DEAR ABBY: I was divorced four years ago after a 27-year marriage. Unbeknownst to me, my ex-husband hadn’t paid taxes for 17 years. We were always pretty strapped as a couple and the parents of four. Money was a constant worry, and I foolishly let him handle it all.
I am now on my own and pay everything on time, but my credit is still poor. I have been dating someone for 2 1/2 years. He has no children. He has a college degree but no savings at all, and he’s $80,000 in debt. He lavishes me with gifts for birthdays. He’s madly in love with me and incredibly kind and thoughtful. The sex is good, but I don’t love him as much as he loves me. Our politics are opposite. He loses his temper now and then, and his finances are a mess. I have broken it off seven times.
He’s now selling his house and planning on moving in with me. I have an engagement ring, and I’m afraid of what it will do to him if I end it again. I’m also afraid of being alone. We get along well and have fun, but I don’t want the money worry. I know he would split the bills, but my income is small and will shrink further when my alimony is done. Help! — MONEY MESS IN MICHIGAN
DEAR MESS: Before this relationship goes a step further, PLEASE discuss the implications with an attorney! You have hooked up with yet another financially irresponsible man. You may “know” he would split the bills when he moves into your home, but you’ll have no guarantee unless you have it in writing, reviewed by an attorney and notarized.
It goes without saying that if you actually would consider marrying this person (in the near or distant future), you will need a prenuptial agreement in place. There are worse things than being alone, and one of them would be to tie yourself to someone who can’t control his temper and can’t handle money.
DEAR ABBY: I had an unfortunate incident at my son’s wedding 11 years ago, for which I feel people are still judging me. I was sick in the months before my son’s wedding and had just returned to work. The week of the wedding, my husband was in the hospital. He was discharged the morning of the wedding, with IV antibiotics to be given at home by me for several weeks. The wedding was big and beautiful. Classy.
During the reception, my husband’s family read a poem they had written about my husband’s medical problem to those in attendance. I was upset and decided to calm down by taking a walk around the neighborhood. While I was walking, the dance with my son was called, but I wasn’t there. Instead of rescheduling for when I returned, my mother-in-law danced with my son. This was deeply upsetting to find out afterward. I don’t think my husband should have let his mother do that. What are your thoughts? — CAN’T LET GO IN THE MIDWEST
DEAR CAN’T LET GO: I think what’s past is past, what’s done is done, and you should stop dwelling on something you cannot change. If there is fault to be found, you all own a share of it. Now let it go.
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 www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
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