What should I do???

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What should I do??? I will try to make this story as short as possible, but bare with me if it gets a little long.

I have a friend that I have known for more than 30 years (since we were 8 or 9), I'll call him Tom.

Tom and his wife got a divorce after 13 years of marriage. Tom's Ex-Wife and 2 young children moved here to Florida from Massachusetts to be near her Parents. About 3 years after her moving here Tom decides he misses his Kids and wants to move here to Florida to be closer to his Kids. Tom calls me and ask my advice about moving here ad I tell him all the pros and cons about life here. One of the things I warn him about is that he would have a hard time finding work making the same money ($60 - 70,000) he did in Massachusetts. I tell him if he decides to move here he is welcome to stay here with me til he gets his feet on the ground, but he needed to give it some good thought before jumping into it.

After giving it some thought (2 days!) he calls and says he is on his way. When he was first here it was good to see him and remince about our youth and I showed him around the area and he spent some time with his kids. After being here for a month he started to look for work and was unable to find one that satisfied him, so he decides that he would close out his 401k account and take the money and start a small business of his own.

When he recived the check ($65,000) he just proceded to blow it instead of doing what he said. He found a new Girlfriend, that I warned him from the start was a leech and nothing but trouble. He spent less and less time with his Kids and more and more time with the looney Girlfriend partying. After a couple of months of this I could take no more and told him it was time for him to move on. Well Tom and his Looney girlfriend set up house together and I heard little from him. I heard from his Ex-Wife and she said he wasn't spending anytime with the Kids and the child support payments were becomeing less and less freguent.

I did not here from Tom and quite a while and 1 day after not seeing him for a year he rolls up to my house. All his money was gone, the girlfriend left him, he was behind on his child support payments and he was doing landscaping for $6.00 an hour. He asked if he could move back in with me because he was being evicted from his appartment. I told him NO, but I felt sorry for the prediciment he was in, but he brought it all on himself and he would have to deal with it.

Tom found someone who rented him a room and he would come by and see me and I would feed him when he came, eventually he came by most every night for supper. He told me he could not get along with his roommate and he was looking for another place but was having no luck, well the roommate tossed him out and he started sleeping in his truck, and STUPID me felt sorry for him and let him move back in with me. I told him he could stay here but he had to pay me $25.00 a week, help me out with some things I needed fixed around the house an that he had to start paying his Ex some child support.

Things went along fine for a couple of months, than he lost his $6.00 an hour landscaping job. He started collecting unemployment benifits, quit paying me and his Child support. He half heartly looked for a job but most of the time he laid around here drinking beer! Well after a month of that I told him it was time for him to move on again! He was upset and said he had no where to go, but I put my foot down and said tough, get OUT!

Three weeks ago he heads back to Massachusetts with his latest unemployment check and moves in with his Dad. Finaly I have my Home all to myself again! YEAH! Well my happiness was short lived, last weekend I discoverd my Tag (licence plate) was missing off my livestock/utility trailer, well Tom's Tag was expired on his his truck but he did not have the money to regestier and insure it. At this point i did not know for sure if Tom took the Tag. I have an older Sister who lives in the same town as Tom's Dad and I had her go by the house and find out the Tag number on Tom's truck, and sure enough it is my trailer Tag.

After a few days of trying to get ahold of Tom on the phone I finaly talk to him, at first when I ask what Tag he has on his truck he plays dumb then says he has his Tag, when I inform him that I allready sent some one by to get the tag number and I know he has my Tag he addmits having the Tag and says he will send it back. Well I just lost it and called him every name (ones I don't use here) in the book and tell him he better never step foot around here again and if I do see him I would kick his BUTT (not exact word I used). I told him after 30 years of friendship I was done with him.

I hear from mutal Friends in Massachusetts that he is really upset and sorry and would like to apoligies. I know he has called here several times (caller ID) but I don't take the calls. I feel sort of guilty for cussing him out and telling him our friendship was over, but on the other hand I feel that all I have done for him and he stole from me I should be done with the loser!

To make matters worse, Tom's Ex-Wife is my younger Sister, and the children he is not supporting are my Niece and Nephew.

I really SCREWED UP! I should of never let him move in with me! My family are a little sore with me on this subject but we all still get along good as long as it is not mentioned.

What should I do??? Should I apoligies to my Sister for the torment i got her involved in? Should I apoligies to the rest of my Family? My loyalties have always been with my Family, but I certinly did not show it so well with the decision on helping this longtime friend! But oddly I still feel sorry losing this friend after more than 30 years, we were friends long before he start dating my Sister. AHHHH I am so frustrated! or STUPID!

I did not do to well at keeping this short, but I had to tell someone and right now this topic does not go to well with my Family.

THANKS for listening! Hope I did not bore you to much!

-- Mark in N.C. Fla. (deadgoatman@webtv.net), March 24, 2002


Mark, when we make mistakes, it does leave us feeling stupid, doesn't it? Looking back, we see where we messed up and wonder why we didn't see it back then.

When I start feeling sorry for myself or kick myself for a mistake, I have to talk to myself and think about doing today, right now, what I can do that will make a difference.

You'll have to be the judge of where to go from here, but sounds like you're feeling bad in relation to your family about the situation. It probably will help you and them to talk about it, and I'm sure any apologies and regrets you wish to share will be appreciated.

An apology would not be out of order either to your friend. You can still be firm about him not coming back to stay with you, while you communicate that you regret your words and still value him as a long-time friend. Recent events have damaged your friendship, but you still have a high regard for him. Something along those lines.

It's common, too, to feel sorry, as you say, about losing a friend. We actually go through a grief process, as if someone had died. I had a very close friend who, because of circumstances, distanced himself, causing me to lose the most intimate male relationship I'd ever had. I grieved over it for some time and, to be truthful, still miss it -- him -- rather often. I'm grateful for other friends that are developing and have developed over the past several years (we moved seven years ago), but nothing will ever replace that particular one. Each friendship is special.

Well, I hope you can pull something out of here that might be of some help to you.


-- Randal at home in Brazil (randal@rhyme.cjb.net), March 24, 2002.

Mark , you did what you thought was best.You wanted him to spend more time with his kids.You had no idea he would be a jerk. Say I'm sorry and move on.

-- Patty {NY State} (fodfarms@hotmail.com), March 24, 2002.

Hi Mark -

I agree with Randal that your trying to make things right with your family & your friend is the best thing. I have lost some friends myself over things that seemed terrible at the time, but looking back, I'd rather we had dealt with it then & tried to remained friends in whatever fashion we could have....Your relationship with your friend may never be the same (trust), but only you can decide if all of this is worth losing him totally....

You only live once. You only have one shot to get it right (or as right as possible!). You have a chance to be the "adult" or the "bigger person" as some people might say. I wish you the best -

-- heather (h.m.metheny@att.net), March 24, 2002.

Reconnect with those who will attend your funeral, other need not apply......

-- mitch hearn (moopups@citlink.net), March 24, 2002.

If he is trying to call you, I would at least listen to what he has to say. Anyone can make a mistake (or many!) By hearing him out you might have a chance to salvage what friendship you still have and ou might be a positive influence on him. We have been through this several times with various people and it is hard to forgive. I just try to remember that we are all just people, we all do things we regret, we all need to be forgiven once in a while. I just try to accept people for what they are, not expecting too much of them. Time will heal this eventually, although right now it probably does not seem like it will. You will be in my thoughts and prayers.

-- Melissa in SE Ohio (me@home.net), March 24, 2002.

I don't understand what you have to apologize to your sister for. You didn't make her marry and procreate with this guy and you didn't steal her child support, either. You are not responsible for this guy's bad choices either.

What you are guilty of is trying to do the right thing for everyone else and not setting boundaries on what you would allow your friends to do, and then you got mad when he walked on you and ripped you off.

Yes, you need to apologize to him for saying things you shouldn't have said, apologize for taking a couple of year's worth of anger out on him. Tell him the friendship starts over right then and it is up to him to do the right thing. You need to make it clear to others and yourself how much you will let others take advantage of you.

I would bet your friend is trying to call you and the first thing he wants from you is for you NOT to report the tags stolen. Tell him he has 5 days to have them in your mailbox or they will be reported stolen.

I hope it all works out for you, Mark. Its hard when lifetime friends grow in a different direction then we do. Sometimes we have to let them go, and yes, we grieve the passing of a friendship. Meanwhile you can be one great uncle to your sister's kids and fill that hole in their lives that your friend left.

-- Laura (LadybugWrangler@somewhere.com), March 25, 2002.

Bless your heart, Mark! You did a good thing in the beginning. The problem is that you are a better friend to Tom than he is to you.

People mess up - they don't mean to - but they do and Tom sure did that; however, 30 years of friendship is a long time and since family is involved - well, you have to go the extra mile (and although you have gone more than a million and more than anyone should have to this point) it is worth making peace. You don't have help him anymore, you don't have to listen to his whinning, but you can still have a lifelong friend and keep peace in the family. Although, Tom's problems are not your problems -- Tom made them your problems.

The up side to all this is, Tom (although maybe a user or maybe just one of those guys that has this dark cloud hanging over him ie: wanting to do good but keeps messing up) he must love and respect you enough to want to mend fences. You obviously have some big influence on him and perhaps by renewing your friendship (or at least finding peace between you) you can convince him to take responsibility with his life and children. There aparently is no one else who can! Here's a thought: when Cain asked "am I my brother's keeper?"..God's answer was yes we are!

-- Karen (mountains_mama2@hotmail.com), March 25, 2002.

Advice from an old lady and I'll try to get the point across nicely: I go by the saying " #@!% on me once, shame on you. #@!% on me twice, SHAME ON ME"!

-- Ardie/WI (ardie54965@hotmail.com), March 25, 2002.

Boy, if I didn't know better, I would think this guy was my recently exed-son-inlaw! He sounds so much like your "friend". By the way, who needs a friend like that. I say the quicker you get him out of your life, the better. His type will only continue to take advantage of you. You have nothing to apologize for. You gave him every chance in the book. He is the one who screwed up. Actually, the more people feel sorry for him and do for him, the longer it will take for him to "grow" up, if he ever does. He is trying to make you feel guilty - don't fall for it. The burden of proving he has changed should rest on him, not you.

-- Barb in Ky (bjconthefarm@yahoo.com), March 25, 2002.

I'd sincerely accept his apology, apologize to him for how you said what you said, but not for saying what needed to be said. No sense in getting ulcers or something when you can prevent it. I wouldn't let him back in my life any too easily. If he straightens himself up, maybe you can regain some friendship in time-slowly.

I don't see shy you should apologize for being a nice guy, though.

-- Cindy (S.E.IN) (atilrthehony_1@yahoo.com), March 25, 2002.

I am guessing here. It sounds like your family is upset because they think you put your friendship over your sisters pain. They may not understand about you having a major goal of your niece and nephew having a better and closer relationship with their father, and you had no idea he was having such problems. When you realized that he had deeper problems than you realized you thought you might be able to straighten him out. Chances are, your sister tried to staighten him out too, and failed. Hence the divorce. As I said, though, I am guessing.

I remember after my sister got a divorce, my ex-brother- in-laws brother came to my mother and said something to the effect that my sisters ex wasn't doing well, that he had bought him an old car so the guy could get to work and get on his feet (my sisters ex was sleeping on his brothers sofa at the time), but that when the car broke down my sisters ex just abandoned it on the side of the road and didn't tell anyone, so it was towed and impounded, and that by the time the brother noticed the car was gone it was too late because the fees to claim the car were far more than the car was worth. He then said "and you know, I am still paying on that car!" He had also said that he had told his brother it was time to leave, and he had no idea where his brother was at that time, but he sure hoped he could get his act together one day, he just knew he wasn't going to be able to do it while goofing off on his brothers sofa.

The point of that rather long and rambling story is that the story was meant as a peace offering, and was accepted as such. It was his way of saying that he didn't blame my sister for the divorce, that he had offered to help his brother out of love, not because he was taking his side, but nothing he could do could help. It was told to my mother instead of my sister because, I think, he thought emotions would run less high and he would be better understood.

I don't think you have done anything wrong at all, I do think there are hurt feelings and anger about this that I hope can be resolved. I do suspect that your sister thinks you have taken his side against hers (please remember I am guessing!) You sound like a good and moral man who has done the best he knew how for the benefit of all the people who he cares deeply about.

You have not asked for advice, and I have tried hard to speak without giving any so far; I have just tried to share with you what did work in my own family. However, I will say this. If you forgive your friend, fine. However, forgiving him doesn't mean trusting him with you credit card number, the loan of your car, or a spot on your sofa. I also would agree that 5 days to get it in the mail sounds fair, since you know he has it, or you will report him for not having a tag AS WELL AS stealing yours (yours could dissapear so easily!)

Your old friend is walking down the wrong road and refuses to get off of it. I wouldn't trust him right now until AFTER he has gotten his life back on track: he has already shown you he will lie to you right now in order to stay on the path he is on. Good luck, I wish I could help, and take care.

-- Terri (hooperterri@prodigy.net), March 25, 2002.

You've gotten some good advice here. Were it me, I'd probably take his call and accept his apology. It's obvious that not having done so is bothering you. The flip side is that, were it me, I'd already have asked my MA friend to drive by again but this time to stop and get my plate off his truck even if only to destroy it. If your MA friend is unwilling or unable to do this, I'm sure the local constabulary will be happy to oblige. I wouldn't want anyone driving around on my plate. I don't need the liability. I hope this helps.

-- Gary in Indiana (gk6854@aol.com), March 25, 2002.

Thank you everyone for your advice,insightful thoughts and words of encouragement. I am feeling better now that I have shared this load on my chest.

"Tom" did return the Tag, I recived it last week, I failed to mention that in my origional post.

If "Tom" does call I will take his call and if I am not here at that time I will return his call. If I don't here from him this week I think I will wait a little while before I call him on my own.

I spoke to my younger Sister last night and all is well with her, she said she understands that I was trying to help a friend and to give my Niece and Nephew the oppertunity to spend more time with their Dad. She does think I am Nuts for feeling bad about cussing Tom out.

Hopefully Tom will get his life together instead of continuing this dowward spiral he is on.

Thank You again for all your help, esspecially for Mellissa for providing this forum!

-- Mark in N.C. Fla. (deadgoatman@webtv.net), March 25, 2002.

Mark, you mean your sister had no say in his cashing out his 401K, or did she get adequately compensated in the divorce for it?

-- GT (nospam@nospam.com), March 25, 2002.

I'm glad things are better!!!!!!!!!

-- Terri (hooperterri@prodigy.net), March 26, 2002.

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