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Friday, May 4, 2012

359

Toxic Dating, "Abominable" Sisters, and the French Manicure

1. I moved back to my small hometown (which I hate) for a job (which I love). I don't have any friends here, and I have had a really hard time making them. I was miserable until I reconnected with this guy I knew in high school, unfortunately, I knew him as he was my ex-boyfriend's best friend. We started seeing each other, but we didn't want to be seen in public so it wouldn't get back to my ex before anything was serious. Anyway we have been seeing each other for about four months, and we spend every night together. I am so much happier, and I really love being around him, but I know he has lied to me, cheated on me, or at least tried to cheat on me. I saw in his Facebook messages (I know it's bad, but he gave me his password) that he was taking another girl on a date and was so nervous because she was so hot. I confronted him, he cried, and said he thought it was a date, but he got there he couldn't stop thinking about me. I found a very sexual exchange between him and another girl, and he tried to tell me it was a documentary for his class about how easy it is to hook-up on the internet. He expected me to believe that he had to type all that to film it. The last thing I found out was that he invited a girl over to his house while I was out of town. His messages joked that they were going to have sex. She came over, and he insists nothing happened. I believe that because their next messages were about why she just left and he was sorry. 

The point is I know I can't trust this guy. I would feel so so much better if he would just admit to these things, instead of lying when I have proof. I know I shouldn't see him, but I am super lonely otherwise. We are not in a relationship, but about 2 1/2 months ago, we decided we weren't seeing other people. Can I keep seeing him and maintain a shred of self-respect? I've asked that we back off and keep seeing each other not exclusively, but then he just cries. I know what I want to do is not healthy, but how unhealthy is it?

The answer to your last question is: very unhealthy. But, as you said, you already know that. There's a lot of questions I have about this whole situation — namely, I'm curious as to why you say you are not in a relationship, but that you've mutually agreed to not see other people. I don't understand why this man insists on making really stupid, dishonest, flat out weird decisions, and then cries when you offer to allow him to see other people? I also wish I knew more about the entire friend dynamic here — does your ex still live in your hometown? Is he now aware that you and his best friend are seeing each other? Also, you said "was" — are they no longer best friends?

I don't know if knowing the answers to those questions would help, though. I'm just trying to figure out whyyy someone would be so weird about cheating on a girl — like, a "documentary," oh my god that is the most pretentious thing I've ever heard in my life — but it doesn't matter. Maybe he's being weird with you because he doesn't think this counts as a "real" relationship, or maybe he has some guilt about dating his best friend's ex and is subconsciously trying to punish both of you. I could come up with a million armchair psychologist excuses for why this man is doing what he's doing. It doesn't matter even a little bit. You have to ask yourself: how lonely is too lonely? To me, spending every night with someone you can't trust sounds pretty fucking lonely, and I know I wouldn't be able to tolerate it. To me, that seems too unhealthy. On the other hand, I can't deny how scary it is to be alone in a town you hate. 

The first question you asked, though — that's what I keep thinking about. Can you keep seeing him and maintain a shred of self-respect? You laid it out fairly clearly — you started dating under circumstances that are less than ideal, what with all the history, and you're at a vulnerable place, what with the great job in the shitty location. When you say you are "so much happier" with this guy, I worry that this might be relative happiness. In comparison to all the other changes in your life that you aren't thrilled with, then yes, this could look like an improvement, but you said it yourself. You can't trust him, you're concerned that the relationship is unhealthy, and you're questioning your own self-respect. These are not good signs. In the professional "Ask A Lady" business, we call these "red flags." It's not about how breaking up or seeing other people feels to him. It's a harsh thing, but if he cries, he cries. How does it feel to you? If it feels like you'd have more self-respect being alone, then his tears don't seem like enough of an incentive to stay.

2. I'm having a quarter-to-mid-life crisis and am far too in the shit to have perspective on how ridiculous I might be right now.

I am 28 and have been married one year to a wonderful man I've been with for six. We were both anti-marriage but things changed, as they tend to do, and we did it for practical, insurance-based reasons. Now I'm starting to feel a little trapped. Stifled. Afraid this is as far as I'm going in life and that I made a mistake.

We're both sorta lazy loners by nature, but while I aspire to break out of it from time to time, he's completely content. It's admirable in many ways but the lack of ambition worries me. Without someone to lead by example — to challenge and motivate me — I can't resist the pull of Comfortable and Familiar and really put myself out there to take risks and grow. This coupled with that weird fear of changing to the point that your partner no longer knows or loves who you've become (that's not just me, right?) makes for a whole lot of stagnancy.

We love each other terribly and are very happy and compatible in a host of other ways, but we all know that love alone doesn't make a relationship right, and I'm afraid this might eventually break me.

It's probably insane to blame or sacrifice the relationship for what seems to be personal problem, and the pain I'd cause is almost too much to bear. But I also think I know myself pretty well and that if I were single or had a more like-minded partner I could do this self-actualization thing, but as things are it just feels like so much dead weight.

What say you, A Lady?

Hmm!!!! Once again, this question is just begetting more questions. Lots of begetting going on here. Ok, here is my first question: do you know one hundred percent that you are alone in this feeling? Has your husband said he is completely content, or does he just seem completely content? Have you vocalized these feelings to him and then had him respond by saying he can't identify with any of this at all? If so, then yes, that could be a problem.

But let's leave him out of this for a second. I want to talk about what you said about not being able to change without a role model. I completely agree that you need some sort of mentor or aspirational figure to help you create real change in your life. However, I really think that any sort of important changes in your life start all on your own. You have to figure out what exactly it is you want beyond a vague idea of "more" to fill that hole that's starting to eat away at your relationship. You could be looking for more for — literally — ever if you don't figure out what, exactly, you want, figure out the steps to getting it, and go through all of those steps until you achieve it. And it's just not true that you can't do that alone, because I think doing it alone is the key to making sure you're doing what you really want. If you rely on your husband to motivate your changes, you'll never know if it was an organic change or if you were just tagging along for the ride. Once you've figured it out, then you go looking for the people who compliment your goals and motivate you to keep going, and those people don't have to be your husband.

This might be tooooo idealistic on my part, but I do really think that if your relationship is as happy as you say it is, your relationship can sustain some sort of crazy change on your part. Like, let's say you want to take up skydiving and your husband is like NOPE KTHXBAI. Is he still the type of guy who would stay on the ground to applaud you when you land? Or not skydiving, something smaller — so maybe your husband will not be accompanying you to the gym, but is he the kind of guy who will bring home Gatorade after your workouts? If you decide to take up a volunteering job, would he give you a ride? And if so — what more do you need? This is just my personal experience, but I can tell you, in the time that I have been with my boyfriend I have gone through two uncompleted undergrad degrees, two community college certificates, five jobs, three apartments, and four extreme hair colors. I am familiar with really scary changes. My boyfriend has followed the well-worn path of a single undergrad degree until he achieved a diploma, has worked at the same job for five years, and his hair is still a boring brown. But he is the kind of guy who will pick up a pair of latex gloves on his way home so I can Manic Panic my hair in our sink. I've found that that's all you really need in a partner to motivate you: those tiny nudges and little bumps in the direction that you've already chosen for yourself.

Whatever you do from here on out, you're already laying the foundation for the end of your pleasant-enough relationship. There are two ways this could play out. In the first scenario, you initiate real change on your own, without your husband's support, and it creates a rift in a mostly happy relationship that you cannot repair. In the second scenario, you don't change, and your resentment towards your husband for holding you back grows and grows until it creates a rift in a mostly happy relationship that you cannot repair. It's up to you now, and in either scenario, it won't be your husband's fault. You have to trust that your husband wants to be with the best version of you, the you that's self-actualized and happy and proud of yourself and your choices, and then you have to go make yourself that person on your own.

3. Hi, I was wondering what the current opinion is on French manicures. I went to get my nails done today after not having them done in a very long time, and I thought I would go with something nice and simple — ergo, a French manicure. I just found out, however, that random internet people find them old-fashion and even *gasp!* tacky. I would like another opinion on this please. I don't want to go out into the world with silly nails, but I did pay $15 dollars for them and don't want to redo them right now.

This question totally reminds me of a Vogue article I read a few years ago. I think it was by Plum Sykes or someone of her ilk. The whole article was about how French manicures are typically reserved for porn stars, and how the author was reclaiming them as a classy, Vogue-approved thing. So, I mean, take that information for what it's worth. I would definitely trust Vogue over some random internet people, but they're both institutions that deal in making people feel bad about themselves. They're just nails! Dead shells on top of your fingertips! Gross, sorry for that mental image. So maybe some people think there's a tacky/porn-y element to French manicures. So what! If you like them, tell the entire internet WHATEVER, YOU DO WHAT YOU WANT.

Related: right now my nails are neon pink. Last week they were alternating rose and leopard print. There is no such thing as silly nails.

4. My sister is milking money from our elderly parents. She is in her late 20s, emotionally stunted, incredibly selfish, and incapable of accepting responsibility for herself. She goes out drinking four or five nights a week and spends most of her money on shopping. She makes far more money than I do and has gone on several vacations already this year. We live in the same city, so I know her cost of living is not higher than mine. She owes everyone in the family money. I am a grad student with a part time job, and I don't accept a dime from my parents. They are not well off and have little savings.

I recently found out my sister has been allowing my father to support her lavish lifestyle. My father told me he paid for more than $200 in overdraft fees last month alone, and that he has to help her pay her rent every month. I advised my father to cut her off, which he did. Of course my sister doesn't want me to know that she's been stealing money from my father, so when we spoke recently she told me our father is "angry" with her for some bullshit reason, and now she refuses to see him. He doesn't deserve this at all.

I think the way she's behaving is abominable, and I'm very angry with her. My approval is important to her, and she's extremely sensitive to other peoples' opinions of her, so I think if I told her I knew everything and how disappointed I am in her, she might actually be embarrassed/depressed enough to change. But I'm not supposed to know any of this. Should I ask my father for permission to confront my sister? I can't look at her anymore without replacing her eyes with dollar signs.

Oof. This entire question hurts my heart. Anything to do with money and family is very, very, very, very, very hard. And very personal. These are the sorts of conversations that start as a way to clear the air and end with a lifelong silent treatment, so no matter what, I have to advise that you tread extremely carefully.

Let's start with the most important question — does your father want to confront your sister at all? Does he feel like he can't even look at her anymore? If so, it's really not your place to do that on his behalf, and he's going to have to do it himself. And if he, for whatever reason, doesn't want to confront her, then it's really not going to be your place to do so on his behalf.

I don't know your family, and I don't know what the whole dynamic is, so I'm going to have to make some assumptions here. I am assuming that your sister is fairly manipulative, and is taking advantage of your vulnerable parents. If that's true, that is really, really appalling, and you have every right to be angry. I can completely relate to what it's like to support yourself when the people closest to you seem to get so much extra help. It's unbelievably frustrating.

But if your sister is as sensitive as you say she is, and if other people's approval is as important to her as you say it is, I worry that this sort of confrontation is not the way to go. It's been my experience that seemingly manipulative, spoiled people are solely motivated by greed. Do you know if there are underlying reasons why she spends so compulsively, at such a rate that she's willing to risk her relationship to her father? You are going to have to start there. Don't assume this is all about having a good pair of shoes or whatever. If she's lying about what happens with your father, chances are she already feels pretty bad about all of this, and shaming someone into change never works. You don't want her to be so embarrassed or depressed that she wants to change — you want her to realize her past behavior was wrong and to make a genuine heartfelt change because it's best for her and your family.

If your father doesn't want to confront her, and he doesn't want you to do any confronting either, then you're going to have to work on your anger on your own. You're going to have to accept that your sister will do what she wants, and so will your parents, and that the only person's behavior that you are responsible for is yours.

5. I spent two years in an awkward, terrible relationship with someone who told me what to do all the time (including what I was allowed to wear, talk about, who to hang out with, etc). I know this is terrible and it is over now! I am with a new, wonderful, sparkling, does-not-tell-me-what-to-do person! I've been out of that terrible Relationship A for two years, and onto great Relationship B for one year. The problem is that I still think about Relationship A, and Person A, all the time, in the forms of angry inner monologues, fantasies about car crashes, etc. I've been trying (for two years!) to let the matter drop, and am still upset by how much I think about it. I think it's because I never got closure in this relationship; after putting up with two terrible, abusive years, he dumped me by cheating on me and telling me about it with a kind of "hey, I'm with her now" email. Is it wrong to want to send a letter (with no return address!) to give myself some closure, or should I just drop the idea and give myself more time?

Congratulations on happy Relationship B! Good for you, and I really mean that. You absolutely did the right thing.

But to answer your question, yes, you really should drop the letter idea and give yourself more time. I know that's going to be really difficult. I am the kind person who has basically made a career out of angry internal monologues. I'm really, really rageful — just filled with rage all the time — and it takes me years to get over this kind of thing. I have spent hours rehearsing my rageful speeches in the mirror, imagining how amazing it would feel to finally get everything off my chest and finally move on.

There was one situation in particular that was just so weird and painful, and because of logistics I was confronted with it all the fucking time. To put it mildly, it drove me nuts. To put it accurately, I was completely obsessed with my own anger. I felt cheated out of closure, and I wanted nothing more than to scream in that person's face every time I saw them (which had to be very often, because of the aforementioned logistics). I felt that way for about three years. Sometimes I had those moments of clarity where you realize exactly how much energy you're wasting on sustaining all that rage, and sometimes I just wanted to let it go, but I couldn't — I really thought I needed the screaming in order to move on.

Of course, you probably already know the end of this story, but I'll tell you anyway: one day, I just didn't feel like screaming anymore. I could look at that person and not be filled with rage. All of a sudden, I sort of understood them, and I recognized how that person was flawed and how those flaws had led them to hurt me, and I just didn't feel the anger anymore. I know it's infuriating, but it really did just happen one day.

I think, without consciously realizing it, I figured something out about closure, and brace yourself because it's going to be something so cliched, but it's a cliche because it's true. Closure is not something that anyone else can give to you. You really do have to give it to yourself, and you really have to be ready for it. Trying to force someone else to give you what you need, especially when that person is a total loser jerk, never works. Try to limit those mean monologues as much as you can, but if you need them, don't fight it. Allow yourself to be as upset as you need to be, for as long as you need to be, and just try to fill your life with as many positive thoughts and experiences and relationships as you can. The closure will follow.

Previously: Lingerers, Admirers, and Silent Girl.

A Lady is one of several rotating ladies who know everything. Do you have any questions for A Lady? (300-word max, please.)

Photo via gemphotography, via Shutterstock



359 Comments / Post A Comment

noodge

"Can I keep seeing him and maintain a shred of self-respect?"

no.

redheaded&crazy

DAMN IT DO YOU PEOPLE SEE THE 1 CENT JULEP INTRO OFFER ON THE SIDE BAR

(sorryyyyyyyy so off topicccccc)

oh! there's a question about nails! I am going to answer it and then feel like my answer is kind of on-topic

Back when I was feeling spendy I used to get french manicures on a semi-regular basis. I think they are nice! I think a thinner tip is nicer personally. One problem is that when I get it done, I spend all my time admiring how pretty my nails look and no time doing anything productive, so.

EpWs

@redheaded&crazie I DON'T I JUST HAVE AN AWFUL DAVID'S BRIDAL AD UGHHHH

redheaded&crazy

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher may be canadian? although i don't think so

colors4one at checkout. I am staring at my $60 3 month membership that i JUST RENEWED with loathing

muralgirl

@redheaded&crazie Is it only for new members?

Megasus

@redheaded&crazie Does that include Canadian subsciptions though? OTHERWISE I AM ALL OVER THAT.
Also there is nothing wrong with french manicures, they are a classic, like pencil skirts and trench coats. However, it is more modern to have them on the short side (it is more modern to have shorter nails in general).

H.E. Ladypants

@redheaded&crazie I keep getting ads for services that will hook me up with my dream latino or asian woman. It's a bit bizarre.

redheaded&crazy

@Megano! ahhhh good point about shorter tips. the whole long acrylic tips thing has never made sense to me so...

@muralgirl I don't know! it says intro offer though so I'm guessing yes? I should look into it more probably as opposed to just seeing the ad and getting all riled up

lobsterhug

@redheaded&crazie I've been getting the Julep boxes for a few months and I'm really conflicted about whether or not to keep it. Their stuff is so expensive that getting a box full of goodies for $20 seems like a steal.

Maybe this is a question for the Billfold. I need Mike Dang to tell me whether or not it's a good investment.

redheaded&crazy

@lobsterhug well I've decided to extend it for 3 months because summer! nail polish! summer! but I think after that I'll stop because I just don't need that much nail polish, and by then I'll have scammed all the good extras like pedi scrub and pedi cream and cuticle oil stuff.

MoxyCrimeFighter

@redheaded&crazie Since I am super-cheap, before I re-discovered the joys of painting my nails crazy colors, I used to get the fake French manicure nails from the drugstore - and honestly, if you're careful, they don't look that bad! But I would get the ones where the nail part and the tip were realllly close in color? So it looked a lot more like pretty, natural nails than tips. And yeah, I used to admire my hands typing all the time. Vanity, thy name is moi.

MoxyCrimeFighter

@lobsterhug I just got a Birchbox subscription and I am so. stoked. about it. I might change my mind after I get the first box if it sucks, but I feel like that's better deal - I like to pick out my own nail colors (and I buy a range of really cheap to moderately pricey, so I don't feel bad splurging), and the Birchbox has cosmetics and toiletries and whatnot, too, so I think you get more bang for your buck as far as variety.

lobsterhug

@MoxyCrimeFighter That reminds me of the time that my nails looked awesome because I'd just buffed the hell out of them and a friend asked me if they were painted and I got to say, no, these are my real nails.

Megasus

@muralgirl I JUST DID IT AND IT WORKS IN CANADA. I do think it is for new members though. It is super expensive, but if it's a good box, might be worth it for a few months.

JadedStone

@redheaded&crazie OH NO. ANOTHER ONE.

I am actually signed up for ALL THE SAMPLE BOXES I CAN FIND (in Canada). Obviously I cancel the terrible ones, though to date I'm only signed up for 3.

Excuse me while I sign up for this one too....

commanderbanana

@redheaded&crazie Birchbox is amaaaaazing! They often send full-size stuff, like full-size nail polishes and eyeliners, and sometimes you can get extra stuff. I got a box full of Vichy travel size face goop from them a few months ago. It's great if you travel, which I do, because you won't have to buy any travel size stuff again ever.

My only gripe is that you can't opt out of getting perfume samples, and I don't wear perfume, but other than that I love it. It's like a little mini Christmas every month.

MoxyCrimeFighter

@lobsterhug I was once accosted by a girl who worked for one of those Dead Sea mall kiosks because I was too tired from a long day of shopping (first world problems, ahoy) to avoid her, and she proceeded to lecture me in a heavy Baltic accent about the "cheemicals" in my cheap nail polish destroying my nails. She took the polish of one nail and buffed it up - and let me tell ya, that shit was flawless. It seriously did look awesome, but I didn't want to pay however much the kit cost. I got lots of compliments on that one nail, though!

lobsterhug

@MoxyCrimeFighter I was accosted by one of those girls too! Except she totally talked me into buying 3 of those hand treatment sets. I blame being overwhelmed by holiday shopping for making me susceptible to her wiles.

Megasus

@lobsterhug Oh man, I got one too (actually I got 4 for the price of two and gave them to people for christmas), BUT NOW THEY'VE GONE OUT OF BUSINESS AND I CAN'T GET MY BUFFER REPLACED FOR FREE. I am still kind of sad about it, because the Revlon ones are absolute balls in comparison.
Also I was initially accosted by a hot dude.

JadedStone

@redheaded&crazie wait, this is nail stuff? PFFT. Seriously redheaded&crazie if you need a polish fix I can set you up for WAY CHEAPER and you're in TO right?

redheaded&crazy

@Jade i.... yes? according to everybody i know, i don't need a polish fix, unless the fix is, for me to stop buying so much nail polish ....

speaking of which canadian people jacob has some amazingly cute nail polish colours on sale for $6

but I am still interested in this WAY CHEAPER SET UP! :D

JadedStone

@redheaded&crazie I work at/kinda own a day spa. So I can buy polishes at cost which is generally at least 50% cheaper than retail.
Like the new Holland OPI collection - which is 12 colours, I get for $70. Works out to $6 each AND you get the windmill display thing. OPI is generally more expensive, China Glaze is about $4.50 a bottle. That's if there aren't any sales or stuff on, which there usually is.

rianne marie

@redheaded&crazie I see it but have no idea what it is! But the excitement in this thread is making me investigate.

rianne marie

@rianne marie OK I'm in the checkout screen with a total purchase amount of $0.01. Seems to good to be true but I have seen no fine print... Here goes nothing. Having to actually fill out credit info for this seems ridiculous.

Hellcat

@redheaded&crazie I think they're nice too--they look shiny and clean, and seem to withstand chipping (or camouflage it better, at least).

Pin Feathers

@rianne marie I've done this promotion before, and you truly only pay 1 cent. If you don't want to receive any more boxes from them, you just call customer service before the month is over and cancel your account. It's really easy, and they don't hassle you to stay. I didn't keep my account after the (almost) free box, but I can see how others would like it. New nail polish every month is fun!

whateverlolawants

@Megano! Next time you're at another mall, they're probably there. I work at a mall and the Dead Sea folks are doing well here. That buffer really is amazing! I haven't bought it, though.

The kiosk people in general amuse me... a lot of them are hired from abroad, live in apartments together for a few months, and, as mentioned, are super aggressive in their sales approach. People come into my store to escape them. I've talked to quite a few of the sales folk and find their business model... intriguing.

screwball cate

@whateverlolawants Uck...super aggressive is right. I wonder how they must see shoppers in order to feel justified in treating us like we are morons.

whateverlolawants

@screwball cate I don't want to defend their business model (it sucks), but the individuals have to see it as "I do this or I don't get paid", from what I understand. So I try not to read too much into any one individual's approach, unless they truly do cross a line (like the one who would NOT STOP talking to my mom as she walked past, long after my mom said to leave her alone. My mom sometimes has trouble speaking due to brain surgery, so I get pretty pissed about that sort of thing.)

I wonder how it would work if they chilled out a little. Makes you wonder about the quality of their product. I knew a guy who worked for a different kiosk business (wrapping cell phones in protective covers) and he never bothered shoppers. He still had good sales and people told him they respected his non-aggressiveness. I don't think his company/boss expected their associates to act aggressive anyway. Perhaps their product was good enough that they didn't have to?

PS- A way to make them stop talking to you- wave them off with a knowing smile and say, "I work at the mall." It's true for me, but who cares? They leave you alone.

The Lady of Shalott

LW#1: I know that is weird and upsetting to be in an uncomfortable place, but BREAK UP WITH THIS DUDE. I know that it's easy to feel happy when you're with someone, but this awful, toxic dude is NOT WORTH YOUR TIME. Break up with him. PLEASE break up with him. You can do SO SO SO much better.

LW#5: Maybe professional therapy to help you with the closure process? Sometimes just talking about stuff like that to a neutral third party can validate you enough that you can start to let it go, slowly.

EpWs

@The Lady of Shalott I thought of therapy as well! Seconded. Much better to talk to a therapist about this than to open up things with the ex (through whatever means) and possibly get hurt more.

TheCheesemanCometh

@The Lady of Shalott Yes, therapy. And, also: the more you try to force yourself NOT to think something, the more you will. Seriously, it's a Law. Talk it out with someone neutral, and stop beating yourself up over it.

:Cinnamon Girl:

And if you're not ready to commit to therapy, you can do something that my therapist suggested to me. Write what's called a "no-send" letter. It's basically that letter you want to write, but instead of sending it you do something with it (like burn it, tear it up into a million little pieces and bury it and plant a tree over it, shred it, etc). Any time you get the urge to write in this letter, write your motherfucking heart out. The no-send letter is really healing. Much better than just "giving it time," which you've already done. In addition to the no-send letter or processing things in therapy, time will help. But sometimes we need more than that.

EpWs

@:Cinnamon Girl: IT IS REALLY IMPORTANT THAT YOU ACTUALLY DESTROY THIS THING. Cannot overstate this. DO burn it. DO NOT put it in a box and move it around with you from place to place and then your daughter finds it in a box in a closet when she's like eight and gets RATHER CONFUSED. (True story: this is how I learned the word "fuck." NOT AS IN THE ACTION, as in the exclamation.)

Speaking of cake, I have cake

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher I want to hear the details of this story! I'm presuming your mother was the author of the closure letter? Who was it for? I like hearing about the secret lives of parents....

EpWs

@Speaking of cake, I have cake It was my mom, and it wasn't so much a closure letter as it was a venting/letting-off-steam letter, directed at my dad but never given to him.* I don't remember too much of the contents (except for the cursing, b/c duh) but I apparently put it back in the wrong place and my mom found out and we had A Talk and that was not fun at all.

So learn from this, y'all. BURN YOUR LETTERS.

*My parents are fine! They are lovely and happy! They just celebrated their 27th wedding anniversary! They are adorable.

Myrtle

@:Cinnamon Girl: I wrote one of these letters, as an email. And sent it! I lost 700 mentalpounds and butterflies came out of my behind at every traffic light! Epic! And then I got an email back that said "message received" in the Subject line, and I deleted it! If only I'd done it sooner.

terrific

Re: Lady 2: Talk about it!!!!!!!!! I can't add enough exclamation marks to that. It's okay to want to change and do new things and become a different version of you, and that's not gonna stop just because you got married. That doesn't mean your relationship is doomed — it just means you need to step out of your comfort zone.

If he's not cool with you stepping out of your comfort zone, then that's a different story. But talk about it with him. Do something new, alone or with him, start new hobbies, whatever. It's easy to get stuck in a rut but it doesn't mean there's a fundamental flaw in your marriage.

People change in relationships and marriages. The fun thing is, he'll get to sit next to you and watch you as you change — and vice versa.

noodge

@terrific yes, you have to be willing/able to grow and allow the other person to grow, at the same time or on individual levels, or else your marriage won't grow and flourish. simple as that.

SarahP

@terrific Yes! I agree with everything you're saying!

han
han

@terrific Agreed! It could be an inherent problem with the marriage, but it also might not be! All you can do is talk about it. Sometimes, when I'm feeling in a rut I blame it on things that it's really not about, which comes from being scared of change and having something solid to blame it on. But it's usually not!

dtowngirl

@terrific I completely agree--this was excellent advice for lady #2. If you want to change someething, go for it! And, maybe your husband can look to you for inspiration. And then you can get into a wonderful inspiration cycle, where you're both doing awesome things and growing and still in a happy relationship!

Lexa Lane

@terrific Agree! Admittedly, I'm coming at this from a single perspective, but I have to confess that over the years I have more then once been very confused watching a few (not all) of my coupled-up and/or married friends apparently become one person with two bodies. Provided the other person is supportive of you getting out there and challenging yourself and trying new things, the only thing stopping you from doing all of that is you. And your spouse is not the *only* relationship you have in your life. This is where friends come in - have them be the ones that challenge you to change, and help you with it!

OhMarie

@terrific Yeah!! My husband made some big changes in himself at a time when I couldn't (he lost 80 pounds and did everything before I got home while I was commuting 2-3 hours a day) and I just love it so much that he was able to do that for himself.

There were also some really nice side effects--before he started actually changing, he was getting a little depressed and touchy, and now he's so much happier.

LW #2

@terrific Responses! Yesssss. And nice ones at that.
Considering my letter didn't make it into the headline and that far more of the threads concern french tips than me, I'm feeling better about this.
Which is good because the bottle of red I opened up to prepare for the response sucks.

I guess what it boils down to is that I feel a few things lacking in my life right now but most of them aren't central to the relationship. More specifically, you all have helped me realize that I may be putting too much responsibility on him because I find myself rather lacking in the friend department right now. So it's not as simple as finding the support and motivation I need in them, I need to fucking find them first. It's been a hell of a couple years for me and a lot of good relationships got neglected. Couple that with the fact that we're all at the point of starting careers, having kids, getting married, etc. and my social life is a fucking ghost town. None of us are very good at this whole Adulthood thing yet.
This is also a pretty familiar pattern for me in long term relationships. Every other time there was something else that ended the relationship and so I never had to figure out how to resolve this on my own, I just was pulled out of it. And those times about 3 months post-breakup were always kind of the best. I thought I was doing a good job of avoiding this pitfall with my husband at first, but I guess the 3 years of chaos derailed me. I do have a good therapist though and finally broached this subject with her last session. We'll see how Monday goes.

I suppose there's still the issue that I can't (and have never really been able to) nail down exactly what it is I want.
Vast interests + Millienial "You can be/do/have anything!" upbringing + Predisposition to indecisiveness = 0

whateverlolawants

@LW #2 That equation at the end rings all too true for me too.

A positive spin on it is "Renaissance Person"- maybe check out the book called something like that.

Xanthophyllippa

@LW #2 Hey, LW2, do you have a cool friend who will do new things with you? Because I had this great mentor once who told me, "Always have at least one friend who's smarter than you and will push you to grow." And it's the best advice anyone's EVER given me. So maybe if your man is content and you'd like to be a little more adventurous, you can find some of that outside your marriage? As long as he's not actively acting against you, then there's no reason you shouldn't strike out with a trusty sidekick.

planforamiracle

@LW #2 I just want to say thanks for sending in this letter. I recognize myself in it, even though I'm a few years younger than you, and not married, but the feeling/fear you describe sometimes gnaws away at my heart and it is very scary.
The worst part is that I have no idea what I want. (RIGHT?!) I've been test-driving a few different things and finding out what I *don't* want, which is a start. And I know it's nerdy, but I have been finding that reading career self-help books from the library is soothing to my fear, even though I haven't found them helpful in a concrete way.

LW #2

@planforamiracle Uh, you're welcome? It seems odd to be thanked for what I see as my whining, but if it helps anyone else that's an awesome bonus!
I'll think about that career/self-help thing a bit. I recently took an abridged Keirsey personality test thing (INFJ represent!) and the results were a little mind-blowing and very insightful. I should review that a but more... I also have a copy of The Nerdist Way that I've skimmed, and if I can commit to that I think it'd be a good start.

LW #2

@Xanthophyllippa In theory? I don't know that there's any one person that would be into everything I am, but between a few friends I could probably cover my bases.
That's part of the problem though. I'm way out of touch with all my old friends and they're much like me in that it's nearly impossible to make plans with them that everyone actually commits to. I think it's time to start making new friends but as everyone has lamented at various points here it just so haaaaard at this age. I volunteer and all that and have met cool people but taking it to the next level is really awkward territory.
I am eagerly awaiting a 'Pinup to materialize here.

Quin

@LW #2 I totally understand your plight! I am the sort of person who will keep living with roommates I hate/go to the dentist who annoys me/never socializes because my coworkers aren't kindred spirits and then I get mad at myself for never making positive changes in my life. My sort-of-partner actually cites my lack of willingness to change things that I hate as his main gripe about me. He was really excited when I actually made a new friend that I'm willing to continue hanging out with (instead of friending them on Facebook and then avoiding them for the rest of my life).

...plus what do people actually do to enrich their lives? Seriously. I've volunteered before (but don't have the energy to try again? Is that super lame?), I've done stuff like dance classes (partner dance is amazing, but my knees stopped loving me so I had to stop, and a recent burlesque class was a total disappointment), and I think I'm supposed to look forward to more in life than the tasty leftovers I have in the fridge.

That got long winded. Sorry.

LW #2

@Quin Hey, no problem here. It sounds like you have a pretty similar experience to me. I'm not lacking in ideas or outlets (volunteering, classes etc.) it's just not doing it for me in terms of fulfillment or conectedness or friendship or what have you. I still have a nagging feeling of insignificance.

Xanthophyllippa

@LW #2 I think you're dealing with two different issues here - the need/desire to try something new and the need/desire to feel significant. What to you mean by "feeling of insignificance" - that you're not making a lasting impression on the entire world? Or that you're not doing something you personally find fulfilling? If it's the former, then I don't know how you'd get past that without scaling down your expectations for yourself. We're not all going to be President or cure cancer, but having a positive impact on some small segment of your world (or on a handful of people) isn't always as hard. It sounds like you've taken that route via volunteering already and it didn't work for you, but maybe there's another way to get that external sense of significance.

If by "significant" you mean "something completely out of character that will show I'm not stuck in a rut," then maybe make a Dream List? If you could do anything in the world (with cost and logistics no obstacle), what things would you do? Even if the actual list item isn't possible ("grow a set of wings and fly to Spain"), there still might be a variant you can discover (hangliding).

Reginal T. Squirge

No, no. It's ok. I was just making a documentary about blowskis.

insouciantlover

@ReginalTSquirge@twitter Lately I've really enjoyed calling them "suckies". It's so sensual.

steve

@ReginalTSquirge@twitter
"Of course it doesn't seem like a documentary now, I haven't recorded it in my David Attenborough voice yet."

BoozinSusan

@steve Werner Herzog, where did YOU suddenly materialize from? What? You said you heard someone say "documentary" through the ether, all the way over in Germany, and you want first dibs to be the voiceover man for my blowski?
I - well, dammit Herzie, I'd be honored.

Reginal T. Squirge

@BoozinSusan "What remains is his footage. And while we watch the animals in their joys of being, in their grace and ferociousness, a thought becomes more and more clear. That it is not so much a look at wild nature, as it is an insight into ourselves, our nature. And that, for me, beyond his mission, gives meaning to his douchebaggery."

laurel

@ReginalTSquirge@twitter Perfection.

Statham

@ReginalTSquirge@twitter It would also be an excellent time to use the phrase, "And thar she blows."

wharrgarbl

"I don't understand why this man insists on making really stupid, dishonest, flat out weird decisions, and then cries when you offer to allow him to see other people?"

Because that offer means that LW will also be seeing other people, whereas cheating every second he's not with her while swearing he's faithful every second he is lets him get to fuck around but keeps her from getting any other dick. Dude's a shitbag, basically.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@wharrgarbl DING DING DING! (dude's playing a tired game.)

Ham Snadwich

@wharrgarbl - He's clearly absolutely distraught at being caught. I bet if you give him another chance you'll never catch him again.

(Also the chutzpah of someone that would claim to be doing a documentary about getting laid online should be noted.)

LeafySeaDragon

french manis are gorgeous. i love them and they are classy (not to be confused with klassy). have you seen black tipped french? very chic. i think they are fabulous. i always get french. they do edge into klassiness when your nails are big and fake and square tipped. or glittered with confetti. just sayin'

lw#5 do NOT send a letter! if you have to write one, burn it! i fostered some very deep red anger at my ex for about 5? years after we broke up and i was even happily married! i. just. hated. him. so. much. i am am angry person and i hold grudges, some people don't. as a card-carrying angry grudgey bitch i say you own that anger, be angry and then eventually you will wonder how you were angry for so long.

EpWs

@LeafySeaDragon The shiny/matte black french manicures? I die. I must have one. (My nails are not remotely long enough for this.)

LeafySeaDragon

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher my nails are usually really short and the french is an optical illusion. it works!

Kitty

@LeafySeaDragon My therapist says anger is a way to make sure you don't go back to shitty situations. Which is good because I the VP of the angry grudgey bitch club in regards to my exs.

redheaded&crazy

@Kitty so true. anger can be a useful emotion! Anger at having your time wasted, at being manipulated, at being taken advantage of. Those are reasonable things to be angry about in my (redheaded) opinion!

Susanna

@LeafySeaDragon Kate Moss was rocking Rouge Noir with gold tips a couple of years ago, and I tried gold tips against plain – very cool.

Susanna

@LeafySeaDragon Kate Moss once had Rouge Noir nails with gold tips – looked fantastic. I give myself gold tips against a plain background sometimes.

missvancity

@LeafySeaDragon Last week I did the BEST manicure for a week-long work conference: Taupe, with black tips. My nails looked like a Chanel bag! Also, I am a big fan of doing clear nails, with a fun coloured, or glitter tip!

MoxyCrimeFighter

These are my nails right now!

http://tinyurl.com/77m9zng

It's a little hard to see in the picture, but they're silver, navy, and a shimmery blue in various configurations.

Hello Kidney

@missvancity Would somebody make a nail tutorial on how to paint just the tips for me pretty please? :)

MoxyCrimeFighter

@Hello Kidney I tried some of those special French tip sticker things that are supposed to give you the perfect manicure...PFFFT. They sucked. They didn't have a good seal so the polish bled and they ripped up the base coat (I was doing yellow and purple). For the ones in the picture I posted upthread, I used scotch and it worked really, really well. Use a little piece, bend/fold it however you need to in order to fit the shape of your nail, and paint away! Also, pull the tape up as soon as you're done; the paint won't smear if you're careful, and it'll keep it from drying and coming off with the tape later.

OhMarie

@Hello Kidney I use tape. :)

missvancity

@Hello Kidney The stickers were on sale at Shopper's Drug Mart a few weeks ago, so I stocked up, and haven't had any problems. I do make sure to brush away from the sticker, rather than into it, if that helps.

effystonem

@Hello Kidney If you use regular tape make sure you stick it to the palm of your hand a few times so it's not SUPER sticky - otherwise the polish underneath will get ripped up when you take it off (I learned this the hard way). Also, those nail art polishes work pretty well if you have a really steady hand, the brushes are really thin so it's easy to just do the tip (heh).

I personally don't like the traditional nude pink/white tips French but if you do a colored and/or glittered tip it looks awesome! Or do like a sheer shimmery color as the base coat (like China Glaze's White Cap) with a fun bright color on the tip (or an ombre, with each nail a different color), it looks AWESOME and isn't as scary for some people as doing a loud color on the whole nail.

I think way too much about nail polish.

Hellcat

@OhMarie I read this as "I used kidney tape," and became very confused for a second. But, yeah, the Scotch Magic Tape is pretty good, and so is the blue painter's tape.

I bought a bottle of something called Liquid Palisade (http://liquidpalisade.com/how_to_apply.php), which you paint onto your polished nails with a very skinny brush to make lines or tips or whatever--like, you'd make a line below where you want the different-colored tip to start, paint the tip, then peel off the stuff like stretchy glue. In theory, it was cool; in practice (at least for me), it was a mess. The brush is too long and unwieldy and the stuff gets pretty globby... but maybe someone less clumsy could get a lot of use out of it.

missvancity

@boom_itsashley NO SUCH THING AS THINKING TOO MUCH ABOUT NAIL POLISH.

Xanthophyllippa

@Hellcat I also wondered what "kidney tape" was. Heh.

noodge

LW5: you sound exactly like me about 2 years ago (1 1/2 years after leaving my similarly douchey ex). all the ANGER! and it will still STILL come up and slap me. hard. leaving me feeling all sorts of pissed off and butt hurt. even though I'm with a wonderful new dude. but on a scale of 1-10, my anger is about a 1-2 right now, where a year ago it was a 4-5, and a year before that it was a 6-7, etc. As my (lesbian communist) mother says: "time wounds all heals" - but really, just give it time, seek therapy, start to allow yourself to revel in the wonder and joy of life without an asshole who controls you and fucks you over. within another year or so, you'll find yourself on the low end of the anger spectrum.

laurel

@teenie I thought that expression was "Time wounds all heels."

cuminafterall

@laurel I thought it was "Shoes-without-socks season wounds all heels."

sevanetta

@teenie LW2! I am late to the party but I wanted to share something with you. I've been in this situation and one thing that helped me move towards the stage where I cared less (other than 'time', which everyone hates hearing) was the following exercise:

When you become aware that you are having a rageful inner monologue, imagine a forceful image to break the monologue, then bring your awareness back to the present.

The original place I read this suggested visualising a stop sign, but I'm afraid that wasn't strong enough for me, so I used to imagine punching my fist just once into my ex's face, and letting the image in my mind shatter into a million pieces. Then, to help get my awareness back to the present, I would say to myself 'it's not 2009 [when bad stuff happened] anymore, it's [2010/2011/2012]'.

Writing also helped me, but I will say, I don't need that so much anymore... but the punchy-face visual is still occasionally useful (as shown by need to remind self it is 2012, lol).

SarahP

You numbered the letters! Thank you!

redheaded&crazy

Also I so agree that you can give yourself closure. I would write down those angry internal monologues just to have them out there and on paper and maybe a little bit off your chest. Read them to your therapist/best friend/sister/email them to me OH MY GOD EMAIL THEM TO MEEEEEEEEE

I got into the situation that I thought would bring me closure, i.e. saying a bunch of things to my ex that I didn't get the chance to say. But guess what! He still didn't get it! He will never get it!

And in retrospect, I realized that me talking to him, sharing my emotions with him, my feelings about our relationship was just me being manipulated by him again. I don't owe him any of my thoughts, words, feelings. He doesn't deserve any of that.

Anyway, that realization (that any time I talked to him I was just letting myself be manipulated again) was pretty much what helped me to get closure.

noodge

@redheaded&crazie haha, once not long after my separation, i posted an angry missed connection in his city. i'm like one million percent sure he didn't notice/see/even know it existed but it felt pretty amazing to get that out there.

redheaded&crazy

@teenie oooooh that's a good one

Kitty

@redheaded&crazie They never get it, do they? (Seriously, I am getting angry right now thinking about him never getting it).

dham

@redheaded&crazie I second writing the monologues down. Someone suggested this to me post-break-up recently, and I was super skeptical / thought it cliched, but figured I would try anything once. And I found that when I carefully wrote out the emails I wanted to send- with myself as the addressee- the monologue wasn't "internal" anymore, and I would be able to read / watch movies / dissociate myself from the thoughts.

More important, I would only realize after writing them how much I actually *was* and always had been the letters' addressee.

redheaded&crazy

@dham Yes! It really really helps. Because when I'm thinking it, I'm usually just thinking the same lines over and over again. So once I've written it down it's like, okay, it's there, you're not going to forget that you felt that way, you can think about something else.

Also, I think people are making some very good points that often we are angry at people for mistreating us but also angry at ourselves for putting up with it, which is a much more difficult anger to process. Writing things down man. it is good.

steve

@dham
Yes, this!! Write a letter to yourself, LW5. Sending it to him just perpetuates his control.

Tinpantithesis

@dham Writing them as emails to yourself/drafts you never send/private journal entries/scribbles you cover in permanent marker = the BEST. I did this a ton during a really awful unending breakup. What I figured out was, as good as it would feel to monologue at him All The Many Ways He Was Awful, I mostly just wanted him to ...sit quietly and not say anything? And people don't do that. I realized I didn't want a *reaction* from him -- denial, apologies, tears, arguing, whatever -- I just wanted him to know in his soooooooul that he was Wrong. And nothing I could say would get him to realize that, you know? But getting it out somehow kept me from festering as much.

Plus, even though you're never going to be able to use anything you write down in relation to the person it's actually about, it can be helpful to clarify things in your head! And you can see "damn, self, I really get upset when people drop out of contact for three weeks and then try to act like nothing's wrong!" And then you know that regular communication is super-important to you, and you can use that in the parts of your life that don't involve shitty exes!

redheaded&crazy

@Tinpantithesis yes! your last paragraph is so true! writing out all the things I wasn't getting really did help me to clarify the things that I need to get in order to be a sane person.

themmases

@redheaded&crazie Yessss, I was just thinking about this very thing the other day. If someone truly makes you feel that mad, they are the very definition of a person who now does not get to hear your private thoughts and feelings or see you feeling vulnerable. They are the last possible person!

I had endless anger at an ex who would not stop inappropriately contacting me years after the fact (I still have a Facebook friend request from him, just so he can't resend it) and for a long time, even though the contact was unwanted, it was hard to resist responding if only to make it even clearer how little I thought of him and hear about how shitty his life was going.

A big motivator for me in no longer doing that is how he'll write to me and reference stupid stuff he thinks he knows about me-- like my 19 year old life dreams I don't even remember I had, they are so irrelevant now. And when that's all he has to bring up about it, it's transparent how manipulative he is being. Why would I respond to him and give him real information about my real, current self? So next time he sends me an unsolicited novella about how therapy is going, he'll sound like he makes sense?

redheaded&crazy

@themmases oh man, looking in from the outside and seeing the manipulation is scary. I didn't even break up with my ex because I thought he was being manipulative! I broke up with him for a host of other reasons and only realized months later that was the case.

DickensianCat

@Tinpantithesis, @redheaded&crazie, I have a word document on my desktop titled "Perfectly Crafted Retort." I have had limited to zero ex contact for a few years that as of blocking him on FB about a year ago now is "zero." Both of us know the score, but on the 1 % chance he ever tries to contact me again, I have this one paragraph missive ready to fire. Whenever I think about him and get angry, I will go back to the document and make slight changes; a different word here, flipping this sentence with that one, etc.

It used to not be enough to just know I had it ready--I wanted to tell that fucker what's what!--but slowly but surely I've started feeling okay about it never getting sent.

WaityKatie

@redheaded&crazie Yes, all of this. I had a really terrible frenemy-breakup a few years back, which was far worse than any romantic breakup I have ever had, and people telling me to talk to this person to get "closure" really drove me crazy. I knew that if I did talk to her, she would use it as another opportunity to manipulate me and twist everything I said or did and make me feel so much worse. I hated her a lot for a really long time, and then I gradually stopped thinking about the situation and now it's ok, but it took WAY LONGER than most people think things should take to get over. I just hate how there are these arbitrary time limits on emotional healing - just go through your process and eventually it will get better, even if you feel like a loser for hanging on to things longer than you "should" according to THE RULES OF LIFE, or whatever! It's much better that way!

themmases

@WaityKatie I experienced that with a frenemy situation too, and it made it so much worse. I was so ashamed of how much time I spent talking about it to, e.g., my boyfriend, and horrified when I looked back at my journal entries and saw how many of them were all about how angry I was at her. Of course making me feel so bad that I even felt bad about my feelings was one more shitty thing this person did to me. But at some point a switch did flip when I wanted to stop letting her do that-- and stop doing something that made me feel like part of the problem-- more than I wanted to complain about that awful behavior of hers too. Yes, it can absolutely take longer than seems "normal" to anyone else.

Vera Knoop

@themmases Thank you for talking about the frenemy thing. No romantic breakup has ever been as soul-destroying for me as ending certain toxic friendships. There's even less of a script for coping with them, and they can really uproot your whole life.

WaityKatie

@Vera Knoop There's also this kind of feeling out there that friendships are somehow less crucial than romantic relationships, so you 'shouldn't' feel worse about a bad friend breakup than a romantic breakup. But it's actually kind of the opposite, and yet you feel like you're not allowed to feel terrible about it, which makes it even worse because there's this layer of shame and feeling like a failure at life because you feel bad about it. When I walked away from my frenemy I also lost my whole close friend group in the city that I lived in, whose primary loyalty was to her, and basically for a year I had no friends to hang out with in my city (then I moved and made new friends somewhere else, but that year was really terrible). It's much the same kind of situation that happens when a long-term couple who has all the same friends breaks up.

whateverlolawants

@WaityKatie I'm so glad that someone mentioned the frenemy breakup. I had a devastating one with 3 girls over 4 years ago. It tore my life up, at least as much as the romantic breakup I had the month before. It took me at least 2.5 years to attain some sense of closure, and I still feel angry/hurt about it sometimes. And I thought I saw one of their moms the other day and started shaking.

I also have to make myself stop talking about them when I run into people who know them and might listen to me. I don't want our acquaintances to know just how much it got to me.

Chills

@WaityKatie frenemys are the worst. I cut off communication with all the people connected to the situation but we're all part of a small community in terms of careers and bumping into one of them at a conference was one of the worst things, spent the whole day freaking out. Ugh. Girls can be the worst!

sevanetta

@WaityKatie I usually keep quiet now about the length of time it has taken me to get over some things. one 18 month relationship took me nearly 3 years to get past, partly due to the awful way it ended. (PS I haven't seen you around for a bit!)

WaityKatie

@sevanetta Thanks for noticing! I just got back from a little over two weeks in Germany. Yeah, it seems like keeping quiet about things is pretty much the way to go in most situations, unfortunately.

LJ
LJ

@redheaded&crazie agree agree like crazy! write down the rants. Write a huge long, ranty letter about how you feel and everything you ever wanted to say. And then burn it slowly - watch the paper all curl up into nothingness and that's closure! (It's what I do every single time I'm furious with someone and need to get it off my chest.)

eiffeldesigns

LW#1- From the sage advice of Dan Savage- DTMFA.

LW#5- Get thee to therapy. Now. Even if it's just for a couple of sessions.

JessicaLovejoy

As a Full Time Internet, both 1 and 3 need to SHUT IT DOWN.

Caitlin Podiak

Once I was getting a mani/pedi at the same time as a bridal party and it was so hard watching the bride get not only a French manicure but a French pedicure as well. Personally I do find French manicures tacky, not because I think of them as porn-ish but because they are too reminiscent of all the dully pretty/preppy Abercrombie girls I went to high school with. (French tips with unexpected color combinations are exempt from this disdain.) But a French pedicure is revolting, it makes your feet look like weird little hands.

wharrgarbl

@Caitlin Podiak A French...pedicure? Why would you even?

insouciantlover

@Caitlin Podiak I never had any issue with it until my former (European) boss, who had never before made any comments about women's fashion, visibly shuddered once at some of the customers who had come in. Seeing his reaction I was curious as to what caused it, and he told me "she had a French manicure on her feet" and looked like he was in pain.

redheaded&crazy

@wharrgarbl yeah French pedi is the worst

also as a dully pretty/preppy uh, something more affordable than Abercrombie, girl, I'm sticking with my (very occasional) frenchs! pshaw they don't look tacky on ME!

thebestjasmine

@Caitlin Podiak Agree wholeheartedly. I think of them as very Jersey Shore.

Heat Signature

@Caitlin Podiak The first time I saw someone with with a French pedicure I was totally grossed out because it made her toenails look like claws.

The Lady of Shalott

@Caitlin Podiak Yeuchghgh French pedicure is the most.....no. It is the worst. There is never, ever, ever a need for that, ever.

Aunt Ada Doom

@Heat Signature I never knew about this french pedi hate! Is this only if the nails are long? I don't have it done professionally (high on my squick list: people messing with my finger- or toe-nails--especially people who have been messing with lots of other people's with the same implements?!), but I'll run a stripe of a light color across the tips of my toenails because they're teeeny tiiiiny and short, so it makes them look like they actually exist?

Now I'm worried.

killer_queen

@Caitlin Podiak I agree, mostly. I think a French manicure on someone with natural nails of a reasonable length is just fine, and the alternative-color ones are downright adorable. But big fake nails with a French tip where the white part is, like, half the length of the nail? NO THANK YOU PLEASE. The French pedicure, however, is indefensible.

wee_ramekin

@all You ladies can continue to bash on French pedicures all you want, but I will get my customary French tips at my next pedicure and sport them proudly.

[*NOTE: Am I wrong to think that the 'Pin is a bit better than the whole 'Hot / Not' columns that are used as fillers in Cosmo and the like? I sure hope not!]

TheBourneApproximation

@Caitlin Podiak I'm one of those people who doesn't care for long nails in general, either on myself or others, mostly because (as a bit of a germaphobe) I can't help but think of all the crap that must be building up underneath the nail. The French manicure just accentuates that vague feeling of disgust ("Look right here! Here are my nails and the tips are all opaque!"). By the time we're talking about French pedis, my brain is just shutting down.

Aunt Ada Doom

@wee_ramekin Put on some sandals and come sit by me!

acookieaday

@Caitlin Podiak I dislike French manicures on all but the shortest nails. A short nail with a tiny white stripe is ok. However, I'm a nail biter, so it doesn't really matter. I kind of think nails that go beyond the fingertip are gross and unwieldy which likely sets me apart from many women.

French pedicure... shudder.

Lady Humungus

@acookieaday I think I dislike the French manicure so much because I'm used to seeing it on acrylic nails, which are indeed porno tacky. On a natural, shorter nail though, it would be more elegant.

HeyThatsMyBike

@wee_ramekin I agree! I have always kept really short toenails and used to get French pedis on them on occasion (though I haven't gotten one in probably 6-7 years). I always thought it looked nice and polished as the strip on the top was always very thin on mine. Though can sympathize with those who find them tacky on the very long-toenailed amongst us. But ultimately, do whatever you want with the nails on your feet, ladies!

Hellcat

@HeyThatsMyBike Yeah, I picture them the same as I do the manicures--clean, simple, shiny, like unpolished, really nice toenails? But definitely, in my head, it's a very thin strip of white.

Bittersweet

@Lady Humungus I got a French manicure for my wedding, which was a *huge* deal because I was a terrible nail-biter, particularly under stress. The fact that I managed to stop biting for a month before my wedding so my nails were long enough for a French manicure was a major personal triumph.

And yes, I did make the photographer take that silly 'married hands' shot just so I had proof.

sox
sox

I have thought that I had an abominable step sister (who used to just be "sister"...and we are currently in lifelong silent treatment mode) but actually this sister puts it in perspective!
I disagree a bit with the Lady's approach though. I think she can start a conversation with her sister about her own observations of her, without giving away what she knows from their father. It will most certainly be a tricky convo to start, and maybe it would be helpful to see a therapist herself beforehand to beef up her own emotional health so she can approach it with utmost integrity and confidence.
It still may result in lifelong silence, as mine did, but it's okay to hold someone accountable for the manipulation and lifestyle she's living. Sister may just need a great enough impetus to change.

Emma Peel

LW5: My first serious relationship ended in a long-distance, very unsatisfying breakup that totally devastated me. I moved on to my own Relationship B, with my best male friend with whom I had the best communication and mutual respect and chemistry of anyone I've ever met. But I STILL also dwelled on the long-distance ex all the time and was bitter because I'd never seen him again and there was no closure. For three years. I daydreamed about telling him I realized how bad he'd treated me, or meeting for coffee to show off how fabulous I was these days, and all of those things.

Finally I woke up one day and realized the only closure you get is the kind you give yourself. And I did. I unfriended him on Facebook, ended all contact, and decided that chapter of my life was closed. Writing a letter isn't going to give you closure; it'll just perpetuate the cycle as you wonder if he got it and what he's thinking and whether he'll respond and it will drive you crazy. Patience and time are the way to go. It will happen. It's completely possible to achieve closure on your own -- in fact, it might be the only way.

(Also, the devastating end of Relationship B immediately picked up any remaining baggage with A and whisked it away in a plain van. Isn't it funny how that works?)

Woman Laughing Alone With Boas

LW1: This sounds like an emotionally abusive relationship. He does these things because there is something broken inside that only he himself, with the help of a professional, can fix. He may do this for himself one day, or he may not, ever; but you can do absolutely nothing to bring that about, and in fact, by continuing to see him, you are probably ensuring that he won't, and that he will continue to abuse you. If you allow this to continue, know that someday, somewhere down the line, you may also feel broken inside. I say this because I lived it, and I know how incredibly fucking stupid hard it is, especially when you feel so, so alone. But he is also creating an environment in your life where you can not be un-alone.

Call someone who loves you, really loves you, even if they are so far away. It will help.

Olivia2.0

@Woman Laughing Alone With Boas Love you for this "He does these things because there is something broken inside that only he himself, with the help of a professional, can fix." And it needs to be said.

thebestjasmine

@Woman Laughing Alone With Boas Yes. And he's preying on her, because she's in a vulnerable place and he knows that.

PistolPackinMama

@thebestjasmine Yup. He is doing it because he can. And whatever the motivation is, he has to handle.

LW, that guy sounds dreadful. I want so much better for you. Being alone in a terrible town is better than being with someone who either can't love you or won't love you enough to respect you and to act like he respects you.

Ugh.

Seriously.

Also, if long-term lonely is going to be an issue- how hard would it be for you to find job you love in town you can manage? Or is that a no-go?

Woman Laughing Alone With Boas

@thebestjasmine @Olivia2.0 Thank you guys. I edited this out of my original comment because I don't want to sound like I am making assumptions or victimizing or telling anyone what to do, but: It could also help, if you truly feel like you have no one, to call a hotline. There are (hopefully) resources in your region, although if it's a very small town, that may be difficult.

Also, props to A Lady for taking on these difficult questions, but as two of the letter writers appear to be dealing with current or past abusive relationships, I feel that it very important to emphasize that you really don't have to do it alone, and you don't have to feel bad about not being able to seemingly "let go" on your own. Sometimes you just need guidance, someone to talk to and help you untangle all the thoughts and feelings that seem to be inescapable. It's not shameful, or a sign of weakness, to get help from your area resources or from a professional counselor. Lots of places have free and sliding-scale services for people who are dealing with these issues.

lalaland

LW#3: Okay, this is going to sound kind of Mean Girls, but the current opinion on French manicures is that they are definitely out. BUT, if you love them, rock them! Maybe in an ironic-I'm-just-ahead-of-the-curve kind of way. Like how 90's fashion is coming back, aggressively. Or just rock them because you love them!

LW#5: I was in an emotionally abusive relationship for a year and some change. I ended it on my terms and had pretty much all the closure you could really hope for, complete with him emailing me a few months later and apologizing for his behavior because he realizes he was a complete jerk (still a jerk). It's been about 2 years, I am now in a happy, healthy relationship with a really awesome guy. BUT, every now and then, I still dream about the ex in a very angry, upsetting, I hate you kind of way. And when mutual friends bring him up every now and then, I just feel this burning loathing. The thing is, this guy impacted your life, and maybe what you need isn't really closure, but acceptance (which is basically like closure...). Like, he was awful, it was a bad time, and sure you're a little scarred from the experience, but we all have scars, and that's okay. Give it time, but feel free to write angry things as well. Just maybe don't mail it.

yamtoes

LW1: I know the idea of being "alone" is scary, but it sounds to me like being in this relationship would feel a million times worse than that.

insouciantlover

LW2, and all the LW, this is terribly unhelpful but my GOD I wouldn't accept any amount of money to be 28 all over again. That and 13 are in the annals of "soooo glad I survived that" periods of my life.

insouciantlover

@insouciantlover Oh! My point in typing this was: it is absolutely not ridiculous to feel like you're having a quarter life crisis at this age. It's quite normal, from what I can tell.

NeverOddOrEven

@insouciantlover What if it's been going on for 8 years...?

Vera Knoop

@insouciantlover I don't know that I've ever seen recognition of this. It's so, so true. Maybe it's why all those rock stars checked out early.

frigwiggin

I have my own advice-needing question for people (y'all can ignore me if you want). So I got a tattoo. It ended up being larger than I had planned, but I love it and I love how it fills the space. I had it done an hour and a half away from home, because home is filled with crummy tattoo artists, and I was going to be there anyway because I was staying the weekend with a friend. I tried to talk with my boyfriend of four years about it beforehand, but he kept brushing me off and seemed really disinterested in the topic, so I dropped it. After the whole thing was done and I was high on new-tattoo happiness, he texted me (I'd sent him a picture) to tell me he hated it and that he'd avoided texting me all day because he didn't want to tell me how big and ugly and tacky he thought it was. We fought about it when I got home (the word "big" came up a lot again), and it came out that he felt really left out of the whole process and was full of hurt feelings about it--when I hadn't involved him because he had seemed aggressively disinterested, and I thought he might warm up to the idea after it was already done (yeah, yeah, dumb choice). So, anyway, after that fight, we haven't talked about it at all, and I've just been wearing t-shirts around the house so he doesn't have to look at it, although I've just worn tank tops the last few days and there hasn't been a scene. But folks--am I wrong for still being mad at him for acting like the wounded party? I feel like I tried so hard to involve him, and if he wasn't going to communicate the depth of his dislike of the idea then what was I supposed to do? He admitted during the fight that he would probably eventually get used to it, but I feel like he just feels sorry for himself and is never going to apologize for insulting something that is important to me.

redheaded&crazy

@frigwiggin weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeell it's your body? and he loves you? so he should accept your body the way you want it to be!

this answer brought to you by fairytale fantasy land maybe? :(

noodge

@frigwiggin um, it sounds like he has some sort of beef with his s.o. having a tattoo, and was/is having control issues about it. ("i'll ignore her, she'll drop it eventually. oh shit she got it! i'm going to act mad now, that'll show her") it's ok to have things that your partner doesn't like, and it's ok for them to express they don't like it, but i think ultimately it was a good exercise in reminding him that you're an individual that will make your own decisions about this stuff. rock your tattoo, show it off, i think that will help soothe your anger. he'll either get over it or not, time will tell.

sugar cubism

@frigwiggin Yeah here's my two cents: It's your body! Not his! He should've had the conversation with you beforehand if it was going to, like, hurt his feelings that you got a tattoo that you wanted. And then you could have addressed, beforehand, how CRAZY it is to get sore for someone getting a tattoo on their own body that they wanted. (That's crazy. It's one thing not to like it but hey man, keep it to yourself!)

LeafySeaDragon

@frigwiggin he's being a little juicy. ultimately it's YOUR body. if he had this much of a problem he should have been more clear. not that it's helpful for me to say, but he's in the wrong here and if you were me i'd be needing chocolate, flowers, and some hardcore asskissing.

insouciantlover

@frigwiggin GAH I am gritting my teeth at him... I mean, okay, you've been with him for four years so he's not ALWAYS a passive aggressive jerk, right?

Could it be that he thought that it wasn't his place, initially, to express that he didn't want you to get inked, but then once it was there he realized that he should have and isn't expressing his annoyance properly?

And duh, no you aren't wrong for still being mad at him. (also, am I correct in remembering that it's a semi-colon tattoo? I'm an aging stoner so my mindgrapes don't have the same juice that they used to have.)

wharrgarbl

@frigwiggin Nope! Dude apparently had multiple chances to tell you how he felt and instead of doing that, he brushed you off. He doesn't get to have a tantrum about you not wheedling his feelings out of him like he was an overtired kindergartener who didn't want to take a nap and then not have to deal with the fallout from that tantrum. And stop covering that tat, girl. Can't be good for it if it's still healing, and he's gonna have to get the fuck over it eventually.

han
han

@frigwiggin It's YOUR body, and you gave him plenty of opportunities to talk about it before the fact, it sounds like. Talking about how he hates it after the fact is just passive aggressive and mean!

Quinn A@twitter

@frigwiggin It's your body, and it's intensely rude of him to make you feel bad about something you can't easily change and originally loved. You do not owe him an apology; he owes you one. & you're well within your rights to hold out for it.

(I bet it looks awesome)

george glass

@frigwiggin @frigwiggin Yeah pretty much his only option is to get over it. Your tattoo, like most things, will not go away if he ignores it. You should be proud of your new ink (go you!), it's your damn dermis.
Somewhat relatedly, I called a then-boyfriend on my way out of the piercing studio to ask, "so what are your opinions on septum piercings?"
"...you got your septum pierced, didn't you?"
I don't remember the rest of the convo, but I do remember that he made me cry a little bit about it. Forget that guy, though; it looked rad and we broke up before he even got to see it. Sucka.

thebestjasmine

@frigwiggin Okay, here's the thing. I'm going to go a little against the grain here. Yes, it's your body and you can do anything with it that you like. But I am really not a tattoo person. I don't like looking at them (they just make me think of pain), it's a visceral reaction. If I was with someone who was getting a tattoo in a place that I looked at all the time, I would not be happy about it, but I would also not feel that it was my place to tell them what to do with their body, so if they tried to engage me about the decision I wouldn't say much. And if I was pressed on the issue, I would probably say that I didn't like it. So I can see where he's coming from here -- it's your body, he didn't tell you not to get it, but he doesn't like it, and he wasn't going to lie to you that he did. Being passive aggressive about it was probably not good, but I don't really see where he was wrong other than that. You wanted him to like it, he didn't, but he didn't tell you not to do it.

fabel

@frigwiggin I dunno, it's obviously YOUR body, but when I'm in love with someone, I feel like their body is my body & my body is their body as well? Maybe this is how your boyfriend feels, but in a cute way, & not a controlling possessive douche-y way?

He definitely should have said something beforehand, though. If my S/O suddenly started talking about how he's gonna get a tattoo, I'd definitely have something to say about it BEFORE he went & did it.

beebz

@frigwiggin I like your question and LW5's question because they're partly about how long it's acceptable to be angry, which I think about frequently. I hate the feeling of being angry and when I feel it towards others I always end up feeling it towards myself, just for having that feeling at all! Which is a little crazy. Anyway, I think the answer to your question is that you can't really be wrong to feel as you do; you can't have a time frame for when feelings Must Stop and you just get over it. And when you're in a relationship you are allowed to reach out to the other person and ask them to do more to help you get over something that has hurt you. So that's lucky, I think. In the case of LW5, it's so much harder. All the closure has to come from your own brain.

wharrgarbl

@thebestjasmine My thinking is that you don't have to like it, and you don't even have to say "I don't like tattoos, I would prefer if you didn't do this," even if that's how you're feeling, because it's their body...but you don't then get to snit about how you feel left out of the process and unconsulted if someone tries to consult you and you shut it down. If you want to be mad that someone didn't talk to you first, you have to have been willing to talk to them. It's pretty much a rule.

JanieS

@frigwiggin Controlling AND passive-aggressive - what a winning combination! If he was THAT against tattoos, he should have made it clear before-hand. If he didn't do that he has NO RIGHT to bitch about it after the fact.

PistolPackinMama

@frigwiggin Ugh.

My generally pretty great but sometimes not ex. He would do this thing:

Me, wearing a hat because it is cold.

Him: Can I buy you this new hat?

Me: I don't need another hat.

Him: But this one goes better with your coat. It'll look great on you.

Me: I don't want a new hat.

Him: Here, I got you a new hat.

Me: You don't like my cream cable knit beanie, do you?

Him: No, I just think this one will look better on you. That one is too formal.

And so on.

Goddamn. He would circle around and around an issue (judgmentally) so when you said "will you please just say what you mean?" or "gosh, judgy much?" he could be all "I have no idea what you are talking about."

I hated that. Especially since, I am really confident about my clothes and style and looks, so having this sort of Smeagol-like hinting about how he didn't like my hat or whatever really gave me rage.

It's my body, my clothes, my choices.

And also, he came to a fancy fancy birthday dinner for me wearing an ugly acrylic sweater that didn't fit and non-coordinated trousers because apparently hipster dumpster divers don't have to put on reasonably nice clothes for their girfriend's birthdays with her family.

Did I say something? Did I hell. He didn't ask, it wasn't fully inappropriate, and it wasn't my business.

thebestjasmine

@wharrgarbl You are right, I agree with all of that, the way that he approached it was wrong. But maybe he just didn't realize how big it was going to be (she says that she didn't either) and just got more upset when he saw that it was that big? I can see how he wouldn't want to say something before the fact, though, because if so he's telling her what to do with her body and that sucks.

wharrgarbl

@thebestjasmine (Wrote this before I saw your reply, sorry!) It is even okay, in my opinion, to be all "I don't care for tattoos, and I didn't say anything because it's your body, and I avoided you trying to talk about it because I didn't want to have to either lie or start something you seemed bent on, but now that you got it it's really bothering me more than I expected. Sorry, you're going to have to give me a little while to get used to it." That is a reasonable feeling that a reasonable person can have! It's just not okay to try to avoid your way out of something and then be angry about your avoidance not turning out the way you hoped. That's not an okay way to try to manipulate your partner.

Basically, he's just handling this in a really crap way and she's perfectly within her rights to be mad at him for handling it in a crap way.

atipofthehat

@wharrgarbl

He should have gotten a French pedicure in silent protest.

redheaded&crazy

@atipofthehat you sir have crossed a line!!!

PistolPackinMama

@atipofthehat Aahhhhhhhh! I needed a laugh today, and this provided that opportunity. Thank you!

PistolPackinMama

@frigwiggin wait wait wait, are you the one with the ADORABLE Singer Sewing book tat? Or is that someone else.

Because if that one is pissing him off, I particularly would like him to stick a sock in it, because it was a very cute idea.

(Even if it were a dolphin jumping through a bellybutton ring he should stick a sock in it.)

thebestjasmine

@wharrgarbl That is totally a better way to react, yes. But I also think that a lot of times when we've been trying to hold something back and it finally comes out in a fight with your partner, it comes out in a sub-optimal way. I only wish that I could fight with people in that kind of way (you have no idea how many comments I type and do not press send on, for example -- this is why it's often better to think before pressing send, if only we could do that from brain to mouth). So yeah, the fight was terrible, but frig should totally bring it up again now that they have both thought about it, and there could be a much better conversation about it all.

steve

@PistolPackinMama
"Well I've heard that there's this thing called equality now, and it's wrong for me to tell my girlfriend what to wear and how to look. I'd best just do it in a very roundabout fashion by niggling and undermining."

Also, the man was clearly a fool to think a beanie more formal than a hat.

george glass

@PistolPackinMama Nope, the sewing tat is mine, I am flattered you remembered it ! For the record, the bf loves it.

commanderbanana

@frigwiggin Girl. Girrrrrl.

So, full disclosure, I am like covered in tattoos. Except for, like, one leg, and my neck and face. I had one tattoo when I met my SO and got the rest while we were dating, so I went from one-tattoo-having-lady to The Tattooed Lady.

Firstly, it is totally okay to not be into certain things, whether it be a hair color (I dunno, I'm not into blondes myself) or a type of body mod, or whatever.

But what is NOT okay is to be a juicebox to your girlfriend after you are given the opportunity to give your input and you REFUSE TO DO SO.

I don't think the issue here is the tattoo, even though it's ostensibly about the tattoo. Is he "aggressively disinterested" about other aspects of your life or your relationship? Does he have a history of undermining your decisions and jeopardizing your self-confidence?

I'm pretty quick to whip out the DTMFA, because everyone here is fabulous and could get an amazing new guy like THAT, but I'm not necessarily advocating that you dump this dude.

Maybe sit him down and be like, hey, I gave you a chance to air your opinion, you chose not to, I love my tattoo, I don't care if you don't, Imma rock it. Then rock it.

BUT, if this is not a one-time thing but part of a bigger pattern, maybe think a little about whether this dude is The Dude.

melis

Wait, guys, whose body is it, I feel like we sort of left that issue unresolved? Where'd we land on that body ownership/whose it was question?

frigwiggin

@insouciantlover I promise that most of the time he's a fun-loving and good-natured guy who is into the other things I do--he loves helping me dye my hair, etc. etc.

@thebestjasmine That's fair! I mean, I was disappointed that he didn't like it, but I know that he doesn't have to. (I have my own ish where I feel a great throbbing need to be approved of by every single person in my life, so this is kind of good for me in that I am owning and loving the tattoo despite his dislike.) I was mostly feeling pissy because he was really avoidant about the whole topic--he did tell me that he wasn't big on the concept, but did not, I think, express to me the strength of this feeling, when he says he felt I knew he was completely against the idea the whole time. Which, fair, it IS bigger than I'd planned, but he also delivered his dislike to me in an extremely untactful way that made me almost burst into tears at the Earthquakes game my friend and I were at afterwards. (Really, he had to tell me it was TACKY?)

And, y'all, he did say that he didn't tell me not to do it because it's my body and he didn't feel he had a right to tell me what to do, which is right, but it was his overreaction afterwards that chafed my hide. I was also confused because he finds heavily tattooed hipster girls adorable, but apparently doesn't like them on me for some reason that he has so far been unable to define.

@PistolPackinMama Unfortunately, I am not that adorable one--it is a semicolon on my shoulder blade. (Apparently a large one. I just measured it [roughly] and it is about three inches high?)

atipofthehat

@melis

And don't various parts belong to various people? Heart belongs to Daddy (in San Francisco?), Eyes are only for You, and the Organ Donor people sort the rest out?

atipofthehat

@frigwiggin

I think he owes you an apology and should give it a chance, since it's done now.

If I'd been in his place, I'd be realizing about now that I was more insecure than I'd thought and this was, unfortunately, the way it had happened to come to light.

frigwiggin

@melis It is funny how many people reiterated this, but it also makes me laugh/sob how many people out there in the world do not understand this as a core concept.

roughe

@frigwiggin okay, here's the thing, wiggin.

none of my boyfriends, or any caring person i think, would EVER EVER be so heartless as to TEXT ME after i got something PERMANENTLY SCARRED into my body that i had ASKED THEIR INPUT ON and they NEVER SAID ANY REAL OPINION that said expensive, well-planned scaring is UGLY and they HATE IT. they might say, 'wow, it's different,' or, 'i can't believe you did that!' but they would never say such cruel heartless things.

your boyfriend is a jerk. that's not just a minor lapse. i know i don't know you or anything, but i swear, like two years from now you will have wished you had dmtfa WAY WAY sooner

noodge

@frigwiggin (3" isn't big - it's nice-sized - not sooo small that it's clear the person wasn't sure about getting a tattoo, but not so big that it's shocking for a first tattoo... good choice!)

frigwiggin

@roughe The thing is (I know it sounds like I am making excuses for him but whatever), I don't think it was an intentionally heartless thing to do, just thoughtless. I mean, it did make me very sad, and I still think it is a bit self-absorbed for him to be like "blahhh wahhh" about it, but I do not think he was aiming to be hurtful. I just want him to think more carefully in the future. I will keep your advice in mind, though. It is hard to say what will be, two years from now, but altogether, I do not think I will ever regret the time he and I have had together.

(Also, to anyone who is curious: It is thus. Although it has scabbed and peeled since and looks less like a Sharpie drawing and more like a tattoo now. Oh MAN when the entire scab for the top circle peeled off at once and fell down my dress in the bathroom at work...)

thebestjasmine

@frigwiggin The thing is, nice and kind people say thoughtless things all the time. There's a big distinction between thoughtless and cruel (though if thoughtless happens every single time, that's another thing), and a big distinction between someone who says something thoughtless in frustration one time and a jerk that you should dump and regret the time that you spent with.

frigwiggin

@thebestjasmine Yup! I think we are singing the same song here. He has ongoing trouble with communicating effectively--yeah blah blah blah boys but he really does, he is quiet and shy and tends to say, "I don't know how to say what I mean with big words like you do!" which is a laugh riot because I am balls-terrible at expressing myself verbally. But he spends a lot of time in his head and the thoughts that are formed in there do not often make it to the mouth, and when they do, they sometimes come out poorly. So I try to give him a break because he tries. But I do get mad about it sometimes, because he does need to take responsibility when he says something crappy, even when he doesn't mean to.

wharrgarbl

@roughe I think the "awful things we've said" contest kind of voids the idea that this, as a one-time event, means he's the devil. It's like if this sort of passive-aggressive nonsense was a pattern of behavior rather than "Hey, we had this fight, is this an okay thing to be a bit pissed over?". That he's being juicy over this doesn't necessarily mean he's a juicebox in general.

@atipofthehat At least then I guess they could have had a productive discussion about why one would get a French pedi.

wharrgarbl

@frigwiggin The "It's your body" is actually like the default wharrgarbl household response to "I'm thinking of doing x, what do you think?". "I want to grow my hair out, what do you think?" "I think you fucking hated it last time you did that, but it's your body." "I'm thinking of growing my beard out, what do you think?" "I think it looks kind of dumb, but it's your body." "I'm thinking of shaving my goatee off, what do you think?" "I will never shave again if you do that, so help me god. Also, it's your body. But I will burn things with fire."

It's a cliche, yeah, but it's an important one. He got hassled by his parents about his weight nigh-constantly growing up, and I had my step-father pulling bullshit like deciding I had to start shaving my legs and my mom doing things like refusing to turn on the a/c in 90-degree heat to make me cut my hair off, so it's kind of a serious concept to reiterate.

PistolPackinMama

@steve: Also, the man was clearly a fool to think a beanie more formal than a hat.

See fix in copyediting. Ed.

He wasn't/isn't really. Just counldn't resist HTML bitchery.

dj pomegranate

@frigwiggin It is cute! When you said, "bigger than I thought it would be," I was picturing a semicolon across your ENTIRE BACK. Maybe coming around your rib cage, even!

PistolPackinMama

@wharrgarbl UGH. Dads. I feel like should not be talking about sexualized aspects of daughters bodies in that way. Nor commenting on underwear choices, nor anything else. Could be because a creepy relative of mine has done stuff like that about his daughters sexuality-related body choices. But. Controlling much? Not OK in my book.

Also 3in semi-colon is... small. And also how is proper punctuation tacky. I was expecting to hear something about dolphins and shamrocks and sailor hearts or whatever (although come to think of it, that combo might be amusing...).

I call shenanigans. I mean, I guess I can't, really, because it's his opinion. But whatever.

Appropriate copy-editing on the body is not tacky. And depending on how much of the MLA guide you have, it could be quite helpful in times of reference emergency.

dj pomegranate

@PistolPackinMama Dolphins wearing sailor hearts and eating shamrocks while riding semi-colons across the clouds. Next tattoo.

Quinn A@twitter

@frigwiggin Oh, it is cute! Nice choice.

themmases

@thebestjasmine Yes, this! It is easy to give someone's relationship side eye if you hear about it because there's a problem. The letters above about genuinely terrible abusive people should make the distinction clear.

Also, even if there were enough single, sensitive physicists/masseurs for everyone to dump their occasionally thoughtless boyfriends, don't most people with occasionally thoughtless boyfriends, like, love them?

Also, wouldn't this single, sensitive physicist/masseur need to somehow have more chest hair than my boyfriend? HA! Maybe in a fantasy world.

EternalFootwoman

@frigwiggin You've gotten a ton of good advice here. And I'm pretty heavily tattooed, so I have obvious feelings about it. It is your body and you should NOT have to feel guilty about doing something to it that you want to do. And, since a tattoo is permanent, he really has no option but to get over it. Maybe he's startled? Like if a co-worker comes in and has cut her waist-length hair to a bob? Maybe you like the bob but it's a shock? I do think you need to have at least a little talk though because it sounds like he had ample warning.

Apocalypstick

@frigwiggin That looks amazing! It's such a cool unusual idea too.

Xanthophyllippa

@frigwiggin That tattoo is fabulous, and you are clearly adorable. Unless you have a giant horn coming out of your forehead, I guess, but then I'd still want to be friends with you because unicorns are awesome and shit rainbows.

@PistolPackinMama I myself have the entire APA citation style guide tattooed on my left buttock.

bloodorange

@frigwiggin @wharrgarbl "He doesn't get to have a tantrum about you not wheedling his feelings out of him like he was an overtired kindergartener who didn't want to take a nap and then not have to deal with the fallout from that tantrum." OH GOD YES, YES, YES, THIS. My current dude does this all the time, and acts butt-hurt that I didn't beat him over the head to drag his feelings out of him, and this is the perfect analogy! thank you!

wharrgarbl

@bloodorange Ugh, people who do this. Part of being an adult is using your words.

sugar cubism

What makes ME nervous, LW1, is what if this guy and the way he treats you become the New Normal for you?
Like for instance my, uh, friend, she had a dishonest & manipulative S.O. for years and then when she started dating again after that ended, she stuck with another dude for Too Long because he wasn't manipulative and wasn't that SO refreshing?
Lonely is AWFUL but mistreated is worse. If you ask me.

Kitty

@sugar cubism Saw this quote on facebook the other day (I know! I know!) but I loved it and it gave me a moment (which, again... I know, facebook quote): You accept the love you think you deserve.
My point LW#1: YOU DESERVE MORE.

PistolPackinMama

@sugar cubism I love your username! So great. And giving me craft project ideas!

BoozinSusan

@Kitty Yeah, also some wisdom from people on here who you said, "You teach people how to treat you." Basically, that people will treat you as badly as you allow them to. So be vocal when there's something you don't like.

ranran

Re: French manicures. Okay, I've only had one manicure in my life. The manicurist kept oohing and ahhing over my nails, and when I was going to choose a color, she said "No, no! For you, I do special: French." I was kinda bummed out because I wanted to choose a fun color, but she was kind of forceful about it. But guess what? My nails looked AWESOME. And a couple days later, I was at a party and someone introduced me to this girl, and she said, "Oh, I saw you on the bus yesterday! I just kept staring at how beautiful your nails are!" And then we were friends. So as far as I can tell, every time you get a French manicure you get one more friend, so everybody should get French manicures all the time so we can all be friends with each other.

effystonem

@ranran I paint my nails crazy colors all the time, and while they do often get complimented, no friendships have ever arisen out of it, but now that is my dream.

whateverlolawants

@effystonem I became friends with someone because of her awesome dress, so anything is possible.

likethestore

I bit my nails for 20 years and always fantasized about French manicures. They seemed like the epitome of elegance to the teenage me. When I finally stopped biting I treated myself to manis regularly. I keep my nails fairly short, just a smidge above the fingertip, so they didn't look like porn star nails. Now I work with kids and my nails are shot to hell since I'm using my hands all day. Still, when I have a French manicure I feel like I should be lounging in a silk robe while a butler brings me Qream.

terrific

@likethestore HOW DID YOU STOP BITING!? I am biting my nails right this second.

DH@twitter

@terrific

The only way I can manage to not bite mine (and I have been gnawing my fingers since I was a child) is to have them painted something fun, lavender or sparkly silver or something. Then I'm like, Oooh they look pretty! and I don't want to ruin them. It sort of works? A few weeks ago I got lazy and didn't paint them and bam, chew chew chew.

likethestore

@terrific For me, the nail biting was a symptom of my Issues (anxiety, depression, stress). Even as a tiny child I was incredibly anxious. I tried EVERYTHING to stop biting and nothing worked until several years ago when I got my Issues under control with therapy and medication. Then the urge to bite just...disappeared. I really have no other explanation.

falconet

@terrific I have alllllmost quit by quitting one finger at a time with agonizing slowness (like, one every six weeks). Once they started looking like normal people nails again I really didn't want to regress! I still bite one thumb that I consider a safety valve for anxiety etc. Someday I will prevail.

terrific

@DH@twitter I do that, but then I find peeling off the nail polish fun, and then I bite away. I'm terrible.

@likethestore That's probably true for me, too. It's always when I'm anxious or stressed out. Or bored. But mostly the first two.

themmases

@terrific I started keeping mine filed short so there was nothing to bite. For a while I had to carry a file around with me so I was basically replacing constant nervous biting with constant nervous filing, but the result looks better and people are less grossed out if you do the latter in class.

Then I decided I was doing too much nervous filing and just started keeping them cut really short, which enabled me to kick the entire habit.

PistolPackinMama

@themmases I once bit off acrylics in a German exam. Ugh.

rianne marie

@terrific I had terrible terrible nails until I went to yoga teacher training. And then i stopped biting them and picking at them, cold turkey without trying. IDK
Not a terribly practical solution but it worked for me.

spanglepants

@rianne marie That's what I did, too (without the yoga teacher training). I just decided to stop, really meant it, and stopped. That was over a decade ago. If I break a nail now, I still bite the rest of it off, but that's the only time.

Genghis Khat

@terrific I was also ripping off a nail while reading that comment. I bite my nails to a painful and ridiculous degree. My dad keeps asking when I'm going to stop and I'm like "I'm 30,so, never?"

Vera Knoop

@terrific This is awful to admit, but I took up smoking. Then I stopped smoking, but vanity got me through the worst of it. Knitting helps, too.

JessicaLovejoy

AND DON'T EVEN GET ME STARTED ON MAN TEARS.

Reginal T. Squirge

@JessicaLovejoy Word. I know we're not supposed to, as a society, shame dudes into keeping their emotions inside but... we (as dudes) gotta be judicious with that shit.

SarahP

@ReginalTSquirge@twitter Dude crying = totally acceptable. Manipulative crying = unacceptable. LW1's dude was clearing engaging in the latter.

But maybe it was for a documentary.

wharrgarbl

@SarahP Seriously. Ain't nothing wrong with dude tears. This particular dude's tears, however, are sleazy and manipulative and for a really bad reason. "Oh shit, you caught me cheating again and might really leave me this time! I'm having all the feelings!" Nope! Your tears shall be met with no pity!

Vera Knoop

@wharrgarbl Yeah, I think the issue here is guilt-tears more than man-tears. I would be creeped out by a man who never ever cried.

Kitty

I am the queen of internal rage and always having to prove to my point...ESPECIALLY to the men in my life who have "done me wrong".
The Lady is right... someday you will realize internal rage is exhausting and trying to be RIGHT isn't worth it (because you are... and the other person is pathetic.) Eventually, you go from hatred to pity. And, honestly that is an amazing feeling.

Kitty

@Kitty Also, I love french manicures. Short nails, white tips... pretty much my motto in life.

elizabeast

LW5: I have been where you are! I broke up with my mean, cheating, psychologically abusive ex over three years ago. I moved on in a million different ways! But every once in a while, I think I see him at a restaurant or something and I actually FREAK OUT for a second. It's the worst. For a couple years, I thought I wanted an apology out of him. Once I got it, it meant nothing. To this day I occasionally rip him a new one in my imagination.

I'd still call myself over it though. I'm not carrying around a hundred tons of anger like I used to, and I know eventually I'll forget about that guy altogether. What sucks is that you just have to wait this stuff out and it always takes three times as long as you think it will.

Good job on getting out of that toxic relationship though! Savor your loving, happy, new relationship!

paddlepickle

Oh man, LW1's guy is bad enough without all the weeping. Stop crying and get a life, asshole.

eiffeldesigns

@paddlepickle Yeah- it was his freakin' crying that put me over the edge on this one. It was clearly an attempt at manipulation because us modern women are supposed to want "sensitive" men who aren't afraid to "show their feelings." What a bunch of shit.

My ex pulled the same shit when I caught him cheating with three of my "friends." I actually yelled at him "You are only crying because you got caught, asshole! Not because you actually care about me or the relationship, so stop with the fucking tears and get the fuck out of my house." It was quite satisfying. I highly recommend that line of communication.

Faintly Macabre

@paddlepickle Maybe she is dating Glenn Beck or John Boehner? In which case it's even worse than it sounds.

BoozinSusan

@Faintly Macabre (through blubbering tears): "I saw our forefathers in a dream last night. And they had a vision. A vision for America. And a vision...a vision for us."

rocknrollunicorn

@paddlepickle Ahahaha, I love that last sentence. I'm going to start to say this to all the dudes i want to completely emasculate. Extra points if they aren't crying and I say it with complete bitchface anyway.

Apocalypstick

@Kirs Hangon, three at once? Or it took until the third time to properly throw him out?

eiffeldesigns

@Apocalypstick I found out about all three at the same time. Not sure what the entire timeline was- but there was definitely some overlap between them. One started 6 months after we got married. And I caught him with one girl on our 5th wedding anniversary.

Of course, these are just the ones I know about. My guess is that there are more. Especially since we were together for 11 years. This is not a habit he just picked up five years ago.

Apocalypstick

@Kirs Wow. That is beyond terrible. Even more respect for you handling it with such badassery.

hands_down

Oooh, I loved #5 and the response. FWIW, I'm also a rage-filled person who dwells endlessly on the satisfying ways I could punish the people who've wronged me. But A Lady is right: it passes. Even if you're a rage-filled lady, it passes. It might take years, you might wonder when you will finally get past this shit, you might treat yourself to daily fantasies of stomping on his head, but I swear to god, time will do its magic and it will eventually pass.

WaityKatie

@hands_down And who's to say that being rage-filled is even that bad, anyway? It gives you motivation to get out of bed in the morning, you know? I bet a significant portion of people who have lived to 100 have been of the rage-clinging variety, it just makes sense. You have to outlive all your enemies.

karion

LW#1 - read closely LW#5. That is your future if you stay with this juicebox. It devastates your self-esteem because you are humiliating yourself with this guy. Utterly humiliating yourself.

And if you stay, you will eventually become very ashamed of all of the humiliation. And you will get very angry that you allowed yourself to be humiliated, that you tolerated his bullshit, and that you chose companionship over self respect. And man, will you be pissed.

And it will take a shit ton of time before you realize you are really, really mad at yourself, and that it is far easier to direct that anger to the bad guy with all of the traits you chose over your self-respect. And it will affect your good relationships, this misdirected anger, this self-disgust.

Pay now for this terrible choice in companion and breakup and never, ever look the fuck back. Save yourself a shit ton of time getting over your disappointment and shame at staying with such a juicebox and rip off the band aid. Show yourself the respect that this guy never will.

redheaded&crazy

@karion I think this is an appropriate place to post this article that has been posted here many times. Your comment about "you realize you are really mad at yourself" is so key and it reminds me of the line in the linked article "you cannot justify behaving badly because of somebody else's actions" same goes, we make a choice to stay with someone abusive or manipulative and it's obviously so much easier to direct that anger to them (and i do think it's justifiable) but we are the ones responsible for making that decision

sigh

Does Axl have a jack?

@karion Can I just install some flashing lights, etc. around your comment? Because, this.

Kitty

@redheaded&crazie I think it's time to get off the escalator... I've been riding it far too long. Thank you for this article.

fabel

LW2, you sound like someone who has read about "self-actualization" & started questioning yourself into a quarter-life crisis about it. I say this because your reasons for wanting to escape your marriage are phrased in this vague language that doesn't weigh down your argument (so to speak?) at all. I get the whole stagnancy issue, but maybe explore if there's anything besides "omg, have I reallty truly discovered myself yet? & if not, how can I do so while being married??" behind your feelings. (I mean, those are legitimate feelings, but your husband doesn't have to power to stop you from growing)

Heat Signature

@fabel Yes! I had the same thoughts. I feel very self-actualized and I'm married, so it's possible!

skyslang

@fabel I could not agree more! As I read this letter, I thought...does the LW really have a problem? She sounds happy! There is nothing wrong with being comfortable and with someone you love. IN fact, that sounds pretty awesome to me.

LW #2

@fabel That's really not it at all. I couldn't get any more specific than I did because of the word limit. And, as I've said elsewhere in this thread, part of the problem is not being able to articulate exactly what I want beyond "more". It has nothing to do with him actively holding me back from something or "self-discovery". The more I think about it the more I think it stems from conflicting lifestyles.

redheaded&crazy

here's a question for you wise people: how do you create a healthy, functional relationship?

my only serious relationship ever was so seriously soooo dysfunctional and I can totally recognize all the wrong things I did, like settling for less than I wanted many times, and so I think I know now how to avoid a dysfunctional relationship

but how do you create a healthy one where you are actually getting the things you want/need/value? do you guys prefer to sort that stuff out while dating and before making any commitments, or do you kind of sort SOME of it out and then hope that the rest falls into place

eiffeldesigns

@redheaded&crazie I've only had one healthy, functional relationship and it only lasted three months (we broke up not because anyone did anything wrong, but because we just could not manage to make it work- different lifestyles- and we are still friends), but the key was- and this will sound lame, but it's true: COMMUNICATION.

Seriously. Adult communication- where you say something and he listens and you both try to work any conflict out without blaming one another or trying to play games. It's hard to do and hard to find, but I think that's why we are also able to remain friendly even though we aren't "together" anymore. It made for a healthy relationship. And a healthy break-up.

insouciantlover

@redheaded&crazie hooo boy.

I feel like I'm in a really healthy relationship, but I've been in therapy the entire time we've been dating and the two of us process evvvvverything. Every conflict, every passive-aggressive statement, every weird tone gets called out and picked over. Which might be exhausting for some people, but honestly, we don't need to "process" all that much because of it.

Also, we're both in a place in our lives where we want to evolve and improve for ourselves as well as each other, which is, you know, HUGE.

noodge

@redheaded&crazie i think it's a bunch of things: communication, honesty, luck, fearlessness, some more luck, and ?????. the magical element that i haven't figured out yet.

But number one: know what you want.
Number two: write these things down (it's not cheesy, I did it and it really helped me date more constructively) - include things like "red flags" so you can identify people you don't want to be with (like dj's and guys who talk shit about their friends all the time)
Number 3: if you find someone who doesn't fit your criteria - allow yourself to have fun if you want, but don't take him seriously. at all. and if he's at all a douche give him the boot.
Number 4: if you find someone who fits some of your criteria - test date him. talk about your wants/needs. make sure to communicate them clearly, as hypotheticals and in response to real life situations.
Number 5: it's unfortunately kind of a numbers game, even if you do all the Right Things.

but knowing what you want is a huge first step that may take years.

redheaded&crazy

@teenie I do have a preliminary list written down! I feel like my list is so long though (not of things I want in a guy but things I want in a relationship - i think wee_ramekin made me realize that's what's important) - too long. But I guess it won't be too long for the person who wants similar things

SarahP

@Kirs YES to all this communication stuff! And not being afraid to bring stuff up even though it could rock the boat. And bringing it up right away instead of sitting on it forever. But doing it all respectfully and not blame-y. It's really tricky but it's so worth it.

noodge

@redheaded&crazie aaaaannnd just to put this out there: a "healthy and functional relationship" will often have moments of dysfunction. Mr. Teenie and I had a surprisingly rough month right after we got engaged - there were a number of stresses in our life right then and we found ourselves arguing pretty often, and we were definitely not especially healthy or functional. But we made our way through with communication and some more communication and lots of forgiveness. So, keep that in mind.

(ETA: re: your list - see if any of your items on your list have common roots, that will help you recognize what it is you want/don't want a bit more clearly, and will help you avoid using an excel spreadsheet to compare each guy you meet to your list of criteria :-) )

Marquise de Morville

@redheaded&crazie I agree with what the others said. Good communication and mutual respect are the most important things, but that is also much easier said than done. It may help if you try to learn more about yourself, and what you find attractive in others, and why, and if that is good for you or not. This might help against being manipulated, since relationships can be unhealthy in a variety of ways, while I think happy relationships are pretty similar.

dham

@redheaded&crazie I think it's a misconception that a "healthy, functioning" relationship is something that gets magically built after months of getting-to-know-one-another disfunction. Although it's super, super hard, I think the best way to build a functional relationship to to refuse to stay in disfunctional ones. And to find someone you don't want to change.

To be more specific, that is: don't "accept" behavior / dynamics / feelings early in a relationship that you wouldn't accept a year down the line, or two years down the line. This means your own behavior, too: if you find yourself being cruel, distant, unavailable, inflexible, try to imagine feeling that way about yourself for another year.

Which isn't to say you need to be in love / sure you want to be with someone from the beginning- but there shouldn't be fundamental relationship dynamics that would need serious repair service for mutual happiness.

Caitlin Podiak

@redheaded&crazie In my experience, you find someone who is enjoyable to be with and easy to get along with and respects you and treats you well, and you are blissfully happy until some little thing starts to bother you, and at first you don't even notice your growing resentment until it gradually builds and builds and builds under the surface and then explodes out of you and you yell and throw things and cry and then you process what it is that's actually bothering you and have a reasonable conversation about how to fix it, and then you both make an effort to fix it and you are blissfully happy again until some other little problem starts bubbling up, rinse and repeat forever.

dtowngirl

@redheaded&crazie I agree with communication, honesty, etc. But I also think every person in a functional relationship needs a healthy dose of self-respect. It sounds totally cheesy, but when it helps create clear lines of what is acceptable and what isn't, and then you can communicate about it.

redheaded&crazy

@all thanks folks! I am having new relationship anxiety pangs because i'm kind of maybe starting to date someone that i could maybe see things working out really well or going really badly and I just want to be able to be myself and feel like I can talk about things but argghhh my last relationship it haunts me still. i just handled it so so so so sooooo poorly and i don't want to repeat the same mistakes

Kristen

@dham Yeah, so much of it boils down to: date someone you respect, and who makes you want to be your best self.

sarah girl

@insouciantlover Yep, my boy and I do a tooooonnnnn of processing out loud. I'm also in therapy - I think there's a connection there :) But it's really liberating; for example, last night we both talked about the random fears/worst case scenarios we have about the relationship (just "what if we broke up? :[" sort of things), and it was wonderful to get them out in the open and see that we both feel vulnerable, and work out ways to support each other in that.

Maryaed

@redheaded&crazie Start here: if it isn't fun and easy at the beginning, it isn't going to become that way. If you are WORKING all the time at a relationship in the first three months, and you can't be yourself/plan things together/enjoy rolling with the punches then you need to unapologetically go home and try again with someone else.

Then later you can start worrying about how and if to solve problems, if you actually want to begin solving problems with the person. But don't put any energy into it before that point, or maybe much later. Just go by whether you feel good and everyone's playing nice. If not, next the guy.

the angry little raincloud

@redheaded&crazie God I want to know the answer to that question. I'm responding before reading the the responses, because I hope some Pinner has some nugget of wisdom.
(I think not dating men in New York might be a start, though. Sigh. I've turned into one of those. Didn't mean to. But, well, yeah.)

redheaded&crazy

@Maryaed but being myself means constantly worrying about how to solve problems :(

insouciantlover

@Sarah H. Yes! I had a real issue with being vulnerable coming into my relationship, having felt that my emotions/fears were unwelcome in previous relationships. God, just a week ago I had a major panic breakdown thinking about starting a family, realizing how much insecurity I have around getting pregnant. Like, I've always just had myself to take care of me, so it's terrifying to think that I have to depend on someone else. But having vocalized those concerns, he was able to understand them better and take that opportunity to tell me how completely committed he is to the relationship.

I't admittedly more complicated than just bitching to my girlfriends about how my bf doesn't "get" the things that I don't tell him, but holy fuck it works out better in the long run.

Maryaed

@redheaded&crazie OK, but do they then turn out to be not real problems, so you can legitimately say "ha ha ha, that was stupid to worry about, because as usual reality was more reassuring than my worries," or does it go on and on with you having to be Strong or Forgiving or Patient and Understanding? The former is neurotic business as usual. The second is you being addicted to drama/afraid to do what's good for you/putting lots of work into something that doesn't deserve it. People who are good for you are easy to be around.

sarah girl

@insouciantlover I had the same issue in previous relationships - either the other person just really didn't care, or judged me for what I said, all that crap. But with my current guy, as I said to a friend last week, "I don't understand, the more of my bad and weird stuff I tell him the more he seems to love me."

redheaded&crazy

@Maryaed haha I think it's maybe a bit of both. well I don't think I'm addicted to drama but definitely am guilty of putting lots of work into something that doesn't deserve it! But I'm pretty set on not making that mistake again.

but yes, most of the time "that was stupid to worry about, because as usual my worries are totally off base from reality" - glad to hear that's business as usual! :D

stormageddon

@dtowngirl Oh this, so much. The more self-respect you are able to create, the more sensitive you become to juiceboxery... After a while you can smell that juice 100 feet away, like water in the desert, which enables you to avoid that juice, which then, eventually, you meet a boy who is 100% Juice Free, and scene.

sevanetta

@redheaded&crazie Hey, you already have a lot of good advice on your thread, but I just wanted to add my two cents, since I'm in a similar situation. Sensitive introvert me, single for 3 years, has just started a relationship with sensitive introvert man, single for 2 years. both of us had very intense or awful prior long term relationships. we had a really strong connection very quickly, but we have both worried that we just aren't cut out for relationships (even though we both really wanted to be in a relationship...lol) ... then we talk about it and we work it out. Basically, we are both very sensitive in feelings, intense and blunt in communication - dangerous combo but because it's both of us we recognise this and try hard.

Everyone has said it though. You have awful times. This allows you to recognise red flags quicker over time, and you shut those people down. When someone brilliant comes along, and you get on really well, and it's just easy - and then you have a fight because you're human - you talk the shit out of why you fought, until both parties feel ok again. You don't call names, throw stuff, spam with abusive texts. If one of you needs space due to the argument, you say you need space and that you will come back to discuss things after a short period of time (should be within the day - keeping other partner waiting for days is a RED FLAG).

I'll be thinking good thoughts for you. If I can do it, you can do it!

Dorothea

LW4: is your sister "allowing" your dad to help her financially, or is she actually "stealing" from him? i was confused by your letter. everybody is a grown-up (even if they are not acting grown-up), and your dad is "allowed" to give your sister money, and it's not "stealing" if he does so.

that said, if you are concerned about having to support your parents down the road (this is serious stuff!), i think it's fair for you to talk to your dad about it. and if it's possible that your sister isn't aware of how dire your parent's financial situation is, then i think you can talk to her about it. but if you're just mad about everybody else being generally irresponsible, i think you have to get over it.

Megasus

@blahstudent Yeah I was confused there too. I got the sense she was borrowing it, and now she's just stealing it?
But seriously, burn her with fire. That behaviour is not OK.

melis

I'm pretty sure that this is LW4's sister.

faustbanana

@blahstudent I got the impression that she was using "stealing" to indicate the sister was manipulating her parents to give her money she neither needed nor deserved.

LW4, I had a similar issue with my sister a few years back. My mom, who was generally strapped for cash, was constantly bailing her out, paying her rent, giving her spending money, letting her borrow the car, blah blah blah. They lived together for a time and my sister just treated my mom like crap and it killed me. On top of that, my mom would often have to borrow money from me because my sister had cleaned her out. Sometimes she (mom) would even borrow money from me to give to my sister. Rage! The difference was that neither of them had a lot of money, but my sister was definitely wasteful, entitled and very manipulative, and my mom was a pushover. I did make more money than both of them, and was fine with helping out on critical stuff (like, you know, food), but felt angry and used when I'd lend my sister $20 and she'd turn around and go to the bar.

Things came to a head with my sister one day and I wrote her a long email explaining that I wasn't trying to be selfish with my money, but that I felt like I was being treated unfairly and taken advantage of and it needed to stop. I made it clear that I was concerned about her and tried to frame it so that it seemed like taking care of herself was for her own good in the long run (which it was!) A couple of years later, she has matured exponentially and now wastes her OWN money on booze and clothes!

I know you're not supposed to know about the money thing, but I'd really advise getting it out in the open and dealing with it head-on. It's going to fester if you don't tell her why you're really upset, and it's the only way you can get her to take an honest look at her actions. Just as you knew she was bullshitting you about why she and your dad weren't talking, she will know you're bullshitting her.

While my sister's behavior was really anger-inducing, I also felt bad for her. I think people who behave this way are just sort of untethered and selfish, looking for fulfillment in the wrong places - not abominable people to the core. If you approach it with her compassionately, you might be surprised at how she reacts. Good luck.

aphrabean

@melis I cannot read that. I just cannot.

redheaded&crazy

@melis what have you done?!?!

melis

@redheaded&crazie What have I done, I'm not the one who blew $70k on ugly-ass Shakespearean ruffs!

redheaded&crazy

@melis but now it's on the hairpin! you brought it here! now i have to cringe in secondary anxiety every time i excessively hit refresh on TWO websites

Vera Knoop

@blahstudent Reading between the lines (or maybe just projecting my own family drama onto things), I got the impression that it was maybe a grey area. LW makes a point of mentioning that her parents are elderly. Maybe they are, either in reality or in her fears, experiencing some degree of cognitive decline, such that it's easy for the sister to manipulate them?

manshan

What a GIANT RED FLAG is "we're not in a relationship, be we see each other exclusively." The hell does that even mean? I'm guessing that was his idea. Sounds like he wants to have a steady piece without having to be, like, decent about it. I think LW#1 needs to start looking for a similar job in a better location. Feeling isolated can lead you to make crazy stupid decisions.

redheaded&crazy

@manshan seriously! I have totally been there and um, yeah, if he likes it then he shoulda put a ring on it. ya know?

manshan

@redheaded&crazie YES and like... this letter also symbolizes so much of what's wrong with the Condition of the Modern Lady. She's putting her career before her personal life by being in this shitty place for a job she likes, but personal fulfillment is important enough to us that she is willing to put up with that kind of juciness! We can't winnnn.

Miss Maszkerádi

@manshan Been there. Dude refused to call me his girlfriend, refused to be seen holding my hand around people we knew, and said "Single" on his facebook the entire time we were together, but was always making big judgey pronouncements about things I needed to do for Our Relationship, which was Perfect and would clearly last The Rest Of Our Lives. (I'm 22.) I'm....not quite sure how I ever ended up in that situation.

Heat Signature

"I recently found out my sister is allowing my father to support her lavish lifestyle"...Um, "allowing"? Doesn't the father have some responsibility here as well?

kinglet749@twitter

@Heat Signature
Of course, but what kind of parent would seriously allow their child to get evicted for nonpayment of rent, or their phone shut off? Seems to me that a whole lot of parents enable their children to behave irresponsibly and then bail them out, and who does that help? It is so easy for loved ones to manipulate each other, and just because they can doesn't make it okay.

annev6

LW #5: I have a super-secret password protected tumblr that I write scathing rants on all the time about people I hate (or love). I also write tear-filled diatribes on it when I am sad. No one ever sees it but me, and it helps, a lot.

gobblegirl

@annev6 I have something similar, called paper. ;)

melis

@gobblegirl I have something similar, only it's actually a tornado that I keep whirling around the world at all times to make sure no one ever reads it, mmm, well not a tornado exactly so much as an inverted sky maelstrom of screaming voles, anyhow, that's where I put all my thoughts and they just twirl and twirl through the mangroves fields, ripping through the river soil and tearing hummingbirds into less than the sum of their parts ;)

melis

I invented a word for it, since it tumbles through the world, I call it a tumblr.

gobblegirl

@melis That sounds really useful! Did you get it at Staples? I wonder if it's available in my area.

annev6

@gobblegirl Haha. Well I like the digital format because not only is it accessable from anywhere (work, laptop, main computer), but the password protectedness of it means no one will "accidentally" stumble upon my crazed in-the-heat-of-the-moment-would-never-say-this-to-anyone's-face ramblings. Even if I die and someone goes through my stuff. But paper works too!

wharrgarbl

@annev6 Just be sure to never do what Mike Dang's murder-fantasizing boss did and leave the window up without logging out.

DH@twitter

I had no idea people thought French manicures were tacky and/or for porn stars! Every wedding I've been in, the entire female wedding party got French tips. I associate them with fancy events (weddings, proms, cotillions?) or classy upscale businesswomen. I say go for it if you think they look cool. Nail polish is one of the cheapest, easiest ways for me to brighten my mood...your nails should make you happy!

SarahP

@DH@twitter I don't do nail stuff at all, or like having my nails done, but I too associate French manicures with classy and or businessy ladies.

DH@twitter

@SarahP

I didn't until recently, when I kind of managed to stop biting mine...but once for a wedding I had to get fake nails put on and it was the worst thing. Worse than the dentist or math class. The nail tech kept asking me if I was all right. NO I WAS NOT.

redheaded&crazy

@DH@twitter holy jesus if somebody told me I "had to" get fake nails done for a wedding? W.T.F.

sometimes I think I'm just so out of touch with reality. what the heck even is that?!

DH@twitter

@redheaded&crazie

If only I had reined in my nailbiting before then...I think French manicures look best on short, neat, natural nails.

sarah girl

@DH@twitter I think it turns into un-classy when the nails get super-long (and really thick, for some reason? I guess because they're acrylics).

DH@twitter

@Sarah H.

That makes sense. I get the feeling that really long nails in general are on the way out, right?

effystonem

@DH@twitter Sigh. Yes, they totally are (unless you are Katy Perry/Rihanna/Lady Gaga/one of those pop stars who wears like, fish carcasses as a bonnet on a red carpet) and I wish I would somehow let my mom know without being mean. She has semi-long acrylics that were "in" for middle-aged suburban Florida ladies like 10 years ago but she still keeps up with them, and it tooooootally makes me cringe.

FoxyRoxy

LW1! GIRL! I totally feel you on this. I get it. You'd rather be with an asshole than be alone and you know he's an asshole and maybe that's okay but it is very easy to get attached to an asshole so, you know, keep an eye out for that. And also maybe make him wear condoms because it sounds like he is "making a documentary" that could bring some bad news to your vagina.

(I'm going to buck the trend and say yes you can maintain your self-respect. You know the deal. You know why you're seeing him. If you didn't, the answer might be different.)

H.E. Ladypants

@FoxyRoxy My biggest worry is that if she's spending all her time with him, how is she supposed to meet other people who will both be okay for her and take the edge off the lonliness? And what happens as this goes on for longer and longer and she feels a sense of obligation towards him because he's been her only friend and she "owes him?"

Yes, quitting this dude will make things more lonely in the short term but it also vastly speeds up the chance that other, more worthwhile people will be in her life. Furthermore, when those people do enter her life, she won't have to divide her attention to be with them.

FoxyRoxy

@H.E. Ladypants I totally agree. I just know it's hard to make the decision to be lonely in the hopes something else will come along so I sympathize with her situation.

laurel

"I don't understand why this man insists on making really stupid, dishonest, flat out weird decisions, and then cries when you offer to allow him to see other people? "

Haha, I completely understand that. Like, short story character understand that. (Doesn't make it all right.)

ThundaCunt

Ahh,...*sigh* at the last one...that's me. It is TOTALLY freeing when that day just happens...and you are no longer filled with rage at the sight of this person's face. I no longer want to rip his face off, set it on fire, pour honey all over it and lay it on a Florida sidewalk for fireants..I just don't! and it feels so good!!!

sevanetta

@ThundaCunt the other weird thing I've found about these kind of situations is, when you pass the rage point, people expect you to feel good about it. Actually, I feel nothing. I'm neutral. there just aren't any feelings left.

noReally

Rage! Rage is me. Without my rage I would be a shitty photocopy of my true self. Rage is righteous. Rage is truth.

And yeah, when the rage at whatever passes, I am clean and new again, like a little pink baby. On that particular topic. Go rage.

batgirl

LW5, I had the rage. I had the rage for a long, long time. I spent untold hours envisioning creative and horrible ways for him to die/him to come crawling back to me. But in the middle of the night one night, I woke up and found myself apologizing to him for all the terrible things I wished upon him. Don't really know why it happened, although I had watched Tree of Life that night, so maybe it's connected? I don't know... Either way, you will find yourself relieved of that anger one day. I swear, it will happen.

Also, the idea of closure is bullshit. All you do is set yourself up to be either disappointed by the lack of response or newly enraged by the response itself. There is no such things as closure. You gotta let that idea go...

insouciantlover

@batgirl It would be inappropriate to share our rage fantasies here, right? Like, running into him in a dark alley (while my hair looks perfect) and violently disemboweling him and leaving him for dead is really not the sort of thing I need to be sharing, right?

insouciantlover

@insouciantlover haha oh but the look on his face going from "you look beautiful" to "my intestines are spilling into my hands!" is just priceless. #horribleperson_whatever.com

frigwiggin

@insouciantlover My rage fantasies usually involve biting people. But in the fantasies I have wolf teeth so it works better than it would in real life.

EternalFootwoman

@insouciantlover Mine are all terrible psychological things, which makes me feel worse than violence. Like I think about slyly "letting slip" in company that they were terrible in bed, or I dream about them never having success in their fields and being deadbeats forever, or I hope their current partners will dump them terribly.

insouciantlover

@EternalFootwoman Ooh, those are good and dark. I may possibly have tried to put a curse on someone once, that he would have dreams of me for the rest of his life, and in the dreams we would get amorous and then as we were sexing my limbs would start to fall off but as my limbs fell off he'd find himself becoming more and more aroused, and finally he'd wake up, turned on and terrified.

Oh my god I have issues.

batgirl

@insouciantlover I never wanted him dead, I just wanted him really, really miserable. Like lose his job and have all his friends ditch him because when they say how he treated me they realized what I a psychotic asshole he was. Also, things crashing through the roof of his precious house were a favourite of mine.

Stacy Worst

@batgirl Yes. The idea of closure is definitely bullshit. It's something you want when the rage is still in your heart, but it's a trap. It's an excuse to try to pry something you need from someone, one more time. Except that if you could really get it, there would have been no problem in the first place.

I have two words of advice for friends in that horrible seeking-closure breakup phase... Emotional Cutoff!

Lisa Frank

@insouciantlover I'm so glad I'm not the only one who had violent rage fantasies. They really kind of scared me and I thought there was something wrong with me.

@EternalFootwoman I told a whole bunch of my friends (who knew him as well) that he had a tiny, tiny penis. Uh, maybe this should have gone in the "Horrible but Amusing Things I Have Said" post?

Xanthophyllippa

@insouciantlover OH HA. A few semesters ago I had a student whose asshattery was so bad that I had to get my program director involved. One night, after getting a particularly vitriolic email from him earlier that day, I dreamed that he came to my office hours, started yelling, and then exploded. Like, literally. Like the pig-thing that accidentally gets transported onto the spaceship in Galaxy Quest. I woke up full of joy and happiness.

laurel

OK, so when we feel years of rage after the end of a relationship, are we full of rage at the dirtbag who disrespected us or are we full of rage at ourselves for letting them?

WaityKatie

@laurel Yes.

slutberry

@laurel Definitely both.

And also, what LW#5 describes isn't mere juicebox behavior-- it's seriously fucked-up psychologically abusive juicebox behavior. And her response is pretty much exactly what you expect after abuse.

(example: after being raped while drunk, my main regret was "Why did I get drunk?" for like a YEAR before my current Gentleman pointed out that actually, it was Juicebox Boss's fault for, um, having sex with me while I was drunk without consent. Yeah.)

gobblegirl

My personal opinion re: nails.
French manicures often look really nice, but I think they look best (and classiest) on a short nail, with the white tip relatively thin. That said, I think really long nails are trashy in general (that said, “trashy” is a legitimate style choice!).

Lisa Frank

@gobblegirl I totally agree. I think acrylics almost never look good, but you can do all kinds of crazy things with natural nails. But in regards to French manicures, I just think they look really dated. They seem so 90s to me.

tortietabbie

Oh my god, LW1. Are you me? Are you dating my ex? If so, here's what you have to look forward to:

-He will continue cheating on you! On and on forever! He will feed you explanations like, "I hate her and I wanted to mess with her head," and "I wanted to be better for you."
-He will get really mad when you insist on STD tests.
-He will put his hands on you in ways intended to hurt you. He will laugh at you when you tell him if it happens again your relationship is over. He will do it again and you will still not leave. It will take you years to call this "abuse" because it "didn't happen often."
-He will tell you that he's with you out of pity and boredom and then act wounded when you get upset.
-When you do finally leave, you will look back on those years with horror and sadness, and you will tell people on the internet about it because nobody. fucking. deserves. that. He will make you feel like you do, BUT YOU DON'T.

LW1, leave this guy. Leave him. He is awful. He is a terrible person. You know this is not right, or you wouldn't have written a letter.

PistolPackinMama

@tortietabbie GIRL. Your ex sounds like a real gem. You have no idea how relieved I am that he gets the prefix EX. Lord Jesus. <333 that you bailed on him.

EpWs

@tortietabbie We're gonna find out RIGHT NOW if we can actually set someone on fire with the force of our minds. Check the local paper in your ex's town tomorrow morning and report back. Augh. I am so so glad you are rid of him.

commanderbanana

Eurgh, closure. It's like forgiveness. It's really not something anyone else can ever give you - he could apologize a zillion times over and if you're still raging, you're gonna rage until you're ready not to. Sometimes it takes a while. I found that keeping myself super busy, and also setting aside time to wallow in it - like, tonight I am going to let myself spend an hour thinking of all the awful things I'll do to him, but after that I HAVE TO STOP and go do something else - helped a lot. Sort of like training your mind to not slip into thinking about it, because the anger gets weirdly comforting after a while.

karion

LW#4 - I am going to go against the grain here:

1. The financial relationship between your sister and your parents is none of your business. Period. To be clear, your sister sounds a wee bit wretched, and I have been there, and I know that you probably hear a lot about it from your parents, too. But ultimately, unless your dad is feeble minded and can't take care of himself, the relationship is simply none of your business.

2. You are absolutely allowed to judge her, and limit your relationship with her. It sounds as though you don't like her very much, which happens. But don't get in the middle of another parent's relationship with his child. It ain't your place.

3. It is your family tree, and you can and should maintain it. If there is a branch that is diseased and rotten, prune it. Get rid of it. Rotten branches have a poisonous effect, and I think you should take responsibility for your tree. Not your dad's. Yours.

skyslang

@karion Good advice! I was thinking the same thing. Really, it's only going to backfire if the LW gets involved.

Hellcat

@karion Oh, you make so much sense. I have a similar sister and it makes me crazy but I have been trying so hard to keep it to myself, and my patient BF who lets me spill it, and does not say, "Well, it's not me you should be telling" because he gets it. The urge to blow up is great and looming, but ultimately it will probably make things tense for everyone. Plus, then what--I'm estranged from my sister? That seems just too... big, I guess, of an outcome. Oh, but it's difficult dealing with all the "poor me"--the monetary kind and the emotional kind--when, as an adult, she does nothing to improve either.

rocknrollunicorn

@karion I have an aunt in her 50s who has literally been COMPLETELY supported by my grandmother for decades. Now my grandmother is quite suddenly (well, to the rest of us -- she hid this) poor, and also recently had major surgery that requires physical therapy, to boot. My aunt is not taking this well AT ALL, in a totally selfish way. And we've all known that she's selfish and useless, we've known this for decades.

But we never got involved, because it was between her and my grandma. At this point, there are other concerns and my grandmother's judgement actually cannot be totally trusted -- but for the past 30 years, my aunt was a selfish and lazy woman with whom the LW's sister pales in comparison. And we all know she's the worst! But we didn't get involved bc, none of our business.

iceberg

"but then he just cries"

NOT A REASON to put up w this shit.

WaityKatie

@iceberg I think it's a pretty good reason not to put up with it, actually. But I'm harsh on people who cry for trivial reasons that don't involve movies about animals dying.

catsuperhero

LW2, I need to get in your boat with you, because this is the letter I was gonna write. Except I'm married 4 years, together for 6. Dear lord, I hope you read this far down in the comments, because I'm desperate enough to say "please, come talk."

My question to you is this (because this is my situation): Is his support for all your dreams good enough? I have a husband who is content. Super content, by his own admission. Great job, house in suburbs, toddler content. He runs occasionally, plays a lot of video games, likes baseball...but has no more hopes or dreams. No desire to grow. He's hit the apex of his life and wants to enjoy it. He's also 9 years older than me.

I, on the other hand, want to grow. Do things together. Take classes, learn new recipes, go places. He wants none of that--but will do it if I ask him. What I want from him, though, is to bring his own hopes and dreams to the table. Like--I planned our honeymoon, because when I asked him where he wanted to go, he answered, "Never really wanted to go anywhere. What about you?" and he is very accommodating that way. Now I know he sees that as an act of love (he'll support me in damn near anything I want) but I want someone who is equal to me in the learning/experiencing/wanting portion of life. And it sounds like that's where you're coming from, too.

I am also a bit of a lazy loner who has spent the past year or so realizing how much I've coasted up to this point, and now I'm making up for lost time. So, yeah, maybe I'm projecting. Or maybe I'm just figuring out what I want for my life and, as such, in a relationship. Because I've started that self-actualization thing; I'm not just hoping my husband will begin it. Sounds like you have, too.

So, yeah: Would you be satisfied if, like A Lady suggested, he provided blanket support to all you wanted to do? Or would you feel this weird feeling of inequality? Like, sometimes, you'd want to provide support for him? Or bond over passions you both individually had, too? I'm very curious, because right now I'm dealing with a marriage counselor who can't seem to see past "But he's not holding you back! What do you want from him?" and I can't quite get across how "hopes and dreams" is ridiculously important.

LW #2

@catsuperhero I'm here!

Ugh, do you just want to get married? Because yes to pretty much all of this. You're not projecting, you're reading between the lines. I wanted to give much more context but that BobandEliBitch ruined it for all of us.

You hit it on the head though - he's very supportive of me always and has never done anything to actively dissuade me from anything, it's just that much harder when they aren't interested in coming along for the ride. Instead of a self-perpetuating inspiration machine it feels like running with a parachute.

catsuperhero

@LW #2 AAAAHHHH let's just get married. Yep. Yep. Yep. I'm happy for his support! I'm happy he wants me to realize my dreams! It's just that I cannot picture (yeah, sorry if this makes me a bit of a bitch) spending the rest of my life with someone who is done dreaming! Who is done wanting! Who is done taking an active interest in life. I'm glad he'll do whatever I want, but the bottom line is he does it a) to make me happy, or b) to spend time with me. It's never something he's passionate about, or wants to get me interested in, or has always wanted to do since before we met.

He is worried that he has nothing interesting to say in conversation. Our therapist tells him to forget that and just talk. Well, I felt like I was becoming uninteresting as a SAHM. So I took up bread-baking, and started refinishing furniture, and looked into volleyball clinics, and, you know...began that self-actualization. Independent of him. So it's not that I need the encouragement--and it sounds like you don't, either. You're already started. You just figured out that hey, it would be nice not to be on a learning/wanting/experiencing quest alone. That your life together would be a hell of a lot richer if he was working on his own set of "want to/wish to" things. And, honestly, you'd feel like you were with a much more awesome person!

(Because--again, I'm probably gonna get called out for this--aren't you feeling like you're becoming more awesome? You're figuring shit out, doing new things, breaking out a bit?)

I dunno. All the marriage books I am reading talk about resolving conflicts when dreams don't mesh. And, I guess, being content is a dream? But they don't really address what happens when one partner is done dreaming and the other isn't.

AARRRRGH.

lovelettersinhell

@catsuperhero Eep. I am a lazy no ambition partner who is often guilty of not being able to provide "things I want to do". I genuinely do not have opinions on dinner if evening entertainment most days. Part if that is that my job is stressful- I feel like if I were a housewife I'd use my cookbooks and have more interests- but part of it is just that I'm easy to please. As long as I've got my husband, I'm good.

catsuperhero

And French manis are great. Just make sure you stick with short nails and polish that isn't stark white. Clear Pink is your friend.

Prostitute Robot From The Future

I read that as french manure. I don't know.

Also, #1, is this "relationship" really better than nothing?

dj pomegranate

@disgruntled co-worker French manure is always hip.

boxlady

Ugh, the response to letter #2 made me feel so depressed. (It's not you, A Lady, it's me!) It reminded me all of the time I spent with this guy who was well-meaning in theory, and made all those little gestures to 'show his support' but always made me feel stifled and stymied. I can't explain it, but while I was with him I felt that no matter what, nothing could change. Not me or him or our sex life (which sucked) or my health problems or anything. Reading the response brought me back to that time in my life. And also made me feel like the problem might be me. Even though I'm pretty sure it was him. Since he was kind of into doing whatever he wanted, and then telling me about it. Ugh.

Not sure what to say to you, LW #2, except that if you somehow always feel the way I described, it might be him/the relationship. Otherwise, if you feel like something else is holding you back, then don't worry about what I say, I guess.

I'm sorry for the rambling. I hope this makes sense.

LW #2

@boxlady Thanks. It does make sense, or at least as much as this whole situation does. It's pretty murky waters.
I'm encouraged by everyone's responses though, and I definitely think there's more holding me back then just him.

boxlady

@LW #2 Always nice to hear from the LWs. I re-read my comment, and I want to modify what I said to add that there was a clear reason I felt nothing could ever change between me and ex-partner. Well, a few.

One of them was truly that he did stymie me often, in that he would sometimes make major plans, but when he did, he would not discuss them with me, and then just go do whatever he wanted to do. That meant that even if he initiated change (which did occasionally happen), it was one that I wasn't aware of/on board with (everything from vacations to moving decisions to whatevs.)

The rest of the time he sat around like a lump (well, not always, but it felt like that.) When I wanted to do something, it didn't happen. And he wasn't willing to do several important things to make changes stick: for example, we moved to my home country, which he LOVED and adored, and we would have stayed there forever, except that he refused to learn the language. So again, we took a decision together, we both wanted to do it, and then...undermined!

What I'm saying is that, post-therapy, I realized that the reason I felt deeply stymied and mired in our dysfunction was for a reason. But although it was hard to figure out the origin of my feelings until we'd split and I'd done time on the therapy couch, it's important to note that my feelings were also very, very urgent. I think for me it was a sign that he was not the right person for me. Why? Because his style of decision making/communicating didn't mesh. Because we felt different things were important and had to change, but couldn't agree on them. Because he was depressed (hence the sitting around like a lump) but didn't want to deal with it. Because I got depressed too, eventually. Because the kind of person I need is someone who challenges me in a particular way, and I didn't get that from him. (I've since met better men for that.)

Anyways, I felt like my first comment was too vague. I hope this one is better, since I tried to really dissect what the problems were underlying my sense that change with him was impossible, and the feeling that he would be what I needed him to be. At the end of the day, we didn't mesh well, and those reasons were a big part of our dysfunction.

planforamiracle

@boxlady Thanks for sharing your experience.
(Sorry LW 2 for tagging along on ALL your threads.. your letter hit a nerve!)

LW #2

@planforamiracle Feel free! The more input from people with similar experiences the better for everyone.

LW #2

@boxlady Yea, I'm starting to think it's coming from a fundamental difference in desired lifestyle. Which when you live with someone is kind of a big fucking deal.

LW #2

@LW #2 It'd be so great if we could afford to be one of those married couples that lives apart. Though I don't know that he wouldn't take that as an insult even if it were feasable.

LMac

Re: LW#5: I was in a similar situation (well more similar to the Lady's, actually, right down to the timeframe and the having-to-see-them-all-the-time aspect) and what worked best for me was to forgive him.

Hear me out - it doesn't mean he is excused from his behavior, it doesn't mean you have to like him, or talk to him or have fond feelings about him, or even wish him well. But it's really hard to control anger and it does start to feel really corrosive. Forgiveness is something that you own. It gives you the power. Yes, he's awful, but he has to be with himself for the rest of his life, and that's punishment enough. And forgive him for being awful, and move it on along. You can do it, LW#5!!

Or don't. I probably have no idea what I'm talking about, but it worked okay for me.

stormageddon

LW 2, here is the deal, and this is coming from an ambitious loner happily married to a less ambitious loner: you cannot put your desire for change on anyone but yourself. Expecting your partner to suddenly jump off the couch and lead the way from the life you have to the life you want is simply unfair to him. I don't know what it is you're dreaming of, but sit down and make yourself a game plan. List out what you want, then figure out the steps you need to get there. If it's something not-expensive, like losing weight or writing a novel, just tell him what you want to do, and then forge ahead. Beg borrow or steal the time you need to hit the gym, or write, or what have you.

If it IS something that involves finances, like traveling to europe or buying a house or going back to school, start researching everything you'd need to do to paperwork-wise, and figure out how much you'd need to save. Sit him down and show him all the legwork you've already done, and have a good serious talk about what it means to you. He might be intimidated by the new you, or he might be inspired, either way, hopefully he'll be supportive. But if he shits on your dreams, it's probably time for counciling. Which he might do, if your dream involves a cross country move, or opening a new business, things that would displace him or possibly bankrupt him in the instance of failure. In that case, you would have to be honest about how much you want it, and what else might satisfy you that wouldn't completely disrupt your hsubands life ( like opening an online store to sell your amazing product instead of a brick and mortar one, or acting in the local theater instead of running off to Cali). And then, if you still desperately want that thing that he's dead set against, well, you have a hard choice. Because it's hard to look at someone you love and think "dead weight" but in the long run it's better to figure that out now than ten or twenty years from now.

If the real deal is, you actually want HIM to change, lose weight or pursue a different career, or what have you, there is absolutely nothing to be done about that. He is who he is and that is that. When you make a change, he doesn't have to follow, and you can't expect him to. What you can expect is for him to engage in your attempts to communicate, and ultimately to emotionally support you, even if he never changes a thing about himself. And that's it, really.

Now that I've yakked your ear off, go get em tiger, and may the awesome be with you.

LW #2

@stormageddon Thanks! I wish there was an emoticon for "weak smile".

You hit on something. I think part of it is that I do want him to change. Not just for selfish enabling reasons but because I love him and even if he doesn't want more for himself I do. Everyone can benefit from and enjoy more.

Or, more simply, I want to make my world bigger. Bigger than ours/his is right now. So even if I go out and just expand mine, 50% of my life is still going to be narrow.

planforamiracle

@stormageddon this is excellent Real Talk, thank you for sharing!

RNL
RNL

@LW #2 SO late to the party. I just want to say: I was in a relationship like this, with someone who did not want the things I want (a dynamic life, basically) and would not work for them, for a very long time. Our relationship became pretty co-dependent, and my world narrowed significantly, to the point when I remember watching other people happily socialize and do exciting things with their partners or with their partners back home cheering them on and feeling so confused and sad.

Every step I took out was a threat to him and our relationship, and eventually it ended and I'm so grateful. Since we broke up, and I have done and experienced so many things, and really realized I can do anything I want to do, and I will never give that up for any relationship. I am now the captain of my own ship, and it is glorious.

It's hard to expand your life when you are very closely tied with someone whose life is narrow. I also found it impossible to be in a happy relationship with someone I needed to change. It doesn't work for me. Imagine if you were with someone who needed you to become fundamentally different to be happy with you. I would want them to end it. It's not fair.

LW #2

@RobotsNeedLove I'll be here until the conversation stops!
Thanks for that. I'm going to have to chew on it for a while I think.

rockproblems

What's the deal with LW2's "Without someone to lead by example — to challenge and motivate me…" thing? You really require your husband to "lead" you? That sounds like some weird retro "men lead, women follow" BS to me. If you really need a role model, then okay, find one—in a friend, a parent, a sibling, a teacher, a boss, a mentor… What I'm saying is, there are other options besides your husband when you need guidance, LW! And then, if he's down for it, YOU can lead your husband into "self-actualization" (whatever that even is?) by YOUR example.

(But what you can't do, like everybody has already said, is make him change if he doesn't want to. You can only make your own changes!)

LW #2

@rockproblems I think you're taking that out of contex and a little too literally.
It's not that I specifically need him to show me what to do and take the first step for me, it's more abstract. I just mean that the whole process would be much more accessable if he was already doing similar things for himself and living the kind of lifestyle that I'm envisioning for myself.

rocknrollunicorn

Letter writer 4: I come from a family where there was once money, and isn't really anymore, and various members of the family, including myself, had their lifestyles funded in part or, in one case, completely, by parents/grandparents. So I have some familiarity with this.

Yes, your sister should grow up, and should not be taking money from your parents. However, she is not *stealing* if your father was willingly giving her money. You need to get that straight in your mind. And also realize that, although your sister seems pretty immature (which it pains me to say, because I'm probably just as bad as her but less manipulative/not likely to take my broke parents' money), the way your parents have handled her + their money has contributed to this bad situation. Like, if you are okay with bankrolling your daughter's irresponsible and frivolous lifestyle this late in her life, you probably never really taught her to be responsible, and are doing her no favors now.

If your dad isn't going to bankroll her lifestyle anymore, why confront her? Unless your parents are in some way mentally compromised -- dementia, Alzheimers, mental illness -- it is really between them and your sister. Certainly encourage your father to continue denying her; it's the only way she'll grow up. But I just don't think you need to get between your parents and your sister right now. There's a good chance that everyone will be really pissed at you in the end and you, presumably the sane family member, will be the black sheep for quite awhile.

carolita

LW#5: I dated a guy for years, the kind of guy that called me stupid, wouldn't call me his GF, wouldn't spend holidays with me, even though he was at home, super-manipulative and shady. Let's not go into WHY a woman with half a brain might go out with a guy like this, here. Let's just say that when I finally snapped out of it and left him, I couldn't stop thinking about him. All the things I might say to him if he ever tried to get me back, all the things I should have said to him. All the angry things I'd bottled up. I was filled with all this anger and resentment, and unfulfilled revenge urges and unscreamed screams... So I tried choosing another, happier person to think about automatically whenever I thought of him. I tried my sweet (departed) grandma. I'd try to remember her to forget him. But that didn't work. I'd just imagine myself telling her about him! So I wracked my brains for an activity that could block out the obsessive thoughts. That's what they were: obsessive. I finally came up with the perfect solution. I used to play the piano as a teenager, so I bought the music for Bach's Goldberg Variations, and a used keyboard I found at the flea market. Whenever I started obsessing and wanting to call or write to my ex, I'd ask myself: "What would I rather do? Think about "Robert" or learn to play the Goldberg Variations?" And I'd always choose the piano. As it happened, the guy I was working for at the time also had a piano, and let me use the piano whenever he was out, gave me the key. And then his mother, whose room I rented, also gave me permission to come downstairs and use her piano whenever she was out. So between my keyboard and the two pianos, and all that rage? I pretty much learned the first movement of the Goldberg Variations, imitating Glenn Gould. And eventually all that anger and obsessive thinking just fizzled out. And I can tell you, it cured me of my obsessive thinking habits, which were not limited to the ex. I'm a healthier person, thanks to three pianos. I think it's physically and mentally impossible to think about anything other than the piece you're learning on the piano. So maybe the part of my brain that was devoted to obsessive thinking also finally simmered down to a manageable level of activity.

Which isn't to say that if you don't play the piano there's no hope. But if you can find your equivalent, be it learning a language, or memorizing sonnets (I once memorized a sonnet from Don Quixote backwards to take my mind off some troubles before I tried this piano thing, which might have been the inspiration for the piano cure in the first place), it may help. But remember, it has to be something that won't allow you to think about anything but what you're doing, and the more it involves your learning centers, the better. I highly recommend it! Also, there's no harm in learning stuff, is there? So if it doesn't work for you as it worked for me, at least you'll have learned something for your troubles.

Speaking of cake, I have cake

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher I want to hear the details of this story! I'm presuming your mother was the author of the closure letter? Who was it for? I like hearing about the secret lives of parents....

Aphrodite

LW3: Try writing the letter, but not sending it. Getting angry feelings out on paper often helps me a lot.

slutberry

@Aphrodite Wait, so, I'm wondering if LW3 has told Person A that they were an awful abusive juicebox? 'Cause he needs to know his behavior is Not In Line (if, however, talking to Juiceboxface would be traumatic for LW3, she should let someone else ream him out).

slutberry

DAMN this is a great A Lady!! And LW#2and #5 are relevant to my interests, indirectly.

slutberry

Also this A Lady is seriously hawwwttt.

Ten Thousand Buckets

Sexy chatting for a documentary may be pretentious, but I don't think it beats the conceptual cheeseburger. Unless maybe it was a conceptual documentary.

Scandyhoovian

A Lady, thank you for #5. I have a habit of rehashing issues with friends and relatives over and over in my head and sometimes even staging fake arguments with people in my head just to get my point out SOMEWHERE, even if just to myself, and this answer really speaks to me.

Connie Anderson@facebook

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