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Shortcuts: “My Boyfriend Talks to His Daughter Too Much!”

It’s time again for Shortcuts. For every question, I’ll give my advice in just a few sentences, because sometimes the answer to a person’s question is so obvious and the need to hear it so great, being as clear and frank as possible is simply the best way to go.

I am a 56-year-old divorcee. I am dating a 60 year old widower (of three years). We have been dating for nearly a year now. I care deeply for this man but I am getting a bit annoyed. His 32-year-old daughter, who is married and is a stay-at-home mom with two small children, calls him twice a day nearly every day. She lives in Virginia, we live in Maine. My boyfriend often will take these calls when we are together. Her calls are never of a serious nature, merely chit-chat. I see this pattern as annoying. Am I wrong to resent the intrusions, her asking what we are doing all of the time and the fact that he WANTS to take these calls? Please advise. — Widower’s Girlfriend

 
Yes, you are wrong to resent a father WANTING to talk to his daughter who is stuck at home with two young children and probably misses her mother very much. If these calls are truly interrupting something serious or if they go on for longer than five or ten minutes, say something. Otherwise, respect that your boyfriend is a loving father and grandfather and has such a close relationship with his long-distance daughter. It says a lot about his character and how he values important interpersonal relationships.

My boyfriend’s family invited me to spend Boxing Day with them and I said yes. However, I just found out that my employers NEED me to work that day. So I said yes to them. I work with people who suffer from disabilities so I can’t just cancel on them. (Plus, I get triple pay that day and I have a lot of tuition fees I need to pay for). I feel really bad for telling my boyfriend that I cannot come and now he is angry at me for it. What should I do? — Boxing Day Dilemma

 
Oh please, you aren’t concerned about canceling on people with disabilities — for one thing, it’s only called “canceling” if you’ve already said yes, which you did… to your boyfriend’s invitation first; and for another thing, even if you did cancel, giving three weeks notice is hardly leaving your employers in a lurch. But this is about making money, which you have decided is more important than spending the day with your boyfriend and his family. So, embrace that and spend a little of that money on a nice gift for his family — a basket of gourmet cookies, maybe — and a handwritten note expressing your regret for missing out on being with them.

I‘m 23 years old and have been dating my boyfriend for almost a year now. I’m a Sagittarius and my boyfriend is a Scorpio. We just broke up because I’m jealous and don’t trust him though I do love him. I can’t get over him. PLEASE tell me what to do. I badly want him back. — Sad Sag

 
Consult a Magic Eight Ball and do exactly whatever it tells you to do because that, along with your horoscope, holds all the answers.

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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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{ 91 comments… add one }

  • rosie posie rosie posie December 6, 2013, 9:03 am

    As always Wendy hits the nail on the head.

  • avatar lemongrass December 6, 2013, 9:06 am

    LW1- how do you get to your age without developing an understanding of other’s values. Your boyfriend sounds like a wonderful man. What does it say about you that you are upset by it?

    • avatar EricaSwagger December 6, 2013, 9:31 am

      Seriously! What a cold-hearted B!

    • avatar TECH December 6, 2013, 9:41 am

      Yeah, the first letter really bothered me. The daughter is a stay at home mom who lost her mother just three years ago. Like Wendy said, she is most likely stressed and lonely. She misses her mom who is dead, and her father who lives half a country away.
      I love the fact that the father and daughter talk so frequently. Few fathers are daughters are so close.
      Jealousy really has no boundaries, does it?

      • avatar lemongrass December 6, 2013, 9:47 am

        I love my dad so much but it is always awkward when we talk on the phone. I think it’s awesome that those two can be so close.

        • Fabelle Fabelle December 6, 2013, 10:45 am

          Ha, right there with you. My dad & I are both quiet, & I don’t think I’ve ever talked to him on the phone besides to be like, “Da-aaaad, I’m stuck somewhere because car accident/flat tire/locked my keys in the car/my brakes feel funny.” And he never says anything more than :::heavy sigh::: “Where are ya”

          My mom & I talk on the phone all the time, though. My bf was once marveling at the fact that his mom & grandma (his mom’s mom, obviously) talk on the phone so much. I was like… “hmm, you know I’ll probably be that way also, right?”

      • avatar MW December 6, 2013, 10:28 am

        Half a country away? Not hardly! We live in Oregon, my in-laws live in South Dakota. That’s half the country away.

        That said, the girlfriend needs to embrace that her boyfriend loves his family and has bonds with his daughter.

        • katie katie December 6, 2013, 10:29 am

          haha, yea, i was like… maine to virginia? not that bad… lol

          • othy othy December 6, 2013, 10:43 am

            Living in Utah with parents in Florida and a brother in Oregon, I would be trilled to have a Maine-Virgina distance!

            • GatorGirl GatorGirl December 6, 2013, 10:49 am

              I think you guys are being a little harsh about this distance thing. Living 900 miles from your family IS hard. And I’m sure it’s even harder with children.

              We live 900 miles from my family and getting to see them is a huge challenge/hurdle.

              • othy othy December 6, 2013, 11:25 am

                I don’t doubt it’s hard being that far, especially with two little kids, but I wish my folks lived within driving distance.

                • GatorGirl GatorGirl December 6, 2013, 11:46 am

                  Have you driven 900 miles? Because it is NOT pleasant. Maine to Virginia is approx. 900 miles per google maps, all on I-95 and through some of the biggest metropolitan areas in the US (DC, Baltimore, Philly, NYC, Boston). Hello northeast traffic! Also…I don’t really consider 16 hours to be an easy driving distance (and really isn’t anything driving distance? It’s just a matter of driving time). It’s 2 grueling days on the road and I will not put my children through it; I can barely make it.

                • avatar kerrycontrary December 6, 2013, 11:56 am

                  yeh I actually don’t consider maine-virginia as driving distance. Or in GG’s case florida-pennsylvania. To me “driving distance” is something we can do in half a day to a day. Max 8-10 hours. Actually, if its more than 6-8 hours i’m probably flying or taking a train.

                • avatar bethany December 6, 2013, 12:18 pm

                  Yeah, that was my thought, too. Maine to VA SUCKS. Especially with little kids, or for a man in his 60s. That’s not an easy drive, by any means.

                  I’ll do a 5 hour drive each way just to spend 1 day with my family, but 16 hours is a whole other thing.

        • avatar kerrycontrary December 6, 2013, 11:00 am

          I think everyone is trying to one-up the LW with the distance thing. I hate one-uppers. “Oh I live further than you so you have it easy”. No, that doesn’t help anyone. Some people live a 2 hr drive from their family but have difficulty visiting them due to lack of a car or public transportation or disposable funds. My parents are in PA and my sister is in NC and it’s been extremely hard for her with a new baby. Heck, I think it’s hard to be even in a different town as your parents when you have young children (and you have a good relationship of course).

          • GatorGirl GatorGirl December 6, 2013, 11:15 am

            I love this. Distance is hard. Period.

          • katie katie December 6, 2013, 11:35 am

            oh no, i just disagreed with the “half a country” comment.

            unless it is half the country away? that would baffle my mind. the whole east coast baffles my mind though, geographically.

            • avatar rachel December 6, 2013, 11:43 am

              It might be half the country in a north-south sense, actually. If we wanna be picky about it, haha.

              • katie katie December 6, 2013, 11:45 am

                wow seriously? im googling.

                • katie katie December 6, 2013, 11:48 am

                  maine to virginia is 839 miles. coast to coast of the us is approx 3000 miles.

                  so no, not half the country. if the country we are talking about is the usa.

                  in my mind, because ive only been to the east coast for college and never before or after that, all that stuff is just right by each other. like no biggie, just drive a few hours. haha

                  • GatorGirl GatorGirl December 6, 2013, 11:52 am

                    Just because I was interested, I google maped the farthest apart towns in the two states and it’s over 1200 miles. So it could be a pretty big range.

                  • avatar Liquid Luck December 6, 2013, 1:19 pm

                    The eastern coastline of the US is 2000 miles long though, so if (like rachel mentioned) you’re dividing the country in north-south terms rather than east-west terms, it likely is about half way.

                    And you can add me to the list of people who thinks that taking two days and paying for an overnight hotel, each way, to get somewhere (which is what is required for my GA to PA trips to see my family) doesn’t really qualify it for comfortable driving distance.

              • GatorGirl GatorGirl December 6, 2013, 11:50 am

                I never know what to call our situation; we live in FL and my family is in PA. Technically it is about half of the north-south distance…maybe more actually. It’s around 1700 miles from Bangor to Miami…we’re 900 miles from my family.

            • avatar TECH December 6, 2013, 12:27 pm

              Geez, I didn’t expect such a discussion about my “half a country away” comment. I didn’t pull out my atlas and measure the distance. It was just an off hand comment. Maine and Virginia are far apart. I’ve done that drive before. You have to split it into two days. The overall sentiment was they live really far apart — because they do.

              • Fabelle Fabelle December 6, 2013, 2:10 pm

                haha, I think we get bored on here sometimes, & like to dissect? (not that I was part of this particular tangent, but I also found it odd)

      • CurlyQue CurlyQue December 6, 2013, 10:28 am

        Just wanted to add that the daughter is also probably making it a point to keep in close contact w/ her father to see how he’s doing, since she’s long distance and can’t see for herself. I know that since my mother’s passing i’ve taken more of an initiative in my relationship with my father.

        • avatar kerrycontrary December 6, 2013, 11:00 am

          THIS. She’s probably checking up on him. Just cause he has a gf doesn’t mean everything is a-OK. He lost his WIFE. that’s a big deal.

  • avatar Morgan December 6, 2013, 9:08 am

    LW1: I….can’t. It’s rude to call someone the most selfish person on the planet, right? (oops.)

    LW2: Look, I get that sometimes your employers actually do NEED you to work. I work for a very small business; if I can’t work on some of our busy days, then we literally don’t have enough people to run the business. That said, I know what those days are and know not the make plans on them. So either you probably could have suspected you wouldn’t be free boxing day, or they don’t actually NEED you. I also don’t actually fault you for taking the hours even if they don’t NEED you though; I can barely pay my rent, so if an opportunity for more money arises, unfortunately I’m in a financial position where I can’t turn it down. So in that respect, send a homemade dessert and a note with your regrets, and be glad you can pay for classes next month.

    LW3: If you just broke up, he isn’t your boyfriend.

  • honeybeenicki honeybeenicki December 6, 2013, 9:09 am

    LW1: I’ve never understood people who get jealous of someone’s relationship with their kids. Doesn’t make sense to me. I think it’s great that he still has such a good connection with his daughter. And Wendy’s right – she’s probably lonely and missing her mom (and her dad who is states away).

    LW2: I totally agree with Wendy. You didn’t say yes to your job because you didn’t want to abandon the people with disabilities you work with. You said yes because you get triple pay. I’d back out on my own family for triple pay under the right circumstances.

    LW3: I keep a Magic 8 Ball on my desk for the people in the office to consult on work matters (that’s not true… it’s actually purple and called a “magic orb” but is the same concept, but much cheaper). I asked it if you should try to get back with your boyfriend and it said “The Stars Say No”. So, no.

    • avatar lemongrass December 6, 2013, 9:13 am

      “The Stars Say No” hahaha. I’m now considering letting a magic 8 ball make all of my life decisions. It would make things much easier on me!

      • honeybeenicki honeybeenicki December 6, 2013, 9:17 am

        People in my office are always coming to my desk to ask it questions. I work for a police department, so who knows what kind of impact that has on the general public!

        • avatar SpaceySteph December 6, 2013, 2:06 pm

          I love that you were actually serious about the magic orb.

  • avatar bethany December 6, 2013, 9:18 am

    LW1- Wow. Honestly? You sound really insensitive and rude. Unless your boyfriend is on the phone with his daughter for HOURS at a time, you sound like a real jerk.

    Many of my friends with small children call their parents multiple times a week- this might be a shock to you, but many grandparents like to stay involved in their grandchildren’s lives, and when they live a far distance away, the phone/skype/facetime is a great way to do that. it’s not like 20 years ago when you had to pay for long distance, so phone calls were more rare. It’s awesome that your boyfriend is so involved with his daughter and her kids, ESPECIALLY since she’s recently lost her mother!

    • avatar Deb December 6, 2013, 1:26 pm

      Long-time lurker, first time poster. Hi, everyone!

      ^THIS. When my rug rats were little, I called my folks — who really do live half a continent away — ALLA TIME, because I was so proud of every embarrassing thing my babies did (“She farted! It was sooo cute!” “He stood up! Then he fell over. OMG, he’s standing again!”) that I wanted to share it with someone who was just as emotionally invested as I was. If you call your friends about these things too much, especially if they don’t have kids of their own, they tend to suggest medicating yourself.

      And, of course, the daughter could be checking in with her dad to see how he’s doing. If I were that dad, I’d MOA and find someone who encourages him to make his relationship with his kids a priority (51 yr old divorcee here, dating a 57 yo divorcee, btw, so I know.)

      Also, long-time lurker, first time poster. Hi, everyone!

      • avatar bethany December 6, 2013, 1:46 pm

        Yay! Welcome!

  • GatorGirl GatorGirl December 6, 2013, 9:29 am

    LW1 Unless he’s answering her calls during sex…chill out. He’s a great father and that speaks volumes about him. Your annoyance speaks volumes about you.

    • GatorGirl GatorGirl December 6, 2013, 9:45 am

      So, thinking about this more…I’m starting to see why it could get annoying. If the phone calls are consistently during dinner, or during their favorite show, or early morning waking them up….something of that nature. Then maybe a conversation should be had about good times for the calls. Like I could see GGuy getting annoyed if my mom called every night at 7 when we where eating dinner just to ask what color socks I was wearing.

      BUT if it’s jealously that they have a close relationship…then you suck at life.

      • avatar bethany December 6, 2013, 9:56 am

        My guess is that she calls him while the kids are napping. If they’re still really young, they probably take 2 naps a day- thus great times to call her dad!

        • GatorGirl GatorGirl December 6, 2013, 10:01 am

          Yeah I could see it being a great time for HER, but maybe not a great time for dad. So I do think, if it’s about the timing of calls then maybe LW isn’t a total butthead and there could be a conversation about it. I 99% of the time schedule phone chats with friends- so we both know where to focus our attention and our partners aren’t left with the DVR on pause for an hour while I yammer about making pillows. You know?

      • avatar TECH December 6, 2013, 10:06 am

        If the daughter was consistently interrupting dinner or waking them up out of bed, or something similar, I feel like the LW would have mentioned that. It just seems like she’ll call periodically throughout the day. It also doesn’t seem like they’re hour long conversations, otherwise, the LW likely would have mentioned that. God, can you imagine how bugged the LW would be if the daughter actually lived in the same state. Gasp! She would have to share her boyfriend’s attention in person, too!

        • GatorGirl GatorGirl December 6, 2013, 10:14 am

          I don’t disagree with that possibility, it was my first reaction as well! I’m just apparently in a fabulous mood today (as opposed to my crankiness all week) and trying to give the LW the benefit of the doubt?

      • katie katie December 6, 2013, 10:12 am

        eh, if a big part of someone’s life is talking with X (their kids, their friends, whatever), thats a part of them you have to accept. to me its no different then if they have a hobby they practice, or like me, i go to the shelter every saturday. i still get to have a life on a schedule not 100% dictated by my partner.

        • avatar TECH December 6, 2013, 10:16 am

          Yeah, I agree. If the LW is just sitting there waiting for her boyfriend to get off the phone, she needs to find something else to fill her time. Read a book. Exercise. Listen to music. Take up knitting. Do something!

        • GatorGirl GatorGirl December 6, 2013, 10:17 am

          I hardly think expressing that it’s annoying to have dinner interrupted by taking phone calls (if that’s what’s going on) is in anyways dictating your partners schedule.

          If you bf was upset about you doing every Saturday, I would think you would have a conversation about it and try to compromise.

          • katie katie December 6, 2013, 10:23 am

            i really dont think its something like that… calls during dinner or whatever.

            the LW is fixated on the fact that he *wants* to take these (in the LW’s eyes) “annoying” and “intrusive” calls that are never “serious” enough to warrant having them in the first place.

            i dont think any manner of scheduling them would help- the LW is annoying that they are there at all.

            • GatorGirl GatorGirl December 6, 2013, 10:31 am

              Like I’ve said 10 times…I agree. She sounds like she’s annoyed about their close relationship- which is ridiculous. But if we’re misreading it, and it’s something like scheduling then I don’t think it would be wrong for her to say something and ask him to compromise.

            • CurlyQue CurlyQue December 6, 2013, 10:34 am

              That got me too. So the girl can only call her father when it’s “serious”? Some people have relationships like that with their parents, but obviously their’s is not one of those. …And how serious would her phone call have to be to be warranted ok by the LW?

        • avatar kerrycontrary December 6, 2013, 11:03 am

          I have a friend that lives with her mom and still probably talks to her twice a day on the phone while she’s at work. I think it’s weird, but whatever it’s important to them. She probably talked to her mom 4x a day when we lived together. It’s part of their relationship and it makes them both feel good, so who cares.

  • Fabelle Fabelle December 6, 2013, 9:30 am

    LW1…Wtf. Let the man talk to his daughter, & be touched at how close they are. Don’t be whatever it is you’re being right now, which from the outside, seems very selfish & petty.

    For LW2, I dunno, does it ~matter~ whether she doesn’t want to cancel on people with disabilities, or whether she just wants that triple pay? It’s probably a combination of both, which doesn’t make her a bad person, & if I were her, ya, I’d take working for triple pay over spending “boxing day” with my boyfriend’s family :-| I would just send my regrets & say that work needs me.

    I agree with Wendy that a consolation gift is a good idea though!

    LW3: if you have trust & jealousy issues, then you don’t get to be in a relationship. Get over those things, first.

  • the_optimist the_optimist December 6, 2013, 9:43 am

    Wendy, you neglected to ask LW3 what phase the moon was in when she and her boyfriend first met. Everyone knows THAT’S what holds all the answers ;)

  • katie katie December 6, 2013, 10:04 am

    LW1- it never ceases to amaze me how much people want to occupy every single second of their partners time. its so weird.

    LW2- of course your boyfriend is mad, you are cancelling plans that sound pretty important-ish… but, such is life. find a way to move on from it.

    LW3- you need to figure out your own life and issues before you can be successful with ANY partner.

  • avatar Sara December 6, 2013, 10:24 am

    LW1 – Yes, you are wrong to be jealous. Do you have an individual hobby to occupy you while your bf does his hobby, which is nurturing a relationship with his family? Or maybe you can call and old friend or a relative and nurture some of you own relationships.

    LW2 – WWS

    LW3 – Here’s an online magic 8 ball: http://web.ics.purdue.edu/~ssanty/cgi-bin/eightball.cgi

    Also: Guys – I get to work from home today because my employer called a snow day. Yay!

  • CurlyQue CurlyQue December 6, 2013, 10:39 am

    LW2. Your boyfriend is mad because you agreed to attend his parent’s event and then without consulting him agreed to work that same day. In the future, when you’ve already agreed to plans i’d suggest at least talking to your bf about it before agreeing to something else. There may be more importance to this event than you previously realized, which could’ve came out in a conversation rather than in angry/hurt feelings now. But this advice doesn’t help your current situation.

    I agree with Wendy about sending something nice w/your bf as well as a thoughtful note BUT i’d also suggest telling your boyfriend that next time you won’t break already agreed upon plans without first talking to him. Because not doing so can come off disrespectful to him and in this case his family as well.

    • Fabelle Fabelle December 6, 2013, 10:42 am

      Yeah, I do agree that she should’ve consulted him, & it’s a good idea to mention to him that that’s what she’ll plan to do for future situations.

  • othy othy December 6, 2013, 10:48 am

    LW3 – He’s a Scorpio, no wonder things didn’t work out. You should find yourself a Taurus. They’re known for being dependable and loyal. That should help you with your jealousy/trust issues.

    • avatar something random December 6, 2013, 10:52 am

      I thought Scorpios tended to be the possessive ones and Sags tend to be the flirts.

      • kare kare December 6, 2013, 11:30 am

        It’s probably just a coincidence, but the male Scorpios I know are very secretive and flirtatious. So yeah. I know it sounds weird, but I don’t think I’d date a Scorpio or a Pisces again.

      • katie katie December 6, 2013, 11:44 am

        no, it says that everyone besides scorpios are assholes.

        i read it, i promise. sorry LW.

  • avatar Amber December 6, 2013, 11:03 am

    Twice a day every day is a lot of phone calls…depending on when they are happening and the duration, I might find it annoying too. I probably wouldn’t say anything though.

    • avatar something random December 6, 2013, 11:42 am

      I might be annoyed if it was a new friend that had been calling throughout the day for months at a time. But I think this guy has a routine of friendly casual short conversations with his daughter that predates the letter writer. I thought it was weird that the lw would be around for all the phone calls. Sixty is pretty young to be retired, no?

  • Addie Pray Addie Pray December 6, 2013, 11:05 am

    New rule: If your letter to Wendy references your horoscope, then…. (Actually I don’t know how to end that. I want to say “then you’re a dummy” but that doesn’t really answer the question posed. Help.)

    • Nookie Nookie December 6, 2013, 11:18 am

      ‘If your question references your horoscope, stop reading your horoscope’

      ??

    • avatar something random December 6, 2013, 11:35 am

      then… you have to include your entire planetary chart so we can make sure that we take in account which signs fall in each house.

  • avatar ele4phant December 6, 2013, 11:23 am

    Am I an asshole (or a workaholic) that I am perplexed why the boyfriend is angry? I mean, when there’s work and you’re strapped for cash, you work when there’s an opportunity. If I were in her shoes I would have cancelled to pick up a shift, and if I were the boyfriend I wouldn’t have batted an eye. Been slightly bummed about a change in plans, but not angry at all.

    I know as an American Boxing Day isn’t a thing at all, so I don’t really understand how significant it is, but couldn’t they “celebrate” it late or on a different day? During my childhood we celebrated lots of Christmases and thanksgivings super early, super late, or on an entirely different day just to accommodate family members work schedules.

    • kare kare December 6, 2013, 11:35 am

      I agree completely. I’d work on thanksgiving if I got triple pay. A lot of my friends work service industry jobs where they can plan to be off, but a week before someone is sick or quits or wants to be off and they have more seniority. In my mind, work is a valid excuse.

      • avatar ele4phant December 6, 2013, 11:43 am

        Agreed. In college I worked at a huge retail store (like target but regionally based) and they realized their schedules only two weeks in advance, and were unionized so you could assume that as someone low on the totem pole you likely weren’t going to get all (or maybe any) holidays off, and you can bet they wouldn’t accommodate your previous personal plans. While this girl isn’t in retail, I still think she could be working for a large, inflexible for profit caregiving company that doesn’t care at all about accommodating employees holiday requests.

        Should she have held back on excepting an invitation until she say her holiday schedule? Eh maybe not but I still think canceling due to work isn’t something to get upset about.

        • avatar EricaSwagger December 6, 2013, 12:27 pm

          “…caregiving company that doesn’t care at all…”
          Saddest thing I’ve read all week.

    • avatar something random December 6, 2013, 11:38 am

      I think its rude to cancel plans in lieu of better options, but I’d be the other asshole working right along side of you, especially on “boxing day!?”

    • avatar MMcG December 6, 2013, 11:42 am

      I was thinking the same thing about Boxing Day… that the gf is American and her place of employment is as well so Boxing Day didn’t register as something that needed to be figured out in advance or as all that important (to be honest I don’t even know what Boxing Day is). Sounds like a simple opportunity came up and she went for it… and since her bf is angry with her she’s piling on about working with the disabled to try and make her situation sound more sympathetic, not that there was anything purposely devious or manipulative about it. Maybe it was a “big” meeting to the bf or one of the only times he has brought someone home, which is why he’s angry about it.

      In the future, don’t commit to plans without confirming that you have the day off. It’s that simple :)

      • avatar MMcG December 6, 2013, 11:46 am

        And now that I have done my google research, I find it funny that the origins of Boxing Day relate to employers showing appreciation to their employees.

        Boxing Day is traditionally the day following Christmas Day, when servants and tradesmen would receive gifts from their bosses[1] or employers, known as a “Christmas box”.

        I would also be a jerk and work the holiday, but then again I’ve had jobs where I did have to go in on Christmas Day at some point or Thanksgiving… if you need money and/or have a job where there really aren’t days off like a bank (Which the bf should know and understand) I really don’t see the point in looking for the insult and holding onto anger.

    • katie katie December 6, 2013, 11:42 am

      yea, i agree. as much as everyone hates it, you gotta work.

    • avatar AK47 December 9, 2013, 9:55 am

      Not to mention, a lot of facilities/services geared towards people with disabilities are ALREADY short-staffed on a normal Tuesday. Many of those types of organizations are chronically under-staffed, under-funded, and over-crowded if they are residential or over-extended if they are visiting. And their clients aren’t necessarily people who can wait until the next day for someone to come; they need assistance with day-to-day tasks, which need to happen even if the person who makes them possible can’t be there.

      It is very possible that if she didn’t come in, she’d be leaving the other employees in a lurch by being a staff member short, and their clients could end up in rough shape from missing a day of care or the person picking up the slack missing something.

  • avatar Wendy (not Wendy) December 6, 2013, 11:41 am

    I’m guessing Wendy (and many of you) haven’t worked healthcare… there’s no way I could cancel a holiday shift with three weeks’ notice. Actually, I couldn’t cancel a holiday with ANY notice. Some healthcare jobs you have to call the highest management available in order to call out SICK during the holiday season. I think what the LW means when she says “I can’t just cancel on people with disabilities” is that her job is actually essential. It isn’t like a lot of industries where the other employees can just stretch to pick up the slack.

    If this is going to be her line of work in the long term, her boyfriend (and his family) are going to have to get used to the idea that she is going to be working at times that are inconvenient to them.

    • Addie Pray Addie Pray December 6, 2013, 11:46 am

      I’m with you on that.

    • avatar Christy December 6, 2013, 12:01 pm

      Yup yup, this. My cousin’s wife has missed a whole bunch of holidays because she’s a nurse.

    • Fabelle Fabelle December 6, 2013, 12:12 pm

      I am in total agreement with you.

    • GatorGirl GatorGirl December 6, 2013, 12:20 pm

      Well…in fairness to the BF, LW2 did agree to go to the family event and then agree to pick up the extra shift. While I do agree with the overall point (healthcare workers don’t get holidays), I get the impression the LW wasn’t required to work, since she says she “said yes” to me that implies she had the option to say no. So, I guess I understand where BF is coming from. She made a commitment and then broke it, that is different than knowing from the beginning she’s unavailable due to work.

      • katie katie December 6, 2013, 12:26 pm

        “I get the impression the LW wasn’t required to work” — she put NEED in all caps. i dont think she really had a choice, even if she did think she was off at first. or it was one of those, you can say no but that fucks over every single other person and we will hate you forever and your reviews will reflect that situation…

        • GatorGirl GatorGirl December 6, 2013, 12:29 pm

          It could be a myriad of things. It could range anywhere for “doing them a favor” to “technically it’s optional but I could get fired if I don’t agree”. But, I would think BF would be more understanding if it was closer to the negative impact end of the spectrum. So yeah, I’m still thinking it was optional, with no strings attached, and she wanted the overtime.

          • avatar ele4phant December 6, 2013, 12:42 pm

            Even so, to me I don’t understand why the boyfriend is so upset. To me, canceling plans to pick up needed work (she’s a poor college kid and it’s triple time) is a-okay in my book. If family, friends, or my boyfriend wanted to back out of plans so they could make some much needed money it wouldn’t bother me at all. I mean, unless this was the first time she was meeting them, or they had bought expensive non-refundable tickets to get there, I don’t understand why someone would be so upset.

            See them next time, come late, or plan a makeup trip at the next earliest opportunity.

            Not saying my values are the universal correct ones, but I personally have a hard time seeing where he’s coming from.

            • GatorGirl GatorGirl December 6, 2013, 12:49 pm

              Well, like you said, people have different values. Family will always be more important to me than money (I personally would give up a luxury rather than pick up work to miss a family event). But my way isn’t the only right way, and neither is yours.

              • avatar Ele4phant December 6, 2013, 2:12 pm

                Yep we’re all different and that’s cool. Although if the LW and her boyfriend hold these differing values, that’s something to address sooner or later if they plan to make it for the long haul. You and I can disagree, but you and I should be on the same page as our respective others.

        • Fabelle Fabelle December 6, 2013, 12:34 pm

          Yeah, I’m surprised I guess that the priority order is 1.) boyfriend + family, 2.) work? Or at least, that’s how most of the comments make it seem? I get that boyfriend/family takes priority in ~other~ instances, but in an instance like “you should come in on such-and-such day”, that’s definitely a “work is #1″ instance, to me.

    • avatar TECH December 6, 2013, 12:21 pm

      Yes, this part of Wendy’s response didn’t sit well with me. “even if you did cancel, giving three weeks notice is hardly leaving your employers in a lurch.” I’ve worked jobs where cancelling your shift is just not an option, no matter how much notice you give. If you’re scheduled to work on a certain day, the only alternative is to find someone who will switch shifts with you.

      • kare kare December 6, 2013, 1:25 pm

        I worked retail a couple of years ago, and we weren’t allowed to switch shifts. Management did not care. A girl I worked with was in a hit and run accident, called me at 5 am to say “hey I’m in the ER, my phone is dying, I can’t leave a message at the store, please let them know I can’t make it”. Did they care? Nope. “She should have found a way to contact us at 8 am or she should have come in”. Kidney stones? Suck it up. The flu? Well I guess if you want a week off without pay and you’re fine with possibly getting a pay cut at your next review.

      • avatar AK47 December 9, 2013, 9:57 am

        Exactly. She works for a facility or service that provides services to people with disabilities; this is a chronically under-staffed field, so it’s very possible 3 weeks is really not enough notice. Not to mention at a job like that, it’s not just her co-workers picking up a few more spreadsheets to read that day. It’s actual essential care that needs to happen.

    • avatar SpaceySteph December 6, 2013, 1:22 pm

      We had a guy who was assigned to the evening shift the week of Christmas give his 2-weeks notice on quitting the job 3 weeks before said week of shifts.
      That left us all scrambling to fill the holes around people’s already planned holiday vacation to find enough people to cover.
      This kind of thing is a total dick move l to coworkers who were counting on not having to work and may have already bought plane tickets or accepted other shifts planning to have christmas off, etc.
      Truth is, if she didn’t want to work it, she shouldn’t have ever said yes and now it really is too late to not leave the employer and coworkers in a lurch.

  • avatar Taylor December 6, 2013, 11:46 am

    Shortcuts, I’ve missed you!!

  • avatar SpaceySteph December 6, 2013, 1:03 pm

    I work in a job where working holidays is basically a requirement. We work 24-7-365 operations which means me or one of my coworkers is there day or night or holiday or birthday or whatever. (this is my first Christmas in 4 years that I’m not working)

    My advice to the LW is that if this is a permanent kind of thing for you (this job is related to your intended career and it’s one where working holidays is par for the course) find a boyfriend who can handle it, not one who constantly guilts you for taking shifts.

    My husband is very understanding of my terrible schedule, which is super important because I intend to be working nights and holidays for a long time. It sucks when you have to work holidays, it sucks when you have to miss out… and you know that already. You are already bummed about missing up. You don’t also need your pouting boyfriend to make you feel shittier about it.

    • avatar TECH December 6, 2013, 1:09 pm

      Yeah, I agree with everything you said. I used to have to work Christmas, Thanksgiving, and all the big holidays. And my family reacted with sympathy. Their reaction was more, “Ugh, I’m sorry your boss needs to you work that day.” Rather than “Ugh, I’m so mad at you that you can’t come over the house to celebrate!”
      I can’t imagine reacting with anything other than sympathy. Yes, she told her boyfriend that she would be with them. But she said they NEEDED her to work.

  • Lindsay Lindsay December 7, 2013, 1:31 am

    I think everybody is being too harsh on LW1. Perhaps the daughter is having a rough time and he’s a good father for answering the phone multiple times a day, but that doesn’t automatically make it wrong to find that annoying. I talk to my parents once a week, so maybe it’s just a difference in habits, but if I was with someone and they had to stop whatever we were doing two times a day to have a phone conversation, I would also find that annoying. I realize that being a stay-at-home mom can be lonely and it can be sad to have lost your mother, but the situation, to me, isn’t THAT dire that he really need to drop everything as soon as the phone rings. It can be OK to have boundaries, even if the person you’re interacting with isn’t doing anything wrong.

    Like my friend whose mom calls multiple times a day. It was one thing when it was just her, but for her to answer the phone every time she calls, meaning she’d be interrupting meals or other quality time with her husband in order to go sit on the phone for a while, would be kind of rude in my book. Maybe he can schedule time to talk with his daughter instead? I imagine it’s not that they are in contact, but the fact that she pretty much has control over whatever he’s doing at th emoment.

    Rather than just bitch at the LW about being cold-hearted, I’d probably just say that it’s a difference in preferences/values, and if it’s that annoying to her, then she might have to move on.

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