The divorced brother has become a sofa.

Dear Mom: My brother is newly divorced.

After he and his wife separated, I let him live with me so he could save money, sort things out, and get some emotional support.

He is a good man and pays half the bill. He pays them late – but he pays them.

He is also sloppy and I am constantly cleaning up behind him.

He’s aware of my displeasure with cleanliness as an adult, but doesn’t seem to care.

He’s been with me for almost five years now—and I need my space. We are both middle aged and divorced. I’m an empty nester, and want to be alone.

I resent everything he does, but I’m afraid to feel that way.

Mom, there are times when I don’t want to come home because I know I’m going to face a mess. I long for space and time alone.

Am I being selfish and uncaring just to resent his presence?

– Stymied sister

dear sister: Five years later, your brother is no longer “newly divorced.” (His divorce lasted longer than my first marriage.)