Morning Quickies: “Should I Get a Different Job Before I Propose?”

I have been dating my current girlfriend since 2006. Before then we had an on-again, off-again relationship for years. I have been struggling with when to ask her to marry me. She works as a veterinarian. In fact, that is how I met her — through taking my cat to the vet. I’m just nervous about whether we would have enough money to stay afloat. I work as a cartoonist for my town’s local newspaper and that pays decent. However, I do have some expenses such as my aforementioned cat along with a dog. On top of that there is food, television, and other such things. Should I try to find some more profitable employment before I pop the question or should I just go for it? If things don’t work out financially, we can always go live on my parents’ farm, so really it’s just a coin toss at this point. I really need some help with this and a response would be very much appreciated
Yours sincerely — To Be Married In Muncie

I don’t know if you made a typo or what, but you’ve been dating for almost thirteen years, and before that you were “on and off”? Dude, if you haven’t figured out by now whether you’re financially compatible, I don’t know that seeking more profitable employment is going to do the trick. It sounds like maybe you’re just looking for excuses to continue delaying marriage with this woman? Or maybe you are nervous she’ll say no and are trying to head her off at the pass before that happens? But, look, if you’ve been managing to support yourself all these years without her help and she’s been managing to support herself all these years without your help, you two getting married isn’t going to suddenly financially break you. Or maybe you are thinking about having children and worried that you two, together, don’t make enough money to support kids, which is a reasonable concern and one you should discuss with your girlfriend. Bottom line: the decision to marry should be a joint one. If you want to be the one to pop the question, great. And if your girlfriend shares some of your anxieties about finances, you two can discuss what affect that will have on planning your future together. (By the way, make sure to share your idea about moving to your parents’ farm as a Plan B; your girlfriend may not share your view about that being a great alternative.)

Also see: 17 Things Every Couple MUST Discuss Before Getting Married

I’m a 32-year-old guy who has fallen in love with a 28-year-old girl who had a boyfriend whom she was planning to marry until he died. I deeply love her and she says that I am her precious gift. But she always speaks about her boyfriend and about what he did for her, and it makes me feel uncomfortable. I believe that if what she thinks about me is true, she should forget all those memories with her dead boyfriend and should begin a new life with me. Please help. — Ready to Start Fresh

Your girlfriend’s relationship with her now-deceased boyfriend is part of who she is, and you can’t erase her past, nor should you want to. Those memories she has are sacred and special and will always be with her. They don’t detract from her feelings for you or the memories you’re making together, just as your past doesn’t take away from the feelings you have for your girlfriend. But if your girlfriend is truly always talking about her boyfriend, it may be a sign that she is still actively grieving him and processing her loss — you don’t say how long ago he passed away — and maybe not ready yet to “begin a new life” with you. Love is patient, and you need to be as well.

I was seeing a woman who was still in a relationship. They live together but in separate rooms. They haven’t been intimate in a few years, according to her. Anyhow, I had a very very important appointment and she was going to come to my place and then we would go together to my appointment. She was late and I sent her a text that I was leaving for the appointment, but I still waited another 10 minutes before leaving. Later that evening, she went off on me saying I was rude and disrespectful because I didn’t wait for her and that I texted her instead of calling her. I told her that she is the rude and disrespectful one — first, for not being on time and, second, for not calling me to let me know that she wasn’t going to make it on time. So, who was really the rude and disrespectful one? — Who’s Rude?

Um, both of you, for having an affair while she’s living with another man.


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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy(AT)


  1. dinoceros says:

    LW1: It’s not clear what the issue is. Has she told you she won’t marry you without you having a better job? Are finances why you’ve been not gotten engaged in all these years? Do you think she’ll say no? Generally, if a person doesn’t expect to be able to support themselves, they should try to find a way they can, but tying it to a proposal seems a little silly. Either you want to get married or not. Either you want to get a different job or not. None of the expenses you listed are things that I assume would be new expenses to you. Do you foresee having more expenses together than separately? Why not have a conversation with her and talk about this stuff? I don’t have a lot of info to go on, but you sound like someone who maybe has been hesitant to get married (either for good reason — off and on for that long is a bad sign — or because you just didn’t want to) and you’re trying to delay it even longer.

    LW2: Have you actually seen her living situation and confirmed what she says?

  2. LW1- over at APW they have a saying “ducks are wily.” As in, you could spend your whole life trying to “get your ducks in a row,” because ducks are wily and never fall into line. If you’re good enough to date as you are now, then you’re good enough to marry as you are now. Hopefully she hasn’t been dating you for 12+ years hoping you’d one day change your career and entire life, so if you want to marry her the SAY SO! I also hope that after all these years, this isn’t the first conversation about marriage you two ever had.
    And as Wendy says, if you both can support yourselves independently then getting married doesn’t change that. In fact, if you don’t already live together then combining households will probably be more cost effective than living separately so it’ll put you in better shape. (not a good reason to move in or get married on its own, its just a nice bonus when you do).

    1. I know Muncie has a vastly different cost of living than where I am in the Northeast, but an *associate* vet at my dog’s clinic starts at a salary of $100K. So assuming vets in Muncie make fairly decent money for that area, I don’t see why they’d have to move in with LW’s folks? Especially if they’re both working. I know nobody knows what the future holds and anything can happen in terms of “if it doesn’t work out financially,” but the whole first letter is just … odd.

      1. Anonymous says:

        I’m not a vet, but I have two in my immediate family. Your perception of the financial security of veterinarians isn’t founded in reality. They regularly graduate with more student loans than doctors – and a fraction of the earning potential. There’s also a solid pattern of women earning less than men in the field. (Shocking, I know. See: Thus, as more women join the vocation, salaries have actually failed to keep with inflation while educational costs have exceeded it.

        This depressing article highlights several disturbing trends among veterinarians. Maybe do some research before making assumptions next time.

  3. I’m pretty sure LW1 is describing Jon from Garfield.

    1. Juliecatharine says:

      Lol I think you’re right.

      1. I bet the vet bills were pretty expensive for poor Jon. Cats shouldn’t eat that much lasagna.

    2. Bittergaymark says:

      Hah! Amazing! Best troll ever. I fell for it completely! Clever. Especially as most cartoon relationships do remain pretty damn static and frozen in time…

    3. Avatar photo Moneypenny says:

      OMG that’s so funny! Gotta love Garfield.

    4. Omg what a fuckin dork.

    5. He is. This kids in my class and is like freakin obsessed with Garfield. In math today ur was like, hey I wrote to this advice column pretending to be Jon from Garfield. ???bravo!!!

  4. LW3 your girlfriend was the rude one… biggest pet peeve is people who are late….if you are going to be late, then call (it is common curtesy)….people who are late give the impression that your time isn’t as important as their time….especially since it was an appointment you needed to get to….so she was basically inconveniencing two people

  5. This is messed up.

    “I believe that if what she thinks about me is true, she should forget all those memories with her dead boyfriend and should begin a new life with me.”

    1. Seriously. Even if they just broke up, it wouldn’t make sense to just forget all the memories. Those memories are part of your life and they contribute to who you are now. But even more so if the person passes away and there’s no bad ending to temper the good memories.
      Loving this person will ALWAYS be a part of who this woman is. If you think differently, LW, then you’re not the right person for her.

      1. This is making me think of last month I went on a cruise with my family (parents, siblings, husband and child). My sister noticed I had a higher rewards level than her and was like “what cruise have you been on without me?” so I jokingly covered my husbands ears and was like “I went on a cruise with [ex boyfriend].”
        I mean I don’t talk about my ex boyfriend frequently, but these things that happened are part of my life, my history, my frequent flyer miles. If you date someone over the age of 14, odds are good that they have some kind of history. (please don’t date 14 year olds LW, unless you are also in high school)

      2. My ex and I used to say that you don’t spend a decade or more with someone and not have them be part of your stories. So either i lie and say it was my friend Brenda or I tell the truth. Husband and I never hesitate to just flat out say it, even about more intimate stuff. I don’t care, I hope he dated before me, not the opposite.

    2. anonymousse says:

      That was so fucked up to read.
      LW2- you clearly have no real love or empathy for this woman at all.

      You need psychological help for your jealousy of a dead man.

  6. I get Nice Guy(TM) vibes from LW2. He doesn’t refer to this woman as his girlfriend, so it’s unclear to me if they’re even dating yet. Maybe we’re missing some details, but that + feeling she should forget her deceased boyfriend didn’t sit well. LW2, your expectations aren’t realistic and if you’re that bothered loving (and possibly dating) someone who is still grieving, don’t.

    LW3 – Your “girlfriend” was rude in this specific instance, but if you wanted to date someone who is conscientious of other people and their feelings, dating a woman in a live-in relationship wasn’t the best choice.

    1. I think you may be right, he doesn’t refer to her as a girlfriend, just that he’s in love with her.

      LW2, you don’t get to tell someone when they should be finished grieving, and you sure as hell don’t get to tell someone they should “forget those memories of their dead boyfriend” and start a new life with you. Talk about sheer coldblooded arrogance.

      She’s not ever going to forget him, so if that’s a requirement for you, then move on.

  7. “she should forget all those memories with her dead boyfriend and should begin a new life with me” – this is one of the grossest, most selfish thing I have ever read. From reading past Wendy answers where she goes hard on some people, I am SO surprised she didn’t have a little more than say about this 🙁

  8. Juliecatharine says:

    LW for a he record she is a 28 year old woman, not a girl. Her past is part of her. Don’t like it? Feel free to fuck right off.

    1. Anonymous says:

      Agree 1000000000000%

  9. Anonymous says:

    LW1) Don’t rock the boat. Clearly, the ver digs you. Now, the real pressing issue is that you must STOP inviting Nermel over to torment your beloved orange cat!
    LW2). Um… you clearly can’t handle her past. A dead ex always remains perfect. (I have one, I know.). Do yourself and her a favor and break up.
    LW3). She was rude. But you seem a bit clingy. I can’t recall ever making ANYONE take me to an appointment…

  10. Matthew Prower says:

    We’re onto you Arbuckle

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