The houseguest from hell

I can’t grieve, she won’t leave, and on top of that we’re paying for everything

Is she taking advantage? Hell yes, says our elder. Get her out of your home as soon as you can.

Dear EWC

My husband and I relocated to another state. A close friend of ours decided she wanted a fresh start, and wanted to make more money, and just do better. We are more then happy to help, and she has been here for almost two weeks, and has already had some job interviews. I’m a pretty private person, and I have stretched my comfort zone to accommodate her. We are her only friends in this state so I know she needs constant attention. Unfortunately, three days after she arrived, I miscarried at eight weeks (the night before Christmas Eve). I haven’t been able to grieve, as I was so sure I was ruining the holidays, and I just couldn’t handle the everything, so I plastered a smile on my face, and pretended I was okay. My husband and I wanted to go out tonight and have dinner just the two of us, but I know she will feel left out. Is there a correct way of doing this, or are we being rude to her? We are all in our mid twenties if that means anything. On top of it, we are paying for everything, so the tab for taking her with us has been around $100+ every time we go out. Our wallets are taking a hit. Is there a proper way to discuss this with her, because we are fine paying for groceries, but eating out is just getting harder to do. She only had $300 to her name coming out, so we can’t expect her to pay for anything and we don’t. We want her to focus on getting her life together, but I need to focus on my marriage, and healing after this loss. Also how long should I give her to get a place? She thinks six months, but she should be making close to $6k a month here, and her expenses would be $1200 a month. She still needs to buy a car, and furniture, but those could be purchased with payments, and her total cost to move into her place here is $900. I know y’all can’t give financial advice, but I was thinking two months was plenty of time, with her having no bills other than her phone bill a month to pay.

JanLynn replies

I’m sorry to hear what’s happening in your life. I have one important question I’d like for you to answer for yourself. And that is this: Was there a time when you and your husband signed a contract with this friend to support her for months and months, including eating out, groceries, rent, etc.? Does such a contract exist?

I ask that rhetorically, of course. I know the answer is NO. Therefore, you have absolutely no obligation to do anything for her. And, in fact, if she really is a close friend of yours, why is she abusing your good nature AND that of your husband. I know husbands who simply wouldn’t put up with something like that.

Let’s start with the dining out part. The three of you should agree on a place to go, and then you tell her that it’s Dutch treat, meaning everyone pays for themselves. If she doesn’t know what that means, then tell her. Perhaps it’s an old-fashioned term and I’m not exactly with it when it comes to twentysomethings. Anyway, that starts the ball rolling for you to tell her she must take care of herself. Same with groceries. If she wants something to eat, she buys it. If it’s a shared meal, ask her to bring two or three things for the meal. Whether or not she’s had a tough time, you’re not her caretaker, agree? 

I believe she is taking advantage of you. If I read your letter correctly, she is already working and she makes a good salary, or soon will be working. My guess is that she’s putting money in the bank while your bank account is suffering. Six months is way too long for her to stay, at least to my way of thinking. Two months is more than generous for her to be out of your place. I’d give her a month. People have no trouble finding places in that time and she doesn’t have to give notice at another place, which could prove a problem. With no notice to be given, she has great freedom to get her own place.

As for her getting her life together, there are two keywords there—HER LIFE. Her life. She must do what she can for herself. 

Regarding you being rude, tell her kindly of course. But let her know exactly what you wrote us, that you must do what’s best for yourself and your husband. Tell her also that you had the miscarriage and you must guard your own health, which means the fewer people around day after day the better.

Again, I’m so sorry all of this is happening during the time when, as you said, you should be grieving over the loss of a baby. Please, do what you can to get your life back, your life with your husband. If this person takes offense at you telling her she must move out, then that’s the way it will be. You’ll find out how close a friend she really is. A true close friend would want what’s best for you. Do you think that’s what she will want? I have my doubts because of how she allows you to pay for everything. That’s not a kind thing to do. However, as you know, I can’t be sure.

I hope a few of my thoughts will be helpful for you in coming to terms with what you should do. Continuing to hope she will move without saying something won’t prove successful, in my view. Do take good care of yourself—and your marriage. I wish you well.

Best Regards,

Elder JanLynn

Reference: #416426

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