Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:

My boyfriend and his twelve-year- old son moved in with me three
years ago after he lost his job as an electrician. It was early in the
recession and I loved him so thought I could handle supporting us all
until things got better. The bottom line is that I pay for almost
everything, from rent to soccer shoes to vacations, which is a lot on a
hairdresser’s salary. His contribution was supposed to be at least $500
a month and remodeling the kitchen. We rent from my mother who
thankfully lives far away. She’d have tossed us a year ago if she could
see how we live. Two years later I have no cabinets or counters and
come home to a drinking smelly stoned guy who wants sex. I think I
am done with him but want him to finish the kitchen before I end

Dear Dreaming-

To adapt an old adage, you are throwing good months after bad ones.
I&'m no contractor but even for a semi-employed handy person, two
years seems like more than enough time for this project. And if you&'re
supporting his drinking and smoking habit in addition to rent and food,
you are seriously undercutting your own self-interest. The role
modeling for his son is also bad.
My suggestions are these: Start by giving him notice instead of sex.
Warning the Lysistrata strategy doesn&'t always work. Lysistrata btw (in
case your classical education did not exist) was the leader of Greek
women who refused to sleep with their hubbies until they ended a war
and declared peace. Even if it doesn’t get you kitchen overnight, it will
get his attention. He may respond by laughing or whining, but if you
hold firm he will quickly realize you are serious. Tell him that you’re
forgiving the past but he now owes you pick a number, say $1000 a
month rent and utilities etc. Also that if he doesn’t pay for this month
and next within 30 days that he has to move out. Say you’re going to
use the money to hire someone to finish the kitchen. Say that working
on the relationship is going to happen only after it is done and only if
you are still living together. Make it clear that if he wants to earn his
way back into your good graces it’s going to take more deeds and
dollars than words.