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Monday, April 30, 2012

528

Drinking, Pets, and Babies

My husband of one year (whom I've known for 10) is a caring, selfless person, and I feel lucky to have him. There's no question I want to spend my life with him. But there is a recurring issue in our relationship. He needs to go out and party sometimes to blow off steam. It's not that he's hanging out with girls or anything, I fully trust him on that, but it used to be a problem when he'd stay out till five and keep me worrying, driving drunk and doing irresponsible shit. My concern would always appall him — his family aren't worriers, and I admire that, but I can't help but wait up until he gets home safe if he's making bad decisions. He'd view my concern like it was a threat to his freedom, like I was killing his buzz.

Approaching 30, he's become much more responsible. He still needs to blow off steam, but he gets home by one and doesn't drive drunk, so I'm fine with that, and sometimes I even fall asleep before he gets home. But lately there have been strange patterns. He always does it on days when I'm sad or upset. It seems like he needs to get away from me and my feelings, but I end up getting angry because he's not there when I need him most. He even suggested that my sadness was convenient, like I was trying to manipulate him into coming home. But just as an example, he stayed out really late and got really drunk yesterday, the day I quit my horrible job (and have no safety net). I don't think I should have to defend my being shaken up on a day like that. I don't have a manipulative bone in my body, and actually like working things out alone — but it was the fact that he couldn't empathize with me that made me feel alone.

Either I'm bad at asking for support, or he's bad at empathizing, or it could be that booze clouds his judgment, because he's otherwise a really thoughtful guy.

Whatever it is, how do I bring it up to him? He gets really mad when I point out things that are hurting me, and it takes him about a day to think about it, and then if I'm lucky, he comes around. But it's a slow process.

A "caring, selfless person" does not a) drive drunk, 2) prioritize boozing over his relationship with his spouse, 3) fail to recognize when his spouse needs emotional support, 4) blame his spouse for, you know, having real-life problems and emotions that interfere with his "need to blow off steam."

Before I go too far in beating this guy up, I'm going to suggest that your husband has a very real problem with alcohol. His problematic use of and possible dependence on alcohol is causing palpable problems in your marriage. His emotional distance, irritability, and out-of-whack priorities seem to be huge red flags that have a common source: his need to go out and get shitfaced.

Now, I'm no therapist, but your continued support and defense of his actions also signals a pattern of co-dependency on your part. Your letter sugarcoats or minimizes his destructive behavior, masking it as "blowing off steam," and rewarding him for not driving drunk and coming home at 1 a.m. In the same breath, you're minimizing your own feelings, almost apologizing for being upset and hurt by his actions while you excuse them.

If you both can't have an honest conversation about this without him getting defensive or escaping — and you let him — I can't see this being resolved just among the two of you. I honestly think that you guys need to get some professional help or some counseling at the very least. If he's got issues with alcohol, address it head-on and address it now, before it threatens your relationship further.

When did you and your spouse feel ready to have a baby? Did you have a ton of savings? Did you have a steady job? Did you feel like "a grown up" (and do you now)? How did you know you could take care of a human for at least two decades? How did you knowwww??

Like making the decision to get married, sometimes you just never really know. You just get a feeling, and you jump right in and start a family. That feeling usually occurs in the backseat of a car.

However, unlike getting married, hangovers are much more painful once you have a baby. Therefore, your assessment of "readiness" probably needs to be a bit more thorough.

I got married later in life (late bloomer!), and as a result, we didn't have our first child until I was old enough to be most of your parents. So yeah, we had savings and steady jobs and a place to live and we were technically "all grown up." But, more important, we'd experienced a ton of things in life as individuals and as a couple. We'd long since given up the need to go out every night, and having pets meant we couldn't just grab our passports and head to JFK with overnight bags, anyway. We decided it was time to experience being parents.

Contrary to popular belief, life does not end at conception. Plenty of couples have gone on to lead normal, even satisfying, lives after having children. But realize that your life will fundamentally change — like forever — once you have a kid. As I said, simple things like hangovers become insurmountable obstacles when your child wakes up at 5:30 a.m. But maybe that's a good thing? You can't be as spontaneous with travel, or dinner plans. Your schedule is at the mercy of someone who drools and poops themselves, just like in college.

Basically, it's like having a pet. So, yeah, the best way to prepare for having a kid is to have pets for a while. Gets you used to handling poop.

That doesn't mean you don't travel, or go out to dinner, or have sex on the couch. Your adventures are different, and just as rewarding, if not more so. Parenthood is amazing, and nothing prepares you for it. As sappy as it sounds, you will tap a deep well of a love you have never felt, and may not have realized existed. It is SO worth it, but you need to be ready. I mean, you won't be READY. You'll never be ready. But you need to be committed to the idea that you are irrevocably changing your life.

I am a 40-year-old woman who has been married to a wonderful man for nine years (together for 11). I have a cat who was one of a litter of kittens I "rescued" from their stray mother about 13 years ago. She was the runt, had trouble feeding herself, and was extremely hard to socialize. Since then, she has become very attached to me, but is skittish around other people.

When my husband and I met, he acknowledged that he wasn't a "pet person," and that his family had never had pets of any kind. When he moved in, I promised that he would never have to feed or care for the cat, that I would take care of her litter and her food and any vet issues.

Over the years, he has grown increasingly hostile to the cat. She’s no longer allowed on the bed or the furniture. She’s not even allowed on the mat in front of the sink in the bathroom. She’s only allowed on one blanket covered part of one of the couches.

I try to clean up after her daily, but it doesn’t seem to help. He can barely stand to be in the same room with her. If she meows, he claps his hands or yells at her — if she gets underfoot as he's trying to walk through the room, he stomps and shouts at her. If she's purring and he can hear it, he tells me to "make her stop."

I know that not everyone loves animals. But I don't think it's fair to an elderly animal to have to live in fear. He's never hit her, and he never would, but the level of hatred he exhibits towards her is shocking to me. We've talked about eventually getting a dog, and we both agreed that we need to wait until the cat is gone. We have a very small apartment, and it would be unfair to both animals to put them in a situation where they don't have their own space.

I grew up in a household where arguments were loud and vicious and hurtful. Because of that, I have a hard time dealing with conflict. If someone gets angry or loud, I shut down. But it's killing me to watch my cat have to put up with being yelled at and intimidated in her own home. I have considered giving up my cat to a friend or family member, but 1) I don't WANT to give her up, and 2) I don't think it's fair to give a cat to someone when it's at an age where she might develop serious health problems and die.

Other than this one issue, we really do have a great relationship. We love each other very much, enjoy many of the same things, and we never argue about money or family. We've navigated so many obstacles, and we are generally very appreciative of what we have together. But I feel like I need a little outside perspective on this. I'm so stressed out by the constant tension in our home, and I feel disrespected. Am I being unreasonable to expect him to just man up and deal with it?

I'm a little confused here, because the math just isn't adding up. How long has your husband been exhibiting open hostility towards the cat? Because you've had the cat for, what, 13 years — longer than you've been a couple. It's not like the cat is a new development, or was introduced into your relationship abruptly after years of petless bliss. Basically, for as long as this guy has known you, the cat has been around. He married you knowing the cat was a part of your life, without objection, eyes wide open.

Unless he recently started dropping the hammer on Mr. Bigglesworth, it sounds like this has been festering for years. Curious as to what has caused it to reach such a boiling point that you're writing in to yours truly. Has his disposition changed or behavior escalated? Are you covering for him, and he's being cruel? Is the cat's advanced age or deteriorating health pushing him over the edge?

In any case, you need to confront him and discuss his problems with the cat out in the open. Under no circumstances should you contemplate getting a dog until you resolve the festering 11-year resentment your husband has towards the cat. If he's paying lip-service to your love of pets, it's unfair to everyone involved (including the animal) to introduce another pet to the mix until your sort this out. Or discover that the cat is just a proxy for other problems in your relationship that you're not confronting.

So I'm with an awesome guy in an awesome relationship — we're completely on the same page about money, children, careers, personal ethics, all of it — and he is absolutely for sure The One. We're moving in together in May, and I'm super excited, with one little worry. Moving in means that his friends will be over, which means I will have to (gulp!) socialize with them. The backstory is: he's seven years older than me, and a former academic, who is friends with a lot of current academics who he went to grad school with. When he couldn't find a job in academia, he went to culinary school, where he met me: a two-time high school dropout who worked her way up from the dish-pit into nice kitchens, and, needless to say, we move in very different circles. I also have a wee bit of social anxiety, and with the two factors at work, I've never been able connect, or even really relax with his academia friends.

They all seem like very nice people, but, well, I'm 24 and they're all in their 30s and married, and we honestly have nothing to talk about. They name their pets after Greek legends (all of them are history and classics PhDs), talk about when they did their masters at Cambridge, and I never, ever get their jokes and inevitably end up feeling very young and very stupid. My dude understands where I'm coming from (though not the class aspects of it) and has offered to slowly integrate me — less the big crowd, more going over to the friendliest friend's for dinner — and I really appreciate his patience. But I know that I need to work at this myself, and I'm not sure how. So I guess I have two questions: how do I be less anxious around his friends, and how do I find something to actually talk to them about?

Food. You should talk to them about food. Geeks love food, and it seems like an area where you have the upper hand, having gone to culinary school. You're probably very comfortable and confident in the kitchen, and that confidence can carry over into any social situation.

I like the idea of a smaller gathering over dinner, it's more manageable. And honestly, what's to be intimidated by? They're academics, not NHL players. Perhaps you guys host, and make it a fun, low-pressure event on your home turf. Impress them with your culinary skills, serve something exotic from the classical era? Rather than bear the social burden yourself, mix things up by having some of your friends over as well. If the conversation-going gets rough, you can always turn to them to discuss tattoos and compare Kitchen Confidential war stories. Unless your husband's friends are total snobs, they may actually be the ones intimidated by you. I mean, they name their pets after Alex Karras.

Worst case, talk about movies. Who doesn't love movies? I'm sure there are plenty of movies where you could find common ground.

Previously: Fantasies, Expiration Dates, and the Vasectomy.

A Married Dude is one of several rotating married dudes who don't claim to know everything about marriage. Do you have any questions for A Married Dude? (300-word max, please.)

Photo by Patsy Michaud, via Shutterstock

528 Comments / Post A Comment

TheBourneApproximation

"My husband of one year (whom I've known for 10) is a caring, selfless person, and I feel lucky to have him...."

UH OH.

Genghis Khat

@TheBourneApproximation The better they are the more dumped they need to be.

paddlepickle

@TheBourneApproximation After LW1 and LW3, I got to LW4 and was all "OH HELL NO DTMFA Oh. . .nevermind. Just make them some fancy appetizers and they'll love you".

AndSomethingElse

@TheBourneApproximation
Seriously, that phrase is the "I'm not racist, but..." of advice column letters. You just know that whatever comes next is not going to jibe with what came first.

EpWs

@Alexander I swear if I ever have to write into any advice column I'm starting with "So I'm dating a terrible person. THAT SAID..."

(nb: not dating a terrible person.)

The Lady of Shalott

@TheBourneApproximation I feel like this is one of those letters that should just start with the Boyfriend Scale from a couple weeks ago. "My husband is a -234..."

fondue with cheddar

@The Lady of Shalott Ooh, what is this Boyfriend Scale?

Ellie

To be fair, this an inherent quandary with writing into advice columns. Reading the advice column, we ONLY know the problem. I think probably a lot of people have problems in their relationships that might seem like a "DTMFA" if you were to write it into an advice column. If you didn't love the person enough to not want to break up, you would just be breaking up instead of trying to solve the problem. Of course, some things (like the guy who wants to kick his wife's cat) really do seem like DTMFA even if everything about him is (seems) perfect, but a lot probably do merit qualification. It would just take too long to go into all of the things you DO value about him and your relationship.

The Lady of Shalott

@jen325 http://thehairpin.com/2012/04/the-ministry-for-boyfriend-review

EternalFootwoman

@Ellie I think "I'm married to the Most Perfect Person Ever, except..." is shorthand for, "My partner has many, many excellent qualities, we share life goals, we are great friends, we are well-matched sexually, and we share a living space with no major issues. However, there is one thing I'd like to change. I am writing to ask that you tell me how to change it in a way that leaves the relationship intact."

AndSomethingElse

@Ellie That's a smart thing to say.

(But, as you pointed out...so frequently, that one thing is like "He's perfect except he murders people on weekends.")

tessamae

Oooo! I do get all shivery when my boo gets all romantic and whispers sweet nothings in my ear like "Mmm baby, you're such a freedom-threatening buzz kill."

*fans self*

She was a retail whore

@The Lady of Shalott I missed The Boyfriend Review when it was published, but I just read through it and ran the ex, and even being generous, his score was in the negative hundreds. Oops.

fondue with cheddar

@Alexander Yeah, while I tend to initially read such statements the way @EternalFootwoman explained, all too often the problem mentioned in the letter does not in any way resonate with "good person".

fondue with cheddar

@The Lady of Shalott Thanks for the link! I missed it when it was posted too because I was insanely busy for the second half of that week.

My boyfriend scored a 120! :) But now I have to take it with my ex husband in mind because his score is sure to be abysmal.

sevanetta

@She was a retail whore Yeah, a few of us had that pleasant surprise/justification. I remember seeing someone else who stopped counting at 190 and one of mine made it past 200.

slutberry

@Alexander There's a problem with murdering people on weekends?

Damn.

Gertrude

I am glad that A Married Dude also switches from letters to numbers partway though the same list.

Amphora

@Gertrude "You're not at all worried that something might happen to Kevin?"
"No, for three reasons: A, I'm not that lucky. Two, we use smoke detectors and D, we live on the most boring street in the whole United States of America, where nothing even remotely dangerous will ever happen. Period."

iceberg

"the day I quit my horrible job"

NO.

A Dude is right. Counseling/rehab ahoy.

LeafySeaDragon

lw3: i can't even with this. who HATES a cat? ime people who hate cats are horrible people. dogs love you no matter what, you have to earn a cat's love and respect. he sounds like a spoiled control freak. (again, you can't control cats they way you can dogs) but i wouldn't get a dog with him either. what if it barks or sheds?

thebestjasmine

@LeafySeaDragon Plenty of people hate cats. Plenty of people hate dogs. That doesn't make any of those people horrible people. Mistreating any animal, that's what makes you a horrible person.

TheBourneApproximation

@LeafySeaDragon For reals, who yells at a poor old elderly cat? Particularly one that your own wife raised from a poor, defenseless runt kitten? Aah, excuse me, I think I've got something in my eye...

LeafySeaDragon

@thebestjasmine i think a lot of people can dislike animals and it's no big deal, but hating something is a big deal. when i think of cat haters i think of people like my fil who shoots the neighborhood cats off his fence with a pellet gun because HOW DARE THEY?

bangs
bangs

@LeafySeaDragon I was once in a situation where I had a work roommate move into my work apartment with a cat. She didn't even ask, she had the boss TELL me that the cat would be living with us. I do not like cats, I do not like animals living inside (I LOVE outside animals). The cat would jump up on the COUNTER! I found a cat hair in my contact lens case! I would yell obscenities at that cat (not around work-roomate though). Luckily she moved out within the week.

Ellie

@thebestjasmine I agree. I really, really hate birds, but I wouldn't be cruel to one. Rats are my favorite animal and I can accept that a lot of people hate rats, but if you were to actually abuse a rat, fuck you.

LeafySeaDragon

@bangs yes, luckily.

thebestjasmine

@LeafySeaDragon Plenty of people hate something without wanting to injure it, though. See Ellie with regard to birds, rats, etc.

EternalFootwoman

@thebestjasmine Exactly. I also wonder the same thing A Dude does--how long has this been going on? How is the thirteen-year-old cat, a cat who predates the relationship, suddenly a problem?

noodge

@thebestjasmine DING DING DING! you win with this comment. so true.

EpWs

@LeafySeaDragon My boyfriend's mom hates/fears cats, but with reason--she was attacked by a rabid one when she was a kid. Consequently, no cats in that house, ever. Can't say I blame her on that one. (And on top of it, boyfriend's allergic, so no cats for us. I'm cool with this.)

But yes, echoing @thebestjasmine, there is no excuse for mistreatment or cruelty of any animal, ever. Period.

fabel

@LeafySeaDragon Yeah, I think people who hate cats ARE horrible people (plus, they usually don't have very good reasons for their "hate"), but I lovvve cats, so I'm biased.

Either way, the dude sounds heartless & mean.

LeafySeaDragon

@fabel i am stupid crazy for cats, so i am biased as well. (also - anyone that recalls - tiny baby kitty is doing well aannnnddd using the litterbox. but is also stupid and keeps pooping on his tail)

emily eileen

@bangs Wait, what's a work roommate? Like....a cube-mate? Or your work makes you live with your co-workers??

bangs
bangs

@emily eileen Yeah, my company often requires me to work on projects outside of my "home location" (we get paid extra for this so I really shouldn't complain too much). So that project was located in a small town and they had apartments for us, I worked at that location for a couple years and had 5-6 different roommates. I swear I've gotten along with most of the people they've put me up with.

FoxyRoxy

@LeafySeaDragon I gotta say, I am not a pet person. Hate would be a bit strong but I don't like cats or dogs or gerbils or any of it and I would prefer to never have to share my living space with an animal, ever. When I date men with pets, it is actually really, really hard for me. I don't think it makes me a bad person. Some people just aren't into animals.

MilesofMountains

@LeafySeaDragon My dad hates cats. He thinks they are stupid and useless and gross. However, he doesn't abuse cats, he just doesn't want one in the house, and used to chase them out of our yard when they'd come to poop in our sandbox. I love dogs like crazy, but I don't think someone's a bad person if they hate dogs. Different strokes, and all.

JanieS

@TheBourneApproximation While I certainly don't think yelling at a purring cat is reasonable, I can't help but think that there were some ... continence issues that LW3 glossed over. An elderly cat who hubby suddenly doesn't want on the furniture? A cat-piss smelling house can make a person awfully grouchy. [Of course I could be reading it very wrong, and Hubby is actually a terrible ogre.]

ohyeahmetoo

@LeafySeaDragon I have hated a cat or two. I think of myself as an animal-lover in general, but not a big cat person since I'm allergic. My roommate has two cats, and over time I have grown to love one and hate the other. The other is large and evil and attacks the small cat sometimes and any food left on the counter (sealed or otherwise) for more than 2 minutes. On the counter. Also I am highly allergic to him, so being around him, or in rooms (such as the kitchen) that he frequently hangs out in makes me physically uncomfortable, so it is easy to kind of take that out on him. By 'take that out on him' I don't mean terrorize, or scare in any way, such as LW3's decidedly terrible husband does. I just sometimes refer to him as an asshole in his presence, and gently nudge him off the counter if he is near my food. Both cats shit in a box kept next to where I bathe myself, both make all places in our tiny apartment they occupy uninhabitable by me. But I moved in kind-of-sort-of-knowing-this, so the issue is me, not the cats.

What I'm saying is, it's likely the cat is making this asshole guy's life uncomfortable in some way that the loving owner likely is totally oblivious to (not in a bad way, necessarily). That or he has some other issue with the LW and is taking it out on the cat, who he resents for some reason. The dude is obviously in the wrong either way and, as an adult, if he has problems with the cat or owner he needs to figure out how to express them to the other actual human involved using actual human language.

iceberg

@ohyeahmetoo Good points.

Ten Thousand Buckets

@Ellie I'd never abuse your rat, but I'd have to be all "hell no, no rats in the common area," because I developed serious allergies after having the little guys for years.

I'd just stand outside your bedroom window and look longingly in at the cage.

queenieliz

@FoxyRoxy the difference is that you dislike animals, not hate.

FoxyRoxy

@queenieliz Yes, but if I had to live with someone's animal for ten years, I could easily see dislike turning into hate. I just don't like how people use the love or hate of animals as some kind of rubric on humanity.

queenieliz

@JanieS Thirteen is old, but not necessarily senile,incontinent old. My cat is 13 or 14 years old and only goes outside of the box if she's trying to tell me something. My friends had a cat who succumbed to age at 21 who was not incontinent, although she was blind and deaf. Also, the letter writer states that it has been a growing situation, "Over the years, he has grown increasingly hostile to the cat." So, it started before the cat became elderly and not suddenly. Finally, there can be no excuse for the way he is acting.

catsoncatsoncats

@LeafySeaDragon Agreed. Not everyone loves animals. But I just can't trust people who straight up hate animals. The only ones who might be excused are people with allergies, since it must be really annoying that this creature literally makes you sick. But if you think it is fun to hurt/scare/annoy an animal, then I hate your guts, no further questions required.

olivebee

@queenieliz Agreed, especially on your last sentence. I have had cats my whole life, and I spend my weekends at a cat shelter, and what that lady's husband is doing is abusive. He's not hitting the cat, but he's scaring the living daylights out of it and making it terrified to be in its own home. In pet terms, that's the equivalent of an abusive spouse who only threatens to hit their significant other without actually doing it.

My one cat is so skittish to the point where I'm the only person that can touch her (like the LW's), so if anyone, and I mean ANYONE (loving husband, loving mother, 2 year old child) yelled at her or clapped in her face or threw her off the bed, I would cease being civil to that person immediately.

My feelings may be strong on this, as a cat lover, but what that guy is doing is not even remotely OK. If it was just about cat hair or just about the smell of urine, he'd say so and ask his wife to fix it. Instead, he's traumatizing a cat for what seems like mild irritation by animals.

ETA: My blood is boiling just thinking about what that "man" is doing to the cat. I seriously feel ill.

Hellcat

@TheBourneApproximation Yeah, me too with the "something in my eye" business. I just don't even know what to say to that. My cat is having some sudden weird and scary issues, and lashing out here and there. I felt absolutely horrible for saying "no" semi-loudly when she tried to scratch me last night out of nowhere, so the letter is hitting a little close to home, I guess.

Grace Anne Boucher@facebook

@LeafySeaDragon Lucky for the cat.

shantasybaby

@FoxyRoxy For real, I do not think disliking pets makes you less human...it's just a preference. I am a pet tolerater...I've had dogs but my husband is a cat guy and I am stepmother to his beasts. I've grown to love them because he loves them but if I had a choice, I would not be covered in cat hair smelling their stinky dumps and fearaing that the mean one is going to randomly scratch at me and then throw up. Anyway, while it seems a little juvenile of the guy to yell at the cat so much, it is an animal and I do much worse things to animals (eat them, wear them) so I feel like getting non-violently irritated with one is not that bad.

olivebee

@shantasybaby I must respectfully disagree with your dismissal of the "non-violent" cat treatment. For the record, I do NOT eat or wear animals, as I am an equal-opportunity animal lover and activist, but comparing eating meat and wearing leather to abusing a pet is comparing apples and oranges. If you adopt a pet and bring it into your home to look after and care for, you are treating it like a family member/child at most, a snuggly roommate at least. You've never seen, let alone cared for, the animals you eat, so you cannot really equate that "mistreatment" (which is done by the factory farms anyway) with willful abuse of a pet.

ETA: I am not saying one is worse than the other...just that they cannot be compared on the same spectrum.

Ellie

@Ten Thousand Buckets I'm so sensitive that I don't even want to get a rat because I would be paranoid all the time about its getting sick and dying. They have short lives :( I really would love a pet rat though. Well, rats, because they get lonely if you have just one.

sevanetta

@LeafySeaDragon ... I'm worried people will hate me for my perspective, but here goes.

In general, I hate cats. I'm allergic to them, and people let their cats roam free a lot where I live, and they come onto your property, and kill birds - I hate this, because I love birds and cats are an introduced species.

I really love dogs because I just connect with them more. Many dogs are generally friendly, but just like a cat they will work out who's a good person and who isn't.

I don't like that you can report a dog roaming around the streets, but you can't report a cat.

Last year, when I moved to a new place, this cat turned up and started acting like it belonged to me (rubbing itself all over me, wanting to sit on me, etc). It knew how to bat the screen door open of my place and it eventually got itself in one day. (note: here is an example of a cat just deciding to love me - I didn't do a single thing to earn its respect and love, it just decided I was a sucker living nearby who would do for food, I swear to God).

Over time I've worked out that it was abandoned, probably belonging to someone who lived at that place, and it got fed occasionally at someone else's house, but not always. A friend who loves cats started feeding it when they stayed with me, and after that I felt bad stopping. I decided to take respoonsibility for the cat because it showed me so much affection (mistakenly - I still hate cats) and because I think it's so wrong that someone abandoned a clearly affectionate and happy cat.

I've recently moved house (not far away) and the cat followed me to the new place (to be clear, I took it there a couple of times so it would know the way, but left it free to decide what to do), so I guess it is mine, kind of, now?

Anyway, I understand why the guy would not want it on his bed, honestly, I'm horrified by the thought of a cat on the bed, since I'm allergic. 'My' cat doesn't spend a lot of time inside, so I let it in the kitchen, bathroom, living room and to walk around the bedrooms. I can see how if it was in there all the time and you were sick of the smell and the hair, you would get frustrated.
BUT, he did agree to live with the animal on that basis, that it would always be around, so if it's bugging him more he really should have talked to her about it. LW needs to have a conversation with him and ask if conditions need to be rearranged. Cat shouldn't have to go, but maybe the bedroom door gets closed all the time so he can have a cat free space, and he stops clapping his hands at the cat all the time.

thanks for your answer @ohyeahmetoo, I feel like you made a good explanation.

Rookie (not the magazine) (not that there's anything wrong with that)

@sevanetta @all
I hate to bring up the cat vs dog debate, but why is this couple considering getting a dog if they can't handle a cat? Dogs need a lot more maintenance than cats, and if this husband-person can't handle one little cat that his wife is attached to, what's going to happen if he decides he doesn't like the dog they just took home and have to train?
Ugh. You can't do this to a defenseless animal. My cousin just decided to give away three of the six cats that she and her daughters rescued or adopted and have had for a few years, because all of a sudden six cats is too many? Which, yes, six cats is A LOT of cats, but it's not like she just woke up and counted them. I'm pretty sure her man-friend just decided that they have too many cats, and now they have to give them away, and like, it makes no sense. People have pets for a reason. So, anti-cat significant others? Either be up front about pets, or suck it up and deal with it.

sevanetta

@Rookie I agree, I would not get a dog if I were them.

anachronistique

@Ellie I have a few friends who have rats and it just seems like this unending cycle of heartbreak. They may be great pets, but man, they are ALWAYS DYING. I couldn't do that to myself.

theepiccek

@LeafySeaDragon once upon a time I went on date with a dude and he was all "i hate cats! dogs are awesome but ugh cats" and I stood up and was like yeah no this isn't going to work. the one badass moment in my life, sadly. like, dude, i would never be able to own a cat again. no way in hell are you worth that.

carolita

@EternalFootwoman I think the problem is elsewhere. Look at the math this way: they've been together over a decade. Did the cat lady mention sex? Maybe they're not having sex anymore, and she thinks it's okay because of complacency (happens a lot), and the guy sees her giving all her affection and physical attention to the cat, and it just eats him up. It totally sounds like he's jealous of the cat, is what I'm saying. Maybe they need to have more sex. (I've found that extra sex is usually very helpful with brooding boyfriends.) However, I'm sure that his cruelty to cats has made him ever less attractive to her. I know I don't fancy my man when he's inconsiderate. How could she fancy a man who's mean to her cat? There may be a vicious cycle happening here. Maybe it's time to break up and he's just taking it out on the cat because he hasn't got the nerve to address the issue.

KikiCollins

@LeafySeaDragon
I am A Cat Person. Love love love cats. Five of them live in my house at the moment, and a dog who thinks he's a cat. So yeah, I'm biased.
If you HATE cats, I do not trust you. I can get not being a Cat Person, but hating a warm purring ball of fluff? Something is wrong with you.

That said, I have hated one specific cat. She belonged to my ex-boyfriend and she had no back legs- just stumps that she could use to move around pretty fast. (She was adopted without back legs, vets weren't sure if it was a birth defect or injury.)
She was also mean and hateful and vile and would attack my feet and bite and be insanely protective of the boy, even though he was mine first. I really hated that cat. I almost kicked her once or twice but only in self defense. I never did, though.

As far as I know, she's still kicking (and biting, and scratching, and spitting) to this day, long after we broke up. I guess she won him after all. Good riddance to both of 'em.

carolita

@carolita (I don't mean to have sex with a scarily angry boyfriend! That's what I meant by the vicious circle. Nobody wants to have sex with a scarily angry boyfriend! So that may be why he's getting more and more scarily angry. Which is why I concluded, maybe it's just time to break up. Cuz, yuck.)

noodge

@carolita ahhh, gotcha, yes, it is a messed up sitchy. :-(

carolita

@teenie phew! :) jeez, sorry I didn't make that clear. I was just being silly about men's problems all being fixable by more sex in the first part of my reply. I'm surprised that lady hasn't broken up with him already. I mean, I'm not a cat person (allergic), but my little brother always swears he'd break up with a woman before he'd get rid of his cat or take any crap about it.

LeafySeaDragon

@KikiCollins i have been hated by a cat. my husband rescued her as a kitten from the rain and after that she was addicted to him. she'd pee on my pillow, bite me, and give me hate looks if i even touched my husband. she even peed on my lap once. it was all, "ooohhh, she finally likes me! she doesn't hate me any.... YOU BITCH!" and then me standing and doing a very angry dance with soaking wet pee pants. (the cat was insane, and had a chronically drippy eye. just one eye. we kept taking her to the vet and the vet would say, 'she has a drippy eye, we can't fix her' and then we'd find another vet. and then they'd talk about her eye. i think we tried every cat eye drop ever. she had some sort of duct issue. but i digress - one night she went into heat and ripped out the screen and took off. she was FOUR YEARS OLD. i put up with that peeing bitch cat for four years and she just takes off)

skippersarah

If my spouse treated an animal that I loved like that, it would be a dealbreaker. I couldn't stomach the idea of someone treating the defenseless like that. What's it going to be like if you have kids?

datalass

@skippersarah Ugh. I know. I can't accept that this is a decent man if he behaves this way toward an animal, let alone an elderly animal beloved by someone he purports to love. For me, this is a character flaw, period.

martinipie

@skippersarah I know, holy shit. I guess it's easier to say I'd never put up with it, but good god, being kind to animals is basically a requirement of being a human, let alone your SPOUSE'S animal!

Snicker-snack!

@skippersarah Yeah, that letter made me feel anxious and ill. What the hell does a person get out of being so cruel to something so powerless? It's just a bad scene all around and I really want this lady and her cat to get out.

Hot Doom

@martinipie Right!? I had to double check how long they were together, because to me this is a GTFO situation on the husband's part. It's one thing not to be a pet person, but it's a whole nother thing to let one's nasty side rip over an elderly animal that's been there since Day 1. Decent people don't behave that way.

area@twitter

@skippersarah "What's it going to be like if you have kids?"
This is what goes through my mind when I hear my downstairs neighbors (young couple) constantly yelling at their dog. How's screaming at something that can't communicate going to make anything better? (That, and JFC, people, the dog needs more exercise! She barks because she spends all day in your little apartment and you don't take her out for walks and she's wound up and bored out of her skull!)

themegnapkin

@skippersarah someone who mistreats animals has to have serious defects in the rest of his character, too. I cannot believe that such a lack of empathy and decency is isolated to his dealings with elderly pets. LW, as crazy as it sounds to dump your husband because of a cat, I think it's what you need to do. I'm so sorry.

DickensianCat

@skippersarah Your Husband Is Revolting, Seriously, Get Rid of Him.

datalass

@LolaLaBalc Yeah, and decent people make an effort to accommodate those they love.

My husband was not really a pet person when we met. But he always treated my cat(s) with kindness, if not with instant squeeing love (like some of us). I don't know whether it was his gradually becoming a pet person or just his innate kindness, but a year or so ago, someone abandoned a beautiful cat near where we live and it was he who insisted that we should take her in.

Hot Doom

@datalass Exactly! It's about respect for the LW in this case, as much as it is about not being cruel!

EpWs

@area@twitter Can I have your downstairs neighbors' dog, please?

area@twitter

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher I just don't even know what to do. I don't really mind her barking (as opposed to my bitchy neighbor, but that's another story), but I do mind the NO! NO!! BAD! I hear on a nightly basis. And it's NOT WORKING. They escalate, and the dog escalates, and nobody's in charge down there. Thinking of leaving an anonymous gift of a book on clicker training outside their door.

Ophelia

@area@twitter Ugh. I'll borrow their dog for a while, and she can keep my rather high-strung border collie-ish dog company/occupied. My constant challenge in life is keeping him TIRED and INTERESTED, so she could help! Sigh. This just made me so sad for the poor pup.

H.E. Ladypants

@datalass Yeah, I have put up with large dogs that terrify me (I'm naturally skittish around dogs) and old cats that drool on me because I love their owners and their owners love their pets. It's just a caring thing to do.

EpWs

@H.E. Ladypants I'm sure that you already know this, but those large dogs have no idea how large they are and most would like to awkwardly snuggle up on your lap. Trust. :) (You are a nice person.)

queenieliz

@area@twitter I wonder if dogs, as pack animals who form packs with their humans, bark because the humans "bark" so much and so loudly? Maybe they just believe that's the way it is?

area@twitter

@Ophelia Yes! A tired, interested dog is a dog that is nice to live with! A bored, energetic dog will make your life miserable. I have specifically NOT adopted a dog (yet!) because I know I don't have the time to take appropriate care of one. (only person in the house, spend 9-10 hours a day at work, etc.) My plan is to get my finances to a point where I can afford to have a dogwalker come in a few times a week.

themegnapkin

@queenieliz this is something I learned when I adopted my guy 6 years ago. Yelling at my dog for barking at me has no effect besides getting both of us upset. It works much better to meet his barks - and he's a barky little Chihuahua mix - with soothing sounds.

iceberg

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher Haha YES. We call our 60-pounder a tiny puppy because that's clearly how she sees herself, awkwardly donutting her body to fit on laps

EpWs

@area@twitter Sigh. This is me too. I just signed on for a job that involves 9 hour days Mondays through Thursdays, which means all puppy plans get put on hold...indefinitely. (However, I would LOVE to adopt a nice older dog who has its shit together and just wants to go on a couple walks a day and hang out and generally be cool. Once I get my dogwalker finances in order and have enough vacation time to take off when I get the dog to get him used to everything...dogtime!)

stonefruit

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher BACK OFF, I CALL DIBS ON THE DOG. oh I want a dog so much.

Vera Knoop

@area@twitter Oh god, flashbacks of my neighbor in the last apartment I lived in.
"yap yap yap"
"BABY! SHUT UP!"
"YAP YAP YAP"
"BABY! STOP IT!"
ad infinitum

And she was at least twice as loud as the dog. I do not miss that apartment.

boysplz

@skippersarah I'd bet so. I've been told that domesticated cats are much more vocal than feral ones since so much of their natural communication is done with body language. They have to yell at us dumb, loud humans to get the point across. I would bet that dogs do a similar thing.

area@twitter

@queenieliz I do wonder. I thought I heard that that was one of the reasons you shouldn't shout at a dog; they'll take their cues from you, for the most part, so shouting will just encourage them to bark more. (Also because shouting means you've started to lose control of the situation; if you can consistently stay calm and sure and steady, they'll pick up on that too and mostly go, "oh, OK, the human's in charge, good, I just have to do what s/he asks me to do".

Ophelia

@area@twitter Yes! And once you do work out the plan, don't underestimate the exhaustion potential of doggy day care (I hate that they call it that, but...) - for the price of 2 walks, he's worn out for that day AND the day after. And well-socialized to boot :)

tessamae

@skippersarah RE: What's it going to be like if you have kids?

Um, her life will be a "GET OFF THE DAMN SHED!" skit from SNL that just won't end.

area@twitter

@iceberg One of my fondest memories from college involved a road trip that I spent with an eighty-pound Lab on my lap. He started with one paw, then the next, then next I knew I had an armful of smug yellow fur curled into a ragged doggy knot. Sweet boy.

HoliandIvy

@Vera Knoop
All of this particular thread, YES.
And also, a person with a poorly behaved dog is a person who does not deserve your respect.
It ISN'T the dog's fault.

queenieliz

@themegnapkin I've never had a dog, but when I'm out walking and a yard dog starts yelling at me I'll often baby-talk to him and he'll often stop barking. I figure his people must talk to him the same way and it's comforting to him, rather than antagonizing. I'll also sometimes just bark back at the louder ones, it confuses them just long enough for me walk out of range.

Slapfight

@datalass Seriously, abusing anything is a dealbreaker, be it human or animal. Eff this guy.

Slapfight

@Ophelia Doggie day care is THE BEST. Tired dog = good dog.

Maja D.@twitter

@HoliandIvy Hang on a minute... My aunt adopted two dogs several years ago. They're anxious little guys, and they bark, and they (infrequently, and only when provoked) bite. She pours energy and attention into them, but they were abused before they were in her care, so they're a handful. I would hate to think that someone were judging her for behavior that's not her fault either!

(But: she doesn't blame or punish them for their anxiety-induced behavior either, which is the point you're making, I think...)

Ophelia

@Maja D.@twitter Yes - and a person who adopted abused dogs that she knows might bite if provoked because of said history, who handles them well on walks, explains the issue if strangers want to pet them, etc? That person is OK in my book. It's people who raise Monsters from puppyhood that bug me (speaking as someone with a cute, socialized dog who nonetheless needs to be carefully handled on leash, I do feel their pain).

themegnapkin

@queenieliz Once in a while I'll bark back at my dog, but I'll only do it when he is clearly "talking" - as in, begging for a treat or attention - and not genuinely upset about something. I think I'm pretty good at imitating him, because he always pauses for a moment and cocks his head at me like he's trying to figure out what I'm saying.

Statham

@skippersarah Yeah. The whole time I was reading that letter, I kept thinking about my own cat. He's seven, and I adopted him recently because the sign on his cage said, "He's just a middle-aged man looking for love." (SOLD.) He is really sweet and very playful, but sometimes he annoys me. (Early morning meowing, late night meowing, when I want to sleep meowing pretty much.) But I'd be livid if anyone were ever mean to him. :{

halfheartedyoga

@area@twitter goddamn, if more people understood how much you need to WALK THE DOG, just how much, not 10 minutes 3 times a day for poop and peep, but watch some GD Cesar and listen to what the man says....THE WORLD WOULD BE A BETTER PLACE.

cheeseandcrackers

@queenieliz That's the way it is with pet birds. Yelling is an invitation for everyone to air their feelings with a nice long squawk. Sometimes I do it anyway to vent my feelings, and because it upsets no one.

The bad cat-husband letter has really darkened my day. Fuck that guy.

Maja D.@twitter

@Ophelia Then we are on the same page. Phew! And many, many kicks in the rear to whoever hurts animals enough to make them jerks.

queenieliz

Lady number 3...wow. What is it that we say around here about ridding ourselves of bad things with fire? I think that's what you should do. What a massive juicebox. I couldn't even finish reading your letter without commenting, because I am absolutely horrified by this man. If anyone ever tried to treat my cat like that they would be very, very sorry.

You'll be sorry Jo March

@queenieliz I can't believe he doesn't want her to purr. I'm going to go cry now...

Bon Vivant

@queenieliz I seriously, literally feel sick and teary. That poor, sweet old lady cat. I want to stomp and yell at that man when he is old and see how that fucker likes it.

queenieliz

@You'll be sorry Jo March that just sent me over the edge on this letter. Cats purr to comfort themselves, and it sounds like this kitty needs a lot of comforting.

Inkling

@You'll be sorry Jo March
That was the indicator of psychosis to me. Some of the behavior could be attributed towards a hatred of shed hair, but he actually is upset when she is happy and manifesting happiness vocally. What what WHAT is his cat-hating deal???
And when cats purr, it's like a human's smile: they're saying "I'm not a threat". Imagine someone getting yelled at for nervous-smiling around some bully...
ETA Bon Vivant, amazing visual, makes me feel slightly better.

olivebee

@all I posted upthread a bit about how this guy is literally abusing the cat. I just wanted to chime in here to say "agreed" to all of you. Not enough people in this world respect animals they way the deserve to be.

YoPanduh

@queenieliz
The guy in this letter is the opposite of wonderful. Plenty of people DON'T love animals yet would rather be set on fire than be such a self-centered piece of shit.

thebestjasmine

This is a great Dude. I was so worried about what terrible thing the last letter writer's awesome guy who she's in the awesome relationship did, after the other two "wonderful" men in letters up above. Thank goodness her guy seems fine!

Oliver St. John Mollusc

@thebestjasmine I thought the same thing! In case LW #4 gets short shrift: you are adorable, your man sounds awesome, and his friends are probably in awe of your hip young self-made-woman-ness. You know that friend who's like your security blanket, the one you text and are like "where are youuu" when she's late to a party? Invite her along whenever your bf's friends come over. You can do it!

Lily Rowan

@thebestjasmine YES.

Also, maybe a tip for that last lady -- if you make dinner for them, (a) it's impressive, and (b) you can spend a lot of time in the kitchen if you need to.

I can't with the dudes in the first and third letters. CANNOT.

thebestjasmine

@quickdrawkiddo @Lily Rowan YES, both great ideas to invite your security blanket friend and make dinner for them so you can be impressive and hide in the kitchen if need be.

EternalFootwoman

@quickdrawkiddo Honestly, I thought that I would likely be intimidated by how cool LW4 is!

EpWs

@thebestjasmine YES. FEED THE ACADEMICS, for serious. Also beer. BEER THE ACADEMICS.

Bittersweet

@thebestjasmine: Yes, and as a former university administrator, I think I'd rather have a dinner party with NHL players than academics at this point.

AndSomethingElse

Awesome advice about cooking / bartending giving her an excuse to leave if the conversation gets intimidating or super fucking boring.

As a geek, here's another tip: any time me and my friends start talking about Sophocles, at least half of us are secretly wishing we were talking about TV instead. We are generally bored with ourselves, and an excuse to change the subject will be taken by at least some of us.

wee_ramekin

@bocadelperro My suggestion to this LW is to have a game night, though I think she should make sure not to play Trivial Pursuit or anything trivia-related, since it sounds like she'd feel inadequate with a trivia game and a bunch of nerds. But something like Pictionary, poker or Scattergories could get everyone laughing, drinking and talking about non-academic things and show her that these folks aren't that much different from her, which might help her anxiety.

AndSomethingElse

@wee_ramekin Academics are TERRIBLE at Trivial Pursuit. Because there are no questions about whatever their theses were on, and lots of questions about '80s football teams. If she wants to take them down several pegs, Trivial Pursuit ought to do it.

Signed,
A Dude Who Refuses To Play Trivial Pursuit.

wee_ramekin

@Alexander Dude, where have you been?

EpWs

@Alexander THIS. This is all true. Trivial Pursuit (and also Cranium!) are so wide-ranging that nobody, regardless of education level, can hit every answer every time. That damn sports wedge...

melimania

@thebestjasmine I second boozing the academics! This is completely stereotyped from my college experience at a small women's school so YMMV but history and classics academics love a good party! In fact the History Dept party was "the party" of the year at my school.

Daisy Razor

@EternalFootwoman I know, right? I was like, "Meh, academics. Wait, you worked your way up the culinary ladder? Freaking awesome!" She is definitely the one I'd want to sit next to at a dinner party.

nyikint

LW#4, I kind of understand your insecurities, since I work in the same job as people older and more educated than I am. In social situations, too often I just avoid saying anything for fear of sounding dumb.

But no one is so smart that you need to be afraid of them. Even if they have a degree from Cambridge.

And every time they start talking about Greek legends, just yell 'LAME'.

hodgmina

@thebestjasmine Yes! Also, if they are Classics PhDs, and you want to cook something classics-y, might I recommend this cookbook: http://www.amazon.com/The-Philosophers-Kitchen-Recipes-Ancient/dp/1400060990? I don't know if actual cooks use cookbooks, and I've only made a handful of recipes from it, but it's good. It's all "inspired by" ancient recipes, so it's not super gross and doesn't call for fermented fish sauce in everything. Take it from a current Classics MA!

Does Axl have a jack?

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher Yes! As a former classics person, give them food and liquor and they will be the happiest academics in the world. Also Apples to Apples might be a good game, because it's the most fun with slightly odd people, and classics folks are inevitably slightly odd people (I say this with love).

AndSomethingElse

@wee_ramekin Aw, you noticed, that's nice. I got a cornea transplant! Which made reading difficult for a while there.

SheWhoReadsInSkirts

@wee_ramekin OH man! I second/third/fourth this idea. Games and booze and food are the ways to make academics seem like people who are human. And even peeps in their thirties will play games. Look for games like Dixit(it's not porn, I swear: http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/39856/dixit) where creativity and fun things happen. :3

EpWs

@Alexander WHOATHAT'SCOOL. Can I derail this thread and talk about how insane it is that we can do things like cornea transplants now? Because DUDE. (ps we're glad you're back!)

Lily Rowan

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher SRSLY.

AndSomethingElse

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher I can give your post a thumbs up because it's about me and I'm a narcissist, right?

They sewed a dead person's cornea onto my eyeball with a needle and thread while I was conscious. I can still see the stitches. Oh brave new world. But still...we were promised jetpacks.

EpWs

@Alexander WHAT WHOA OMG AWESOME WHERE THE FUCK IS MY FLYING CAR

lue
lue

@wee_ramekin
Yes! Game night! I love game nights for groups of people who don't have a lot to talk about.
Pit, anyone?

bocadelperro

@Daisy Razor I am an academic, and, having read Restaurant Confidential, I'd be super-impressed/intimidated by anyone who can hold their own in a restaurant kitchen setting.

sevanetta

@armyofskanks Hey LW2. My best friend has been in similar kinds of situations, and she is super awesome. Let me describe her situation to you. (and awesome best friend if you read this thread I hope you don't mind that I described this!!!!!! I am sharing this story because I think you are so great!)

So my awesome best friend is 3 years younger than me (now 27), and, similar to you, she supported herself for the first part of her working life in the 'dish pit' (not sure if that's what we call it here), and eventually worked her way up to get a cheffing qual and worked in some very posh restaurants/catering places, doing big events, etc.

I met her through dancing (lindy hop swingdancing), and most of our dancing friends were overeducated public servants (me included). It took me a long time to realise that she had not completed her degree when younger (she had started one) and that she was younger than me, because she's so capable and mature, AND, we had a common interest of dancing which our friendship was based on PLUS I didn't care at all, der. I don't require my friends to have a degree before I decide if I like them! I have realised since we got to be better friends that she felt a bit insecure about her work in our environment.

Anyway. She's always fitted in so well, it's a complete non issue for everyone else - I never even thought about it a lot (although I understand feeling inadequate, for me it's about my country background compared to other wealthy city-raised friends and coworkers).

She has left cheffing now and has taken a public service job in a new field (something she always wanted to work in I think) and is doing a qualification for that. She is one of the smartest and most emotionally together people I know, basically one of the best people I know.

Anyway. An arsehole who will judge you because you don't know some random obscure quote is.. an arsehole, not a better person than you.

I like what everyone says about hosting a dinner party - you will blow people away with these skills - and remember not to be prejudiced yourself. People are people whether they have a PhD or not and I know an awful lot of academics (friends and coworkers) who enjoy trashy novels and tv shows.

Also I love the idea of inviting your security blanket friend to dinner as well!

One final thing - parties are MUCH more interesting when you invite people from different jobs/backgrounds. A party of academics and hospitality workers sounds super fun to me. Can I come? I promise I will make fun of any a-holes who are mean to you when we are refilling drinks in the kitchen :)

Geez, I'm writing such long answers in these threads, I'd better stop now...

whateverlolawants

@lue My friend in college used to tell us Pit was SO FUN, and no one believed her, and then I played at Thanksgiving and it was SO FUN. And then I tried to convince everyone at college too, and no one believed either of us. Their loss. I haven't played since then, but I should.

Xanthophyllippa

@Alexander WAIT HOLY CRAP YOU WERE CONSCIOUS?! Because I think I just fainted a little reading that.

AndSomethingElse

@Xanthophyllippa They got some CRAZY drugs, man. I distinctly remember thinking, "This is pleasant. I'm having a nice time."

slutberry

@quickdrawkiddo I went to a party with the Gentleman's astrophysics lab last week. I was the only nonscientist there (I'm in literature and I want to be a poet... yeah.) and it was SO NERVEWRACKING and I was sitting there going, "MAN I wish I had brought some delicious dish to prove that I am useful!" and it was kind of a bummer. But then a bunch of us started talking about the zombie apocalypse and kitchenwear, so that was okay.

When in doubt, bring up the zombie apocalypse.

EternalFootwoman

@Alexander Hmmm, that's good. Because the being conscious thing is pretty much all that is holding me back from getting LASIK.

Glee

@Alexander Congrats on your new corneas!

When my grandma passed away in 1983 I had to call the eye bank within minutes of her passing to give the okay to harvest her corneas. I was surprised they could understand me through my sobbing but she gave sight to two blind people so it was kind of awesome.

AndSomethingElse

@Madame de Plumpadour It's not kind of awesome, it's super awesome. I would have been blind. It's an amazing gift. I'm aware that kidneys are more important, and corneas are details, but this donated cornea (and another one, in the other eye) has changed everything for me. I can see! It's kindof a big deal for my life. Thanks to your grandmother. It's not her cornea, but it's her idea.

Glee

@Alexander You made me sniffle a little. I am very happy for you.

I put the qualifier in because it was such a sad event for me. But amazing for her recipients.

She had cancer so her corneas were the only things she could donate. She was in her late seventies but her eyes were clear as a bell. (An all seeing bell)

Thank YOU for reminding me what a great gift she gave. :)

AndSomethingElse

:)

Now, back to listening to Beastie Boys until I fall asleep. Ah, MCA. I've been listening to your obnoxious voice since I was 12.

Toby Jug

Yo, academics, If you're smarter than someone and think you're better because of that isolated fact, you're not.

Toby Jug

and by "academics" I mean the ones in my head who could potentially be wanky to LW4. You guys are cool.

PistolPackinMama

@Toby Jug I am an academic who actually is pretty smart, and I know a) smartness is relative b) smartness comes in different flavors c) smartness is not an indicator of a person's goodness. It can be part of their goodness, but it doesn't make you objectively better than anyone.

LW:

And on that note... I have been LWs significant other. I have been LWs significant other's friend. It is very frustrating because I have really liked the non-Phd-earning people in question and wanted to connect and felt like... why isn't this working? They are so interesting and cool and do such neat stuff! I want to know more! And it's not like I sit around discussing typologies of arrowheads all day or anything. I talk to people of all kinds of backgrounds about their lives for my job, in fact.

Point is, they aren't thinking you're stupid, boring, or incapable of contributing and being awesome. They are probably trying really hard to find a way to relate and talk to you, because their friend likes you, and so they want to like you too, or already do like you. It makes me really sad when there are roadblocks in this area.

Also, I've spent a lot of my life having people tell me there is something wrong with me because I like school and learning and was raised in the wild by a pack of roving nerds. Being academic has resulted in side-eye and assumptions about how I am obnoxious know-it-all who don't respect people as educated and smart as I am.

Except for the sexist juiceboxes who think I am stupid because I am a cheerful round lady.

My point is, if anything is going to make me anxious, which doesn't always happen, but it does happen, it will be that some cool, hip self-made person who has wide life experience and done cool challenging stuff will think they have nothing to talk about with me because when in a group of anthropologists I like to talk about structural violence.

"We have nothing to talk about" is the most heart-dropping thing to hear about me, and I really dread it.

PistolPackinMama

@PistolPackinMama PS: Also, if it seems like they always talk about, I dunno, Greek columns or whatever... well. You have the right to direct the conversation, too. They might be really interested to have that happen.

Also, I called my plant (no pets) Claude Leafy Strauss after an anthropologist. But I couldn't really call him something after a famous chef or cooking technique because I know not much about those things. I'd bet donuts to dollars someone you work with has a cat called, I dunno, some clever play on the word "minced" or refers to Julia Child or something.

Scandyhoovian

@Toby Jug I always, always assume people who spend too much time blabbing on about how great/smart/amazing they are just aren't. You shouldn't have to tell people about your traits if you truly have them, they should just sort of be a part of you.

anachronistique

@PistolPackinMama Sometimes you are so wrapped up in stuff like comps or dissertating that you cannot think of conversational topics and when someone offers a new one it is like WATER IN THE DESERT.

I argued to name our family's dog Plato, but he ended up being Bongo Fury.

Vera Knoop

@PistolPackinMama Just need to proclaim my love for Claude Leafy Strauss. May he always be raw and never cooked.

bocadelperro

@anachronistique @sheistolerable yes. this.
Also, consider: I am also an academic, and when I'm working on my research, I eat, sleep and breathe it (I apparently talk about it in my sleep).
And then people will ask me about what I do, and then I'll start talking about it, and then, a giant vomit of words later, I have just bored and alienated them, and I feel terrible/nerdy/horrible, and then I shut up and smile blankly. Which could probably look like being aloof and a snob. So there's that.

Also my dog is named after Henry VIII (because he was twice is current weight when I rescued him)
And I love claude leafy strauss.

SheWhoReadsInSkirts

@anachronistique As an bourgeoning academic, can I just add that while I will prattle on about my thesis for days, really, when I'm not actively working on it, I'd like to be thinking/talking about any.thing.else. Just seeking inspiration for things to chat about for sure.

TheLetterL

@PistolPackinMama Claude Leafy Strauss! I bow to your awesomeness.

Miss Maszkerádi

@PistolPackinMama Seriously. I'm the double-nerd-whammy of academic in training AND classical musician, so I get a lot of side-eye and weird nervousness from people (including my own relatives at times, which is just sad). But when I'm hanging with my equally nerdy friends? Sure, sometimes we're geeking out with glee over Renaissance madrigals or arguing about feminist literary criticism, but more often we're just...goofing around. Talking about movies or gossip or food or making inappropriate double-entendres about everything and cackling like teenage boys. LW4: Do not fear the academics! Just give them some beer and be amused by them!

Also, at the risk of sounding terminally nerdy, if you ever DID want to venture onto their territory in search of conversation topics, get a good translation of Aristophanes and go to town. Seriously, comedy hasn't changed much in 2000 years.

leonstj

@anachronistique - I had twin bunnies as a child (I was like, 12) I insisted on naming Socrates and Plato. I ended up going to art school, dropping out, and getting a philosophy degree. So, I know all kinds of "intimidating" people - from artists to nerds.

But LW4 - don't be scared of the academics. I've known PhD's who just want to talk about like, the new record they just bought, or the douchey student who comes in for office hours twice a week and smells weird. A PhD is nothing but a signifier of rank in a field - it's no different than an MD at a bank or a Colonel in the military. That's just their job.

And sure, our jobs are a lot about us. And sure, maybe these PhDs want to talk and joke a lot about Aeschylus (also, you should totally read the Oresteia, not even to fit in, just because it's awesome - and it would show you how non-intimidating classics nerd stuff is. It's really just sex and violence, just like any other entertainment).

gtrachel

@Toby Jug Claude Leafy Strauss! BRILLIANT!

Vera Knoop

@leon.saintjean Yup. I try to convince people that both opera and classical literature are just the pulp of their era, but it can be hard to see past the trappings.

themmases

@anachronistique Yes! I work in research and I *love* when people talk to me about something other than MRIs of child brains. I've had conversations where I can hear myself going to the child brains (like... now...) and what I am thinking is definitely not "I bet this rube doesn't even know how to MRI a child brain!" It's more like "please god someone stop me and I promise I will never make fun of that scene in Dr. Who where lighting shoots out of the MRI! Ever again!"

I used to be in humanities grad school and I hated when people asked me about my research. It got so, so arcane so quickly. If academics look uncomfortable when you talk to them about that stuff, it's likely because they know how arcane it sounds, not because they are assuming you won't get it and judging you for it.

anachronistique

@CountessMaritza The man gave us the word for forcibly sodomizing somebody with a radish. As @Vera Knoop says, it is the pulp of the day.

Vera Knoop

@anachronistique ῥαϕανιδόω! Also, obscenities are always, always funnier in Victorian-classicist-speak. My dictionary defines it as "To thrust a radish up the fundament."

PistolPackinMama

@anachronistique You mean, Bongo Fury, the late 19th c. philosopher and cocout bra designer? Or some other Bongo Fury?

(I am going to google Bongo Fury now.)

Also, I don't assume people who bring up that they are smart aren't. I assume they are insecure, have had people tell them to their faces they aren't smart when they are, or maybe not as smart as they think they are, but not always.

And... I dunno. I don't really meet people who I think "wow, they are thick." Usually people aren't thick. Most people are interesting for some reason, usually because they do something cool, or know neat things, or are unusual, or are typical of a thing.

I like people in general, I guess, and most people are pretty likable on some level, for genuine reasons.

PistolPackinMama

@PistolPackinMama PS: Claude had an ivy-plant friend called Vine Deloria, but sadly he died of a wasting condition. I may have watered him too much. :(

jaimie

@PistolPackinMama As a History PhD student, I would also like to add that most History PhDs are socially awkward to some degree, ranging from extremely to someone like myself who is just fairly shy and has trouble making conversation when she's nervous. And so a lot of us end up talking about our work/classes/history whatever because it's easy, it's something we all have in common, and we're too socially-anxious or lazy to branch out. So to jump on what everyone else has said, for most of us it's really nice when someone wants to talk about something else and it takes the pressure off.

bb
bb

Just replying to this thread in general... I think a lot of academics could use some social schooling, and a LOT of times it gets worse when we are in groups, so I really feel for LW4. I think it's important that her partner knows of this problem and actively tries to help, too, like "ok guys enough Classics gossip... who has seen a good movie" or some such because it's easy to end up talking for 2 hours about the field, really just like any group of small-world friends/colleagues. So the partner and the group have to do a lot of the work, and LW4 should not feel bad about herself just because she can't get them out of their shells.

sceps yarx

@themmases Ah yes, the 'Oh God I'm talking and I can't shut up" feeling...I know it well.

PistolPackinMama

@bb Yes, I think this is fair. Learning how to talk to people unlike yourself is Basic Grownup and working on that skill is never wrong.

Maybe it's an issue of, acting in good faith on all parts and assuming other people are, too?

Also also, not only is a chef-ey person chef-fing kind of awesome. But nerds? Love to learn cool stuff. Putting people to work in the kitchen when they ask Can I Help and making them learn to do x-thing to make a dish will keep people occupied, trust. People also like to talk about themselves, so if I am making someone wrap phyllo parcels, I figure I am in charge so I ask them lots of questions about themselves that I would like to know the answer to. Which is sometimes but not always about their work.

This PSA brought to you by the moved-every-two-three-years as a USAF kid/study abroader/ live abroader.

Meeting new people who know each other is hard!

okaycrochet

@Toby Jug BONGO FURY.

rararuby

@PistolPackinMama Anthropologist Holla! I have long wanted a pet mouse, just so I can name him Marcel.

anachronistique

@Vera Knoop UP THE FUNDAMENT is the best part. Oh, Liddell and Scott, you weirdoes.

@PistolPackinMama Hee. In actuality it's after the live album of that name by Frank Zappa and Captain Beefheart.

slutberry

@PistolPackinMama CLASSICISTS ARE SO MUCH FUN.

My roommate is one of them. Seriously. They are the ALL the kids who got teased on the playground, so they have THE most awesome self-deprecating humor, and they KNOW they are total geeks, and they will make fun of themselves.

Also, in my experience, most of the head-up-the-butt-ery fades in grad school. You get kicked a lot in grad school.

JessicaLovejoy

Who the fuck doesn't like purring? Is he also not a fan of rainbows and baby laughs?

datalass

@JessicaLovejoy I know! My cat sleeps next to me (totally unhygienic). If I wake in the night and reach over to him, instant purring. There is nothing more comforting on this earth at 3AM.

Ophelia

@datalass except maaaaybe when it's really cold, and I turn over in the middle of the night and discover that my dog and my husband have made a Me Sandwich, and I am warm and snuggled on both sides. But yes - it would be better if either of them would learn how to purr.

datalass

@Ophelia Oh, both sides! I'm envious. My cat sleeps in the gutter between my husband's and my pillows. I've tried to coax him to the outside edge, but he knows a good thing and ain't giving it up.

skyslang

@JessicaLovejoy Rainbows are so garish! They hurt my eyes. And baby laughs? They're just being manipulative! Trying to get you to feed them, and change their diapers and, like, love them and shit.

Ophelia

@datalass Ahh, we call that The Spaghetti Maneuver :D

Ham Snadwich

@JessicaLovejoy - Our big fat longhaired cat has a really loud, uneven purr and likes to sleep next to your face at night. And when she's not sleeping, she likes to rake your face with her claws. Not maliciously, more like "heeeeeeey buddy. how about some pets?" But still. So to summarize:

1. Loud, irregular purr.
2. Cat hair in your face.
3. Claws, also in your face, while sleeping.

Man, I should write to Ask A Dude. "I have the most wonderful, friendly cat, but..."

brista128

@Ham Snadwich DTMFC!

(J/k! You're stuck for life.)

anachronistique

@JessicaLovejoy Somehow I missed this on the first read-through. HE HATES PURRING. ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME.

fondue with cheddar

@Ham Snadwich My cat does the claw thing too! Only it's always on the lower lip for some reason. I really don't want litter box germs on my lip. Also, she sheds A LOT and her fur is really fine, and I don't like tickly cat hairs on my pillow. So no more kitties in the bedroom. :(

Vera Knoop

@JessicaLovejoy Ugh, baby laughs are the worst! They're always laughing AT me, never WITH.

Ham Snadwich

@jen325 - Oh man, that's the *worst*. I can SMELL the Freshstep on them and they just keep getting closer and CLOSER. Get away from me! I know where you've been!

slutberry

@Ham Snadwich Seriously. My one year old niece has laughed every time she looks at me since she was a week old. It's like, "WHAT. You think I'm FUNNY, punk? YOU CAN'T EVEN FORM A SENTENCE!"

Nicole Cliffe

I feel such irrational anger towards LW#3's husband that I am having difficulty being reasonable. Is this actually the only issue? It seems really odd that an otherwise nice person would be a total juicebox to an animal he doesn't have to look after or take responsibility for.

queenieliz

@Nicole Cliffe It's not irrational.

Killerpants

@Nicole Cliffe I suspect there is much, much more to the picture of that story. He's wonderful to her in every way other than that he's horrible to her cat? I do not buy it for a second. If he feels the need to be mean to a cat and clearly feels it's acceptable behavior, he is not a good person. Period. End of story.

Honestly, it's completely and utterly beyond me how she can defend him. How could anyone want anything to do with someone like that? I don't care how long they've known them or whatever other sparkling traits they (allegedly) posses.

queenieliz

@Killerpants It's hard to understand why she would stand by this man, but I'm reminded of the analogy; often used in relation to domestic violence cases, of the frog in the pot of water. If you throw a frog into a pot of boiling water, it'll jump out, but if you put it in a pot of cool water and bring it slowly to a boil it'll be comfortable until it is too late. (Not an endorsement of cruelty to animals!) In her defense it seems that her husbands behavior has escalated to this level, I'm sure he didn't start out this way. His actions, on the other hand, are completely indefensible.

julia

@Nicole Cliffe There is no way his hate for the cat is the only issue. And if that's how he acts to a cat, he is not an otherwise nice person.

Snicker-snack!

@Killerpants Yeah, I don't like to be judgmental about the letter writers because, whatever, we all make bad decisions and denial can be powerful, yadda yadda yadda. BUT, I know how protective I get when someone just looks at my cat wrong. I can't even imagine defending a person who is actively abusive like this asshole.

But then, I also can't believe that he's only like this to the cat. She talks a lot about all the challenges they've surmounted together, and my suspicion is that the "challenges" probably all had their source in his noxious, abusive personality.

themmases

@Snicker-snack! Yeah, if she was offering to make sure he never even had to feed the cat (so if she leaves town and he stays behind, does she have to get a cat-sitter?), and he accepted, then he's had personality problems all along.

It's one thing to set boundaries with other people's pet's when those people are, say, your roommates. But with your spouse? Hell yes you will be feeding my cat if I'm not home, just as you will occasionally wash a dish I ate off of or throw a shirt I need in with your laundry. Only more so, because I don't love my laundry.

wee_ramekin

@Nicole Cliffe Yeah, I'm pickin' up what you're puttin' down. There is no way there isn't more going on here. Especially since, if you look at the LW's letter, it's very clear that she's one of those people whose animal is a significant part of her happiness. So in the unlikely event that there really aren't any other problems, she's still got a partner who is a) needlessly cruel to an animal and b) doing so even when he KNOWS this cat means a lot to her....which, once you're finished multiplying through and raising everything to the nth power equals a Big Fucking Problem.

mascarasnake

@Killerpants 'I grew up in a household where arguments were loud and vicious and hurtful. Because of that, I have a hard time dealing with conflict. If someone gets angry or loud, I shut down.' This makes me think that LW#3 might give way to him in other arguments as a matter of course, and is better at standing up for her cat than for herself?

Get out LW3. Take your cat, and leave. Your cat doesn't deserve that shit and neither do you.

iceberg

@mascarasnake OOOoohhhh good call.

Apocalypstick

@mascarasnake Yeah, that sounds exactly like when people claim "we never argue" and mean "one of us just cries/sulks/leaves the house/begs and apologises if the other shouts/disagrees".

The cat cannot possibly be the only problem in the relationship, it's just the only one she can get some semblance of an outside perspective on since his anger and disrespect aren't directed straight at her, but at her through the medium of the cat.

ironhoneybee

LW3, I know you say you don't want to give up the cat, and I understand that. Instead, would you consider re-homing your husband? I know it's not fair to give away a grown man who clearly has abuse and control issues to someone else to deal with, but it certainly sounds preferable to your current situation.

steve

@ironhoneybee
At the very least have him neutered.

Oliver St. John Mollusc

@ironhoneybee Make sure you get him neutered first!

noodge

@ironhoneybee yeah, it's just REALLY DIFFICULT to rehome a husband who has shown these sorts of behavioral issues. if she doesn't keep him, he may just have to be put down. :-(

Oliver St. John Mollusc

@steve Oh snap, you beat me to it!

M'fly

@quickdrawkiddo Not so quick on the draw there, kiddo.

olivia

@ironhoneybee THIS X A TRILLION.

Does Axl have a jack?

@teenie I was successfully able to rehome a husband with these sorts of behavioral issues. He had to go through a few foster homes first, though.

Ellie

My god. I would kick someone out who displayed that level of cruelty to my cat and I'm not even a cat person. How is it possible to like being around someone who says "Make her stop" when your cat is PURRING? Holy shit! I can't believe that someone who is this horrible to a timid, elderly cat can be a nice person in other respects. Why don't you have him move out instead of the cat.

Slapfight

@Ellie If someone were EVER mean to one of my critters I would lose my Sh#t. And immediately lose that person.

whateverlolawants

@Ellie I know. I feel so sad for this poor little cat, and I'm not even cat-crazy (not that there's anything wrong with that... I'm dog-crazy.) Her connection with the cat is touching and I want better for both of them.

Also, I can't remember the percentage, but a lot of abused women stay partially because they're afraid of what would happen to their pets if they stood up for themselves and/or left.

LeafySeaDragon

also this is my favorite dude. his tone is so soothing.

JessicaLovejoy

@LeafySeaDragon LIKE PURRING.

brista128

@JessicaLovejoy MAKE HIM STOP.

wee_ramekin

@JessicaLovejoy I love you.

M'fly

LW 1 and 3, your dudes are assholes! Stop making excuses and focusing on their good qualites! A dude who drives drunk (or even a dude who used to drive drunk but now does it less often but doesn't seem to show remorse/regret for driving drunk) is not a great guy, he's an asshole who needs help before he kills someone. And a dude who has an extreme amount of hatred for an elderly cat - I mean come on, it's a cat! I'm not a cat person and in fact I'm quite allergic to cats, but I can't imagine getting seriously angry at/about a cat or limiting where in the house it's allowed to go*, especially if it's been there longer than me. Seriously, this dude has issues, I hope you aren't leaving your cat alone with him.

*One time I had a roommate with a cat, and we agreed that the cat would be locked out of my bedroom because of my allergies, but I was fully aware when I moved in that there would be a cat in the common areas of the house, and if I wanted the carpets hair-free it would be my job to vacuum extra. It's not the cat's fault that it sheds.

iceberg

"I try to clean up after her daily, but it doesn’t seem to help." Hmm. If the cat is incontinent, shitting everywhere or puking or whatever, I become more sympathetic to restricting her to certain areas... could the letter writer be seeing distaste and discomfort as hostility? I even love cats but my dad's cat got sick and gross (leaky, permanently moist) and I still petted her but didn't want her on my bed? Imagine being anti-pet and trying to deal with that.

martinipie

@iceberg It is still no excuse for yelling at the cat or scaring the bejeezus out of it. Would you do that to a kid not yet potty trained? I sincerely hope not.

M'fly

@iceberg I read that as the LW cleaning the litterbox daily, but yes, if the cat has issues that are causing her to housesoil then I could get behind some restrictions on where she's allowed to be. Buuut then again, this guy apparently wants to get a dog at some point, so if he's so horrified by the cat, how will he deal with a puppy having accidents and then, later, an elderly dog beconing incontinent and generally icky with age?

themegnapkin

@iceberg I can kind of see what you mean - ailing pets are difficult to deal with, even if you love them, and I imagine they're harder if you don't. But:
"He can barely stand to be in the same room with her. If she meows, he claps his hands or yells at her — if she gets underfoot as he's trying to walk through the room, he stomps and shouts at her. If she's purring and he can hear it, he tells me to 'make her stop.'"
There's no way this is acceptable.

datalass

@J Keems@twitter Yeah, I read it as daily litter box cleaning (poop-smithing we call it in my abode).

And while I'm sympathetic to the plight of a non pet person dealing with an incontinent pet, the husband is a grown man with, presumably, the vocabulary to discuss this with his wife. What he's doing to the cat is helping no one, not himself, his wife, or, obviously, the cat.

EpWs

@datalass POOPSMITHING. Do I sense homestarrunner fans?

datalass

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher You got it in one!

iceberg

@themegnapkin Yes you're right, if that's what's happening but like, I don't know, I feel less quick to neuter or crucify this guy bc I feel like there could be some super-biased misrepresentation coming from the LW - maybe it happened once when the cat purr-drooled in his ear? or something? ETA - because I can see that being more likely than him ONLY being THIS horrible in this one area and a super-great guy the rest of the time.

null

@iceberg I was thinking the same thing. I used to be an insane cat lover, but then my boyfriend and I moved in together; he had two cats, I had one and since they were around the same age they had issues figuring out who was boss. Cat pee was found in clothes, shoes, books, toys, the stove top, THE HEATING VENTS. I seriously think cat pee could be used as a means of torture, it was making everyone in the house crazy. We've since lost two of them to different health ailments (which made their bathroom issues worst) and toward the end as we were dishing out money for various remedies that might prolong their years, I found myself growing increasingly bitter toward them. The other comments are right about other aspects of her story seeming problematic though -- make it stop purring, whaaaaaat? But I can't help but wonder if there's something missing from the story.

JanieS

@iceberg I'm inclined to agree with you. I suspect there is a reason that the man doesn't want the cat in his bed any more. And the reason is poop.

KeLynn

@iceberg I.....am kind of on your side. I love animals. Love! I love my stinky, old, falling-apart, incontinent dog. But she definitely has rules. She's not allowed on any furniture, and not allowed in certain rooms (including the bedroom). If we're not home, she is locked outside or locked in the kitchen. She's not allowed to bark inside except in extreme circumstances. All of these have been rules even since she was young. Granted, I have never had a cat. And I realize cats are generally harder to train than dogs. But then, that's why I don't have a cat. And if I was forced to have a cat, I'd still probably get ticked off if it was climbing on all the furniture and meowing all day long for no reason and walking under my feet. I'd probably try to teach it not to do those things, probably by scolding it or stomping my feet to scare it away. And I definitely know cat owners who would interpret that as a poor reflection on me.

I'm NOT saying this guy's not a total d-bag, but I don't think we can know from a possibly biased letter. I mean, does the cat make messes outside of the litterbox and that's why he doesn't want her in the bedroom? Does he yell if the cat meows once, or just if she keeps at it for a long, irritating time? Does he try to stomp ON the cat, or just scare it away so it doesn't walk under his feet?

Vera Knoop

@J Keems@twitter Not to mention that yelling, stomping, and scaring the cat are not going to help with any continence issues the cat might have.

Vera Knoop

@iceberg Of course it's possible that she's misrepresenting his behavior. But isn't it even more likely (since I know that LW is a 'pinner and that we are all lovely, honest, and perceptive people here), that he IS awful in other ways, but that, as someone said above, it's easier for her to stand up for this creature she's been caring for nearly its whole life than for herself?

Roaring Girl

@themegnapkin The only proper response to "Make that cat stop purring!" is "Are you fucking serious? Get some earplugs, you grumpy piece of shit."

tessamae

@Roaring Girl I don't even think the sentence "Make that cat stop purring!" is even grammatically correct. I don't think the English language even allows for those words to correctly be strung together to make a sentence or coherent thought. It just goes againt the laws of the universe and shit.

ghechr

@iceberg Yeah, I see what you're saying and I could even see myself doing things like stomping my feet so I don't step on a cat. My real question is whether the letter writer has ever told her husband to cut that shit out because it scares ht cat? I mean, maybe he's just trying to keep pet hair off of the furniture (I have an extremely sheddy dog, so I understand that desire)and thinks he's doing a good job at disciplining the cat with the clapping and stomping? I dunno- seems like there are many things omitted from the letter.

mkpatter@twitter

Yes! Talk about food, or beer, or coffee. Nerds love that. Movies though, I would steer clear of. They might be really, really snobby about movies (they tend to be snobby about most things, and I say this as a nerd myself).
But OMG lady with the cat hating husband. Under no circumstances should you get a dog if that's how he's acting with your cat. I'm worried he would actually hurt a puppy, since they will poop and pee on everything, and you have to have patience with them and put actual effort into training them. Plus they are very, very sensitive to people's moods and that kind of hostility is going to make a dog incredibly nervous and insecure, meaning they will bark and have fairly regular accidents.

TheBourneApproximation

@mkpatter@twitter Yeah, if the guy can't handle a messy and loud (purring, ffs!) cat, I'm not sure how he's planning on handling a puppy, particularly in a small apartment. I was at a dinner party last night where the healthy, beloved family dog went and pooped straight on the floor. And god forbid, what if the dog ends up having health problems that are as bad or worse than the cat? To say nothing of the even worse issues that come with babies/children... Red flags, all around.

Ten Thousand Buckets

@mkpatter@twitter I like to start every conversation about movies by letting people know that I unapologetically hate Blade Runner, and won't be having any dismissive shit regarding the vagaries of taste.

ms. alex

@mkpatter@twitter Ugggh you're so right about movies. I thought I was good with movies until I started hanging out with PhD people.

Second the food & booze recommendation.

Also, LW4: just own how awesome you are. In my group of friends, I am now the only one who isn't doing the grad school thing and I'm also one of the youngest. But I refuse to be intimidated. Just like, find out what their guilty pleasure drink is and then order it and not share or something, and then they'll know you can hold your own in their presence. And if the conversation gets completely stuck on things that everyone but you knows a lot about, ask questions OR just say that you would love to talk to them about something all of you can discuss.

sarah girl

"He gets really mad when I point out things that are hurting me, and it takes him about a day to think about it, and then if I'm lucky, he comes around."

Oh, HONEY. This is not normal, and you deserve better. I want to repeat that: You deserve better.

I broke off an engagement with a guy who treated me like that, and it was really difficult and I worried that I'd never find anyone else. BUT, I am dating a fantastic man who is kind and accepts constructive criticism and allows me to FEEL MY FEELINGS (and even share them with him!). They do exist! I don't feel like I have to walk on eggshells around him, I'm not constantly doubting myself, I don't have to sit anxiously on my hands and wait for him to come around. Even if I don't end up with him forever, he has given me hope that it IS possible to have a relationship with mutual respect, and that it is 500 times better than the alternative.

insouciantlover

@Sarah H. This was the exact line that I had copied with shaking hands and was about to comment on.

You said what I was thinking, but holy shit that is no way to live. He gets angry when she points out things that are hurting her? And then won't talk about them for another day? Gee, LW1, I can't imagine why you would have so much anxiety! Maybe it's because your husband is an insensitive prick, just a thought.

leastimportantperson

@insouciantlover I sort of feel like LW1 & 3 are dealing with something that I'm only starting to figure out in my own life. Both of their menfolk are behaving in extremes, and the LWs are like, "Oh well then let me meet you halfway. Compromise! You must also have a point!" When it's like, no, that's not how it should work. When someone goes way beyond the bounds of acceptable behavior, you shouldn't have to be like, well, let me see how I can accomodate that. People will fucking break.you.down. that way until you don't even know yourself anymore.

Slapfight

@Sarah H. Pretty sure I just broke up with this guy, for the same reasons. LW, dude needs therapy.

insouciantlover

@leastimportantperson They will. They will do it until you think that he has improved tremendously by only going out and getting wasted and driving home drunk and punching a hole in the wall every once in a while, instead of every weekend like he used to.

leastimportantperson

@insouciantlover Yeah and then when the inevitable horrible backsliding occurs, you'll find yourself saying, no but that one time it was a lot better for five minutes! No but like, a LOT better. You guys. He/she was really getting better until [arbitrary trigger], which, totally understandable right?

LOL NO.

Scandyhoovian

LW1, get rid of your unsupportive asshole, he is revolting.

Wow, LW3, if he treats the cat that poorly I seriously, seriously doubt he would just change his tune and be completely cool with a dog. It's a different species, yes, but at the baseline it's still a pet and if he can't treat a cat with any patience why would he suddenly have oodles of it when you get a dog!?

Also, LW4? Just be yourself. If your guy's academic friends aren't complete dongs, they'll be totally cool with you no matter where you come from. "I've been in school for a long time" is hardly the only factor that defines someone (and as an academic myself, I'd say if someone can only define themselves by their MA/PhD, they're leading a pretty shallow life). Also, I agree with A Dude: FOOD! Who doesn't love food!?

anachronistique

@Scandyhoovian Word. I know the non-classicist spouses of my grad school friends would sometimes have to smile and nod through our inside jokes, but we did a lot of stuff that had nothing to do with our area. Like marathon Wii sessions. If these people are not assholes they will be impressed by the LW's skills and interests because she is a cool person, regardless of how many degrees she has.

Scandyhoovian

@anachronistique Exactly! Future Mr. Scandyhoovian's an accountant and has a bunch of math/science-minded friends, whereas mine are largely people I befriended through nearly a decade of arts/humanities higher ed. But our conversations rarely ever hover in our chosen fields, and rather revolve around sports, food, entertainment, etc. And when they DO end up in our chosen fields, it's always fascinating--people of different backgrounds provide interesting, often outside-the-box perspectives on things that people within your field may tend to take for granted or talk in circles about. It's refreshing, if anything!

Jen Alien-Spouse@twitter

@anachronistique

As the non-academic wife of a Philosophy Professor I second this - I discovered that some of them could be persuaded to talk about "Dr Who" or "Battlestar Galactica" and everything was fine.

Hot Doom

I'm sure the 'Pin commentariat will move on to the other LWs soon enough, but we need to hash this shit with the kitty out STAT. LW 3's husband must have some serious, deeper issues if that's how he's going to act with a little animal. What's he gonna be like with kids, another animal, or worse yet, his wife?

EpWs

@LolaLaBalc Mistreating animals is a red flag that can be seen from space. Period.

Vera Knoop

@LolaLaBalc Yeah. A crying baby is a hell of a lot louder than a purring cat.

laurel

@LolaLaBalc Abusing something small and vulnerable? There is something very wrong there that has nothing to do with the cat. The fact that it's her cat and the abuse is getting worse says something about his feelings about her and being married to her that he's not grown up enough to address directly. I'm glad she recognizes this enough to reach out to A Married Dude but I hope she's seeing a therapist who can help her recognize abuse when she sees it.

noodge

Mr. Teenie used to "hate" cats. He also has allergic asthma, and struggles with cat dander. But after being with me and my male tuxedo cat he fell in love, and insisted we get another cat to keep him "company" - i'm sure there are people who aren't so easily swayed, but it just is really striking to me that someone who you have built a life with is being such a dickhole about something you love.

Ophelia

@teenie Yes. This. He's not required to love the cat, he's required to respect something you love, whatever it is (barring, like, Meth or something).

wharrgarbl

@teenie My dude never cared for cats, but he came around after I got one. I don't really care for dogs all that much, and I still am not particularly fond of the one he got, because she's kind of an idiot, but I'll still make sure she's well taken care of, because that's the bare minimum when it comes to animals who are completely dependent on humans. This isn't rocket science.

gobblegirl

@Ophelia "Love Me, Love My Meth," premiering soon on Lifetime.

frigwiggin

@teenie Right?? My boyfriend loves cats, but was realllllly happy not having any pets for a while after the bird that was living with us went back to his dad (I miss you, Peekaboo!), but he was reluctantly like "FIIIIINE BIG DAMN SIGH" after we found a three-legged abandoned kitten living outside our apartment, and now he loves her to pieces and wouldn't give her up for anything, despite all her weirdnesses and cat-stupidity. (I have a semi-feeling that he would eventually do the same with a dog, although he actively dislikes/fears dogs. But I will not force the dog issue right now.)

noodge

@frigwiggin awww! the kitten "friend" we got for my cat was a feral kitten with only 3 legs (well, 3 legs and a stump) - tripods FTW!

liznieve

LW4: It really is all about finding common ground; everyone has it, and thankfully your passion is for something that is important to us all (who hates food?). I understand the age / perceived "class" differences might be daunting, but once the conversation starts, you'll be fine. This coming from a woman whose dude is 24 years her senior, and actually is friends with someone you knew from college's parents (totally coincidentally; found out at a Super Bowl party. Surprisingly only marginally awkward). Anyway! You just have to remember that A) This isn't school, we're all adults, and age isn't an objective signifier of anything, whether that's "maturity level" or stability or whatever. 2) Academics tend to have big chips on their shoulders and cling to the prestige of their education to get over the fact that they, most likely, see themselves as severely underpaid and -appreciated. Essentially, a lot of academics are really insecure. So if they're being disparaging toward you (I couldn't tell from the letter if they are actively making you feel uncomfortable... I mean, other than being self-centered juiceboxes who don't engage you), ignore it. It's their problem, not yours.

Apologies for the rambliness, it's Monday.

noReally

If the guy has agreed to live with your cat, but displays his resentment of the not-all-that-great inconvenience of having her around by being shitty to her in front of you:

A) Worry what he does to the cat when you're not around.
B) Do not raise children with the immature dick head.

fabel

@noReally A) Exactly, this would worry me constantly. In fact, I AM worried right now for this poor cat.

datalass

@fabel Me too. I'm trying to comfort myself by imagining that this is a fake letter designed to inspire solidarity in the 'pinner community.

candybeans

@datalass ...because we normally fight so much?
but, you're right, this does seem almost like Pinner baiting, doesn't it?

queenieliz

@datalass unfortunately I think it's causing more disharmony. Some people have said things I find...polarizing.

charlesbois

Maybe it's the PMS talking here, but most of the people the LWs are writing about have "shit show" written all over them. I'll just pick one to take exception to: If some "academics" can't make the effort to converse with a person from a different walk of life to find some common ground, then they can go jump up their own assholes and smell what the rest of us already can.

charlesbois

@charlesbois I just can't let this pass, so imma take exception to one more shit show on this thread. Anyone who attempts to threaten or intimidate an elderly, beloved pet is a small person with big issues.

Bon Vivant

@charlesbois You're A-ok, in my book.

laurel

@charlesbois I mean, I would instantly fall out of love if my fellow shouted and stamped at a pet, even if he was perfect for me, blah blah blah. There's something seriously wrong with people like that and I know enough to find it horrifying.

Re the academics, if they don't look at her starry-eyed when she, highly trained in her own field, feeds them beautiful handmade food and pours them a lovely glass of wine, then they're not worth knowing anyway. One of the old fashioned etiquette columnists said the host's job was to please her guests and make them comfortable. The guest's job was to be pleased and express their pleasure to their host. Guest academics, book learnin' and all, are not immune to these rules.

BosomBuddy

LW4: I don't have much to offer but empathy. Even as an insider to this circle, social engagements with my colleagues are sometimes fun, but often difficult; they often seem designed solely to highlight my insecurities.

You don't need to get these jokes (seriously). You're not stupid. You don't need to go to Cambridge. They're posturing amongst each other. It's got nothing to do with you, and if it does (to them), they're assholes. Learn the art of conversation and small-talk. This is difficult, but you don't have to talk to everyone about everything in one night. If you think you're awkward, look at them. They, too, often don't know what to discuss other than work. Change the subject at an opportune moment, rarely ask about work, discuss your (or general) interests. Books, tv, food, whatever. I'm willing to bet there's at least one cool person among them.

EpWs

@BosomBuddy ALSO. LW4, your husband should take your side here. (It sounds like he already does this, so good on him, continue.) He should always be working, at least while you first get to know these guys, to make sure you can be included in conversations here.

Also, put the academics to work in the kitchen.

superdreaming

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher
Right?? I feel like this Dude does not hang out w/ folks who are in academia... I completely empathize with LW4 re: feeling awkward and insecure (especially because a lot of folks in academia have a lot of class/socio-economic privilege, and the Dude doesn't even address that?!?)
My advice would be for LW4 to ask her husband to remember back when he felt out of place (either in the beginning of his academic career or when he switched his focus completely to go to culinary school) and help her bridge the gap between her background/comfort zone and his super intellectual friends? I just feel like there are a lot of nuances/complicated things about this situation and the Dude was just like "beer! food! jokez! if you can't make friends like that you're hopeless!" and that's not how social anxiety or snobby friends work at all!

JessicaLovejoy

Seriously, get rid of your husbands, they are revolting.

Maven

@JessicaLovejoy I logged in to say this exact thing.

EpWs

LW1: OUT. GET OUT. NOW.
LW3: GET HIM OUT. NOW.
LWs 2 and 4: You guys are gonna be alright. Get a puppy and some beer. (And then invite me over, because PUPPIES AND BEER.)

Grace Anne Boucher@facebook

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher I agree with this. Much. Except maybe LW1. If she really wants to be with him his addiction may be something they need to tackle together. Because he for sure sounds like an alcoholic, and it's making him act like a dick head.

skyslang

I don't know about Dude's response to LW#1.
I had a BF who always had some emotional crisis when I had plans with my friends. Sometimes it was something we had already discussed and dealt with, and all of a sudden, on that night, it needed my immediate attention. Sometimes it was something I didn't even know about, a problem that came from nowhere.
My Ex-BF could definitely have written this letter. I don't think he planned anything out, I don't think he was trying to be manipulative. I think he felt insecure in our relationship, and for some reason couldn't just say that, so his mind came up for other reasons he was feeling anxious or sad or weird when I had plans without him. Then the problem became me and my inability to address his emotional need.
Which kind of brought the real issue out (I wasn't making him feel loved), but in a passive kind of way. Does that make sense?
I know, I'm projecting a lot. Just providing the opposite perspective.

Lemonnier

@skyslang I think the difference here is the drinking, and the fact that it doesn't sound like LW1's desire for her bf's company are interfering with pre-made plans. For example, it sounds more like the bf is saying, "I'm gonna go out drinking tonight, see who's hanging out," and not, "Sorry, I already made plans to meet some friends." You're absolutely right that manufacturing a crisis is not okay, but I didn't get that vibe, I guess?

wee_ramekin

@skyslang I think you bring up a good point, but I still think the LW's letter raises some red flags. It does seem like this guy has an unhealthy relationship with alcohol, and even if that's not true, there is very clearly a communication problem in this relationship.

Also, in the concrete example the LW gave about her quitting her job, it sounds like that was something that she and her husband knew was going to happen in advance. You'd hope that if he were a supportive partner, he would have made plans not to be out drinking that evening.

skyslang

@Lemonnier You're probably right, I just wondered if there was more going on there. Sometimes people don't realize they're manufacturing a crisis...it feels very real to them.
But also....my ex wasn't just feeling insecure, and I wasn't just acting distant...these things have a way of playing off one another. I guess that's what I was trying to say.
Anyway. Relationships! Complicated! Glad I'm single currently!

EternalFootwoman

@skyslang I wrote a crazy long comment downthread, but I'm so glad I'm not the only person who read the first letter from the husband's perspective. I identified enough with her husband that I'm really uncomfortable saying he's an alcoholic jerkface. I have had relationships with people who needed much more emotional support than I could give without--is prompting the right word? For example, I have a really difficult time "getting it" when people need to discuss things multiple times. For me, if the issue is solved, there's no need to discuss it. So if they'd talked about her quitting her job and hashed over the reasons, etc., I can see where he wouldn't necessarily get that she might want further support on the day of the actual quitting.

I even find the drinking thing iffy. She says he "used to" go out until five and drive drunk--but if they've known one another for ten years, that meant he did those things (which are dangerous, not arguing that) when he was in his late teens/early twenties. It's not great that he is apparently going out to drink rather than face emotions in a constructive way, but I don't feel comfortable assigning all the blame to him and saying that he has an alcohol problem without getting more details.

skyslang

@EternalFootwoman We're pretty much thinking the same thing. Like I said, my ex could have written that letter and I swear I'm not a bad person! We were just very different and not so good at talking things out.

BadWolf

I cannot even read the letter from LW3 without crying. Your man is treating your poor cat SO BADLY AND SO WRONG AND IT'S HORRIBLE! Please take this from a chick with a studio apartment and a cat that is a legitimate douchbag: occasionally yelling, "Get off, fucker!" when the cat is climbing the walls at 4am and keeping you up is one thing; never allowing a living creature any love or affection or closeness, to say nothing of the basic right to stretch her legs by climbing up on the couch, IS NOT OKAY AT ALL. And he wants to get a DOG? Oh, my god, no. I don't even know what to tell you. I am so unbelievably angry on your and your cat's behalf right now. She can come live with me if your shitheel dude can't handle it, because he is HORRIBLE.

olivia

@BadWolf THIS TIMES A MILLION. I hope that guy dies in a fiery car crash. But before he dies lions eat his face.

whizz_dumb

@BadWolf When the cat wakes you up at 4am by running across your fucking face, you are allowed to chase cat down and spray cat with the water bottle until thoroughly soaked. That's the only justifiable hostility I can think of, but I am very self-forgiving.

whizz_dumb

@olivia I nominate Before He Dies Lions Eat His Face to be the title of the book that will be a collection of Hairpin Comments.

sceps yarx

@whizz_dumb No way, it's gotta be 'burn it with fire'.

TheBelleWitch

God, The Hairpin is in my brain, or at least LW#2 is. (I can only be relieved that LWs #1 and #3 are not.) Official request for other 'Pinner parents to weigh in on how they decided to go for it in the kid department?

Just don't tell my mom I'm asking, she's already started making her nonexistent grandchildren baby quilts without any encouragement at all.

Scandyhoovian

@TheBelleWitch I don't have an answer for you (the soon-to-be Mr. Scandyhoovian and I want to wait 3-4 years to have kids once we're married) but I am RIGHT THERE WITH YOU re: your mother and her nonexistent grandbaby presents. My mom is SO EXCITED about the possibility of someday being a grandma that it's starting to weird me out!

Ophelia

@TheBelleWitch Jinx :) I also would like any words of wisdom here!

julia

@TheBelleWitch Unfortunately I'm pretty sure the answer for us is going to be sooner than we're really ready in the READY way (my dude is also Older and does not want to be Old Dad), but we've had some good adventures. ETA: I fully plan on just strapping all children to our bodies and continuing life as normally as possible.

TheBelleWitch

@Scandyhoovian Haha, moms, right? My mom got so chatty about grandbabies that I instituted a (joke)(sort of) rule where every time she brought up me having babies, I'd delay doing so for an extra year. It actually sort of worked! She brought it up less at, like, crowded family functions and such, anyway.

LeafySeaDragon

@TheBelleWitch i always knew i wanted babies, and since i was with a guy who i knew would be a great dad (animals love him, beyond patient, the cancer/leo to my insane aries/libra) we just did it. i'd had a pregnancy 'scare' and we were so disapointed when i got my period we decided to start trying. we'd been married about 4 years when bb#1 came along. imo you can never be all that ready for kids, because even if you think you are, you're not. it's nothing that anything can prepare you for.

Ophelia

@LeafySeaDragon Yeah, I think I just need to remember that last part - we want them, it's actually surprisingly good timing, and we're generally stable adults. But we truly (beyond the logistical) can't prepare for this.

Bittersweet

@TheBelleWitch: For the first several years of marriage, we weren't even sure we could have our own kids because of my genetic heart condition. But once we got the OK from my cardiologist, it still took a couple of years to really feel "ready." And even then, as LeafySeaDragon says, you're never really ready. You just think you're ready and then take the plunge with fingers crossed and eyes open.

Daisy Razor

@TheBelleWitch We talked about it a lot, and didn't start trying to get pregnant for a full year after we decided we really, really wanted a baby. In that time, I took about four trips to visit far-flung friends and tried to get to a lot of stuff (and for "stuff" read "bars") that I knew would be off the table for awhile after I had Baby Razor.

I knew I was ready when I stopped thinking of the unknowable aspect of parenthood as something terrifying. It started to seem like an adventure, like that crazy race with no map and tearing pages out of books hidden along the route. Some people do that; I had a kid instead.

(And the grandma stuff is funny to me because my kid was my mother's 7th grandchild. When I called to excitedly tell her that Baby Razor had rolled over she said, "Yup. This is about the age they do that." Heh.)

Heat Signature

@TheBelleWitch I had finished school, we bought a house, and I had a steady job for a couple of years before we started "trying" (SUCH a weird way to talk about makin' babies). But I wanted kids long before that, and yes, as everyone else has said, you are never truly ready, you're just marginally prepared.

photoalice

@TheBelleWitch Ooh! I have a story.

My husber and I have been together for five years. We would take turns being ready/panicking - I would freak out that my freelance photo career would wither and fall off the vine, he would worry that we couldn't afford to take care of a kid. Finally I said "OK, I made an appointment to pull the goalie [that would be an IUD]. Are you alright with that?" And we jumped in.

I think there is a thing where people like myself, who Work Hard to Bring Home the Bacon and try to Make Informed Choices and went to The Right College and are Learning About 401k's think that we can also make the Right Choice in this area. But it's unknowable and involves blind faith, which is something I hate.

Now I am well and thoroughly goddamn ready, but mostly because I can't roll over in bed without grunting and cussing... But we are so excited and one great thing about this pregnancy is doing this crazy project together and getting to take care of each other and see how our relationship has grown to accommodate this new step. So: no one is ever ready, and also you are probably ready and would be just fine.

photoalice

@Heat Signature It's so weird when relatives of borderline strangers tell you that they're "trying". Oh, I see, you're raw dogging. Pass the chips? Yipes!!

Ophelia

@photoalice This. We're somewhere between ready and actually doing anything about it, and I have to admit, a big part of the fact we haven't jumped is that we scheduled a trip to Tahiti in October, and I kind of want to a) drink on the beach, and b) not risk being nauseous on the plane/trip (my mom was an uber-vomity pregnant lady).

ingrid.tuesday

@TheBelleWitch I love kids. My two are the smartest, cutest, sweetest, silliest in the universe (Congratulations. How wonderful.) and I can't imagine anything else I could have done with the last 7 years could make me regret the decision to become a parent. That being said, I think parental readiness/satisfaction has more to do with one's personality and life experience than age/finances. I married and procreated pretty young by modern standards, and though I've got the side-eye I don't know how many times, I've never felt it was an unwise decision. I am the oldest of five, and when my youngest brother was born I was 12, so I had quite a bit of responsibility in his upbringing. Also I'm pretty introverted and don't need much social activity. Once or twice a month out with friends or kids-sleep-at-grandma's-so-we-get-a-real-date is usually about as much as I get, and I don't require any more than that to be happy. Your mileage may vary.

MidoriSour

@TheBelleWitch I really wanted to go to Peru this summer and do the Machu Picchu trek, and then I found out I couldn't do that pregnant because of the altitude. And, also, the hiking for 4 days while pregnant. I realized that I wanted to have a baby more than I wanted to go to Peru. I love to travel, and so that was kind of my big revelation. I haven't had the kid yet, so who knows if we're ready, if you're ever ready, but when I got to the point where I was like, "oh, I can go to Peru whenever, want baby now" I knew it was time. My husband has wanted babies for a long time, so he didn't take any convincing.

Heat Signature

@photoalice My friend recently told me that they're "not preventing" anymore. I had to think for a few minutes about what that meant.

MissMushkila

@TheBelleWitch My whole thing with this question is I feel like everyone I know who has fully raised kids say that they wish they had them earlier. But I'm in my mid-20s and it seems like being financially somewhat stable has become more delayed than in my parent's generation. I have student loan debt and don't have any sort of career climb established, and couldn't imagine having kids without being more settled. HOW DO YOU SETTLE DOWN THOUGH WHEN YOU HAVE A LIBERAL ARTS DEGREE AND NO ONE WANTS TO HIRE YOU except as a barista/receptionist/unpaid intern. Not that I'm planning on doing this soon, but I couldn't! I know you're never really READY but shouldn't you sort of be financially not teetering on cliffs of doom?

MissMushkila

@MissMushkila Also I'm a teacher in a rich suburb so my expectations of what you need to provide children with may be skewed, but all the 12 year olds up in here have way more expensive toys than I do. And, oh my god, college funds. My man started saving up for his potential offspring's college education after he graduated from college. His financial advisor gave him these charts about what a state school will likely cost 25 years from now, and that shit is SCARY.

But probably, I am just obviously not READY because if I was I would be all "well we're poor but happy" and also kids are bottomless pits so that is an expectation. But seriously do other people have thoughts on this? I feel like I was always told you had to be an established career person with savings and a home before procreating.

TheBelleWitch

@photoalice Hahaha, are you from Colorado? Because it wasn't until I moved here that I heard the phrase "pull the goalie."

@Ophelia I think I'm in the same in-between place you are. I have a bunch of family obligations/weddings to travel to this summer that have kept me from going for it, but then it's like ... why not? But it seems like such a leap, so it's really nice to hear everyone saying that you can be prepared but not ever truly ready. Takes the pressure off a little.

Carrie Ann

@TheBelleWitch My experience was that I didn't have the biological or physical or magical moment of "readiness" (baby fever). Once I sort of realized that I was never going to have that, I had to simply make a rational choice. Do I want to have kids or not? The answer was a for-sure yes, so the next question was: When? So we decided that we wanted to start trying when I turned 30.

And then I put it off for another six months because it felt like a prison sentence. But in that six months, I was thinking about the reality of "my baby" more than ever before. We also had a financial scare and my husband brought up the idea of postponing, and I recoiled so hard from that suggestion that it became suddenly clear to me how much I'd grown to want this.

So I guess my message is that if you know you ultimately do want kids, but fear you might never "feel" ready, setting a timetable is a good way to get yourself thinking about it in a way that brings the reality home, and you'll probably realize that "ready" doesn't mean a whole lot.

LurkiLoo

@TheBelleWitch My husband and I decided to go ahead and try for a kid once he had finished grad school and landed a stable job. By that point, we were both working, felt comfortable with our jobs, and our financial situation was looking good on the horizon.

The final incentive to have kids was, honestly, that my BFF got pregnant. We were baaaasically ready anyway, but that kicked it into high gear - and now our daughters are BFFs :-)

Once you DO have a kid, then you start the agonizing over if/when to have #2! ;-)

whateverlolawants

@MissMushkila Oh yeah. I was just thinking today about how our generation (I'm 25, so I can't be far from you) is going to have kids later than other generations. (Is there data on this yet? There must be.) I can't begin to imagine bringing a kid into my $11/hour, living-with-parents life. If I ever have kids, it will be YEARS down the line.

I don't want them now anyway, nor do I want to be married soon, but it's sad to think that if I did, I would be in such an untenable situation. Though maybe it would motivate me more? But this economy sucks and I already have a degree from a good school, so how much more could I actually earn and what would it require from me anyway?

Lemonnier

LW1: One of the hallmarks of someone with alcohol problems is that they can be super charming, sweet, giving and helpful-- until you ask them to put your needs in front of their drinking. Then, you are manipulative, unfair, childish, needy, etc. Y'all will very likely need professional assistance to resolve this.

Lily Rowan

@Lemonnier Yeah, can we spend some more time talking about how he is not at all acting selfless or caring?? I mean, shit.

PistolPackinMama

@Lemonnier YES THIS. Oh my lord. Talk about serving the addiction before anything else.

whizz_dumb

@PistolPackinMama No kidding. I do my fair share of blowing off steam and I usually feel intense guilt, regret, and shame afterwards, like I'm supposed to.

PistolPackinMama

@whizz_dumb I have said elsewhere, today, I am clearly checked out of the Getting It Ward and am in What Is Going On Territory. So... I don't get it?

If you're being sarky, then, hah hah, I totally agree.

If you are really unwinding in a healthy or healthyish way, I hope you aren't feeling shamed or guilty.

So if you're saying he's just no problem blowing off steam, I have to disagree.

This dude's behavior has a whole lotta addiction red flags associated with it. And even if addiction is overruling supportive behavior, I am still not a big supporter of shame and guilt. Most people do plenty of that to themselves on their own without me co-signing it, and it's barrier to get over to deal with recovery.

Like I said, I am sorry, I am totally missing the point. Brain fry. Must stop typing now ok bye hello margarita.

whizz_dumb

@PistolPackinMama That was a tongue-in-cheek approach to reiterate the absurdity of defending binge drinking like it's a religious rite (wait, is it?). I only feel guilty after I blackout and sense some negative outcomes, so Saturday afternoons.

funambulator

I have been luring since BBE (Before Bob & Eli) and I'm finally unlurking because I simply cannot believe what a jerk LW3's guy is being about this cat! Who could be that mean and hateful to an innocent animal that your girlfriend cares about and LOVES? Pets are like family members. Even if you don't love them like your own, you have to respect them if they're your boo's. I'm gonna say this guy was born without a soul and may turn out to be a serial killer. God forbid they ever have kids and the kids make noise. I mean really. He doesn't like the cat purring??!?!?! Sociopath, sorry.

Since I've unlurked now, I'll go ahead and say other stuff. LW1: I've been in a relationship where I did not feel free to express when things made me unhappy or hurt me. It is NOT GOOD, girl! Real bad. This Dude is right; get help!

SuperGogo

@funambulator Pinners, it is hereby decreed that the Ask a.. Era shall be deliniated as BBE (Before Bob & Eli) and ABE (After Bob & Eli), because I hence declare this distiction awesome.

p.s. Welcome!

noodge

LW2: oh god, baby decisions. they're so hard. i'm always wanting babies, but have finally decided to back-burner it until i'm mostly done with school. i don't think that there's a cookie-cutter experience for deciding when is a good time, but my theory is that i want to get most of the big life things accomplished (like my degree that i've waited til my mid 30's to complete) before throwing a baby in the mix. good luck!

steve

@teenie
My girlfriend has three tattoos. They're all meaningful to her, though none of them are about particular people, and none of them contain any words. Before getting each one she'd settle on the design and placement, then wait a year. If she still really wanted to get the tattoo, she would do so.

I'm nowhere near ready for children myself, but when it comes time to consider that possibility, I imagine I'll try to take a similar approach. Lay down some groundrules and preconditions, then once I feel the time is right, wait to see if that feeling persists for a decent amount of time, so I'd feel comfortable taking the plunge.

Like I said, this is a long way off for me, so disregard as necessary, but this is how I think I'd want to approach it.

SarahP

@teenie "I'm always wanting babies"--I love it! My husband and I have an estimate for when we both think we'll be comfortable with our careers/living situation, and are planning accordingly. One thing we're going to do (but haven't yet because we just thought of it) is make a little list of things we want to make sure we do before having kids (for instance, go to Oslo), which, depending on the stuff on the list, may push the time back a could years...

Marquise de Morville

@SarahP Winning the Nobel Prize might help?

My best friend and husband went on a transatlantic trip with her 3 year old to visit me. They packed pretty much only carry-on luggage, two toys for the child, and we borrowed a stroller when they got to the US.

SarahP

@SarahP Ugh, I meant "couple," not "could."

@Marquise de Morville Ha, I think "Oslo" and "go with [friends] to New Orleans" are the most ambitious things on the list, or we'd never have kids... Your friends' child sounds so good! I'm secretly worried I will birth hellions into the world, and fear I should plan accordingly.

stonefruit

@steve thaaaaaaat is exactly how I approached all of my tattoos! One year mandatory waiting period. (I am pretty sure I am not your lady, though.)

MollyculeTheory

@steve Also, if you change your mind after a couple of years they have good Groupons for Baby Lasering Clinics.

Marquise de Morville

@SarahP My friend's kid is very sweet, I will ask my friends for child-raising advice, but as you said, mileage may vary for my offspring.

Another question, how financially secure should one be before starting a family? Issues would be lack of work permit, security of being able to stay in the the US and that all relatives live on another continent.

steve

@MollyculeTheory
Alternatively I can just cover my baby up with clothing and hope noone notices it.

MollyculeTheory

@MollyculeTheory Except sometimes it takes more than one session, which you have to pay full price for, and you end up with a faded ghost-baby hanging around. Which, awkward.

Kaitlyn Kochany@twitter

It might feel overwhelming to hear a bunch of strangers on the internet judge your relationship, but LW#3, you're right to be concerned.

Look: animals, like children and the elderly, are unpredictable beings with their own minds. Restricting your cat to one blanket on the couch reminds me of those people who tie their Alzheimer's-afflicted relatives to chairs because they don't want to care for them, and of parents who shake babies because they won't stop crying.

In other words, it's controlling, irrational, and scary. And that's a hallmark of abuse. You should think very seriously about how your husband treats your pets, because it's a possible indicator of how me one day might treat you.

Grace Anne Boucher@facebook

@Kaitlyn Kochany@twitter Seriously. Being mean to animals is a huge sign for me. It's okay if you don't like them*, but don't be mean to them. That's picking on someone who can't do anything about it. It's bullying, it's immature, and it's scary to imagine how they'd treat you if something happened to make you vulnerable and dependent on their kindness.
*By that I mean, it's fine for you to not like animals. But you will never date me, and are unlikely to be invited to my home. The same way I wouldn't allow someone who hates me into my house. We just don't need that here.

LW#4! Come hang with me, yo!

Xanthophyllippa

@S. Elizabeth Me too! We'll all make food and crack jokes that have nothing to do with academia.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

OK - I'll be real. I really dislike cats. They make me sneeze, itch and generally feel uncomfortable. I feel like they are stalking me, just waiting for me to die so they can have a snack. They only hang out when they want something and are constantly plotting. They seem to know I don't like them, so they swarm me, making me more uncomfortable.

But does this mean I'd ever harass a cat? No, because I have the emotional agency that allows me to understand it is a living creature and deserves respect. Sneezy, itchy respect. And fine, I'll pet you if you just leave me alone. I don't have any treats!

EpWs

@I'm Right on Top of that, Rose Of course you have already realized that cats can sense your indifference/dislike and will consequently gravitate towards you?

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher What is that about? Why do they do that? I was cat-sitting for a friend and this male cat seemed to think that because I had minimal contact with him (came over, served food, left) that he wanted to marry me.

fuck fuck fuck

@I'm Right on Top of that, Rose seriously, i have uttered the phrase "good god i hate cats" more than a few times. i think i've just been bitten/scratched by one too many cats. maybe i'm hanging around the wrong cats? but whatever, that's no excuse to ever be mean to any animal! just like i don't slap the table every time a person i don't like speaks.

area@twitter

@I'm Right on Top of that, Rose Exactly! I love- LOVE- dogs, but my roommate had an insane cocker spaniel who was highly anxious and poorly housetrained. Coming home to find a pile of poop on the floor, again? Listening to her bark hysterically at the top of her lungs at the least movement? I hated that. But I didn't yell at the dog, and I didn't lock her in her crate, and I didn't stomp on the floor when she got in my way. Because that wouldn't have done anything but make her afraid of me.

EpWs

@I'm Right on Top of that, Rose It's because cats are Players and they respond well to Playing Hard To Get. Or it is because they sense that you will not be on their side in the eventual wars and must either turn you or destroy you, and for now they will settle for merely keeping an eye on you.

(seriously, I've got nothing here. Cat psychologists in the house?)

The Lady of Shalott

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher God, do they ever. Cats are fine and whatever, but I am allergic to them. THEY KNOW THIS. They will ignore everyone else in the room, people who love cats and own cats and want desperately to play with the cats and have the cats sleep in their lap, and GLOM ONTO ME. They want nothing more than to be in my lap, or better yet, to be on my face. They want me to wear them as a charming scarf. Or a hat. They want to be INSIDE me, or to become one with me, or to be even closer than two humans can be.

I take a lot of Reactin and Benadryl when visiting people, I don't even know. I like to continue breathing.

wharrgarbl

@The Lady of Shalott Don't look away when the cat makes eye-contact. Stare it down.

TheBourneApproximation

@I'm Right on Top of that, Rose "I feel like they are stalking me, just waiting for me to die so they can have a snack..."

Our cat *does* wake up my husband every morning by licking and sometimes nibbling on his face...

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@The Lady of Shalott Ugh, they like to do figure-eights around my ankles while I stand and try to avoid them, getting their hair all over the cuffs of my pants. It's...ew, and begrudgingly endearing. Sometimes.

olivia

@I'm Right on Top of that, Rose This is a completely acceptable way to behave around animals! I actually dislike most dogs, but would never EVER yell at them for looking my way. JESUS CHRIST I can't believe this woman has LET her husband behave this way towards her cat. WTF IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE?

Rock and Roll Ken Doll

When cats jump into my lap, I grab their paws and force them to dance the Macarena. This usually succeeds in getting them leave me alone for up to 24 hours afterward.

Ellie

This is really true about cats. I'm not a cat person (though I do like some of them) and we had a cat in the apartment I lived in in college for a while - I was totally indifferent to it and consequently it spent most of its time in my room, interacting with me, etc.

Hambulance

It would behoove the cat haters to take the advice of @wharrgarbl. I read/heard a thing about the primal instincts blah, blah, blah about cats taking a lack of eye-contact as submissive behavior and somesuch.

They are indeed seeking you out. Stare them down.

parallel-lines

@I'm Right on Top of that, Rose I never ever want another one of those butthole licking hair and vomit machines living in my house ever again. I'm right there with you.

dale

@The Lady of Shalott If you ever come visit me, you'll still need the allergy meds, but since my 3 are terrified of Other People, you will not be approached by them during your visit.

Hambulance

@parallel-lines Makes me think of an old Stuart sketch.

Mom: "STUART! Why don't we touch kitty cats?"

Stuart, reluctantly: "...because they lick their own poo poo shoes."

TheUnchosenOne

@wharrgarbl Yes, yes, this! The reason cats seem to gravitate to people who don't like them is because they will usually sit very still and avoid eye contact. Cats like people who are sitting still and eye contact is a sign of dominance. So stare that effer down. It really does work.

Jen Alien-Spouse@twitter

@josiahg

As a person who loves cats and will do anything to make them comfortable and happy, this made me laugh SO much! The looks on their furry little faces!

Mind you, with my cats, the one who we lovingly call 'Our little Attention-Whore" would probably be into it.

sevanetta

@I'm Right on Top of that, Rose and The Lady of Shalott...I had to laugh at 'They want me to wear them as a charming scarf. Or a hat. They want to be INSIDE me, or to become one with me, or to be even closer than two humans can be.'

the (abandoned) cat that has marked me as its chosen person to annoy for food, I swear, did so because it is a player. my boyfriend thinks it loves me. no. it loves food, and someone with a sense of responsibility to be sucker enough to reluctantly feed it.

and yes. it wants to sit on me, mesh with me, be me. it wants to gaze into my eyes, 5cm from my watering nose, like we are Lovers. it follows me around the house. I swear to god, when it decided it wanted to come in my house, I thought it would make straight for the lounge and get comfy, because it lives outside. Not so. It only wants to sit down if I sit down, and then, it wants to sit ON ME. ONLY ON ME.

I had read that cats gravitate towards cat-haters/allergic people not just because they are soulless, sadistic manipulators, but because they like our body language. the proper way to introduce oneself to a cat is to ignore it (which polite cat haters/allergic people do), and if you ignore a cat, it thinks, 'At last! A person of sophistication, who speaks my language!' and it ignores the cat lovers, who it perceives as impolite buffoons, and wants to interact with the person it considers worthy of notice. Le sigh. Get off me, cat, you're making me sneeze and my tights are covered in fur, AGAIN.

Nutellaface

LW1, LW3: SET. HIM. ON. FIREEEEEE.

charlesbois

@Nutellaface but which accelerant to use?

EpWs

@charlesbois ALL OF THEM

Nutellaface

@charlesbois Sounds like #1 comes with his own...

dale

I don't want to be too much of a downer but as far as LW3 goes, there is always a risk for a sensitive (as in, bonded to one person) senior if they are rehomed - at the shelter where I volunteer we have had several surrenders of older, one-home cats in the last year who have then basically become depressed, given up, starved themselves and died*. Some people say cats are indifferent, they don't care, but they do. The abandonment can be a death sentence, even if you are rehoming to a friend. The last foster I accepted had bonded so much to me that when I tried to take him back to the shelter to see if he could find a 'real' home, he starved himself for several days and even appetite stimulants didn't work. Needless to say I took him back.

*don't worry, we've done everything we could in the meantime, but are not always successful. :-(

bashe

Um, since when does yelling at a cat or stomping on the floor to get it to run away constitute animal cruelty? The letter says nothing about him hitting the cat, or kicking it, only yelling. Not cool, but still. Not abuse.

Kaitlyn Kochany@twitter

@bashe Creating an atmosphere of fear is abuse, and if the LW has told her husband to go easy on the cat and he takes that as a sign to get louder? That's pretty tough to defend.

fuck fuck fuck

@bashe while i agree with you that this is not animal abuse, i think this guy's treatment of his cat is super douchey and might point to other, bigger problems he may have that could easily turn into real relationship issues (maybe an unwillingness/inability to control his anger, a lack of consideration for something his wife loves, etc.). HOWEVER i am also sort of surprised at the amount of outrage about LW3 vs for LW1, whose situation sounds a lot worse to me.

noodge

@bashe and the LW stated that the cat is already naturally skittish and essentially insecure. how is yelling at an animal who is already established as an especially sensitive individual not cruel? if we were to describe this same behavior in regards to a child, it would be called cruel. even abusive. even though animals are not people, they still have certain rights. sorry, but i think you're way off-base.

wharrgarbl

@bashe He's terrorizing an elderly cat with health problems. I mean, when you're thrown into a paroxysm of rage because it vocally expresses the fact that it's content? You're an abusive fuckwad.

queenieliz

@bashe Physical abuse is not the only kind of abuse. For animals or people. Yelling and stomping are THREATENING physical harm. If you think that's not cruel to do to an elderly animal, I'm sorry for you.

SarahP

@bashe What really struck me was her line "He's never hit her, and he never would, but the level of hatred he exhibits towards her is shocking to me."

Also, I know many cats are more chill, but two of my husband's three cats are elderly and jittery, and intentionally stomping near them terrorizes them, poor little guys.

Bon Vivant

@bashe If this is what he does when she is home, I wonder what ridiculous and irrationally cruel shit he does when she's gone.

Snicker-snack!

@bashe Really? He stomps at the cat if she so much as comes near him. He yells at her if she makes a peep or tries to move about her home. He is creating an ever-diminishing area of space she is allowed to occupy without being harassed, and even then, he bitches if he hears her purr. He is arbitrarily creating a very hostile and stressful environment for the cat and his wife. This is abusive behavior - regardless of who or what its directed at.

noReally

And the cat is obviously a fairly cool cat else she'd have started pissing on the fucker's side of the bed a long time ago.

fuck fuck fuck

@everyone i'm not sure about bashe, but i meant that the cat isn't in physical danger, which i thought was an essential part of the definition of animal abuse. i don't think anyone's trying to say that what he's doing doesn't mean he's a total asshole and that the cat's life couldn't be much better without him.

olivia

@bashe Yes, terrorizing a skittish, elderly cat is a-okay. Are you fucking insane? Or just stupid? Yep, I went there. People being vicious to animals brings out the hate in me.

wee_ramekin

@olivia I bet that your avatar and @bashe's avatar would get along really well :). I really doubt that bashe's down with "terrorizing an elderly cat". I could be wrong, but I don't think she's okay with the jerk husband's behavior.

olivia

@wee_ramekin I hope you're right about @bashe, but failing to think this behavior is abuse makes me think you may not be.

I certainly don't think animals are equivalent to children, but substitute "cat" for "child" in the letter and it's quite clear that it's abusive. "I have a child I had before I met my husband, and he yells and stomps at my child every time the child gets near him."

/dramatic angry postings...I think.

area@twitter

@bashe It's certainly not physical abuse, in the call-the-cops sense of the word, but I think the atmosphere of fear he's created certainly qualifies as emotional abuse. And I would guess that the situation is having an emotional impact on the letter writer as well- LW3 is stuck waiting for the next explosion from her husband about the cat. It seems like he has them both under control and reacting purely to keep him from going off again. Which ain't good for LW3 or her cat.

queenieliz

@lighter fluid If this guy has escalated from apparent disinterest in the cat to yelling, clapping and stomping at it, how far off do you really think he is to hitting it? How is any of that not already a physical threat?

han
han

@bashe How people treat those helpless/dependent on them says a FUCKTON about them.

fuck fuck fuck

@queenieliz i'm not saying that this situation isn't horrible! nor am i saying that abuse couldn't occur. i just agreed with bashe that, by the definition of animal abuse i thought i knew, it is not currently occurring. clearly people disagree, and that's fine.

GUYS I DON'T WANT TO HURT YOUR CATS

dale

@Snicker-snack! Agreed. And cats can, and do, develop a PTSD-like response to their environment. It takes a lot of work and a very patient (new) home to bring them back out of it.

TheUnchosenOne

@bashe I don't know that it would get anyone arrested, but I'm certainly willing to call terrorizing an animal abuse.

area@twitter

@lighter fluid It's horribly tricky, isn't it? I work in pediatric medicine and we've had to have some very careful discussion among our staff where you delineate the line of "abuse". And even though abuse is multifaceted, unfortunately the laws we have on the books still, by far, recognize physical abuse as the only legitimate category for intervention. So while you and I and everyone in the room knows that what this guy is doing to the cat isn't right, legally and professionally there's (I believe) very little that can be done to intervene from the outside. (See also my comments upthread about my neighbors and their dog- again, a shitty situation, but because physical abuse isn't involved my ability to get them help or intervene in any way is terribly limited.)
Here's what can happen, though: LW3 can control what happens. She can continue to stand up for her cat; she can tell her husband that what he's doing is unacceptable to her and that it has to stop or there will be consequences. She can also get support for what's a truly awful situation, where she's stuck between two things that she really loves, and where acting to protect her animal is going to put her into uncomfortable, if not dangerous situations. All the rest of us can do, right now, is be there.

bashe

@wee_ramekin Thanks, wee_ramekin. I do not endorse cruelty to anything, but I think shouting at a cat, which is douchey and stupid, obviously, is not the same as animal abuse, the depraved limits of which humans explore all too often. "Abuse" is too serious a word to be applied to shouting at cats, I'm sorry. But the guy's clearly an asshole.

bashe

@olivia Keeping the discourse civil. Nice to see.

needsmoresalt

@bashe I understand your point, but some animals are so terrified of loud noises and/or angry people that it causes them to have a physical reaction (shaking, racing pulse, urinating), and that seems like abuse to me.

bashe

@needsmoresalt I can also see your point, and agree that what he's doing to a poor, nervous animal is not okay, and is only making the situation worse. I have to say also that I'm a little surprised at the Pinners like Olivia, who leaped all over me for suggesting that the word "abuse" was a little strong to describe what LW 3's juicebox husband is doing. At the Hairpin, dissenting opinion does not usually merit insult and invective. I don't understand why some animal lovers think it's okay to be incredibly rude to actual humans with whom they're ostensibly having a conversation, in the name of animals they have only read about. The level of vitriol was odd and sad.

needsmoresalt

@bashe I agree that it's not fair to attack you for expressing your opinion. I would guess that most people's opinion of whether or not yelling at an animal is abuse depends on their personal experience with animals. There are definitely some cats and dogs that are unfazed by loud noises, and there are others that are terrified of them. I do think that if the animal has a physical reaction to loud noises that it's abusive to intentionally scare it, even though it's not the same as setting it on fire, or doing any other of the truly horrible things that people do to animals.

bashe

@needsmoresalt Which was kinda my original point, that given the cruel things people do to animals (revolting factory farming, anyone?), that yelling and stomping are not of the same order. I just don't understand conflating that with the likes of dog-fighting, beating, or starving an animal, which is abuse plain and simple, and is prosecuted as such.

bashe

@needsmoresalt And... this is where @olivia cudgels me and sets me on fire.

queenieliz

@bashe yeah...it's too bad you were abused that way....

KatieWK

My advice to the last LW: you just have to stop giving a fuck. My spouse is older and works in a completely different (highly trained and respected) field. I might as well be speaking a foreign language when I so much as answer a question about how my job is going in front of his friends. (When I went through a post-college period of unemployment, my anxiety was about 100x worse.) The only thing that improved the situation was feeling more confident in myself.

The sad truth is, 1 out of 5 of his friends probably is a snob and will automatically think less of you, but there are very few situations in life where you can possibly win over everyone. Concentrate on the majority who aren’t status- or self-obsessed jerks and just be nice, funny, and engaged. Ask them what they’re truly passionate about, and don’t write off their answers (even if what they are passionate about is their boring, obscure work). If they start talking about things you don’t understand (which they inevitably will), ask questions. The ability to ask a good, pointed question is a more useful social skill than encyclopedic knowledge.

If you do these things, any decent person will give you a chance. They will probably like you MORE for being completely outside their world, because academics are always complaining about how insulated academia is and how they’re tired of talking about work all the time.

AndSomethingElse

@KatieWK This is a lovely and true post. You are a winner.

datalass

@KatieWK Yes to all of this, especially your third paragraph. I'm not an academic but work in a kind of insular world. Whenever someone introduces a spouse who's outside that world, I'm practically giddy because it means a chance to talk about something else.

baklava!

@KatieWK Yes! The post-graduation anxiety is so hard! My other's social circle was all older and super-talented musicians and mostly the evenings revolved around talking about (or actually singing) obscure songs that I didn't know, even though I was musicky too. I felt super out of place. It helped to make friends with them one at a time! Kind of pick a single 'target' (in a nice way) each evening and get to know that one person. Make it about them instead of about you.

sceps yarx

@KatieWK

"If they start talking about things you don’t understand (which they inevitably will), ask questions. The ability to ask a good, pointed question is a more useful social skill than encyclopedic knowledge."

Yes, this! It works with academics, hipsters, children, and especially well with aspergers-y people. Everyone loves to answer questions!

adela

LW4- I might give you a heads up about hosting a party with your friends and his friends together. I tried that with my perfectly lovely (student) friends and my SO's perfectly lovely (professional) friends and it was kind of a disaster. It's not that either group was bad people, it was that they really had no ability to communicate with eachother. It made our mutual friends question our relationship more, I think, than they had before.

AndSomethingElse

@adela yeeeaaaahh, I've been here too. The only time I've had any luck integrating friend posses is slowly and in small chunks - like okay, this person might get along with that person, so drinks; and then person D and person F would probably enjoy banging, so lots of drinks; and then maybe six of us out to dinner; and then we slowly add in others...it's a whole thing. And even then it only sortof works.

Bittersweet

Sometimes I read Ask a Married Dude just to remind myself that I really won the husband lottery with Mr. Bittersweet.

SarahP

@Bittersweet I feel this way as well!

Daisy Razor

@SarahP I often read advice columns, look at Mr. Razor and say, "Thank you for not being an asshole." He is generally confused but pleased.

plumb-bob

@Bittersweet I want to give mr pixa a big hug right now. Among everything else, he adores our cat.

SarahP

LW3, I just want you to know: I am not a pet person, and I also made my husband promise I would never have to deal with messes/food/vets when I moved in with him and his 3 cats. But while I'm one of those people you acknowledge doesn't love animals, I would never behave the way your husband does toward your cat--which is to say, cruelly. Someone who treats a creature you love like that is not going to treat a dog well, he won't treat kids well, and now holding you (through your cat) to impossible standards suggests that he's also not treating you very well either.

sheistolerable

LW4, I'm an academic who is marrying a guy with a similar career path to yours. All most academics (myself included) want to do at parties is talk about normal things, but they are usually too awkward to think of topics not related to work. My colleagues LOVE talking to my fiance about politics (his field), TV, pop culture, etc. Also IMHO, being the sexy young partner in a group of friends gives you a certain power. If it seems like they are being snobby, they are probably just socially awkward and thinking, "Damnit! Why do I always end up at parties talking about my thesis again!" Talk about normal stuff. They will love you for it.

sheistolerable

@sheistolerable Plus conversation will become more natural once you start to get to know them--"how's your spouse?" "Is Agamemnon still beating up the neighbor's puppy?"

dj pomegranate

@sheistolerable Agree--academic groups can get super insular and it's often very nice to have a non-group significant other because it makes the group members WORK on CONVERSATION SKILLS. Like, oh, other people in the world who have different experiences? We can't just talk about that thing we talk about together all week? In my experience, mixing up the group dynamics sometimes (by including a non-group s.o.) has been good for everyone involved.

The Lady of Shalott

LW#1: I'm sorry you're getting short shrift in this comment thread, because your situation is so very scary. It is so, so, so hard and upsetting to deal with someone who has a problem with alcohol, who puts alcohol in front of relationships, who is incapable of doing some things without a drink. And truly, honestly, I think you need to seek therapy. I do. Lots of it. Couples therapy or marital therapy, because this is so upsettingly awful. It is not normal! His problems with alcohol are shrouding everything else, especially the way he deals with your problems.

I want to believe that people can get through shit like this once the alcohol is out of there, clouding everything up. In situations like this, alcohol is like food colouring dumped into an aquarium--you can see what's in there, you can see the fish and the castle and the shapes, and you can see the water and what it's doing, but it colours everything and you can't see things CLEARLY.

But your husband will not change unless he wants to do it. Sit down with him and have a come-to-Jesus about his alcohol use. If he refuses to deal with it, then it may be time to start thinking about Plan B of separating. No one should live like that.

Ophelia

@The Lady of Shalott And maybe LW1 might want to go to a few Al-Anon meetings? It might be really helpful for her to see what others' experiences have been, and put hers into context?

The Lady of Shalott

@Ophelia I cannot BELIEVE I forgot about Al-Anon! GO TO THEM. If nothing else, usually an Al-Anon leader can hook you up with resources you might not otherwise be aware of.

skyslang

@The Lady of Shalott Wait a sec. Does he have a problem with alcohol? We know he goes out drinking with his friends. We know he used to stay out until 5am, now he stays out until 1am. We know he used to drive drunk, but doesn't anymore. This describes half the people I know!
WIthout knowing more (like how often he does this), I don't think we can say with certainty that he has a problem.

martinipie

@skyslang I think it's more how he is treating her in regards to her feelings about his drinking, and when he decides to drink, than the amount. One can have "an alcohol problem" without it necessarily being about quantity, just like I know people who drink a ton but are not alcoholics.

fabel

@skyslang yeah, this. I don't necessarily think he has an alcohol problem, more of a partying/avoidant problem.

Ophelia

@skyslang I twigged the alcohol thing because the writer did? I mean, my husband goes out drinking and sometimes stays out pretty late, but didn't have a history of staying out til 5 and driving drunk. So if I was describing a problem we were having in our relationship, I probably wouldn't have brought up alcohol as a contributing factor? Again, not to say that her guy is necessarily an alcoholic, but talking with people who have HAD that experience might really help her get some context re: what she's dealing with.

(ETA - also, I re-read my comment, and it sounds kind of snarky...not my intention!)

fuck fuck fuck

@The Lady of Shalott thanks for this comment. i've been dealing with the repercussions of growing up in an alcoholic home for the past three years, and i know it can be hugely trying to have someone who's supposed to love and support you instead block you out with alcohol. it sounds like LW1's husband has more "problem drinking" than alcohol dependency. this is still a problem! especially because there is no better gateway to dependency than misuse. BUT i hope that because the problem is less severe, if he gets help he'll be more likely to stay on the right track. i know from experience that life with a recovering alcoholic after a drinking problem, and after emotional unavailability, can definitely exist, and it can be awesome.

LW1, just don't forget that even though your feelings are being written off, they do matter!

dj pomegranate

I just want to say that LW4, you seem awesome and I am rooting for you! Look at you and your self-made self!

laurel

@dj pomegranate Totally. LW4, you have sought and received training and work experience in your field. You are not less than.

squeee

these men are gaslighting..... making the lady feel crazy for their legitimate feelings of "wtf why aren't you here for me when I need you" and "wtf why are you yelling at my elderly cat for purring"

EternalFootwoman

I am a little nervous to post this, but I feel the need to advocate for LW1's husband a bit. We are told nothing about their relationship other than that he goes out sometimes to drink and comes home late, although his partying has lightened up considerably (Since they are "approaching thirty" and they have known one another for ten years, this means they met when they were in their late teens. Whose partying hasn't lightened up since their late teens?). LW1 seems most concerned that her husband often goes out to drink when she is "sad or upset". We don't know how often he goes out--does this happen three times a week or a couple times a month? Is it every time she is sad or upset? We are given one example, which is her understandable reaction to a major life change, but does she want him around every time she feels a bit punk? What sort of response to these emotions would she prefer?
I have a very difficult time with displays of emotions, particularly negative emotions. This has often gotten me in trouble with family members and significant others. When I’m presented with a problem (even if that “problem” is a normal emotion, such as sadness), I immediately try to offer a solution. I know that many people share their problems not because they are looking for solutions but because they want sympathy and a shoulder to cry on, but I am very bad at giving that sort of response. In fact, doing so makes me really, really uncomfortable. I always feel like I’m playacting when I give these sorts of responses, even if they make the other party happy.
LW1says this has been an issue “lately” but also says it’s an ongoing problem, so I’m not sure what’s going on there. Has his discomfort with emotions started bothering her more and more since they’ve been living together/married (this has happened to me before—the more you’re around someone, the more you are expected to be an emotional support, and if your way of responding to upsetting emotions doesn’t match what the other person wants, cohabiting can escalate that disconnect)? I agree that it is a problem if he goes out to drink rather than deal with unpleasant emotions. But I don’t think that being uncomfortable with emotions makes someone a bad person (and if I’m wrong, then I’m a bad person).

skyslang

@EternalFootwoman Thank you. Check out my response upthread. You're not the only one who read more into this letter. I thought Dude's response was not as thoughtful as it could have been.

Ellie

@EternalFootwoman I agree. I think I'm pretty good at sympathizing, but I tend to be more solution oriented too. For whatever inexplicable reason sometimes people are frustrated when presented with solutions. (I can recognize this in myself too!)

This sounds like really idiotic advice, I know, but if you have any interest in improving at giving "sympathetic responses" you might want to read "How to talk so kids will listen and listen so kids will talk" by Faber and Mazlish. Yes it's about parenting but basically the kind of dialogues they outline work for most human interactions.

fuck fuck fuck

@EternalFootwoman i think there's a problem in that he deals with his discomfort with emotions by going out drinking, sometimes irresponsibly. healthy drinking really should have nothing to do with dealing with difficult emotions, and when it does become a coping mechanism, that is cause for concern. at the same time, i don't think it's really fair to call anyone a "bad person", and certainly not someone struggling with emotional problems. i'm also unsure that what you describe as your discomfort with emotions is even what's really going on here--to me, it sounds like LW1's husband is actively rejecting both his wife's and his emotionality. that seems like a much larger relationship obstacle to overcome than an uncomfortable willingness to sympathize/empathize.

skyslang

@lighter fluid There's nothing in the letter that says he deals with emotional problems by drinking. Just that he goes out drinking at the exact same time she's having an emotional problem. It's not the same thing.

fuck fuck fuck

@skyslang well, to me, that sounds like he's using alcohol to [not] deal with her emotional problems, which he maybe feels unable to do sober (or at all). i don't think he's alcohol dependent by any means, but when you use alcohol as an escape, be it from your own or others' problems, that usually points to problem drinking.

EternalFootwoman

@skyslang Right! The problem seems to be that he is avoiding her emotional needs. Though he drank irresponsibly in the past, there is no indication that he does so now. It's a fine line and there's no way to know without further information. But--is her main concern the drinking or the avoidance? Maybe he'd be just as content to go to a movie or the gym. This doesn't mean there's not a problem; just that the problem isn't alcohol.

Bitterblue

@EternalFootwoman I think you've made a good point -- I don't think LW1's husband is automatically a bad person, or necessarily an alcoholic; I think they may just be acting out patterns they established early on in their relationship, and that they may not be fully aware are even patterns.

The problem is the two things are intertwined, but they're not the same thing at all, really.
1. He may or may not have a problem with alcohol. The letter is unclear, it could go either way.
2. The LW does not feel emotionally supported by her husband.

The second thing is the real problem with the marriage. (If he IS an alcoholic, that's also a problem, of course.) The fact that he uses "going out" to withdraw is secondary -- other people might use video games, or going for a run, or working late -- but that's the method of drawing away from, not the problem.

At least, that's how I see it.

EternalFootwoman

@Bitterblue I completely agree! Perhaps this is because I have a number of recovering-addict friends and family members, but I am a little put off by how quick some people are to label others as alcoholics or addicts. Certainly, it is not healthy if LW1's husband leaves their home every time she needs emotional support (although, again, if he's not comfortable with emotional outpouring, he's not going to turn into some rom-com sensitive dude, although he can probably learn to deal a little better). I don't think that his using drinking as an avoidance activity means he is an alcoholic.

I also agree that they are probably acting out long-term, deep-seated problems. I think that is probably the case with many relationship "issues". I'm really suspicious when people say they've been in a relationship for a decade but that a certain problem is new. I just find it really unlikely that you've suddenly developed communication barriers or that he suddenly hates your thirteen-year-old cat. I think it far more likely that those problems have grown to the point where you can no longer avoid them.

EternalFootwoman

@Ellie Thanks; I'll definitely take a look at it! I hate that I feel like I need to script my sympathy, but it would make things so much easier if I knew what to say!

olivia

I will set the cat terrorizer on fire myself. What a fucking piece of SHIT. I'm filled with rage right now.

queenieliz

@olivia I'll bring the matches.

Heat Signature

"Parenthood is amazing, and nothing prepares you for it. As sappy as it sounds, you will tap a deep well of a love you have never felt, and may not have realized existed. It is SO worth it..." True statement, or the TRUEST statement?

parallel-lines

I'm curious if there's more to the cat story having been the owner of a elderly cat that my now fiance wasn't all too thrilled about? Does the husband have allergies and maybe gets sick when the cat touches him or furniture he sits on? She mentions the cat was a runt/had health problems--is it getting sick on the furniture or other areas he's banned it from? Is it peeing inappropriately? I can understand the burden of not wanting to live with an animal (in this case, it was my own cat and she was chronically sick, which was emotionally and financially draining and I was loooooong over pet ownership before she finally passed away from illnesses I had spent thousands of dollars trying to cure), so maybe I'm viewing this situation with a little bit of sympathy? Either way, talk to the dude and see what he's so upset about--if it's the cat or something bigger, like the cat holding him back from what he really wants. Living with a sick, older animal who has vomit and peeing and shitting issues is FUCKING HARD and I hated it so much, especially when it made me feel like a really bad person for resenting the cat, especially when I had to throw away so much stuff that she had ruined and destroyed because she was so sick. It's not for everyone.

parallel-lines

@parallel-lines Just to clarify: I'm not saying any of that justifies abuse but I can sympathize a little with his frustrations.

Lily Rowan

@parallel-lines But seriously -- when my ex had issues with my Problem Cat, he took it out on me, not the poor cat! At least I could talk back, you know?

area@twitter

@parallel-lines Yeah, I lived with a highstrung poop machine of a dog for a number of years and it was really hard at times. And I LOVE dogs. So I have a little sympathy for the devil here, with the caveat that expressing his anger by stomping around and constantly terrorizing an animal is a fucking douchebag move. If he has problems, why isn't he using his words? Because he can explain what he's feeling. The cat can't.(Also, hating the sound of purring? That seems weird to me- I can understand anger at pee and poop in non-litterbox places, but I don't understand how a noise of peace and happiness could inspire such a reaction.)

parallel-lines

@Lily Rowan Yeah, I agree--there just has to be more to the story here. I will admit, at the expense of sounding like the world's most horrible human being, that it took me YEARS to finally admit to myself how much I hated that cat and how angry it made me and how much it affected my home life. That =cat made me miserable--I couldn't have people in my home for YEARS because every time I came home from work there was something disgusting waiting for me, or the whole house reeked of hidden pee or poop. I got so angry and so tired and it wore me down until I fucking hated that cat and I hated it for making my home unliveable and ruining things I had saved so much money to buy for myself. I did lose it and yell at the cat once or twice (sorry, already warned you about world's worst person) but it was only after I got to the point of crying out of frustration.

Maybe letterwriter isn't being forthright about what's really going on and the extent as to just how sick this cat may be? Maybe this dude is a grade A douchehole? I don't know.

parallel-lines

@area@twitter The purr thing, I don't even know. Maybe he just wants the cat as far away from him as possible? Maybe it's a terrible joke?

Lily Rowan

@parallel-lines Aw, that sounds so hard. You do not sound like a terrible human being! I mean, unless you eventually threw the cat out the window or something.... I hope you did not do that.

I definitely benefit from the fact that my cat has a fantastic personality, so is a joy to be around most of the time.

parallel-lines

@Lily Rowan (sowwy, didn't mean to make this all about meeeeeeeeee)

Lily Rowan

@parallel-lines Bah! Don't apologize. These threads don't get hundreds of comments by people only commenting on the actual letters and responses!

area@twitter

@parallel-lines To me, the purr thing is what's weighting the scales from what might be an OK guy in a bad situation expressing himself really poorly- douchey, but redeemable- to total jerkass with emotionally abusive tendencies. Not wanting to hear the cat purr sounds like a total control thing to me.
And I'm sorry about your situation with your cat. ::hugs:: You don't sound like a terrible person at all, you sound like a normal person stuck in a terrible situation having normal reactions. The constant threat of poop bombs can make the most animal-loving among us get frustrated.

queenieliz

@parallel-lines you took care of that cat, even though it made you miserable. That redeems you in my eyes.

parallel-lines

@area@twitter I know this may also sound like a total cop out but sometimes people who weren't raised with animals genuinely have no idea how to interact with them. Like my fiance, for example, is notably uncomfortable with dogs since he never had a dog growing up and didn't know anyone who did either. When we dogsat he called me at work and said, "This thing keeps staring at me, what do I do? What does it want from me?!" I told him to pet the dog and he was like, "For how long? And where?" I think he just does not see the appeal of owning animals and doesn't really make a point of being near them but he is genuinely a good person--he's just missing the puppy gene. While this dude may very well be a hosebag, he could just be animal inept as well.

parallel-lines

@queenieliz I kinda wish I hadn't...I mean, if it was a marriage, it's one I would have gotten out of long ago. I stayed in solely out of guilt and not at all for love and it ate me up a lot inside.

sevanetta

@parallel-lines oh phew your comments made me feel better! also remembering just how hard it was for my parents looking after our dog when she got old. we loved her but they said NO MORE DOGS (they don't like cats), geriatric animals are too much hard work.

redheaded&crazy

@parallel-lines i know there's much more serious topics being discussed in this thread, but your fiancee asking you how long and where to pet the dog is seriously cracking me up right now.

FoxyRoxy

I am fascinated by how these letters always frame the guys as amazing and then the guys are really not amazing. Is it a compulsion women have to make their boyfriends/husbands seem better than they are? I wonder if it's because I'm old but I hope if I ever write such a letter, I come right out with the truth: "I am dating an asshole because I always settle for less. Here are the issues I am dealing with. Plz advise."

wee_ramekin

@FoxyRoxy Is that the Tiniest Elephant or the Biggest Soccer Ball in your userpic?

FoxyRoxy

@wee_ramekin That is the tiniest elephant. I am... I have a real problem with (obsession, intense need for) baby elephants. I guess there is one animal I do like! If someone gave me a tiny elephant, I would do anything.

EternalFootwoman

@FoxyRoxy Gasp! Me too! As a child, I saw a cartoon that featured a teeny elephant. It fit into a dollhouse! Ever since then, I've LOVED the idea of a tiny pet elephant.

fondue with cheddar

@FoxyRoxy My boyfriend is reading a book about verbally abusive relationships (he was in one), and was shared some parts of it with me last night. The way these women talk about how wonderful these guys and diminishing their feelings sounds like examples lifted straight from the book.

Ladies, get rid of your verbally abusive men, seriously, they are revolting.

Ham Snadwich

@FoxyRoxy - I guess if you realize that your partner is a total a-hole then any question about the cat is sort of moot. "Dear A Married Dude, I'm engaged to a total douche who is like a boat anchor around my neck...."

laurel

@EternalFootwoman Oh man, imagine the tiny stamping and wee little trumpeting.

EternalFootwoman

@laurel O God. O God. You are an enabler. I truly believe there must be a way for scientists to breed teeny-tiny animals.

Quinn A@twitter

I am also confused by what's going on with LW3's husband and cat. Tell us more, LW3!

Right now, the guy just sounds awful. Do not get a dog with that guy. Dogs are way more high maintenance than cats are. If he can't deal with a cat he definitely can't deal with a dog. (I know some people are dog people and don't especially like cats, but I think even they would concede that dogs are more work)

LW4: Don't worry! You seem awesome. The age difference/difference in level of education won't matter so much after the first or second time you hang out, because you'll find some common ground. You have no trouble relating to your dude, right? Talk to his friends about the same things you talk to him about. Well, leave out the sexy stuff. But otherwise...yeah, should work.

Vera Knoop

@Quinn A@twitter I can kind of imagine a situation where he wouldn't be worse to a dog than to the cat, despite the truth of what you say here.
There are people who hate everything that isn't their own idea-- one of my exes despised every new piece of media I'd show him, but would excited share extremely similar things with me, so much so that the only discernible difference was who had discovered it first.

Vera Knoop

@Vera Knoop But it goes without saying that in either case, she needs to SHOF and DTMFA.

charmcity

I can't wait for the Ask A Dude that is entitled "Drinking pets & babies"

Ophelia

@charmcity Brought to you by Breville.

Rock and Roll Ken Doll

@Ophelia
'Ask a Terror from the Pits of Hell'

EpWs

@josiahg "What do you put in your juicer?"

dale

@Ophelia Or by Haters of Commas! (I do love you, serial comma)

mpdg

LW3! What is this? Your husband, as many, many people have said above, is beyond repair. Take him back while the warranty is still valid.

I am a person who grew up terrified of all animals (my mother hates animals and the bad vibes I got rubbed off). I still get little twinges of fear when I'm around animals now. But I understand that, objectively, animals are not inherently awful because of my fear. I respect them, treat them with kindness and would never yell at one for fucking mewing in my company.

Heck, I don't even eat animals. If I can learn to treat them with some level of decency, why can't your husband, LW3?

boxlady

LW 4! Calling LW #4! You're going to be just fine. I promise. If you have a moment of doubt, just be like "at least my husband doesn't want to kill my cat. Whew!!!" I agree with most of the above advice, and I'm an academic. This is what I'd advise you to do: pick one of your partner's more normal friends. Say, an academic who is functional, can dress him/herself, and is friendly to you. Hopefully s/he will also be someone who enjoys pop culture, but who doesn't need to constantly use the word 'discourse' when discussing his/her fave TV show. Then, integrate the circle by making friends with him/her. Proceed to more challenging cases when you're comfortable. I think you should definitely cook for the academics, and bring them into the kitchen with you to explain stuff. Academics tend to be bad at life stuff (sorry guys, you know it's truuuuuue.) We will be impressed by your ability to crush garlic just riiight.

stonefruit

@boxlady so true! Last year I met a couple - now very close friends, yay! - both of whom are education professionals in a field I always feel guilty for not knowing more about. I confessed this to the husband, who said, "[stonefruit], please, we just want to meet people we can talk about tv with. We get enough of [field] at work."

eiffeldesigns

I was married to basically LW1's husband- except he didn't drive drunk and I'd have never described him as caring and selfless. He'd stay out until all hours- particularly on days when my depression would rear its ugly head. He'd also accuse me of manipulating him and "not letting him have fun." So he'd go out, come home shitfaced, and generally be an ass. And the best part? He was actually out messing around with my "girl friends" doing god knows what with them. So yeah. She says she trusts him in that department, but I trusted my husband too and he was definitely messing around with the ladies.

Heat Signature

This picture of A Dude is the spitting image of my father-in-law, right down to the hoodie and baseball cap, but since he's an alcoholic transient living somewhere in Florida, it is a safe bet that he is NOT, in fact, A Dude.

han
han

I am so angry at LW3's cat-hating husband. Anyone who mistreats an animal like that is just scum. Yelling at the cat for PURRING? WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK.

Are you sure he's not angry at it because it's taking your attention away from him? Sure this guy's not just a controlling asshole?

And yeah sixth-ing, don't get a dog with him. Worst idea possible. Actually, even worse would be having a kid with him.

Amphora

@han My good friend divorced her husband because he abused her cats. Slammed two of them in doors (one survived), stepped on one's back, broke a tail, and a couple of cats (this was over a few years) "disappeared."

And yes, it WAS all about controlling her. GET OUT NOW LW3!

TheDragon

@Amphora
My sister's ex husband killed their cats and sent her pictures when they broke up.
I saw him a couple weeks after in the store and scared the crap out of my best friend. (She's the only person who's ever seen me in both fights I've been in.) She said I squared up like I do when I know I'm about to get in a fight, and started walking towards him, with the biggest, scariest smile she'd ever seen.
Unfortunately, she stopped me from brawling in Wallmart.
People who control people they "love" by hurting the ones who mean the most to them deserve to be left. They also deserve to be beat up by pissed sisters, but we can't have everything.

Amphora

@The Kendragon Wow. Unfortunate indeed! He deserved a thorough ass kicking.

Miss Maszkerádi

@PistolPackinMama Seriously. I'm the double-nerd-whammy of academic in training AND classical musician, so I get a lot of side-eye and weird nervousness from people (including my own relatives at times, which is just sad). But when I'm hanging with my equally nerdy friends? Sure, sometimes we're geeking out with glee over Renaissance madrigals or arguing about feminist literary criticism, but more often we're just...goofing around. Talking about movies or gossip or food or making inappropriate double-entendres about everything and cackling like teenage boys. LW4: Do not fear the academics! Just give them some beer and be amused by them!

Also, at the risk of sounding terminally nerdy, if you ever DID want to venture onto their territory in search of conversation topics, get a good translation of Aristophanes and go to town. Seriously, comedy hasn't changed much in 2000 years.

Vera Knoop

@CountessMaritza Ooh, are we doing recommendations? Because more non-classicists should read Lucian.

Vera Knoop

I like most of this A Dude's advice, but I am giving major side-eye to his use of the term of "codependency." Codependency is a fairly outdated concept because it 1) fails to take into account the disease model of addiction, 2) places equal blame on the partner, even when that partner is being abused, and therefore amounts to victim-blaming, and 3) is popularly used to refer to any unhealthily enmeshed relationship, which has diluted its original association with addiction.

wee_ramekin

@Vera Knoop! Do you have any research that you could point me toward about these ideas? Your second point is really resonating with me.

Vera Knoop

@wee_ramekin I'm looking for the article that first sparked this thought in me, but this looks like it covers (more succinctly) similar territory: Blaming by Naming: Battered Women and the Epidemic of Codependence (1992)

LeafySeaDragon

@Vera Knoop i think it has to do with this dude's age, rather than some sort of victim blaming attitude.

Vera Knoop

@LeafySeaDragon I don't pretend to know his intentions. It's just not a very useful model.

Ellie

@Vera Knoop Addiction is not a disease, the disease model is discredited.

queenieliz

It strikes me as funny, if I say, "I hate children." Everybody looks at me funny and treats me like a sociopath.* Yet so many people here seem to be proudly proclaiming their hatred of animals. I've never dated a dude with a kid, because I don't want to be around kids. If you don't like animals, don't date people with animals. I don't care how awesome they seem otherwise, this is a fundamental part of a person's character. If you don't like cows, stay away from cowboys.
*I don't "hate" children, just have a strong disinclination to be around them, I still get the weird looks.

Rookie (not the magazine) (not that there's anything wrong with that)

@queenieliz I love how you can't say that. Like, I would never compare my cat to a child, but I think my cat is cute and I take pictures of her when she does cute stuff like sleep under the covers of my bed or sit in a suitcase. Yet anti-cat people think I'm weird, or when I tell them I have a cat, immediately tell me they don't like cats. And I'm like hello, my family rescued these cats, and anti-cat people don't care. And yet we have to sit through inane stories about kids and dogs, as if any social cue can just go out the window if someone wants to talk about a baby or a dog.

theepiccek

@Rookie I like you. My cat is my cover photo on facebook (BECAUSE SHE IS ADORABLE). I do not understand why so many people are anti-cat (or not even that, just why are they so open about it!?)

Rookie (not the magazine) (not that there's anything wrong with that)

@theepiccek Because they're stupid? I don't know, most of the people in my life who've been worth keeping around were totally cool with my cat-crazy. (Obviously, see <--- picture of my cat as my Hairpin photo because it was the first thing I thought of.)
Either they've had some terrible experience or they don't realize that cats are awesome and sleep on your lap and know when you're in a bad mood.

Dr Clownius

@queenieliz "If you don't like animals, don't date people with animals." - WORD. i just don't understand how like, she has had the cat the WHOLE TIME they have been together, and he's just now deciding that he hates it. i guess i could understand being frustrated if the cat gets old and sick, like other people have said, but LW3 didn't say anything about that.

Claire Zulkey@twitter

Re: babies, I had an approximately age range that I knew it was biologically better for us to start working on it in (IE prior to 35) but it just happened to work out nicely that I/we had done a lot of shit that we wanted to accomplish prior to having a baby, most importantly international travel. I'm not saying you can't go to Italy and rent a car with a baby but I bet it's a lot harder to do it that way.

Re: the cats, I strongly dislike one of my husband's cats (she's got boundary issues) but I just try to avoid her. She's kept away from my main hangout parts of the house but that's more due to my allergies than my dislike.

oboe-d-amore

@Claire Zulkey@twitter Definitely true that it's harder to do things with babies. But I will say that my parents traveled Europe with two small children, and often no reservations until day of. So, things are not impossible!

Vera Knoop

LW#4: Classicists are earthy people, truly. All the veneer of dusty, elbow-patched dignity really falls away once you start paying attention to the substance of the texts you're studying.
The Victorians did as great a disservice to the Greeks as they did to European fairy tales.

Amphora

LW4, maybe you understand my pet peeve: when I tell someone I'm married to a mathematician and they say "wow, so....what do you talk about?" Umm....EVERYTHING BUT MATH.

Maryaed

@Vera Knoop NO HATING ON THE VICTORIANS.

Amphora

@Amphora Sorry I don't know how that ended up here. The comment system is confusing!

Vera Knoop

@Maryaed I would never! I love the Victorians in their own right! It's just that popular understanding of ancient culture seems always to be filtered through the lens of that era, and it's a distortion.

Fodforever

LW#4 Everything everyone has already said, and also: talk to your guy before hand about possible topics he can introduce that you have in common. Seriously, academia isn't their whole lives! Gardening, music, spelunking!

Also, you seem kind of down on yourself about being a high school drop out and being part of a "lower class." Stop that! You are great; and if you feel less-than because of the high school thing, work toward your GED or maybe talk to someone about your feelings of social anxiety?

sevanetta

@Fodforever YES. My brother does this - he thinks I look down on him because I've got degrees. Whereas actually I admire him for having a good qualification (mechanic) and talk about him when I go out to high schools to talk to students, as a good example of someone who did well and didn't go to uni. He's way more useful to society than me!

Maja D.@twitter

LW#4 — has someone mentioned activity-based social time yet? I have a bit of social anxiety myself, and I often find it easier to stave it off if we're Doing Something together. Like, a board game, or watching a movie, or talking about something predetermined and specific. Would these folks play charades, or Cranium, or poker? Could you host a pot-luck where you bring a recipe with a story, and then you tell the stories? Helps me, though YMMV of course.

anachronistique

@Maja D.@twitter No PhD will make you better at Mario Kart. Rainbow Road: THE GREAT EQUALIZER.

Xanthophyllippa

@anachronistique Depends on how long it took you to get that Ph.D. and how much you procrastinated exactly by playing Mario Kart, I s'pose.

YourFriendLiz

Parents--please don't have sex on your couch. I saw my parents having sex on our family room couch when I was 8 and it really fucked me up for a long time. Seriously.

digsapony

@YourFriendLiz I'm sorry that it affected you so badly! I walked in on my parents boning on the living room floor when I was little and only realised what it was a few years later. It never particularly bothered me, but I grew up in a pretty naked house so naked parents was nothing unusual for me. To conclude: Only have sex on your couch if your children are really small and see you naked often.

VolcanoMouse

Things I can talk about with humanities PhDs/grad students:

1. Booze
2. Doctor Who
3. Everyone's secret-but-just-below-surface sense of inadequacy at Life

Easy! Haha, not really. Agh.

oboe-d-amore

@VolcanoMouse Try "frustrating bureaucracy" and/or "funny office stories" as well! :-)

TheDragon

Umm...I hope this doesn't make me sound redneck as hell, but I would freak out on my man if he hated my dog. Or cat. Not liking them is bad enough. (Yes. I'm one of those crazy girls who won't date a guy that my dog doesn't like.) Our neighbor tried to get my dog taken away, and I pointed out that I own a shot gun. So I don't want to know what I'd threaten a person who kept my animals in a constant state of terror with.

TheDragon

@The Kendragon
*Shotgun.
What the hell kind of redneck am I?

redheaded&crazy

@The Kendragon no man i'm with you. love me, love my dogs (padfoot the newf and his assorted motley crew of foster pups)

(i do not yet own any of these dogs. but, yaknow, someday)

TheDragon

@redheaded&crazie
Motley crews of foster pups are the best. Mine is a German Shep/Standard Collie/Chow mix who is "just a gorgeous, gorgeous dog" (According to my friend Dusty. Dusty may have gotten an extra big serving of pie that night.)

Amphora

LW4, maybe you understand my pet peeve: when I tell someone I'm married to a mathematician and they say "wow, so....what do you talk about?" Umm....EVERYTHING BUT MATH.

Rrrowena

LW4: I dropped out of college to do blue collar stuff, and was nervous when I first came back home and was hanging out again with all my accomplished engineer/computer programmer/state dept/chem phd/lawyer friends. But you know what? It turns out that alot of white collar types have a little reverse snob guilt/worry that real life is happening to other people while they sit in a cubicle/research. They will likely think your job is way cooler than you think it is.

halfheartedyoga

@Rrrowena this is a really good point! if LW4 is a person who is INTERESTED IN LIFE, any decent person can make a conversation flow. Also I think one can disarm people with questions. "I don't know much about medieval france. What made you want to do your PHD on that?" Not in a snarky way but in a ooo, tell me more way. I bet they will feel the same about LW's chef-ery. If they don't they suck: not bc they're overeducated snobs, but because they lack social skills.

redheaded&crazy

so the other day i bit my dog (puppy), as she has been getting quite snappy. not a painful bite! just an, I mean business bite.

please advise on how abusive and/or weird i am.

Amphora

@redheaded&crazie Depends...did she get the hint?

redheaded&crazy

@Amphora hard to say for sure but I think it helped somewhat. she has been less snappy but it hasn't been totally eradicated.

Amphora

@redheaded&crazie Communicating on their level usually works, and mama dogs do nip their puppies when they're being bad. Or pick them up by the scruff of their neck. When we got our cat from the shelter, we read up on cat behavior because he was extremely skittish. Blinking at him like a cat visibly calmed him.

carolita

@redheaded&crazie I wouldn't keep biting the dog, as it may just be a little too animal-like. I've found that playing with puppies, if they bite, I just say "ay, ay, ay, ay!" almost like another puppy, and they get the point. Then I say, "don't bite," and when they stop, I give them love. If they bite again, I do the yelp and then stop playing, give them the "bad dog" talk and send them to their bed for a time-out. I also used to hold my hand in front of the dog when she'd get snappy and say, "this, no!", then show her a bone, and say, "this, yes!" They'd get to realize that only some things were okay to bite, and hands were not one of them. Dogs have to know that they can hurt you, and that the consequence of hurting someone is rejection and no more fun.

redheaded&crazy

@carolita thanks for the advice! this is pretty much what I do ... especially with the giving her a better outlet like a bone because she loooves to chew things. in this specific circumstance she had bitten me just a little too hard so I felt like I had to show her that it can hurt! but anyway, I don't want to go around biting my dog all the time.

she's very stubborn and suffers from a serious case of cute dog syndrome so training her is ... interesting.

wee_ramekin

@redheaded&crazie Ginger Nutball, I have some advice. I worked at a kennel / helped with dog-training for three years, and the way that we dealt with nipping was two-fold.

First of all - and this seems incredibly counter-intuitive - when your pup is nippin' on you, put your hand further into her mouth. It's the opposite reaction of what she's expecting, and it is slightly uncomfortable for her. It's kind of like when a dog is jumping on you; many people step back, but that actually encourages the behavior, the point of which is for the dog to gain more control over the situation. When a dog is jumping up on you, you should actually walk toward them; this again disrupts the behavior and shows that you're the one lying down the terms of your interaction, not the dog. Couple this action with a firm "no".

Once you've done the above, walk away. Cease all interaction. What your wee pup wants the most from you is attention. If you stop giving it to her until she calms down, she'll learn pretty quickly that acting in certain ways (no biting, no jumping, no annoyance-barking) gets her the love and attention that she wants.

The last thing to remember is to do all of this with a calm, firm demeanor, and use short, one- or two-word commands (ie Say "No" instead of "No biting! Stop that! Stop biting me!" [<--- to a pup, that is just a long stream of sounds that means nothing]). With dogs (and most animals, actually), interaction depends a lot on the energy that you put out. For example, when my dogs are getting amped up and flipping out that we're going for a walk, instead of admonishing them to cut it out and calm down, I purposely take a moment, take two deep yoga-breaths, and actually center myself on my feet. Then, when I talk to them, I use a short, one-word "Stop". It takes about 30 seconds, but usually my dogs will tune into the fact that I'm not adding any energy to the situation, and they will respond by lowering their energy level. With dogs, you really learn to become a leader by remaining calm, instead of by trying to assert dominance by raising your voice, adding lots of forceful motions, or getting angry.

I'd recommend not biting her in the future; mostly because she's got sharper teeth than you, and could accidentally or purposefully cause damage to your face if she's startled/upset by your reaction!

AnnaBarenina

@redheaded&crazie because of your avatar I now have a rather delightful image in my head of Rupert Grint biting a puppy.

redheaded&crazy

@wee_ramekin thanks for the advice! I guess I won't bite her anymore. Even though sometimes she totally deserves it cuz she is a j--

@AnnaBarenina wouldn't it be great if I actually were rupert grint pretending to be a weird girl in canada who has various obsessions including rupert grint?

redheaded&crazy

@redheaded&crazie *sighs wistfully* that would be so great

carolita

@wee_ramekin yes, I forgot to say that, too -- shove your hand further into their mouths, works every time. They HATE that!

AnnaBarenina

@redheaded&crazie I will confess that I imagine everything you say to secretly be Rupert Grint.

Xanthophyllippa

@redheaded&crazie But then if you ever met Rupert Grint, you'd have a really hard time professing your love and trying to, y'know, polish his wand.

creaves@twitter

A man who gets mad about a purring cat isn't a "wonderful man." Ugh.

I mean, I know it's been said dozens of times already, but that letter made my skin crawl. What a juicebox.

Sietske@twitter

Oh hey LW1, you're married to half the people I know, that's cool. Here's what you need to do. Tell him if he drinks again, you're leaving. Make it absolutely clear in no uncertain terms that YOU WILL LEAVE if he drinks. Make sure he knows that. When he gets drunk again (and he will), leave. If you don't leave but insist you're leaving NEXT time, you'll never leave and will be stuck in a codependent relationship with an alcoholic, so make sure you actually leave. Once you're gone, he will either seek treatment to get you back, or sink completely into alcoholism. If he comes back, party! (Make sure he's actually in treatment and not just sitting in his car while claiming to go to meetings.) If he doesn't, you saved yourself a life of heartache at the hands of a loser. You cannot fix someone with an addiction. They have to fix themselves.

TheDragon

@Sietske@twitter
My Aunt did this when her two daughters were small. Packed up, drove away and moved in with her mom. My uncle started going to meetings and a therapist, and eventually quit. He's been sober for over twenty years now.
Obviously your man might not react the same way, but I agree, it's the only way to know if it will eventually get better.

Little Bits

Hey all y'all! I am LW #3. Thanks to the dude, and commenters galore, for the feedback. I am killing myself laughing about the whole "OMG he's obviously totally evil" comments because (a.) obviously! who hates cats? and (b.) of course he isn't, much as I would love to pretend he is.

So elderly cat is old-ish, but not incontinent. She meows and sheds a lot. (Like, A LOT) She's very vocal, and she hate-hate-hates hubby. She will sit and stare at him across the room with her death ray eyes and freak him out. (She did the same to my brother when we lived together, and he LOVES cats.) It really is a mutual hatred. It really has been growing over the years from just kind of ignoring her to getting pissed off.

I think the married dude is right. I need to talk to hubby, set some boundaries about what is and isn't ok, and find out if there is more going on than just man-cat mutual disliking. God knows we have all had arguments about stupid shit that were actually big shit in disguise. Thanks all!

wharrgarbl

@Little Bits You might want to remind your I-guess-not-completely-evil dude that it's a cat before he swears eternal Klingon vengeance and happiness-denial on it because it doesn't like him. We're talking about a dumb animal, not the dude two cubicles over who won't. fucking. stop. with the sunchips bag.

dj pomegranate

@Little Bits Good luck! :)

peculiarity

@Little Bits I hope you resolve this, and soon. I have a runt cat too, and I would never let anyone treat her that way.

The reason your cat hates hubby is because of how hubby treats her. He's the human, he's the one who is more intelligent (supposedly), so if he changes his behavior, the cat will change hers and it won't be a problem anymore. He might have to suck it up and put up with it at first, but he has to be the bigger person and start treating her right, before she'll treat him right back. (Ever seen the show "My Cat From Hell"? It may help. It sometimes shows couples in this situation, where one person had a cat and then the other person comes in and can't get along with the cat. It has some good ideas about resolving that sort of resentment and hatred.)

Also, hating her because she PURRS? That's messed up. I think he may be more evil than you think.

Little Bits

@wharrgarbl Your workplace needs a no-Sunchips policy, stat. Those bags. Why? NO. Zero tolerance.

carolita

@peculiarity I don't know if it can work out every time. My little brother has had many cats, and some of them were just gratituously nasty. Wouldn't stop attacking him, biting him for no reason, waking him up at night by scratching him -- and he took it all like the cat saint that he is -- , while others were totally gentle. Some cats are just bad, like humans.

Stephanie@twitter

LW1! Consider checking out an alanon meeting!

Fluff

Heyyyyyy, LW4, something to consider- these academics might be as scared of you as you are of them. To them, you may seem young, frighteningly hip, and foreign. Be nice to them, and it's likely they'll heave a sigh of relief and attempt to cultivate your friendship. You have a lot to offer, and if you think academics won't want to have a conversation with you on your terms, you're selling yourself short.

LW1 for today

Hey y'all. I'm LW1. Do the advice seekers usually comment too? I normally don't get to the bottom of the comment threads.

A lot has changed since writing in! So here's some clarification/updates: the answer to some questions is that he used to party A LOT and be reckless, and he doesn't anymore. Now he goes out about once a month, no drunk driving, and he comes home usually around 1 AM - sometimes earlier, sometimes later. My concern is more in the pattern that I've noticed - it's about when he decides to do it, and the biggest red flag is that he won't even compromise about this - in everything else, we have great communication. It's just with this discussion that he gets immature, unwilling to compromise, etc.

We are in therapy now - separately and together. Since writing this question, he was diagnosed with a type of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (he has the obsessive thoughts, without the compulsions). Every once in a while, the obsessive thoughts become too much for him and he drinks, gets depressed, etc. I'm working on a theory here, and it's tough to explain but I'll try: he admitted to me that with his OCD, he finds it difficult to make life decisions. He needs a system. He latches onto me - I am literally a cog in the intricate system of his OCD. He even followed me to my job - we worked together. Thank god, I quit that job (see above). So since he is so codependent on me, when I lose my shit, (or quit my job that I have with him) his grounding in reality is shattered. If you haven't noticed by now, OH MY GOD we are in a codependent relationship! Do not fear - we are working (and doing well) at separating ourselves. Our therapist says, "Most couples, I have to push together. You two, I have to separate." I'm naturally independent - it's not that I need him so much; it's that I love him so much. I want to be with him all the time, because we get along so well. But since separating myself from him more, physically and emotionally and mentally, I have felt a lot better.

It has been groundbreaking, coming to the realization that I have been in a codependent relationship with someone with OCD. No wonder I am a basket case! I have been sucked into the disease. It might sound strange that I didn't exactly know (although I knew something felt wrong), but remember - he doesn't have rituals (like washing hands ten times). He incorporated these systems into daily life so it just looked like he was super organized - he always turned off all the power strips in our house before leaving, every last one. I just thought he was kind of a control freak!

Thanks for all your comments. It is very bizarre to see so many people commenting on your actual life...It's a little intense. It's also impossible to capture a relationship in such a tiny word limit. I almost feel like I shouldn't have to name all the things that make him wonderful - but trust me. He really is worth fighting for.

lizaboots

My mother always told me to be on the look out for how a man treats his mother and how he treats animals.

Waiters might have been in there too.

Byron Bay@twitter

i loev to my health and i come to doctor if i get any problem in my body .Byron Bay Health Retreat

Sidney Huster@facebook

is the most powerful spell caster that i have ever met. i wish i have met him before. my husband have just come back to me and every thing happened just the way prophet harry had said it i am so happy that i have met with prophet harry and now i have my husband back to my self. if you all that are here have not tried prophet harry just have to do so and get your heart desires fulfilled. stop been doubting i have tested him and i am now a fulfilled woman. sidney huster

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