My only sister has been "borrowing" money from me every month for years. She has a lot of credit-card debt and cannot afford to meet her monthly financial obligations.
Last year, my husband and I paid her property taxes for her so she wouldn't lose her house. It was over $5,000. She promised to pay us back with her tax return money, but we never saw a dime.
I have given her information on debt consolidation programs and offered to pay for her to file for bankruptcy, but she has done nothing to improve her financial situation.
She works and makes OK money. Her husband is disabled but gets Social Security and a small pension. She also supports her adult child, who doesn't work, and she smokes like a chimney.
I have told her many times I can't keep giving her money, but she still asks every month. This is causing a strain in my marriage. I don't know what else to do. Any words of advice would be appreciated.
- Tired of Being Asked for Money
DEAR TIRED: You are a caring sister, but what you have done out of love and charity has allowed your sister to continue living beyond her means. The next time she asks for money, remind her that you have already given her information about debt consolidation, and that you will no longer continue pouring your and your husband's hard-earned money down a bottomless pit. Then stick to your guns.
Drive home was the route of an argument
DEAR ABBY: My husband and I, 21 years happily married, have a recurring problem. It rarely happens, but when it does, it causes an argument.
A recent example: Late the other evening, my husband, adult daughter, and I were returning home from a hockey game in separate cars due to our work schedules before the game. There were several routes to get home from where we were.
I followed my daughter while my husband took a different route to get home faster.
I think it would have been a chivalrous and fatherly thing for him to follow us and make sure we made it home safely. I got angry that he didn't do it, and it turned into a huge argument.
My grown daughters and I are fiercely feminist and independent, but I still think it would have been the caring thing to do. My own father would, even after I was 40, and he still does it to this day.
It didn't bother my daughter, but it bothered me. What are your thoughts, Abby? If you think it's not an issue, I will let it go from now on.
- To Follow or Not to Follow
DEAR TO FOLLOW: Your father comes from a generation in which men were taught it was their duty to protect the females in their family.
Your spouse is the husband of a fiercely feminist wife and the father of a daughter cut from the same cloth. Independent women do not need to be followed home unless they request it because they assume they can handle whatever happens themselves - particularly if they are traveling in twos.
You can't have it both ways.
You say you have a happy marriage. Please give your husband a break.