Never-Complainers, Workaholics, and the Balding-and-Manly
1. I have a problem that might not be a problem.
My fiancé (dating three years, engaged eight months, living together two years) never complains about me to me. Not ever. He’s never once asked me to change my behavior in any way. Okay, once he asked me not to leave a wet towel on the bathroom floor. Like a year ago. And he was right — that was gross of me. We have had serious discussions about just about everything, and some of them have turned into proper fights (which we always resolve quickly and good-naturedly with much concern for the other person’s feelings, etc. etc.). But I always initiate them. I swear it: we would Literally. Never. Argue. About. Anything if it weren’t for me. It just wouldn’t come up. I’ve even tried to stay silent on obvious disagreements or sticking points, but he just never speaks up.
I should clarify that he’s an otherwise wonderful, normal, kind, super-intelligent-but-a-bit-shy person who actually does know how to speak and who communicates his love for me quite well. And who complains often and loudly about other things, like work and politics.
I’ve mentioned this to him before, and he doesn’t really have an explanation. I’ve mentioned that it worries me, and he says it shouldn’t. What to do?
Some guys complain all the time. Some save up all their complaints to throw back in your face during a fight. Some never complain and then all the complaints build up in their body and they just explode and disappear forever. None of that is all that charming. Is it possible that you’re just wonderful and he doesn’t have much to complain about? I wouldn’t go searching for problems you don’t have. But if it’s just killing you, if you just need to know that he will complain about something worth complaining about, you could start doing things you think he should complain about, like leaving open cans of beans all over the place. Or get a weird hat and insist on wearing it everywhere. Something with, like, deer antlers.
I don’t know that you should go out of your way to incite discord just for the sake of seeing whether your man is capable of dealing with bad stuff, though — he probably just complains to someone else about you.
Just get married. That’ll give you guys both something to complain about soon enough.
2. So, my situation is this: I’m getting married in a month to a great guy who really loves me, but he has this weird quirk … he’s an attorney, and he simply won’t stop working. Fifteen hour days, every day, even weekends. I only work part time while I’m finishing school, which means I’m spending A LOT of time at home, alone.
I’m getting more and more frustrated with his lack of ability to stop working, ever. He’ll say he’s going to leave in 10 minutes, then arrives home three hours later, only to get his laptop out and keep going while pretending to watch TV. I need him to be available to do final vendor meetings, and to actually get our marriage license, and I’m honestly concerned that he’ll refuse to make time and we’ll be scrambling to get downtown the day before the wedding. He even said that if a work emergency came up, he may skip the rehearsal.
He says he’d rather be at home, but I feel like if he really wanted to make time, he would. When I try to talk to him about it he just makes sad noises and gets whiny about how he wishes he didn’t have to work so much. I’m also worried about his health, as his father died young from a heart attack. What am I supposed to do? Am I just being selfish about wanting some of his time?
Attorneys work crazy hours and bill by the hour. Your guy should make the time, it’s true. He obviously feels a lot of pressure to work. You need to insist on time for just the two of you, with no laptops and no skipping rehearsals. A groom’s wedding rehearsal is a good excuse to miss work, even if your client is on death row. It also sounds like you have a lot of time on your hands, and you should stay busy, too. It can be depressing to be cooped up. Work does suck, but it also gives us a sense of purpose, a feeling of belonging.
So, institute work blackouts for him. For example, “Honey, you need to come home and watch Death Wish with me.” I mention Death Wish only because I just re-watched Death Wish on AMC and it’s the first movie that popped into my mind. No computers, no working. Death Wish. Make plans and dates with him that are clearly not breakable. And when he’s late you have to go nuts on him. It sounds like you have one of those whimpering dudes. He probably hates being yelled at and feels guilty at the drop of a hat. You just have to be tough with this dude. My friend’s ex-husband became an attorney and that was the end of it. He worked constantly, neglected his family and they broke up. And now all he has is work. Refuse to be neglected!
You could also get him fired through some kind of crazy scheme so that he’ll have plenty of time to spend with you. But I’d go with you being firm first. Being a workaholic isn’t a quirk. It’s a lifestyle, and difficult to overcome. But if he loves you he will make the time.
3. My dad is dying of cancer. Pretty soon, probably. Like, weeks at most. And I’ve been seeing this guy, who I think I really like, but it’s only been a month. How do I deal with this? He knows my dad is sick, but only in vague terms, and shit only got real in the last day or so. Obviously one month is way too soon to dump all my feelings on him, but I also don’t really want to tell him to go away for however many months I’m going to be grieving. What do I do?
I’m really sorry about your dad. You shouldn’t be afraid to ask for a little help. The death of a parent is as serious as it gets, and maybe this guy can help you get through it a little better. You shouldn’t keep this from him. If he runs away or can’t handle it, well, that’s on him. Let him in a little. I don’t know if he’ll be ready for all of your feelings all at once, but let him know what’s up. Let him know you like him. Don’t tell him to go away. Never chase someone off because you think they can’t handle what you’re going through.
4. One of my closest friends is a man who has been balding since his late teens. He is now about a Jean-Luc Picard on the scale of balding-and-manly. He’s in his late 20s. My close-knit circle of friends often tease him about his lack of hair, and he always seems to brush it off with a laugh, but it isn’t hard to see that he’s self-conscious about his looks (he always wears baseball hats, is sad about the lack of girl attention, etc.).
I’ve known this guy since we were kids and have always felt a little protective of him, so it bothers me to see our other friends hurting his feelings (albeit lightheartedly). Should I confront my other friends and tell them to back off, or should I keep my mouth shut and let him tell them to knock it off? I don’t want to embarrass him by bringing it up in front of everyone and causing a scene.
I am bald. I get teased. It comes with the territory. I don’t exactly look like Captain Picard. But some people prefer bald guys and find them super attractive. You could say something individually to your close-knit circle of friends, one by one, like, hey, don’t you think we should give Captain Picard a break about his hair? I mean, he’s manly and nice, and no one likes being teased so much. Or even, “I worry that we tease Captain Picard about his hair too much.” It’s nice that you feel protective, and it’s sweet of you to feel concerned for your friend. And they’re probably working on some kind of magic laser that’ll cure baldness soon anyway. I keep expecting toupees to come back in a retro hipster Williamsburg Way. I’ll be ready.
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