Dear Abby: My good friend is homeless, am I wrong to not let her use our guest room?

DEAR ABBY: A good friend of 20 years has been homeless for several months. After a short stint of staying in various Airbnbs, she is now mostly living in her car. She has a good-quality, FREE living option available to her. But it would require her to move five hours away, and she doesn’t want to leave her job here. Meanwhile, I have a guest room. 

Since experiencing homelessness, my friend has stayed with me and my family on three different occasions, each time for about a week. But it’s not a sustainable or long-term option. Long story short, we don’t want a roommate. 

The last time she stayed with us, my friend turned down an affordable living situation with a roommate because the house was too “gross” for her. I found it frustrating. Housing in our area is expensive, and she works part-time at most. Her talk of getting more work has gone nowhere so far. 

I know I shouldn’t take on her problems as my own. But it’s hard to wonder about my friend’s safety, where she’s showering, charging her phone, keeping her food cold, etc., while my guest bedroom sits empty. Am I wrong not to open up my home to her indefinitely? I feel like she’s one car lease payment away from sleeping under a bridge. On the other hand, she has options she’s refusing to take. What does a good friend do in this situation? — FORTUNATE IN OREGON

DEAR FORTUNATE: If one is wise, she lets her friend live the life she has chosen (in her car) without intervening further. As kind as you are, you cannot rescue someone who is unwilling to help herself.

DEAR ABBY: My youngest son married and moved across the country to the West Coast. They did this because his wife is very controlling — her mother lives there and she pressured him into it. They then had three children, who, because we live on the East Coast, we unfortunately rarely see. 

My son is now having serious marital issues because his wife and mother-in-law have teamed up against him after his father-in-law died from COVID. He wants to leave his wife and return to his family here, but won’t do it because of the kids. He’s at his wits’ end and doesn’t know what to do. Any suggestions? — SADDENED IN NEW JERSEY

DEAR SADDENED: Advise your son that he should discuss his problem with an attorney who specializes in family law and a licensed psychotherapist to help him through this difficult period. If he separates from his wife and mother-in-law, he could still be near the kids and involved in their lives without being double-teamed, which should bring him some relief. After you have suggested this, step back and let your son work his way through this. Be supportive from a distance and stay out of the line of fire.

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

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