ASK AMY: Country living was great, until brother arrived

Article content

Dear Amy: Our five family members share ownership of a remote rural summer home.

Advertisement 2

Article content

By agreement, each member can stay there up to two weeks a year.

Article content

Eighteen months ago, our brother became unemployed, unhoused, and has been staying in this house year-round, reluctantly leaving (late) when the other partners go for their annual vacation time.

Our brother has three dogs that are not house trained.

When we go down “to open the cabin for the season” we end up throwing away rugs, pillows, deodorizing furniture, and cleaning up our brother and his dog’s messes. Our brother has hoarding tendencies.

He has not offered to do maintenance projects in lieu of rent, and the house and grounds have fallen into disrepair.

He does not reply to our emails or phone calls and when we try to deal with him in person, he becomes very defensive and brings up childhood slights rather than discuss the current situation.

Advertisement 3

Article content

Our stepmother gave up her share of the partnership in order not to have to deal with our brother. No one wants to have a family meeting to sort this out. It is so stressful that we can’t have a conversation.

We are almost at the point of wanting to sell the summer cabin, so we don’t have to take on our brother’s messes and behavior.

But, it would be a shame to lose our summer vacation cabin that we and our children have enjoyed for over 60 years.

– Disgusted Siblings

Dear Disgusted: If this property is jointly owned by your five family members with no specific leadership structure, then you are going to need consensus – as well as the assistance of a lawyer to sort through your options.

You should start by researching your legal, practical and personal options, and call a meeting (virtual or in-person) with the other owners (not including your brother) to discuss this openly and try to form a consensus about what to do about this property, and how to try to handle your brother – who seems to have spiraled into a bad place and is now controlling all of you.

Advertisement 4

Article content

Unfortunately, because your brother is a part-owner of the property, it might prove impossible to evict him. If he doesn’t agree to sell the property, you and your siblings would have to go to court to try to force a sale.

Dear Amy: A friend of mine, “Lynn,” passed away two months ago after battling cancer for over two years. She and her husband, “Andy,” moved to our city five years ago, and Lynn and I became fast friends after meeting through mutual friends.

I’m struggling to figure out how I can continue to be a supportive friend to Andy. He’s an active 70-year-old, and he obviously has a lifetime of much-closer friends, both here and in other cities.

It feels awkward to try to create a closer friendship with him, but I don’t want to abandon him. I think of Lynn and him every day.

Advertisement 5

Article content

Our husbands know each other, as we’ve been guests in each others’ homes, and of course my husband spoke with Andy at the memorial service, but the primary friendship was between Lynn and me, so my husband will not be reaching out to Andy.

I don’t want to burden Andy with “just checking in/thinking of you” text messages, and I just don’t know what is appropriate in this situation and what would be welcomed or appreciated by him.

– Grieving Friend

Dear Grieving: You haven’t known “Andy” very long – and you might not know him very well, but you should check in with him. Invite him out for coffee with just the two of you, or ask if he’d like to come to your home for drinks or dinner.

If you are hosting a gathering with other friends, ask if he would like to join you.

Advertisement 6

Article content

He can accept or decline your overtures, and if he accepts he might develop a friendship with you and your husband – or others in your circle.

Yes – this is awkward. Push through that feeling and reach out.

Dear Amy: “Open Minded Daughter” had discovered the man whose sperm was used for her conception. She said her folks had never told her and she was worried about confronting them.

I think she should talk to her mother first. It’s possible that her mother never disclosed this to her husband.

– Been There

Dear Been There: I am aware that some women have conceived children through donation without disclosing to their partners. Good advice.

    Advertisement 1


Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion and encourage all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments may take up to an hour for moderation before appearing on the site. We ask you to keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications—you will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, there is an update to a comment thread you follow or if a user you follow comments. Visit our Community Guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings.

Leave a comment

SMM Panel PDF Kitap indir