Carolyn Hax Live: Didn't know abstract males were an option

Nov 15, 2019

Advice columnist Carolyn Hax took your questions and comments about in-laws and Thanksgiving, online dating and infertility. Her answers may appear online or in an upcoming column.

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Oh hi! What's new.

My husband and I alternate families for Thanksgiving every year. My in-laws have a very different way of celebrating – my MiL does all of the cooking and cleaning up, refusing help from anyone except for me and my SiL (her daughter). This means my two pre-teen children can sit around and watch football and play on their phones until dinner time, they can bolt their food down while everyone watches the football game (it’s so loud that conversation is impossible) and then go back to their phones/TV. My parents expect everyone to pitch in, including my children (which I’m in favor of), and we eat our meal leisurely and everyone is encouraged to contribute to the conversation. Since we’re going to my parents’ house this year, I’m hearing loud complaints from my children that Thanksgiving sucks at my parents, that they hate it, and can’t wait to go to the other grandparents’ house. My husband says I can’t blame them for feeling this way, any 11 and 12 year-old would feel the same but I think this says something not so nice about our children and the values we haven’t managed to instill in them. What do you think? Are my expectations for our children unreasonable?

For the outcome, no, they're totally reasonable expectations. But your little cupcakes aren't fully baked yet, so it's okay and perfectly normal for them to have some less-than-evolved opinions and preferences. Your job is to (hm how can we overwork this metaphor ...) keep applying even heat as they mature. I.e., they go to sucky Thanksgiving this year and like it.

My husband's father died last weekend. He was my husband's hero and the beloved patriarch of the whole family, but for reasons it would take me 20 pages to cover, I did not like him at all. (Near the top of the list, he believed that men should control women, and that philosophy pervaded every single thing he did and said in my presence.) I don't know how else to explain how I'm feeling right now other than extreme fatigue at having to keep feigning sadness that he's gone. I have always been very concerned about my husband's love for this awful person. (My husband is not a misogynist, but he sympathized with his dad's way of thinking.) I was worried about the impact he would have on our kids, and I'm relieved that he died while they were still young enough not to understand all his blustering. But I will have to attend a service and endure a lot of conversation about how dearly missed he is...how do I get through all of that?

Make a concerned face, nod at appropriate times, find graceful ways to deflect questions back onto your questioner--"It's my husband I'm concerned about," "Thank you for asking," "Aw geez, how are -you- doing," etc.

And, when this is all behind you and your attention is back on yourselves and your child-rearing, watch v. closely for signs of your own wishful thinking about your husband's philosophical bedrock. I want to believe you, but when a man's hero is "this awful person," there just seems to be a lot more of this story waiting to happen.

--

This is not for you, obviously--especially since I don't even know how much of your opinion you shared with your husband--but for others in the formative or pre-formative stages of committed relationships:

If you have serious objections to a person's key family member, then it's best to be honest about that early, and to say why. It may seem kind or just pragmatic to make nice, but this situation shows how intertwined and far-reaching these issues can be.

I gave my phone number to man I’ve been messaging on a dating app. The pace of messages picked up considerably after that. He asked to talk on the phone, but I declined since my kids were home and they’re very nosy. Anyway, over the course of the “conversation”, about 2 hours of intermittent texting, he sent things like “I hope you give me an opportunity to show you who I am” and “will you open up your soul to me?”, an addition to a few other references to wanting to get to know me, show me he’s a great guy, etc. We had made plans to meet for coffee in a few days. He signed off with an abbreviated affectation. The total of that is that I’m a little… Uncomfortable. Like, too much too soon. One statement of let me show you I’m a good guy is okay, especially if someone seems hesitant/nervous. But this felt like too much, especially with that affectation. Btw, when he had asked me earlier in the conversation if I was dating anyone and how I was doing on the site I told him (honestly) that I’m not dating any one guy right now, and that when that happens, I stop searching on the site. This is one of those where you can see that someone is online. He texted this morning to wish a good day. I texted that if he meant [identifiable term, so I'm not using it here]  that I was uncomfortable with the term, and that we haven’t even met yet. I also wished him a good day. Since then he’s texted again, asking if there’s any chance we could meet sooner, but didn’t acknowledge my statement. So..... Should I even keep a date with this guy? To me, the warning flags are waving that he doesn’t have appropriate expectations. I know I’m a people pleaser, and have a history of giving people what they want because it’s expected of me. But I’ve also been accused of being too picky or too judgemetal (though perhaps not by people with a history of healthy relationships). Your advice is appreciated!

You're uncomfortable, so cancel the date now. It's not even a close call. You don't need this person, this date, this information on whether your suspicions are founded or not. The benefit of your doubt isn't a debt that strangers have any right to collect.

Don't explain why you're canceling, either. (If you give nice-sounding "reasons," then you'll open the door to his countering/refuting your reasons. Ref: "The Gift of Fear," de Becker, which I recommend you read.) Save the communications, too, just in case you're right about the red flags.

Are you working with anyone on the people-pleaser stuff?

After our young child went through a very scary ER visit (but is now OK!), my in-laws could not be more unhelpful if they tried. The narcissistic one is telling everyone they blame themself for somehow causing the seizures (they live several states away) and the sexist one is blaming my wife for being a bad mother and that it somehow wouldn't have happened if I were there (my wife acted decisively and knew exactly what to do). I am trying to just focus on my immediate family's needs, but I am struggling to contain the rage and all the other emotions I'm feeling right now. I don't know what my specific question is other than a sanity check that this is beyond abnormal (it is, right?) and how to handle this.

A narcissist and a sexist walk into a bar ...

... and do self-aggrandizing and misogynistic things, respectively.

Sorry there isn't any cool twist.

Since these are her parents, not yours, you have the extra burden of a reckoning once removed--meaning, your job is more about helping to support your spouse and protecting your kids and managing your outrage.

Her job, meanwhile, is to stand up to her parents ... which could be a process of understanding their issues, understanding how she has been affected by their issues, learning what is healthy, learning strategies for maintaining health while not getting sucked into the issues. If she's more toward the beginning of this progression than the end, then it can be a lot to manage, even without a young child's health emergency to consider.

So you both have your different roles and different weights to bear. 

But arguably the most productive thing you can do is keep my stupid joke in mind as you deal with your in-laws: They're going to do what they're going to do. Set your expectations accordingly. The more you can anticipate their behavior, the less you'll react to it when it happens, and the more effective you'll be at keeping your attention where it matters.

Glad your little person is okay.

I have a friend, "Annie," whom I met through our MFA program a few years ago. We are both aspiring writers, but Annie has been more prolific than I have and has earned some (very well deserved!) publication credits. Meanwhile, I write and revise and sometimes show things to friends, but have not been quite gutsy enough to send things out yet. At least twice a week, Annie sends me links to publications she thinks I should submit to. Usually with a note explaining that she saw something in them that reminded her of my writing, and thinks I have a good shot there. She pushes in other ways, too (texting, mentioning to other writers right in front of me that I should be getting published). I find it stressful and embarrassing and would like to tell her to back off, but I worry that I will regret it down the line (if for example I am cutting off a possible future connection). How do I gently ask her to quit pushing me, without getting rid of a great cheerleader?

Well, you can try the direct route, and tell her you appreciate how supportive she is, but until you're finished and ready to send your work out, the links just mess with your head and mock you from your message queue. Offer some version of "It's not you, it's me!"

Or ... you can recognize Annie and the links aren't your problem, it's your writerly CoNsCiEnCe [spooky ghost noises], telling you it's time to stop being afraid and just to send your stuff out. 

Idunno. I prefer to take people at their word here, and there's absolutely nothing weird or wrong about getting tired of someone's pushiness--but, but. It's so common for people to get frustrated with a repeated suggestion not because the person making it doesn't know it's wrong, but because the person receiving it knows it's right.

So, apply as appropriate. 

This is so wrenching to say but I’m going to have to break up with my fiancee and I’m trying to figure out the least painful way to do it. We've been together for 4 years, I'm 29, and she's almost 28, and we decided that the time was right to try for a baby. When nothing happened after nearly a year, we both got checked out by our doctors, and it turns out that she is infertile. She’s been to several specialists and they all say the same thing - her chances of ever conceiving are very low. We’re both devastated by the news, but I know it's worse for her. She’s already suggesting adoption or a surrogate. I told her that we could talk about it later but the truth is, I don't want that at all. I want to have my own kids, in the usual way. I guess that sounds selfish but it's how I feel, and I can't change it. I wanted that with my fiancee but it turns out it’s impossible. I know that means that I eventually have to break up with her even though I love her. There’s no way I can put her through a break up right now, when we’re both so raw and vulnerable, but is worse to string her along knowing that I will eventually have to do it? We don’t have a firm wedding date since it was never a priority for us, and we were just going to go down to the courthouse in the new year. What’s the kindest way to proceed here?

Dear lord. There isn't one. There's just marginally less unkind. 

Besides the devastation, there's also an important variable to navigate: Not everyone would want the same thing in this situation. Some people would be furious at a breakup right now, and others would be furious if you chose to wait when you knew all along you were done. 

Some too would be furious about whichever one you picked, because the fury is inevitable and its having to go somewhere means it will find whichever vessel you set out for it.

So for that reason and others, my advice is, in this moment, without benefit of time to think about it: Stop. Say nothing. Think.

Here's another of the reasons:

The next brood mare person you date may not be able to procreate in your preferred way, either. You may not have ways of knowing this until you're already married. Or, you may safely avoid marriage again and try procreating and have a trouble-free conception ... and (perish the thought) other things might go wrong, like miscarriage(s) or stillbirth(s). Are you going to leave again? 

Or, what if the baby-making goes as you had hoped, but you wake up one day to realize you kinda-sorta married a uterus and forgot about the idea of good conversation for the rest of your life?

I actually do have some sliver of a degree of sympathy for the idea of wanting what you want out of life. I type it here all the time, that if two people love each other fully and one wants kids and the other doesn't, then they're either going to have to sacrifice their family preference or their relationship. It's not a have-it-all kind of situation, and we have to be pragmatic about who we are.

But we also don't occupy (anything close to) a perfect world, and we can't reasonably treat our life/lifestyle preferences as some kind of cosmic grocery list. You don't choose a life partner to have your kids, you choose someone for that someone's qualities, and for your love of those qualities--because *everything* beyond that is subject to the whims of fate. Kids, number of kids, health of kids, survival of kids--all YMMV. Even the  charm of your partner's qualities can be of variable endurance, so choosing wisely is really all you've got.

So ask yourself two things during this cool-off, thinking period: Which is more important to you, the quality of your bond with your partner or the results of your partnership; and, would you like it if someone chose your life companionship because it gave her access to your sperm?

None of this is to argue, btw, for staying with your fiancee. If you can even be thinking this then either she's not the right person for you or you're not mature enough to tell whether she is, which is same-same at this point, for all practical purposes. I'm just saying the whole pick-the-girl-for-the-fertility idea is due for a rock-hard rethink. 

 

 

How did Annie get the guts to put it out there? Open up about your 'not having the guts' - she's practically begging you. I'm going to go 'shark tank' on you. You're not an an aspiring writer if you don't put yourself out there. Yes, it's hard - but if you want this life, you're going to have step out of your comfort zone. You're going to have accept the (many) rejections that comes of it. You're going to have to listen to any rejection advice and have the confidence to know when it's useful and when it isn't. Get Annie to help you with stepping out of your confidence zone so you're really living the aspiring writer life!

It's time to submit. Start papering your walls with your rejections.

I get what you’re saying, Carolyn, but twice a week? Makes me wonder what’s going on with “Annie’s” own life that she’s dishing out her advice (to someone clearly not receptive to it, or asking for it) twice a week. Yes, the poster should ask herself if she’s bothered by the advice because she knows she should be sending her stuff out already, fair question, but I also think it’s fair to ask why Annie is doling out her advice on a biweekly basis - which would involve, too, the poster asking herself whether she is somehow giving Annie signals that she wants this advice or encouragement.

I've been online dating for many years...the one thing you have to remember: You do not *owe* this person anything and they do not *owe* you anything. This is gets less true after you date the person for awhile (meaning that you may *owe* it to someone to break it off with them instead of ghosting them...) But your time is a gift you give to people. Their time is a gift they give you. If either person doesn't feel comfortable about dating, then say you are not a good fit and move on! If they continue to text you after you explain this, I would block him/her. Its tough out there in the dating world, but I agree with Carolyn, if you feel uncomfortable before meeting this person, they are not for you!

I absolutely agree with your advice, but I do think the husband is well within his rights to calmly respond to all blame being centered on his wife with a "she did the best job possible. I will not let you blame her again." and continue that forward. I would bet all the money Amazon has that the mom is already blaming herself and internalizing her father's blame. She very well might be able to work through this in the future, but right now - I hope the husband can defend her when she isn't able to.

Right, yes, thank you.

this is similar to my experience with my step father. what helped me was not to focus on the person who passed but to focus on the people who felt the loss deeply. if you are able to acknowledge that their love or admiration was real and valid, then its easier to accept that their grief is so hard. it sounds kind of meta, but I mourned for their loss, not for mine, and was able to get through the memorial and subsequent family gatherings gracefully.

This is a level or two above my "deflect back" suggestion, and it's a great one, thanks. 

I was one of those kids. My aunt finally starting turning on dance music and while it was cringe-worthy to watch her and my mom dance while we meal-prepped, it was pretty funny and I have great memories of it now. What I haven't gotten over, however, is the rampant sexism of the women cooking and the men doing jack squat. They are the cupcakes who never baked.

[thunk]

I will freely acknowledge I am making the assumption OP is female--if I am right, PLEASE tell me someone will do something about modeling for these kids that only women cook and clean up.

Thanksgiving is just around the corner, which has me craving pumpkin pie and holiday horror stories.

You must not be cooking them for 20 people then. (I just spent the past 2-3 min looking for a letter from a woman whose husband insists she doesn't pass the big-family-dinner cooking responsibilities down to her daughter. Aaaagh. I got it too late to print in time for TG, so was going to share it with youse all.)

Carolyn - I have a husband, a job, an apartment, all the things I thought I needed. Yet I still feel like there is a "something else" out there. But I don't know if that is a new place, new people, new gig, new hobby. I find myself wondering if this is what the hokey-pokey is all about. Where do I go from here?

There is always "something else" out there. The idea that locking down a set sequence of milestones means you've won at life is just so faulty, and sooo enduring.

You, the day, the people you choose, and the people you get by default--they're the raw materials of your life. Every day, you make something out of these things. That process doesn't change, ever, no matter what the details look like--whether you're young, old, settled, unsettled, paired, unpaired, sure of where you're headed, unsure of where you're headed. 

So, what have you got, and what are you doing with it? If it's not enough to feel gratifying, then what changes can you make to fix that? Start at the margins and work in. Good luck.

My dad died last year and I wish I could give him one more hug, take another picture of him with my kids, record him talking about his childhood or my parents' marriage. I want to do better now with my mom. But I cannot figure out how to change patterns and take more pictures or start recording her stories. She hates having her picture taken and any reason I can think of for recording her is, basically, "when you're gone I want to be able to hear your voice." I am pretty sure that referring to her being gone will not go over well. Ten years ago, it would've been fine, but now she's in her early eighties and since Dad died has become very averse to any reference to her death, even implied references. Any ideas?

Say you want to record her stories and recollections of family history to share with the rest of the family. If even that is dicey, then say you're recording everyone's recollections, age notwithstanding. Then do it--record everyone. What a great project.

Carolyn, I’m middle aged, divorced, but still hoping to share the rest of my life with someone. A year ago I started dating a great man: treats me well, funny, we have mental and physical chemistry and I always enjoy our time together. He claims he is sure about me and I.... still don’t know about whether this is it for me. I care deeply about him and appreciate him but I keep waiting for that moment or day when I wake up and think, I love this man and I’m all in for the future. It’s been a year, shouldn’t I be there by now? I want to be patient with myself and my feelings but then I worry that I’m not being fair to him if after this long I’m still evaluating things and he’s not.

This could be Part II of the discussion of the whole idea of a finish line and/or life-winning.

Do you like this person? Yes/no. Do you want to keep enjoying his company? Yes/no.

If it's yes and yes, then why does it have to be more than that? If you're concerned about fairness, then you can certainly tell him you're happy just enjoying his company with no set goal in mind. He, then, can decide whether to stay on those terms or go.

I realize that might seem disingenuous of you to say, since you just declared you're "still hoping to share the rest of my life with someone"--but if you can get yourself to the point of seeing the wisdom of not rushing, and enjoying what you have *unless and until it's clear you want something else,* then you can say that with a straight face. And remove this arbitrary pressure for Answers.

 

Do you have collections of old photos--especially of ones where she was young? Ask if you can record her talking about them, so you know who the people in the photos are. Needless to say this will also mean a lot of taking about her own life.

As someone who is both infertile and adopted, I find OP's attitudes appalling. I am not less worthy of one's love because of either situation. I hope his fiancee can find someone who loves her for who she is, not what her uterus can do.

Overtly look for opportunities the turn on your phone's video - eg, a cute reading to your kids, having an impromptu singsong. Capture these intimate everyday moments as well.

My siblings and I did this. Definitely make it YOUR project/hobby (can you help me out with something mom?). Send your kids to ask the questions -- they may open up to a grandkid in way they won't to you. Also, consider having a book or other guide to help you ask questions, etc. For a variety of reasons, we found that many people were much more open to answering questions that came from a book (authority) than directly (nosiness).

100% look into StoryCorps’s Great Thanksgiving Listen, they have an app, suggested questions for different topics and relationships, and guide you through interviewing people. I will never regret interviewing family, regardless of the awkwardness of the ask, which is less awkward if you ask everyone!

Pointing out to your mom that she will die soon and you want to hear her voice afterwards, so you need her to record something for you... some moms would genuinely find that kind of creepy.

Of course, which is why we're talking about different ways to frame it--but any time I can encourage us all not to get creeped out by our mortality, I will. 

If you're not going to break up with your fiancé immediately, you should at least let her know that you're struggling hard because you did not realize how strong your feelings about having kids via the usual process were. She's moving on to alternate methods - the most hurtful thing you can do right now is to make her think that you're on board with doing that.

I spent a lot of my early relationship with my boyfriend in a similar mindset; he seemed all in on me, but I wasn't sure if I felt the same. I spent months agonizing, but eventually reached the point of "Do I like spending time with him? Yes. Then I'm just going to keep going until I don't want to spend time with him." We've been together for more than 3 years and I have reached a place where I can't imagine life without him. But it did take a lot of me trying to get out of my own head about it.

Keep at it. That was my family, and I’m sure my brother and I didn’t always appreciate those long family get togethers. Now we do. My brother and I have a language and history all our own. Those rare times we can all be together? We laugh until our sides hurt. The dishes get done. We take long walks and laugh some more. And when we lost dad unexpectedly, it was all hands on deck to get Mom what she needed. Because of those bonds. Your kids are lucky, and what you are giving them is a gift.

Aw, you got me. Crying now.

Did you think you needed A Husband, or did you marry this guy because you wanted to spend the rest of your life with him rather than an abstract male?

Thanks. Didn't realize abstract males were an option.

A radio commercial for a plastic surgery clinic that aired in my area a few years ago used almost exactly this scenario ("great job, great boyfriend, lazy weekends at the lake" but still dissatisfied) in a commercial for breast augmentation. Just sayin'.

This is appalling, yes, but ...

what if we Sneetchify it? And spiral into a giant boobs-on, boobs off extravaganza until we all just decide to like ourselves as we are and drive Sylvester McM. McBean out of town.

Half baked reminds me that every year I am faced with a BIL that does nothing but read the paper and watch football. My sister seems to think this is fine. If he wants to be a chauvinist, then I want him to change the oil in my car while I’m prepping his meal and doing dishes. I guess I am writing to remind myself to breathe and enjoy everyone else…you can’t pick you siblings spouses!

My Step-mother died and I could not stand her. She was married to my father for over 30 years and never showed his children an ounce of kindness. When ever my father talks about how lucky was to be married to such a wonderful woman...I just respond I am happy she brought you so much happiness.

You are a saint.

Do you have a son and a daughter? You're going to have to figure out what you want to do when your daughter is old enough to help out and your son can still sit back.

Chances are they will figure it out themselves before OP does. Finding their voices, in my experience and if I may generalize, is not an issue with young people at the moment.

And all of the women who struggle, endure, and suffer with infertility and the horrific thoughts it creates about one's identity as a woman unite with one mighty ROAR. I can hear the snarling from coast to coast. What if he were the infertile one? And now I want a cupcake. And pumpkin pie.

Roar on, my friend. 

(Mmm. Pumpkin cheesecake.)

1) As stated by the writer "we’re both so raw and vulnerable". That applies to his own feelings and reactions as well. Acting right now seems premature. 2) Perfectly fertile couples have trouble conceiving children all. the. time. There are no guarantees. If this woman is THE ONE for you, that's far more rare. 3) A surrogate is his own kids. Possibly even with her egg, depending on the nature of her infertility issue. Is all he wants really just to go through her being pregnant?

Also: be busy at funerals or wakes. Corral your kids and any other kids. Take them on walks. Check on the snacks. Sit quietly with someone quiet. Put flowers in vases. This is a way to support the grieving while avoiding the uncomfortable conversations.

Lovely, thanks.

Please be blunt, let her down now, and let her move on. She's going to be crushed (and she should be) but anything else would be living a lie and mistreating her -- assuming she wants a partner that wants her for her, and not someone who wanted a child and found himself stuck. My wife and I are infertile, and found out after we got married. And there was this nagging thought in my head: I could have a bio child if I just ___. And finally I thought it through. She's wonderful. She is seriously terrific in so many ways. We've built a wonderful relationship. And I'm proposing to throw all that away and go back on the dating scene to maybe find someone else in the next five years who is only about half as wonderful as her, and then try to father a child? Put that way, it seemed like the dumbest thing I'd ever thought, and it was easy to put out of my mind. We adopted, and our family is perfect. I'd choose it all again, every day of the week and twice on Sunday. Maybe you're grieving, like I was. Realizing that you can't have a biological child is a loss, and an upsetting one. If so, grieve, and don't make any decisions until that grief is out of the way of clear thinking. And please work on shedding the notion that having a genetically-yours child is the only way to be a family. There are so many ways to be a parent and bring a child into your life, including adoption and step-parenting. They're all wonderful; they're not less-than or almost-rans. And then you realize life has led you to the family you were meant to have. But after all that, if you're not marrying her for her, come what may, then leave.

Thank you. 

That’s what bothers me about this discussion - it presumes that Mom has to be tricked into this, or that she can be, or that she needs to be forced to face her own mortality - of which, by every indication, she is well aware, she just doesn’t want to talk about it. Why are her needs and desires subordinate here?

Of course there's more out there. There are a zillion "more"s out there. What you have now is the foundation you need to reach out for all the things you can do with your life—just keep your eyes open for what you want to reach for next.

Yes, yes.

Now I will reach for a dog or two and put my feet up. Thanks everybody, have a great weekend and I'll type to you here next week. Oh--Hoot day is 12/13, and I will not be chatting on Black Friday.

A different take. I spent 10+ Thanksgivings with my former in-laws. If someone glimpsed the scene on that day that would indeed have seen the women cooking and cleaning up, and the men watching football while rubbing their full bellies. HOWEVER... the rest of the time, my FIL was the domestic one. He called himself Mrs. Doubtfire... my MIL still worked, and he did all the household duties including cleaning, shopping, and cooking. Those Thanksgivings were a chance for we women to have some times to ourselves with the men in the other room, and although we were doing "traditional women's work" we were also having a blast and creating memories I still cherish today. So, let's not assume that this is a Great Sexist Plot. And, Happy Thanksgiving, Carolyn and all the Nuts.

Thanks, to you too.

This is heartbreaking. When I received devastating news about infertility, I was terrified that my husband would think as this writer does. When it turned out he wanted to be with me no matter what, it brought us closer together. Have you considered the possibility that you just don't love your fiancee as much as you thought? It's an honest question. You both deserve to love and be loved fully.

Without getting into the gory details, I've been in the woman's shoes and you never unhear those words. I will be on my deathbed remembering how it felt when I couldn't have a baby and it was going to cost me my marriage as well. If the OP is 100% convinced that he must break up with his fiancee, he should probably choose the least horrifying truth to break up over: "Look, what you said about surrogacy or adoption? Those are things I'm not willing to do, at all, ever, and I think that means we shouldn't be together." I mean, it's still an incredibly crappy thing to do to a person, but at least it's not as personal as "You're broken and I don't love you more than I love the idea of having biological kids." People can have all kinds of reasonable objections to complicated assisted reproductive tech or adoption and it can be a sad but okay thing to break up over. It will give his motives a fig leaf of decency, too, which tbh isn't a consideration for me but might be for him.

You don't "have to" break up with her. You're choosing to. Own your own choices.

The chatter reminds me of a co-worker of mine from long ago. When I started at the company, she was living with her parents and "looking for [her own] apartment" -- but couldn't seem to find the right one. When I left the company -- Eight. Years. Later. -- she was STILL looking for an apartment. Does the OP really want to still be almost ready to start sending out her work eight years from now?

So good, thanks.

In This Chat
Carolyn Hax
Carolyn Hax started her advice column in 1997 as a weekly feature for The Washington Post, accompanied by the work of "relationship cartoonist" Nick Galifianakis. The column has since gone daily and into syndication, where it appears in over 200 newspapers. Carolyn joined The Post in 1992 as a copy editor in Style, and became a news editor before turning to writing full-time. She is the author of "Tell Me About It" (Miramax, 2001), and the host of a live online discussion on Fridays at noon on washingtonpost.com. She lives in New England with her husband and their three boys.
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