DEAR ABBY: My partner and I have been together for 11 years, living together for seven. He’s a Realtor in his hometown. I had a stroke four years ago, which forced me into early retirement. Real estate is a dog-eat-dog occupation. Paychecks are few and far between, so I pay the rent and all the household bills. He pays his personal bills and the costs of doing business as a Realtor.
He is currently broke and doesn’t have the money to pay his personal bills. I refuse to pay them. I think he should get a part-time job to pay his own bills, but he refuses. Of course, there will be a backlash, and he’ll blame me. He will lose his car, telephone, real estate license, health and car insurance, etc.
I have bailed him out before, but I am no longer willing to do it because I’m running out of what money I had set aside for retirement. He already owes me thousands of dollars in several loans, which I don’t expect to recover. What do I do? I don’t want to split up or continue to argue over this. — PLANNING AHEAD
DEAR PLANNING: Your “partner” refuses to look for a part-time job so he can be self-supporting and not dependent on you? Dear lady, you may not want to split up after this amount of time, but your partner is a luxury you can no longer afford. Stop arguing, accept it and move on.
DEAR ABBY: My boyfriend of two years works for a company with 160 employees, 95 miles from our town. He held a party at a restaurant located near the company. I knew no one and doubt very much I will ever run into these people again.
While I was at the party, I met a young woman who, like myself, was there with her boyfriend and didn’t know anyone. We chatted for half an hour about the holidays and made general conversation. When she mentioned she had been recently diagnosed with a condition I have, too, I gave her some websites to check out for information and told her not to worry. I also told her that if I can be well and deal with this issue, anyone can. Our conversation lasted about 15 minutes, and I asked no personal questions. When I had to leave the party, she remained sitting by herself and started playing with her phone.
The next day, my boyfriend was angry because upon leaving with her boyfriend, the woman told him, “Your girlfriend kept nagging me about my condition and wouldn’t shut up.” I was dumbfounded and hurt. I was trying to be nice. Why did my boyfriend tell me? He said nothing to her to defend me. Even worse, what did he accomplish by repeating what she had said? He knew it would make me feel bad. I’ll never run into these people again. Am I wrong in feeling hurt? — DUMBFOUNDED IN THE EAST
DEAR DUMBFOUNDED: I am still trying to figure out why someone would tell a stranger at a party her medical status and then take offense if the person tried to be helpful. If what you were saying made her uncomfortable, she should have said it to you, not your boyfriend. You aren’t wrong for feeling hurt. However, you are wrong to blame your boyfriend for telling you something he thought you needed to hear. That’s what people who love each other do.
DEAR ABBY: What is a proper tip to leave a server at an all-you-can-eat buffet? They bring water and bus the table, but we get our own food and drinks. They certainly don’t work as hard as servers in a sit-down restaurant. — WONDERING IN THE EAST
DEAR WONDERING: The employees you describe are also “working hard.” If you’re eating in the restaurant, leave a couple of dollars for the bussers who are clearing the dishes. If you receive service in addition to that, leave 10%.
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 DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.