Let me start by saying I’m a lucky woman – I’ve found someone kind and considerate, who makes me laugh and is entertaining and charming and who comes in to snuggle me before I go to bed even if he’s not going to sleep himself. There’s just one big problem – he has no job. Part of it is my doing – I encouraged him to quit his job in December without having something lined up, which goes against my usual advice. However, the people he worked for were terrible; I have a high bullshit threshold and these people went way past it. He once went to them with a complaint of sexual harassment by a female client – which made him profoundly and understandably uncomfortable – and they LAUGHED at him and told him he should be flattered! Fuck that noise, I said. So he left and I thought he was entitled to a nice Christmas to get over the frankly abusive practices he’d been dealing with. I thought once we hit January he’d start looking and everything would be fine, but no go. Then February. Then March. That’s when I started getting nervous. I’m pretty good at writing resumes so I helped him with his (by which I mean I wrote it entirely). I tried to be supportive – I wrote him lists of places to call and apply to, I helped him with cover letters and went over what he could say in interviews. But still, no progress. He has a history of low self-esteem issues that I understand, having suffered similar issues myself. He’s convinced that his lack of education will hold him back and that spirals into him being worthless and then he feels like he’s not good enough for me and then generally ends in massive fight that upsets both of us for days. He seems to only be able to hit the panic button on hard issues. It’s like:
Can’t get job = I’m stupid and terrible = I’m the worst human being ever = girlfriend must want to leave me = why bother with making any changes = depression
Don’t have job -> try to get job -> maybe fail to get job for a little while -> eventually get job -> everything’s fine.
It feels like I’ve tried everything: being supportive, getting mad/depressed (not in a manipulative way, I was just legitimately those things by turns) but I don’t know what to do. I come home and he’s spent the day watching TV or playing video games or doing his favorite hobby, and those things make him happy, which I love, but I feel like I’m not really getting a fair deal.
I make enough money to cover the rent (barely) so any other expenses are being covered by money I inherited. When I told him about it months ago we discussed it being used for our wedding and a house and vacations, etc. but now we’re blowing through it at a rate I’m not comfortable with. He has big dreams and likes to talk about what we’d do if he won the lottery and how I wouldn’t have to work – but I actually like working. I don’t need him to be a millionaire, I just want him to be my partner. He’s my one and I’m in too deep to leave this situation but I’m looking down the barrel of a 50+ year partnership with me being the responsible one and I don’t think I like who that might turn me in to.
All I want is to know how to help him see that it’s not the end of the world – he just has to do some work!
Them Money Troubles
Short and sweet: your boyfriend needs to grow the fuck up.
Let’s be real here: dude’s coasting along. He’s content doing his own thing because hey, why not. Right now, nothing’s his fault or responsibility. He’s able to sit playing video games and watching TV all day and when he’s feeling particularly down, he can do the I SUCK I AM THE WORST PERSON IN THE WORLD dance and have you fall back into support mode.
It’s not that I don’t have sympathy for the guy. I’ve dealt with self-esteem problems; I get what it’s like to feel like you’re stuck. His last job sounds like a nightmare situation (not to mention a reminder that yeah, guys get harassed and the support structures aren’t there to handle it) and the economy still seriously sucks for people who’re out of work.
But there comes a point when he’s gone from being a grown-ass man to just indulging himself on your dime. Shit, it seems like he’s not even doing the housework. I could (maybe) give him a temporary pass if he were at least contributing around the house instead of dumping that on you too. But he’s not. He’s enjoying his games and dreaming his dreams and the nice thing about dreams is that you never have to do anything about them. That’s for Future Boyfriend to worry about, not for him!
You may think he’s Mister Awesome, but right now your dream man is busy letting you do all the hard work while he’s sitting back and contributing nothing. You want a partner. He wants a mom.
Unless that dynamic changes, this isn’t going to work out; you’ll be out a relationship and your savings. Not every relationship is going to be perfectly egalitarian but right now there’s no exchange here.
Shit’s got to change.
So what do you need to do? You need to apply boot to ass. It’s to start being the demanding bitch you’re worried about being because he’s just going to slide on by until you are. So you need to tell him: it’s time to get a job. Period, the end. He may not be able to get a job immediately but he needs to be making concrete progress – not bullshit head-fakes in the general direction of work that buy him some time. And until then? He’s cut off. Turn off the money spigot. No funding his laziness, no buying anything that isn’t rent, utilities and groceries. Shit, consider cutting off the cable while you’re at it. It’s going to suck to have to forgo some of life’s luxuries but the fact of the matter is, he’s being a leech. It’s time for him to start coughing up his share of the workload and money for the bills.
And then you need to ignore his wee tantrums, because quite frankly they’re a derailing tactic. As soon as you start getting angry (or just, y’know, stern) at him, he goes into his song and dance about how awful he is and how you want to leave him and so forth and so on and now you’re no longer talking about getting a job, you’re stuck reassuring him that no you’re not about to dump him and there there there. So now he’s cornered you into being his enabler. If you push him to actually suck it up and take care of his responsibilities, then you’re the controlling bitch who tries to rule his life and doesn’t let him have some fun and if you push it further, then suddenly his self-esteem issues come roaring back to make you back off.
Unfortunately, the only thing you can really do is treat it like a tantrum: let him rant and rave and cry until he wears himself out. Then stick him in front of the Monster login page and tell him to start applying.
I’m trying to figure out if I like my best friend’s sister and if she likes me back—in other words—I’m trying to see if it’s worth the pursuit. I don’t get to see much of her often but I think about her more than any other girl—I’m introverted and shy so I don’t keep in touch with a lot of my girl friends all that often. Oddly enough, I’ve known her since I was 12 and she just was eight years, I’m 25 and she’s now 21. I’ve kept in touch with her longer than any girl I’ve ever known. I definitely understand that a lot of this might just be that I’ve never been with anyone before and since I’ve known her the longest, I think I can certainly trust her if our relationship develops into passionate one.
One of the things stopping me is that, her brother is protective of her—which I completely find understandable. Although, she is old enough to make her own decisions. Also, I think if she was interested she might’ve given me better clues. Clearly, I would guess she’d know I would be very intimidated to start dating my best friend’s sister. Since I’ve discovered I had a crush on her as we both got older, on some occasions I’ve gone to the trouble of mentioning she looks nice, that I noticed she changed her hair, stating I was shocked she didn’t like how she looked, etc. Sometimes, when we’re all drinking altogether I’ve made sure she gets plenty of water and just makes sure she’s all right. Her stepmom has even noticed that I would be a good match for her based how I treat her. However, I think it more like a carefree joke… and I too embarrassed couldn’t say anything.
I’m just not sure how to go about talking to her about this because of her protective brother and I’m often a bit more sarcastic she might not taking seriously. If it’s just a simple crush do I even say anything? If I say anything to her about it, do I jeopardize losing my best friend? Maybe I’m looking far too into this but she’s been dating a lot of guys who are ofter shyer than me and even some have looked a bit like me. She does go out of her way to introduce me to her boyfriends and they do seem to be a little protective, almost like they’re jealous. (If I knew better, I’d suspect it to be very Aaron Sorkin-esque relationship.)
Based on how complicated things are, I’ve been trying to meet someone else myself. I’ve mentioned girls that I’ve gone on dates with and how I wasn’t very compatible with them with her around. On just the couple of occasions, I’ve talked about girls she’s been strangely silent—even to the point where she actually leaves without a word. Her only advice was that she could see me with someone as young as 20. Which is rather different because with other friends in our circle she’s a bit more curious how certain things have worked and what didn’t. She’s also reached out to me a few other times when a mutual acquaintance got pregnant very young and was shocked I knew but didn’t know and how she should go about reaching out to her. (I’m not the best person talk to about that kind of thing as I do admit I can be awful at social situations but she really wanted my help and what I thought about the whole thing—which was really odd. We’ve sort of bonded more since then…)
I’m trying to figure out if there’s something between us but I worry about what my best friend would say if he found out… I don’t know who to talk to about this stuff.
Stumped Over Siblings
Can we cut the bullshit a little, SOS? Because between you, me and the entire Internet, it’s pretty safe to say you’re interested in your bro’s sister. And that’s fine, man. You’re both adults. The fact that you’ve known each other all this time doesn’t preclude you from recognizing that she got cute.
It’s the unnecessary drama you’re worried about that makes you hesitate to declare that yes, you’re into her.
But before you worry about your buddy, you should decide what you’re going to do about his sister. After all, she’s the one you’re interested in and frankly, running to her brother for permission is a wee bit patronizing. Doubly so considering that she’s a grown-ass woman. Family is family but they don’t get veto power – either overtly (“No, you can’t date him, sis”) or by fiat (“Talk to my sister again and I’ll kill you”) over her love life. So if you’re interested in her and want to try to pursue something with her, then maybe you should run things by her first before you worry about her big bad bro.
Of course, you’re not sure how she feels about you. You think you’ve been getting some hints, but the ol’ Magic 8-Ball keeps coming up “Signs Hazy, Ask Again”. So what do you do?
Well, the way I see it, you’ve got two choices. You can spend weeks and months trying to read the tea leaves and divine her intentions from subtle little things that may or may not mean anything. Or – and stick with me, this is a little crazy – you could always ask her out on a date.
Extreme, I know. But it’s a fairly reliable way of finding out if someone wants to date you.
If the two of you are into one another and you’re going to pursue this more than just the odd date or two, then you can worry about her brother. But if he’s your friend and he knows that you’re a good guy who would be good for his sister, then that shouldn’t be as much of a conflict. It could be difficult if he does have a freak-out – especially since that’s insulting to both you and his sister. But as I said: he doesn’t get a veto.