DEAR HARRIETTE: I broke up with my boyfriend about six months ago, but he still lives in my apartment. I know it sounds crazy, but I needed a roommate to split the rent with me; when we broke up, it just seemed easier for him to stay -- at least for a while.
Last weekend, while I was sitting in the courtyard of my building enjoying a socially distanced gathering with my neighbors, I saw him approach our building with another woman. It freaked me out. This isn’t the first time he has brought a woman to the apartment; he’s even had a few of them spend the night. I realize that we aren’t a couple anymore, but I think it is so disrespectful for him to do that. I don’t know what to do. This is my apartment that I own. I suppose I should ask him to leave, but I do need the financial help. What should I do? -- Mad at Ex
DEAR MAD AT EX: I’m so sorry you had to experience that. Even though you and your ex are no longer a couple, clearly you have lingering feelings -- either for him, or at least for the memory of what you had. I am curious as to why you decided he could stay with you after the breakup. You speak of the money, and that’s understandable on a certain level. But you must know that you can get another roommate.
Consider the deeper issue: You may not be ready to let this man go. You have to face that and come to terms with what you want and deserve. Invite him to find a new place to live, give him a deadline for moving out and look for a new roommate so that you can make a smooth transition.
If you are not ready to do that, establish rules. Since it is your house, request that he not bring guests to your home. He won’t like that, and it may prompt him to move on his own. Tell him that it hurts your feelings when he brings his dates to your home. Admit that you thought it would work for him to remain your roommate, but you realize that it just won’t.Read more in: Love & Dating
DEAR HARRIETTE: My mother is losing her memory, and it is so scary. We have had her checked out by a doctor who said she doesn’t have dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. That’s good, but it doesn’t change the fact that she forgets everything. I talk to her on the phone, and five minutes later she may not remember what we talked about. What’s worse is that she is living in a nursing home, so we still cannot go to visit her. Ever since COVID-19 started, she has deteriorated so much. I am worried about her. Being alone with nothing to do is terrible for her. But her doctor does not think that we can take her out of the facility because we don’t have the skills to care for her. -- Save Mom
DEAR SAVE MOM: Many doctors are encouraging family members to keep their elderly loved ones safe by keeping them in these facilities. Some nursing homes are offering drive-by visitation with family members so they can at least see each other. Do that if you can. Weekly interaction may spark your mother’s hopefulness. Call her regularly. Use FaceTime or some other videoconferencing feature if you can. Many facilities are helping by providing this service. Ask her to tell you stories that may jog her memory. Stay in close touch as you wait for the day when visitation opens up.
(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to email@example.com or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)Read more in: Aging | Family & Parenting