DEAR AMY: Three years ago I met the woman of my dreams. Six months later I met her 20-year-old son. “Vicky” told me what a great kid “Charlie” was. He lived in another state, and one day we got a call from him saying he was in jail and needed to be bailed out for his second DUI. Vicky paid for his relocation and legal fees (totaling over $5,000). She had to pawn her jewelry to get him out of trouble. Charlie has never offered to pay her back; he’s been living with us rent-free now for almost three years. He promised to go to college, but didn’t. Vicky and I argue almost constantly over him. We are moving to another part of the state, and I really don’t want to take Charlie with us. He recently started an eight-week vocational class, but I think he’s starting to realize he won’t make enough money. When Vicky and I mention that we’re looking at one-bedroom places, Charlie becomes furious. I don’t know what to do. Vicky calls him a kid, but he’s almost 23, he has no ambition, no motivation, plays video games all day, eats us out of house and home and I’m tired of it. I pay the rent and all the bills and he takes it for granted because I make good money, but I’m tired of supporting him. I’m afraid that I’m going to have to choose between taking Vicky and Charlie and moving by myself. Am I being unreasonable in not wanting to support him?
DEAR DISAPPOINTED: I think it’s reasonable to expect a 23-year-old to support himself, but I didn’t raise “Charlie,” and you didn’t, either. “Vicky” did, and she has made it clear that when it comes to her life, her son takes precedence.
She (and you) could help him to get on his feet by continuing to celebrate his good choices, while being very realistic about what you will and won’t do in the future. It would be possible for him to live on his own if he had a full-time job and some life skills, sharing housing with others and taking public transportation. His vocational program should offer additional resources for gaining the skills he will need.
You should expect this young man to act out when he sees his meal ticket flee the scene. Unless his mother can learn to tolerate her own anxiety concerning him, I think you’ll be going it alone.
DEAR AMY: My boss is acting a little crazy and I am not sure how to deal with it. He has worked nearly his whole life at my workplace and is the top manager. In the past few years, he has been keeping odd hours at work, coming in at 3 a.m. I have a key to the office and one day I stopped by to print something for another employee. It was during the daytime, and it seems I interrupted some inappropriate sexual behavior on the part of my boss (he was alone). He quickly ran out of his office and some pornography was left playing on his computer. I got out of there quickly. If I go over his head to the owners, he will be fired. He is near retirement age and I don’t want to cause him any lasting problems, but that behavior has to stop. What would be the best way to deal with this situation?
Shocked and Dazed
DEAR DAZED: Depending on the atmosphere and professionalism of your workplace, keep in mind that if you go to the owners about this, there is a chance that you — not your boss — will be fired.
I think it is wisest for you to consider this possibility as you move forward. Document all of his strange behavior (not only this latest episode), keep a copy of it at your home, consider your own employment options and tell the owner the truth. Your boss’s behavior affects your ability to work securely, and likely affects the business’s bottom line.
DEAR AMY: My mom and dad were in the same situation as “Upset.” They both moved for Dad’s business, and Dad wanted to stay, but Mom hated it there. Mom finally said, “I’m moving back home. You are welcome to join me, if you want.” She started making moving plans and Dad was on board so fast it was mind blowing. Maybe Upset should try that approach!
DEAR LEWIS: It’s the nuclear option.