraging them like a cheerleader through it all. As a parent, I wouldn’t change a thing. It’s about being diligent and following through, even on the small stuff. Can I say I get tired? lol We all find ourselves tired, don’t we? But, it’s worth it.

        Right now, I’m holding my 17 year old son’s feet to the fire. He is a Senior and has an opportunity to travel to NYC with his Marketing class in January. He was in Europe for 2 weeks in July and had to earn the money for that trip. Now, he has to earn the money for NYC as well. He looks at me exhausted and says, “Mom, can’t you just pay for it, please?” I get it. He’s busy with school (some honors classes), taking an extra class after school each day, going in before school starts to “work” for the Alumni Association for his high school doing data entry (which is helping him earn the money), plus he is playing indoor lacrosse right now and reffing CYC soccer. BUT… if he wants to go NYC, he will make it happen. If we get close to the trip and he has 3/4 of the money saved, I will make sure he has the rest. That’s only because he has good grades and does what he’s supposed to do. I don’t mind helping him in that case.

        Jody

      • avatar Lila says:

        Jody, we are in total agreement! I was just spouting off (as usual) out of seeing such a damaging trend in recent years to promote “self-esteem” by all the wrong methods — really, it just amounts to never wanting to hurt anyone’s feelings or bruise an ego or even hold anyone to an actual standard — resulting in the exact opposite of self-esteem: kids who never develop a backbone/character/sense of real accomplishment, and who are so ill-equipped for life that they really are permanent children.

        The natural order of things should make one sort of assume that your kid will be without you one day, so maybe you would like him to be competent in life, and raise his own kids competently. For the life of me – I can’t fathom why parents let their kids end up in the situation described by LW1.

  16. avatar David Bolton says:

    I guess LW1 could try some reverse psychology and start micromanaging the stepson’s every move. Of course, she always runs the risk of having to wipe his ass.

    • avatar impska says:

      It doesn’t work. For awhile, my mom micromanaged my greedy, 30-year old brat brother. It was just another way to enable him to be totally non-functional. She managed his finances, made sure he got on government assistance, covered a little extra above and beyond what the gov’t/my dad gave him so that he could live in the same apartment complex as her (pretty much as close to living in her basement as he could get), advised him regarding his relationships (sometimes those girls could be a bad influence, you know).

      She even broke up with a boyfriend because he told her my brother was taking advantage of her and she was enabling him. She told me that and I said, “Have you stopped to consider that he’s correct? Your situation with your 30 year old son is super weird.”

      She said, “He needs me to manage him because he doesn’t do well on his own.”

      My response, “And you would consider what’s happening here as ‘doing well’?”

  17. avatar Count Snarkula says:

    LW#2 – The Count considers his homes tastefully decorated, and loves to throw parties.  About six years ago, he was hosting a December dinner party.  Very small, only eight of us.  These are long time friends and we all know and love each other.  In the center of the table were two very nice crystal candlestick holders with long tapers lit in them.  Toward the end of the wonderful, boozy dinner, one of the ladies reached across the table to fetch a wine bottle and knocked over one of the candlesticks.  And it broke.  She sat there, with a look I find hard to describe: terror?  horror? disbelief?  All of the above.  She burst into tears and began apologizing.  I cannot have anyone upset in my home.  So I did the first thing that came into my head.  I grabbed the other candlestick and roared; “Dammit ‘Agnes’ how many times must I tell you that is just not funny”, and broke it on the table.  You could hear a pin drop.  Then I began laughing and we all roared.  Point of this story is, my home is there to welcome you.  The things in them are just that.  You are not a thing.  You are a wonder, and to share your company is more precious than any “thing” (including walls and floors).  XOXO – The Count

    • avatar David Bolton says:

      Coda: Later on, after the party was over we stepped outside for a few quick puffs on a cigarette and some girl talk—which consisted of me pushing her over the balcony and saying: “ta ta, clumsy bitch.”

  18. avatar Violet says:

    On letter 1, if they live in a community property state, the money they both earn belongs to both of them, so the husband is providing HER money to the do-nothing son, and she does have a say in that. She needs to sit him down and say this is our money and you can’t make a unilateral decision to give it away. If he doesn’t resoond to that she needs a written agreement to separate their assets and he can spend HIS money on the son. Of course this won’t work if she has no separate income.

    I also think this marriage is in serious trouble if he is brushing off her concerns and giving the son priority over his wife.

  19. avatar Lym BO says:

    LW2: I think you were referring to door jambs, etc. not floors. I think that if you are afraid a doorway may be too small, it would be sweet & conscientious of you to ask someone else to help you maneuver through that door way. A few years ago, I steered a double wide twin stroller & sometimes times it takes quite a bit to get it just perfect to get through some doorways. Every time I had difficulty I wondered how those in w/c s dealt with this frustration every day. :( It really made me see how unaccommodating our society is for mobility challenged folks.

  20. avatar A R says:

    LW1: My FIL still supported his good-for-nothing daughter (my SIL) and her no-working husband for years after they married. His wife was independently wealthy, and she really didn’t give a damn what he chose to do with his money (he too is well-off). They keep their money separate, have an agreement as to who pays which bills, and keep life movin’ along. She doesn’t appear to interfere in what he does with *his* money for his sorry-@%$ daughter.

    A few years ago he cut the purse strings because *he* was tired of being used by his daughter and her family. I guess it was a decision he came to after 20 years of it. I imagine that like him, one day this man may tire of his silly son and his son’s girlfriend.
    Like anything else in life, you can’t make someone quit until they quit for their own reasons: sanity, health, mental happiness–whatever.

    Now the letter writer must decide if keeping finances separate is going to work for her, or if the whole thing is a deal breaker. Personally, I’d separate the finances. The only problem is (and the letter writer doesn’t say) is whether she is financially viable if they separate the monies. She just says “we” when referring to the expenses. Is the letter writer relying on the husband’s salary too? Does she contribute equally to the household? In other words, unless she has her own source of income, she’s not in the position to say much of anything if she doesn’t bring home her own bacon……

    Two, it depends on the dynamics of the family makeup. Did she raise this kid, or did she just marry his dad a decade ago?

  21. avatar S Hughes says:

    LW1 – I think it is a control thing for my stepmother and father. My father re-married when my stepsister was 15, and we were 16 and 17. They have paid for everything for her…private school, finishing school, then six years of college. She is 35 now, and works part time and lives in an apartment that my stepmother and father pay for. During all this, he has not paid for anything for his biological children, but what was required by the courts. We went to public school, and worked and got loans for college. He would not allow us to get jobs in high school, and told us to concentrate on our studies.

    It wouldn’t hurt so much if he had not promised to help with college, but when the time came he said he was broke. While going on cruises every year, and traveling all over the country. He also said that it was his wife that paid for all those things for her daughter. But when someone brought to his attention that the only way she was able to do it was because he was paying all the bills, he acted clueless.

    I bet if he ever became indigent my stepsister will be nowhere around…the thing is, neither will we.