Ask Amy: Don’t dwell with dad of layabout daughters
Dear Amy: About two years ago, I got together with an old classmate at our 30th reunion.
We get along great except for one thing, well, two things.
His daughters are 18 and 20. They have no jobs and have never been asked to do any chores around the house.
I told him early on that this would be a problem if we were to move in together in the future. He said he understood and would start asking them to do things.
He never did. During the pandemic, I’ve been staying at his house.
I made a chore board (at his request), only asking them to vacuum twice a week and clean their bathroom every other week.
He and I constantly argue about him not asking them to make sure it’s done.
I don’t know how to remedy this.
I love him but will not cater to two adults who do nothing. Any advice? — Fed Up
Dear Fed Up: The way for you to remedy this is to leave the household and move back into your own home. You don’t seem able to tolerate this, and so NOT living with a couple of frustratingly lazy young women will definitely solve your problem.
You moved in with a man whose household was already intact. This is his house. These are his layabout children (he taught this and tolerates it). You are, essentially, a COVID houseguest, and as such (chore chart or not), you don’t get to dictate how this household runs.
You laid down your nonnegotiable early on and you moved in with him anyway, even though you had no evidence that the household dynamic was suitable for you. Now you know that it is not.
Stop arguing about this. Your guy is unwilling to insist that his daughters do anything differently. Perhaps they will eventually move out (although given their ages and the current situation, that probably will not happen anytime soon).
However, you can move out now and continue to date your guy, without the pressure of feeling so unhappy about his failings as a father.
Dear Amy: My husband of 23 years just passed away.
He had been divorced for 26 years. His former wife, “Shelly,” walked out on him and their two children.
Now that he is gone, Shelly is coming by and asking for items from our home that she says were hers and that my husband would not give to her.
I have told her that this should have been handled at the time of the divorce.
She insists that he wouldn’t give these items to her. The things are petty, but I don’t think that I’m obligated to give her anything.
When they got divorced she didn’t contest it; she didn’t even have a lawyer. My husband handled everything.
What are your thoughts? How should I handle her the next time she comes around? — Perplexed
Dear Perplexed: I agree that you are not obligated to give anything to “Shelly,” but I think you should sit on this for as long as you want to in order to make a decision that feels right for you.
If these items are not big, valuable, or particularly important to you, you might actually end up feeling liberated if these items leave your household. Understanding, or believing, that these things might have originally belonged to Shelly could make it awkward for you to continue to live with them.
I suggest that you get her contact information, ask her to refrain from popping by uninvited, and let her know that you will definitely contact her if you want to pass along any of these possessions.
Dear Amy: As an adult looking back, I recall that my childhood abuser (“Mr. Smith”), who abused me from the ages of four to 12, had a framed picture of his three granddaughters (that his family would not allow him to visit) in his home.
I understand why people feel they can’t file charges against (pedophile) family members, but I believe I was the replacement granddaughter; the result of people who cannot report abuse. — Survivor
Dear Survivor: Your story sends shivers up my spine. Thank you so very much for summoning the courage to share it.
Your attitude is laudable. Beyond laudable.
I believe that family members who protect their own children from further abuse, but knowingly permit an abuser to stay in the world to prey on other children should be charged as accessories-after-the-fact.