Advice from Amy: Relationship Is in Receivership
Late-life romance, age-old financial manipulation
Advice columnist Amy Dickinson addresses a 60-year-old woman who engaged in a late-life romance with a crook, as it turned out. Now she worries about what’s next.
Dear Amy: I dated my boyfriend for 18 months before deciding to move in with him.
I’m in my 60s and he is in his early 70s.
When I moved in, he gave me his credit card. He said that I was to write down what I spent, and then we would each pay half of the total.
The plan was to move in together into a townhouse that he was building.
He said I could not be on the deed for the house, and that all the furniture in the new townhouse was his. He told me I’d have to sell my condo and my furniture.
My condo is the only asset I have.
He wanted me to give him $100,000 from the sale of the condo once it sold. In return, he said he would take care of me when he died.
He started treating me badly and accused me of pushing him in to marriage.
I did not like the idea of not being on the deed, because when he passes away his daughter could contest the will.
I decided not to sell my condo and moved out.
Now he wants $7,000 dollars he says I owe him, from expenses we incurred on the credit card.
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I don’t have any extra money, and he knows that.
Can he sue me for the money?
He told me he’ll give me until December to pay him back!
Dear Wondering: Your ex can try to sue you for just about any reason, but that doesn’t mean he will win. He only wins if he succeeds in intimidating you through the threat of a suit to giving him money you don’t believe you owe him.
You should seek legal advice, but based on my own research, when he gave you his credit card to use, he was actually violating his own agreement with the credit card company, which states that he is the owner of the card, and responsible for paying the balance. If he wanted to share the card, he should have added you as an “authorized user.”
If you believe that you legitimately owe him $7,000, then you should repay that amount, perhaps in installments, if you can’t afford the entire sum. If you don’t believe you owe him this amount, then you should negotiate concerning the sum you are willing to pay.
However, given his financial chicanery and the way your relationship crumbled because of it, if you do agree to pay him any sum at all, you should have a written agreement with him and keep careful records.
You were wise not to become further entangled with him.
In the tradition of the great personal advice columnists, Chicago Tribune’s Amy Dickinson is a plainspoken straight shooter who relates to readers of all ages. She answers personal questions by addressing issues from both her head and her heart. A solid reporter, Dickinson researches her topics to provide readers with informed opinions and answers. Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068
© 2021 by Amy Dickinson