Dear Amy: I am currently living with a roommate. We've lived together for eight months now, and I'm not happy with how things have turned out. We get along really well. It's just that now I am paying all the bills — rent, groceries, gas, etc.
I feel like I'm being used for my money and to support her and her 1-year-old daughter. This is stressful.
I just got her a new job, working for the same company I work for but at a different location. Still, I feel like I'm going to end up taking care of the bills once again and I can't do it anymore.
I don't have the money to help her out anymore. I'd feel bad if I moved out because she wouldn't have any place to go. She could go to her mom's house but they don't get along very well.
I feel pressured to stay here because I am the kind of person that likes to put others before myself but I know it's time to take care of me now. I just don't know what to do. My grandmother and my mother both told me that I need to get out of this situation, but what do you think I should do?
— Stressed Roommate
Dear Stressed: The most logical answer is for you to treat your friend like a grown-up, while also respecting yourself more.
It sounds like you have been a real hero here. Single moms with young children need all the love, support and friendship they can get — but you cannot do it all for your friend. You simply must take care of yourself.
If you respond to this pressure by moving out, your friend will pack up and move on and find someone else to pay the bills. This will not be good for her, or her daughter — or for you.
She is working now (thanks to you), so you two should sit down together and split the bills fairly. If she can put some bills in her name (utilities, for instance), she will be responsible for paying them on time — and will build up good credit by doing so. Succeeding at this will be good for both of you. If she cannot agree to reasonable terms (and keep them), then you should definitely move on.
Dear Amy: My daughter, who's in her late 20s, is planning to go to Europe alone.
She plans to meet up and stay with a tour operator she met on a recent one-week European cruise that she took with her brother. No danger signals were noted (or heeded) at that time.
My wife and I are concerned that it is unseemly and unladylike to stay a week with a new friend (who is basically a stranger) of the opposite sex. We also feel this could turn out badly if the person is a front for sex-trafficking groups.
Can you help us to persuade her that this is a terrible idea?
Dear Dad: I can't come up with arguments for you to use in trying to control a grown woman — especially those having to do with what is (or isn't) "ladylike."
Yes, this tour operator could be a front for sex-trafficking groups. He could also be a cheat, a player, a loser — or merely French. He could also turn out to be a nice guy.
I agree that it is not a good idea to stay with someone for a week whom you don't know well (a week can be very long if you find you're with someone you don't actually like very much). You should ask her to check in personally with you (through Skype or email from her personal address) and suggest that she arrange an alternate place to stay if she finds she doesn't enjoy being with this person.
Dear Amy: Excellent response concerning the new baby that may (or may not) be named after another family member. At a family event someone mentioned how nice it was that my niece "Mary" had my middle name. My brother looked at me and said, "That's your middle name?"
Dear Mary: Ouch is right.