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by Abigail Van Buren

Son Who Came to Dinner Has Overstayed His Welcome

DEAR ABBY: Until two years ago, I thought I had a marriage as good as it gets after the honeymoon. We had some problems, but a marriage without some problems doesn't exist.

The real problems began when my wife's son (I'll call him Paul) came to dinner -- and stayed. He is 40. I am 75, and getting older by the minute.

This "boy" was coming off a failed relationship and needed a place to crash. His mother invited him to stay with us without consulting me. That was her first mistake. I didn't object. That was MY first mistake.

Abby, I am not heartless. I figured Paul would stay maybe a month or two. A year went by while he "looked for work." (He rarely left the house.)

Our home is small, with only one bathroom. The two bedrooms are only 10 feet apart. You can bet I was annoyed, but I thought the arrangement was temporary. I naively believed he would leave when he found a job.

Paul has had a job that pays well for more than a year now, but he can't seem to find a house or apartment he likes better than our home. My wife has said nothing to him to indicate she is unhappy with this state of affairs, but I told him he has to get on with his life, and let us get on with ours. He agrees, but doesn't move.

Short of forcibly ejecting Paul, I'm at a loss what to do except leave. I have roots here and a ton of emotional and material baggage, and hate the idea of pulling up stakes at this time in my life. But the possibility becomes more probable every day.

Needless to say, my wife and I are not on good terms now, and "Frankly, I don't give a damn, Scarlett."

Abby, what's a guy to do about a stepson who has long overstayed his welcome? -- AT MY WIT'S END IN DENVER

DEAR AT WIT'S END: Enough is enough. You and your wife are doing Paul no favor by allowing him to be dependent on you. Explain that to your wife, and ask her to help you find an adequate, furnished apartment her son can live in while he's looking for one he likes. Put a deposit on it, and tell Paul the time has come.

If he can't swing the first month's rent, offer to loan it to him, and give him a deadline to be in his new place. Help him to pack his belongings, and offer to assist on moving day.

DEAR ABBY: "Looking for Love in Dallas," whose wife refused his touches and kisses and also nixed sex, has my sympathy. His wife must not realize how lucky she is to be married to a man who still enjoys affection and sex. I hope she wakes up before he's gone.

After three years of dating, "Al" and I are still at square one. He refuses to hold hands, hug, kiss or show affection in any way. Sex is not a memory for us -- you can't remember what you haven't had.

When I touch Al, he freezes up. If I try to tell him how I feel, he leaves.

I would enjoy all of the above, but he won't ante up. I'm so needy, I could live for months on a single compliment.

Abby, please don't use my name. I'm embarrassed to be in my 60s and still ... LOOKING FOR LOVE IN NORTHEAST TEXAS

DEAR LOOKING FOR LOVE IN NORTHEAST TEXAS: Don't be embarrassed; people of all ages need love. However, you won't find it with Al. Throw this cold fish back in the sea, and go fishing in warmer waters.

For an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more attractive person, order "How to Be Popular." Send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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