DEAR JERKASS: I'm confused and not sure what to do. I'm a 32-year-old single mom who is a hopeless romantic. I've been seeing someone for six months. He is already talking about marriage and a happily ever after, which I am ready for.The downside is, not long after we started dating, I met someone who makes me question everything. He's someone I can't actually be with because -- yes, he's married. I'm disgusted with myself for allowing this to happen, but the minute our eyes met, my heart skipped a beat.
What I'm asking is, do I settle for the guy I've been dating because that's what I'm ready for? He's a great guy who cares a lot about my daughter and me. I can be a faithful and loving wife, which he wants. Or should I let him go because my heart truly isn't there? Please help me, even though I don't deserve it. -- SETTLING DOUBTS
DEAR SERIAL MONOGAMIST :
First off, being a hopeless romantic is not a good thing. It means you succumb to every crush as though it is a torrid emotional "forever", when really it's your excuse to go from relationship to relationship without ever actually committing to the long term.
You even prove this point with the whole "six months later I'm into a married guy".
Want to know why your heart skipped a beat? You like commitment...in others, and this was a challenge. Alss, that "hapless romantic" often mistakes lust at first sight with love.
If you really loved this married guy, you'd love him so much you would want him to be happy....and not wreck his marriage due to your own insecurities about commitment.
And really, if you ended up cheating with this married guy...do you really want to be with someone who cheats on their wife? Loyalty and truth aren't going to be high on this guys "good attributes" list. And, you'll probably move on after six months. Earning you the apt title of "homewrecker". And to Mr. Married I'd say "If you don't love your wife, don't be with her. Don't stay with her because you can't find someone better".
Look, if you don't want to be with the guy you're with now...do the honest and logical thing and and free him from your lies. You won't be a faithful and loving wife if you're always falling in love with rando's.
And as to your daughter? Maybe keep the men you date out of sight. You looking for a husband or a daddy? Plus you don't want to teach her how useless you view marriage if you're going to be cheating with married men.
DEAR JERKASS: I am an only child who has lived at home all her life -- 44 years. My father recently passed away, so now it is just Mom and me. She has become extremely clingy. She is jealous of my friends and feels I must be with her for almost everything. What can I do?
I think I should move out, but she will take it badly. Also, I'm concerned about her health. She's 71, diabetic and has a heart condition. Is this a lost cause or is there hope? -- HOPING IN FLORIDA
DEAR BASEMENT DWELLER: The fact you still live at home, and live in Florida, has already "triggered" me with immense laughter.
You should have moved out almost 26 years ago.
No. Seriously. There is no reason you should have stayed at home for that long. Returning home to care for your ailing mother...sure. I don't have that inclination, but I'm a Jerkass. You returning to take care of your mother would be a good thing.
Provided you had left and carved out your own life.
Then the sacrifice of taking care of your diabetic mother might make you seem less like a virtue signalling dope using their mothers illness as an excuse to keep living at home, and more of a respectable human being.
The only reason you could be living at home at that age is (and I actually say this with great care and respect) if you have some debilitating form of autism*.
But the fact that you can recognize the jealousy of others and are not oblivious to other peoples emotions puts you more on the narcissistic sociopath side of things.
Who is the parasite here?
YOU! Your mother lived a life and now is afraid of death. What does she have to show for it? A heart condition and a child that never left.
A child! A damn, whining child who never had to take care of themselves now berating their whiny mother for wanting to spend time together.
You, madam, suck donkey balls. Go sell a kidney on the black market, hire a nurse for your mother, and just fuck off around Europe for a year. You'll be doing everyone a favor, including your friends who might end up finding you interesting to talk to.
*Autism is, of course, a spectrum that affects people differently. I do not consider it a disability per se (because to me that implies that they are somehow "less than" in some peoples perception), but a difference that has needs specifically catered to each person. My own son "suffers" from being on the spectrum, yet he has an amazing drawing capability, a deeply analytical mind, and a breadth of emotions and thoughts that just aren't witnessed by the average passerby. He has needs that are very different from his siblings, but that also genuinely make up part of his amazing personality.
There is so much about autism that I just cannot articulate here, and I apologize for everything I get wrong on this subject.
Here is just one of many links that can bring understanding to this difference.
And here is a quick link to some people on the spectrum who have adapted fantastically:
DEAR JERKASS: Recently, my friends threw me a party for my 34th birthday. A number of them brought their children (ages 2 to 6 years) to the Saturday afternoon event.
When I began opening my gifts, several of the children started throwing tantrums because they were not being given gifts. I thought this might be a good learning opportunity to gently teach the children that it was not their birthday, but someone else's special day. However, some of the parents began insisting that I let the crying (and by this point, screaming) children open my gifts(!). Instead, I stopped opening gifts, put all the presents up on a shelf and began serving cake and ice cream and handing out balloons and other party favors.
This satisfied some of the children, but others were still screaming. One of the parents then began berating me, saying that I was "the biggest child" for not "sharing." Needless to say, the party ended early and with some hurt feelings. Was I wrong to not allow small children to tear open my fragile and expensive birthday gifts? -- IT'S MY SPECIAL DAY
DEAR WTF is wrong with your friends?! Seriously. I’m not even going to make up some lame ass name for you. I would have booted them out the door AND their hell-spawn AND posted a sign on the front lawn that read “Children will be shot on sight”.
Look, I don’t care if someone elses kid has a tantrum. A kid has a melt down and it isn’t the parents fault.
What is their fault is teaching them to be an entitled little twat and encouraging this kind of behavior. Know who else acts like this? Full grown college socialists who have no understanding that you can’t always get what you want.
You need new friends, and if you have kids, you need to make sure they aren’t friends with these pathetic losers kids.
Here’s a life lesson, folks: You don’t HAVE to share. It’s nice if you share. But you don’t have to. And if you teach your kids unconditional sharing all you’re really teaching them is to be entitled to things that aren’t theirs. They will take without asking, assuming that they have a RIGHT to whatever it is that has filled their greed. And then it’s an easy conclusion to arrive at “Hey, if I use enough force, I can just take what I want”.
Seriously, cut those freaks out of your life.
DEAR JERKASS: I have a crush on a guy I work with. I'm 19, and he's 26. He has a kid, which actually doesn't bother me. I love kids and have taken care of them most of my life. My problem is he has this ex who wants to get back together with him. They broke up because she was staying out all night and cheating.
He used to flirt with me and text me all the time and offer me his hoodie. Now she's sort of back in the picture and he ignores me and doesn't return my texts. But when we see each other he starts flirting again, and we just click. We make sense.
I guess my question is, should I tell him how I feel before it's too late or just keep it to myself? Should I risk everything and go for it? -- UNCERTAIN IN NEW YORK
DEAR FUTURE STEP MOM: Get your ass away from him. Sorry, most women aren’t a viable relationship option until after 23*, and he already has a kid
Seriously, this is just one bad situation. Here’s an option; quit. If you see him outside of work and you still “click”, go ahead and become part of his family unit. But his cheating ex will always be in the picture, she’s the mother of his child. And you’re GOING to have to deal with that.
You ready for that? Being a role model and possibly at odds with the other role model?
I don’t care how much “in love” with this guy you are; this kid is going to have you in their life, no matter how much you think they won’t. So the question that you should be asking of yourself that you haven’t even thought of because you’re too busy crushing on the dad is “What do I have to offer this man and his child, and can I even be a benefit to his ex?”
What? A “benefit to his ex?”
Because that ex is going to have to trust you, a stranger, with their child. Trust you as an influence. Trust you that you aren’t going to talk shit about them when they aren’t around.
Did you think about that?
No, you’re busy thinking about hunky co worker and Gummy Bears, and stickers, and puppies…and whatever else you kids think about these days.
*Yeah I said it! Most of you in that age range (not all but most) are still in that “party” stage of your life and you’re hunting around, finding out what you want. All I’m saying is that you don’t WANT to settle down, even if you think you want to.
Would it be appropriate for someone to tell someone else's children to stop doing something dangerous if the parent is not around? I'm talking about kids holding scissors the wrong way or running with them, pushing others, etc.My children are in their teens now and know that such behavior is wrong. If it were the other way around, I would be grateful if someone cared enough to tell my kids that a behavior is wrong and/or dangerous. -- GLAD IN THE MIDWEST
DEAR MIDDLE OF THE PROZAK:
Within reason, yes.
A kid hurting another kid is definitely a moment to step in. Kids with edged objects, sure, go ahead. Running out into the street, by all means, interfere. Screaming bloody murder and their arm is at a weird angle, do not pass go.
Keep your interaction with kids minimal, since you are a stranger BUT they also need to know that their actions are being watched by the “rest of the world”, and they will be held accountable for their actions even when their parents aren’t around. Yelling at a strange kid for wailing on another kid, or seeing them vandalize something, gives them a reality check and hopefully lets them develop a “we’re all in this together” mentality.
A toddler that is not yours on a swing is no reason to hover, though. Especially with those newer parks that have that grassy foam stuff that wouldn’t hurt if you got body slammed on it.
Like when I take my kids to the park, they’re pretty athletic. If they fall down, they won’t die like some other kids do, according to their parents.
You standing at the bottom of the slide waiting for your six year old to come down safely? You can fuck right off with that shit, and stay away from my kids. Coming at me with a simpering “Buh buh buht I don’t want them to get hurt…?” just pisses me right off. One, getting hurt is not evil. Two, a bump or a bruise is part of learning how to navigate objects, and learning spacial relationships is key for things like balance and judging distance. Three, if it isn’t broken or they’re not bleeding, they are fine. And crying with them and babying them only teaches them to stop everything if they get mildly hurt. Treat it seriously but also teach them how to get back up and deal with the pain. As adults they are going to encounter situations where they are going to be hurt and need to be able to keep a rational mind. We don’t want our kids to grow up to become Michael from the Office, doing stupid things like burning his foot on a George Forman Grill and expecting the whole office to cater to him.
YOU GOT THAT HOVER PARENTS! Do you hate Michael from the office? You’re going to turn your kids into HIM if you keep it up.
What is the etiquette when eating at a restaurant where a piano player is performing? I don't mean the "bar scene"-type piano player who wants the crowd to sing along, but more of a mid- to upscale type of place.
There's a restaurant like this in my town -- the only one with a piano. On one special occasion when we were there, the piano player was playing "Misty" and a woman sitting nearby with her party wanted to make herself heard over him. She began talking very loudly to her group while he was playing the song. I thought it was tacky, and if I had been sitting near her, I would have shushed her up.
Isn't it polite to wait until the piano player is finished before talking loudly at your table? Whatever happened to behaving with a little class in restaurants?
-- DEANNA IN OKLAHOMA
DEAR NOT IN A MOVIE THEATER:
You go out to restaurants, mainly, to have a nice meal AND conversation. Sure, sometimes you have to bring the kids along because you’re traveling or what-have-you, but the goal is to have someone else prepare a meal while you share it with another.
Is that too hard to understand? It doesn’t matter if someone is playing your favorite song, it’s background to everyone else. You want to listen to someone play piano, go to a rehearsal hall or public venue where the focal point is the player.
Otherwise you’re just an ass-hat whining about crap that doesn’t matter. At best you could complain that she was interrupting YOUR conversation, but she wasn’t. So why don’t you shut the shush up and pay attention to the person you’re with.
Never mind. You probably don’t actually care about the person you’re with. You just wrote this letter to get validation for your selfishness.
DEAR JERKASS: I’ve recently started seeing someone, and we have shared a wealth of information about ourselves with each other. When I asked him his last name, he said it was “Erickson.” When I asked him if he had a middle name, he responded that he didn’t.
Soon after, I saw his driver’s license. It had a completely different last name from the one he gave me, and it turns out he does have a middle name after all.
Now I’m starting to question everything he told me, and I’m afraid he may have lied about even bigger things. What reason would he possibly have to lie about such a simple thing? And how should I confront him about it? — JUST PLAIN CONFUSED IN GEORGIA
DEAR RUSSIAN COLLUDER: The reason someone would give false information is usually because the person..IS A SPY!
No, but seriously. Two things: How did you just happen to see his license, if he's so tricky as to give you a fake last name? And second, if you're so sneaky why didn't you just Google his ass like everyone does instead of writing an advice column?
Look, I know you millenials are desperate and in need of human contact, but that shouldn't obscure some pretty basic shit; honesty is important in a relationship.
BUT, humans are basically lie machines and they have egos that want to cover up anything that makes them look bad.
So instead of asking around for "what you should do", you should probably just, oh, I don't know, ASK HIM! Maybe he's ashamed of his name or is trying to distance himself from his family. Maybe he's worried that you might turn into a psycho stalker who goes through his wallet like the last girl, because he's attracted to crazy people.
But at the end of it all....you shouldn't be asking an advice columnist anything.
DEAR JERKASS: My husband and I are happily married, but have one serious problem. Our sleeping habits are incompatible. I am an extremely light sleeper; he is a horrendous snorer. He sees a snoring specialist and tried several medical treatments, none of which worked. The only solution is a minor surgical procedure. He doesn't want to have the surgery. He insists he "sleeps fine," and says I'm the one with the problem. I have tried earplugs, white noise machines, sleep medications and more, but I cannot get a decent sleep with the obnoxious snoring. He stays up much later than I do, and I enjoy sleeping in our master bedroom until he comes to bed. I usually get driven out of the room by the noise. We agree we don't want to sleep in separate rooms and lose the intimacy, but it's the only option for me to sleep well. Neither of us wants to give up the master bedroom because it's the only one with an attached bathroom. Am I wrong for asking him to have surgery so we can share a bed? And if he won't, who should get the master bedroom? -- SLEEPLESS IN LOUISIANA
DEAR JERKASS: My 18-year-old daughter has just graduated from high school. She has now informed me that she's not going on to college, like we had previously discussed, and becomes upset when we try to talk to her. My question is, should we let her make her own decision about this -- and pay for it for the rest of her life -- or continue to push her into some kind of life skill set? -- LIFE SKILLS IN MISSOURI
DEAR IVORY TOWER WANNABE: Why not let her try prostitution. It is the worlds oldest profession...
How about a trade school? If she chooses college she'll probably be edged towards taking "Gender Studies" by her peers, and subsequently dye her hair, demand she be called xhe, and end up working at a stream of coffee shops without ever trying to pay back all those school tuition's because socialism should "make it free".
Or she could learn a trade and start earning money. Since you don't live in San Fransisco, where you need to make over $100,000 a year to live comfortably you won't need a $100,000 job (although sergeants in the police dept there do make that).
You live in Missouri, and the Living Wage Calculator for a single person to live comfortably is $18,629 a year. If she becomes a single mom, it's $37,916 a year.
Here are some blue collar jobs that would do well for her:
Brick Layer $45,000
Chemical Plant Operator $40,000
Dental Hygienist $62,000
Locomotive Engineer $62,000
Personal Trainer $53,000
Police officer $50-100,000
What? Even a Food Preparation & Serving Related position would give her $18,830, and there's no Gender Studies degree needed.
I've said it before and I'll say it again: your job as a parent is to make sure that the kid is able to survive on their own before they reach voting age. If you think she's failed already then even though it's your fault, it isn't your responsibility. Stop trying to force the high horse intellectual smug superiority that you're only worthwhile if you go to college, or you'll never succeed without it.
I'd even go so far as to tell every parent to get their kids through a trade school first, and then pursue their dreams, so they will at least have a fallback to survive on.
But maybe that's just me, and maybe I'm just better than you.
DEAR JERKASS: I'm acquainted with a woman who has been experiencing seizures for several years and, because of the seizures, has been restricted from driving. She drove her son to school a couple of years ago (he had missed the bus) and ran into a brick mailbox, totaling her car.She now wants to be able to drive and has said she will not tell her doctor about recent seizures. Isn't this potentially dangerous? -- RESTRICTED DRIVING IN KENTUCKY
DEAR INVOLUNTARY MANSLAUGHTER: Call. The. Police.
Judas' Advice Column
This is where I take a Dear Abby column, and add my own brand of advice. I started by calling it Dear Crabby, but that's taken and JERKASS seems more fun.