DEAR ABBY: My sister, "Earline," seems not to really care about family that much. She does drugs and sells them.
My family and I just bailed her out of jail. I took my entire paycheck, my brother lent his entire paycheck, and our mom gave the last couple of hundred bucks she had to her name. Earline promised to pay us all back when she got home. (She was arrested out of state.)
We spent well over $1,000 getting her out, and she has been back for two weeks and hasn't repaid any of us. I have an 8-month-old baby to support.
This isn't the first time -- this has been going on for years, and I mean years. What should I say to Earline to get our money back, and so she'll stop doing this? She has two kids who live with my parents. -- NEEDS THE MONEY IN CHILLICOTHE, OHIO
DEAR NEEDS THE MONEY: Your sister may be so drug-addicted -- and addled -- that she can't see beyond her own needs. Surely, if this has been "going on for years," your family is by now aware that the chances that she will repay the money are practically nil. My advice is to write it off, and the next time Earline finds herself in a jam –- or in the slammer –- let her bail herself out. Having to pay the consequences is the only way she'll learn, and possibly get help.
DEAR ABBY: I have a sister-in-law who constantly refers to my brother as "my husband" instead of by his name. I find it so irritating. I feel the term "my husband" should be relegated to the doorman or the cleaners around the corner, as in: "My husband will pick this up this afternoon." It shuts me out and sounds pompous. Am I wrong? -- "GARTH'S" SISTER IN NEW JERSEY
DEAR SISTER: Are you wrong? Is she wrong? It seems to me that more is going on here than you being put off by the way your sister-in-law refers to your brother. Maybe she is insecure, and that's why she feels the need to "remind" you that your brother is her husband, or maybe she has trouble remembering names.
But if you let this get under your skin, how will you handle it when a serious disagreement arises -- as it often does in families? My advice is to mellow out and find your sense of humor.
DEAR ABBY: I am married to a wonderful woman, but something has been bothering me since we have been together. I am not as honest as I should be in our relationship.
We have had money problems pretty much since our marriage began. I have a spending problem, and I lie to her about where the money goes. I have been doing better, but I still want to spend money we do not have.
I do not spend money on drugs, prostitutes or clothes, but rather on plastic models and other hobby-related items. How do I stop spending and lying to my wife about it? -- SICK OF THE LYING IN OKLAHOMA
DEAR SICK: You start acting like a man instead of a child with his hand in the cookie jar. You recognize that marriage is a partnership and you have been, in a sense, stealing from your partner. Then you and she agree on a budget you can responsibly allocate to your hobby, and live within your means.
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