It’s time again for “Dear Wendy Updates,” a feature where people I’ve given advice to in the past let us know whether they followed the advice and how they’re doing now. Today we hear first from “Maybe Baby Daddy” (second letter) whose ex-girlfriend told him she was pregnant with a baby girl and the baby was his. He wanted advice for how to tell his new girlfriend of four months. Some commenters argued that, based on the timeline he gave, the baby couldn’t be his. His update, plus two others, below.
I don’t understand why some women think lying about being pregnant will help them get a guy back. Don’t they realize it’s a lie that will be debunked fairly quickly?
Now we hear from “Feeling Defeated” (second letter) whose boyfriend wanted her to quit the job she loved as a nanny to take a corporate job so she could make more money and financially contribute more to their household expenses before he agreed to marry her. “I told him that I would be willing to take on all the chores, cooking, and cleaning and give him as much as I could financially, but he says that we’ll always be struggling.” Her update:
Good for you!
Finally, remember the couple (first letter here) who was invited to an expensive dinner ($150 per person) that they weren’t sure would be paid for by the wealthy hosts or not? She sent a quick update, writing:
That’s a good reminder that if you decide to plan a party, be clear in the invitation whether you are simply organizing (and everyone will be responsible for contributing to the bill, which you should also be clear about in regards to an approximate amount) or whether you are truly hosting and will be picking up the tab. A few scripts for different scenarios:
“Please join us for dinner in celebrating so-and-so’s birthday. Since we expect a large group, please plan to bring cash if you can to make paying the bill a little easier.”
Or: “Please join us for dinner (on us) to celebrate so-and-so’s birthday.”
Or: “Please join us at Restaurant to celebrate so-and-so’s birthday. Appetizers and first round on me.”
If you’re someone I’ve given advice to in the past, I’d love to hear from you, too. Email me at email@example.com with a link to the original post, and let me know whether you followed the advice and how you’re doing now.
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JD June 4, 2018, 9:01 am
I never thought the guy was a dick I’m Lw2, just wanted someone who contributes more equally. That’s fine. I know I wouldn’t be with someone with a long term 35k salary. Just because it is not very realistic long term. It’s great that she loves her job but I think it is the younger generation that thinks that is all that matters. It’s important but most of us don’t get to live life that way. Her income doesn’t impact her because she has his to subsidize her. We all want what we want but it’s not always realistic for the reality of life. They just weren’t a good match. I do thinks though that she will at some point realize she cannot live on poverty levels very long.
PanicPenguin June 4, 2018, 9:52 am
While I think it is important to have goals that align (which includes financial), I would like to think that my partner cares for my happiness perhaps a little more than they care about being able to go on that second vacation. Also, 35k is not necessarily poverty. I’ve struggled and worked two/three jobs and not gotten close to 35k (and been miserable in the process). It didn’t sound like she had children, so if she is happy and comfortable with her salary then good for her. Congrats on finding employment that provides her meaning and happiness. I doubt most people are so lucky.
Obviously, since she left him she didn’t care if he subsidized her or not. She didn’t come off as someone expecting her SO to pick up the slack and offered to do as much as she could to make things fair. She offered to do 100% of the housework on top of financial contributions. Imagine if he was paying to have his half of the work done,pretty sure it would add up.
I agree that they were unsuitable for one another, and yes financial stability is something that matters in a relationship. I just think that if both partners understand and agree with one another it is okay if one earns more (even significantly more) than the other. Its a partnership, yes, but that doesn’t mean everything will be an even 50/50 split. Maybe someone earns more, maybe someone handles more of the chores. Maybe it changes over time… Such is life.
While you may be unhappy with a partner who cares less for high salary jobs than you do, that doesn’t mean the LW is wrong to keep her job. Many, many people live on less and that does not make them “less” than.
Skyblossom June 4, 2018, 10:12 am
I think the couple with the financial differences were just too different to work. Neither was right or wrong, they were just different. Different people put different values on work/life balance. Some people can’t relax and feel secure unless they have a certain level of income and it may have nothing to do with wanting an extra vacation. Other people may value liking their job more than income and that’s okay too. They may not mind a smaller, cheaper house in a cheaper community. Someone else might not be happy there. This couple found that they had different values and it was a dealbreaker. That’s why people date. Each couple has to find their comfort level and if they can’t they don’t work.
I think over the long run if the LW had children then the balance would really not work. How many people let you take your own child along while working as their nanny? Not many. If the couple didn’t want children they might have been fine as long as the husband never lost his job. If they wanted children I don’t think it would have worked long term. If they had a child and she could no longer work they would lose about 1/3 of their income while having greater expenses. They would need to factor that into every financial choice they made from housing to cars.
JD June 4, 2018, 10:20 am
I didn’t say she wanted him or expected him to subsidize her finances but he was since she changed jobs so she hadn’t experienced the reality of the new income. I simply don’t feel she understands the reality of how it will work out. Buying a home, having kids… They aren’t compatible in the end which is fine but I simply say I feel she hasn’t dealt with the reality and he has a more realistic view. 35k is poverty is a huge amount of the US. Technically it’s 22k but 35 isn’t much more and barely enough to live off in most places.
Kate June 4, 2018, 10:37 am
For a 2–person household, poverty line is $16,500. She’s making almost triple the poverty line for a single.
And let’s say he makes $100k. Their combined HH income would be $135K.
Kate June 4, 2018, 10:39 am
That’s for 48 states and DC.
A 7-person HH would be in poverty at $35k.
Kate June 4, 2018, 10:51 am
And I’m not saying he’s a jerk either, but I went back and read it and he makes $60k, which also isn’t a ton, so it’s a little weird that he’s so adamant that she make a lot more than she’s making. He’s just not the guy for her. But she could realistically support herself and/or make a decent financial contribution to a household on $35k. It’s not poverty level by any stretch. In a big city maybe she’d be struggling, but in lots of places she could do ok.
Skyblossom June 4, 2018, 10:51 am
The letter said he was making $60K and she was making $35K. It would really depend on where they lived whether that was good or bad. You could do fine on $95K around here but cutting that down to $60K, if they had a child, would make it difficult. $95K would allow them to buy a house in a cheaper area but the schools would be worse. At $60K they would be looking at either a very run down house or a nice trailer house, especially if they needed two cars and partly depending on what kind of health insurance they had. Many companies only provide health insurance that comes with a 5-6K deductible so if you take that off the top then they would be down to living on $55K.
ele4phant June 4, 2018, 2:36 pm
I mean – that’s relative. The median household income where I live is 90K. The median home cost is $750K now.
You could live on $35K here, I guess, but it would be hard. Frankly, living on $90K together in this city is hard. And it certainly gives you no flexibility to lose your job, or stay home if you have children, or have much of a rainy day fund set-up.
Alternatively, you could maybe make your income stretch further by moving outside the city. But you have to move about an hour out to hit that threshold, and then you have to balance if you are willing to commute two hours a day.
For some, doing what you are passionate totally makes those kinds of concessions worth it. But not everybody wants that. Some people are fine just going to a job they don’t care about that much so they have some financial security.
Sounds like he’s of one mindset, and she’s of the other. Neither is right or wrong, but they are incompatible. So breaking up sounds like the right thing for this two.
Fyodor June 4, 2018, 11:47 am
As I think someone noted at the time, if she’s making 35K/yr as a nanny, they’re not living anywhere cheap.
dinoceros June 4, 2018, 12:00 pm
That only really matters if they live in a place where it’s considered below the poverty line, though. I’m sure people in certain cities would consider me to be poor if I lived there, but … I don’t live there.
Certainly there are certain amounts of money that are unsustainable, but there are plenty of people who make twice what she makes who are in thousands of dollars of credit card debt.
dinoceros June 4, 2018, 12:07 pm
Right, but we don’t know where they live. We could all comment on what it’s like in various places, but it doesn’t really matter except in their area.
Kate June 4, 2018, 11:40 am
@Skyblossom, you may be right about lifestyle, I just wanted to make the point that $35k is not poverty by government standards.
If they did make $95k as a couple, and spent a max of 28% of their gross income on housing, they could afford up to $2200 a month in rent or mortgage, which isn’t too shabby. Of course if she had to stop working entirely, that’s different, but $95k is all right.
Skyblossom June 4, 2018, 12:04 pm
It’s definitely a valid choice to have less income they just need to agree on that choice.
dinoceros June 4, 2018, 12:04 pm
The second letter was about her relationship and whether she wanted to be with someone who had such conflicting values. Neither is wrong. (Though if you are with someone who doesn’t want a corporate job and it’s a dealbreaker for you, then you should break up with them instead of trying to persuade them to change.)
Plenty of people live at varying incomes and it’s hard for random internet strangers to tell someone that it’s not sustainable. We don’t know where she lives, how she budgets, what her expenses are, etc. The truth is, it’s not possible for everyone to choose to make more than $35,000. If it were, then I guess we’d all have to learn how to serve ourselves food at restaurants and stock shelves at our grocery store before purchasing our food. And a lot of states would probably have to start homeschooling their kids because there’d be no teachers.
veritek33 June 4, 2018, 3:29 pm
Regarding the $150 dinner – My company hosts lots of customer events and trips and we always foot the bill.
We found that a good way to stop questions like this is to always add to the invitation or save the date “All costs associated with this event will be covered by xxx” or “It will be our pleasure to cover the costs of this meal in return for your company.”
I would think that could work as well for a private function and avoid the questions later.
ron June 4, 2018, 4:08 pm
Men needing a family-supporting job and women ‘doing what you love, regardless of pay’ or choosing to be a housewife, SAHM is so much my parents’ (grandparents’ for most posters) generation gender stereotyping. If I were the guy, I’d at least be exploring in detail her views on the full range of gender stereotypes of yesteryear and assessing my comfort level with them. For instance, what if the guy also prefers doing something he loves for $35K a year, rather than the corporate rat race? What are her expectations for work in the future? It sounds like she is educated to enter the higher paying-, career-ladder corporate environment. A few more years of nanny work and she won’t be considered for such positions. The disparity in wages between him and her likely rises quite a lot over next 5-10 years as he moves up from entry-level corporate and she remains nanny plus almost inflation, i.e. no natural career path up from nanny.
dinoceros June 4, 2018, 5:06 pm
Where does she say she wouldn’t be OK with him doing something he loves? Why is the assumption that he doesn’t like IT? Where I work, we certainly don’t have difficult finding people who want to study IT or Computer Science. Honestly, some people don’t find enjoyment from their jobs. It’s a means to an end. Some do.
The funny thing is that the gender stereotypes about women staying at home don’t even benefit women, generally. In this case, she’d be working an exhausting job and then doing all the chores at home. The only benefit would be him potentially feeling that she contributes to the household, which he has said he wouldn’t.
I think the bigger question is why are the jobs that pay the most the ones that have traditionally been held by men. Teachers, social workers, other care taking jobs are seen as jobs you do because you’re passionate, but not pragmatic. The ones that are seen as more prestigious (aka, more money) are the least diverse.
carolann June 4, 2018, 11:28 pm
Update #1- I have seen this same scenario happen to friends more than once. Her plan was probably to get him back only to suddenly fake a miscarriage. Or maybe her plan all along was to break up his new relationship which she succeeded in doing. (Not that the new relationship couldn’t have ended because of other reasons also) It is sad, but common. People are crazy and some have no limits to what they will do. I had a feeling she wasn’t pregnant. I hope he remembers the panic he felt and uses protection in the future. If you don’t want to have a baby with someone (or catch and std, sti, etc) wrap it up! (BTW some women will claim to be on birth control when they aren’t, unfortunately. )
bondgirl June 5, 2018, 6:27 am
Unfortunately, I know of at least one person who claimed to be on birth control and trapped the guy in the relationship with this “unplanned” pregnancy. I guess maybe she thought they’d get married after having their kid…they share custody but SHOCKER (I say with HEAVY sarcasm) they aren’t together anymore…..and she has since had another baby with
another guy. I don’t use the word “psycho” lightly, but to me this is a legit psycho move and really shitty of a person to lie to their partner like that. I also know of another person who went so far as to fake a pregnancy (had no ultrasound photos to share, which immediately looked suspicious) but claimed the clinic “took her baby away” when she went to have it….all this after collecting a bunch of gifts from the baby shower. Not sure what she ended up doing with all the gifts…..probably pawned them.
Now I don’t want to generalize ALL women as crazy cuz it’s not true….but damn, some of them really are crazy!