DEAR AMY: I met a lady on an internet site two years ago, and four months later, we were married. Everything was wonderful at first, but eventually the honeymoon was over and the reality of life set in. I found out that she had been in the country illegally, but by then I had fallen in love and decided to claim her for legal status. She received the legal papers four months ago, so she is a citizen now. I work as a registered nurse on the night shift, so my salary is enough to take care of a normal household, but ours doesn’t seem to be a normal household. For our first Christmas together, she asked “Santa” for liposuction, at a cost of $7,600. I told her that I didn’t have that kind of money, so she suggested that we start saving. She refuses to work. At first, she told me that she would work when she got legal status. Now that she has the right to work, she tells me that she will only look for employment when she is ready. Last year, we argued over her wanting to spend money on overseas trips, all the while reminding me that Santa still had not delivered what she had asked. She also seems to have a drinking problem, and has blacked out at least once from drinking. Three months ago, I got the surprise of my life when my wife’s 31-year-old son turned up. He has no place to stay, and she asked me if he could move in with us for a period of six months. I agreed, because I would never turn my back on someone that needs help. Now that her son is living with us, she has become more argumentative, demanding and distant. (A couple of friends have even asked me if that guy is really her son!) Now, she is asking me to buy her a car, even though she doesn’t know how to drive. After 20 months of marriage I’m ready to throw in the towel. Do you have any advice for me?
DEAR TAKEN: Take that money you’ve been saving for your wife’s liposuction, and get yourself a lawyer. You should take every measure possible to legally protect yourself and your finances, and to get her and her son out of your household. This might be more challenging than you realize, and so you should make sure you have good legal advice.
The way you describe this, your wife sounds like a practiced scammer, and in you she seems to have found a willing mark. I’m very sorry this has happened — nice and kind people like you are vulnerable to people who will take advantage of your kindness. But now it is time to be kind to yourself.
DEAR AMY: I’m responding to “Trapped,” who needed a way to cut short office visits with her boss, “Mr. Talky Pants.” In addition to your idea that she set an alarm on her phone, Trapped could get a free phone app and can set up a fake call to come in at a designated time. Some apps even let the user record a message, ostensibly what the “caller” is saying in real time. The phone rings, Trapped reflexively glances at the phone, gasps and (holding the phone up so the fake contact info can be seen), apologizes to Mr. Talky Pants, saying that they need to take the call. With practice Trapped can time breaks in the message to respond with stuff like: “Hello, Bob, did you get the report?” “Hmm ... I’ll need to go to my desk and check on that.” “OK, I’ll get back with you in a couple minutes.” Again, mix it up. Start off slow. Be sure to reject some calls (not all calls are emergencies). Gradually increase the alarms and calls, and only occasionally indulge in the boss’s monologues.
Been There, Done That
DEAR BEEN THERE: This is bananas. While I enjoy and am amused by this idea — generally the more elaborate the deception, the more dramatic its failure will be.
DEAR AMY: “Worried Mother” was facing the prospect of her young children spending summer days with their disruptive, violent teen cousin at daycare. While I agreed with your expression of concern regarding this situation, you should have urged this worried mother to find alternate daycare for her children for the summer.
DEAR CONCERNED: I agree with you, although it is the teen who really needs an alternative.