Amy Dickinson
Columnist

Ask Amy: In this relationship, what’s his is his

DEAR AMY: My boyfriend of almost four years is 31. He has a great job and yet lives at home with his parents.

He says he is better off helping his parents financially than paying for his own rent. I agree with this, even though I think he’s too old to live at home.

Amy Dickinson

Amy Dickinson offers straightforward advice on relationships, family and life in her syndicated column, Ask Amy. Syndicated advice columns are run in their entirety on washingtonpost.com; versions published in the newspaper might differ due to space constraints.

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He is super generous with his family; he even lets his little brother use his credit card for major purchases that he wouldn’t be able to afford otherwise.

I am bothered that he is so generous with them, and yet so stingy with me. The other day I jokingly asked for $3 and he asked me, “Do you think I’m your bank? I’m not your bank.”

He then proceeded to establish that he is not anyone’s bank.

I am so disgusted by his statement. How can I tactfully tell him that it’s wrong for him to say that to me? Also, if we are going to get married one day, aren’t we going to share those things? In marriage, isn’t what’s mine his, and vice versa? -- Fearful Fiancee

DEAR FEARFUL: If you have a guy who responds to a lighthearted loan request by snapping “I’m not your bank,” then you have a problem.

I can tell you this with certainty: The day after your wedding, none of these issues will magically resolve themselves. In fact, marriage will likely amplify these extreme differences.

You should face this issue directly. You have a boyfriend who lives with his parents — because he wants to. He chooses to spend his money in specific ways (and not in a way that benefits you or conveys generosity toward you).

None of this will change on its own. Do not get married until you agree on where you will live and how you will divide and/or share your money. After four years of being together, I’d say it’s time to force this conversation through professional premarital counseling.

DEAR AMY: I need your advice on how to mend a broken relationship with my sister. In the past year we had a falling out over a wedding. Both of our sons were married this past year. Her son announced his engagement first, but my son chose a wedding date that preceded her son’s. Both weddings were beautiful in their own ways.

However, because my son and his fiancee got married before her son did, she became abusive toward me and my family. She said some cruel and hurtful things. I never retaliated; I just let her vent without saying a word.

How do you fix something like this? I am willing to forgive and move on. I want the sister I used to know back. -- Sad Sister

DEAR SISTER: Even though you may use your silence to demonstrate your patience, staying silent while someone yells at you can also seem disengaged and hostile. Also, it’s not working.

It could be time for you to speak up. What does your sister want from you? Does she expect you to apologize for something, and if so, what? Are there other issues that she has not been mature enough to discuss like a rational person?

Peacefully initiate a conversation and say that you would like to clear the air between you, and then do your best to listen, but don’t forget to talk. Obviously, if she responds by hurling abuse your way, you should not tolerate it. After that, your silence will be golden.

DEAR AMY: Regarding the letter from “Insufficient,” who was bothered by the loud lovemaking of her upstairs neighbors, I thought your advice was good. But then you shocked me at the end of your column when you said that her neighbors owe her “a bottle of wine and an Ambien.”

Amy, mixing alcohol with a sleep aid is dangerous advice. I was shocked when I read this. -- Wide Awake

DEAR AWAKE: Several readers had similar feedback. But here’s a tip: When a sentence comes at the end of an answer like that, it’s not advice. It’s a punch line. (I admit it was a poor one, and I certainly hope no one took it seriously.)

Amy’s column appears seven days a week at www.washingtonpost.com/advice. Write to Amy Dickinson at askamy@tribune.com or Ask Amy, Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60611.

2014 by the Chicago Tribune

 
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