Three’s a crowd

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Three'a crowd in a grey nomad caravan
Help! There's a gooseberry on our trip!

Dear Jaclyn and Heidi,
My wife and I have been travel­ling for six months and it was great until my long-time best friend, Alan, flew out to join us. He’s been doing it tough since his divorce back in July and I thought it would do him good to spend a couple of weeks on the road with us. That was a month ago … and there’s absolutely no sign of him going home. He camps in our awn­ing, comes on every walk we do, and skulks around the van while we cook, but never helps. He also never contributes when we buy fuel or food. I know the divorce cost him, but we bud-geted for two travelling … not three! I don’t like to kick a man when he’s down but this is put­ting a strain on my marriage. I have hinted … but he’s got skin as thick as an elephant’s hide.

I can understand your di­lemma here, Simon. Good friends don’t turn their backs on each other when they’re most needed … but Alan can’t depend on you forever. Long term, you are really not doing him any favours. Do what you can to encourage him to meet other people, maybe at Happy Hours or even manufacture a social occasion for him to make new friends. After six months, Alan needs to start facing up to life after his ex-wife … and without you! Maybe if he is loving life on the road so much, you should take him to a caravan show or an RV dealership and he can look at buying himself a little campervan or perhaps a small caravan. Just make sure he doesn’t think he’s invited to travel in permanent convoy with you!

Of course, having this goose­berry lurking in your van isn’t going to help your marriage, Simon. If he’s as lazy, insensi­tive, and as dull as he sounds, I’m not surprised his wife left him! Why on earth were you friends with him in the first place? It’s high time this cuckoo was told to fly home or find a nest of his own. Just ask around at the next Happy Hour and you’ll find there are plenty of people who’ve been through everything from divorce and grief to financial hardship and ill health. In the end, we all just have to make the best of it and carry on. Be careful or you won’t be wor­ried about budgeting for three on the road any more, Simon. There’ll just be two of you on the road … you and Alan! Your wife will be long gone!



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