I moved in with my boyfriend last year. I work in a nonprofit and he is a techy guy in a big company with a big paycheck. He has recently started to nag me about going back to grad school — something I want to do, but I have debts and expenses and love my job right now even though it doesn’t pay crap. He already carries the household and wants me to quit work and go back to school. This freaks me out. I would be totally dependent on him. I don’t have any savings or anything to fall back on if this all went to hell in a handbasket. I appreciate his encouragement, but feel his statements about how I am way too smart for what I do are a bit condescending. What is dumb about working for an organization that benefits the community? I don’t care what I make, I care about what I do. He gets that, but says I could be doing more and making more. I don’t know how to take that. Sometimes I think he just wants to send me to school and then knock me up and keep me at home raising his brood. Am I being paranoid? I do want to have kids — and, I think, his kids — but when we both are willing to make the sacrifices needed to start a family. OK, this letter has gone way off track, but I think you can see how troubled I am and the importance of this decision and the effect it could have on the rest of my life.
— An Uncomfortably Kept Woman
Dear Uncomfortably Kept,
Any chance he has a gay brother? I would love to have someone keep me in a nice apartment, pay my bills, and send me to grad school. I’d even manage the nanny he’d need to hire to raise our adopted kids.
I think it is great that you love your job and value your independence, and so should your boyfriend. These are the fundamental things you need to have in common with someone. These are values — a much abused word in our political and religious culture, which makes me wince to use it, but it’s true. You need to sit your man down and have a little heart-to-heart about the future. If you feel these changes he wants you to make are core to your life and lifestyle, then he needs to hear that directly. Do not assume he understands, tell him. Ask him about his hopes for the future and plans for a family. Don’t assume you understand his point of view without asking. Tell him what you fear — losing your independence and sacrificing your career for his career and a family. Tell him how you envision your future and family.
Then comes the fun part: compromise! Hooray. It is rather unlikely, though not impossible, that you two will have the exact same idea about how this all works out. You will both need to give a little to find a middle ground that becomes your shared plan or dream.
On the note of compromises and sacrifices, I want to ask why having kids is a “sacrifice”? Yes you give things up, but it is to gain something you want. That is a compromise. A sacrifice is when you give something up for someone else with no direct gain for yourself. It’s not like you have to have kids. This is not, or shouldn’t be, a favor for someone else. Have kids if you want them, but if not, don’t make the “sacrifice.”
All of that said, don’t pass up a good opportunity. Don’t let your life run you, or close off a possible path because you’re scared of change. Nonprofits usually rely on volunteers. You could go back to school and stay involved in the work you enjoy. Whatever you decide, just keep an open mind.
Much love and luck,
Your Uncle Mat
My friend claims she almost drowned using a neti pot, or whatever. She is very over-dramatic. IS this actually possible?
— Just Curious
You know what killed the cat?
I don’t know. I haven’t tried. Drowning myself with an OTC kit that is.
Much love and common sense,
Your Uncle Mat
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