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A priceless lesson for $30

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Is it boyfriend's job to lend her money in a pinch?

WASHINGTON: I'm very bothered that my boyfriend of under a year recently refused to lend me $30 when my ATM card did not work. I'm looking for other ways to think around this, because we get along in general and are happy most of the time. So when this happened, I was really surprised, and he said he just wanted to make a point that I should be more organized. I'm generally unorganized and sometimes it spills over into his life, but to make a point over $30 when I really needed it and had nowhere else to go? He did reluctantly lend it to me in the end, but I think that is beside the point. What is your take?

CAROLYN: (1) Get single.

(2) Get more organized.

I don't doubt he was right, but there are ways to be right that are so smug and judgmental that they become deal-breakers. It is not his place to teach you, raise you, shape you into his dream mate, or otherwise assert superiority. That's paternalism.

That's one way to look at it. The more practical, less judgmental way: You're disorganized. Either he loves you with that part of you included in the mix, or you guys aren't getting anywhere.

The second, dispassionate approach is more useful, but I had to get the first approach off my chest. Yuck. Besides, it's still helpful to know, I think, that it's neither necessary nor welcome to have a peer "teach us a lesson."

ANONYMOUS: Re: forced lending:

Okay, fine. It isn't his job to teach her how to be organized. I get that. But why is it his job/duty to be her ATM?? Why does he have to bail her out? Now is he supposed to be sure that he always has enough money for himself and for her? What about other things in her life? Does he have to plan for her job? For her car? Where does his responsibility end toward her?

carolyn: A stinkin' 30 bucks, one time, lent not donated? That's not making it someone's job to be an ATM, that's a guy who has hit a wall with her behavior and is lashing out instead of communicating. If her behavior bothers him that much, then he should give her the cash and then break up with her. Just one example of a less patronizing approach.

Friend's 'stupid' marriage is becoming a touchy topic

GREENFIELD, IND.: My closest friend is getting married. He admits it is a stupid thing to do because of the issues they have. She wants kids, he doesn't, she hates his kids from his previous marriage and wants him to disassociate from them. We have talked at length about why the marriage will likely fail.

I know I'm not responsible for his happiness and it's his life to live. My question is, now that he is going to do it anyway, do I try to be more positive, more optimistic and more supportive on this issue, or do I just try to avoid the topic, which I must note, he continually brings up?

CAROLYN: Whenever he brings it up, say, "I'm sorry, I can't pretend to be excited that you're marrying a woman who wants you to disassociate yourself from your kids." Seriously.

A priceless lesson for $30 10/14/08 [Last modified: Monday, November 7, 2011 5:39pm]
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