You have problems, I have advice. This advice isn’t sugar-coated — in fact, it’s sugar-free, and may even be a little bitter. Welcome to Tough Love.
Photo by Aaron May.
This week we have a woman who doesn’t know how to tell her girlfriend that she smells bad, a 30-something hoping passion will just hit them over the head, and a love triangle so frustrating you’d think it’s a bad ’80s movie.
You have problems, I have advice. This advice isn't sugar-coated -- in fact, it's sugar-free, and may even be a little bitter. Welcome to Tough Love.Read more
Keep in mind, I’m not a therapist or any other kind of health professional — just a guy who’s willing to tell it like it is. I simply want to give you the tools you need to enrich your damn lives. If for whatever reason you don’t like my advice, feel free to file a formal complaint here. Now then, let’s get on with it.
This Lady’s Girlfriend Doesn’t Smell Very Good
Hello Mr Allan,
Let me start off by saying I have an awesome girlfriend but there are issues. This is my first long-term relationship with a woman and I’m trying hard not to mess it up. She’s emotionally a good match. Lots of shared interests, she’s empathetic, kind, I could go on and on. The problem starts outside of her heart.
When I asked her to be my girlfriend, I had yet to get very personal with her naked body. I do not care one way or the other about her weight, but she is obese which causes her to have an odour all over when her clothes come off. It is a very bad smell.
Furthermore, she snores really awfully. It wakes the other people in my house which makes them extremely grumpy. I don’t have the ability to move out and she would like to be able to use my house to sleep after long parties with me because she lives far away. And I would love to be generous because she drives out. Snoring and body odour are hard to change and I don’t hate her for them, but they can make things extremely uncomfortable/unsexy for me.
I do love her and am trying to look past these issues, but they make me feel like I should break up with her. And as I don’t have practise with this, I have a feeling I would hurt her, which she obviously doesn’t deserve. How can I politely deal with these issues and hopefully keep my girlfriend?
A Sad Lover
Hey Sad Lover,
If your lady’s BO and snoring are bad enough that you’re thinking about breaking up with her, for God’s sake say something! Like, as soon as possible. Do not let your fear of how she’ll react keep you trapped in Stanktown, or thinking of catching the train to Splitsville. This isn’t some random person on the bus, or a coworker in the cubicle next to you. This is a person you care for deeply, and someone you’re supposed to feel perfectly comfortable being honest with. Pinch your nose and sit them down to talk.
You need to be forward about it. It’s possible to be polite without circling the subject. You don’t need to go on and on about how repulsive her smell is when you make love, but don’t beat around the bush either. Say something like:
“Look, I like you a lot, and I really enjoy being intimate with you, but I need to be honest about something that’s been bothering me. I’ve noticed a body odour of yours that I find unpleasant. I don’t want you to feel bad about it, and you don’t need to apologise or anything, but it’s only fair to both of us if I tell you that I find it deterring.”
Basically, be clear that her BO is turning you off. Chances are she’s unaware of the smell and will be embarrassed by it. Or she knows about it but has no idea it bothers you so much. There’s a chance this is a medical issue too, so don’t delay, Sad Lover.
You have to approach the snoring the same way. She needs to know that it bothers both you and your roommates. Tell her that you’d love to have her stay over, but she needs to get her snoring under control for that to happen. She might not be able to fix it immediately, but tell her that she needs to make an effort. There’s no reason to break up with this person, Sad Lover. Buck up and have a grown-up talk with this woman you say you love. You at least owe her that much.
The way we talk to people about making changes in their lives has a huge impact on whether they will be open to our feedback. Whether you're confronting a loved one about substance abuse, a destructive behaviour, or any emotionally charged issue, utilising positive communication can affect how you are heard.Read more
This Guy Hopes He’ll Stumble Upon Motivation and Passion
Some advice would be very welcome. I’m just starting my 30s but I’m afraid I haven’t found what I want to do with my life.
I have a decent job (wouldn’t mind something better), good health, a computer science degree and some savings. However, I haven’t been able to motivate myself to plan my life instead of living it one day at a time: Either by changing jobs, getting a master’s degree, or a specialisation, or finding my passion.
Hoping for Passion
Hey Hoping for Passion,
If I had a dollar for every person in their late 20s/early 30s telling me they “haven’t quite figured out their life yet”, I could stop trying to figure out my own life and just retire early with a dollar-filled swimming pool a la Scrooge McDuck. This phenomenon is called the “quarter-life crisis” and, to keep things brief, you’ll get over it. Stay the course, keep on keepin’ on, I believe in you, and so on.
That said, I do want to clear something up for you. You say you haven’t “found” what you want to do in life, or have yet to “find” your passion. Stop. Passion isn’t found, like it’s a coin on the footpath — it’s cultivated. You act like you’re hoping you’ll stumble upon something in the world that will give your life meaning. That’s like walking into a restaurant, staring at the extensive menu, then hoping the waiter will walk up, give the grimy plastic a poke, and say, “That. That’s your new favourite food.”
Passion doesn’t choose you, it’s the other way around. There is no “god of programming” that selects people at birth to be passionate about computers. No “god of painting” that hands a young artist a brush for the first time. People choose to be passionate about things they find enriching. So, what do you like, Hoping? What gives you joy? What excites you? Maybe it’s something you can have a job in, or maybe it’s something you pursue on the side. Not every passion is a career, so be ready to accept that.
At this point in your life, there’s nothing wrong with living life one day at a time, especially when you have a decent job, good health, some savings and a useful degree to boot. Thank your lucky stars you have those things. Besides, planning your whole life out is a fool’s errand. You don’t need some road map to plot out all of your stops, you need a compass. Take some time to determine which direction your needle points at this time in your life, then follow it.
If you're somewhere between your mid-20s and 30s, you might be experiencing a serious low point in your life. A trial of confused identity, misguided purpose and hopeless transition. And, if you're anything like me, you feel lost, anxious and panicked. But you're not alone, even if it feels that way, and there are plenty of ways to make riding it out a little easier.Read more
This Gal Hooked Up With Her Best Friend’s ‘Best Guy Friend’
I hooked up with my best friend’s best guy friend. She claimed to be OK with it until about two days later when she went off on me about how she had feelings for him but never wanted to become serious with him because she did not want to risk losing her friendship with him. Nobody else knew she felt this way towards him.
She told me she just wanted to know if we were going to become a “thing” so she would not be blindsided by anything. I told her I did not know if we were becoming anything and a relationship is the last thing I want right now due to just getting out of an eight-year relationship four months ago.
Me and this guy have been texting a lot more and my best friend went off on me again because she said we were being “shady” because we would text all the time but I would not tell her. Just very confused as to if she wants me to tell her everything even if it seems like it will hurt her feelings.
Hey Perplexed Pal,
Your best friend messed up. Let’s be real here — this “risk of losing her friendship with him” thing is a terrible excuse she’s been using to make herself feel better. She likes this guy a lot — clearly — and she didn’t go for it because she was afraid of rejection, plain and simple. And frankly, if she has such strong feelings for him, he isn’t really a “best guy friend”. He’s a “I hope if I stick around long enough he’ll eventually fall in love with me instead of someone else” dude. And now, not only is she latching onto this poor guy in hopes of him “finally seeing the magic that’s been there all along”, she’s trying to keep him from getting close with anyone else. She’s trying to cock block this guy until he falls for her. Not cool.
She never told you, or anyone else, how she felt. That means she has no right to be mad at you for what unfolded. Also, her prying isn’t about avoiding being “blindsided” (whatever the hell that means), she’s doing reconnaissance work so she can figure out her next move. She does want you to tell her everything, but only because she wants to use the information to her advantage.
Honestly, if you actually like this guy and see a future with him, stop talking to your friend about it and see where it goes. Your friend is the one being shady here, not you. If she truly cared for this guy, she’d butt out and be happy that he’s happy. And if she truly cared about you as a friend, she’d be happy you’re making progress and finally getting out into the dating pool again.
That said, if this guy is just some meaningless fun on the side, and you’re worried about ruining your friendship with Miss Creepy-Pants, drop things with him. Your friend clearly isn’t going to get over this any time soon, and there are plenty of other fish in the sea you can bang. And by “fish” I mean dudes. And by “bang” I mean bang.
Because I just don’t have the time or patience for all of you…
Dissatisfied Son says:
I hate my father. He’s an arrogant, selfish, immature loon who thinks talking “at” someone (that is, telling them all the ways they’re screwing up and how his knowledge, alone, can save them) constitutes a relationship. Last winter we found out he’s been cheating on my mother for at least a year, and now my field of damns is barren. I do not care to try to salvage our “relationship”, so can I give him the verbal lashing he so desperately deserves, or am I doomed to endure his unwanted, presumptuous advice for the rest of my life? I still have to see him at family functions, but my ability to restrain myself is worn thin, and I fear a blow-up eventually.
I don’t see why not! Whether you’re interested in salvaging your relationship or not, DS, you should say what you want to say. If you don’t want his advice, tell him that. If you don’t want to talk to him any more, tell him that. Don’t let the pressure build toward this seemingly unavoidable “blow-up”. Nothing good will come from it. I recommend you keep things classy when you express your feelings, though, since stooping to his level and being a dick doesn’t make you any better than he is. Get it all out in the open and move on.
GI George says:
I’m a 30-year-old university student using the GI Bill, and I have trouble writing papers on time. I engage with the subjects at a level somewhat higher than your average 19-year-old student, but I have less energy, and am slower overall. My papers are well reasoned and structured, but… I write slow. On top of that, all of my friends graduated from university back in their 20s, so they expect me to keep a normal adult social calendar, but I can’t! They don’t remember what it was like! Help!
I can only assume writing this call for help took twice as long as it takes the normal advice seeker, so I feel for you (just kidding, and thank you for serving). Everybody reads, writes and studies at their own pace! Your pace is slow. Big deal. If it takes you more time to write papers, give yourself more time. I say “give” as in allow yourself to use as much time as you need without looking at it like some sort of deficiency. If you’re doing well on your papers, there’s is absolutely no reason to change things and try to “work faster”.
Tell your friends to shut the hell up and let you work on improving yourself. Tell them they’re welcome for you spending your 20s keeping them and the rest of the US safe, but now it’s your turn to learn. Until you wrap things up at school, you’re going to be busy in a different way than they are. That’s all there is to it. Keep focused.
That’s it for this week. I probably didn’t make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, but sometimes what you need is some tough love. ‘Til next time, figure things out for yourself.