In which we look at the things people type into search engines to find this blog, and answer them like questions.
1. “My parents are swingers and want me to join them.”
Nope. As in, I suspect this is a fake question/problem.
As in, here is your script: “Nope.”
As in, “Want to come to this swingers party with us?” “Nope!” “You should try swinging with us, I think you’d love it.” “Nope.” Come on, how can you even know you don’t like it if you haven’t tried it? Once you see how much fun Mom is having, I know you’ll change your mind.” “Nope.”
Or, I think it was RoseFox who mentioned once upon a time in a comment thread here that kink, etc. tends to run in families, so if you are also a swinger, maybe you and your folks have to hash out who has priority in which parts of your scene or work out what to do if you have an awkward “…Dad?” moment.
2. “After our first date he said although I was definitely his type he felt we had more of a friend vibe.”
“He” may want you to be a friend or an ummfriend (the thing about being his ‘type’), but not a boyfriend or girlfriend. Have fun, if you are having fun in his company, but do not wait by the phone or get super-invested in a romance with this man.
3. “Boyfriend won’t go in public with me.” & 4. “Boyfriend won’t tell people about me.”
I’m trying to think of a non-sketchy reason for this. Okay. Hrm. Maybe he’s a Capulet and you’re a Montague and your families are locked in a battle to the death. Or maybe it’s a same-sex relationship in a really conservative place, and homophobia from family, coworkers, church, and the surrounding culture is making your boyfriend afraid to talk about you. Is it a cultural thing (which doesn’t make it less crappy for you, but it’s at least a reason that you can empathize with and talk through to a good solution) or a “you are his secret thing on the side” thing? Trust your instincts, and trust that you’re not selfish for wanting recognition. If something feels sketchy, it probably is.
5. “How to tell somebody politely to be quiet while watching a show.”
There are two methods that come to mind. One is to pause the show (if you can) and give the person your full attention for a few minutes.”What were you asking me?” Have a conversation with them, and then turn back to the show when you’re ready.
The other, more direct and active way is to say, “I really want to focus on this, can we talk later?”
I’ve been the jackass who thought it was a “we’re all going to make fun of this movie together” party when really it was a “we are quietly watching this movie together” party, and I super-appreciated being told directly.
6. “Should I say sorry for creepy behaviour.”
Maybe. Is the person still talking to you (like, they initiate conversations with you that aren’t “what size would you like for that latte?” when trapped at work) or are they avoiding you? Once someone is avoiding you, and it’s most likely because you did something creepy, the best way to make amends is to show them that you get it and leave them alone. Go forth, and creep no more.
7. “What to be when you grow up and want to do something that involves English and science.”
Write about science, or edit scientific publications/textbooks/journals, or be a scientist who writes wonderful grants and papers are some things that come to mind. Readers, I feel like lots of you have cool jobs that combine these things. Take us to Career Day!
8. “I’m living with my girlfriend, and feel she’s taking financial advantage of me.”
If you think the person is taking advantage deliberately, that sounds like a good reason to end things.
If you think they are just being oblivious or not stepping up as you want them to, the big question I have is, have you ever had a talk about how you will handle finances, or did it just kind of happen along the way that you would do most of the paying? Sometimes people get into a role or a habit of how they spend without really examining it, and it can be hard to switch from Romance! mode to practical mode. It’s also hard to initiate conversations when you’ve been operating under the weight of so many assumptions. It’s so tempting to think that it will all work itself out without anyone having to spell things out, but this is a mistake. If things are unbalanced, or unworkable for you, and you want to stay in the relationship, then it’s time to work things out very explicitly and transparently. Before opening discussions, I suggest that you do some math. What are your expenses like? What do you each contribute? How do you want to handle money in the future?
A good way to start this conversation is: “Girlfriend, let’s talk about how we pay and split the bills. What we are doing right now is not workable for me, and I’d like us to figure out some changes in how we handle our finances together.” :show spreadsheet: “This is how our monthly rent, bills, and expenses look to me – is there anything on here that I missed?” If you invite her to be a partner in figuring this out together rather than starting off by berating and blaming her, you can make her an active player in finding a solution. If she won’t engage honestly with you, that tells you a lot about her (and whether you should stay).
Finding an equitable solution doesn’t necessarily mean splitting everything 50/50. There are lots of successful romantic partnerships where money is pooled, where one person earns all the money and pays for everything and the other partner contributes in other ways, or where people keep their money entirely separate. My parents, married for 47 years, operate by pooling everything, paying out all of the necessities, savings, and things they’ve budgeted for together, and then each taking an allowance for themselves that can be spent without running anything by the other person. After cohabiting for a year and change, for now I pay the rent and the bills up front and my dude reimburses me for his share because that works better around how and when we each get paid. We keep separate bank accounts and alternate paying for groceries and other stuff. I’m sure that will evolve with time, and that’s the biggest piece of advice I’d give to anyone who is figuring out finances with another person: Lay everything out transparently and make sure you build in the opportunity to renegotiate how you do things as your circumstances change. Ooh, one other thing I’ve learned: If you’re the partner who earns more, one challenge is realizing that if you want the other person to pay half of everything y’all do, you need to scale down how you live and what you do to be within what they can afford OR you need to treat them when you want to treat yourself without putting that on their account, so to speak. And you both have to be able to say “Sorry, I can’t afford that right now!” without shame or blame from the other.
9. “How to be a good Facebook stalker.”
In three! easy! steps!
1. Close your computer.
2. Go learn to paint or some shit.
3. In summary: Don’t.
10. “Is meeting her kids a big deal.”
Short answer: “Signs point to yes.”
Slightly longer answer: “Take your lead and cues from her.”
11. “What is the best thing to do for a loved one who just got out a psych ward.”
I asked people who are in a position to know, and some answers were:
- “Take them to Uncle Julio’s.” (Substitute the comforting, favorite casual dining venue of your choice here).
- “Food in the hospital tends to be very bland, so if they like spicy food at all, take them somewhere with spicy food.”
- “Let them know you’re there for them without making a big fucking deal about it.”
- “If the place they stayed was a good place, they likely came out with some kind of aftercare plan. If you can, offer to help them with the implementation of that – stuff like getting to appointments, filling prescriptions, etc.”
My other suggestions are 1) Seek them out for the pleasure of their company, not solely to help 2) Ask if they want to talk about it and listen without judgment if they do. Respect their choice if they don’t. And remember, they are not there to prove or disprove your impressions of what mental hospitals are like from seeing Girl, Interrupted or One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest 3) Offer hugs if they are hugging sorts and you have a hugging kind of relationship. People get very touch-deprived among strangers. 4) Find a regular way of keeping in touch. People getting out of any kind of hospital get a big surge of “what can I do to help?” at the beginning, but it peters out quickly. Be there consistently.
12. “My husband leaves a brown film on the toilet seat.”
Is he eating the Bro’det every night?
Is this a new behavior? Is his overall hygiene getting worse? Is this related to illness or aging? Because my first thought is that maybe something is deteriorating about his ability to notice things like this, and a medical checkup might be due.
Alternately, I suggest putting some Clorox wipes (or similar, we’re not brand-loyal) within easy reach and saying, “Can you please wipe down the toilet seat after you use it?” If he’s a person who walks away from toilets without checking to make sure everything is cool, it’s unlikely he will notice on his own or do something without this level of directness, so rip the bandaid off.
13. “How to tell your ex u don’t want to be friends.”
“Ex, I know I said that I’d like to stay friends, but now that some time has passed, I think I need a truly clean break in order to heal and get over things/put the relationship behind me. I’m so sorry, but I don’t think we should stay in touch anymore.”
If they’ve been contacting you a lot and making you uncomfortable, sometimes you have to be more literal “I need a clean break, which means that I’d like you to stop contacting me.” It’s okay to send all that in an email. End with wishing them well. If they send something back, don’t reply. Hopefully time will do the rest and you’ll both heal and move on.
14. “BF wants me to Skype at 9 pm every day.”
I am guessing that you do not want to Skype at 9pm every day, or you wouldn’t be searching for this.
Is it that every day is too much for you? Is it that having a set time, or having it be that time is inconvenient?
I suggest sitting down and figuring out when it would be good for you to talk, so you can offer something more realistic.
“Boyfriend, I love that you are so attentive to keeping in touch, but 9pm every day isn’t working for me. Can we do [schedule that works for you]?”
15. “It’s only been a few days but i want to break up.”
Do it. Don’t drag this out. “[Name], I am so sorry, but I do not want to be in our relationship anymore and am ending it.”
You could try “I really liked you, so I wanted to give things a chance, but I know now that it isn’t right for me.”
Own everything about ending the relationship. Don’t list the other person’s faults, or try for objective reasons. “I don’t feel that way, I’m so sorry.”
It’s gonna suck but you will feel so relieved a few days from now.
16. “Rejected someone but changed my mind.”
Have a good think first. There was a reason you rejected them. You sure about this?
Okay, try this: “Ever since we talked, I’ve been kicking myself for missing out on my chance with you. Is that offer still open/Would you be willing to give it another try?”
If they say no, be graceful and cool. “Well, you are nifty/keen/cool/super, I had to ask.”
Here endeth the lessons. Stay warm out there.