I've Spent Decades With a Dud
Dear Annie: I've been in a relationship with "Jason" since April 2001. We got engaged in 2007. I lived apart from him with my three kids as they were still young and in school. I moved in with him in 2010.
Ever since then, and before, it's just gotten worse. I was so blind in love and drinking with him all the time that I guess I really didn't see the whole picture. I've been relatively sober since 2016. Eliminating hard alcohol helped clear my mind.
I realized he is a bit of a narcissistic man and can only see past his nose. I've suspected for many years he is having an affair. I went through menopause in 2011, so my libido literally disappeared in an instant.
I feel he only has me there at his house because he said he "needs me." What about want me? The arguments have escalated.
I know he can't read or write too well and has a limited complex vocabulary. He won't admit it, and I wish he would have or would now. I wouldn't like him less. When you live with someone, you accept things like that. I happen to have a decently high IQ, so his babbling in elementary terms does not help me to have serious adult conversations.
I'm looking to get out and buy a condo so I can have my own place again, clear my head and be mentally healthy. I will still date him if he still wants to and see if we can repair our relationship. We are both ready to retire in several years.
Gosh, if we're fighting like this now, what would it be like if we were together 24/7? I'm afraid to go there. What do you think? -- Kick Him to the Curb
Dear Kick: No number of years with Jason can change the fact that you've been with someone who hasn't emotionally or intellectually fulfilled you for decades.
Your history with Jason shouldn't be a reason to let your personal happiness fall by the wayside.
Follow through on buying your condo and spend time alone. Consider what you want. Is it a relationship you want to repair?
Give some thought to how you want to spend your retirement, too. Between the fighting, his drinking, his narcissism and possible infidelity, I'd bet the coming years will be much more tiresome than retirement with him around.
Dear Annie: This is in response to the 52-year-old "Overwhelmed and Unsure" who is the caregiver for her brother. I would recommend that she help her brother apply for Section 8 federally subsidized housing. He can have his own apartment, and his rent will be based on his income. He can get public assistance (food stamps). My brother-in-law is pretty much in the same position (on Social Security Disability Insurance, recovering alcoholic, can't hold down a job) and he lives independently in a very nice Section 8 apartment in NYC and receives Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits. We are his payee for his Social Security Disability Insurance and ensure his rent and utility bills are paid on time. Someone from the County Department of Social Services should be able to assist her with applying for these benefits. -- Similar Situation
Dear Similar Situation: Thank you for this informed response. I hope other readers will find it useful when trying to find the right care for loved ones.
"Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie" is out now! Annie Lane's debut book -- featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette -- is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to email@example.com.