Ask Amy

Sunday, April 8, 2012 at 10:23pm

DEAR AMY: I have been divorced from my son's father for more than 20 years. Our 22-year-old son lives with me. He agreed to stay home for a while after my second husband of 15 years died of a long illness. My son was a rock during this time.

My ex-husband needed a place to stay on a temporary basis until he could get his sales career profitable again, and I agreed to let him move in with us.

He had, over the past several years, made a poor and morally unpleasant decision to be involved in an illegal business operation, which was a failure on all fronts.

My ex-husband's mother and sister can't stand his company because he is such an opinionated and argumentative person.

He's sincerely trying very hard to get along with us, though it is not easy all around.

Five months later, he still can't afford his own place, and I'm totally sick of his company.

Now my son has graduated from college and is actively searching for a professional job. In three months, he wants to move out and live with a buddy.

I fully support him in taking this step.

Is it fair to set a boundary for my ex that he must leave when our son does?

I don't want to undermine the progress he has made.

My son is feeling bad, thinking he'll be kicking his dad to the curb just because he wants to move on with his own life. I worry that he will take a pass on his own opportunities out of guilt.

We're in a tough spot while trying to help a guy make a change in his life.

What do you suggest?

— In a Pickle

DEAR PICKLE: You should not link your son's choices to his father's. He probably feels as conflicted as you do, but the sooner he faces the reality of his father's limitations, the better he will be able to draw his own boundaries.

You provided emergency housing for your ex. Surely, he can continue to make professional progress from another address.

You could help him find an inexpensive room to rent in a private home and give him a month to get there.

Explain to your son that his own job at this point of his life is to move on and move out. He has proved himself to be a wonderful family member, but he cannot be responsible for his parents' choices.

DEAR AMY: My husband is very angry that he was not included in a relative's will. He has spoken to a lawyer and is thinking about fighting it.

I am afraid this is going to start family problems and wish he would just forget about it. It is not a lot of money, but he feels it is not fair that he was not left anything.

He has been offered some furniture from the family, but he feels it is of lesser value than the money.

Should I support his decision to take the family to court, or continue to encourage him to take the property and move on?

— Wife

DEAR WIFE: Your husband's money might be better spent not on a lawyer but a therapist.

Even if he managed to receive some money from the estate (which is doubtful), taking his family to court will shred these relationships.

It is anyone's right to cut someone out of a will. If your husband is going to blame someone for this situation, he should blame the person who drew up the will — not the beneficiaries.

You should urge your husband to accept this furniture and burn it or sell it if it would make him feel better. Then he should move on.

DEAR AMY: "Sad" wrote to you about a sexual incident that happened to her 40 years ago and that her parents never defended her.

Something very similar happened to me; my parents did not advocate for me, either.

I suggest Sad should write two letters — one to the perpetrator and one to her parents. She does not need to mail these, but it will make her feel better.

— Been There

DEAR BEEN THERE: Excellent advice. Thank you.

Send questions via email to askamy@tribune.com. Amy Dickinson's memoir, The Mighty Queens of Freeville: A Mother, a Daughter and the Town that Raised Them (Hyperion), is available in bookstores.

Filed under: Lifestyles
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1 Comment on this post:

By: dustywood on 4/9/12 at 10:35

Regarding the person who was left out of the will: We have a daughter who is disabled. We have set up a trust for her, and the boys . Her husband is upset that he is not named in the will. Perhaps upset that he will not be able to force our daughtet to hand over money for him to spend as he likes. This son inlaw does not attend family functions with his own family, nor does he when we are visiting. Anti social , whatever you want to call it. His history of just blowing money away when their bills are piling up is a major reason to set controls. Right now he brow beats our daughter regarding spending. Knowing that she had a medical disability for life, he decided to get out of the military. Now he complains that her medical costs too much. So maybe there are reasons for being left out of the will. Both my sister and I were left out of our dads will. All left to our stepmother. My grandmother had set up a "will" in which money was to go to her grandkids if her daughter/son died. My dad died less than 2 months later. At this point someone legal said my dad's will was what counted. My grandmother specifically did not want our step mother to have any of the cash. So unless you give your wealth away first, folks can do what they want with it after you are gone.