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From the forums:

Much money 07

I have been with my husband for about four years, and we’ve been married for about a year now. It was apparent very early in our dating that his father is quite a character. He is able to make a good living at his job, but he wastes all of his money on prescription drugs, alcohol, and God knows what else. My husband claims to not approve of this behavior, but I know he has lent his dad sums of money here and there, maybe $100-200 at a time. My husband claims that his father has always paid him back and that, until he fails to pay him back, he chooses to trust him and will continue to lend him money on occasion because he loves him.

We did not combine finances until we married so I did not feel it was my place to tell him what to do with his money when we were dating, but, now that we’re married and all of our money is combined, I feel like my husband is asking me to enable his (seemingly functional) alcoholic, addict father. Since our marriage is newish, we are now establishing a precedent of loaning his father money and letting him know that, if he wastes all of his money on drugs, etc., we will be his safety net. I explained this to my husband, who insists that his relationship with his father is extremely complicated, that his dad always pays him back, and that he loves him and cannot just “abandon” him when he’s in need, since he only asks for loans when he’s really, really stuck. For example, the last time was when he was traveling and ran out of money. He couldn’t do anything until we sent him $200.

For background: He and and my mother-in-law, who is, ironically, an extremely motivated and self-sufficient person, divorced when my husband was a teenager. My husband is the eldest of three siblings, and he is closer to his dad than his siblings are. His siblings are both very together people like their mom, and they have confided in me that they cut their dad off long ago. The mom found out that my husband was still lending the father money and she was really upset with their father. I explained to my husband how worrisome it is that his rational family whom he loves has cut their dad off, and that they did so for a reason, yet he insists that his relationship with his dad is different and that, until the dad fails to pay him back specifically, he owes him the benefit of the doubt. I disagree. Also, as more background: There has been some emotional abuse perpetuated by the dad, and, being from a very stable, docile family myself, just hearing some of the things I’ve heard have made me want to jump out of my skin.

A few weeks ago my FIL stayed with us for a couple of days, which I thought was just to visit. Turned out he was broke and wanted to extend the trip. I told my husband I was really uncomfortable that he had come under the guise of a visit, that I felt manipulated, and that he could stay one more night but had to be gone by the time I got home from work. He was. Now this morning my husband has let me know that he’s loaning him another $100.

Maybe I partially just need to vent, but I’m also unsure how to proceed. I don’t understand how to deal with people like this, but I’m pretty sure that enabling their drug habits is not the way to go. I like his dad personally, and we have the money to spare, but I do not want to be manipulated or taken advantage of. At the same time, I understand that my husband’s relationship with his dad is highly complicated. My husband is an extremely sensitive, rational person. I think he just feels like he is his dad’s only remaining savior and he cannot let go of that role, and I cannot force him to do so. For the record, not that I believe it matters since we are married, my husband and I both make a good income, though I make slightly more.

I know the answer to issues with in-laws is that the child should be the buffer and deal with their parents and that communication with your spouse is key, etc. But we have communicated, and my husband just seems to have a weird blind spot when it comes to his dad. We have a fundamental disagreement about the difference between supporting and enabling in this case. — Uncomfortable with Enabling

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dead end

I met a guy online over the summer. We had three PG dates and had a really great time together. We went away for a weekend on our fourth date, and he asked me to be his girlfriend that weekend. Four weeks later, after lots of relationship talk and his being super keen, he called to say a friend had declared her love for him. He felt confused and so ended it with me. Three weeks later we started talking again; he told me nothing happened with the friend and he wanted to rekindle our relationship, so, after telling him how much of an idiot he was, I agreed.

Three months later, after feeling like he was growing distant, I asked him what was up and he confessed he didn’t want a relationship. He has, he has said, a history of doing this to women, which he blames on having his heart broken by a cheating girlfriend. And now, after a month, he wants to try again. He feels ashamed of his behaviour and understands my trust has been eroded, so wants me to decide on my terms. He has been erratic in the past, often changing his mind and saying a lot of things that he later says he didn’t mean….so would it be foolish to give him a third chance??? — Foolish?

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This week in the forums, we’re discussing:

Looking for a Puppy Name

Any sewers here?

Can we talk about awkward dating stories in middle/high school?

My boyfriend lives an hour away and wants me to move with my children

Good news

Hypothetically moving in with a friend who has kids

Baby face

He wants exclusivity but no relationship title. Should I walk?

My boyfriend lives an hour away and wants me to move with my children

Is it time to MOA?

Best friend is drifting away, and I’m having a hard time with that

MEETUPS:

Northeast Ohio

Boston — August 29

Minnesota

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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com.

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passports

I have been with my boyfriend for a year and a half now. I’m 20 and he’s 40. My family doesn’t approve because of his age. My whole family hasn’t been together in forever and we finally had the opportunity to get everyone together for a family reunion in Brazil this past weekend. My boyfriend and I were supposed to go, but he didn’t get his visa in time. I wanted to go with him, of course, but, because he couldn’t go, I wanted to go by myself so I wouldn’t miss out on the family reunion. I thought that maybe he could come when he got his visa or I would just come back within three days.

I simply wanted to go to the family reunion, but he said we should never travel apart and he never likes to be away from me. He gets lonely and depressed when I’m not with him. I made him buy the ticket to Brazil anyway, but there were complications at the airport and I ended up not going because I wouldn’t get there in time. Even though I didn’t go, he was still acting upset because he wants me to tell him that I will never travel without him for any reason ever again. My mom and brother live in a different state so I like to go visit them for a week sometimes, and, since my family won’t accept him, I can’t bring him with me. I am extremely close with my mother, and I almost feel like I’ll have to choose between him or her. I was wondering if there’s any other way to fix things other than just leaving him. I do love him, but I also love my family. I don’t know what to do. — Choosing Between Family and Boyfriend

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Last week POPSUGAR Love syndicated my post about 30 Things That Will (Probably) Happen to Your in Your 30s and a commenter wrote: “This is written in a really “non-mom” tone. I only relate to about half of these,” which I thought was kind of interesting since I am, in fact, a mom and I wondered what was “non-mom” about my tone. So, I asked. And she replied:

“Perhaps we just have very different lives, and I’m sure my being a single mom contributes. The tone of this article just seems to point to much more of a social life than I could ever dream of. Sad right? lol.”

Then, yesterday, I posted a letter from someone who said he and his wife were concerned about having all the good times before they have kids as if, once they have children, the fun stops.

And THEN, over the weekend, I was dancing at a divey bar with my friends in Chicago — Me, a mom! Out with my friends! Having fun! — and someone made a comment about how I was “out-dancing” everyone even though I’m a mother.*

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And all of these things have me thinking: do most people think parents (and maybe, specifically, mothers) don’t or shouldn’t or can’t keep being social and have fun? And I don’t mean “fun” the way people say, “You still have fun, but it’s different kind of fun.” I’m talking about the same damn kind of fun you had before you had children — the up ’til late at night with your friends, dancing ’til dawn, taking vacations, and generally doing stuff with other adults that don’t involve the phrase “play date.” I mean, of course, you don’t do these things — the dancing ’til dawn kinds of things or whatever it is YOU consider a fun time — with anywhere near as much frequency once you have children. But you can and should still do much, if not all, the same stuff you did before (within reason, I guess; things that put your health and physical and/or mental well-being at serious risk are certainly debatable), at least sometimes, and you shouldn’t feel weird or guilty about it. [click to continue…]

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