Tell Me About It

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Tell Me About It

 

WITH ANGEL DONNETTE ROBERTSON

 

I have been dating a man for just over a year. He’s a great guy — sweet, funny, smart. He’s brought up marriage lately. I love him and want to marry him, but one thing really bothers me. He can’t seem to hold down a job. He has a degree in nursing, but he jumps from one kind of work to another and doesn’t seem to mind stretches of unemployment. Should his unstable income stress me out? I keep hoping he’ll return to nursing, and he says he will, eventually. Should I just trust him and say “yes”?

 

I think the best indicator of his future behavior is his past behavior.

Of course, it is possible that he will return to nursing. It is possible that he will eventually settle on a different but just as steady an occupation.

It is also possible that he will continue to hop from job to job.

You have to decide what you are willing to accept. If you do not want to live with a man who willingly chooses an unstable income, then you need to end the relationship and find someone who meets your needs. (And he can then find someone who better fits his penchant for varied employment.)

Only you can determine what you need from a life partner.

Just don’t fool yourself into believing someone will change to fulfill those requirements.

 

My father recently was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. We are all terrified. He is wondering, what steps he should take that will ensure that his business and wishes will be settled before his disease advances?

 

First, I want to extend my sympathies to all families struggling with a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s. The coming months and years will be a time of pain and loss but also a time of great love.

As soon as possible, your father needs to visit with an attorney to discuss the differences between and the positives and negatives of a will and a trust. He will also need to discuss a living will and other medical care directives, and the attorney will know of any further legal necessities.

I know many legal forms are offered online. However, if you can afford an attorney (and call local attorneys for information on their fees before you decide whether you can afford one), you should take advantage of their detailed knowledge and expertise, especially if a real possibility exists for disagreement over your father’s care or his estate.

It is important to note that a notary will need to attest that your father is mentally competent before she can sign and seal any documents requiring notarization, so he simply cannot procrastinate if he wishes to direct his affairs himself.

Your father can also give his sentimental keepsakes — his mother’s wedding band, his model car collection — to his children and grandchildren now. By sharing those keepsakes while he is still healthy, he will not only ensure that the person he has chosen receives each specific item, he will also witness and enjoy their appreciation for the keepsake. And just reducing the amount of “stuff” will help lessen confusion later.

Finally, you will have a lot more issues than just those with the estate, such as sharing the responsibility of caring for him at home, deciding when he needs the more extensive care of a nursing home and finding financial resources for his care. The doctor and attorney can help with some of your questions, government offices can help with others, and individuals and support groups who have “been there” can answer still others, so leave no source untapped.

And please enjoy the time you have with your father and cherish those memories in the years that come.

 

Angel Donnette Robertson is not a professional counselor, but she has a lifelong appreciation for the beauty and complications of relationships.

 

Have a relationship question for Angel? Mail it to Prime Editor, 47 E. Broadway, Columbia, Mo., 65203.

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