DEAR ABBY: I have been in a relationship with "Gary" for four years. His late wife was his first and only relationship. When he moved in with me, he brought so many boxes they filled my entire basement. I want it cleared out because I don't feel I should have to store his past.
Gary's adult children have had the opportunity to take boxes home, but never do. When I asked him to clean things up, he responded by saying he doesn't feel at home here and will start looking for a place of his own.
For the most part, our relationship is a good one. I feel if he's ready to move on, he shouldn't have brought his past here with him -- including the urn containing his late wife's ashes. Am I wrong to feel this way? -- FEELING CROWDED, CARLIN, NEV.
DEAR FEELING CROWDED: While all of us bring the "baggage" of past relationships with us as we move through life, your friend has done it in a literal sense. If he was concerned about your feelings, he could rent a storage unit -- but he hasn't. Telling you that if you insist he clear out the basement, he will clear you out of his life is emotional blackmail.
Perhaps it's time to ask yourself if this relationship is a healthy one. Could the boxes and the urn be symptoms of a larger problem? If so, then Gary should haul his ashes, boxes and self elsewhere.