Dear Margo: When a Sister's Out of Line

Do I have to follow through on something my sister volunteered me for? Margo Howard’s advice

When a Sister’s Out of Line

Dear Margo: My sister, “Jane,” is on the manic side. She is given to great enthusiasms (which fade) and often takes on more projects than she can manage. She does not work, but she is the uber-volunteer. She is one of those people of whom it is often said, “She means well…”

To cut to the chase, Jane volunteered me — without asking, of course — to head a committee at our church and to be a chaperone for a trip our kids’ high school is taking. What should I do about both Jane and these offers of my time?! — Cross Sister

Dear Cross: Jane erred. You also have no obligation to follow through on these “jobs.” First, you tell the people in charge of both the church and school events that your sister can’t speak for you, and if they imagined she could, they now need to make other arrangements. You need not be suckered into these things, so do not feel you are obligated. Then tell Jane she is not the authorized agent for your time, and that while she is certainly able to volunteer herself for anything she chooses, she may not do so for you. — Margo, determinedly

Life Is Choices

Dear Margo: I have a toddler and have been in a relationship with a man for more than a year. When he first moved in, I thought it would be a good chance to save some money and get ahead financially, in addition to taking our relationship to the next step. He has a daughter in fourth grade, so there are four of us. Then his job went down the drain, and he decided to go into business for himself, which he never discussed with me.

Needless to say, I now support us all. My life is work and cleaning. I never go out with my friends or have money to buy anything for myself. I am depressed, and that makes me short with my son. I feel I can’t break up with him, because then the last year of my life will have been wasted, and we do love each other. I don’t want to have wasted all the money I have invested in him and his business. I feel that if I leave this relationship, I will not be able to have a new one. There is no way I would have time to try to meet and get to know someone else.

What do I do? How do I make him see he has to get a job? He just waits for it to come to him, and it doesn’t. — Wavering

Dear Wave: I hope you will not shirk from acting in your own best interests because you’re afraid there will be no one else. Also, your idea that the last year of your life will have been wasted if you part from this man is not clear thinking. To hang on simply because of time already put in would be throwing good money after bad — literally and figuratively. While you say you love each other, if he does not get a grip (and a job), I promise you the love will turn into something else, which may already have begun.

I don’t think having a man around is worth your finances being shot to hell, keeping two people who are basically guests, and being depressed. For your peace of mind and future stability, you must tell him that he needs to bring in some income, or he must leave. You really can’t afford him. If you want to give him a deadline, the very least he can do to help you have a more relaxed life is to act as a househusband and relieve you of the cleaning, etc. — Margo, proactively

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Dear Margo is written by Margo Howard, Ann Landers’ daughter. All letters must be sent via the online form at Due to a high volume of e-mail, not all letters will be answered.


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58 Responses so far.

  1. avatar mayma says:

    I’m going to be gentle with LW2.

    When you have a child, you have to chill about people moving into your house. You have to be really stringent and set very high standards about who gets to be that close to your kid. “It’ll save some money” isn’t a high enough bar. (As you’ve seen, it didn’t quite pan out that way anyhow.) Your kid needs peace, stability and trust — not people moving in and out. (‘Cause this guy is gonna have to move out.) As you’ve seen, you’re better off counting on yourself financially, because you were doing just fine (or better anyway) until you decided to merge $$ with this guy. It is not going to get better; stop thinking that way. Stop the damage now so that it’ll be easier to recover from this mistake.

    It’s only been a year, don’t make it ten or twenty.

    Also, I have no idea why leaving this relationship means you can’t have a new one. That makes no sense. Because you wouldn’t have time to meet someone new? Why? You met him under the same circumstances, no? Get a grip on yourself, dearie, ’cause you ain’t thinkin’ straight. Besides which, you don’t need another relationship right away. Calm down and be single for a while. Relax.

    Simply tell him (and believe it yourself): “This isn’t a good set-up for little Junior. I am responsible to him first and foremost, and so you have to go.” Period. Wash, rinse and repeat until he’s gone.

    • avatar TimIn808 says:

      Yours is such a perfect response, that I decided I couldn’t offer anything more! Brava!

    • avatar ElizabethP says:

      You nailed it, mayma. Let’s hope she takes your advice.

    • avatar LandofLove says:

      Yes, excellent response!

    • avatar mac13 says:

      I agree, but there is that little “we both love each other” thing. If that is true, it would be heart wrenching for her to kick him to the curb. That said, if she really loved him; she wouldn’t begrudge helping finance his new business.  She wouldn’t mind cutting corners. Now, I am going to be judgemental. I am reading a lot into what she says. It seems obvious she is is in her early 20’s. He is likely in his early 30’s. He once had a stable job. He lost it. Gravy train ended. No more “bettering herself financially”

      • avatar Anais P says:

        And now, because she is supporting four people instead of two and cleaning up after four instead of two, and on one income instead of two, she is WORSENING herself financially and emotionally. Sorry, this man is not even cleaning up after the would-be family or looking for a job. He is a parasite capitalizing on her affection for him and dragging her down with him. It won’t be long until the love is gone. She needs to kick him out before her shortness with her own son worsens.

        • avatar mac13 says:

          The thing is, she was WANTING to better herself financially. I have no problem with that. Everyone should want to. He started his own business. How can he hope to be successful is he is out beating the bushes looking for a job? Read what she wrote. She wants him to be successful in his business. Contribute more money. Job hunt. Clean house. So she will have time to hang with friends and buy herself stuff. Life in not a tea party in a rose garden.

          • avatar Toni Cakes says:

            Taking care of 3 other people with no help is stressful. You are begrudging her a little time to spend outside of work+housework. I had one of those husbands for a bit. You work all day- they sit around and don’t actually do anything because they are dreaming about the easy ticket. And house work? That’s not important. Some people are quite comfortable living in a disgusting mess- or they just don’t want to take care of it because it is not what they want to be doing. She taking care of two kids and someone who is not contributing to the home financially or physically other than just being there. It’s not about a gravy train- it is about a partnership that seems all give on one end and all take on the other.

          • avatar mac13 says:

            Toni, I do see your point of view. But, the whole “how will I ever find someone else” just reeks of someone who latches on. I see nothing in her letter that leads me to believe that she has one ounce of maturity. Life and relationships are hard. Think about this.  The relationship is just over a year long. During that time she moved him in. How far in the relationship did that take place? Lets say for argument sakes, 3 months. How long after did he lose his job? Lets say again 3 months. So for about 6 months now, he has been trying to start up a business. She is already tired of being supportive at all in this “partnership” (your words). She is depressed and snappy at her child. But she gets to play the poor pitiful me card and everyone screams she should kick the bum out. I say that is the best thing that could happen to him.

          • avatar wendykh says:

            But did you notice he did not discuss starting the business with her? He just expected her to fund it and help him make it happen. Sure I’d like to help my partner that way but no not without discussion. It may sound crazy but I can see where for some people moving in together is not near as serious of a commitment as supporting them while they start a business. I’d expect this person to work and be a roommate while we worked on our relationship. No I wouldn’t be interested in supporting him in such a new relationship. I also probably wouldn’t have moved in with him either, but now she’s there.

          • avatar toni says:

            You stole my name…

          • avatar toni says:

            It’s like you saying Briana Cakes. Except I’m cool.

          • avatar Briana Baran says:

            Thank you, but no thank you.

            Who told you that you were cool? Someone burning up in hell?

            Otherwise, I can’t imagine…unless it was “cold”, followed by “dead”, ending with “fish”.

          • avatar toni says:

            David Bolton Cakes.

          • avatar toni says:

            Okay – but David Bolton is SO flipping cool.

          • avatar David Bolton says:

            “Did someone call my name?” — Brian Boitano

      • avatar wendykh says:

        Maybe I’m a terrible person but I don’t see the problem with that. I don’t need a husband for decoration. If he’s not contributing he’s not of any use to me. Love doesn’t pay the bills.

      • avatar Lym BO says:

        Love is grand. Only a year ?! Means hardly anything. Love vs infatuation vs safety vs low self esteem. Some gals think having a kid is a nail in the coffin to their love life/marital prospects. That is simply not true.
        I’d be curious to know more about this business & how he is going forward with it. Does she understand the business. Is he truly working hard to grow it or is he slacking off? I really don’t think we can advise much when some details are missing. Often Margo condenses the letters so maybe there was more in it that led her to advise as she did.

    • avatar Lila says:

      “It’s only been a year, don’t make it ten or twenty” – perfect.

  2. avatar Trish says:

    I love your comment…you’ve really nailed it. LW1 needs to stop thinking selfishly and start putting her child first. That man seriously needs to grow up and stop expecting his girlfriend to support him and his child.

  3. avatar Katharine Gray says:

    LW#1:  You will probably not be able to change your sister’s habit of volunteering for you but that does not mean you shouldn’t try so have the talk with her.  Do not feel guilty about telling the  people at scbool, church, and anyone else for whom she offers your time, that you are sorry, but your sister does not speak for you and that you simply cannot do the job.  You don’t need to offer a reason.  If your sister has a history of volunteering and not following through…then it will not come as a surprise to them.  If it does, then they will know in the future not to rely on her speaking for you.  Just because she cannot say no doesn’t mean you cannot.  

    LW#2:  Mayma’s response was excellent but she was gentle with you.  Get a grip…quick.  This man is a user.  You mention *investing money* in his business.  I certainly hope this doesn’t mean you have given him cash over and above the free room and board, cleaning, childcaring, and sexual services.  But if you have, consider it a loss, kick him out, and move on.  Hope that he leaves without you having to serve him with eviction papers.   And you have some serious soul searching and growing up to do.  You had a serious error in judgment.  It is not irreparable…but only you can turn it around.  For the sake of your toddler, i hope that you do.  As for your future love life…it would probably be a good thing for you to have a fallow period to get your priorities straight.    

  4. avatar Skyblonde says:

    Mayma is right. My stepchildren’s mother does this-in the five years since she divorced my husband, she has had another husband and three live-in boyfriends. Two of these men had children of their own. (See? Having kids does not mean you won’t find someone new!) It has gotten to the point where my 7yo stepson has told me he hopes I never move out because we won’t get to do fun things together and he won’t get to see his baby sister anymore. It is incredibly sad. My older stepkids think it is normal to go directly from one relationship to another and to move quickly within those relationships. This is not what we want for them, but this is the example they are being given half of the time. Your son is learning about adult relationships. Do you want him to grow up treating women the way you are being treated? Do you want him to father children outisde of a committed, loving relationship? Do you want him to find someone happy, confident, and successful or someone desperate and needy? Do you want him to respect you as a woman and his mother? Because by settling for this guy-who is not good for you and doesn’t sound like he loves you (love to me is putting your loved one’s needs above your wants, in this case, getting a job to help lighten your load)-you are showing your son that a)you don’t think you’re worthy of a good, healthy relationship and b)it’s better to be with someone, anyone, than be alone.

  5. avatar Briana Baran says:

    Re: L#2: Do I have the gist of your relationship with the man? Let me see:

    You allowed him into your home primarily to further your financial situation after less than a year (the relationship is only a year old).

    He doesn’t discuss major decisions with you. He has no job. You seem to know very little about him.

    Your first listed concerns now are that you carry all of the freight, you can’t go out and have fun with friends, and you can’t buy things for your self.

    Than you mention you’re short with your toddler, the only mention of your child in the body of the letter. No mention of his daughter at all.

    Immediately following, you carry on with the notion that you will have “wasted” your money in this last year, That you’ll never find someone else, and you won’t have time to do so if you kick Mr. Wonderful to the curb.

    It isn’t about YOU anymore. Your son, while he is so small and helpless, comes first. You made a mistake. Time to cut your losses and move on.

    Please read ALL of the other comments previous to this one. They will enlighten you enormously as to what your next steps should be.

  6. avatar JCF4612 says:

    1) Jane erred. This has made my morning. Thank you, Margo. 

    2) If you dally around on kicking him out for another year, how much time will you have invested in this go-nowhere guy? In addition to functioning as an ATM, you are a live-in cleaner, baby-sitter for his four-year-old and whatever else — all for free. Wise up.

  7. avatar Belinda Joy says:

    Letter #2 – Vecause you are under so much stress I would agree with Margo, you are not thinking clearly. If you had a best girlfriend that said to you “He beats  me everyday, spits in my face, takes my money, walks on me like a rug, calls me ugly and lies to me constantly…..but I love him and have a year invested in the relationship so I’m not going to break up with him…..” 

    What would you say to her? 

    You would tell her to leave right?

    Well the same rings true for you. You are with the ultimate slacker. A man that knows he has a daughter he MUST take care of and yet he shirks his responsibilities and leaves that important job up to a woman he moved in with that he knew less than a year. He reeks of irresponsibility. It matters not how much you love him.

    The letter writer doesn’t say what happened with the man she got pregnant by, but she does say her baby is a toddler so that says her breakup is fresh and yet she went on to another man and allowed him to move in after knowing him for less than a year. Not smart. But because she has a child she must look out for the best interest of her toddler. That means she has to keep herself healthy physically, financially and spiritually.  He needs to go. She needs to tell him point blank yet in a loving way, “Sweetheart you need to make it a job to find a job or our relationship is over because I can’t nor do I want to support both of us”   And once he is gone learn from this relationship and not rush to bring a man into her home and heart so soon after a breakup. Take the time to work on herself and care for her child for awhile.

    Letter #1 –    Margo said it all! 🙂  Tell anyone she donates your time for that she can’t and should not have spoke for her, but do explain to the church committee why you can’t live up to your sister’s promise. Then tell your sister “when you do this it only makes people question your actions and possible motives…..cut it out!” 

  8. avatar Cindy Marek says:

    Agree with Margo 100% on both letters. L #2: I had 3 years in a relationship which initially I loved very much, gave wholeheartedly to, etc. And at one point I had to wake up/smell coffee and walk away. Yes it was painful. Hurt badly. I wrestled with genuine bitterness (a first for me). You **cannot** (and should not) beat yourself up nor should you try and rationalize the truth of your life and your increased loathing. *Your son* deserves better to. If this man really loved you, he would help; he’d be doing what he can to decrease your burden. Does he not even help with housework? You’re not his wife (and even if you were married, he still should help). You’re getting used. Get out now.

  9. avatar David Bolton says:

    LW2: OH NO! I was going to use my boyfriend who I allowed to move in with me and my child even though I had known him for less than a year as a financial cushion and he did it back to me instead!

    He. Did. It. Back. To. Me! (echoes into the distance)

    Ooops. You’re absolutely right—there’s probably no way to recoup the time—and money, let’s not forget about money—that you’ve invested in him. Whether or not you could ever meet anyone else is up to you. But if you do, maybe next time you’ll get to know them first before tying the threads of your life, your finances and your child all up in knots with theirs.

    LW1: I wouldn’t bother having a conversation with Jane, and I wouldn’t bother showing up to any of the things she’s signed you up for. Go shopping and don’t answer your phone. A couple times of that should give her the message she needs to hear.

    • avatar mac13 says:

      You said what I was wanting to say so much more succintly. User got used.

    • avatar Toni Cakes says:

      When you move in with someone it is usually an expectation that you are no longer paying 2 rents but one, there is one electric bill one water bill, etc, and generally all around financial savings.

      Now she is 1 person supporting 4 people instead of 2 people support 4 people. And since she works all day then has to come home and do all the house work- yeah she’s stressed. He’s not being a partner. She never said she wanted him to move in so she could live off his income, just an equal partner.

      Moving in together does save money and time. It really is a way for both to get ahead financially. You guys are projecting far more into that “get ahead financially” that seems more selfish than it is.

    • avatar wendykh says:

      There’s a difference between looking forward to pooling money and sharing resources versus being a freeloader. LW2 was looking forward to the former. The boyfriend became the latter. If he was at least cleaning house I’d be far more understanding.

      • avatar mac13 says:

        Wendy, nowhere does the LW mention that the business he started is a home based business. He may be spending 10 hours a day away from home trying to make a go of it. Just because his business is not off its feet yet doesn’t mean it’s his job to clean house. And IF he is at home, he is at least looking after the toddler. Saving her day care costs. If he wasn’t watching the kid, I am sure that would be part of her list of complaints.

        • avatar Eventergirl says:

          Why is it automatically her job to clean house? They should BOTH be helping to keep the house clean and the kids taken care of. Even when I had roommates in college, we ALL kept the house clean. Whether or not he’s home all day or out working 10 hours a day, he needs to be contributing in some way to the household. Since, according to the letter, he’s not contributing financially (“Needless to say, I now support us all.”) he needs to contribute in some other fashion (i.e. caring for the house).

          Now, that doesn’t mean she’s a complete victim here. I agree with the other commenters that she comes across as immature and having made some really stupid decisions. She made her bed and now she’s lying it.

    • avatar luna midden says:

      Uhm, who is the father of this child???? Where is he???? Meaning, was she in any type of relationship and he BAILED when the pee test showed 2 lines/yes/ a plus sign?  or was it planned or a one night stand and THE LW WENT INTO A STATE OF PANIC??? Since we don’t have all those LOVELY ANSWERs or why he has his daughter-and is it full time or just the weekends…. and many many more answers….to many many more questions….. hard to put it all in order… but yes, MAYMA put it great… YOU ARE SINGLE.. AND IT SEEMS NO SUPPORT FROM THE SPERM DONOR-don’t move whoever in from the neighborhood in… IF YOU NEED SUPPORT-JOIN A MOMMYS GROUP that can switch off driving and babysitting duties. 

      What I figure-while she was dating, sleeping, taking this guy for a ride-i mean how old is her ‘toddler’? and she was dating this move in dude for a year? So she stated in with the live in -dating him-when her son was 6,7 months old? She probably will never realize what she did… and will DENY IT TO THE END… but while establishing ‘this relationship’ she probably said things, maybe they were off hand comments… maybe she did not even realize she said them… implying how it would be easier if someone else was doing the supporting or ‘helping out’… Maybe, he NEVER EVEN PICKED IT UP… maybe, probably, especially if he had the same, (devious?) thoughts going through his mind, he never noticed, heard, what she was saying. MAYBE HE DID AND JUMPED FASTER TO THE STARTING LINE-to beat her to the job quitting-AFTER ALL-why can’t a man hate going to work-day after day…. BUT- then, if she ‘loves’ him (and is not afraid of being alone-ex. ‘I don’t think I will be in a relationship again)-then either go to counselling if she CAN’T TALK TO HIM… or, if possible-put her big girl pants on , sit him down an tell him since the traditional roles have reversed-he will now be the housewife role and do the cooking cleaning, errands. etc. NO? well give notice where you are-if you must-and move to a cheaper place WITHOUT HIM AND HIS DAUGHTER…. or if staying put, stay put without the EXTRA BAGGAGE. SPINELESS SPINELESS SPINELESS  

  10. avatar Obediah Fults says:

    “Jane erred.” Ha-ha-ho-ho-hee-hee!

  11. avatar Box509 says:

    LW#2:  Agree with many above comments.  Especially noted in the letter, “went into business for himself, did not discuss it with me”.  Communication is central to any relationship-especially when you are living together.  Even as roommates, not lovers, if you are going to change financial arrangements, there needs to be a conversation.  If you cannot have this conversation, you are not compatible.  The letter writer clearly had financial expectations from him, was he aware?  Now he has expectations from her.  Communication:  difficult, but not optional.

    • avatar Lila says:

      Box, here’s the communication: “Here are this month’s rent, food, and utility bills. Give me your half. And by the way, here’s a basket of laundry that needs doing. Since you’re home all day and I’m at work, maybe you could see your way to the laundry machine and push a few buttons.”

      • avatar mac13 says:

        Darned Displaying 2 different letters. The one I read said NOTHING about him sitting home all day. Mine didn’t say anything about his new business venture being home based. Anyone know where I can find that other letter to read?

        • avatar Lila says:

          mac13, fair enough, I did kind of extrapolate an assumption there. I think the image floated up off her statement that “I now support us all,” and as for a job for him, “He just waits for it to come to him…” Sorta sounds like she’s the sole breadwinner, but you are right, he could be out with his apparently non-earning “business venture” during the day.

          So here’s the edited version: “Since I work all day and am supporting your ***, maybe you could pitch in 50/50 on the chores around here. You can start with this laundry.”

  12. avatar lebucher says:

    RE LW#2:  The way I look at it, he decided all on his own to go into business for himself and not contribute financially.  That right there is a problem.  You don’t get to unilaterally change the terms of your living arrangements without discussion… you don’t get to dump all the responsibility on the other person – period.  Yes she was foolish to move him and his kid in so soon, but we don’t know her finances prior to that move in – maybe she was barely making it then and really needed another wage-earner under the roof to give her some financial relief – and in the beginning he was giving that.  Now he’s not, and he’s not picking up any slack at home either.  Her comment “he is waiting for a job to come to him” and her complaint that she also has to come home and clean, plus he’s milked her for money for this mysterious business, tells me he’s become a sponge.

    • avatar Briana Baran says:

      But…he did work. he lost his job. That’s been happening a lot around these parts (the USA) lately. He may well have sunk every dime of his savings into the business. It may have been his last resort. She also complains bitterly about not being able to go out, or buy things for herself…and there is a very clear feeling of an “anymore” subtext to those complaints. We don’t know his background either, nor is it writ that the man supports the woman in a loving (hey, that’s what she said, that they love each other) relationship.

      The business isn’t mysterious, as she knows about it now. We don’t even know if she’s asked him…or his daughter (definitely old enough) to help with the housework (odd, communication works both ways…and she never said either refused, or was a slob, or wouldn’t help her…or promised and failed). Her letter is a litany of complaints…but the only one that is 100% legitimate is that he didn’t tell her when he started the business.

      Everything else is just real life happening. If she doesn’t want the responsibility, she should ask him to leave. Whining and kvetching about actually doing what most people in the country do is not a good sign for her future.

  13. avatar Briana Baran says:

    I understand the notion of having a room mate to lighten one’s load financially (pay half of rent and utilities). I also fully agree with those who say that in such situations, both roomies are expected to fairly divide household chores and maintenance, usually by agreeing to a mutually satisfying arrangement (please note: I said “mutually”).

    The only thing we are certain of is that The Man lost his job, and started his new business without telling her. However the letter does not give any indication of any other significant changes in her routine, and I have the following questions:

    Has she taken on a second job or more hours? She doesn’t say she has. Or is it that she now HAS to work?

    Was she not cleaning before? Yes, there are 4, not 2, but can she not ask for help?

    Who was watching her child before so that she could go out with friends? Was it him, when he had a job with regular hours? Has that changed because he’s now working long hours outside the home to start his own company?

    How was it that when she was alone, and thinking she needed to better herself financially, and when he had a job, that she could buy things for herself (but not her child, I noticed)? Have her bills gone up that much?

    Did they move? She said he “moved in”. If it is the same place, how was she affording it, cleaning it, and having all of this time and money before he and his daughter moved in?

    Is her love a bit of an afterthought, contingent on his ability to support her, and also stated because she is afraid of/unwilling to be alone? Or worried about looking foolish for wasting her time and money?

    Why would she want another relationship so quickly? To further herself financially (ie: find someone to support her while she plays with her friends and buys things)?

    He should have told her he was trying to start his own company. Yes. But assuming he is working from home, sitting on his butt, and doing nothing is presumptuous. Her line about him “waiting for it to come to him” doesn’t gel with the rest of her letter. He may be working 12, or even 16 hour days, because starting your own business is very hard.

    Also, most working mothers know that working, cleaning, cooking, laundry and bills are part of being a parent, as is being exhausted and craving that one elusive quality…time. She never states, “I don’t even have the energy to play with my son”, just that she snaps at him. That just bugged me. She takes her anger out on a three-year-old…but she doesn’t say how bad she feels about THAT, only about HER misery.

    Not a person with a mature or realistic outlook.

    • avatar Lym BO says:

      I think her stating she snapped at her boy was an admission of guilty feelings.

      I also find it hilarious that she thinks she deserves to spend money on herself or go out with friends. I was suspect most single mothers cannot do these things. I thik she moved the guy in with these covert plans in her mind.

      The go out with friends really cracks me up. I’m trying to think how many times I’ve gone out with friends since having kids 9 years ago. Twice maybe. Lunch often but with a child in tow or hubby at home with them. We do date nights but that benefits the whole family by creating family harmony. I also feel having a consistent sitter expands their little world & teaches them that their parents have a relationship outside being their parent.

      I’m not going to say anything about allowing oneself to get pregnant without a reliable, long-term partner. This LW reeks of irresponsibility.

  14. avatar Hellster says:

    Last I checked, toddlers toddled, which puts their age at 2-3. How did you have this child, shuck the sperm donor, and get bizzy with Mr. Right Now at least a year ago? I’m afraid that the tenor of my comment is, as most others here are, dripping with curiosity for an answer to the question, “What kind of woman are YOU?”

    Not a good mother to your own son, nor a decent stepmother to your BF’s daughter. What kind of advice can you possibly have been looking for? How to spot a more promising prospect next time?

    I have no doubt that you are exhausted and cranky and possibly depressed, but what you need to do is take stock of yourself, clarify what your values are, and kick the bum out. Oh, and swap that cash-register you have inside for a heart. You might want to stop having unprotected sex with random men, too.

  15. avatar kjholly says:

    “You might want to stop having unprotected sex with random men, too.”
    Well, now you’ve taken the fun out of everything!

  16. avatar marywells says:

    I’m fairly impressed with the way some people seem to jump into conclusions. What do we know about LW#2 earlier sex life? She might have gotten pregnant by a deceased husband/boyfriend, a 5-year-fiancée who deserted her and left her ready to fall for anyone who seemed “nice”, so what?
    Anyway: either she’s become the supporter of an irresponsible, selfish man – and in this case he certainly won’t change – or she was trying to get a financial cushion and had her little coup reversed. If they love each other, they should separate and think it over – and then maybe start it over again, wiht a brand-new set of rules. If they don’t, they should separate, period.

    • avatar Briana Baran says:

      We also don’t know that he’s irresponsible and selfish. She never said that at all…only that he did not tell her about starting his company. Period. He may be busting his butt twelve or sixteen hours a day and turning his entire paycheck (likely not a profit yet, this takes time), back into a business he hopes will generate a good living for both of them.

      She works and cleans. She never said he refused to help…she only whined about doing it. We don’t even know if she’s asked him. So, her money’s tied up. When you’re in a committed relationship with someone, sometimes both are sacrificing a lot to get by until the break comes. Too bad she can’t party with friends or buy herself pretties. She has a toddler, and regardless of how she got that way (it is NOT relevant) she is a single mom, and that is never easy…and always a lot of work and going without. Especially partying with friends.

      She says he’s waiting for something to come along. That could also be read as this: He’s started a new business, and he’s waiting for it to garner interest and customers. It can take time, and he may be working round the clock to get it going.

      I am playing devil’s advocate to the many comments that are insisting that the MAN is the one who is lazy, entitled, a user, refusing to help her, a mooch, a free-loader, selfish, etc.. She indicates only one failure to communicate, and we don’t even know why that occurred.

      Again, DA: Maybe she was looking for a Sugar Daddy, and he had a super job, and for a while she was able to indulge herself with clothes and trinkets and nights out with friends while he watched the kiddos at night. Then the gravy train derailed, and she had a righteous fit when he couldn’t find something with equal pay, and he only told her after the fact about his new business because he KNEW she’d rip him a new one. Maybe she’s an entitled brat who is working and hates having to clean at all, much less for HIM and pesty children. Maybe she resents that he didn’t turn out to be Mr. Money bags, and that reality bites, and that a lot of people actually think he’s working like a dog to make everything right, and THAT’S why she’s afraid she won’t be able to snag another guy…because everyone will think she’s a total snot for dumping a man who’s doing everything he can to make a good life for her and the kids.

      Just speculating, folks, just like everyone else. Isn’t advocating for the dark side fun? Come on over, we have cookies.

      • avatar Lym BO says:

        What kind of cookies?

        I disagree about the father of the child being irrelevant because the situation lends us to determine if she is irresponsible or just had crappy luck .

        • avatar Briana Baran says:

          I meant that the father of the child was irrelevant in the sense that we have no idea why she is a single mother, and making any assumption, from the poor dear had an abusive ex-boyfriend who beat her and from whom she was lucky to escape alive, to, o, she was married, but was widowed and left penniless all the way to she had a succession of one-nighters, and this is the single time she forgot her morning after pill all color her situation in different ways…and therefore the readers’ perception of her.

          I’m only going by her own words and revelations in the letter, not any suspicions/assumptions about her past. Her letter doesn’t necessarily make her sound irresponsible, but conceivably entitled, out of touch with the reality of relationships and parenthood, plausibly spoiled, and definitely immature.

          We have home-made chocolate chunk, butterscotch-coconut Tollhouse chip bars, and coconut macadamia white chocolate chip. We will corrupt you with sweet decadence before turning you to ev-ee-il.

  17. avatar sdpooh says:

    You don’t have a boyfriend you have a guy getting free room and board.  Sit him down, tell him to get a job or get out.  I realized the economy is bad, but he needs to hustle to find something.  If he lost his job, why isn’t he getting unemployment and offering half for the house expenses.  You have not wasted the past year, you have learned a valuable lesson about humans.  Take the knowledge and move with it.  If he won’t grow up, find a grown up to love.

  18. avatar Kathy says:

    “My sister volunteered me for something I don’t want to do.  Help!”  “I moved in with a man who lost his job, is sucking money out of me, and makes me feel like crap.  What in the world can I do?”  How did these boobs figure out how to write to an advice columnist?

    • avatar Briana Baran says:

      Gosh, Kathy, I get in trouble for being an evil heartless opinionated know-it-all for saying things like that.

      So, thanks for saying it for me, because I often wonder precisely the same thing.

    • avatar Lym BO says:

      Who do you thinks reads advice columns? There’s us who like to give advice (lol) and then there are those who can’t figure it out on their own.

  19. avatar chuck alien says:

    Or, is LW2 the kind of woman who is scared to death of risk, and thinks the only way to live is to work for a faceless corporation, because that means “security.”

    For the record… “going into business by himself” does not necessarily “slacker.” Usually, almost always, it means the opposite.

    We don’t know the details… The LW goes back and forth, and maybe he is a leech.

    But the truly successful and happy people that I know are entrepreneurs. Working for yourself is a very real way to be very successful. Working for someone else is not everyone’s dream job.

    A year is not that long to get a business up and running. I’m just saying… If he’s working, then she needs to calm down and stop being so limited in her definition of success.

    But if he’s a leech, then obviously DTMFA.

  20. avatar Lym BO says:

    Okay. Now I am laughing because my brother’s girlfriend could have written this letter minus the toddler part. And they are in their mid 40s.
    So here’s a bit from the other side: Girl meets guy (on a dating site). They are a good match. They date of a couple years. Both are bit quirky. Guy gets a good job. Girl has a really good job. They fall in love but live some distance apart. Guy loses really good job when the economy tanks because his company downsizes & he is a recent hire with a job created just for him due to his talent. Meanwhile, he moves in with her & he collects unemployment & works on his portfolio (artist with a degree in graphic design). His child comes to visit occasionally.
    Is she resentful? I don’t know know. They’re still together. I would guess she is supporting him bc she loves him & they jive.
    Sponging is a fine line. He cannot create a portfolio if he is working. He can & is looking for another job, but chances of finding one near her are slim. So what does a gal do? Relationships are tricky.
    This girl’s letter doesn’t sound like someone who is in love to me. It sounds like she is worried about what she is not getting out of the relationship (financial support, child care. a larger savings account/play money), or what she has lost (time & money). Sitting where I am it is hard to say whether she is being taken for a ride or not. There is too many facts missing. Just the way it is written sounds like she was looking for a more than a spouse. She was looking for help-financially, chore-wise, etc. Her decision to have him move in was all about benefitting herself & little about him. I wonder how she would’ve felt if the tables were reversed.

  21. avatar Fortuna says:

    LW2: How would we deem the whole situation if the letter writer were a man?

    • avatar Briana Baran says:

      Um, for my part, the same way. Men can look for sugar-mamas too. Men can be spoiled, entitled, and immature…and be single dads who are more concerned with partying and acquiring pretty things than they are with the reality of parenthood. Men marry to get ahead. Sometimes, when the woman gets into a situation during which times, and toys, and money are in short supply…the man begins to think it’s time to bow out because the gravy train has ended, and they may actually have to WORK and be serious about life. Maybe he whines incessantly because she’s up and working to get her venture off the ground 15 hours a day, and he actually has to work to help out AND do some laundry, and clean up, and actually care for his child. He may even perceive her as neglectful of HIM, especially sexually, because she’s utterly exhausted and can’t appreciate him the way she should.

      On the flip-side, men move in with women who are well-employed when the co-habiting begins, then lose the job. Sometimes these women strike out on their own to start a business, and sometimes that business is a fiction. Sometimes those women won’t lift a finger to help, suck the man dry, and expect him to take care of their children as well as his, plus invest in their “opportunity”, plus be “patient” until things “get started”. Then the man ends up carrying the wait of a woman who is allegedly running a business that may be an endless drain on their finances who maybe is sitting at her computer all day “working” while the house goes to hell, the children go neglected, and he wonders what kind of idiot mistake he’s made.

      Male or female, both can be victims of poor choices and losers, or spoiled, entitled wretches…or anything in between.