Ask Amy

Wednesday, January 6, 2010 at 11:45pm

DEAR AMY: When my husband and I divorced more than two years ago, I gave him nine months to move out of my house. He's still here.

He claims that he has no money, and he doesn't. He gambled it all away in the stock market after our divorce.

My ex-husband is rude. He belittles me and trashes me. He is manic-depressive.

He wakes me at 3 a.m. to berate me about my shortcomings. He pays very little in living expenses; he just buys some groceries and pays the cable bill. I tell him daily to move out.

This morning he informed me that he would be applying for a prescription to smoke medical marijuana, which I told him I was 100 percent against.

I told him that he had to move out again, and he said that he wasn't going to.

Oddly, I feel guilty about getting a legal order to remove him.

I worry that he will be homeless.

I have been to three therapists about this issue, and my ex is still in the house.

The amount of guilt that I feel is amazing. Any suggestions on how I can shake this guilt and just get him out?

My friends and family think I am crazy and will not mention his name to me. I feel isolated. There is no one left to discuss this issue with.

— Feeling Helpless

DEAR HELPLESS: You don't need another therapist. You need the sheriff.

But you've learned a valuable lesson. Therapy doesn't work unless you want it to.

You've probably heard it all before — that your husband is an abuser, and he won't stop as long as he has access to you. Part of this abuse cycle is the crushing guilt you feel.

Obviously, you could marshal your legal resources to get this person out of your home, but you won't do so. It might help to break the cycle if you leave — temporarily.

Sever all contact long enough to get yourself together and confront the challenge of what you need to do. Find your strongest advocate — either a professional, friend or family member — and let this person assist you and keep you strong.

It would help if you could picture yourself in five years, supporting this carbuncle while he berates you and blows marijuana smoke in your face from the couch.

Is this what you want?

A counselor at the National Domestic Violence Hotline could connect you with local victim services. The Web site is ndvh.org or call 800-799-SAFE (7233).


DEAR AMY: My older brother and his wife, another brother (he's single) and myself (also single) are going to share a vacation condo. There are two bedrooms with king-size beds and a couch in the living room that opens up to a bed.

I get a bedroom, my older brother and his wife get a bedroom, and the other brother gets the couch in the living room.

We are all fine with the sleeping arrangements, but I feel the cost should be split four ways. My older brother and his wife feel it should be split three ways.

What do you think?

— Jan

DEAR JAN: My opinion is that you vacation renters should pay for your beds, the way you do at a hotel (paying a set rate, whether single or double occupancy).

The cost of this vacation condo should be split three ways, with your brother the couch-dweller paying a little less because he'll be sleeping with the foldout couch's metal bar in his spine and changing his clothes in the bathroom.


DEAR AMY: I have been reading your "worst gift" letters with great amusement. Here's mine:

One Christmas, years ago, my dear brothers-in-law gave me a clear Plexiglas display case that contained light-up fiber optic flowers which, when you plugged it in, flashed in time to the song "You Light Up My Life!" (I really hate that song.)

I smiled gamely, and said to my husband, "Wow, Honey ... look what your brothers gave us!"

The look on his face was priceless.

The next year, I put it in a friend's grab-bag game, and the darned thing was the most popular item there!

— Still Stunned

DEAR STUNNED: I know some Debby Boone fans who would kill for that gift!

Send questions via e-mail to askamy@tribune.com

Filed under: Lifestyles

1 Comment on this post:

By: sidneyames on 1/7/10 at 9:50

Helpless said "I gave him nine months to move out of my house. He's still here." Get a grip; get a back bone and get the law to kick this person out. He is not on the lease; he is not your husband; he is a bum. Kick him out.