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.
Image via Fox.
This week we have a drinking buddy who has overstayed her welcome, a hurt wife who doesn't know how to forgive her cheating husband, and a young go-getter who's a little too eager for his own good.
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.
I had a roommate in my hometown maybe 10 years ago. It didn't end well. She is a real mooch, she has ZERO issue asking for anything, and she was a crap roommate (gross, messy and so on). Maybe a year after the fact, we settled things and became friends again. We didn't hang out a whole lot, but would sometimes do the "Hey everyone I'm going to [the bar] tonight," and she'd be one of those people.
Fast forward and I've been living in my new city for 5+ years. She came up here to visit a guy she met online, but things didn't work out with that guy. Still, she loved this city so much she decided to move here. In fact, when she came to look at apartments a few months later, she asked a month ahead of time if she could crash with me. I told her no, I'm not comfortable with guests at my place. The night before she gets here, she tells me her Airbnb fell through and asked again — I said no.
I'm constantly having to say no to protect my boundaries and it's exhausting and extremely anxiety-inducing. I tell her I am very busy, and I'm also in the beginning of a new relationship so I'm spending a lot of time with that person. She doesn't have activities other than going out and drinking. Almost every other day she'll text, "Hey lady! Let me know if you want to hang out sometime soon/this week/et cetera!" But I don't. I have my own circle of friends and I don't really want her in that circle of friends. Maybe that sounds selfish? I don't think she would really connect with a lot of them anyway, and all she wants to do is go out and eat or drink. I no longer hang out at bars all the damn time.
I don't want to completely cut her out, because I do genuinely like hanging out with her. But I have to really be up for it, and I'm usually not. I kind of feel bad that she's lonely, but I never promised anything to her. How do I move forward with this?
Don't want to be a dick, but don't want to hang out
Hey Not-a-Dick (sorry, can't pronounce your full name),
This person is not your friend. At most, they are a "drinking buddy" you were trapped in an apartment with. I'll get to your problem in a second, but first let me breakdown what a drinking buddy is for the viewers at home.
A drinking buddy:
- Is always saying things like, "Let's hang out!" but when you ask what they have in mind they always say, "Let's grab drinks somewhere!" If you suggest something else, they always find a way to make drinking part of the plan.
- Is only fun to be around when you've been drinking yourself.
- Will give you a hard time if you don't feel like going to a bar or restaurant armed with liquor.
- Shouts stuff like "Norm!" when you walk into the bar they frequent, even if that's not your name.
Drinking buddy relationships are different than actual friendships because you don't actually like each other all that much. When you become "friends", it's really just a matter of mutual intoxication, then things bloom from there. When you drink with this person, you have a good time, but outside of that environment it's a wash. There's nothing genuine about it, even if it feels like it is.
Back to your issue: You've since moved on and grown out of this "party all the time" phase. Good for you. She hasn't, and by the sounds of things, she won't any time soon. That means your sole connection with this person — the drinking — is no longer in play. She is just an ex-roommate now. You clearly have no serious interest in hanging out with her, so it's time to make that clear. You're right, her happiness and loneliness is not your responsibility. And honestly, hanging out with someone because you feel pity for them is messed up. For all we know, she thinks you're her best friend and has no idea you don't like her very much.
You don't want to totally "cut her out", but you need to. For yourself and for her. And it needs to be a clean cut. When she texts you to hang out, just keep saying "No thanks!" until she gets the hint. You don't have to feel bad about not doing something you don't want to do, Not-a-Dick. If she doesn't stop, or gets needy, treat her like a bad online date and ghost. I normally wouldn't suggest that, but this person is poisonous and stresses you out. Handle it.
Ever had friends or family who somehow manage to turn a quick meeting into a four-hour ordeal? It's frustrating when you have things to do and people overstay their welcome, but getting rid of them isn't always easy. Here are a few ways to do it without coming off as a jerk.
I've been married to my husband for almost seven years. I've been by his side through his entire Navy career. All the deployments and outings, they were rough but we got through it. We connect like we're the same person, just different genders. It's amazing and he is my best friend. He is the only guy I've ever 100 per cent trusted.
But I found out whilst on one of his deployments, he was unfaithful, and now I don't feel that connection as well as I once did. He was never going to tell me, either. I heard it through the grapevine and asked him about it, then he confessed. I went for about a month without speaking to him, I couldn't even utter a "hello" when he got home from work — without busting out into tears, that is. That passed and we hang out and have fun together, but I've been unable to be intimate with him.
I decided to forgive him, or attempt to forgive him, rather. But it's harder than I could ever imagine. He is the last person I ever thought would hurt me. So, should I just run away? Should I stick it out and try to fix this? Do you think I'll ever be able to just let it go and be intimate with him again?
Thank you for your advice!
Hey Confused Wifey,
A sage Pinterester once told me that trust is like a glass. Once broken, it shatters into a million pieces. You can try to put it back together, but it will never look the way it once did...
Don't run away, Confused Wifey. Life is difficult and messy, but don't let it overpower you. What your husband did is hurtful and inexcusable, without a doubt. But just because the illusion of your fairy tale romance has dissipated doesn't mean real love — the kind that lasts through thick and thin — has to go with it. Things were perfect before, and now they aren't. This is how real-life stories unfold. There is no magic, there is no happily ever after; there is just love. You get to decide if the love is still there. You get to decide if the story continues. You have every right to feel the way you feel, but it sounds to me that you want to fight. So I think you should fight, Confused Wifey.
Now, since I'm not an expert in this field, and this is a serious subject, I'm going to share with you some tips from Lifehacker contributor Vanessa Marin, licensed marriage therapist. She recommends you get the facts straight about the infidelity first (without the gory details). Was this a one-time thing? Was this purely physical? Did it just happen or did he seek it out? Motivations are important. Knowing these kinds of things may help you make your decision.
Give yourself time to take care of yourself. It sounds like you've been doing that, but keep doing that if you need to. Also, make sure he knows how bad this is. He needs to know. Your sex life will be different for a long while. Hold off until you feel ready, and even then, Marin recommends you "focus on reconnecting through simple touch". Go slow, take your time, and if you have to stop, stop.
Eventually, Confused Wifey, you will have to completely forgive him if you want to move past this. If you can't see yourself doing that ever, that may be all she wrote. But don't jump the gun on that conclusion. And lastly, go to couples counselling. I highly recommend sitting down with a professional to help you both work through this.
Conservative estimates suggest that cheating occurs in about half of all relationships. Being cheated on can be a profoundly painful experience, and it can be hard to know what to do after the initial discovery. Here's a comprehensive, mapped-out guide to deciding whether to stay or go.
I took a new job at the beginning of this year working for an outdoor companies website. Ideally this would be my dream job, but the benefits just suck. The pay is the same as when I was working retail sales floor and I don't get any time off in the first year (I know that that is "standard" but it was quite the shock for me).
When I took the job I got entry-level pay due to my "lack of experience with .com". I have three years of retail experience, though, with two of those being in a supervisor or management role — not to mention my university major was/is Commercial Recreation. But I didn't sweat it since I was told that the position had the opportunity to grow into a respectable salary with the growth of the position.
It has been almost six months since I took the position and I have become competent and confident in my work, and even taken on more assignments and responsibilities. I feel like I am ready to graduate from entry level pay to at least mid level. I did my research and found out that I am making about $14,000 [$AU18,641]/year less than the average salary for my position in my area and $13,000 [$AU17,310]/year less than the national average. I know that an average is an average, but I still make about $10,000 [$AU13,315]/year less than Glassdoor's estimated value of myself. I am lucky I don't have debt or student loans to worry about paying off, but this affects what I could be saving for the future and my 401k when I am eligible for it.
The problem is that my boss is also my uncle and he is the hardest working human I have ever seen. I also know that the .com is basically a five-year start-up and isn't yet profitable, despite the fact the brick-and-mortar locations do fairly well. I've applied for a second part-time job just to help build my savings and fun money, but I get frustrated thinking that my full-time job doesn't pay me. But then again I didn't take this job for the money. I took it because I wanted to build my resume, learn some new skills, and not have to work holidays and weekends. I just assumed that the money would follow.
I guess my question/advice that I need is how do I ask for a raise or increased compensation without just sounding entitled? Is it OK to ask for this after only six months? What would be an acceptable figure to ask for? I crunched some numbers and think that even something like $6000 [$7989]/year increase would make me happy.
Sincerely, Working for the Weekend
Hey Working for the Weekend:
It's too soon to ask for a raise, buddy. Sorry. But let's get the facts straight for everybody else, shall we?
- You're basically working your dream job right out of university. Or maybe still in university 'cause of the "my major was/is" comment?
- You're getting entry level pay for, well, being at entry level. You have no experience in this field.
- You've been told your position and salary will grow.
- You've only been there for six months. SIX MONTHS.
- You don't have any student loans or debt.
- Your uncle gave you the job. He did. Yes, he did. I know you're arguing with me in your head right now, but he did.
- You're aware they don't have the money to give you.
- And you admit you didn't take the job for the money, but for the experience.
You see all that, right?
WftW, you assumed the money would follow, and it hasn't. But it still might — you just need to be patient. It's only been half a year! You're only a few months out of the "let's see how he does" phase. It does sound like you're a good worker and all, and it's great that you're so eager to get yours and plan ahead. Right on. But you cannot ask for a raise right now, WftW. Don't do it. There is absolutely no way for you to ask for a raise without sounding entitled. Honestly, you already sound entitled bringing it up.
That said, at the one-year mark, it's reasonable to knock on your boss's door. But when you bring it up, you gotta back it up. Show them why you deserve a raise — citing your work ethic, measurable results, and the salary research you've already done. Your uncle is a hard worker; show him you are too. And let them know they can't fool you by lowballing your pay. Remember, they aren't your friend. In terms of how much you can ask for, five per cent is usually the average without getting a full-on promotion. But since it's your uncle, take him for all he's got and squeeze out 10 per cent.
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.