Solve your life dilemmas with expert advice from Maura O’Neill
Dear Maura: I’ve been with this man for a year. He’s a decent person. We’re both 48 and have families with previous partners. But I don’t know what to do with him because he’s so lazy. He throws his clothes everywhere, wet towels on the bed, and the kitchen is always a mess when he’s been in there. I work full-time and I’m the one left to clean up after him — and he just doesn’t see that. I got Covid a few weeks ago and was very sick. Even then he did nothing around the house. He even had a few friends over for a game of cards because I was in the spare bedroom isolating. The next morning, I found the place in a disgusting state. I had to clean it up, then I sat down and cried and cried. I’m sick of tidying and running around cooking and sorting out the house for him. Since we started living together he’s never put on a wash or loaded the dishwasher. But the state of the kitchen and sitting room when I was so sick was the final blow. What do I do? I still don’t feel well. Answer: It’s interesting that you describe your partner as a ‘decent’ man — that’s certainly not my impression reading your letter. If I asked you to list the three most positive things about him what would you say? Could you come up with one? Let’s take his behaviour and lack of care when you were really sick. This incident says so much about him. I feel very angry you had to clean up after him and his friends. There is no empathy here, no emotions whatsoever. Do you want a man like this in your life? I hope his recent behaviour helps you to see you can’t go on like this. You have to make the decision that has been waiting for you to take hold of for quite a while now.
I don’t want my son to move back in
Dear Maura: My son has asked me if he can move in with his girlfriend for a year because they want to save money to buy a house. I told him I wanted to think about it.
I’m not sure about this but I don’t want to lose my son either. There’s just the two of us. I fought hard to get a home and peace after a difficult life. I’m at the stage now where I can come and go as I please. How can I turn him down?
I like his girlfriend up to this point. That could all change of course and I don’t want that either. If I sit him down and say this to him, he could get annoyed too. I don’t know what to do.
Answer:Ground rules are now your best friend. Ask your son to visit on his own and work through everything honestly and openly.
Tell him exactly what you have written here. You need your space. They must be conscious of that.
If something is not working then the person who is unhappy must speak up and be listened to. Nothing should be allowed to fester. If he is planning to stay a year then that’s the agreed time frame.
They will have a deadline to work towards. Have this conversation and make your decision based on how you feel afterwards.
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