Whit's End

Lifeline, Whit's End

Changing Her Mind About Not Having Children

6 Written by: | Friday, Apr 11, 2014 12:00pm

Hey Whit,

When my husband, “Brian”, and I got married (well, actually before we got married) we decided that we didn’t want to have kids. Now five years later, I’m 31 and he’s 32 and I’ve changed my mind after a variety of experiences.

For example, I often see friends with their children and how much they love them. And sometimes these are couples that said they didn’t want to have kids anytime soon, or at all. Other times I will feel kind of jealous when friends get together with other friends who have kids, and they talk while their kids play together. It just looks like what a family should be.

All of these experiences have got me thinking that I want to have kids now, and it’s not only is it a possibility, it’s a certainty—I know that I want to have a kid(or kids). But every time that I’ve broached the subject with my husband, he shuts it down by saying, “We agreed before we got married that we were not going to have any children.” What really bothers me even more than the fact that he doesn’t want to discuss it is the way that he acts like he can just decide, and that’s that.

Am I stuck because of what I said before we got married? Can’t a person change her mind? I don’t want to leave my husband, but I’m feeling kind of desperate about doing something. What do you think?

Wants to be a Mom

Dear Wants: Read More →

Lifeline, Whit's End

Putting The Lopsided Friendship to the Test

4 Written by: | Friday, Apr 04, 2014 11:55am

Hi, Whit,

Here is the issue that I’ve seen happening more and more. Organizing get-togethers with friends seems to fall to me so that if I don’t do it, getting together won’t happen. It’s starting to make me feel taken for granted and wondering whether my friends care enough about me to suggest a time and place to meet so that we can enjoy each other’s company.  Occasionally, I get email or texts or even less often a call, but no one ever initiates these gatherings except me. I’m starting to feel like I have friends without benefits. What do you think I should do?

Friend without Benefits

Dear Friend:

Sometimes imagining the worst that can happen can help you handle what most likely will happen.  In your case, the worst that can happen seems to be that if you don’t initiate contact with your friends, you will never see or hear from these people again. In all probability you would, but even if you never did, you will have gained essential information about the nature and extent of your “friendships” with this group of acquaintances.  Read More →

Whit's End

It’s Never Okay to Use the N-Word

4 Written by: | Friday, Mar 28, 2014 12:05pm

Dear Al:

My son “Justin” plays on a basketball team that is mostly made up of African-American boys whom he likes and socializes with. That doesn’t bother me; in fact, I’m very happy that he has friends who are different from us (we are white).

What I find troubling, however, is how he has started calling his teammates the N-word when they are together. He’ll say something like, “You my N-word.” When I hear that I am sure that I audibly gasp because I hate that word and just can’t imagine anybody (at least any white person) saying that without being hurtful and racist. Read More →

Lifeline, Whit's End

In the Face of Temptation, Just Say No

0 Written by: | Friday, Mar 21, 2014 11:33am

Hi Whit:

My boyfriend “Adam” and I have been in a relationship for almost a year. Both of us are in our mid-20s. We really have a lot of fun together, and I can see possibilities for a future together. It’s not like I’ve decided that he is “the one” and can’t wait to live happily ever after, but I think we both believe that our relationship is definitely headed in that direction.

So here is the issue. A few months before I met Adam, I dated a different guy, “Ben.” Our relationship lasted fewer than six months. It seemed like we fought all of the time and the relationship was rocky except for the sex.

We had the absolute best sex and we had it a lot. But it was the only time we didn’t argue. We broke up because we both knew the relationship wasn’t going to work since we realized that we couldn’t engage in that behavior every waking minute.

In the time after our break up, we would get together every so often, maybe once every month or two, for one reason only, which was always great. These encounters were mutual and both of us would initiate them at different times. I know I should quit seeing Ben, but I just can’t seem to stop. Can you help me be strong, and do the right thing?

Can’t Help Myself

Dear Can’t:

Forgive me for asking too personal a question, but how is the sex with your current boyfriend, Adam?  You don’t mention that aspect of your relationship with him, which makes me wonder. What is missing with Adam that still makes you crave Ben?

You say that you “have a lot of fun” with Adam. What does that mean exactly? I am confused since you seem to have a lot of fun with Ben too. So, I guess my question to you is this: What matters to you, especially with someone who has potential to be “the one”?

Conversely, you might also consider what for you is not having a lot of fun, given all the arguing you did with Ben.  What were the sources of your disagreements? Were they over the same issue, or did they vary? When you made up, did you discuss or examine the issue or just dismiss or ignore it?

Once you have asked and answered these questions, you might begin to see what about Adam makes you want to keep him in your corner (or not). At the same time, you should be able to understand what about Ben made him a sparring-partner for you. You get the fight imagery, I’m sure.

From knocking down to building up, let’s move from the boxing ring to the construction site. When I was a carpenter’s helper in the summer years ago, I often remember how my boss, that sage of the circular saw, told me that “spackle covers a multitude of sins.” In your case, sex is a kind of spackle in the way it covers a multitude of defects in your relationship with your ex-boyfriend.

To your credit, you discovered that not even “absolutely terrific” sex can keep a terminal relationship alive. But this one is still breathing and you need to put it out of its misery and kill it quickly.

But first you must recognize that you can’t have a future with anyone on whom you are cheating.  Visualize Adam doing what you are doing with his ex, and then imagine him as “the one” for you. It doesn’t work, does it?

The only way to “stop doing it” is to stop doing it; to be strong, you have to stop being weak.  Just tell Ben you’re not going to backslide anymore—and then don’t. You already know it’s the right thing, so do it.

That way you and Adam have a chance to live happily, even if it’s not ever after. You don’t know what’s going to happen with Adam, but at least you’ll know what’s not going to happen with Ben.

Lifeline, Whit's End

Changing Religion for Love

2 Written by: | Friday, Mar 14, 2014 12:06pm

Hey Whit,

Here is my problem that I hope you can give me some advice about. My girlfriend “Courtney,” who I’ve been dating for three years and hopefully soon to be my fiancée, has asked me if I would convert to her parents’ religion so that they will be able to approve of me.

Her parents have always been really vocal about how she has to marry someone of their own religion, and that this would be a way for them to accept me; and prevent them from disowning her. Courtney has always said that if she married someone from a different religion her parents would have a fit.

A friend of hers who is also of that same religion told me that if Courtney married someone outside of her parents’ religion, it would “kill her mother.” I don’t want to be responsible for her mother killing herself, but I’m not really sure that I want to convert to this religion.

First of all, I’m really not a very religious person, and also I don’t feel right pretending. Some of my friends say that I don’t have to really believe or accept what their religion stands for, just go through the motions to keep her parents happy. What do you think I should do?


Dear Stuck:

Does your girlfriend, Courtney, know how you feel? If she doesn’t, make sure that she knows what your conflict is over converting to “her parents’ religion.”  Let me be upfront: When you use that phrase, “her parents’ religion”, the question that jumps up at me is, “Is this also Courtney’s religion?” If it’s not, then Courtney should have to make the case that you need to embrace an ideology, doctrine, or world view that is not even hers.

Read More →

Lifeline, Whit's End

Weight is A Heavy Topic With Grown Daughter

4 Written by: | Friday, Mar 07, 2014 11:54am

Dear Whit:

Our daughter “Emma” has been out of college for a few years and is in her late 20s, so my wife and I don’t have much influence over her anymore. She has a job and a boyfriend about 2 hours away from us and sees us maybe five or six times a year, usually vacation time for her and during the holidays.

What’s bothering my wife and I is that Emma has been putting on weight steadily since college and is getting noticeably heavy (at least to us). Her mother and I both know that nagging doesn’t work, but my wife especially thinks that this weight gain is worrisome, and to tell the truth I’d like to see my daughter the way she used to be. Is there anything we can do besides telling her how we feel?

Discouraged Dad

Dear Discouraged:

What do you have in mind?  Ground her if she doesn’t listen to you? As you say, you “don’t have much influence over her,” so recognize that you are not going to be able to get Emma to change her habits. What you can do is to maintain contact with her via email, or phone, or whatever is her transmission device of choice. Read More →

Lifeline, Whit's End

Weirded Out: He Objects to Friend Dating Ex

2 Written by: | Friday, Feb 28, 2014 12:00pm

Hey Whit:

I hope you can help me on this one.  Last week I was hanging out with friends, and I started talking to a girl, Haley, who used to date a friend of mine (he wasn’t there at the time), a good friend named Tyler. Haley is friends with guys who I know and she sometimes socializes with them, so talking to her was pretty normal, at least not unusual.

I didn’t know her very well when she was going out with my friend, but I thought that she was good-looking, and she seemed like a fun girl. Anyway, after talking to her for a little while, I felt that we had sort of a connection, and I wanted to go out with her on a date.

Just to make sure, I talked to my friend who used to date her, and he was pretty weird about it.  I was really kind of shocked that he couldn’t figure out why I would want to date her since she was “somebody who was the ex-girlfriend of a friend of yours—a good friend.” Why would he even care? Am I missing something here?

Missing Something

Dear Missing:

“Why would he even care?” My reaction exactly. So let’s consider what you might be missing here and why he would care.

Maybe Tyler treated her in a way that would embarrass him if you knew about it. Maybe Haley treated him in a way that would embarrass him if you knew about it.  Maybe something happened between them that Tyler doesn’t want you to find out.  You can use your imagination, but let me give it a jump-start.

Depending how long they were together, Tyler could have become bored with her; perhaps he reached the point at which Haley felt under-loved or under-appreciated. If they had dated for a long enough time that he started taking her for granted, Tyler could have become cold and unfeeling and checked out.  If he thinks that such behavior might be unflattering to him, Tyler might not want you to know about it. Read More →

Lifeline, Whit's End

Resolving the Rhinoplasty Question: Should She or Shouldn’t She?

2 Written by: | Friday, Feb 21, 2014 11:55am

Hi Whit:

Ever since I can remember I have hated my nose, and ever since I was a teenager I have wanted to get it fixed. The problem is that my fiancé thinks that I will look “like a different person” and will regret it if I get a nose job. He is making me feel guilty about wanting to look better.

The reason I want to get it now is that I want to look good for the wedding and in all the pictures that we will see for the rest of our lives. At this point, we have not fixed a date, but I want to have plenty of time to recover from the procedure.

It’s not that I want a petite nose, it’s just that I just don’t want to have such a big nose that it’s the first thing that people notice about me.

My fiancé says that he loves me just the way I am, and if he fell in love with me the way I look, I shouldn’t want to change it.  Besides, he says that I’ll have a different nose than our kids.

What kind of advice do you have that you think can help me with this problem?

Too Nosey for Me

Dear Too:

My first reaction is that I don’t really see how you’ll regret something you’ve been thinking about “ever since (you] can remember.” What does your fiancé mean when he says you’ll “regret it”?  Has he told you what he thinks you will regret? Has he voiced any other reasons for your not getting the procedure done besides you’ll “have a different nose from [your] kids”? These sound like flimsy objections that might be hiding a different sentiment. Read More →

Whit's End

Underage Drinking Liability: Parents Beware

0 Written by: | Friday, Feb 14, 2014 12:01pm

Photo courtesy paradigmmalibu.com

Photo courtesy paradigmmalibu.com

Dear Whit,

I am an avid reader of your advice column.  Recently, I was impressed with your bullying reply especially from the standpoint of legalities.

My question is:  Can you address the adult legal responsibilities where teenage drinking is concerned?  I think there are a lot of urban legends out there and while many parents do not condone teenage drinking in their homes, sometimes it happens.  Also if an 18-20 year old is caught drinking by the police, are the ramifications different than if they were 17 and younger?

Thanks very much for your time.

Mom of Teenagers

Dear Mom:

From what I have read, heard, and seen, parents can be held liable for underage drinking (whatever their state law determines it is) in their homes no matter what the circumstances. To illustrate, here is an account that I found from several reliable sources:

Parents in some states can be liable even if they were not aware that drinking was going on in their home, according to the Associated Press. One Stanford University professor was arrested in November after his 17-year-old son had a party in the basement. The professor, Bill Burnett, said he had forbidden alcohol at the party and had twice checked on the teens. He spent one night in jail and was booked on 44 counts of suspicion of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Each count carries up to a $2,500 fine and almost a year in jail. Read More →

Whit's End

Copycat: A Different Kind of Identity Theft

4 Written by: | Friday, Feb 07, 2014 11:55am

Dear Whit,

This is a really weird situation, but one that I can’t seem to figure out. I hope you can help me with it. I am a 20-year old female, college student with a roommate, Rebecca, who is totally creeping me out by the way she has been acting.

This is our first year rooming together, but I knew her before, not as a friend but just a student in the same class last year. Toward the end of the school year, she asked me if I wanted to be roommates next year. I thought it would be a good idea because my old roommate was going to be living off-campus with her boyfriend, and she seemed nice.

Anyway, here is the problem: After Thanksgiving, just a little before Christmas, I noticed that she was starting to wear her hair differently. She changed the color, the length, and the style so that it looked just like mine! Not only that, but she started wearing contact lenses that made her eyes the same color as mine!! And on top of that, she is kind of dressing like me too. I thought I was being generous at the beginning of the year when she complimented me on a sweater I was wearing, by saying she could borrow clothes from me “anytime.”  She seems to have taken that literally: every day, there she is in another article of my wardrobe.

I was so completely freaked out I didn’t know what to do or say, so I did nothing. Now after having the Christmas break to think about it, I have decided that I need to do something to find out what is going on with her. I really need some advice because what Rebecca is doing is distracting me from school and just making me anxious and feeling crazy.

Identity-Theft Victim

Dear Identity:

You have a few options that I can see. You can continue to ignore what Rebecca is doing, confront her about it, talk to your RA about a roommate change, discuss it with the director of residential life on campus, or see what happens if you change your look from the one she is imitating. Let’s look at the probable results each strategy will bring.

If you continue to ignore Rebecca’s copy-catting, you will probably still be as uncomfortable and puzzled about it as you are now because you’ll still be wondering why she is doing it. The curiosity factor is as much at work as the anxiety factor and therefore, the turning-a-blind-eye tactic will likely not turn out the way you want.

Confronting Rebecca about it seems like a high-risk, low-probability-of -success option.  What do you do or say if she seems to be puzzled by your question? For example:

You: Why you are trying to look like me?

Rebecca: What are you talking about?

Even if she is trying to look like you (she could be gaslighting you), this approach has a much better chance of making you look like you’re the crazy one. Read More →

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