Things are pretty shitty for me right now. I was recently laid off from my job and have started bartending at a local hole in the wall to pay the rent. I had to sell my car and am barely making the ends meet. I am afraid I may have to break my lease because I can’t afford my apartment anymore. I have thought about a roommate, but I have another problem in the way: My ex-boyfriend. We broke up almost 6 months ago, but I still care for him in a friendly way. He has been on a downward spiral of sorts since we split. It isn’t my fault; he dumped me. He has since become extremely promiscuous and a heavy drinker. He tested positive last month and was arrested for a drunken bar fight the week after that. (He isn’t really violent, he just threw his drink at a guy he claimed was rude.) Anyways, he just shows up at my place and will stay for like two days. He is helpful and cleans the place up and buys much appreciated food, but he also sits on the balcony and smokes in his underwear and starts drinking some days as early as 10 a.m. He is a brilliant guy. He has been “retired” for over a decade and doesn’t need a job. He lives modestly and has his own place where I used to live with him. He says he’s lonely and sad. Sometimes I think he wants to get back together, but I am not interested, especially in his current condition. I want to be supportive, but I feel like he has me trapped. I really can’t ask a new roommate to move in with this mess. I also feel like taking care of him, or whatever it is I am doing, interferes with me looking for a real job. He thinks it’s swell that I am home all day now and work in a bar. How do I put my life back together?
— Drunken Monkey on My Back
P.S. I am also really sad about the death of MJ.
Dear Drunken Monkey on Your Back,
Ex-boyfriends are totally drunken monkeys. Unless they are sober, and then they are just plain monkeys, but still annoying. You need to cut him off and let him bottom out. Tell him to move on. You aren’t helping him and can’t cause him more harm by setting boundaries to protect yourself. Let both of y’all’s friends and family know that he needs help and you need out of the situation.
Your life is messy right now, and you are right not to drag a third party into it. Does your landlord have any smaller apartments? Maybe you can downsize and avoid the penalty of breaking your lease. Do communicate what’s going on to your landlord before you get delinquent on your rent, and learn about your tenant rights. In Texas, the Attorney General (oag.state.tx.us) and the Texas State Bar ((800) 204-2222 ext. 1800, texasbar.com) offer free publications detailing your rights and responsibilities.
Bartending can suck if you don’t enjoy it, and especially if it feels like a step down from your last job, but be happy you found work to help hold it together while you regroup (we’re at almost 10-percent unemployment nationally, after all), and stay focused on your future.
Much peace and less drunken ex,
Your Uncle Mat
I am a novelist writing a mystery supernatural thriller and it is essential that I interview a witch for authenticity. How is the best way to communicate with a witch to set up a meeting or possible collaboration to help me write this book?
— Not bewitched yet
There are many different kinds of witches out there. Finding an authentic witch is like finding an honest lawyer and I imagine there is a lot of room for interpretation. I have fortunately not required the services of either yet, though I think I might be inclined to try a witch first.
You could swing by the local botanica and ask for a referral. You might also try the internet. You may discover that you need to interview several witches to find the one for you. The publishing house Llewelyn (llewelyn.com) specializes in modern sorcery and might be willing to put you in touch with one of their authors (Konstantinos, perhaps?). I would also suggest a trip to the library to do a little old-fashioned research on the subject of witchcraft and the history of witches.
Much luck, suspense and inspiration,
Your Uncle Mat
Uncle Mat answers questions about relationships, sex, pets, and art. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, myspace.com/yourunclemat, or check out the Dear Uncle Mat Page on Facebook. Your true identity is safe with him.