Since it’s almost the new year, I’m adding a bonus at the end. Enjoy.
I am a 32-year-old single mother of a teenager, and I have been dating a great guy for the past year. He is my age and has no kids. Most of my relationships haven’t lasted more than a few months. This guy is perfect in many respects. He constantly tells me he loves me, gets along with my son, helps me around my house, plans his weekends to include me, and has introduced me to his family. The problem is that in the past year he has never bought me flowers. I know it may seem petty, but it’s something I think shows a woman that a man was thinking about her throughout the day and that he appreciates her. I have mentioned to him how much this bothers me, but it doesn’t seem to change. Should I be concerned?
Dear Deflowered (sorry, couldn’t resist, even if that was kind of cruel),
I can already feel my female readers shaking their heads in embarrassment on your behalf. On the one hand, I sympathize with you for being a teen mother and raising your kid all by yourself. On the other hand, it’s pretty clear that you haven’t learned anything about relationships since middle school. Bringing flowers shows a woman that a man was thinking about her throughout the day and that he appreciates her? How about telling you constantly that he loves you, helping you around the house, and planning his weekends to include you? What the hell do you think that shows? I’ll tell you from a man’s perspective what he’s thinking. He’s thinking, “Why would she want some cheap flowers that are going to die in a few days when she could have some help with the chores and a weekend at the mall?” This isn’t Twilight. Symbolic gestures are not what sustain a relationship. Hopefully, you’ll learn that before your boyfriend wises up to the fact that he’s dating a high-schooler in a 32-year old’s body.
If you’re really set on getting some flowers, though, I know a shark in Pittsburgh who deals with them. Don’t ask me why there’s a flower-dealing shark in a landlocked city. It’s complicated.
I have been prank wrapping gifts to my family for years. It’s nothing too serious (nesting boxes, duct tape wrapping, heavy lead weights on gift cards), and everyone seems to enjoy it. The only problem is that I have met that special someone, and while the rest of her family approves of our relationship, her mother does not. She has questioned my financial standing—which is excellent—even though she and my girlfriend’s father are flat broke. Mostly she refuses to talk to me at all. So I put her gift in a box that can’t be opened without the use of metal cutting tools. While I am happy with this (I consider it a masterpiece of gift wrapping), my girlfriend is ill-at-ease. She recognizes the tension between me and her mother, and understands that it may never be resolved, but thinks this might be going a little far. I am not sure that it is. Does this exceed the treatment I have received from her mother?
Dear Dense Wrapping Around the Head,
I’m kind of doubtful about your claim that everybody enjoys your prank wrapping. It sounds like the sort of joke that people would just put up for your sake. And seriously. You gave her a present that can only be opened with metal cutting tools? You don’t see where this might seem excessive? Now you just sound like an asshole. If the mother-in-law doesn’t like you, there’s not much you can do about that. But all you’re doing here is giving her an excuse to tell your girlfriend there’s a reason she doesn’t like you. And she wouldn’t be wrong.
But since you’re so into this sort of thing, I have an idea. Why don’t you fashion a metal condom and put it on yourself. With padlocks. Then tell your girlfriend it’s a gift for her to unwrap. She’ll love it.
My uncle recently announced he will be divorcing his fourth wife, whom he married a year and a half ago. They made it a year longer than we all had predicted. He is family, yes, but this man can be very unpleasant, particularly when stressed (like getting divorced around the holidays), and likes to put his overly critical two cents in where it doesn’t belong. For some reason, I, as the grown daughter of his older sister (I have a younger brother who is 19), usually spend the entire holiday receiving backhanded comments and having absurd orders barked at me that I often politely (or not so politely) refuse. The rest of the family is treated to his loud, “hilarious” stories and often doesn’t know what has been going on all day until after he has left and I make them aware of it. I’m told to just ignore him, but it gets harder every holiday, and I know this particular one will be brutal. Any advice?
When I moved away from my small-town USA home years ago after college, I didn’t realize that I dropped off the globe for my family. I love my family and make every effort to keep in touch and visit. However, after 10 years I have come to realize all the action is on my part and I’m starting to wonder if I should take a step back. Most of my family didn’t attend my wedding because they “didn’t want to travel that far.” I never get invites to birthday parties or holidays, so I have to invite myself if I want to be included. When I am visiting, it doesn’t seem like anyone is that interested in seeing me, and they definitely do not care about hearing what is going on with me. None of my family has visited me in my new home even though I have invited them numerous times. I have put a lot of effort in my family relationship, and I want to stop and just focus on my life with my husband. Is this normal? Can I move on and let them make the move if they want to see me? I’m exhausted.
I normally have an extended break during the holidays, most of which I spend at home (out of state) with my family. This year for a variety of reasons (mostly due to the pressure and gloom I feel at home), I am choosing to stay for only two days. I feel guilty enough, but I know once I start telling people, they will all make me seem like a horrible person for not spending time with my family. Mind you, no one ever visits me, and I am always expected to travel to see other friends and family who live in the tri-state area, but I don’t even have a car. Do I just suck it up and stay a few more days, even though I will most likely be in a funk? If not, how do I explain to people that I want to have a stress-free holiday break and prefer to be by myself without seeming selfish?
Dear all three of you,
Families are an accident of birth. You’re all adults now. Why the hell are you putting up with this?