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.)