Dear Abby: Boyfriend takes charge after couple moves into his house

Advice column

Dear Abby: I have been with the same man for almost 30 years. We are not married and have no children together. He is 15 years older than I am.

We have been living in his house for the past seven years. I feel more like a renter than a partner in this relationship. I give him money every month, and we sleep in separate rooms. He wants to control everything in his house, including how to clean, cook or what we eat. I bite my lip to avoid starting a confrontation.

He is a lifelong bachelor, while I have two adult children and a couple of grandkids. I’m not sure how much more of this I can take. I work all day; he doesn’t. I want to leave, but at the same time, I care and worry about him. What should I do?

– Disillusioned in Illinois

Dear Disillusioned: Quit biting your lip. Gather your courage and start an honest conversation with your housemate in which you tell him you have been unhappy with the status quo for a long time. Then outline the changes that would make you happy. If he isn’t willing to compromise, then pack your bags and leave because you will know the feelings you have for him are not mutual.

Dear Abby: I’ve been “friends” with a woman for 25 years. For a time, we were best friends and did everything together, but we couldn’t be more different. It caused many fights and disagreements over the years. She has deeply hurt and embarrassed me countless times. She ruined birthdays, damaged other relationships — even ruined my bachelorette party. I don’t know why I still bother with her. I think because of our deep roots, it’s hard to let go.

At the moment, we haven’t spoken in more than two months, and I know she’s upset with me yet again. Should I reach out and mend the bond? Do I use this as a stepping stone to start moving on? I love her, but I know it really is a toxic relationship.

– Off Again in New Jersey

Dear Off Again: Please reread the last sentence of your letter. Do not bother reaching out and trying to mend the breach in your relationship. You cannot fix what’s wrong with this old friend, but you can move on. Her silence is giving you the opportunity. Take it!

Dear Abby: My son is getting married in a couple of weeks. Due to COVID-19, he and his fiancee are having to downsize the list of invitees. This includes asking those who have already RSVP’d “yes” and/or have already given them a wedding gift not to attend. Should they return the wedding gifts to those they are disinviting to the wedding?

– Wondering in the South

Dear Wondering: Your son and his fiancee should at least OFFER to return the gifts. Considering the reason for the downsizing, some of the no-longer-invited guests may tell them to keep them along with their good wishes, while others will not.

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 or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.