Dear Abby: Prison sentence complicates longtime friendship

Dear Abby
Jeanne Philips

Dear Abby: I have a former high school classmate who, over the years, I’ve gotten pretty close to. He has been there for me when I was at my lowest, and I have been there for him as well. He lives several hours away, but we talked almost daily in addition to being on social media.

A few months ago I stopped hearing from him, and his social media profile went dark. I had a bad feeling, so I Googled him and was shocked to see he had been arrested! While it wasn’t a violent crime, it was horrible just the same. He has called me several times from prison, declaring his innocence — always requesting money. Abby, I live paycheck to paycheck. Even if I had extra money, I wouldn’t feel comfortable giving it to him.

Jeanne Phillips

I feel hurt and used. Part of me says I need to end the friendship; the other part says he needs friends right now and it’s not my place to judge him. I have refused to accept his last few calls because I really don’t know what to do. Your thoughts are appreciated.

Blindsided in Pennsylvania

Dear Blindsided: This person hasn’t used you — yet. The next time he reaches out, accept the call. When you do, make clear that you can offer moral support, but you cannot give him money because you live paycheck to paycheck. You may not hear from him after that. But if he continues to ask, take a giant step backward and recognize this friendship has run its course.

Dear Abby: My husband and I have been together for three years. He recently went back to his home state 1,000 miles away for what I thought would be a two-day trip to grab some things from his late mother’s estate. He has been unemployed for most of this past year due to the pandemic, so I’m somewhat conflicted about something he told me when I called to ask when he was coming home. He said he found a job and decided he wants to stay there and work for some months to save up enough money to pay off the bulk of our debt.

He did not consult me before making this decision. He told me he has worked out a COVID-safe housing arrangement with his sister and his aunt. The type of work he will be doing there is something he could do here, where our home is. I don’t want to discourage him, but it baffles me that he would take a job 1,000 miles away. What if something were to happen to me or our animals? When I told him I didn’t agree with his decision, he told me I should be happy he’s no longer unemployed. How should I handle this?

Far Away in Missouri

Dear Far Away: Your husband shouldn’t have taken a job 1,000 miles away without first talking with you. That said, what’s done is done, and you need to let this play out. There’s nothing to stop you from visiting. Fortunately, you and the animals are all doing well. If circumstances change, he can always quit the job and come back.

When the time comes, welcome your debt-free husband home. There will be plenty of time for the two of you to hash out IN PERSON what caused him to make such a disruptive decision if there were similar jobs available in your own community.

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