ONCE UPON A TIME
Dear Dolores: I met a guy who lives down the street and we hit it off really well. We hung around with each other from time to time, had a few drinks and got to know each other better. He told me he wanted me to be his queen, but I wanted to wait to see what was going to happen. We began seeing each other more frequently and started to mess around. Now, all of a sudden, I don’t see him at all. He doesn’t even call. What went wrong?
-Micaela in San Antonio
Dear Micaela: Another fairy tale gone sour, that’s what happened. All that talking and hanging out to get to know each other better obviously didn’t work for you. He got what he wanted and left you holding the tiara. Now you know what to do next time a guy tells you he wants to make you his queen or turn you into a princesa or any other royalty-related b.s. Run away from that frog! If you want fairy tales, go to the library.
-Live and learn, D
SHOT GUN WEDDING
Dear Dolores: I’ve been with the same man for 17 years but we’re not married. We’ve been through and overcome many obstacles in our relationship, including cheating. Just recently, he committed the worst of the worst and slept with the sluttiest parent in our sports organization. Nevertheless, I have forgiven and forgotten all the bad things he’s done to me in the past. Now all I wonder about is when we are going to be getting married! Is it me? Or should I propose to him?
-XG in CA
Dear XG: If you want to get married because you feel you have invested a lot in this relationship, or because you’ve waited long enough, or because you want a ring and a party and a cake—fine, ask him to marry you. It’s obvious that after 17 years he’s in not much of a hurry to do the asking himself. However, if you want to tie the knot thinking that marriage will cure his unfaithfulness you have another thing coming. There seems to be a pattern of cheat-and-be-forgiven in this relationship that may be hard to break. But then again, miracles do happen. In any case, be prepared with a Plan B in case he does not accept your marriage proposal.
-Buena suerte m’ija, D
MY DAD, THE ATM MACHINE
Dear Dolores: My father is a hardworking man who has always saved his money and rarely spends any of it on himself. He and my mom have never taken any real vacation nor bought luxurious things for themselves, unlike everyone else in our extended family, who spend more than they earn. My problem is that he has spent his whole life bailing out one family member or another to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars without hardly ever being paid back. My brother and I are worried about his retirement. What can I do to help my dad realize he’s not an ATM?
-Worried Daughter in FL
Dear Worried: I hear you. I think you should sit down with your father and discuss his plans for retirement. Ask him when he plans to retire, whether he will receive any pension from his current job and how much he will receive from Social Security. If he doesn’t have this information, help him find out. Once you have all the data, sit with him and do a budget. He will soon realize that he won’t have enough—especially if his only income after retirement will be that rapidly shrinking Social Security check. Then you can help him understand that giving his money to relatives who can’t manage their own will affect his future financial well-being. I know from experience that talking about money, getting old and dying with your parents is not easy, but you must do it. It will save everyone a lot of grief later on.
-Kudos for caring, D
To send in your questions for Dolores, e-mail her at: firstname.lastname@example.org