Dear Madame Ms. Meniscus,

I'm forty years old with RA and I've met a nice man who is living with me now. The problem is I'm on disability and I not only hid that from him but now that we're living together I make believe I go out to a part-time job. 

Help. I'm tired of getting dressed and going out and sitting in Starbucks.



Oh my dear Sally, for the love of coffee (which Madame shares) you've created a double conundrum.  How do you manage it? Race out before the mail carrier drops the check in the box and shimmy down to Starbucks before it burns a hole in your pocket? Madame hopes that you've read a few good books during those hours spent lulling over a luscious latte, which doesn't sound all that bad, but of course, in reality, perpetuating a false front has become both inconvenient and uncomfortable.

Madame understands that when we first meet someone we don't want all of our private information revealed. Sometimes, it's just easier to cover the facts with a little tale rather than spill the beans immediately. You may have begun with the best of intentions, but now, unfortunately, the weeds have grown thicker and the roots stronger. Yikes, it's time yank on the over-growth, clear some space so you can figure out what to do. Let's start with the living quarters.

Madame is unsure as to why the gentleman is living with you, and she surmises that he is home when Sally goes sailing down to Starbucks.  Is it that he works unusual hours that he is home when you're nursing that cappuchino?

Madame would like you to consider a few points.  Has he been upfront with you about his source of income and his housing situation? Because Madame is not going to recommend you divulge the situation quite so readily. Something must have prevented you from telling him about the disability after the initial rush of love passed and the moving-in stage arrived. Instead, you concocted a story about employment. Why is that, Sally dear? You must think. Were you embarrassed because you weren't working? Did you want him to think you were capable of doing more than you can?  Does he work? Is he financially secure?

Since Madame is without some crucial details, she is going to suggest an interim approach. You can stop going to Starbucks, that is, unless you decide to train as a barrista. What you might want to say is that you are no longer working (as we all know there are cut-backs in many industries) and that you will be receiving disability checks.  What you do with the old stubs and any existing paperwork is your business, but you must release yourself from this self-imposed bondage.

Madame hopes that with time you will be able to trust your nice man with more personal details. You are, after all, living under the same roof, your roof. 

So the next time you go out for coffee, Madame hopes you can relax. Or better yet, brew a pot at home. It's just as delicious. Madame says so. And don't forget those library books, they're excellent company with coffee or tea.