DEAR ABBY: I’m a 65-year-old woman with a younger brother who is 63 and physically, mentally and emotionally disabled. He’s deaf, reads at a fourth-grade level and can do math only at a second-grade level. He has paranoia, and because of that, he can’t work with other people. He receives disability payments, but they are only a small amount of money.
My husband and I have had successful careers and are comfortable financially. For many years, we have helped my brother by paying some of his bills, but my retirement next year will make this harder to do. How much do I owe this sibling? If he can’t afford to stay in his apartment, he would wind up living with us or homeless. — FEARING THE FUTURE
DEAR FEARING: You are a wonderful sister. I am sorry your parents didn’t provide for what might happen to their son after their deaths.
Start doing some research and explore what all of the options may be. Go online and look for “services for the disabled.” Contact the department of mental health in your state and inquire about what options are available for your mentally ill sibling. Follow it up by scheduling an appointment with a social worker. You can find one by contacting your county department of mental health or a local hospital because there’s usually at least one on staff. If your brother can possibly live independently without your financial support, it might be the better option for all of you.
DEAR ABBY: I am so frustrated with my husband that I’m considering divorce once the quarantine is over. We don’t see things the same at all. Maybe it’s because we’re tired of being around each other because of the pandemic, but this has been a really tough time. Everything I say gets him upset.
Part of the problem may be his job. He is very unhappy with it, and he walks around the house upset all day, every day. I try to give him space, but if I ask him to do something, he gets upset.
I asked him a couple of times to cut the grass. He told me to ask him something once and then let it go, which I usually do, but it had grown 3 to 5 feet high. I think I’m a patient person, but he said I talk to him like a boss giving him orders. I made it clear I never demand anything from him, I always ask, but that doesn’t matter to him. He doesn’t like the way I ask. It seems like he gets upset whenever I’m around.
I continue taking things one day at a time, but right now I’m very unhappy in this marriage. If I could rewind the hands of time, I would have never married him. I don’t know how to handle this. He doesn’t want to be around me unless we are having sex. Abby? — MISERABLE IN MARYLAND
DEAR MISERABLE: Many couples have become stressed to the max during the last year. I hope you and your husband can find a way to give each other the benefit of the doubt before deciding whether to call it quits. There will be plenty of time to consider divorce later. The two of you are overdue for a serious, civilized discussion about how to keep the level of tension down in the meantime.
That said, I do not think you should be having sex with him under these circumstances. Certainly not until he cuts the grass or finds another job he enjoys.
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.