Friday, February 27, 2009

Unwanted Advice-Feb. 27, 2009 Edition

DEAR ABBY: Because of a medical condition, my husband of 30 years can no longer drive a car -- so now he is driving ME nuts. Not only does he tell me how to drive ("You're too far to the right," or "Watch out for that car!" or " I'd go this way," etc.), but he feels it is his responsibility to remotely lock/unlock the car doors, remotely start the car -- anything having to do with the car but drive it. We end up "cancelling" each other out when I try to start the car or lock it.

Please tell me how to solve the dilemma about who should control the functions of the car.



So let him lock/unlock the car doors, for piss sakes—he’s not able to drive and this loss of independence is probably an injury to his dignity, so let him have at least that. (I don’t necessarily think it’s wise to start a car remotely, however—I think it presents too great a risk of theft, depending on how far away you are when you start it.)

The criticism, of course, is another matter. It gets to be too much after a while. I like the way my mother used to handle the family’s habitual back seat drivers. After she’d put up with as much as she could, she’d pull the car over and say, “Shut the fuck up or get out.”

Passive-aggressive, perhaps, but the same people seldom criticized her driving again.

DEAR AMY: My boyfriend of less than a year has decided to quit smoking, mostly because I hate it. He went on a prescription pill that cuts the craving. It's been a two weeks and it's working to cut his craving, but a side effect is that he is constantly angry at me.

When I try to cheer him up and tell him how proud I am of him, he seems to get mad at that!

This is hard. For one thing, it's a new relationship and I haven't seen him angry with me before. And although I don't like this new behavior, I still want him to quit smoking.

This also comes at a time when I am having some family issues, and I really want my boyfriend to be there for me emotionally, but he has been withdrawn.

I want to be sympathetic to what either this pill or the nicotine withdrawal is doing to him, but it's hard for me to be 100 percent supportive when I'm not feeling support from him, though we have both made it clear that we want to keep our relationship going. How should I handle this?



First, are you so sure it’s the pills that are making him crabby? Can I tell you how irritating it is when a partner nags you to quit smoking, then constantly chirps at you to be happy all the fucking time when you’ve given up something that you enjoyed doing (however unhealthy)? Basically, he’s just ceded some control to you which, in his eyes, opens the door for you to make other intrusive changes in his lifestyle. (And don’t try to kid him that you won’t do that—it comes with the territory, and therefore, so does the crankiness. Suck it up, girlfriend.)

Second, it sounds like you’ve made this relationship kinda all about you—he had to quit smoking because you hate it, he has to be there for you because you’re going through family issues. You, you, you. What about him? I’m sure he’s asking himself that (when he’s not biting his nails or chowing down from withdrawal). Grow up, Princess.

Maybe you should try to meet him halfway by doing something to improve yourself. How about toning those bulgy thighs?

(See? Not so nice, is it?)

DEAR MISS MANNERS: There’s this very good close friend of mine who will be due to have her baby soon. A couple of months ago, we discussed baby names. As I knew she’s having a girl, I asked if they had yet to pick a name for the baby. She told me her list of girl names she really liked.

So we went out for supper and I asked her if they finally decided on a name. She still had her little list, but one of the names had changed to the one I had shared with her.

I immediately confronted her about it, but she brushed me off by saying she had heard the name only a couple of weeks ago from someone else.
I was furious, and it ruined the rest of my night with my girlfriends. I couldn’t believe she would betray my trust. I want to know if I’m overreacting. And should I confront her with this?


Let’s recap: you talked about baby names with a pregnant friend and mentioned a name you really liked. Now you’re pissed off that she’s shown enough good taste to like it also?

Yes, you are overreacting, and you’re a bit of a dipshit, too. (I know you didn’t ask that question, but I’ll throw that one in as a freebie.)

What did you think was going to happen when you talked about baby names with a pregnant woman? Furthermore, who gave you a copyright on this particular name?
Granted, she sounds like a spineless liar, claiming to have heard the name somewhere else (unless it’s very common, in which case you shouldn’t assume she got it from you). But if she really has that kind of personality, rather than feel anger, you should feel pity—for the girl whom she’ll be raising. She’ll be doing everything the neighbor kids do that catches her mother's fancy, whether she wants to or not. (Hellooooo, violin lessons!)

DEAR MARGO: Around January 2008, my mother started hanging around with a 48-year-old man who has no job and lives with his parents. After a few months my dad couldn’t tolerate her late-night absences and moved in with his brother in a neighboring city. My younger siblings have suffered the most. My mom is still frequently gone after work until late and is never home on the weekends. I’m concerned for the mental health of my brother and sister, who only see my dad on the weekends because they live with my mother.

There hasn’t been an official custody hearing yet, and my dad has taken them on the weekends to spend time with them, something my mother has never volunteered to do since this started. There have only been two weekends when my dad was unable to take them, and my mom was still gone for the entire weekend both times. I don’t know what to do for my siblings. My sister has stopped eating nutritious foods altogether, and my mom is never around to make dinner or breakfast. Sugarcoated cereal and no parental supervision are driving my brother and sister into a reclusive state. Please help.



Back up for a second: your father got pissed at your mom for staying out late all the time, so he moved out on his kids?? Forget that “weekend” crap—you guys need a parent at all times, and there’s no reason that this should fall on you. You don’t say how old you are, but from what I can gather, you’re somewhere in your teens. You shouldn’t have to raise your younger brother and sister.

On a side note, there’s never any excuse for your father being “unable” to take his kids—absent a legal custody agreement, he’s your father and responsible for you at all times when the other Kramer flakes out. The court doesn’t care about his “wounded ego.” He needs to man up and be a parent, and shove all that sensitive Lord Byron shit somewhere else for now.

I don’t know what disease your mother has caught (I suspect she can look forward to a few more in her future), but if she’s too busy looking for her (long-)lost adolescence to be a parent, then maybe you should confide in an adult you trust, who can then call Daddy No-Nuts and get his ass back in that house where he belongs – not for your mom, but at least to be there for his children.

If it makes him feel better, he can change the locks. Good luck to The World’s Oldest Cheerleader explaining to the neighbors why she’s trying to shove her pom-poms in the window at 3:00 AM.

DEAR ELLIE: My spouse and I separated; he moved in with his brother. After six months, I discovered he'd been living with another woman from the day he left, not his brother. We chose to work on our relationship and he returned home.

Two years ago, a new child at my son's school said his grandparent knew me -- it was the other woman. She moved to the street behind us and brought her grandson to live with her. Every time I see her it upsets me. I've been in counseling. My husband says he wishes it wouldn't bother me, and if I can't get over it, maybe we shouldn't be together.

It's also upset my children when they realized who the woman was, because they'd also been lied to. I don't feel I should have this rubbed in my face. Am I wrong to be affected this way? My healing is regressed by the other woman's presence. I'm trying to trust my husband and our relationship, but she's not helping, nor is the way he's defending her choice to live so close to us.



You took him back only after you’d found out that he was living with another woman instead of his brother?! Boy, are you dumb! What, did that somehow increase his attractiveness, knowing that some other old desp wanted him?

And he’s got a lot of nerve, saying that “if you can’t get over it, you shouldn’t be together.” Someone ought to explain to him that he’s the asshole in this predicament. That means he doesn’t get to decide who should get over what, or when. It’s also no accident that The Skank moved so close to you guys, and if your husband is OK with this, that’s a big red flag. And exactly why does she have the grandson living with her? Your letter makes me think that he didn’t used to, until she moved near you, which in turn makes me think she’s using him to get close to your family. Yuck. And that’s the woman that your husband shacked up with? Doesn’t say much for his judgment.

Maybe you shouldn’t be together, but take a few days to think about it. This exercise might help: each night, sleep with a big-ass frying pan and smack the son of a bitch over the head every time you wake up. Accidentally-on-purpose like. That should provide some clarity and help your “healing” come along nicely.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great answers Aaron you should write a book. My mom is a front seat passenger driver. She refuses to sit in the back seat where she might just miss something. Dad sits back there and pretends to sleep. loads of fun. Have a great weekend and remember spring IS coming. ed

2:58 PM  
Blogger Aaron said...

Hope it comes soon! (They sure weren't kidding about that "in like a lion" thing THIS year.)

10:12 AM  

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