Will Onesies Never Cease? My married friend just had a baby and posts what's essentially the same "Look how cuuute!" shot on Facebook several times daily. Beyond finding this annoyingly boring, I'm 32 and unhappily single, and seeing all of her blissful pix is making me …Read more. Fasten Your Bible Belt My boyfriend and I are spending Christmas with his family. I like them and get along well with them. However, they're very religious, and he wants me to join them in going to holiday church services. I grew up secular in a conservative town, and …Read more. Heavy Meddle Is it okay to keep your income a secret from someone you're dating? I recently started seeing a girl I work with (at an advertising company). She believes women at our company get paid less on average, and I suspect she's right. Yesterday she came …Read more. To Leech According To Her Needs My roommate's girlfriend is unemployed and just hangs around our place all week, even when he's at work. (She has her own place but is never there.) She's very wasteful with our utilities. Yesterday, after work, I found her in the living room …Read more.more articles
I'm a woman in my early 30s. I was one of the employees who got laid off after my employer lost a big account. I've found a new job, but it's not on my career path and it pays terribly. Still, it's a job and it pays. I live with my boyfriend, and we've always split the expenses, but he's trying to persuade me to keep looking for something better and to let him pay the bills until I find it. He keeps saying he's "happy to do that," but I just can't stomach it. I've always supported myself and taken pride in not being the sort of woman who sponges off a man, and I'm not ready to start now. — Fiercely Independent
If only giving you a hand financially worked like giving medicine to a dog, then your boyfriend could just grind up some money and sneak it into your food.
The guy gets that you're in a relationship, not a tiny little welfare state. He's offering to help you not because he thinks you can't manage by yourself but because he thinks you shouldn't have to. That's what being in a relationship means — two coming together as one, not one going it alone while the other one waits in the parking lot.
Though being "fiercely independent" is great if you're the lone survivor of a shipwreck or your car swerves off a lonely mountain road and you need to eat the passenger seat to survive, if spurning your boyfriend's help is any sort of a pattern, it's probably hurting your relationship. By refusing to show the vulnerability it takes to accept help, you keep the relationship on a "So, what's for dinner?" level emotionally and tell your boyfriend he isn't really needed. In time, this should lead him to the obvious question: "Well then, why am I still here?"
Sometimes, aggressive self-reliance is really fear in a Wonder Woman suit. Our "attachment" style — our way of relating to those close to us — traces back to our mother's (or other primary caregiver's) responsiveness to our needs as infants. If you could count on her to soothe you when you were distressed, you end up "securely attached," meaning you have a strong psychological base and feel comfortable relying on others. If, however, she was unavailable or rejecting, you become "avoidantly attached" and develop a habit of self-protective distancing. ("Can't count on anybody" becomes "Don't need nobody.")
The good news is, even if Mommy was the next best thing to an ice floe, there's no need to resign yourself to the effects of that. Research finds that a loving partner can help you break out of avoidant attachment by continually behaving in supportive ways that challenge your belief that you can't count on anybody.
You've Got Tail
I hit it off with a woman on an online dating site, and she showed up at the bar for our date with an unruly chihuahua in her handbag. She acted like it was no big deal at all, but she had to hold her purse close to her to keep the dog calm, and the server eventually saw it, so we had to leave. I really liked her initially, but I thought her bringing a pet on a date was really rude. A friend said that the purse dog thing is becoming commonplace and that I shouldn't nix her because of it. — Irked
People usually want the howling and scratching to come after the date. Unless you're meeting at a dog park, it's no more okay to show up with your dog on the first date than it is to bring your cow, your lobster, or some 3-year-old you happened to find wandering around the mall. This woman was sending you a message about the things she has little interest in: your feelings, whether the bar gets fined by the health department, and the point of a date — for two people to focus on each other rather than on distracting the server from a growling purse. So, yes, you absolutely should nix her — before she realizes that someone's going to have to curl up on the floor beside the bed. (If you're a good boy about it, she'll throw you your favorite squeaky toy a few times before it's lights out.)
Got a problem? Write Amy Alkon, 171 Pier Ave., #280, Santa Monica, CA 90405, or email AdviceAmy@aol.com (www.advicegoddess.com). Her latest book is "Good Manners For Nice People Who Sometimes Say F*ck."
COPYRIGHT 2014 AMY ALKON
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It's Amy Alkon's Advice Goddess Radio! "Nerd your way to a better life," with the best brains in science solving your love, dating, sex, and relationship problems. Listen live every Sunday — http://www.blogtalkradio.com/amyalkon — 7-8 p.m. PT, 10-11 p.m. ET, or download the podcast at the link. The call-in number during the show is 347-326-9761. This week, Amy Alkon and Dr. Jennifer Verdolin on whether opposites really attract and whether they can be good together.