Couple wants a home without family tenants

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Amy Dickinson, Ask Amy Ask Amy

Amy Dickinson is a general advice columnist.

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DEAR AMY: I have an older and a younger sister. Over the past two years my sisters have had my father live with them for a time. He was ill but is now recovering. My husband and I are about to buy our first home, and my younger sister is hounding me to have my father live with us. He is 59 and capable of living on his own. We don't have children yet and have the space, but my younger sister would also be tagging along. She doesn't have a permanent home. My husband and I understand that someday we will have to take my father in, but we're not ready to do it just yet. We aren't buying this home to house my family. Are we being selfish?--Worried Wife

DEAR WIFE: You and your husband have formed a family together. Your primary job is to put your family at the center of your lives. Then you give what you can to others -- your family and his. Nothing strains a marriage so much as cohabiting with other family members. Unless you and your husband both want very much to do this, then you should not.

You say your younger sister lacks a permanent home. You should assume that she has a strong motive to pressure you to provide for your father, because then you would also be providing for her. You don't mention what your father wants or needs. You and your husband need to communicate with him directly to outline what you are prepared to do for him, now and in the future.

DEAR AMY: "Wondering" was considering seeking sex outside of her marriage. You replied that if her husband agrees to this, then it is not really "cheating." One definition of "cheat" is "to be sexually unfaithful." The husband's permission is irrelevant. If she does not like the word cheat, she could accurately use the word adultery. --Sandy

DEAR SANDY: Other readers agreed with you. I feel that if two adults consent to have an "open" marriage, then it doesn't rise to your definition.