Dear Alma,

I’m starting to feel used. When I go out with the woman I’m seeing, she never offers to pay. She orders drinks and appetizers and extras like there’s no tomorrow, and when the bill comes, it just lies there on the table like a dead rat until I reach over and pick it up. Never once has this woman so much as offered to split the cost of our excursions. All the while, she has plenty of cash for clothes, cars and travel. Since I’m married and this woman is not my wife, my friends say I should pay the restaurant tabs and be quiet – a small price, they say, for easy, mind-blowing sex. I simply can’t take it anymore, and it annoys me to no end. How do I tell this woman I’m not her sugar daddy?


Excusez-moi Robear! I was distracted by my head spinning and the slimy green liquid spewing from my mouth!  What?! Not her sugar daddy, you say. Then what you got to offer?  This hollow effort to mix common sense with common behavior reminds me of a quote: “Some people feel the rain, while others just get wet.” You, my friend, spit and tell them it’s raining. Hold up while I grab an umbrella, ‘cause I’m not falling for it.  So, you’re married and your sidepiece won’t fork over any quarters toward the meal, and you want to know how you should approach this subject. Really?

My advice is that you listen to your so-called friends, who should be telling you something else, but that’s another question for another Friday.  Considering the cost of your infidelity, which could include the ending of your marriage, disloyalty to your wife, children and family and the loss of trust, honesty, commitment and integrity…well, let’s just stop here. When you add it all up, her meal is a minor inconvenience.  Until you start paying her rent, I’m sure she feels entitled to a great meal. That’s the very least you can do. Not to mention the fact that a meal is about all you can commit to at this point.

Don’t flatter yourself; you’re not sugar daddy material. That’s why we’re having this conversation. Don’t misread her need to satisfy her hunger, Mr. Leroy Brown, baddest man in the whole damn town. She knows what she’s doing. What’s mind-blowing to you doesn’t sound like it’s all that mind-blowing to her. If your groove were that smooth, she wouldn’t be interested in eating that much before getting her party started. I’m just sayin’!  We agree on one thing: I, too, see a rat in this scenario, but it ain’t laying on the table.

Dear Alma,

I have a terrible problem concerning my dad. My mother and father were married for more than 50 years and had four children – three girls and a son – all now grown. We all work full-time jobs and live in different states. Only one – a sister – lives near my parents. She is not married and has no children. I recently called to wish my father a happy birthday, and my sister informed me that he was dead. She said she and my mother had him cremated and held a closed ceremony. She said that if the rest of us had called to check on him more frequently we would have known. We are all shocked, and some have vowed to never speak to her again. My dad had been sick for a while, and I know she felt that we all should have done more to help him and my mom. Still, she had no right not to tell us about his death. Neither did my mother, but she’s old and suffering with mild dementia. What should I do?

Signed, Heartbroken

Dear Heartbroken,

My condolences to you and your family.

Heaven help me, because I don’t know what to say next. When I read your email, I was completely stunned, so I read it again and again, and my brain wouldn’t take me to the next thought. I cannot imagine how you feel. Growing up, I often heard my mother say “death brings out the worst in families.” I had no idea what she meant, but as I’ve gotten older, the meaning has become clearer.

At this stage of my life, I have lost my big sister, Kim, my father and my mother. As I continue this life’s journey, I have accepted that parts of my heart will be forever broken. I thank God every day for my husband, son, stepsisters, aunts, nieces, nephew, many cousins and BFFs. But there’s something special about immediate family – the people you grew up with. They know you better than anybody else, and they love you anyway. The term “Life is short” means so much more to me now. I suspect many of my readers can relate.

I say all of this to let you know that I’m familiar with the valley you have entered. I occupy a condo there. The loss of a parent is piercingly painful. Until it happens to you, you just don’t get it. No matter how old you are, how old your parents are, or how hard you try, you can’t prepare for it, and you’re never ready for it.

Let’s talk about your sister for a minute. I understand the position she held as the lone caregiver. That was me, too. It’s more work than anyone can imagine or explain. The roles regarding a parent’s care put you in a delicate and reversed position. You feel like you are trying to parent the person who parented you.

Your sister, the caregiver, was overwhelmed, and I think she felt that you and your other siblings were not carrying this enormous load with her. You mentioned that she’s the one who lives close by, isn’t married and without children. I’m sure that’s why the rest of you thought she could be more flexible. I understand that, but maybe you guys could have done more to let her know you were there to support her. It sounds like she felt alone in this situation. I could go on, but I’m sure you know what I’m talking about.

Once your father died, it seems to me, she should have put all those feelings aside. She should have contacted one of you to contact the others. All of you deserved the right to funeralize and mourn your father’s death. All of you deserved the right to support and be with your mother, and each other, during that time.

I’d suggest you contact your family clergy and a mental health professional. I pray that all of you will come together, forgive one another and start to heal and love in a healthy, meaningful and respectful way. God bless you and your family.


Alma Gill
Alma Gill

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