Arts & Leisure

Dear Mari: Family mooches off me

BROTHER and cousins expect me to drive and pay all the time, and don’t even say “thanks.”

Dear Marilyn,

Family means the world to me. I would rather hang out with my brother and my cousins than to hang out with my friends.

The only problem is that they are all younger than I am by four to five years. Because of the age difference, I have the nicest car to drive, and more money. I am by no means rich, but when we go out, I have always been the one to drive, and to spring for burgers or pizza or even the movies.

Lately, I have noticed that they don’t seem to respect me. It seems to be taken for granted that I will be the one to take them places or pay for their fun. I am not feeling at all appreciated. I am feeling disrespected by them. I can’t figure it out.

I do so many things for them. I also take them everywhere that they want to go. I no longer even get a “thank you.” How can I get them to appreciate me more?

Signed, Desi

Dear Desi,

You can start by letting them know how you feel. It’s possible that, since you are all so close, that they assume that you know that they are grateful. Let them know that this is bothering you. They may immediately show you the appreciation that you deserve.

However, if they laugh, or don’t take you seriously, you are going to have to change your own behavior. At that point, you will want to not be so available to them. Don’t offer to buy them dinner. Stop taking them all over town. They will notice right away, I’m sure, and I will be very surprised if they don’t change their ways.

Finally, don’t forget to enjoy them. Although a little appreciation goes a long way, also remember how much fun you have with them, and how dear they are to you. If you focus on that aspect, you may feel a bit less frustrated by them.

Dear Marilyn,

My boyfriend and I went together for three years. I loved him very much. We have been broken up for about six months now, and I deeply miss our relationship. We are both really busy with school, and work, and it does seem that we don’t have time to focus on anything else. But, I really miss him.

I know that we both care about each other, but commitment, trust and time always get in the way.

He has called me recently, and says that he wants to try and make this work. I don’t know whether to follow my head or follow my heart. So, I really need some advice.

Signed, Wishing and Hoping

Dear Wishing and Hoping,

   If you had only said that the issue was how full your schedules are, and that time gets in the way, I would have advised you to try and find a way to make it work, so that you could see each other, and still have time for your other important obligations.

   However, since you mentioned commitment and trust as issues, my advice is different. I am reading between the lines that he broke your heart once, and you are worried that he will hurt you again.

   You are a person of value and worth, and you don’t want to be with a guy that you can’t trust. He will most likely let you down again.

   So, my advice is to stay away from resuming a relationship with him. You will hopefully meet someone who is worthy of your love.

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