Dear Abby: My ex is living in a van down in our driveway

His former spouse is sick of the formerly homeless man invading the house and getting involved with the family business.

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DEAR ABBY: I love my husband, but I’m getting tired of being a second-class citizen in my home. It started when we bought a van from a friend of mine. We talked about different things we could do with it — fix it up a little and sell it, or use it for vacation — but somewhere along the line it was suggested that we let my ex, “Paul,” buy it from us because he’s homeless and chooses to let everyone else take care of him.

The van is now fixed. Paul lost his job and is now living in the van — in my driveway. The problem is, he doesn’t stay in the van. He crashes on my couch, uses my electricity, water, etc., and now eats my food. I told my husband this is not healthy for my mental well-being.

My husband and I own our own business, and Paul has now become involved in that, too. My husband says he can use the help and it gives Paul money to move. The only problem with that is my ex doesn’t use the money for bills — he blows it on junk he doesn’t need. I’m tired of raising a 41-year-old grown man. Help! — FED UP IN OKLAHOMA

DEAR FED UP: You are not a second-class citizen. This arrangement seems crazy. Because it is interfering with your marriage, tell your husband the situation is affecting your mental health and insist upon a deadline by which Paul will be out of there. Guests, like fish, start to stink after three days, and Paul has exceeded that by far. He has a van, so whether or not he has saved enough for a place of his own, he won’t be without shelter. Your mental health is more important than your husband having an extra hand in the business.

DEAR ABBY: I have several creative friends who have either written a book or made a music CD. I get asked to read or listen to these creations and submit an online review. One book was written about a very rough divorce, and my “friend” described her ex using some gossipy (and awful) information that I knew was not true. She placed all the blame on her ex, when it was she who committed adultery (a fact she conveniently left out of the book). The music CD was not to my liking either — my friend cannot sing.

How do I handle these review requests? So far, I have simply not submitted a review because I’m not going to lie or give a bad one. But what do I say when they ask? — CRITICAL CRITIC

DEAR CRITIC: Tell your author friend that while she may be a talented writer, you are not comfortable endorsing her book because it is being used as a weapon to make her ex-husband look bad. Point out that if her book succeeds, he could retaliate by suing her for libel, and you want no part of it. As to your musician friend, all you need to say about the CD is that “it is clear the singer has music in their soul.”

In the future when you are asked to write a review, decline by stating that because you are a friend, you cannot give an unbiased review. Period.

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.

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