The Source: Robin Anderson, London Free Press
The Dilemma: “I have been married for 20 years to a man who put himself through school and worked long hours at a very stressful job to make a decent living… His parents have set [his siblings] up in homes and have even sent them on vacations, but they have never given my husband anything… This is very upsetting to us, but we know if we say anything, it won’t change the situation or may even make matters worse.”
The Advice: “The only way you are going to find out [what the issue is] is to talk to [the parents]. It doesn’t have to be a family affair, your hubby can just go and talk to them quietly.”
The Rebuttal: Lady, after twenty years, your husband can scream, yell, or yodel. He’s still not going to get as much as his brothers and sisters. Parents are set in their ways and even more so as they get older. If he wants a handout bad enough he’ll ask for it — without your involvement. No point in alienating your husband and in-laws. Especially not when holiday hell is just around the corner.
The Source: Ellie Tesher, The Toronto Star
The Dilemma: “I met a guy from Portugal on the Internet. We talked every night until we became boyfriend and girlfriend, one month before our one-year anniversary. Then we broke up, since he told me he met someone new, but we still talk and exchange emails. Recently, he said he didn’t want to lose me and still loves me, so he broke up with her and we’re together again. He says the girl may be pregnant. What shall I do?”
The Advice: “Two choices: 1) Go to Portugal — meet this guy on his own turf, see how he lives, investigate whether he’s really single, and whether there’s really a pregnant ex-girlfriend who somehow keeps him from a full relationship with you, and also ask, face-to-face, how he thinks you two can pursue this romance into a future life together. Or, 2) Change your email address.”
The Rebuttal: 3) Get rid of your computer until you can learn to use it like a responsible adult. How can you have a “one-year anniversary” with someone you’ve never met? It’s the Neighborhood of Make-Believe, only you’ve got your head up your own ass instead of a felt puppet’s.
The Source: Jack Conway, Ask Men
The Dilemma: You’re dating online, but you’d like to find a way to get ignored — faster and more often — by more girls.
The Advice: Don’t worry, bro. Conway’s got you: “Today, sending e-mail to a woman as your first communication is about as necessary as a 14k modem… Instant messaging is by far the best way to initiate contact while you’re online.”
The Rebuttal: Instant messaging as a first means of contact is pushy at best. Most of the time, it’s downright intrusive. I’m online because I want to avoid forced small talk with randoms I don’t find attractive. The stereotype has always been that ladyfolk are the most needy, but if you can’t wait a couple of hours for an e-mail response, what does that say about you, guy?
The Source: Bethany Heitman, Cosmopolitan
The Advice: Luckily, Heitman’s there with a slew of do’s and don’ts.
On leisure activities:
“Do This: Watch the game with his friends.
Not That: Cheer really loudly, chug beers, or tell off-color jokes.”
“Do This: Type ‘Last night was amazing. Repeat 2night?’
Not That: Send a message that’s more than two sentences.”
On meeting the parents:
“Do This: Bring them something homemade
Not That: Bestow flowers or anything pricey.”
The Rebuttal: God forbid you enjoy yourself, show evidence of literacy, or lack the time or inclination to make baked goods for two people you’ve never met. Good girlfriends are those that are self-assured. Average Cosmo readers? Apparently not part of that subset.