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.
My fiancé is a great man, but I cannot come to terms with the fact that he tries to please everyone while avoiding my needs. There is only a month until the wedding. What would you do? — Cold Feet Bride
The reason you can’t come to terms with the fact that your fiancé tries to please everyone else while avoiding your needs is because you have at least half a brain, which should be enough smarts for you to cancel or, at the very least, postpone the wedding. And if you have a whole entire brain, you will explicitly express your needs to this man, give him three months to show he can accommodate you, and, if he shows no sign of caring what you want, you will MOA.
He does. So what? Be more concerned about your brief breakup and why he went running to three other women in ten days instead of working things out with his girlfriend of three years who happens to be the mother of his baby.
Honestly, you sound like someone who could benefit from living on her own for a little while instead of going straight from your parents’ home to your fiancé’s home. I’d suggest moving into your own place — either by yourself or with a roommate — for a year and THEN moving in with your fiancé. It may be the only year you ever have in your whole life to do exactly what YOU want to do, and it will go a long way in forming some independence so that you may be better able to stand up for yourself in the future.
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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at email@example.com.
Fabelle July 5, 2013, 9:18 am
LW1: There are enough issues here that, yeah, I think you should reconsider whether or not you want to marry this man.
(As a side note, I wish people would self-edit better—like, him walking two steps ahead of you is mayyybe not on the same level as the other shit mentioned??)
LW2: I’m so confused by this. What do you mean by “talk”? Did you really break up with the father of your baby just because he ~spoke~ to his ex, as well as other women? I mean, was the conversation even inappropriate, or you’re just angry that he was even in contact with an ex? (because you’ve “never contacted [your] ex or any other guy”) Normally, I’d give the benefit-of-the-doubt that the contact was inappropriate, but here? it doesn’t even sound like it was?
Look, some people still maintain contact with their exes, & others don’t. And A LOT of people watch porn.
LW3: WWS. I have a feeling you won’t listen, though—so I’ll just say, maybe it’s better to just wait? You’ll be married soon enough.
Christy July 5, 2013, 9:31 am
I think she acknowledges that it’s a minor issue in comparison. (“However, he has some minor and major issues that concern me about our future.”) But this would drive me BATTY. I had a friend who did this, and it would drive me batty then too. I think it’s ultimately a sign of disrespect. Really, it’s more important to walk .5 mph faster than to walk with your fiancee? Or you’re in such a rush that you need to drag her along behind you? Can’t you stand to walk next to her and talk to her? It also weirds me out in a gendered way, like he’s trying to have the woman walk submissively behind him. I’m sure that’s not what it is (in either case) but I still end up reading it that way.
I just don’t see any reason to walk like that, and if LW1 has brought this up as an issue and her fiance won’t change this trivial thing that matters to her, that’s a pretty big issue to me.
Fabelle July 5, 2013, 9:35 am
That’s a good point—just not what my mind jumped to, I guess? (Also, I admit that I totally do this people, because my default walking pace is like 5 mph. I try not to, but sometimes I can’t help it! So I was kinda giving her fiance the benefit-of-the-doubt, haha)
KL July 5, 2013, 9:45 am
I’ve experienced this as an innocent phenomenon (mostly when dating guys way taller than myself) and also as a passive-aggressive/power trip thing. Some guys will make it really clear through body language that they feel horribly burdened by your “slow” pace and want you to hurry up (even if you walk at a normal pace, or if you have an injury legitimately slowing you down) or they want to be the “leader.” I’ve definitely seen it. But it’s hard to say from what little we have.
theattack July 5, 2013, 9:39 am
My husband used to do this to me, and it was honestly just that his comfortable walking pace was faster than mine. It took a good while to get him to slow down and walk with me, but it eventually happened. No sexism or disrespect involved. I can’t imagine someone consciously thinking that they want to walk ahead of their fiancée. Surely that’s not what’s happening.
Fabelle July 5, 2013, 9:43 am
Yes, those were my thoughts too. I guess I can see it as being a big deal, though—I’ve more-than-once complimented my boyfriend on his walking pace (my ex was a slow walker, & it drove me CRAZY)
Christy July 5, 2013, 9:44 am
No, I’m sure it’s not intentional on his part. But it is rude not to slow down when asked.
And how much faster can you be walking if you’re consistently 4 paces ahead of the next person?
GatorGirl July 5, 2013, 9:52 am
She doesn’t say she’s asked him to slow down. And she specifically says she does not ask him to hold her hand, even though she wants him to. He very well could have no clue this is driving her nuts!
I walk half a step behind my husband and do so completely subconsciously. Since I know it drives him nuts, I have to make a point to stay next to him. But before he told me it drove him crazy, I had no idea! So he just walked along simmering in anger/frustration with me clueless. I agree with theattack that this is cold feet, not some serious problem.
Ella__ July 5, 2013, 9:57 am
My boyfriend does that too and it drives me nuts! He always is about a step behind me and if I slow down for him to catch up, he slows down too. I have told him repeatedly how I just want to walk together, but I don’t think he noticed how weird it was until I started walking a step behind him to show him. Such a strange problem!
paperheart July 5, 2013, 10:47 am
I do that too, and it drives B crazy. I remember a time at the beginning of relationship where he was slowing down to walk beside me and I was slowing down even more to be a little behind, and eventually both of us were like “What are you doing??” It’s kind of funny now that I think about it. But I’m glad I’m not the only one who’s had that “issue” 🙂
KL July 5, 2013, 11:06 am
One of my exes was really obsessive about going single-file when someone else was approaching. I agree that this is polite! What I mean by obsessive, though, was that he’d spot the person about half a block away and step behind me and to the side then, even though it was probably a full minute before we would actually encounter the other walker. It would confuse me and I would think he was stopping for some reason (like an untied shoe) and I’d stop to see what was up. He would get annoyed that I didn’t realize what he was doing, and thought I was rude for not going single-file as early as he did!
(He also had an obsession with letting me into his car and then expecting me to unlock his door from the inside, WHICH IS SOMETHING I DO AS A MATTER OF COURSE, but he always, always, forgot to lock his door in the first place. At the beginning of our relationship, I’d just glance over, see it was unlocked, and leave it alone. He’d try to unlock it with the key, somehow not realizing it was already unlocked, and eventually he blew up about how rude I was. He was kind of *blinkblink* when I explained. I also started doing a “fake unlock” where I’d lean across the seat and mime unlocking it even if it was already unlocked. It was a weird relationship.)
Fabelle July 5, 2013, 11:17 am
haha oh wow, that’s terrible. My current boyfriend gets annoyed at me sometimes for not unlocking his door—like, I’ll hit the button once to open mine, & then open his from the inside. But he’s always like, “you know if you hit the button TWICE, it opens my door, too, right?” Apparently, I can never remember that…
Miel July 5, 2013, 11:19 am
Wow the fake unlocking is the sign you really have a problem…
My boyfriend also had the obsession about me unlocking the door for him, and he had to “teach” me because I had never been in a car that didn’t unlock all the doors at once (the only exception being when I was younger than 6 years old, which doesn’t count). Now that he has upgraded his car, I still have the reflex to unlock his door, even if all the doors are unlocked remotely by him to let me in first. He trained me well…
KL July 5, 2013, 11:33 am
Haha yeah. This was about 15 years ago. These days I’d probably tell him to pound sand. And to actually lock his door if he wanted it unlocked.
ktfran July 5, 2013, 9:54 am
I’m not sure from her letter if she’s asking him to slow down. She said she doesn’t ask him to hold her hand, but would like him to walk beside her. From that, I’m guessing she wants him to read her mind. Also, I walk super fast. That’s my pace. I’ll slow down if people ask me to, but within five minutes, I often start walking fast again. It’s ingrained into me. I literally walk as fast as people with short legs jog.
Anyway, I think she has other, bigger issues to worry about and either needs to learn how to communicate her wants or break up. And I agree with Katie. I don’t see any glaring red flags with this dude. I know plenty of normal families that see one another daily. That’s ok if the LW IS NOT ok with that, but she should find someone more her type instead of trying to change someone. I think she’s looking for excuses not to marry this guy. Totally fine. But no need to pin it on this dude.
ktfran July 5, 2013, 10:05 am
*theattack, not Katie. sorry. wow. yesterday I might have had a little too much fun.
Lindsay July 5, 2013, 10:13 am
I don’t think asking for boundaries with his family would be trying to change him so much as trying to compromise. I definitely don’t agree with trying to drastically change a partner, but most people do make changes in their life when they go from being single to having a significant other, and I think the amount of time you spend with family or friends is one of the big ones. Like maybe you usually have dinner with your family once a week, but have to start alternating with your partner’s family? I don’t think it’s inappropriate for her to ask for a compromise. Certainly if he doesn’t want to and she’s not OK with it, then she should move on, but this seems like something that an SO should have some leeway for compromise on.
ktfran July 5, 2013, 10:29 am
Yeah, I agree with you. I think she really needs to communicate with him and talk it out. I guess I was just coming from the angle that this guy probably really isn’t a bad guy and maybe they’re mismatched? I was getting the feeling that some were painting his as a bad guy with issues. I probably said it wrong it originally and I’m all for compromise.
Lindsay July 5, 2013, 10:41 am
Definitely. They need to figure out what the ideal situation is for both of them and see if they can both be happy with a solution. I don’t think he’s a bad guy, either. Some people just like seeing their family more than others, but hopefully they can each respect each other’s feelings on it!
Jessibel5 July 5, 2013, 10:01 am
This was the case with us too. He would always walk ahead of me, especially in parking lots from the car to the store. At one point, I just stopped trying to keep up with his pace and walked at my own, sometimes even slower. He’d realize that he was ahead of me by a lot and slow down. He asked me why I didn’t catch up with him and I told him that I wasn’t his puppy and I wasn’t going to chase around after him like one. That opened up a conversation about how he just didn’t realize he was doing it and now he’s way more conscious.
I think the LW’s other issues, especially with the fiance’s family showing up EVERY DAY is way huge. Boundaries are needed!
Miel July 5, 2013, 10:26 am
My best (male) friend used to do that to me all the time, and it wasn’t disrespect or sexism, just the fact that he has longer legs than me. I took the habit of actually holding arms with him while walking, so he would “feel” my pace, and I wouldn’t have to jog next to him when we talk.
I know my boyfriend’s ex girlfriend used to walk 5-6 feet ahead of him all the time, and he hated that. At that distance it’s just doesn’t even look like they are walking together, they could be stranger. Now that he said that to me, I’m very careful at never walking in front of him too much, even when I’m showing the way to some place.
ktfran July 5, 2013, 10:34 am
I have to make a conscious effort to slow down and sometimes it’s hard.
My dad and I have super long legs. Growing up, we would walk to church on Sunday morning and I had to practically run to keep up with him. He’s also one of those guys who is always ten minutes early. So that, coupled with his long legs, made the right combination for a fast walker and nothing more. I’m pretty sure he’s the reason I’m a fast walker.
ricky July 7, 2013, 12:32 pm
I don’t think this has anything to do with him acting superior to her because she is woman. Many people naturally walk fast and many people naturally walk slow. For all you know, he just needs to be told that don’t walk ahead.
theattack July 5, 2013, 9:26 am
I disagree with Wendy on LW1. This stuff sounds like cold feet to me and not anything to worry about too much. Walking ahead of you is really not that big of a deal and is just one of those little things that you can work out. Him being attached to his family is something that a lot of new spouses deal with. Unless it’s a major problem (and you don’t give enough information to really know if it is or not), you two will probably be able to work it out over time with enough communication and motivation. If you’re really that uncertain though, you should postpone the wedding.
LW2: What he did while you were broken up isn’t up for discussion. If he went to an actual sex meet-up kind of site while you were together then you have a right to bring it up. If it was just porn, you can still ask, but you don’t really have a 100% right to know about what he’s doing, IMO.
LW3: You don’t have to do what your parents’ want as long as you’re funding your own life choices. But I agree with Wendy. Living alone would be really good for you, even if it’s just for a few months.
Lindsay July 5, 2013, 9:55 am
The issues that the LW1 raises may be common, but I think they do need to be worked out before the marriage if they’re affecting her enough to make her reconsider. I think if your fiance is unable or unwilling to stand up to his family when they’re overstepping, then you should assume that it’s going to be like that forever unless proven otherwise. I’m not a fan of waiting to work out issues until after a couple is married. If she doesn’t mind that for decades, including when they have kids, then that’s fine, but it sounds like she may not be.
Jessibel5 July 5, 2013, 10:04 am
It’s entirely possible that the walking ahead thing could be the sign of a way larger issues, such as he doesn’t respect her as an equal. Usually that mindset in an SO manifests itself in little ways that niggle at your brain and make you feel unworthy, and then you drive yourself crazy trying to think of what you can do to fix it. That would give me cold feet too!
Lindsay July 5, 2013, 10:07 am
Yep! I think anything that makes someone seriously doubt their decision to get married needs to be addressed before the wedding. Even if it turns out to be something simple, like him saying, “Oh, I never realized I walk like that!” and then stopping, it’s better to deal with it early on in case it turns out to be a bigger issue.
theattack July 5, 2013, 10:13 am
Yeah, I guess it’s possible. But without any other indications of sexism, it’s a pretty wild leap to assume that he is just because of how he walks. Men are typically taller and have longer legs than women, so it just makes sense that their strides are longer. Walking pace is something that so many loving couples work through together. But if there are other signs to support that he doesn’t view her as an equal, by all means the LW should call it off!
Jessibel5 July 5, 2013, 10:21 am
Oh, sure. I was just throwing out another angle there because I’ve seen that specific instance, the walking ahead thing, be a sign of inherent sexism/masochism. Haha, besides, I usually tend to read too much into these letters because I know that for the sake of brevity sometimes people focus on one thing and leave other details out, or they don’t realize that other things are symptoms of an issue as well.
theattack July 5, 2013, 10:10 am
I agree with you generally, but I think as long as they can both agree that it’s a problem and that he has to start standing up to his family, they’ll be okay. If he doesn’t see it that way at all, that’s when they have a major problem IMO. Honestly, some things you can’t work out until you’re married. Your in-laws will be way more in your face than your future in-laws in many cases. I think as long as they’re working on it now, they’ll be fine even if they don’t completely fix the problem now.
Lindsay July 5, 2013, 10:17 am
Yeah, I’m not saying they have to solve the problem in its entirety, but I think she does need to find out if he’s open to it or if he’s fine with how things are now. It’s more about knowing if he’s capable of standing up to them (and willing to), which she doesn’t appear to know at this point.
Lindsay July 5, 2013, 10:18 am
I know you weren’t replying directly to me, which my comment sounded like, but I just wanted to agree anyway!
theattack July 5, 2013, 10:21 am
I just honestly think it’s a little idealistic to say that couples should solve every problem before marriage. Relationships have lots of little kinks and twists, and they’re ever-changing things that you will always have to check in on sometimes. It’s impractical to think that all of that stops during an engagement and picks back up after the marriage begins. If everyone’s on the same page and has proven themselves willing to work it out, it should be good.
So LW, my advice has changed. Make sure he views it as something he needs to work on before you get married. If he doesn’t, THEN it’s time to really think about whether or not you want to commit to his family.
Lindsay July 5, 2013, 10:43 am
Yeah. I guess for me, I see identifying the problem and taking steps to work it out as “solving” a problem in this situation. It’s not really possible to fully work out every issue before marriage.
lets_be_honest July 5, 2013, 10:29 am
wTAs, I agree on LW1. Just ask to hold his hand! And who cares if SIL is overprotective? Really none of these seem like a big deal to me. Maybe there’s more to the story?
MMcG July 5, 2013, 12:29 pm
For me the biggest red flag is that LW1 is planning to marry someone she isnt comfortable asking to hold her hand. What kind of relationship is that!?! Dont marry anyone until you can express your needs to them 🙂
ktfran July 5, 2013, 12:52 pm
Ha. Excellent point!
lets_be_honest July 5, 2013, 1:09 pm
Ha, very good point.
TECH July 5, 2013, 9:35 am
Can I just say, for the record, that I am sick of people saying they have “cold feet” when they are clearly marrying the wrong person. Now, based on this letter, I don’t have enough information about whether or not this LW is marrying the wrong person. But cold feet is just general anxiety about approaching a huge life changing moment. Cold feet is not “OMG I think this guy is completely inconsiderate, or has different values, or doesn’t meet my needs.”
Also, there is nothing wrong with having doubts. Doubt is a normal and healthy part of human existence. But doubting someone’s basic character or how they interact with their family is not good.
I think it’s time people acknowledge the difference.
ebstarr July 5, 2013, 9:55 am
LW1: So, my dad does this to my mom — gets ahead of her while walking and fails to notice — ALL the time. She is very cute about it: she stops walking altogether and stands there on the sidewalk with her arms crossed, waiting for him to notice and come back to get her. They both find their little routine hilarious.
This isn’t really advice for you (yes, my dad is a teensy bit self-centered, but he also completely respects & adores my mom — aka, no inlaw issues), just wanted to share.
GatorGirl July 5, 2013, 9:59 am
LW1 SPEAK UP FOR YOUR SELF!!! Tell him you want to walk hand-in-hand next to each other. Tell him you’d like to keep some things in your relationship private/not have his family over every single day. Not everyone agrees, but in my eyes when you get married your spouse becomes your primary family. Your husband needs to put you and your family unit first, then his parents and siblings. Y’all 110% need to talk about this BEFORE you get married. Set up some boundaries now with the family about coming over. Stop telling them your business they don’t need to know!
““If you dare hurt my ‘brother,’ you won’t see the light of day.”” This doesn’t equal flirting or jealousy. My uncle has said that to my husband once or twice. She is being protective because she cares about him. (Also, I think it’s rude to put brother in quotes.)
Lindsay July 5, 2013, 10:05 am
Good advice! I also agree that the quote isn’t flirting or jealousy. Though, I do have to say that if she says it a lot, it’s pretty obnoxious. I dated a guy whose best friend was always “threatening” me like that, where if I hurt him, she’d tear me limb from limb, and it made me really dislike her and feel like I was always an outsider with his group of friends. So, even though it’s her being protective, I can see where the LW would find it rude.
GatorGirl July 5, 2013, 10:11 am
Yup, it could get annoying. But there is little LW can do other than keep saying “Of course I won’t hurt him!” over and over and hope she shuts up one day.
Jessibel5 July 5, 2013, 10:51 am
I’m sitting here wondering “WHY does the S-I-L say it so often?” Like, once, ok. But repeatedly? That’s just odd, right?
Fabelle July 5, 2013, 10:57 am
Yeah, I think saying it at all—unless maybe if it’s TOTALLY un-serious—is kind of obnoxious? I get that some people think it’s cute to be all protective, but it comes off like claim-staking & belligerent to me.
lets_be_honest July 5, 2013, 11:02 am
GatorGirl July 5, 2013, 10:58 am
Yeah, it’s odd but I don’t think it’s a symptom of a bigger issue. It could be but with out anything else supporting that, my vote is the SIL is just a little weird. Maybe fiancé was the first person in the family to embrace the SIL, so she feels extra overprotective?
BreezyAM July 5, 2013, 4:20 pm
If it was his *sister* I might be swayed but franky her comments come off as inappropriate when she’s evidently his brother’s wife. I can’t imagine saying something so obnoxious to my husband’s brother’s GFs. I could see me maybe saying it to MY brother’s GFs but… it still seems weird to me to happen more than once. I’d have blown up by now and reminded her I was about to be his *wife* and her comments were insulting and long overdue to stop.
TaraMonster July 5, 2013, 9:23 am
OMG. YES. Your boyfriend watches porn. And so does yours, and yours, and yours!
Cue the “exceptions” who have boyfriends living in the 19th century.
Jessibel5 July 5, 2013, 10:02 am
I heard about a study on the newsradio last year where they were studying porn watching habits. They had to cancel the study because they couldn’t find even one male to be in the control group-the group that had never seen porn.
lets_be_honest July 5, 2013, 10:28 am
Not mine, Tara! He would never, ever do such a thing! 😉
Jessibel5 July 5, 2013, 2:04 pm
Pshhh…mine told me about how when he was 18 he had a computer and a full server system (he’s in IT and builds his own machines) dedicated solely to the task of downloading porn at all hours of the day. My only comment was “How on Earth did that computer not get a virus?!”
Nookie July 5, 2013, 11:44 am
My fella says he doesn’t and to be fair, I haven’t stumbled across any. I don’t look for it either but I’m quite sure there must be some. I tell him about the ridiculous porn I sometimes see, he disparages of me. 🙂
6napkinburger July 8, 2013, 11:14 am
My BF said he felt he was beginning to have a problem re: porn, so that he’s on a self-imposed hiatus for a little while. So I bascially believe him. (I brought it up because I wanted to watch some with him during sexy time, but he explained about his hiatus). We spend 5-6 nights together a week, and he knows I “help myself” most nights he isn’t sleeping over. He told me the one time he helped himself and so I asked if he watched porn, and he said that it was only soft core (like topless). (I wouldn’t have cared otherwise other than him being inconsistent about why we couldn’t watch some together, and it would have been fine if he just said he didn’t want to do that together and that he liked doing it on his own).
We had some… flag at half-mast problems at the beginning so I was and am kind of a huge fan of him not “helping himself”, because it helps him acclimate to me being the source of sensation, and because “saving up” helps the flag out.
So I believe him that, for now, he doesn’t watch porn. But I definitely think this is the exception that proves the rule, given the self-awareness, the beginnings of a problem, the “hiatus” rather than a life-long “promise”, etc.
Sue Jones July 5, 2013, 10:36 am
Wow, did BGM answer today’s Shortcuts instead of Wendy? Awesome advice (not that Wendy doesn’t give awesome advice… but there were shades of BGM) FWIW my father did not marry my mother until he was 31. And he moved straight from his mother and father’s house into an apartment with my mother. He was such a big baby, but it was also a different era… (and ironically, when my siblings and I turned 18, we were off to college and our parents told us we were now “guests” in their house…. but now kids move back in with mom and dad after college… different times, I guess)
Jessibel5 July 5, 2013, 10:48 am
That change happened quickly too. I graduated college in ’05 and never even thought to move home. My brother and sister both moved back immediately with ’11 and ’12 graduations, even though they both found jobs right away, which they were lucky to do so! Haha, I still have the card my parents gave me at graduation with, in the middle of the inscription of lovely words, “Just remember we will never leave you destitute!” It still cracks me up.
Sue Jones July 5, 2013, 11:25 am
Ha! That is funny. I was “destitute” for much of my 20’s, sharing houses with lots of roomates, living in crappy apartments, driving old beater cars that were constantly breaking down… and this was during grad school… when I was living on $500.00 per month – for rent, food, gas, medical, clothing, everything! Yes, this was the 80’s when one could perhaps almost live on that little, but now I see my peers’ children who are now in college or even grad school and they all have nice shiny cars (paid for by their parents) and fancy apartments (or condos bought by their parents) and feel like for my kid I will need to offer a similar level of financial assistance when it comes time for college… and I would go and visit my parents in their new fancy home, with new furniture, get picked up from the airport in my dad’s mercedes, etc., go out to nice dinners with them, then fly home to my ratty apartment with thrift shop furniture, my 20 year old VW, and my thrift shop clothes with holes in them, and my rice and bean dinners. Doesn’t anyone do their 20’s in gracious, independent poverty anymore???? There was something great in that life. A sense of empowerment and independence, even though I want my son to have a better 20’s than I did.
Sue Jones July 5, 2013, 11:30 am
…because ALL of us in that age group were living that way… so there wasn’t a stigma to be driving a crappy car, because we ALL were driving crappy cars and living in ratty apartments. And sharing rice and bean stir fry dinners… it was kind of fun… and we helped each other out. It was YEARS before I found out that my father lived with his mother until he married my mother at age 31, and BOY did I give him a raft of shit for it (good naturedly) calling an 86 year old man “mamma’s boy!” That was fun.
GatorGirl July 5, 2013, 11:31 am
There are lots and lots of 20 somethings who’s parents aren’t buying their cars and condo’s for them. Lots are buying their own cars/condos and LOTS are living in crappy apartments and driving 15 year old cars. Please don’t assume that someone who is 20 something and has a new car is being financed by their parents.
Just for the record, I’m not trying to deny the shift in moving home post-college or that there are some parents who pay for their adult children’s lives. Just pointing out there are LOTS of us doing things not so glamorously on our own. (And continuing to live not so glamorously into our late 20’s and early 30’s.)
Sue Jones July 5, 2013, 12:58 pm
It could also be that where I live, an affluent college town, skews my perspective. Probably more kids are fully funded here than other areas of the country.
GatorGirl July 5, 2013, 1:33 pm
Sue I do think this warps your view point a bit. I live currently in a small town that holds a major affluent university. At first glance it seems that everyone who is 18 to 22 is driving nice cars, wearing flashy brands, etc. And there are quite a few of them. But I’ve also come to know, through my part time job, there are a lot of 20 somethings in our town that are struggling on their own. One girl has been working 40 hours a week at the minimum wage retail job for over 6 months trying desperately to save for a car. Another 20 year old picks up any and every shift she can so she can just pay rent. I mean heck we’re pushing 28 and we both still work two jobs to pay for everything on our own.
I wasn’t trying to be rude, I just wanted to point out there are a lot of people working hard to support themselves in addition to the spoiled brats.
lets_be_honest July 5, 2013, 11:33 am
Why do you feel like you have to do the same? I didn’t have those things handed to me either, and I certainly don’t plan to hand them to my daughter just because her peers will get them. Many of my friends were handed these things as well, but it didn’t make my parents think they should do the same (had they been able to afford to, that is).
Sue Jones July 5, 2013, 11:42 am
I think it is harder now to make it on your own these days as a young adult. It is a tricky balance between spoiling and coddling your young adult child or just helping them out. I remember that I was forced, as a young adult, on several occasions into unsafe situations because I did not have a reliable car, money for a taxi, living in a sketchy neighborhood, etc. It helped make me tough and nothing really bad ever happened to me, but sadly I cannot say the same for some of my peers. So I would like my son to live in a safe area, and have reliable transportation, a great education to open his life to great opportunities and have money for good nutritious food and health insurance in his 20’s. I do agree that many of today’s parents err on the side of spoiling their kids so that they cannot ever be independent.
lets_be_honest July 5, 2013, 11:47 am
I do think college is a whole different ball game now (paying for it, that is), but other than that, I don’t necessarily think its harder to make it on your own as a young adult today.
Would you help your son with paying for those things, or pay for them entirely? I guess if my kid could only afford (while working/going to school) a place in a bad neighborhood, I’d ante up the extra money so its a better neighborhood. I don’t think I’d just pay for the whole thing at all.
It is a very tricky balance between spoiling and helping out. 🙁
Sue Jones July 5, 2013, 12:06 pm
I would probably help him make up the difference between what he could afford , or encourage him to live in a roommate situation. For my 21 year old stepson, who is in college and lives with this mother (a lot cheaper and he doesn’t need to borrow money) we pay for his health insurance, his tuition, his groceries… but he also has some special needs… still figuring this all out.
GatorGirl July 5, 2013, 12:14 pm
I’m trying to find the best way to phrase this…I think it’s pretty hypocritical for you to rant and rave about 20 somethings not having to rough it like you did, and then to admit you pay for own 20 somethings living expenses. I’m treading lightly because you mention his special needs, but I think it’s semi-ridiculous to point out how spoiled you think so many are when you (and the young man’s mother) are creating the same or a similar situation with your step-son.
Sue Jones July 5, 2013, 12:24 pm
If you read my posts carefully, you will see that I think it is a tricky balance. I would not really want my kids to rough it like I had to, yet I think there is a difference between total roughing it, to having it all handed to you on a shiny silver platter. I do see a difference in, shall I say, resourcefulness and toughness between people who had it like I did, and people who never had to worry about that stuff. But at the same time I would not want my son (who is now 10) to ever have to live in an unsafe neighborhood, drive an unreliable car, go without enough food and healthcare like I had to. Yet, I would insist that he live with roommates, not have his own shiny new condo (unless he bought it himself), etc.
How would you raise your kids through young adulthood? Would you kick them out at age 18 (like mine did?) or would you pay for everything until they got their first post grad-school job?
I think the answer lies somewhere in between the 2 extremes.
GatorGirl July 5, 2013, 12:30 pm
Sue, I’ve read your posts carefully a few times before I commented. I understand you believe it’s a tricky balance. I also read a lot of judgment coming through. The way you write is very “Well in my day we had it soooo hard and these spoiled kids now…” Very much that you’re superior because of your experience. Of course that could possibly not be the message you want to convey but it’s what I’m reading, and something for you to think about.
lets_be_honest July 5, 2013, 1:04 pm
Hmm, I didn’t think she was ranting about it, just stating that the tides are turning/have turned.
GatorGirl July 5, 2013, 12:21 pm
I think my point is, it would be awesome if you tried to not pass so much judgment on people, especially 20 somethings who you don’t know what their TRUE situation is. People might look at you and judge your buying groceries for your stepson and they don’t know the back story. You might look at 22 year old with a brand new Acura and assume their parents bought it, when they really worked their ass off at their retail job to buy it. Everyone is still “figuring it all out”.
Sue Jones July 5, 2013, 12:47 pm
I did not mean to come off as judgemental, and was writing in loose reference to LW3. I do perhaps have judgement towards her parents for stunting her growth and “not allowing” her to move out until she gets married. That is a recipe for disaster and it seems like they are living in a 1950’s fantasyland, and I feel for her, because if she doesn’t take any time to be independent before she marries, she will never have that experience which will give her a limited and unbalanced worldview.
lets_be_honest July 5, 2013, 1:08 pm
You really can’t deny that many kids these days are spoiled. At least where I grew up, I’d say 75% of the senior’s parking lot was filled with VERY nice cars, all financed entirely by mom & dad. Of course there are exceptions to that, but more likely than not, if a 22 y/o is driving a new Acura, they’ve probably had financial help from their parents in one way or another. I didn’t see any judgment in her posts.
GatorGirl July 5, 2013, 1:26 pm
See I don’t think it’s “many” though. There are definitely areas where it’s pervasive to be funded by your parents, but in a lot of areas it’s not common. As Sue said above- her opinion might be skewed by her area (an affluent college town), if I’m remembering you live in the NE, pretty affluent all around.
Living in NC and FL, I’ve seen A LOT of kids who’s parents essentially wish them good luck after they graduate high school. It’s all about experience.
lets_be_honest July 5, 2013, 1:32 pm
Oh sure, I mean, I don’t have the numbers, just pointing out that there are plenty of spoiled kids out there. Saying that isn’t saying all kids don’t work for their own $.
BreezyAM July 5, 2013, 4:27 pm
One way we’ve combatted the spoiled vs helping dilemma is to talk a lot about privilege, class, poverty perceptions, etc. Not like we have designated sit down talks, but when opportunities arise (like through news segments or whatever), we jump on them. We also do a lot of social advocacy work in our jobs so we share those experiences as well, and make a point of discussing current events. I don’t mind my kids having “stuff.” I mind them thinking they have a “right” to stuff and I mind them having a severe lack of empathy toward others and I mind if they don’t realize it’s a privilege.
Jessibel5 July 5, 2013, 12:20 pm
Haha, my dad lovingly calls me his “least useless kid” because I never moved home and figured it all out on my own. I think as a result of that they’re least worried about my future going forward.
I dunno, I guess my definition of destitute is a bit different. I consider “destitute” as unable to pay for groceries because you have to choose between rent or food or utilities, not living in a crappy neighborhood and driving a beater car, sharing space with crappy roommates who you hate because you can’t afford to move out, etc. I did that and never considered myself destitute, I was simply being smart while working my way up. Except that one time that my student loan payment went up by $100 a month for a reason I can’t remember, and that left my budget in shambles. I called my mom to ask her for a bit of money for groceries that month and she sent it in a heartbeat. That, for me, was destitute. Had I had an excuse of “I paid too much for booze this month, can you send me money for groceries?” she would have been like “later sucker, you’re on your own!”
One thing my parents are huge on is not screwing up your credit score, so above all else you PAY YOUR LOANS! She flipped out on my bro recently because she had to spot him (he who doesn’t pay rent, for groceries, for cleaning products, etc) for his student loans because he’s been going out to dinner all the time. He has a full time job and gets paid above min. wage hourly, but he doesn’t make enough money to move out. One morning he didn’t wake up at his normal time to go to work and she was like wtf? He said he was going to take a mental health day to bum around and do laundry and take a break. She flipped her sh*t on him and was like, yeah, no, you don’t have that luxury, buddy, especially if I had to spot you for your student loan payment. Get your ass to work.
My husband talks about starting to save for college for nonexistent kids, and I’m partially in the mindset of like…ehhh, why? We had to pay student loans, they should too. I became really responsible with money really quickly because of them. Hell, I’ll likely still be paying mine off when my kids go off to college! 😛 (not really, but it’s taking FOREVER to pay them off because of the tricky ways they make you pay them).
GatorGirl July 5, 2013, 12:25 pm
Yeah my definition of “destitute” is way closer in line with yours…it’s not living in a subpar apartment with older furntature, it’s literally not being able to feed or clothe yourself.
trixy minx July 5, 2013, 4:02 pm
I’m the same way. Destitute to me means having five dollars in my account for a week with very little food to survive. I’m kinda in that boat right now cause I’m just getting settled into my new place I need things (my roommates didn’t even have silverware lol) then I got paid and has enough for rent and a bike so I can get to work on time.
Diablo July 5, 2013, 10:48 am
LW2: A recent University of Montreal study attempted to compare the brains of men in their 20s who had watched porn to those who had never watched porn. The results were skewed because the researchers were literally not able to locate any men in their 20s who had never watched porn.
Meanwhile, who breaks up for A WEEK AND A HALF when there is a child involved? How is that anything but shitty behaviour? Porn is not the problem.
Doodles July 5, 2013, 10:53 am
It makes you wonder how old they are. Are they teen parents, or really young, or just immature?
Doodles July 5, 2013, 10:51 am
LW 1 I think your but biggest problem is communication. Do you ever talk to him about any of your concerns or issues? If so, how does he react? It is perfectly OK to have cold feet and.second thoughts. Half of married people end up in divorce, but you should be talking with him and seeing if things will change or get better. If you are having serious doubts, it’s fine to postpone the wedding. You shouldn’t marry someone until you are 100% sure this is what you want, and you guys are on the same page.
LW2: Why did you break up in the first place? It is normal for guys, and yes, even girls, to watch porn, but Wendy is right, you need to figure out why he went running to three different women in the ten days you two were apart. You guys have some underlying issues that need to be worked out in order to have a healthy happy relationship.
LW 3 Move out on your own like Wendy said. It will be good for you to have some time to do what you want and to learn more about yourself during that time. You would be surprised how much people.learn about themselves when.they are on their own. Goodluck and congrats on the wedding/engagement! 🙂
Doodles July 5, 2013, 11:02 am
Just wanted to throw this out there, maybe some of the other commenters read this article. It must have been about.five years ago, bit it was a study done with women who I believe were divorced, and most of them said they didn’t really want to marry the guy who proposed, and they knew that he wasn’t they guy for them. But when they saw the ring all.sparkly and shiny inthe box, they said yes because they wanted the ring not the guy giving it to them.
GatorGirl July 5, 2013, 11:12 am
I 110% think this happens. Often. People get caught up in having a wedding and forget that there is a marriage attached to it.
lets_be_honest July 5, 2013, 11:34 am
Yea, I don’t need a study to prove that me, haha.
bittergaymark July 5, 2013, 1:27 pm
LW1. Eh, I was on your side until you went all absurd with incestuous flirting paranoia. I mean, you sound hopelessly insecure upon going there with the scantest of evidence.
LW2. “Dear Wendy, Help! Does my babydaddy watch porn? Nevermind that we are both hopelessly immature abject idiots!! Could there be porn involved…”
LW3. Virginia Woolf famously once said every woman should have a room of her own. I agree with Wendy. At some point in her life, every woman should have an apartment of her own…
A La Mode July 5, 2013, 3:32 pm
“Eh, I was on your side until you went all absurd with incestuous flirting paranoia”
Was scrolling to the bottom to post a similar sentiment. Some people just take the whole “I married into the family and now they are literally just like blood relatives” very seriously, some don’t. Obviously LW doesn’t take it as seriously as her SIL. She needs to get over it.
“At some point in her life, every woman should have an apartment of her own…”
YES. It is SO important, LW #3!!!!!!!!!! There are some things that you are just never going to discover about yourself, or learn how to do, unless you live by yourself. It’s imperative that you have some time being independent, with your living situation not being dictated by someone else.
AKchic_ July 5, 2013, 3:45 pm
I totally agree with every person needing their own space for a while. It helps them grow and figure out just who they are.
As for LW1 – it is very possible that the SIL is harboring some attracting for LW’s boyfriend. I can point out enough examples in my own life (and some within my family!) to make me want to pat the LW on the shoulder and say “this may be true, but it isn’t the worst of your relationship problems”.
bittergaymark July 5, 2013, 3:48 pm
I misread this as being HIS sister… My bad.
A La Mode July 5, 2013, 3:49 pm
AKchic_ July 5, 2013, 5:32 pm
It happens. I blame Friday. I also blame late-night fireworks.
AKchic_ July 5, 2013, 12:45 pm
LW: WWS. If he can’t treat you with respect and more consideration, then why the fuck did you want to marry him in the first place? It took me years to break my SO of telling his mother everything. Mainly because she railroads him at every turn and pesters and nags until he gives in.
LW2: Really? You’re worried about porn? We don’t know why he spoke to those other “girls”. Maybe to get perspective on himself from the ex (I know a few guys that frequently talk to me because I’m the only “girl” that has known them since childhood, or because I’m honest about their flaws and will help with relationship stuff). The others, maybe he actually knew them and you didn’t know, or he really was testing the waters in case the break-up lasted.
In any case – porn isn’t the issue. Your issue is you can’t communicate well and you seem possessive.
LW3: Seriously do yourself a favor and take Wendy’s advice.