Dear Amy: I have been dating my (probably ex) girlfriend for more than 11 years.
After she had a run of financial problems, I helped by storing a lot of her furniture and personal property at my house. I helped a little bit with her bills, helped her move, took in a couple of her cats – and many other things – because I was her boyfriend and believed I was being a good person to help her.
I’ve done these things, even though when I need help, emotional support, or some form of thank you, I never receive anything. For instance, I got a two-word text message for my birthday.
Now she is starting to ghost me after I asked for some of my money back.
How long should I hold on to her things before I call a thrift store and have it hauled off?
Taken for Granted
Dear Taken: You should make a good-faith effort to contact this woman to tell her that you intend to get rid of the possessions she has left in your home. Document your attempts by printing out texts and emails, and keep copies. Give her a specific deadline to pick up these items (two weeks seems reasonable). Tell her that if she doesn’t pick them up, you’ll be donating her furniture. You should not donate any of her small personal items (letters, documents, photos, etc.). These things should be put in a bin and left at her house at a prearranged time.
I have heard of people renting storage units for others, and turning over the key and responsibility for paying the rent, etc. on the unit, but this seems like a further complication and involvement that you don’t need. Additionally, the person leasing the unit is ultimately responsible for the fees, regardless of who holds the key.
If you gave this woman money because she was your girlfriend, you will not get it back. If you loaned it to her and have a loan agreement in writing, you may have to take her to court.
You deserve better, and I hope your next relationship is more positive and balanced.
Dear Amy: This year marks my 25th wedding anniversary with my wife.
Our marriage has been quite tumultuous, and we have come close to ending it, but we have stayed together “for the sake of the kids.”
I’ve kept our marriage going (which has been a regret) for most of the last 20 years. My wife has put up this facade of happiness for many years and my two children (17 and 20) know exactly what is happening at this point.
I threw my wife a surprise 40th birthday party and have always remembered her on holidays -- even if we were fighting at the time. However, whenever I attempt to make plans to celebrate these special occasions (including planning a trip to Europe for this anniversary), my wife finds an excuse not to participate.
Should I treat this anniversary like any other and buy my wife a piece of jewelry, or should I corner her and insist that she do something special?
Dear Unhappy: You say you’re unhappy. Your wife seems disconnected.
There is no question that some people are made very uncomfortable by the attention that accompanies landmark events. If your wife is one of these people, she will not enjoy your efforts, regardless of your grand intentions. In this regard, you should plan whatever you would enjoy doing, and understand that you may be flying solo. “Cornering” her won’t work.
However, your wife might be deliberately undermining your admirable efforts to wring some celebratory joy out of your union. If that is the case, perhaps you should present her with an appointment for marriage counseling -- or a separation agreement -- for this landmark anniversary.
Dear Amy: I was shocked and saddened by “Feeling the Creepiness,” who was creeped-out by her neighbor visiting the elderly and infirm. I volunteer for a hospice. My patients are in assisted living and I spend at least an hour every week visiting them.
These are not creepy, old people. They are parents, college professors, doctors, homemakers, business people, craftsmen and laborers, pioneers in space exploration and computer engineering. They are people with fascinating stories to tell and deep hunger for connection with other humans. I suggest “Creepiness” reach out by accompanying her neighbor on her visits. I guarantee she will find some wonderful people there.
Feeling the Love
Dear Feeling: Now I’M feeling the love. Thank you so much.
Email Amy at email@example.com.