Dear Abby: Living at boyfriend's house requires dealing with dad

DEAR ABBY: I live with my boyfriend and his father. I moved in two years ago to help them pay bills so they could keep living in the house my boyfriend grew up in. But the situation has become unlivable. 

My boyfriend's father is rude, racist and self-centered. It doesn't matter that we are struggling; he goes out and spends all his money on guns and fancy dinners for other relatives. Then he complains about how he's broke and has no money to help buy things for the house. He has also raised our rent because he has "debt to the IRS," which has literally nothing to do with me or my boyfriend. 

We can't talk to him without a big argument breaking out, and I'm at the end of my rope. It's too expensive to move, so please, any help or advice would be much appreciated.

— UNHAPPY ROOMMATE

DEAR ROOMMATE: I hope you now realize that your boyfriend's father isn't going to change; his nature is fully formed. This rude, self-centered racist is WHO HE IS. Instead of continuing to buy things for the house, pay the man his rent and start saving for another place to live. If your boyfriend can contribute to that fund, he can move with you. If he's unwilling or unable to do that, leave and find a roommate with whom to share expenses. And be grateful, very grateful, you haven't married into this family and can escape with no entanglements. Move on — the sooner, the better.

DEAR ABBY: I have been happily married for 22 years. We have three beautiful children. We laugh and love a lot. For the past 10 years, I have been trying to keep a brave face when it comes to my mother-in-law. She makes fun of my looks (and my mother's) often, and puts me down in front of my husband. I'm embarrassed, appalled, angry and sad all at the same time. My husband has told me he talks to her about this, but nothing has changed. It has reached the point that I no longer want to be around her. 

Tonight at dinner, she grabbed my stomach and told me how fat I was. I adore my husband so, while she has been cruel to me, I have remained kind to her. I recently told him I would begin speaking to her the way she speaks to me. Please help.

— HARD TO STAY KIND IN MARYLAND

DEAR HARD: Stop expecting your husband to run interference for you. You both should have asserted yourselves with the old biddy years ago. The next time she pipes up with a criticism, tell her you don't like her rudeness and will no longer tolerate it. The next time she grabs you or puts her hands on you, point out that what she's doing is committing assault. Your husband should have put a stop to this when it started, by telling her to leave immediately. At the very least, he should back you up now. The longer you continue to silently put up with her abuse, the longer it will continue. 

DEAR ABBY: My husband and I have been married for 40 years, and we've had our ups and downs. My problem is, he frequently talks about the girls he knew before me. He describes them all in glowing terms — gorgeous, perfect body, beautiful hair, well-endowed and on and on. It makes me feel self-conscious and inadequate. 

Add to this he is short-tempered with me. He constantly finds fault with the way I do things and speaks to me harshly. When I told him how it made me feel, his answer was that I was "sick in the head." He won't listen or acknowledge that he has a part in the problem. Where do I go from here?

— FEELING LESS THAN

DEAR FEELING LESS: I'm glad you asked. Where you go from here is to the office of a licensed psychotherapist to help you figure out why you have tolerated being treated this way for 40 years and give you the tools to regain your battered self-esteem. 

Your short-tempered husband is no prize. Whether his long-ago girlfriends could have competed for Miss Universe is beside the point. He somehow wound up with "flawed" little ol' you. You are no more "sick in the head" than I am! Wrap your mind around that fact and recognize you are married to a verbal abuser with an overactive fantasy life, and the better off you will be.

DEAR ABBY: I have known my friend "Aaron" since first grade. Our relationship hasn't been the same since COVID broke out. He hardly ever connects with me unless it's on social media. He refuses to get together with anyone or leave his house. 

Things haven't been easy for him because he lives alone. He used to live with his brother, but since his brother's death a few years ago, Aaron hasn't been the same. I'm upset with him because instead of telling me, he told my best friend about his brother's death. When we discussed trying to get together again, he initially said he wanted to wait until the stay-at-home order was lifted. When that finally happened, he announced he didn't want to get together until COVID had died down and it was considered safe. 

Abby, I feel hurt and betrayed. I understand Aaron's concerns about COVID and the risks involved, but I don't like being lied to. I feel he deceived me by telling me one thing but really meaning another. I think he should have been upfront and honest with me from the start. 

I value our friendship, so I'm not willing to throw it away just yet. Aaron is no longer talking to me, and our relationship is ruined. Am I wrong to feel this way? I'm unsure about what steps to take next.

— HURT GUY IN MICHIGAN

DEAR HURT GUY: You didn't mention whether Aaron is socializing again with others. It's possible that since his brother's passing he has realized how fragile and unpredictable life can be, and is taking every precaution. I think it would be healthier for you if you stop obsessing about him and begin forming other friendships. If Aaron is no longer talking to you, the "steps" you should take are in the opposite direction. 

About Dear Abby

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 www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.