Dear Annie: I am 67 years old and not getting along well with my oldest daughter, who is 48.
She has a job, and she moved back to our town six years ago with my three grandchildren. I let them live with me in the house that I paid off 30 years ago and still pay taxes on and insurance. The grandchildren are a 27-year-old who has a job, a 20-year-old who is in the Army and a 16-year-old who is in high school.
The only one who pays anything for the house is me. My daughter and her 27-year-old who live here refuse to contribute to the taxes, insurance or upkeep. God forbid I should charge them rent.
The real problem, however, is that they don’t talk to me. They don’t want to have anything to do with me. My daughter says she HATES me, and she has taught the kids to hate me. She says I was not good to her when she was younger, and it’s true; I did have a hard time when I left her abusive father.
I was abused as a child by my father, and it put me in a bad place. I want them to buy the house from me so I can have retirement funds, or I want to sell it to raise money, but they just sit there like squatters.
I feel sad, hurt and angry because I did all I could to put her through college and help put my granddaughter through college. They take whatever is given to them, but it’s never enough.
Please give me some advice!
— Sad in Mississippi
Dear Sad in Mississippi: This is not a good living situation for anyone involved. Your daughter is taking advantage of you and not helping out at all. It’s time to cut her off and stop expecting her to buy your house.
If you think that is really what should happen, then tell her that. If she ignores you while living in your house and also telling your grandchildren to be mean to you, then find a real estate agent to sell the house for you. You can offer your daughter a right of first refusal.
The deeper issue is that you were abused as a child, and then as a wife, which set a model for your daughter and her children. Explain that to them. Say that you will no longer be a victim. You love them and want to have a relationship, but they need to change.
Since the 48-year-old is your “oldest daughter,” are there more children in your family who you can turn to for help and support? If so, by all means contact them.
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Dear Annie: I suspected my husband was cheating on me again, so one day I followed him and caught him in the act. He was with his friend’s wife at a motel that she runs.
However, I did not confront them at the time. Instead, I called his phone and told him I’d like to meet him in town to get something to eat. He said no — he was coming home.
Then I told him what I knew and said that his clothes will be in the ditch — “come and get them.”
I’m done with him. I know he’s with her. He came home and denied it all.
I threw him out because I saw him with her in the room. Plus, he’s doing drugs and dealing drugs. Please advise. I think I’m just done, but he won’t agree to a divorce.
— Distressed in Virginia
Dear Distressed in Virginia: Until he gives up drugs completely — using and dealing — he is hopeless.
Find a good divorce attorney. You will be much happier with someone else in the future.
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— A native Californian, Annie Lane writes her Dear Annie advice columns from her home outside New York City, where she lives with her husband, two kids and two dogs. Her latest anthology, How Can I Forgive My Cheating Partner?, features favorite columns on marriage, infidelity, communication and reconciliation, and is available as a paperback and e-book. Email your Dear Annie questions to email@example.com. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.