Friday, May 20, 2011

Aaron's Rotten Advice: May 20, 2011 ("For You, It's Rapture, For Me, It's RUPTURE") Edition

DEAR AMY: I have always had a close relationship with my in-laws, dating back 22 years. Recently, my sister-in-law (who is a recovering drug addict) decided to live in one of my in-laws' homes along with her boyfriend.

For more than 15 years, my husband and I and our now-teenage children have visited these in-laws for our yearly family vacation. We found out that this boyfriend was recently arrested for beating my sister-in-law.

In the past, he has been arrested for assault, fraud and drug possession with the intent to sell (he was in prison for this). He recently relapsed and has been caught with cocaine in his vehicle.

My husband decided we should not bring the children in close contact with this man. We asked my in-laws to make sure that we would have no contact with him when we visited. They declined.

We then canceled our much-cherished family trip, and they have cut off contact with my husband and me. I am distraught. Any suggestions on how to repair this?



Forget it. Go to Disney World this year instead. As far as your in-laws, if they choose to let this scumbag live in their house and beat their daughter, more fool they. If they ever want to know what eventually happens to people who allow dangerous felons free reign around their home, tell them to Google “Madalyn Murray O’Hair.”

DEAR ABBY: “Maya” and I competed throughout high school. We shared common interests. Even friends, who would blow me off to hang out with her.

We were involved in speech and debate and were nominated for the girls’ state team. I was deemed “too qualified,” so Maya got the nomination. She ran against me for speech president and I won by a huge margin.

Later, to my chagrin, I discovered we’d be going to the same college. I was told I’d probably never see her because of the large campus. Well, last semester she joined two activities I’m involved in. We rushed for a prestigious pre- law organization. She was accepted; I wasn’t.

Maya is pretty, popular and charming. After all these coincidences, we’ll probably end up in the same law firm. What can I do to stop feeling so awful about myself as Maya continues to take away all the things I care about most?



Don’t get your panties bunched, Romy. It’s a fact of life that pretty people have an easier time of it—yes, I know this to my everlasting, bitter chagrin—but look at it this way: you’re still in college. Some day, you’ll both be old. Let’s see how popular she is when she’s standing on her own boobs.

DEAR ELLIE: At 21, I was a virgin by intention, and had only been in a brief relationship with one person until I met my now ex-boyfriend. He was my age, had only had one brief relationship, and was also a virgin.

I felt so comfortable, unpressured, and completely happy with him. After two months of dating we decided to be each other's "firsts." Our relationship continued to develop, but finding time together between work and school became difficult.

We grew apart; he'd disappear for weeks. Eventually, he sent me an email saying he was no longer committed to our relationship and it's best if we move on. After a week of not reaching him, I replied, agreeing.

Several months later, I can't get over him. I cry constantly and can't sleep. I'm feeling that the only way to get over him is to talk to him face to face. But would that be smart?



No. For “time together between work and school became difficult,” read “he lost interest after you gave it up to him because he’s a prick.” If you see him in person now, you’ll just end up slugging him.

You know what? On second thought, call him. And call me right afterwards so I can bring my video camera.

DEAR MARGO: Two years post-divorce, I have been trying to date again. A nice man I have much in common with told me in October that he'd like to get to know me better, but nothing has come of it. Instead, he spends hours texting without trying to set up any sort of a date, sends inappropriate texts for the level of relationship we have, refuses to reveal his schedule or anything else that might aid in our dating -- or in getting to know each other at all, for that matter.

After four months of waiting, I feel that I should just move on. It seems that texting is the only relationship he has to offer. This is so sad. Can anything here be saved?



Yeah--your sanity. You can do this by sending him one last message: “c ya, d-bag.”

DEAR MISS MANNERS – A relative of mine sent me a link to a web page containing what looks like an invitation to the wedding of another relative. I am nonplussed, because this web page says things like, “thank you for participating in our wedding,” and “all are invited to our rehearsal dinner at such-and-such on the evening before.”

The bride, a CLOSER relative than the one who sent me this link, has NOT told me or my wife that we are requested or invited, yet this is the second time a relative has told us about this wedding.

They DO know that we are financially challenged and it would be a considerable expense for us to travel to the wedding thousands of miles away, yet we STILL have received no word from the bride herself for whom I am a very close relative. How on earth should I/we respond to such an indirect invitation?



You don’t. Since you didn’t get the link from the bride herself, there’s no reason to assume you are invited. Look at it this way: now you’re not on the hook for a gift.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Aaron's Rotten Advice: March 18, 2011 ("Hung Over and Hung Out to Dry") Edition

DEAR AMY: I have lived with a man for 10 years.

He had a great job but lost it after many years because of an indiscretion on his part. He has refused to find any meaningful employment since then. He has never gone outside of the "box" and doesn't seem to have much imagination or sense of adventure.

Good fortune has come recently because of a lottery win, and now the two of us are self-sufficient. Prior to this win, I was always very content with my life and very happy with my seasonal position. I wish to continue this scenario for the next couple of years. (I am only 57 years old.) This job has kept me in contact with the outside world and always gives me a sense of accomplishment.

My "spouse," on the other hand, indicates that he wants me to give this all up in order to accompany him in his daily life because he has no "life" of his own.
He still remains inside the "box."

I continue to encourage him to do his own thing on occasion but have had difficulty in doing so. Any suggestions?



Where does he expect you to “accompany” him? The bathroom? Take some of your share of the money and go on a trip somewhere nice. Tell him he can go live in that “box” in the back yard.

DEAR ABBY: While standing in a checkout line yesterday, I witnessed a cashier speak to the older woman in front of me in a condescending manner. She kept calling her “Sweetie” and talking to her as if she were a 3-year-old. The woman was obviously offended, but said nothing.

I experienced this kind of behavior often when my mother was alive. Receptionists, waitresses, store clerks and others would direct their questions to me and talk to me while my mother stood there, perfectly capable of answering the questions herself. I’m sure these people did not intend to be rude or disrespectful. However, it was extremely annoying to both Mother and me.

Because a person is elderly does not mean he or she is senile. Regardless of their mental capacity, older people have earned the right to be treated with dignity and respect



If your mother was “perfectly capable,” then why the hell didn’t she speak up?

I agree that it’s disrespectful to underestimate elderly folks and treat them like children, and the “sweetie/ honey” thing can backfire because it can be a little over-familiar for some people. But let’s keep things in perspective. Some people address others that way because they don’t want to appear too formal and intimidating, and they’re trying to put the other person at ease.

Besides, quite frankly, there are worse things to be called. Don’t ask me how I know this.

DEAR ELLIE: I've been married for six years, we have two kids. I love my husband but he has two children from his first marriage, and his ex hasn't moved on. He's hidden things and lied to me.... e.g.: going out with her with the kids. When confronted, he said he didn't want a fight.

Recently, he "had to pick her up from the hospital after surgery," she'd asked him not to tell me. But it was only plastic surgery. It seems the doctor had said not to take a cab... that's crap, as she was driving the next day.

I'm upset that he agreed to hide that he drove her home. His response: She didn't want to hurt you. Is she that stupid not to know that saying things like this will ruin any couple's relationship? Are my husband's actions not proving to her that he accepts deceiving me?

He says he's not cheating. I've told him not to ruin his present for the past.

He says I'm jealous of her. Would he allow me to do these things with an ex? I suggested counseling. He refuses. I'm feeling I have to leave this mess.



Come on, think about this: she had to have some kind of plastic surgery. She’s probably a double-bagger. What are you so insecure about?

DEAR MARGO: I am 47, the mother of three great kids, with a wonderful husband. Now that my kids are older, I've decided to pursue the career I always wanted: nursing. I was accepted into a nursing program, and it turned out that I was able to get financial aid to help pay for it. I couldn't be happier that I have been given this amazing opportunity.

The problem? I had every intention of keeping my job as a teacher's aide at a high school in another town, but after attending a few of the nursing classes and speaking with the career counselor, I realized the workload would be too much and I needed to choose one or the other. I chose nursing. I knew it was last minute, so I offered to work until a replacement was found, but they accepted my resignation "effective immediately."

Now my former colleagues, who I thought were my friends, will not call me back. I have called and sent e-mails and Facebook messages asking how they are doing, but I have yet to receive an answer. Needless to say, I am heartbroken. My husband says there is nothing more I can do and I should just let it go, but I am struggling with this, feeling both guilty and sad.



Your husband’s right. It’s possible that the friendship was deeper on your side than theirs, so just let it go.

And remember, you’ll be a nurse soon. One day, there’s a chance one of these “friends” may come to you to get blood drawn. Make it hurt.

DEAR MISS MANNERS – I am wondering if it is rude to ask a bride to repay me for all of the purchases I made for her wedding since it did not last a year.
I know that she is supposed to return gifts she received from the wedding, so I am wondering if the same rule applies to the wedding party. I never wanted to be in the wedding but since it was family I had to say yes.



Actually, neither rule applies. Gifts don’t have to be returned except in the case of a cancelled wedding.

As far as the stuff you bought her, get over yourself. How much of a refund do you think you’re really going to get on a few boxes of Pamprin and some hair rollers?

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Aaron's Rotten Advice: March 11, 2011 ("Some Days I'm Just Dry, and This Is One of 'Em") Edition

DEAR AMY: I am a happily married 45-year-old woman with three school-age children.

I took a job driving a cab in the worst part of town because I was bored sitting around the house.

I love my job, even though it is unhealthy and dangerous and the money isn't that great. I just really love the people and driving. My family and everyone else is appalled and want me to do something different.

I went out yesterday and obtained a job as a companion. I haven't started yet, but I already know how bored I am going to be.

Any suggestions on how to make the best of it?



I’m not sure what sort of “companion” you’ve signed on as, but if it’s what I think it is, you can have just as much excitement in the cab if you just move the seats back. And since you seem to "love the people" in that part of town so much, here's good news: they're the same people!

In any event, get the money up front and tell them nothing too kinky.

DEAR ABBY: I am a married man, but not happily. I have been taking the kids on play dates with a neighbor woman who has been kind enough to meet with the children and doesn't seem to care too much that I'm a guy. As you can imagine, most women will not bother to befriend a man they know is married.

She has two kids who are close in age to mine. She is 19 years younger than I am and lives with her boyfriend.

I have fallen in love with her. I know I can't tell her, and I doubt she feels the same toward me. When we part, we do hug each other. It makes me feel fantastic, something I haven't experienced for a long time.

Should I continue getting together with her or should I avoid her? I feel both happy and sad when I see her because I realize she is basically out of reach.



Yeah, see this is why most women don’t want to make friends with married men—you always want to be “friends with benefits.”

Why are you hugging this woman at all? These are kids’ play dates, not a birth coaching class—get a grip and go home to your wife. Buy a “toy” on the way home—that might be the first step towards marital happiness.

DEAR ELLIE: I just finished paying off $20,000 in student loans, in 18 months. I want to travel, as I've never been anywhere. I've been looking for inexpensive resorts but my husband won't spend his hard-earned money on a "trashy" vacation.

When I started looking for exclusive resorts, he said, "That's just too expensive!" Do I just go by myself? I feel he's turning something celebratory into this big drama. And like I have no one in my corner wanting to celebrate my accomplishments with me.



Congratulations on paying off your debt so quickly--$20,000 in 18 months is pretty damn impressive. I only owed $12,000 after the grants and what I payed myself, and it still took me 10 years. 10 years of toil, aging and decrepitude…

You know what? I’m envious of you now, and seething with resentment. In fact, I don’t feel like answering your question anymore. What was it again? Oh, yeah, the vacation. Go wherever you want, I don’t give a shit.

DEAR MARGO: I’m living with my mother, who has Alzheimer’s. I’m an only child, but my mother has three sisters. I have no one to relieve me once in a while so I can have time for myself. I’m also under a doctor’s care, and she told me I was to take at least two days a week and get out. I can’t do this. My mother is very headstrong and will not allow anyone in the house who is a stranger — and she will not go anywhere.

Now I have another problem. I reconnected with my first love, but he lives in another state. I so want to move out there to be with him, but I don’t know what to do about Mom. I would only be gone three or four months of the year. (The rest of the time I would be living here with Mom.) I’m hoping to be with him this month. He is very understanding and hopeful. He is 64 and retiring this year, and I’m 61 and want to make a life on my own with him. What can I do?



So just where are the three Gorgon sisters while you’re stuck in the house?? Tell one of them to waddle over once or twice a week with her stack of Enquirers and her box of Depends and sit with her sister. How exhausting could it be? You should be doing what the doctor says, or you’ll get run down and sick yourself, and you won’t be any good to your mom at all.

As far as your old flame, you can’t leave your mom for months at a time, obviously, but why can’t he come visit you periodically? Tell the lazy turd to hop on a plane and get his bony old ass where you are, pronto. (And here’s a tip: it would help if you met him at the airport in a corset and riding crop. No, don't ask questions.)

DEAR MISS MANNERS: My stepson is estranged from his father, and I want to include him in the obit but not list him as his son. May I do this? However, I want to list my children from another marriage but not indicate they are stepchildren. Please advise. This is a ticklish subject.



Gee, I wonder how he became “estranged?” Let’s all put our thinking caps on and puzzle this one out, hmm?


Friday, February 25, 2011

Aaron's Rotten Advice - Feb. 25, 2011 ("4-5 inches tonight, and none of them mine") Edition

DEAR AMY: We just celebrated my daughter's first birthday with a wonderful party at a lovely catering hall. We had live entertainment, food, an open bar for the adults, flowers, balloons, favors -- you name it!

I spent months planning for this party to make it a perfect event. This is my third child and every party has been a big event like this one. I put a lot of time into planning my children's parties and thoroughly enjoy doing it.
My problem is rude guests!

I had more than half of the party (20 families) respond several days past the RSVP date (I sent out the invitations six weeks ahead of time so they had plenty of time to respond). They showed up 1-2 hours late to the party with no apology or explanation (some left early).

These guests took it upon themselves to sit wherever they wanted, even when I had place cards with assigned seating that I spent several hours organizing.

These perpetrators do things like this at every party. As much as I love to throw parties for my children, in the end, I find myself disappointed, insulted and feeling used.

Should I stop having these parties or should I continue doing what my children and I enjoy and ignore the rudeness? Please tell me what I should do.



My first suggestion is that you visit your shrink and ask him to change your meds, because whatever you’re popping now clearly isn’t working.

I’ve never heard of anyone renting an expensive hall for a one-year-old’s birthday party--especially with an open bar. How many infant alcoholics do you know? I don’t know whether to laugh or cry—and your guests probably didn’t either. When they got your invitation, they probably thought that either: a.) it was a gag; or b.) you’re a dangerous and unbalanced person whom they don’t want to spend too much time around (hence the late arrivals). In any case, you say they’ve behaved this way before, which at least suggests that you don’t learn well from experience—so if it chaps your ass, stop inviting them.

As far as seating arrangements, I really think you wasted your time there. A one-year-old doesn’t really give a shit where the guests sit. In fact, she probably spent the whole time sitting in her own shit, wondering when you were going to change her

DEAR ABBY: I'm concerned about my friend "Nyla." She's 15 and pregnant. Nyla and her family are happy about it! As her friend, I'm not. I think she should have waited.

I keep telling her that her life is ruined and she'll regret having a baby this early, but she doesn't listen. It would be better if she had help, but she doesn't. Nyla's family is poor.

Now she is angry with me because of what I keep telling her. What can I do to help her understand me, and not get mad when I tell her something?



Try shutting up. This kid is going through enough right now without listening to you cluck at her about her “ruined life,” Henny Penny.

What makes you the expert, anyway? If she and her family can be happy about this baby despite being poor, then they obviously know something you don’t, so just leave them alone and go about your own business. Go to your cheerleading practice or Chastity Belt Club, or quilting bees, or however the hell you amuse yourself.

DEAR ELLIE: My twin sister's an accomplished professional, raised in a loving family, and has a heart of gold.

She'd dated someone for seven years, which ended with her in hysterics and crying uncontrollably. She's always suffered from low self-esteem and confidence, struggled with weight and some health problems, plus she has issues with men leaving her (at 19, we lost our father unexpectedly). She hasn't dated much, and then met a man from an African country. They've been together for four years.

He'd moved here, had a one-night stand, and got a woman pregnant. They married, mostly because he feared deportation. He says the mom was "crazy" so he got custody and sent the child back to Africa to be raised by his family. He then met my sister. After eight months' dating, he moved away to a university to get his degree accredited. While there, he'd lie to her, and often disallow her visiting him.

She once found condom wrappers under his bed. He talked his way out of it. She eventually moved there but he'd hang out with friends in another city, leaving her at their home. He's lured women on social networking and dating sites. (I was with her when one girl trying to contact him on my sister's laptop explained this to us.) He's also spent money my sister didn't know about until after, has driven drunk and with no insurance...and more.

She supported him through school and now that he has a job, he's spending large amounts of money without consulting her. Yet her main concern when considering breaking it off, is, "What is he going to do? Where is he going to go?"
My mother and I had to distance ourselves as he convinced her we were trying to break them up. Now he's bringing over his son, four, to live with my sister and him part-time. She's to host his grandma and sister for a month while they see he's settled.

She won't call a halt or consider options. The child's biological mom lives on government assistance by lying that she still had the child with her. My sister's boyfriend goes along with this and hasn't divorced her.

The only stable/responsible person is my sister, who I can see bearing the brunt of this transition, financially and emotionally. The child only knows his father from recent weekend chats over Skype.

How do we support her when we don't approve or like her situation or her boyfriend?



Call immigration, then call social services. I’m sure one of them will have something to say about his abandonment of his child, not to mention the sham “green card” marriage. While you're at it, call Bellevue on your sister. If it pisses her off, so be it. She’s obviously too stupid to know shit from pudding, anyway. Besides, you know damn well that while she refuses to dig herself out of this mess, you’re the ones who will have to listen to her bitch about it.

DEAR MARGO: In May of '83, when I was 18 and my brothers were 16 and 14, my mother died after a struggle with brain cancer. By July, my father had disposed of all her things, and by September, he had a girlfriend (14 years younger) and was spending all of his free time at her house instead of with my brothers.

By Christmas, he had scheduled a wedding for July of '84 and made plans to sell our house because his girlfriend was uncomfortable knowing our mother had lived there. When my middle brother and I objected to how quickly things were changing, Dad insisted that his happiness was the only thing that counted.

He got married, moved to the neighborhood his wife chose, and forbade us to talk about our mother. I was not allowed to live at the new house during summer vacations from college or to move home even briefly after graduating. I was treated as though my unhappiness with the situation was that of an immature troublemaker, not a grieving child. Since then, I've suffered from recurring depression.

I entered therapy and now am much better, except for one thing: I truly hate my father and his wife for the way they treated us, and I hate that my father managed to replace my mother so quickly and then tried to erase her existence. It's the most honest emotion I've had in the past quarter-century. I want to say, "Bleep you and get out of my life." However, my father will soon be 80, and I wonder if it would be cruel to tell him how I feel and kinder just to keep avoiding him. This situation is making me ill, but I just can't figure out what to do.



I don’t know if it’s "kinder" or not (and really, who cares?), but it’s probably more comfortable for you if you just stay away from him. He’s never cared about your feelings before, so he’s not likely to now--and at his age, if you say “Fuck you,” he’ll probably forget five minutes later. What fun is that?


Today I was going through paperwork, arranging it for tax purposes.
It's necessary to point out that I am 10 years delinquent in contending with filing, due to PTSD, and have not been able to open so much as a bill (most things are paid out of my accounts direct) unless it is very easy to identify.

Much of the year I've worked with a therapist in preparing to overcome this. At first, mere mention would create an emotional and physical response that was rather out of context. I would be gridlocked for days at an e-mail talking about needing to do it. We got to the point I could handle this year's, which would still avoid the most painful of the paperwork, and help me develop a routine in simply working with any paperwork. The catalyst is my son is going into college, and I don't want my impairments to impair him from getting financial help.

A friend came over today to "help" and happened upon a Social Security document that was very personal inside. He laughed upon opening and reading it, though there had been no need because the front was clearly marked and could therefore be properly filed without personal information being read. It was my yearly statement about lifelong contributions.

It was a clear setback. My heart raced (and I had a heart attack two weeks ago), breathing became difficult, and I wasn't able to continue. I told him that felt very inappropriate and went to my room to be alone.

My therapist friend recommended I write to you and ask how that could have better been navigated had I had the presence of mind to be forthright, a prepared statement, so to speak. Perhaps with your insights I could handle that better myself should it come again.



I wouldn’t worry about it—I don’t think you’ll have a chance to get to that point again. If this guy has any smarts, he won’t waste his time trying to “help” you. And you can bet he’ll spread the word to warn off your other friends, too. I don’t know what trauma caused your PTSD, or why it’s specific to tax season. Were you attacked by a CPA? Choke on a paperclip? Sit on a pencil?

Whatever the cause, you might want to get on Craigslist or eBay to sell some of your shit—you’ll need the money to pay the government the back taxes you owe when they come after your whiny, cry-baby ass.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Aaron's Rotten Advice: February 18, 2011 ("More Short, Less Sweet") Edition

DEAR AMY: I'm a 27-year-old, well-educated man with a good job and plans for an even better future.

I have many friends and a pretty good life. I'm single, and it doesn't bother me at all, though I don't plan on being single forever. However, the fact that I'm single bothers my mother.

I generally have a good relationship with her, and during my weekly calls home, I mention my friends, their kids, etc. My mother, seeking to be helpful, sends baby clothes for me to give to my friends. I hate doing this.

First of all, I'm perfectly capable of giving gifts to my friends on my own. But she has started sending this clothing to me unsolicited, without any mention of anyone having a new baby. This is obviously a not-so-subtle (and extraordinarily annoying) hint that she wants me to have kids.

What is the best way to tell her to stop spending her time and money sending me this stuff? Telling her to butt out doesn't help.



Tell her your dogs love the sweaters, but they can’t pee through the pants—ask her to send miniskirts instead.

DEAR ABBY: Two of my children, ages 28 and 30 and college-educated, have what they call “bill paying anxiety.” It doesn’t matter if they have the money or not, they find it difficult to pay their bills. They have both lost their licenses for not paying traffic tickets, but that hasn’t taught either one of them a lesson. Any advice on how to help them?



If they’re 28 and 30, I think it’s time you stopped helping them, actually. Except perhaps to remind them that “bill-paying anxiety,” if left unchecked, will lead to “eviction notice anxiety.”

DEAR ELLIE: I'm a male, 33, my girlfriend of one year is 36. We want to live together. However, my parents are very religious and I fear being "terrorized" by them for wanting to live with her.

They're constantly prying on my private life and I feel I can't do anything about it.



“Terrorized?!” What the hell are they going to do, firebomb your house?? Grow a pair and tell them you’re an adult and you’ll do as you please. I’m assuming you’re financially independent, so there should be nothing they can hold over you – if they don’t like it, they can leave their fortune to a cat home.

DEAR MARGO: My 27-year-old daughter is dating a nice 27-year-old man. They seem to be getting along well, and this could become more permanent. My problem is that the young man calls my husband (my daughter’s stepfather) “Buddy” every time we see them. My husband hates the casual reference. My daughter and I have both asked this young man to call my husband by his first name. He doesn’t see any disrespect in calling him Buddy and doesn’t plan to change. The boyfriend says he refers to everyone as Buddy (young and old) and not one other person has told him they didn’t like it. He says he’s just a friendly guy.

What’s that all about, and are we being old-fashioned? My husband doesn’t want to be around the boyfriend because of this, and it’s making it hard to develop a relationship with someone who could eventually be my son-in-law.



Have you considered that your daughter’s boyfriend calls your husband “Buddy” because he can’t remember his name? This suggests that your husband is not very memorable, and needs to do something to really distinguish himself in the younger man’s eyes.

So I suggest the next time he comes to visit, your husband should answer the door in a diaper. I guarantee you he’ll never forget again.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: My friend is very fastidious about raising her two daughters to have impeccable manners. Their table manners are beautiful.

However, one aspect of their education has been overlooked. Her young girls (9 and 11) are constantly correcting anyone, including adults, about what they perceive to be lapses in good manners.

One example is when they very smugly reprimanded me that I shouldn’t have my elbows on the table after dinner. Their mother seems to be proud that her girls are “leading the charge.”

I adore these young ladies but would like them to be more respectful of me and my family. We take manners seriously in our home, too, and that includes being courteous to others. How can I gently ask them to refrain from this behavior?



Why, exactly, do you “adore” these young “ladies?” They sound like sanctimonius little bitches, and your “friend” is not doing them any favors by letting them forget their place.

Next time they tell you to take your elbows off the table, remind them that you’re a taxpaying adult who can put your elbows wherever you want, including upside their heads if they don’t shut the hell up.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Aaron's Rotten Advice: November 19, 2010 ("Jive Talkin' from a Jive Turkey") Edition

DEAR AMY: I recently moved across the country to be with my longtime guy, "Chad." It was a long process that also meant my ex-husband and two children moved to this area to accommodate my relationship.

My ex-husband has purchased a house in an expensive suburb, and the children are attempting to adapt to the new school, but things are getting more complicated for me.

We all agreed that my ex-husband would not pay child support when the move was on the table.

I am not yet working, although I am actively hunting.

Chad insists that it is not his job to pay for any activities of any sort for my children, ages 7 and 10.

He is uncomfortable dining out with them, as he says "we aren't a family." He is in the top 1 percent of American wage earners and is contemplating joining an expensive, private and exclusive golf club.

He calls me his "almost wife," and I gather that means we share all the intimacy and none of the financial responsibility.

My small nest egg from the untimely sale of our home is shrinking because I have been buying most of the groceries.

My anxiety is increasing as the holidays are approaching, and Chad's adult children (whom I have not met after a five-year relationship) are highly resentful of our relationship.

Chad told me yesterday that his son never visits his home because of me.

Oddly, I ran a highly successful business before this move, and my recent missteps have left me in a tailspin. I am open to leaving the boyfriend, but please offer some input.



Let’s recap: you divorced a guy who was willing to move across the country with your kids to accommodate you. Your new guy can’t even be bothered to even take you and your kids out to dinner, despite his wealth. And you moved across the country to be with this guy?


Has he even mentioned marriage? I didn’t think so. I got news for you: you’re not an “almost wife.” You’re basically his concubine. Is that what you had in mind when you gave up a successful career and left your home for Howard Hughes, Jr.?

See if your ex-husband will take you back. You threw away a silk purse for a sow’s ear.

DEAR ABBY: I'm a 33-year-old male who has finally found the love of my life. My girlfriend and I have been together for three years. Needless to say, an engagement is right around the corner.

I have a sister who has struggled her entire life dating the wrong men. She's beautiful inside and out. She called me last night crying, asking me why men always cheat on her.

Most people would assume that the use of the word "always" is an exaggeration. I would have to say that 90 percent of her boyfriends, have indeed, cheated on her one way or another -- whether it was in high school, or when she dated a race car driver or, more recently, an acquaintance of mine.
What can I say to reassure her that there are some good guys left in this world who
won't cheat?



To begin with, I’d hold off on announcing the “around-the-corner” engagement. Somehow, I don’t think that will be well-received just now. As for reassuring her of decent guys, don’t bother. There are really only about three left, and she’s probably related to all of them, which makes it a moot point.

Has she considered taking Holy Orders?

DEAR ELLIE: I've been dating a lady for several months. Initially, there was intimacy, but no longer any intimacy.

Although I've never paid attention to other women or given her any reason for mistrust, she doesn't trust me, and is constantly looking for excuses to end the relationship.

She seizes upon any comment that could be interpreted as negative and gets very angry.

She just told me she hates her father and can't forgive him for the way he treated her as a child. Is there any point in continuing the relationship if she refuses to address the impact of her relationship with her father on us?



No. (And did you really need to write to someone for that advice??)

DEAR MARGO: My husband thinks I have a problem. I’m slow to reveal myself. Once there’s a relationship, however, and the person, to my mind, has betrayed me, I shut the door forever. This is where my husband says I have a problem: He thinks I’m too hard on people and should forgive and forget. I don’t feel that the matters that trigger my shutdowns are trivial.

For example, I have shut my brothers out of my life. One has been in prison for 20 years, and when I tried to reach out while our mother was dying, he became manipulative and tried to paint my husband as a bad person. It was the continuation of a pattern, and I walked away, telling him my choice would always be my husband. The other treated our mother like dirt while she was living with him and his family, and at Mom’s memorial service, he referred to the gathering as my "pity party" because I took Mom into my home and cared for her through her illness and death. I wrote him off.

A friendship with a girlfriend of 20 years ended when I saw text messages of a sexual nature to my husband. She had been on a quest the past couple of years to go through her high school yearbook, look up every boy she ever thought was cute and seduce him. I felt she was getting bored with the high school memories and wanted to make some new ones, so I deep-sixed that friendship. Hubby thought that was harsh. Is he right? Do I have a problem?



Yeah—him. So far, all the cases you mentioned sound totally justified in my opinion. These people took advantage of your trust and/or vulnerability for their own gain—and while that might land them in the championship seat on “The Apprentice,” it’s not my definition of friendship.

I’m seriously curious as to why your husband thinks it’s “harsh” of you to end your friendship with the Text Slut. I wonder if he’d be so “progressively thinking” if some other man was sending photos of his pecker to your cell phone. I somehow doubt it.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I have been in a relationship with an absolutely fantastic guy for about six months. I regularly spend the weekend with him in his above-garage apartment.

The problem is that his place is not clean. It’s not completely disgusting but is in need of some window spray, dusting, mopping and organizing. It takes all of my self-restraint not to just start wiping up the dust and attacking the soap scum on the sink.

I have sneaked some cleaning. I once spilled on the counter and took the opportunity to clean the whole thing.

The times when I sneak in the cleaning, he always comments about how nice it is to actually see the counter or be able to eat at his dinner table.

I am wondering if there is a way to suggest we work together to really clean the house once and get it organized so that the up-keep isn’t too much for him. He has lived alone before, so maybe he is used to this, but he also previously lived with a girlfriend. Maybe she did all of the cleaning?

How can I offer to help without hurting his feelings or “butting in?”



If his ex did do all the cleaning, she probably got tired of it, which accounts for the “ex” part.

In any event, my advice is not to head down this slippery slope. As a bachelor and semi-slob, I can tell you that disorder will struggle to reassert itself after even the most thorough of tidyings—don’t ask me how I know this. While it’s OK to clean up your own spills, and even take the opportunity to clean a surrounding surface if it’s not too much work, you shouldn’t make it your job to clean up after this guy. He obviously knows that he’s not the neatest person in the world, but if he wants to re-order his home, he needs to deliberately come up with his own system—one that makes sense to him. Otherwise, he will just go back to putting things wherever he can find a place for them because he doesn’t know any better. (Again, don’t ask me how I know this.)

Friday, October 22, 2010

Aaron's Rotten Advice: October 22, 2010 ("The Weather Finally Matches My Disposition") Edition

DEAR AMY: I've known "Jared" for two years. We dated for about a year and then broke up because he wanted to date someone else.
We decided to remain friends. In fact, we are now roommates. He has since broken up with his girlfriend, but he is now in a long-distance relationship with an ex-girlfriend.

I know it's not healthy to be jealous, but I am. It kills me just to hear him say her name. I can tell that he is really into her, but I don't care. I still have strong feelings for him.

I keep telling myself that I should have been an actress because I'm doing such a great job of hiding my feelings and acting like I just want to be friends.
I go out, hoping to meet someone else, but I haven't met anyone yet.

If I tell him how I feel, I'm afraid it will ruin our friendship or things will be weird between us. I definitely don't want that to happen. On the other hand, I feel as if I'm just letting him go without a fight.

Should I tell him how I feel and hope for the best, or should I just leave well enough alone and keep quiet?



Good questions. Now I have a question for you: how many fingers am I holding up? (Here’s a hint: it’s one, but I won’t tell you which.)

You may be a great actress, but you'll never be a scientist. Your question proposes two possible courses of action, but I’d like to add a third: move out. And on your way out, be sure to stop at a shrink and have your head examined—I don’t know what made you stay friends with an ex-boyfriend (who essentially dumped you), not to mention move in with him. And in the meantime, he’s been through another ex. Obviously, this guy gets around faster than smallpox.

While you’re looking for a new place, be sure to wash your laundry separately.

DEAR ABBY: I recently gave birth to a beautiful, perfect baby girl, "Cassie." I also just returned to work. I would love to stay home, but I cannot afford to financially. I am lucky that my best friend, "Mary Ellen," doesn't have to work and has offered to care for my little 8-week-old bundle of joy.

My problem is, every day when I go to pick up Cassie, I must wait for Mary Ellen to say goodbye to her. She has started instructing me about how Cassie likes to sleep, be burped and held. While I appreciate her watching and caring for my little one, I am Cassie's mom and I know what she likes. The time I have with my daughter is precious. I just want to pick her up and go home.

How do I tell my friend it upsets me that she feels she should tell me about how to care for my own baby? I feel guilty and sad that I must work, and her comments make it worse. I know she's only trying to help. I don't want to hurt her feelings, but what can I do?



Wait, you’re getting free babysitting?! Shut the hell up and be grateful.

If it bothers you to hear her list of instructions, just pretend to listen with a smile on your sour puss, then ignore it and do whatever you usually do when you get home. (Minus the animal sacrifices and naked dancing in the meadow.)

DEAR ELLIE: My boyfriend of three years had trust issues from the start. He's been cheated on in previous relationships. I initially didn't tell him about my guy friends - just friends - as I was scared. (I should've told him regardless of what he thought).

He found out about my friends and I cut them off completely a year ago. Because of that we broke up for a while. I begged him to come back! I love him so much.

Now he thinks I'm talking to guys again. Even before, he'd go through my phone, check my phone bills for anything and he still does. It kills me, but I allow it to happen.

He looks through my private messages with my girlfriends. What can I do? I feel so low as a woman when he does these things. Will he ever trust me again?



Who the hell cares?? What, exactly, are you “hanging on” for—a schmuck who tries to control every aspect of your life and goes through your mail?

Frankly, there’s something seriously wrong with a guy who limits your contact with your friends—it’s one of the hallmarks of an abuser. You were better off when you were broken up.

No doubt he’ll get pissed off about something else very soon and move out again. When he does, change the locks and leave his stuff on the lawn outside.

DEAR MARGO: My experience has been that friendships are transitory and people don’t put in the work to maintain them. For this reason, my husband and I are pretty much loners. We have many acquaintances but few friends.

This year, while traveling abroad, we met a couple (30 years younger). My husband struck up a strong friendship with the woman, and her husband and I got along nicely. I was delighted my husband had made a friend. The age difference didn’t seem to matter, and we are all financially comfortable. We traveled together for about two weeks. Later, they came to visit us. We took them on a road trip through national parks. It was a great vacation, and they sent us generous thank-you gifts. Then they went on to set up a new home in Canada. We’ve both e-mailed the wife a couple of times since then, which was about a month ago. We are renting a two-bedroom condo in Canada next month, so yesterday my husband e-mailed to ask if they’d care to join us. Neither of them is looking for work yet, as they await the birth of their first baby, so we thought they’d have the time. Yesterday we got an e-mail back from her saying they could not make it, they are busy, and then the letter ended: "So please don’t expect me to keep in touch on a regular basis. That just won’t happen. Enjoy your boredom."

Enjoy your boredom? What does that mean? That we have no real life because we are retired? She is Canadian, he is German, and we are American. Perhaps this is some kind of foreign expression? We were really hurt by this curt dismissal. I fail to see why our efforts to keep in touch provoked this reaction.



Isn't it strange that you and your husband don't want to be friends with people your own age, because they won't take the trouble, yet you jump at the chance to be friends with people half your age? Hmmm...

Now to your question. I’ve never heard of rudeness being part of the normal Canadian lexicon unless the person communicating is, well, rude. Germans are a different matter, but in my experience, usually that’s just dirty talk, and then it’s only during “special occasions.”

No this is altogether another animal. As to her meaning, I think it’s pretty obvious—she doesn’t want you to write or email anymore. There could be lots of reasons: maybe she and her husband felt a bit smothered by your attention; maybe it’s the hormones from her pregnancy; or maybe she’s just a bitch. Either way, you can safely back away now.

Look on the bright side: this proves your theory that people are basically unfriendly. Isn’t it nice to have your suspicions vindicated?


How do you feel about a bride who has a bridal shower and a reception but a week later is not married? She and her groom have said vows and exchanged rings several times in different locations but have failed to get a license. They just haven't had time for that [expletive]. Her own words.
She uses the term married, and many people at the reception believed them to be married. She keeps saying that they will go and get married in the courthouse, but I'm beginning to doubt that.

I feel as though I have been taken advantage of for gifts. If she had just had a commitment ceremony and called it what it seems to be, I could respect that and not feel like the whole thing is a joke. I feel embarrassed for her. Am I just becoming an old prickly lady?



Why are you embarrassed? She’s clearly not. She sounds pretty brazen, in fact.

I always think that kind of chutzpah deserves a response in kind—you know, just to show you appreciate and respect it. So when she has a housewarming party (and you know she will), wrap up an empty box and give it to her. When she opens it, explain you didn’t get a gift because you were too busy and didn’t have time for that shit (I know the word, and am not afraid to use it).