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Family friend knows too much about couple’s finances

DEAR ABBY: I am friends with “Pete” and “Pam,” a couple I have known for more than 20 years. Pam is keeping secrets from Pete, and, unfortunately, I’m aware of it.

I need a way to address my concerns to Pete. He works full time in a great job, and his salary goes into a joint bank account. Pam handles all the finances and pays the bills — rent, car, etc. When Pete and I hang out and he asks Pam (who has the credit cards) for small amounts of money, she says, “Sorry, we don’t have it.” I understand that might be the case sometimes, but it happens ALL THE TIME.

Pam also secretly borrows cash from me. She pays it back late sometimes, but not always. I talked with Pam and told her to tell Pete she borrows. I don’t think she did, and it concerns me. I’m her enabler but I’m putting my foot down and not doing it anymore.

I’m worried because Pete thinks they have all this money saved for a house. I’m starting to think Pam has spent it, or most of it. How can I tell Pete as a friend to check the finances without starting World War III? I’d hate to lose my friends over this, but I’m afraid the money he is earning is going somewhere else — where, I have no idea. Please help. — IN DANGER OF LOSING FRIENDS

DEAR IN DANGER: Tell Pete everything you have written to me. If he is so financially ignorant that he doesn’t know how to check his balances and his credit rating, he should talk with a CPA for help ascertaining his financial status. Whether Pam has a spending problem or some other type of addiction, he needs to know. He also needs to know how long his dreams of homeownership may need to be postponed if what you are concerned about is true.

DEAR ABBY: I’m a 37-year-old woman who has had to move back to my mother’s home after ending a long-term relationship. I love her dearly and appreciate her letting me stay with her until I can get back on my feet. The problem is, I never have any alone time at home or even out when I socialize. She’s close with all my friends and frequently goes to the same bars and restaurants I do.

When I go out on weekends, she invariably asks me where I’m going and then shows up and sits with me and my group. I love her, but I really need some space. I’m single. I want to meet people when I’m out, and I can’t do it with her there. When I try to talk to her about it, she gets upset and thinks I don’t “ever” want her around. That’s not true. I just want my own social life without her ALWAYS being there. Please help. — NEEDING SPACE IN NEW JERSEY

DEAR NEEDING SPACE: It’s time for an adult conversation with Mama. Explain that you enjoy her company but need some time by yourself — whether it’s at home or with your friends. If you don’t want her beside you all the time when you’re home, agree on a place you can retreat to for some solitude — like your bedroom.

When you’re going out with friends, be clear that you want SOME time with them without her being present because it inhibits you. This does not mean she’s not ever welcome, but maybe HALF the time. Encourage her to spend more time with her own friends. If she doesn’t have any, help her to find some. Your problem may be that your mother is simply lonely and starved for company.

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


Political commentator Patrick Buchanan is 83. Actress Stefanie Powers is 79. Country-rock singer-songwriter J.D. Souther (“Nashville”) is 76. Singer-songwriter k.d. lang is 60. Actress Lauren Velez (“Dexter”) is 57. Actor David Schwimmer (“Friends”) is 55. Christian/jazz singer Alvin Chea (Take 6) is 54. Rapper Nelly is 47.  R&B singer Timothy Christian Riley (Tony Toni Tone) is 47. Actor Danny Cooksey (“Diff’rent Strokes”) is 46. Guitarist Chris Walla of Death Cab For Cutie is 46. Actor-singer Kendall Schmidt (“Big Time Rush”) is 31.


Take the edge off, relax and think about the best way to get what you want. Empathy and understanding, mixed with genuine charm and positive suggestions, will help you make your way through any pitfalls you encounter this year. Be courageous but kind when opposition comes your way.

SCORPIO (Oct. 24-Nov. 22) — Take a moment to assess situations, but don’t linger too long. Decisive action will show how capable you are and highlight your leadership qualities. Mindfulness, precision and honesty will be key.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 23-Dec. 21) — Be realistic regarding how much you spend. Getting the most for the least by doing the work yourself instead of paying others is favored — if you know what you are doing.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19) — Forward motion will keep you out of trouble. Keep your comments to yourself and avoid wasting time on senseless battles. Don’t step over others to make progress; treat everyone respectfully.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) — Look over the possibilities and map out a course that will help you reach your destination. Refuse to let a change of plans someone makes throw you off. Talk to someone who always cheers you up.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20) — There is no clear-cut way to handle sensitive situations. Take the time to understand how others feel and ask questions that give others the chance to develop a solution without being told what to do.

ARIES (March 21-April 19) — Join forces with someone who shares your point of view. Together you can make a difference. A discussion will lead to a broader understanding of your long-term goals.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20) — Don’t count on something that isn’t a sure thing. Ask questions and insist on verification in writing. Don’t hesitate to distance yourself from anyone who isn’t playing fair.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20) — Thank matters through, make decisions for the right reasons and learn from the experiences you encounter. When in doubt, check the facts, budget appropriately and set a course.

CANCER (June 21-July 22) — Hide your emotions until you gather the facts. Knowing what you are up against will make it easier to do what’s best for you. Don’t give in to someone using manipulative tactics.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22) — A positive attitude will help you bypass a stressful situation. Do your best to get along, and be prepared to do things on your own if necessary. Self-improvement is favored.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22) — Pay attention to how you manage money. Overspending on things you don’t need will lead to regret. Put more emphasis on what’s meaningful to you and how you can utilize your time effectively.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 23) — Set rules, boundaries and incentives to avoid opposition. Listen to suggestions and find a way to incorporate requests. Getting along with others will be half the battle.


By Chuck Sheppard

Compelling Explanation: An elderly woman in Okemos, Michigan, moved to a nursing home, and an auction company was hired to clear out her home, reported on Sept. 22. One of the items found by Epic Auctions and Estate Sales’ Brad Stoecker was a 5-foot-tall granite headstone with the name Peter J. Weller on the front. Apparently, the woman’s family didn’t know the origin of the stone, saying they used the reverse side of it to make fudge. Stoecker donated the stone to the Friends of Lansing’s Historic Cemeteries, but a genealogist was unable to find any surviving family members of Weller, who died in 1849. However, they did track down his grave, which had been moved in 1875. That’s probably when the gravestone was lost, experts believe. Cemetery preservationists restored the stone to Weller’s current resting place and repaired and cleaned those of his family members nearby.

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