Good question!

recipe for roommate discord
Not a good way to communicate to your partner..unless you like sleeping in the bathtub.

Lynn wrote:

Seam,

I read yesterday’s post and loved it, but I have to ask, are you advocating that people live together before marriage?..or were you just saying “if” and “then”?

Lynn

NOTE: To those of you that don’t agree with living with someone before marriage under any circumstances, go ahead and read tomorrow’s post..you get a day off pass today..

Lynn,

I wasn’t advocating that people live together before marriage.  It is perfectly fine with me to do that, but to many, it’s something they’d never dream of doing…and that’s okay..it’s their choice.  I was saying if you live together, or if you are considering it, it should be viewed as a big step…a step toward marriage.  Marriage is a big deal to me, but it’s also real life with no tangible difference between marriage and just dating.  As I said yesterday, marriage doesn’t mean a huge change or benefit from getting married, but it’s a huge commitment and that is what is important.

Living together isn’t casual either.  Too many people today have the “facebook outlook” on life:  If the person you’re dating does something you don’t like or you don’t agree with, you simply “unfriend them” and start “poking” someone else.  I think that is total BS.  Living together is a big deal because it’s a sneak peek into married life.  Sure, it can be mundane and dull at times..full of routines..and it won’t always be chock full of awesomeness either.  Some people think it’ll be this loving, wonderful, always happy thing..instead, it’s walking into a bathroom to brush your teeth before work only to find your partner just got done pooping…or it’s the hassle of figuring our finances and dealing with other people’s messes.  How we deal with all of this is a good indicator of how we’ll be in a marriage.  If we find ourselves (or our partners) unable to work as a team, they will more than likely not be able to work as a married couple.  Can that change?  Absolutely, so don’t rule them out without working on things.

What I said yesterday was that marriage, if you’re living together, isn’t anything more than one step further.  There is no HUGE change, EXCEPT the commitment and the knowledge that you’re now working to spend the rest of your life with someone..and that, to me, is amazing.

P.S.  Lynn, I don’t know anyone named “Seam”.  :-p

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I’m spent.

cut the card
Umm..that was my bus pass...

 

Oscar wrote:

Sean,
I am having a crisis.  My girlfriend and I are engaged to be married within the year and I just recently found out she has been hiding debt from me.  I didn’t snoop, she was doing some bill paying and had left the on the table.  At a quick glance, I saw that she had over $10000 in debt, but there could be more than that.

Here is the problem, she has made some mistakes as we all have, and had said she was paying them all off.  The last time we discussed it, she said it was almost paid off.  She appears to have hidden the truth from me on that too.

I confronted her about it, nicely, and she got upset.  She became SO defensive, she even questioned whether or not she wanted to marry any longer.  Rather than come to me with the truth, she chose to push away me, someone who wants to spend the rest of his life with her.  We made up but I still know she is in need of some help. She continues to shop and go out to eat and I know she can’t afford it.  Money management is my forte and I am more than willing to help, but if I bring it up again, I fear I may lose her.  What should I do?

Oscar

Oscar,
Money issues aren’t fun.  In fact, money issues are the number one cause of relationship failure.  I think it’s great you’d like to help her, but unfortunately she appears to not want your assistance.  It may be pride, it may be fear, or it may be stubbornness that is keeping her from tackling this issue together with you, but whatever it is, she is ferocisouly defending her privacy at this point. 

Personally, I think money issues are scary.  They scare me more than any other aspect of a relationship.  Now, that may be because I am a planner, and I have taught myself over the past few years some serious financial responsibility, but it’s also scary because it can lead to some nasty disagreements.  I am all for the idea that one person in the relationship manages finances, but it doesn’t always work that way.  In a marriage though, the credit burdens are immense, and you’ll tackle them together whether you like it or not.  As her husband, you’ll assume every bit of her responsibility in paying those debts and making sure everything runs smoothly, so it’s now just a matter of letting her see that.  Creditors won’t just go after her if things get bad, they’ll go after you. 

I won’t tell you how to talk to her about it because I don’t know her personality, but I know you have a hard road ahead.  Hopefully she sees the error of her ways and is willing to realize that marriage is a team effort in every aspect.  Maybe it’s shopping less, maybe it’s not going out, maybe it’s letting you manage the bills while still allowing her to have some fun money. You’ve got to be patient and realize that she may be having just as hard of a time tackling this alone as you are watching her do it.  It’s hard to come to someone and admit that there may be a problem.  Be there for her and hopefully things work for the best.

Sean

Relation ship

Vector image of two human figures with hands i...
Together or apart?

Padma wrote:

Sean-

I have been dating a guy for about six years and we’ve had our fair share of struggles.  He moved out for a few months while we worked on things and now that he’s back, I don’t know what to do.  Here is more info on our relationship:

“John” and I have known each other since college and got together about 6 years ago.  Things started off well (we were both from IL and both coincidentally living in CA at the time), love was passionate, and he was faithful.  After we got engaged and moved back to IL about a year ago, he cheated on me and we split up for a few months.  It was rough, but I wanted to figure things out.  I didn’t figure things out though, instead I partied and went out with my friends to see if I could live without him, and all the while I was talking to him three nights a week and trying to figure things out.

We finally got things in order and he moved back in, but we seem different.  He wants to go out all of the time and party, I want to go out and party, and we don’t really mix our friends so we spend out nights either together, or alone with our respective friends.  What once was a passionate and loving relationship seems strained and tense.  We seem to have two different lives rather than one life together.  I don’t even know if I want to be with him for the rest of my life, but I can’t let him go.  What do I do?

Padma

Padma,

A relationship is a combining of two worlds.  If you and John are constantly in your own worlds, that isn’t a relationship, that is barely even a friendship.  Adding intimacy into the mix makes things even harder.  Frankly, I never understood the relationships where people say they are “in a relationship” but rarely ever see each other because they’re always out with “the girls” or out with “the guys”.  That isn’t a relationship…a relationship is building a bond with someone whom will hopefully eventually be your best friend and lifelong partner.  The most important person in a relationship is the person you’re in the relationship with, not your friends.  You can have your nights out, but if your nights away are always outnumbering your nights together, you should examine your relationship a little more closely.  You failed to mention how old you are, but sooner or later we all need to grow up and realize that it’s not about the party, it’s about the life outside of the party that counts.

You also mentioned you don’t know if you want to be with him for the rest of your life.  If you’re settling for a “good for right now” type of person, you probably shouldn’t be dating.  Also..he cheated, but have you forgiven him?  Has he expressed remorse?  Don’t hold it over his head forever.  If you feel strongly enough to let him back into your home, maybe it’s time to let him back into your heart.  If not, then it’s time to move on.

Sean

Show and tell.

Romance Stories of True Love No 50 Harvey, 1958 SA
Chicks dig guys in figure skates.

Susan wrote:

Sean,  I like how passionate you seem about life in general.  You don’t come right out and say it, but I can see that every day for you is one that is treasured in one way or another.  I like that.  I have a question for you though.  How can I get my boyfriend to be more romantic?  I do little things for him to show him I care and I think of him before I think of my needs, but when it comes to romance, he just falls flat.  Even sexually, I’m always the one doing things for him and he never takes initiative to reciprocate.  We’ve talked about it and he just says he’s “not a romantic guy”.  I am not looking for gifts, extravagant gestures or things like that.  I just want to feel valued.

Susan

Susan

Maybe he doesn’t know that you idea of romance is more just the feeling of value than it is romantic gestures.  I have to say, I like that you do the little things to show you care, though I’d wonder why your boyfriend doesn’t feel the need to show you he values you in the relationship.  For some people, just being with them seems to be their idea of a reward.  I don’t agree.

It’s not about money, gifts, or sex.  It’s about showing someone how you feel and expressing it verbally.  Remember when you were in elementary school and you got to bring in a toy and tell the class why it was so important to you?  That’s how relationships work too, except you get to show the person you’re with how important they are and tell them why it you feel that way.  It’s show and tell.  If he isn’t doing that and you that is one of your needs, have a talk with him and let him know your needs aren’t being met.  If he truly values you in the relationship, he’ll work with you to make things right.

Sean

Tug O’ War

Pictograms of Olympic sports - Tug of war
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Anonymous wrote:

I am facing an issue with a friend of 10 years.  She was recently started dating someone and we hardly see each other anymore.  She’s been single for almost 8 years and because I was having issues with my (now ex) boyfriend, we got to hang out all of the time.  We’d go clubbing, go shopping, get happy hour in, and really became close friends.  My (now ex) boyfriend hated that I spent more time with her, and only a few nights with him, but he just didn’t understand the value of having good friends.  Now, 10 years later, we’ve reached our middle 30’s and she wants to settle down.  She found a guy who IS pretty great but they spend SO much time together and over the last year, she’s been wanting to spend less and less time with me.  I feel like she’s throwing away the friendship for the chance of a relationship with this guy.  Now they’ve moved in together and I see her once or twice a month for “girls night”.  I hate that phrase, because it used to be that girls night was the norm.  How do I tell her that I don’t like it that she’s in a relationship?

Anonymous


Anonymous,

So if I understand what you’re saying, it’s that you’ve enjoyed having a single friend to hang out with but you feel that her happiness in a relationship is a negative thing because it has put an end to your party days?  I think you’re being rather selfish, don’t you?  It may have been great to be in your 20s and be wild and free, but you grew up (as most people do) and it’s natural to see those “party days” decrease in frequency as people put more value in things like careers and relationships and also place more value on their mate than their friends.  I am guessing you’re also upset because she found someone and you’re still single after breaking up with your ex?  You didn’t mention anyone new so I realize I am making an assumption with that, but it appears that may be the case.

Your (now ex) boyfriend hated that you spent so much time with her.  Was that one of the causes of you splitting up?  He felt like he wasn’t valued in the relationship?  I know I wouldn’t be okay with my girlfriend spending more time with her friends than she did with me.  It’s pretty common to see your friends less when you’re in a relationship because the relationship is building (or hopefully building) a foundation for your future.  Kids, house, marriage..whatever you’re building.  When people get married, they should ideally be marrying their best friend.  Have you attempted to befriend this guy or are you just wanting her to be single again?  I don’t see why it would be weird for the three of you to hang out.

Your girls nights should be valued (not hated) as a time to catch up, re-bond, reminisce about the old times, and share some laughs.  It’s the perfect time to take stock in the wonderful friendship you have with your friend.  Maybe someday soon (if you haven’t already), you’ll have a significant other and the FOUR of you can go out and do some things in addition to your girls nights.

Sean

Check it out.

Caysee wrote:

My boyfriend is constantly checking out women in front of me (or making comments about women on TV like, “I’d hit that..”), and it bothers me.  We’ve argued about it before and he said he’s working on it, but it seems like it went in one ear and out the other.  What should I do?

Caysee

Caysee,

You should let him know that his “checking women out” routine is unacceptable and that you deserve more respect than that.  This is not a “common thing” with guys, nor should it be allowed by women or men in a solid relationship.  Now it may be true that some people check out other people “secretly” as they walk by, and that is bound to happen from time to time, but pointing it out to you or making it obvious is just plain disrespectful.  The TV thing is especially disrespectful.  Who else is around to hear but you?  I’d put your foot down with this guy Caysee.  If he doesn’t start respecting you, find someone who will.

Sean