Dear Abby: Our friend moved in during divorce, now acts like he’ll never leave

Woman is frustrated with her husband’s live-in BFF, who makes little money and isn’t trying to better himself.

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DEAR ABBY: My husband’s best friend lives with us, and I love him like a brother. The problem is, he has no degree and no car and aspires to nothing more than work in fast food part time. We took him in to help him get through a bad divorce, and now it seems like he’ll never be able to leave.

He doesn’t make enough money to support himself and has no ambition for completing his education. My husband is convinced there is no path for him to better himself. Since I’m supporting all three of us, this has become a serious bone of contention. How can I improve this situation? — FRUSTRATED IN FLORIDA

DEAR FRUSTRATED: You should not be supporting all three of you. Be prepared to be the “bad guy” and stop the gravy train now. Your husband’s best friend’s career limitations should not be your problem, so give him a deadline to leave and insist upon it, with the help of your husband. If that doesn’t solve your problem, you may need the help of a lawyer for guidance.

DEAR ABBY: When I had my two children in my 40s, I had zero idea of how hard it would be. One has autism; the other has ADHD. My child with ADHD is very self-confident and refuses to do what we ask him to do. He’s 15 and very smart, but he’s not able to take care of himself.

When do you stop being “the parent” and let them take care of themselves? Parenting is much harder than anything I’ve ever done. — DIFFICULT IN TEXAS

DEAR DIFFICULT: Some parents start teaching their children to be independent well before their teens by giving them responsibilities. Others do it as their children mature and feel that by age 18 or 21 their supervision is no longer necessary. There are also parents who feel their job is never over and encourage their adult children to remain dependent into their 30s, 40s and beyond.

Unfortunately, parenthood doesn’t come with a rule book, so the decision about when and how to step back is up to you and their father, if he is present in their lives.

DEAR ABBY: I have four nieces I adore. As they’re getting older, preteen to teen, I give them checks for birthdays and holidays. I have told them I do it because I want them to learn about banking, saving money for college, as well as enjoying some of it. My grandmother did the same for me when I was their age, and that’s how I learned to manage the money I have.

I have noticed, though, that my nieces haven’t deposited their checks. I mentioned it to them a few times and their mom said they would, but they haven’t. It has been five months now. Should I just give them cash in the future and forget about the banking and money-management lesson? — LESSONS LEARNED IN WASHINGTON

DEAR LESSONS: If this is the first time you have noticed the checks haven’t been cashed, it’s possible that they have been lost or misplaced. If this isn’t the first time, then ask their mother how SHE would prefer you give your nieces the money in the future, because it’s possible that she hasn’t set up accounts for them.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

For everything you need to know about wedding planning, order “How to Have a Lovely Wedding.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds), to: Dear Abby, Wedding Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

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