Amy Dickinson is a general advice columnist.
DEAR AMY: I am 58-years-old, and my boyfriend of two years (whom I once loved) thinks a great date is to take me to a pub (where most of my drinks are free) and then to his home to watch TV. He is cheap! He is 68 and has claimed he is “poor” and on Social Security. I believed him. Recently, he purchased over $10,000 in toys for himself: Guns, a safe, a laptop, a tablet, and a camera. We never go out. I confronted him, and he said, “It’s my money.” I understand that I need to leave the relationship, but I’ve made a lot of friends through him. How do I keep the friends while losing the guy? I’ve tested the waters, but his friends all think he’s great. I would not speak ill of him, but I need the friends I’ve made through him. — On the Way Out
DEAR WAY OUT: This reminds me of the old joke where a guy walks into his psychiatrist’s office and says, “I need help. My brother is crazy. He thinks he’s a chicken.” The doctor says, “Why don’t you turn him in?” and the guy says, “I would, but I need the eggs.”
The fact is, your guy’s money is his own to spend. (You don’t mention any generosity that you might have extended in his direction, by the way.)
If guns and a laptop are what he really wants in life (hardly “toys,” I’d say), then he might not really miss you all that much. It might be possible for you to break off the romance with this man while still remaining friends with him. People do it all the time. Stay cordial. Tell him you want to set him free to see other people.
DEAR AMY: I’m a 22-year-old girl. I dated someone for five years but ended it because I just couldn’t be with him anymore. Six months before I broke up with him, I got a puppy. I felt more than capable of raising “Puppy.” I brought him home to my mom’s house, and she said no and told me to get rid of the puppy. Then I went to my dad’s house, but he said no too! I ended up living with my (then) boyfriend for a week, until my mom talked my dad into letting me and Puppy stay. It was super-nice of my ex-boyfriend to let us stay with him when no one else wanted us. I know I was impulsive to get a dog, but I take good care of him. He’s my best friend. Fast-forward to now. My ex texts me every few weeks and asks how Puppy is doing. He keeps asking me to meet him at the dog park. I don’t know if he’s just using this to see me again. I’m about to date someone else, and I don’t want to see my ex now. I don’t know what to do. I don’t want to see my ex, but I do want him to see Puppy for one last time. I don’t want to hurt my new guy’s feelings. I don’t want this to give my ex any ideas of me going back to him either. — Stuck
DEAR STUCK: This is why responsible shelters are so careful about vetting people who want to adopt animals. You should not take a dog into your care if you can’t guarantee it a stable home. All the same, at this point you and Puppy are a team, and good for you.
You are under no obligation to deliver your dog for a visit with your ex. If he texts you every few weeks to inquire about the dog, you can respond with a text or photo showing how Puppy is doing, or you can ignore this contact. If he says he wants to see the dog, and you don’t want to do this, you can tell him it’s not convenient. This is how you create and keep distance from someone you don’t want to see. Delivering the dog for a “goodbye” visit is creating unnecessary drama.
DEAR AMY: With all due respect, I think you missed a clue in the letter from “Wondering,” whose in-laws didn’t interact with the grandchildren, and the TV was always blaring. I think it’s likely these older people suffer from hearing loss. Someone should look into it. — Reader from CA
DEAR READER: Yes, an always-blaring TV is definitely a sign of hearing loss. Thank you very much.