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Old 01-02-2012, 06:07 PM
 
Location: Austin
773 posts, read 1,015,086 times
Reputation: 931

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A dear gal pal broke up with her fiancé a little over a year ago. It was a nasty break-up; he basically tossed her out. I let her move into my spare room (I was looking for a housemate at the time anyway) and gave her a couple of months to get back on her feet before she started paying rent and bills — when she lived with her fiancé, she didn’t work, and he paid for everything.

It’s a year later and while she’s made some progress on the job front, I’m still picking up a lot of the slack. There are always “set-backs.” For example, she parked the car her ex-fiance GAVE her (lock, stock and barrel) in a public parking lot over a major holiday, and surprise, surprise, it got stolen. So now we have to share my car if I want rent coming in. Which wouldn’t be so bad if I saw some responsible behavior on her part. Every week I get parking tickets and unpaid toll charges, and once she actually parked my car in a tow-away zone. Her driving record is abysmal, and I’m afraid that my car will end up toast — or stolen, too.

There’s the cell phone bill. I put her on my family plan, only to find that we’re $100 in data usage overages every month that I have to suck up or my cell service gets turned off, too. The groceries. I probably only get to eat a third of the food I actually buy. [/font]

She’s almost 40 — way too old to not be self-supportive. She’s not an evil, vile person; on the contrary, she’s very warm and loving. But she is very childlike and has been supported by the men in her life for the most part. I’ve counseled her on her personal finances and why she absolutely cannot rack up unnecessary charges like parking tickets and cell phone fees, but I don’t seem to be making a positive impression. Sometimes I feel like I’m nagging a teenager rather than talking to a peer.

I don’t know what to do. It’s a catch-22. If I cut off her phone and not let her drive my car, she can’t work and generate income. At the same time, this is really chipping into my own income stream. And, over the past year, I've gotten the impression that she's really been trying to find another guy to ask her to move in and "take care of her." I can see the same scenario happening over and over again until she learns to stand on her own two feet.

Advice?
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Old 01-02-2012, 06:31 PM
 
Location: Mostly in my head
19,631 posts, read 53,481,140 times
Reputation: 18538
Tell her to move out by Feb 1.

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Old 01-02-2012, 09:30 PM
 
13,725 posts, read 16,258,315 times
Reputation: 10468
Public transportation and prepaid cell phone. Also shop for your food daily.
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Old 01-03-2012, 10:34 AM
 
Location: Raleigh, NC
1,988 posts, read 3,086,361 times
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This happened to me a while ago.
Very good friend left her crazy, soon-to-be ex hubbie (he caused their eviction and car repo).
She said she just needed a month or two. I said sure, and she moved into the back bedroom. She had a good job and had said she'd help with the bills.

Three months later, I realized that she really didn't have any motive to change, and hadn't paid for anything but some of the food.

So I sat down and told her that just because I owned a house with an extra room, didn't make it fair for her to live there and not help me with my mortgage and bills. I told her that she needed to have her own place in a month. She was very agreeable and did start paying a bit (not 1/2).

I had to remind her after 3 weeks, when it looked like she hadn't done anything, and that's when she woke up and realized that she was responsible for her own life. She moved out after a total of 5 months.

I was glad to provide a safe place and give her a break to save up some money for rental and utility deposits, and we parted friends. But I still wonder if I actually kept her from standing on her own feet earlier than she should have.
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Old 01-03-2012, 10:46 AM
 
Location: Up above the world so high!
45,270 posts, read 86,039,386 times
Reputation: 39664
No good deed goes unpunished

You are enabling her and in the long run doing her no favors.

Set some reasonable time frames and get her out on her own.

You've already gone above and beyond and it's time for her to stand on her own two feet.

If she really values your friendship and appreciates all you've done for her, she will move on gracefully.

Best of luck!
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Old 01-03-2012, 11:14 AM
 
Location: Austin
773 posts, read 1,015,086 times
Reputation: 931
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ed_RDNC View Post
I was glad to provide a safe place and give her a break to save up some money for rental and utility deposits, and we parted friends. But I still wonder if I actually kept her from standing on her own feet earlier than she should have.
I feel the same way ... my dad (RIP) was a stand-up guy, and he was always there for friends and relatives who needed a leg up. I know that helping my friend out is what he would want me to do. But he would not have wanted me to encourage dependency.

So I too fear that I'm enabling dependent behavior. What really sucks is that due to the economy, FT jobs are in scarce supply, and a lot of people are struggling to make ends meet, including my friend. Some of this isn't her fault. And I would be much happier to help if my boundaries were respected. E.g., don't go over the data limit, don't get tickets with my car, etc. Oh, and don't go out and party when she doesn't have food in the house to eat. Seems like at some point in time, she learned really bad habits. I blame her mom and dad for this one. They always told her that women didn't work, were to be "taken care of" by men.

And now I'm starting to wonder if this behavior was — partially or largely — why she and her ex-fiance broke up.
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Old 01-03-2012, 12:41 PM
 
9,209 posts, read 18,043,938 times
Reputation: 21953
Some people live as parasites on others. Of course they are sweet, nice people; after all, who would let a complete jerk get away with this stuff? But that's how the parasite finds a means of life support, by being sweet, childlike, and pitiful.

Of course in nature, parasites that suck the life out of their hosts end up killing their only source of life support. Then they have to move on and find another host.

In my book, there are people in life that you're better-off by having in your life, and people that you're worse-off by having in your life. Kind of like accounting: people that go in the credits column and people that fall in the debits column. Some people are assets; some are liabilities. My goal is to only keep the first group in my life, and to never become a member of that second group.
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Old 01-03-2012, 12:46 PM
 
Location: NC
6,034 posts, read 7,183,531 times
Reputation: 6328
The ex fiance should be paying you, lol....

Wow she is really mooching off of you here. Have you added up all it has cost you doing this? I bet you would reconsider if so. This could total over $5,000 in a year......
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Old 01-03-2012, 01:22 PM
 
4,868 posts, read 7,127,447 times
Reputation: 3134
oh my god
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Old 01-03-2012, 01:25 PM
 
Location: USA
1,590 posts, read 1,646,142 times
Reputation: 1627
As you said, she seems to be unable to live on her own. She is lucky to have you. However you are unlucky to have found her, it's liking finding a disabled person and getting stuck with them.

You can't be both nice and pain free. You are either assertive and take care of yourself first, or you are nice and take care of others first, while taking the pain upon yourself.

So it's your choice. Keep being nice and support her.

Or

change things, become a disciplinary parent to her rather than a friend
establish boundaries and as much as you can limit everything you can to the bare minimum

treat her as you would your teenage child, set boundaries and don't try to act nice and friendly. Instead act as a parent, with consequences for bad behavior. Not sure what consequences though...hopefully you can figure it out...
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