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Splurge Monday’s Workwear Report: ‘Club’ Wool Blazer

Our daily workwear reports suggest one piece of work-appropriate attire in a range of prices. 

This Rag & Bone blazer is very highly rated at Nordstrom. A number of reviewers are using the word “cozy” to describe it, which is not something I would normally think of for a wool blazer, but rather, itchy and stiff. This one is apparently super comfortable and is the kind of thing that people say they could wear every day. Note that it’s labeled “dry clean” and not “dry clean only.” It’s available in off white and black for $495 in sizes 0-12. ‘Club’ Wool Blazer

Here’s an option that’s priced a bit lower, and a plus-size alternative.

Seen a great piece you’d like to recommend? Please e-mail [email protected]

(L-all)

Comments

  1. Anonymous :

    Have any of you used Flexjobs . com?

  2. After seeing the comment last week about the therapist looking at a client’s profile, I thought I’d ask this from people who are more adept at LI than I am…If I cannot see who views my profile, can people still see when I view their profile?

    I thought it was like a quid pro quo thing: If you want to know, then other people also get to know. Is that right?

    • I dont use mine often but I’m pretty sure thats how it works.

    • It depends on how your privacy settings are, well, set. You have the option to browse other people’s provides in anonymous mode. If you are not in anonymous mode, they will see that you have viewed their profile regardless of how they have their viewing preferences set up.

    • New Tampanian :

      Be advised that people who pay for the upgraded LinkedIn can see everyone who views their page.

      • Anonymous :

        And someone correct me if I’m wrong, but it is possible for someone to have LinkedIn premium, and therefore this feature, and you don’t know because they can choose whether to display “premium” on their page or not.

      • Ugh. This was what I was afraid of. Okay, no more using LI as a better version of my corporate directory then.

      • Wildkitten :

        This is not true.

        • Wildkitten :

          I pay for LinkedIn, and am so frustrated at how often anonymous people look at my profile.

  3. wrap dresses :

    I think I’ve figured out why my DVF wrap dress doesn’t quite fit: my torso isn’t quite long enough. The waist ties are more by my hips than my actual waist. I’m never ever able to tie it quite tight enough (it doesn’t help that I’m flat-chested, too).

    Any other short-torso ladies have any helpful tips for wrap dresses (or brands better suited to you)?

    I’m 5-4, but (apparently) mostly legs. I wear petite jackets and tops when available. Brooks Brothers and J Crew dresses never fit me (same issue: set-in waists are at high hip level for me).

    Fashion tape is my current fix, but I’d eventually like to own a wrap that works for me.

    • I am also 5’4″ and short-torso’d, though I am busty as well… some of the Ann Taylor wrap dresses work ok for me, but my favorites are the Karen Kane “Cascade” dresses.

      • Ann Taylor work for me. Boden and Pure Collection are good options, too. I end up pinning all wrap dresses, though.

    • I’m also short waisted. I just can’t do wrap dresses or shirts.

    • No Problem :

      I’m petite all over (5′) and have a petite wrap dress from Banana that fits great. Not sure if it would be long enough for you, but worth trying.

      Can you get the DVF altered? I imagine it would be a costly fix, but maybe worth it given the price of the garment.

  4. Weekend in Geneva :

    I will be working in Geneva for part of this week and all of next, so I will be spending a weekend there. Any recommendations for things to do or easy day trips? My hotel is near the airport and I am not planning to rent a car.

    Thanks!

    • Anonymous :

      If the weather is good (sunny, go to the Chamonix Mt Blanc valley, or one the towns on the way there, for a day.

  5. Is this blazer paired with leggings in the picture?!

  6. In a new open office environment. I feel like the message is…Do your incredibly demanding and complex job, with someone talking in your ear the entire time.

    I don’t know how I am going to survive this. It sounds dramatic but the paralegals are shouting back and forth while I try to read a 50 page document. WTF.

    • Earplugs or ipod w/ white noise.

      • Yup. Sometimes I just put my headphones in with nothing playing bc they do a pretty good job of blocking out noise on their own.
        Welcome to the wonderful world of the modern office -_-

      • I worked for a partner that told me that wearing headphones in my cube was unprofessional. I about stabbed his eye out. Is getting no work done unprofessional? Because that is what’s going to happen….

        • Buy a pair of headphones with an attached microphone and pretend that it is your new office telephone apparatus.

    • Anonymous :

      Buy yourself some really good headphones – the kind with a better-than-average amount of noise isolation – and a headphone amplifier. The last time I had to work in an open office, that was the only way I survived. The ironic thing about open offices is that they supposedly foster “collaboration,” but you walk into them and everyone’s got headphones on and they’re trying to avoid eye contact with each other.

      I recommend Sennheiser 598c headphones or Shure in-ear monitors (earbuds), and Fiio makes good headphone amplifiers for $30-$60.

    • Can you use a conference room when you have something that you really need to concentrate on? That was what we all did when I worked in a cube farm.

    • I was just moved onto a new floor and have the same issue. It’s demoralizing. I’m with you in misery.

    • lost academic :

      Why are the paralegals shouting back and forth? That seems like something Not To Do in an open office environment. I work in something similar and that is Not Done. (we pipe in a lot of white noise via the ceiling speakers)

      • This is all new for us, and everybody is learning.

        • lost academic :

          Oh, I understand. (There’s someone that rubs all of us the wrong way here that can’t seem to modulate her volume… and she happens to sit right in the middle!)

  7. Building your brand? :

    Morning all! Anyone know of resources for building a professional brand for yourself? Looking for thoughts on how to put together and execute a strategy. I am a lawyer but heartily welcome advice from all professions. TIA!

    • With all due respect, why? Are you planning to set up a website for yourself? What is your end goal here? I don’t think the law is the sort of profession that lends itself to “personal branding” unless you are a solo practitioner, and even then only I’ve seen some criminal defense lawyers do it (badly). I find the whole thing ridiculously hokey and buzz-wordy.

      • Don’t forget about plaintiff’s personal injury lawyers!

        • HA! We have a guy here who calls himself the DUI King and has ads out where he is wearing a giant fur coat and gold chain and crap. Don’t be that guy!!

      • Because we now live in a world where we have substituted the word brand for reputation. All hail corporate buzzword overlords.

    • Anonymous :

      Start doing a lot of CLEs and writing (but not law review articles; stuff that practicing lawyers actually read). But then you are known to other lawyers. Not sure if that is a win.

    • Anonymous :

      Depending on the area you practice in, attend and speak at conferences, and write articles for trade publications (with reference to the comment at 9:28, ideally those that are not just read by other lawyers). I’m in a transactional practice where these opportunities abound; it’s probably a little different for litigators.

  8. Fixing small gap :

    What’s the best way to fix a small gap in your teeth? My teeth are straight but have a small gap between the front two that I find troublesome. I definitely do not want metal braces. Is invisalign generally the next best option? I am wary of options like SmileDirectClub – is it a gimmick?

    Thanks!

    • Anonymous :

      Why not keep it? Per Lara Stone and Lauren Hutton (and a recent WSJ or W article . . . forgot which . . .), it’s a cool thing, so much so that some people were trying to get gaps.

      • +1

        I actually agree with this too!

        Sorry….I know this is totally annoying when people don’t answer your question, but I favor this too. Gaps are now in and natural, and in my circles the only people whitening and straightening are sorority girls and bridezillas.

        I chose braces a little later in life than most for a subtle thing. It was a year of discomfort, $$, and inconvenience. And then a few years later it moved back. My fault since I lost my retainer device a few years later, but…..do you really want to wear retainers for years too?

      • New Tampanian :

        I have the same thing and I often get told that it’s “cute”

        • Anonymous :

          To judge by Lauren Hutton and one female GC I know with the same gap, I think it is BOSS.

    • You should just go to the orthodontist and ask for a consultation. They’ll be able to tell you if invisalign will work. I’m told that it should if your problem is minor. And then maybe they can do a permanent retainer bar behind your teeth afterwards.

      I actually don’t like gaps, and wear my retainer religiously every night to prevent it.

      • WriterKate :

        I might be too late, but if you get braces or Invisalign and have a permanent retainer on the back afterwards, still wear the standard retainer at night basically forever. I had a huge gap. As a kid my mom was told by the ortho it was the biggest he had ever seen. I had braces as a teen and a permanent retainer after. The perm retainer fell off after college and I could no longer get the standard retainer in. The gap was not as large as it was pre braces but I still hated it. I was made fun of for years because of it and I wanted it gone. So braces again at age 26 for 8 months fixed it. I got clear braces because Invisalign was so expensive. Now 34 and very happily gap free and happily wear my retainer every night. And also have a perm retainer behind front two teeth. If I go 1-2 nights without the standard retainer, it feels tight when I first put it in again.

    • I had this problem fixed with dental bonding. The dentist applied a tooth-colored resin material to the teeth to reshape them and close the gap. It was inexpensive and has lasted me for 5+ years, no problems.

      • Anonymous :

        +1 – this is what I’d go with – patch it, instead of going through the headache of braces.

    • lost academic :

      It all used to be called Invisalign but there are now other names for it (like MTM, minor tooth movement, which is what my dentist uses). (That is what my dentist told me.) (Turns out you should not get lazy and stop wearing your retainer in college)

    • Anonymous :

      Invisalign is no joke- I spent my first few days crying because of it. Just an fyi I feel like its hailed as the “super easy” braces but its not minor!

    • I have a small gap only at the top of my front top two teeth. I had braces twice as a kid and they never cut the frenulum (sp?) so the tops of my teeth couldn’t come together completely. Clearly, I have asked a dentist about this! He said I could get braces again, this time having the frenulum cut, or I could have my teeth built up a little to cover the gap. They would use the same material they use for bonded teeth, or clear fillings. He said I would have to get used to how I look with wider teeth, but it would close the gap and it would not look strange.

      The reason I considered it is that people sometimes think I have something stuck in my teeth, and occasionally someone tells me about it, only to have me whip out my mirror and say “no, that’s just my teeth, but thanks.”

      I actually made the appointment to have the bonding done, then had to move it twice because of work travel, and then eventually I just gave up on rescheduling it. I think if I had a less busy schedule I’d go ahead and have it done. The amount he quoted me was in the hundreds, not thousands, but I can’t remember the exact amount.

  9. Does anyone have any tips or scripts for suggesting therapy to your partner? I love my SO but I feel like he could benefit from talking to a neutral third party about strategies for handling frustration and anger. He’s not anti-therapy in general, but I feel like he sees it as something for other people, not for him. Our relationship is overall great, but living together has made me notice his anger management issues in a way that I didn’t when we were just spending weekends together.

    (Before someone asks, no, I’m not worried that he would become physically violent; no, I don’t tiptoe on eggshells around him because I’m worried about his temper; yes, we have had our share of disagreements, which we have resolved in a mature way without ever raising our voices at each other. The Comcast remote and his current woodworking project are not so lucky.)

    • anonshmanon :

      My SO is currently working on getting his temper under control with respect to a specific source of frustration that keeps coming up (work-related). He would get snappy and terse when this problem appeared and while I don’t feel threatened or unsafe around him, I simply found those instances unpleasant. What made a difference is voicing my discomfort. I made it clear that his aggression towards the work-situation pervades our shared space and I didn’t like that. I said this with my words but also went to hang out in another room a few times. I think he has taken this to heart and is making a conscious effort not to react so angrily. For us, this works fine without involving therapy, but YMMV.

      • Yes, it’s really that it’s unpleasant to be around. I guess I can work on more clearly vocalizing it when I’m headed into the bedroom because I’m sick of listening to him yell at Comcast. Like I said below, we’ve talked about it a few times already over the 2.5 years we’ve been dating, and he’ll get better for a while, but then it starts happening again.

    • Anonymous :

      I think you focus on you. Talk to him about how his anger impacts you. Ask him if he can find another way to be angry that won’t impact you.

      Therapy isn’t something you suggest without first addressing the issue in context. Ok, so he yells at the remote. And? You need to be able to articulate why this is a problem for you to him.

      • We’ve talked about it a few times, and he’ll do better for a while, then backslide. I don’t want to nag him about it. I’m also a mellow person–it takes a lot to set me off and I don’t stay angry for long. So I don’t personally have any clue how he would go about chilling out, because my default setting is already pretty chill. I’m just like, yeah, the remote isn’t working immediately, guess I’ll keep trying, then 30 seconds later it works and I can move along with my day. It wouldn’t even occur to me to get angry about that.

        • But why does it matter to you. That’s what you need to focus on. There’s nothing objectively wrong or that suggests a need for anger management therapy if you get frustrated and angry at your woodworking. You need to figure out how this impacts you and focus on that as a relationship and compatibility issue, not pathologize a guy who doesn’t have anger issues with you.

          • Belize/St. Lucia/ Other? :

            I disagree with this. If he anger level makes her uncomfortable, she doesn’t need to just ‘get over it’.

            My DH used to throw things when he got angry – book, phone, etc. Never at me or anywhere in my direction. I told him it made me feel nervous and uncomfortable when he got angry like that. He stopped. When he’s feeling tense or stressed, he makes an extra effort to exercise which usually helps him cope better.

            Let him know how it makes you feel when he get angry like that. Ask him to not do it, to come up with strategies to prevent, and to talk to someone about ideas of how to manage his anger if he’s not sure how to do it on his own.

          • No, that’s not what I’m saying. She doesn’t need to get over it, she needs to approach him about it in terms of how it makes her feel and the impact it has on their relationship. Not just tell him his anger is a problem and he needs therapy.

          • It’s unpleasant to be around. Last night, I was trying to chill out and watch some TV in the living room, but he was banging around in the next room over with his woodworking project. It’s also not like he gets quietly frustrated–he’s yelling, swearing, and slamming tools. And when/if we have kids, what kind of example does that set for them? He says he wouldn’t want his future kids to react the same way he does to things. I’ve told him about growing up with a family member with a temper, and how scared I was as a little girl whenever Dad got mad. We have agreed that’s not what we want our family dynamic to look like.

            He acknowledges that it’s a problem but doesn’t seem to have the tools to address it in a meaningful way. That’s why I think therapy could be helpful for him. I don’t think he’s some kind of broken person with a pathological issue who needs a prescription and years of therapy to overcome some hidden trauma–I think he’s a normal, overall well-balanced human who struggles with something, and that he could use some professional help addressing it.

          • Anonymous, if it’s still not clear–we’ve already had that conversation. We’ve had that conversation at least four times. He knows. I’ve told him in small, clear words using “I feel” statements. He agrees that it’s an issue now, and that it’s been an issue for him his whole life. His childhood friends joke about it, his parents roll their eyes at it, his sister yells at him about it. This is not something that I’m making up out of nowhere to henpeck an otherwise great man.

            He just doesn’t seem to have the tools to fix it. Hence, I would love for him to talk to someone whose job it is to help people just like him address problems just like the one he has.

          • Ok then! Great! That’s all I was saying to do. I have no way of knowing you’re already there!

            Then I think you just tell him “I know you’re trying to tone down the anger, but it’s still a problem. I’d love for you to talk to a therapist and learn some new tools to manage this.”

          • Senior Attorney :

            I think you’ve said it really well in your post at 11:00 a.m.: “You realize this is a problem, and you don’t seem to have the tools to fix it. So I would love for you to talk to someone whose job it is to help people just like you address problems just like the one you have!”

        • “I don’t think he’s some kind of broken person with a pathological issue who needs a prescription and years of therapy to overcome some hidden trauma–I think he’s a normal, overall well-balanced human who struggles with something, and that he could use some professional help addressing it.”

          Have you tried saying exactly this? I think that’s a very thoughtful way of putting it, and one he might be receptive to, given what you’ve said about his general openness to the concept of therapy.

          • Constant Reader :

            Agree with Torin — this is a pretty impressive way of putting it. I’m not an expert at any means, but maybe explaining what kind of therapy you had in mind? Isn’t this the sort of thing that cognitive behavioral therapy is designed to address — short-term, focused, tool-based? Maybe that would clarify your intent.

          • Agreed, this is a really good way to frame it. Point out to him that therapy doesn’t require a diagnosis, it can serve as a learning method to develop new emotional tools. An ex of mine had a very similar problem, and although he was a terrible partner for other reasons, he worked really hard to tone down his anger around me because I was very blunt with him that he scared me. I think you should be open and vulnerable if you are scared – because if he is a good man he will not want to scare you.

          • Thanks. I’ll try that phrasing, then, and specific recommendations for CBT.

          • This is all good advice. The only thing I’d add is this: you’ve talked to him about it four times, he says he agrees with you and understands, but nothing really changes. If this version of the conversation doesn’t work, I think you have to decide whether or not his temper is a deal-breaker. I had a dad like yours, and for me, it was a deal-breaker in partners. I don’t know how much more effort you want to put in trying to persuade him to change.

    • Wildkitten :

      Agree with most of the advice here but also – finding a therapist is HARD. The best luck I’ve had also includes identifying a therapist who takes the insurance it taking new clients. That makes it easier for him to actually go.

    • Excel Geek :

      Are you me? I just had this conversation with my husband yesterday. It was basically, I don’t have the tools to help you and you need some help finding coping mechanisms to deal with your stress. He trusts our pediatrician completely, so I’ve reached out to him for a referral.

  10. I see posts like this every few weeks, but it took me so long to try it for myself that I wanted to share my experience in case anyone reading is in a similar boat. I’ve been having problems with stress and anxiety for the past few months. I worried about everything but mainly work and the election. I was distracted all the time because I was so worried… which kept me from getting things done and only increased my stress level. I tried exercise and therapy without major improvement, and about two months ago started taking lexapro.

    I realize this isn’t the case for everyone, but for me it’s been amazing. It’s now clear that my anxiety problems go back further and were worse than I realized, and I feel like myself for the first time in years. I still care about my job and my political causes, but I’m now in a much better state of mind to pursue them (in addition to living my life!). I had no side effects, it cost basically nothing with my insurance, and I’m kicking myself for not trying this much sooner.

    If any part of my first paragraph sounds like you, please go see a doctor and talk about options!

    • Yeah!!!!

    • New Tampanian :

      Great job getting some help!!

    • Anon for this :

      So glad that you’re starting to feel better! Lexapro REALLY helped me get my panic disorder under control and to start to feel semi “normal” again.

      One thing that I’d point out about Lexapro specifically (maybe it’s super obvious but I didn’t know) is that it can cause massive weight gain. In the 4.5 years that I took it, I gained a TON of weight (I was already heavy, but I put on another ~75lbs), and it didn’t seem to come off no matter how much I dieted or exercised. I switched to a different med last summer, and in the last 9 months have dropped 40 lbs of that with no lifestyle changes other than the meds. Just something to keep an eye out for!

      • Anonymous :

        Lexapro was not a great fit for me either–I craved all the carbs, which made me tired, and I think the med itself also made me tired. Because I was tired and also felt sluggish from the extra weight and carb bloat, I didn’t work out as much as I used to and that furthered the weight gain spiral. Being active in some form has always been my #1 choice to spend my free time, and it’s largely how I’ve built my social network, so losing that actually made my depression/anxiety worse. Sure, I was less “on edge” and didn’t get ruffled when someone cut me off in traffic or when my Prime package didn’t come in 2 days, but it was largely because I just didn’t care about anything.

        All that to say, I agree with OP to talk to your doctor about options, and second Anon for this to go back and discuss other options if the first one doesn’t work. Sometimes it takes a while to find your right fit.

      • Anxiety OP :

        They talked to me about the risk of weight gain, but so far I haven’t seen any. In my case my doctor said if I saw weight gain after the first month to tell her and we’d switch to something else. I understand the tricky thing about these drugs is that everyone reacts slightly differently, but finding one that works has been great for me.

      • Anonymous4 :

        Yes. This exactly. Lexapro helped me feel better emotionally, but it was a trainwreck for my body (and my doctor didn’t believe me). I was nauseous, living in ginger ale, and still gained 30 lbs without trying. I gained so fast I had stretch marks, and my doctor insisted nothing was wrong. She kept telling me that a 30lb weight gain in three months was completely normal for a 23 year old woman. I’ve not been successful in loosing that weight, and I’ve been off Lexapro for over 10 years.

    • Anonymous :

      I have wondered if this would be a good fit for me. Did you talk to your therapist or your regular PCP? Or both? I feel afraid to suggest it.

      • If you have a therapist, go ahead and ask their opinion about whether adding medication could be helpful for you. Obviously, if your therapist is not an MD, s/he cannot prescribe it to you – but your PCP can, and the therapist’s opinion might be useful in a conversation with your regular MD.

      • Anxiety OP :

        I spoke first with my therapist, and at her suggestion made an appointment with my PCP who wrote the prescription. My therapist helped me figure out what to say to my PCP and gave me a lot of background information on the different medications.

        I think, though, that I could also have approached my PCP directly if I wasn’t currently seeing a therapist. I would just say “Lately I’ve been having problems with anxiety interfering with my life, and I’d like to discuss options for medication” and let the PCP take it from there.

        I hear you though, it is hard to bring up for the first time. I tried to frame it like I had a work issue I was telling my boss about – “x factor is getting in the way of me doing y, and I’d like to discuss options for addressing it.”

        • Anonymous :

          Thank you very much – this is really helpful and I think I am going to finally have this conversation after a long time of thinking and worrying about it.

          • Anxiety OP :

            Good luck! Think about how nice it would be to not worry about worrying :)

    • Wildkitten :

      Lexapro keeps me human instead of a crying puddle of forever hopelessness.

  11. cake batter :

    I was late to comment on this a few days ago, but someone asked about cheap bathing suits on Amazon. I’ve gotten two suits from Amazon – a vintage-style polka dotted one piece and a high-waisted bikini. Both were maybe $20 each, and I love them. The quality is similar to Target, and I have no doubt they’ll last a couple seasons of light use. Definitely check the size chart, though, as they all run about 3 sizes small. I’m a sz. 12 in real life, but I think I bought XXL in these suits.

    • Frozen Peach :

      Would you mind linking to the vintage polka dotted one?

      • cake batter :

        https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B015NW4O3S/ref=mp_s_a_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1487606504&sr=8-8&pi=AC_SX236_SY340_QL65&keywords=polka+dot+bathing+suit&dpPl=1&dpID=511WvJBfvxL&ref=plSrch

        Hopefully this link works.

  12. Straightening Brush :

    Talk to me about those straightening brushes. I have fine hair that is only slightly wavy, but it tends to look messy, so I usually blow-dry straight to get it smooth. I hate fussing with a blow dryer in one hand and a brush in the other, so my fantasy is that I could blow dry quickly just to get it dry, then run the straightening brush over it to make it smooth and neat, and this would be both easier and maybe even quicker than my usual way. Is that at all plausible, or am I living in a dream world?

    • It is plausible. I’ve heard they don’t work well on thick hair so I didn’t buy one. Make sure you dry your hair fully before you use it. Apparently some people thought the brush combines a dryer and a straightener. Using it on wet hair will fry your hair off.

      • Curious about the mechanics of this — why does it fry your hair when you use it wet vs dry? It’s something I’ve heard people say before but have never really understood why it does that.

        • I think it’s because water is a better heat conductor than hair — so if your hair is wet, the water gets hot and transfers more heat to your hair more quickly.

          http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/25/flat-iron-tips-hair-damage_n_5024242.html

          I mean it’s huffpo, not a scientific journal, but I think it makes sense.

        • Same reason you don’t use a straightener or curling iron on wet hair.

          • And what is that reason?

          • “When water turns from liquid to gas it expands. When it’s heated strongly it expands rapidly. Since it’s confined in the cortex by the cuticle, it has to bust out. That’s right – the water explosively evaporates, shattering whatever’s in its path, which happens to be… your hair.”

            http://www.labmuffin.com/why-you-should-never-straighten-or-curl-wet-hair/

        • My comment is stuck in moderation for what reason I don’t know, but I think it’s because water conducts heat beater than hair follicles, and if your hair is wet the water heats your hair up to a higher temperature more quickly than dry hair, causing damage.

  13. MD finances :

    I think of med school as very expensive and that have significant debt (like 200K minimum but probably closer to 350K) that they don’t even start paying until their mid-30s at the earliest.

    And yet, I think that they must have MD-mortgage programs to ever be able to buy a house before they’re in their late 40s. Yes? No?

    I have a stepchild who really wants to pursue medicine and will be entering college soon. I am trying to lobby for State U for undergrad (where he could graduate debt-free). THEN if he wants to go to med school, he’s saved up his debt burden for that. I don’t want him to be fooled by seeing doctors in their 30s with a million-dollar house (pricey for our MCOL city, a 500K house would be sufficient for most people) (all 3 couples have young children and a FT nanny, so I cannot imagine that the finances are pretty unless there is some significant family money involved).

    Seriously, I do not understand doctor math. I would recommend a medical career over law (my orignal field, now finance b/c I’m good at math) just b/c you aren’t likely to have six figures of debt and no job, but it’s still a ton of debt not to undertake lightly or without a full understanding of how you’re helping or messing up the rest of your life.

    • Mid twenties here. No insight into doctor math, but a few of my friends have decided to become nurses or biomedical engineers instead of doctors in large part due to the costs of med school.

      If med school is anything like regular tuition though, costs will have gone up a ton in the last 10 years. It’s possible that the doctors in their 30s you see with million-dollar houses paid much less than the current going rate for med school tuition.

    • If you think that you want to go to grad school/professional school, I think minimizing your undergrad debt is good advice. Right now, there are still doctor mortgages. Hospitals sometimes offer student loan repayment as part of their compensation packages and there are incentive programs for new doctors to come to rural areas. No guarantee that all of this will still exist when he’s in residency 10 yrs from now so being smart about the long game is still important.

    • Two things

      It is too soon to be worried about this. Many (most?) folks going into college thinking they want to go into medicine…. don’t.

      The burden of medical school debt skyrocketing + undergrad debt is putting medical school further out of reach for many. You also do not make much $ for the 3-7 years after MED school when you are an intern, then resident, then fellow. Also, many doctor salaries and payment structures are going down. There are some loan forgiveness options that some of my friends have done, working in areas where medical care is needed for years.

      Many of my friends had parents pay for their undergrad and even MED school. There are also many (like me) that apply for every scholarship possible and worked during MED school to make extra money (research). But yes, you are paying back $$$ for many years.

      Many are in two income couples, so this helps. Singles tend to not buy big houses or just rent longer. Also many doctors live very, very modestly and do not make much nearly as much $ as you would think. Very similar to the variability you see in law.

      Nonetheless, Docs tend to not have much difficulty getting mortgages, as they are known to be good risks due to future job security.

      It’s a really amazing profession, and I would certainly not discourage too much. And remember, most don’t make it anyway or discover other things along the way. But I would have a candid talk with your spouse if you haven’t already about what you guys are willing to contribute now to college, and grad school later. Because then your stepchild has that info to help with decision making.

    • Med School :

      My job is med school adjacent, so I don’t have personal experience with it but have gleaned some information via my job. Medical students take on a ton of debt because they aren’t able to work part-time while going to school. There are scholarships available to highly sought-after students but the reality is that they’re living off student loans.

      My advice would be to have your stepson take his sciences early in his undergrad career to see if he truly wants to pursue medicine. My understanding is also that he could contact medical schools to get more information about what makes a qualified applicant, even as early as his first year of undergrad. From what I’ve observed, the college from which you graduated factors in less than a stellar gpa and a high MCAT score.

      • Wildkitten :

        +1 have your stepson take his sciences early in his undergrad career to see if he truly wants to pursue medicine

        Everyone thinks they want to be a doctor until they take Organic Chemistry.

    • Sister is doing her first year of residency, and truly doctor math doesn’t make sense. Minimum of 4 years of higher ed costs + four years of residency during which they earn very little but still have to make loan payments. Becoming a doctor has significantly higher opportunity costs than many other professions.

      That said, I think doctor math makes sense if it’s what you really want to do and you go to state schools. Sister went to state school for both undergrad and medical school, so her costs were much lower than they could have been. She landed in a very prestigious residency program by working her @ss off, so she’s in a better position than many of her peers. Or rather, she will be once her residency ends and she gets a full doctor salary. It’s doable, but I think state schools are the only way to make the math make sense.

      • My sister is similar except she’s a 3rd year and the job offers are starting. She will make more than DH and me combined (both lawyers, one big law – though we are younger than her so it’s not at the high biglaw levels). She went to a state school undergrad for free and then state-med school, which was not ridiculous where she went because the state subsidizes it. Also, she doesn’t make much in residency, but she’s not going into debt for it because it pays enough for her to have a nice (but not indulgent) lifestyle. It’s an opportunity cost that she won’t start making a big salary until she’s 30, but it won’t take her long to be ahead of me, even though I started working at 25.

      • This +100

        I have a lot of med school friends and we all went to our local state school (great public research uni). Most did a ton of research, got great grades, and aced the MCAT and aimed to go to our significantly cheaper state med school. Only a small handful aimed to go to other schools because of the debt and a friend of mine got into nearly every ivy but decided to go our state school because he got a full ride (and got a full ride for undergrad) and wanted a little debt as possible.

        On the other hand I have friends that went to ivies or private colleges for undergrad and they were accepted into ivy or private med schools and they will have debt hovering over 300k. Unless youre going to be a neurosurgeon, anesthesiologist, etc I just cant justify that in my mind.

        I highly recommend he take the former route and get amazing grades and go to state schools. UNLESS he can get scholarships.

        • Anon for this :

          And I’d advise him not to make financial choices based on wanting to enter one of the higher paid specialties. Neurosurgery, anesthesiology, etc are match into because there is so much competition and competition is increasing. Still go for it if it is what he wants following the advice re state schools or scholarships. The is a dr shortage on the horizon. If he becomes a dr and makes smart choices along the way he likely will be comfortable and have job security. Look up the AAMC student website for info on costs etc. average debt is around $130-140k I believe, last time I checked.

    • I have represented many docs with financial problems over the years. You do not want to know how bad their financials are in many cases — sometimes to the point of bankruptcy (although that does not deal with student loans).

      The financial problems are not inevitable, but often the result of a series of bad choices (and sometimes an overdeveloped sense of entitlement) — living too well during undergrad/med school/residency, too many fellowships in high COL areas, marrying and moving to the “kids” stage before making any headway on the loans, choosing a spouse who is a low earner or does not work outside the house, and buying into practices without understanding the true financials. Older docs tend to have made made bad business decisions or have a divorce or two to deal with; younger docs tend to have more overspending issues.

      Interestingly, the overwhelming majority of docs I have represented that have had financial issues were male. Anecdata, I know, but true.

    • You start paying debt back when you graduate from med school, which would be as young as 26 if you go straight through, not mid-30s. Residents don’t earn Big Law money, but the vast majority of lawyers also don’t earn Big Law money. Residency pays as well or better than many entry-level non-profit and government law jobs. You’re not going to be rich in your 30s unless you have a ton of parental support for school, but I don’t see it that differently than law or any other degree that you have to pay for. Just like with law, it’s also possible to go to a slightly lower-ranked school on a full merit scholarship. I don’t think an 18 year old should be making decisions based on assuming he’ll spend 300K for med school – he may decide not to go at all (many of my pre-med friends ended up pursuing graduate degrees in bio or chem, which did not incur any debt) or he may decide to go to a lower-ranked med school for free. He should go to the undergrad he wants to go to and then see what happens over the course of those four years.

      • I don’t know, my hubs made $40, 000 through residency. I know there are some law jobs that pay that little, but not many.

        • +1

          Yup. There have been some cost of living increases, and living in NYC may get you a couple thousand more, but residency salaries are generally in the mid-40’s now, increasing by a couple thousand each year you complete. And it is pretty brutal if you start paying back the loans then, so sometimes you defer.

          And incomes vary dramatically. A neurosurgeon may make $180k (my friend makes at State University hospital) to ????? $600k+ in some crazy private practice situation. But most internal medicine typical docs make from 90K-190K starting, and have sacrificed a lot with regard to time/family/$$ to get there.

          And the stress never ends….

        • Anonymous :

          I think that residencies are often in high COL cities (NYC, Chicago, etc.). It’s like being a law clerk — low $, so it’s better a bit in a MCOL city with short commute and lower COL even if it is a little sleepier. NYC/SF might be glamorous for others, but not for you.

        • There are actually a great, great number of entry level law jobs paying $40k. Just ask a recent grad from a 3rd tier law school and you’ll find that sub-$50k is the going rate for small firm positions.

        • Anonymous :

          Actually this is the majority of law jobs- I would say give or take 10k

    • My best friend is in her third year of med school now. She went to undergrad debt free (some college savings from grandparents + state school + lots of scholarships– she applied to zillions of <$2k scholarships and won enough of them to add up), and is now going to in-state med school, which still isn't cheap, but much better than private. She and her DH are living, modestly, off his salary for living expenses, which helps quite a bit as well as she is just taking out for tuition and not room and board. She'll make good money when she gets out (much more, maybe three times, than I make 5 years post-JD in a nonprofit).

    • Have you sat down and helped your son weigh the costs between State U and the other colleges he’s pursing? The reality is that many kids take Gen Chem 1 their first semester and then change their majors by second semester. The benefits of attending a lower cost state university will be felt regardless of whether he attends med school or not.

      Sit down with your son and the cost of attendance numbers provided by each university. Have the balances of his savings account, education savings fund, and whatever parental support you intend to provide available. Map out four years and help him understand the final cost. If he’s likely going to have unsubsidized loans, make sure he understands that interest starts accruing immediately. Put together an amortization table if it will help him understand the growing balance each month.

      • Your first paragraph is so true. I work in the Chemistry department of a state school, and I’d say about half of all kids taking principles of chemistry in their first year think they’re going to be doctors. Then they run into principles II, and then organic chem, and the number who think they’re going to med school gets much, much, smaller.

    • Yeah, there are doctor mortgage programs. They will throw credit at you the moment you get a med school acceptance letter. It’s incredible how much debt you can get yourself into before you are even making a reasonable salary.

      The debt burden is not something I would recommend taking lightly. I graduated med school about 180K in debt at 26, went on to make very little money through a 5 year residency and 1 year fellowship (managing to pay back a few thousand during that time, but not much- and no retirement savings or anything of that nature).

      Attending jobs can be lucrative but you start way behind, late in life, with a lot of debt.

      • MD squared :

        the salary of a resident is closer to 50-60k these days (more if you live in NYC/SF). when you are a resident, a lot of people don’t spend that much money because they’re pretty much working all the time. if you choose your field wisely, you can end up being a specialist in your early 30s and earning 200-300k and upwards. it was worth it for us, but definitely a get-moderately-rich-slowly trajectory. then again, MANY of my medical school classmates came from wealth, which helps tide over expenses until the big salary comes. had about $115k debt, graduated 9 years ago (which was the national average at that time, more these days)

        • Anonymous :

          Based on what I have seen from family members, this is all true. Residents and fellows don’t make a ton of money, but it is a livable salary, especially if you defer your loans. Once doctors start practicing, salaries can vary widely, depending on specialty. If you work in a hospital setting, in addition to your base salary, you can earn a percentage of what the facility makes. I have seen doctors making over $500k in their first year of “real” practice (after years of schooling, residencies, fellowships, and in a speciality market). At that salary, your med school loans don’t really matter that much.

    • Yes, there are typically zero down low interest mortgages for health professionals. They can also waive the PMI as well.

      Yes, the education cost is high, but most doctors generally recouperate the cost of education over a career.

    • Doctor math works because if you specialize (as most docs do nowadays) you will make a lot and catch up very quickly. My husband finishes fellowship in June (in a radiology specialty) and will make 350k plus 35k bonus starting July. Up to 425 I think in 4 years- this is crazy money to me. We turn 33 this year, and he took a year off between undergrad and med school. Now, he has family money and is debt free, but many of his friends aren’t.

      I think minimizing debt for undergrad is a great idea, as med school is crazy expensive and scholarships are rare. Who knows what he’ll go into and I never met anyone who wishes they took on more debt. Plus I am a huge proponent of state universities, which my husband and I both attended. But don’t worry that he’ll be poor as a doctor, even with the debt. As long as he has a good head on his shoulders re spending, he’ll be ok, great, even.

      My husband made 50-60k during residency and fellowship, in a HCOL area.

      • Yes. Good friend specialized and was a resident/fellow earning 50-55k/year until he was 35. At which point he got a job earning $700k/year.

        On balance, good friends of mine are state school u grad, state school med, and both work for Harvard affiliated hospitals / labs (one is at MGH and the other at Childrens; one is cardio and the other is neuro). They make a pittance. They have to rent lab space from Harvard. They are 38 with 2 kids and live in a 500k house (condo) that takes up the majority of their expendable income. They drive a 7 year old Subaru, shared. However, they have no debt because of state school and can afford to work for Harvard, which they suck up and do.

    • It seems like you are focusing on how to pay back the debt (of the future) for med school grad (of the future) as if getting into med school is a done deal. The part about getting into a med school is likely to be the really hard part – not paying for it afterwards tough as that may be.
      I’m a lawyer in Ottawa, Canada and a graduate of the U of Ottawa in law. Ottawa U also has a med school and I happen to know that it is very difficult to get into med school at the U of Ottawa – if you apply for the English language section – however if you apply to go into the French language sector it is way easier , probably about ten times easier because the med school is trying to be bilingual (it’s in the capital and being bilingual is a big thing in this town). The med school therefore accepts much lower calibre students into the French sector because there are way fewer candidates who speak French.
      My advice to students who want to get into med school is that they forget the PhD in biology (which some students go for to be able to get into med school) and concentrate on learning French instead. Go to a remote town in Quebec or France and do waitressing for a year, and maybe top it up in undergrad with a course or two taught in French, apply to med school and get in – just like that! The same lower entry bar is available for going into Common Law at Ottawa U if you do it in French.
      Good luck to your step child.

  14. Belize/St. Lucia/ Other? :

    Does anyone have recommendations for accommodation in Belize? We went to Anse Chastanet in St. Lucia for our honeymoon. I’ve love to go back because there was great snorkeling directly off the beach (no boat trip needed) but DH wants to try somewhere new. He’s fixated on Belize but is failing and coming up with an Anse Chastanet type property (smallish, low key, great beach/swimming/snorkeling). Any ideas?

    • Check out Xanadu Island Resort in Belize.

    • Would he look elsewhere? I’d suggest Anthony’s Key in Roatan, Honduras.

      • Belize/St. Lucia/ Other? :

        Thanks – that’s the ‘Other’ in my title that I forgot to mention. I think he just doesn’t want to repeat the same place as honeymoon and heard Belize was great for snorkeling. Will look at Anthony’s Key for sure.

    • I stayed at Costa Blu on Ambergris Caye in Jan 2016. Costa Blu underwent a significant renovation in Dec. 2015, and, when I was there, it felt like a brand new property to me.

    • Part of what makes Belize’s snorkeling so great is the proximity to the barrier reef. So that means a short boat ride from most resorts.

      • Belize/St. Lucia/ Other? :

        We definitely plan on doing a few half day or full day snorkel trips but I’m not the strongest swimmer so I enjoy being able to walk out from the beach – snorkel around for a half hour, come back and eat lunch, laze in the sun, then another short snorkel. That’s why I liked Anse Chastanet so much.

  15. Am going to Tallahassee in June for a conference. What’s it like? Anything to see/do/visit in the immediate area? Worth extending my visit for?

    • Are you really into cheesy college bars? If so, definitely stay the weekend and try to hook up with a random underage stranger. If not, skip it and go somewhere better. Alost anywhere is better.

      • Anon at big Uni :

        Wow, that’s pretty harsh. My first comment is in mod, but there is plenty to do besides the college bar scene.

    • Anon at big Uni :

      Wakulla Springs- <30 minutes south, good half day trip.
      Destin FL, 2+ hours west, if you're in to outlet shopping.
      Plains, GA, 2 hours north, worth hanging out around Tallahassee until Sunday if President Carter is teaching Sunday School that day.

      It's going to be hot and humid, probably not even really cooling off at night. We've had an unusually warm winter so far, so it may be buggy, too, if there's no breeze. Showers/thunderstorms likely around 3PM, but generally are gone by 3:30.

      Some good local food/restaurant options. Downtown is pretty much closed at 5PM, but Gaines St (near the universities) and Midtown have plenty of options. There's a pretty good Uber presence, but I'd rent a car. The city is pretty spread out. People like to gripe about traffic, but it's nothing major as compared to ATL/JAX/Anywhere in the Northeast.

      What are you into? I can probably point you toward some other things.

    • Tallahassee resident here.

      Check out Thomasville, Georgia (25 minutes away) and Sweet Grass Dairy

      Also check out St. George Island and Apalachicola for oysters (about 1.5-2 hours away)

      For closer-in, there’s Wakulla Springs and Maclay Gardens to see, if you like nature. I would avoid the campus area since it is during the summer unless you want to catch a baseball game. The theatre and arts community here is strong but tends to be on break during the summer.

      • Anon at big Uni :

        ***Waves!*** I thought for a second that was my post! Mine seems to be lost in mod, so I’m glad you jumped in with a lot of the same day trips.
        OP, is there anything you’re particularly interested in? Tallahassee has most of the amenities and things to do of a larger city, but sometimes you have to know where to look.
        It will be hot, it may be buggy and it’ll probably rain between 3 & 4 PM. I’d rent a car if possible, as the city is pretty spread out and not very walker- friendly.
        +1 for Sweetgrass Dairy! Moonspin Pizza is amazing, too, if SGD is over-budget. There are some good places to eat in Tallahassee, too- just tell us what you’re in to.

        • Anon-ah-ah :

          Also in Tallahassee! How many of us are there?! I would love for us to NOT be anonymous and meet IRL.

    • Anon-ah-ah :

      I don’t have any recommendation besides what has been suggested. Unless you are into nature and outdoors, or maybe state history and government, I would not extend my stay.

  16. Pots and Pans :

    I bought several Greenpan Healthy Pans but the nonstick coating has flecked off of 2 of the 3 pans with less than a month of use. I am looking for everyday pans with materials that aren’t toxic. Does anyone have any suggestions? I know ceramic cast iron is the holy grail of cookware but its way too heavy for me to cook with on a regular basis.

    • Ceramic coated aluminum? My dad has one and I think it’s pretty great. I THINK it’s one of these, but I’m not sure because I wasn’t there when he bought it.

      https://www.amazon.com/T-fal-Initiatives-Nonstick-Resistant-Dishwasher/dp/B00IWSQQIW

    • Caveat: I am not in any way a gourmet chef. My husband and I cook basic foods on our basic electric stove and are not trying to achieve Julia Child cooking status ever.

      That said– stainless steel. We got a Cuisinart brand 10 piece set of stainless steel pots, pans, and skillets from amazon almost 10 years ago, and they are still going strong with near daily use. We also run them through the dishwasher. I know people go on and on about All Clad, but it was too heavy for me. Plus crazy expensive. I’m just not that fancy and wouldn’t replace our Cuisinart set even if we won the lottery.

      There is a learning curve with stainless, but once you get over that, it’s awesome and basically indestructible.

      • Off-key Valkyrie :

        +1. I like my stainless steel cuisinart, and I like throwing them in the dishwasher. I do cook some mildly fancier things, and at the time I was shopping, cuisinart had better reviews than all clad.

    • Anonymous :

      Carbon steel! If you don’t mind the maintainance requirements for cast iron, carbon steel needs the same care but is so much lighter. Serious Eats had a blog post on this a while back. I love my pans and am not going back to cast iron.

      • Anonymous :

        Stainless are great too– depends on what you are making. I have both and enjoy the flexibility and not giving myself tendonitis.

    • Wildkitten :

      I am not a scientist, but I’d think even super toxic non-stick not-flaking-off is better than your nonstick-flaking-off. I’ve had Kitchen-aid non-stick for almost a decade and it never flakes off. I also love cast iron, but if that’s too heavy for you and you want non-stick, there are options that don’t flake.

  17. Awesome Super Great Non-Judgy Yay Women :

    I just caught up on the weekend thread and saw this:

    “Where are the “awesome super great non-judgy yay women” types out there and how can we create some sort of haven or compound or something so we can support and care for each other, darn it?!”

    I am late 30s (yikes), single, childless. And wondered this forever.

    About 6 months ago, my two “awesome super great non-judgy yay women” friends and I decided to start a monthly gathering. Putting it on the calendar and reserving time to just be together. When we started doing this, I felt kind of sad – like “really? my life is hot tea and snacks on a Thursday night with two other women?” But in the last 6 months, as we have made growing our tribe a priority, our invite list for gatherings has approached 15. 15 of the most fantastic, amazing, women I have ever met. Some are married, some are not, we have all variety of jobs and income levels. But I have an incredible female support system like I could never have imagined. On top of gathering monthly, some of us go to yoga together, walk our pups, teach each other different skills. We just had an amazing clothing swap. In fact, last week for the first time I found myself thinking “I really LOVE my life – even without a partner” – in the past I always thought I NEEDED a partner to be happy.

    I had been so focused on finding an Awesome Super Great Non-Judgy Yay MAN that I wasn’t looking for the women in the way I should have been.

    So just try to find one Awesome Super Great Non-Judgy Yay Woman, spend time with her, and I’d bet you’ll find more flock to you.

    xoxo

    • New Tampanian :

      Ooooh… I LOVE this idea. Will be trying this. Thanks!!

    • Socksberg :

      Where are you located? I’d love to meet more women like this!

      • Wildkitten :

        I think it’s about setting a tone of trust and support. I’m judgey, but not with my support team book club.

    • I have this! A great group of female friends – some single, some married, some dating, some not. Smart, talented, mostly professionals. And it’s really a group that has developed over the last 3-4 years for me. It’s awesome.

    • I’m late to this thread, but this is why book clubs became so popular in the last 10-15 years. They’re not about books…..

  18. Need some advice re: marriage counseling. Things with my husband are not terrible, but they’re not great and also not getting better. He has been steadily withdrawing over the last three years as he took up a hobby (writing novels) that is basically absorbing all his time and attention. Part of the issue we’re having is that he doesn’t feel I’m “supportive” of his writing in that I’m not willing to edit his books for free in my (extremely limited) spare time, and I’m also not willing to consider letting him quit and write full-time. He’s self-published four books and has sold less than 100 copies of each. The writing is basically all he wants to do or talk about any more. What he writes is not what I usually read, and while I’ve tried, he’s not the best writer mechanically and his work is really hard for me to get through. Which leaves us with not a lot to talk about. The relationship is low-conflict in that it’s so hard to get him to engage about anything that we rarely talk about much besides the basics of running the household. We have an awesome son, who’s about to go to middle school, and my husband is a great dad and is thankfully more present with my son than he is with me. But I realized this weekend, when I tried to engage him in conversation about something not related to our house, our son, our jobs or his writing, we haven’t connected about anything in a long time. I’m not sure how much marriage is left here, or if it’s just routine keeping us together. I should also mention, he’s involved in some online writers groups and I have had some clues that some of the women involved in the groups have contacted him personally (text messages I’ve seen on his phone – nothing inappropriate, so far).

    Can counseling help a situation like this or should I be looking for a lawyer? What should I look for in a marriage counselor? I was thinking it might be easier for my husband to feel like going if I picked a male counselor. Am I deluding myself that pursuing counseling is going to change anything? I still love him, and up till a couple of years ago I would have said we had a “good” marriage. But that time seems to be slipping away as he fades into this other person I have very little in common with. He is very kind and responsible, and still very loving when he remembers to be. But about 80% of the time, I feel like he’s not mentally there and paying attention to anything around him, including me. The writing is like having a third person in the marriage who takes the best of his time and attention, and I’m left with the dregs.

    • I’m so sorry to say this, but it sounds like your husband has already abandoned your marriage. Be grateful for your child that he is a kind and loving father, but for yourself, I would get a lawyer stat.

    • No advice, but following. Your spouse is my sibling. I really miss having a relationship with my sibling (not writing, but another issue with the same ultimate effect) and cannot imagine how this would be with a spouse.

      Best wishes!

    • I went through a really rough patch with my husband last year – like looking into which lawyer to hire kind of rough. We had seen a counselor on and off for a few years. Last year we switched to a Gottman Institute trained counselor and it made a huge difference. It took about 4-6 months with the counselor before we really saw the progress for me to feel comfortable that divorce was off the table. Both of us were very committed to being married which was a huge help. I think there’s a book by John Gottman as well? If you don’t go with a Gottman trained counselor, get someone that specializes in couples counseling. Our first psychologist did not and it was immediately evident how much more productive the sessions were with the Gottman trained couples counselor – he also sees couples for 1.5 hours vs. 1 hour which always felt rushed with the other counselor. Other counselor was great for individual issues (personal experience) but in the couples context, he focused too much on mediating issues vs. a focus on getting us to treat each other well and teaching us how to resolve our disagreements on our own. I also liked that the Gottman counselor wasn’t so marriage focused that I felt he would push marriage no matter what. I actually heard about him from my doula who ended up getting a divorce when counseling didn’t work but he continued to see them to help them transition to divorced co-parenting.

      We’re in a good (not perfect) place now and I’m excited for the future. We still have work to do but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel for sure. Good luck.

      • Anonymous :

        Thank you for sharing your experience. The counselor I found doesn’t mention anything about Gottman but is a dedicated couples counselor; that’s all she does. She specifically mentions on her website that she works with people who decide to divorce on coparenting and “divorce without rancor” if it comes down to that. I am not willing to throw in the towel without at least talking to someone so we’ll see what happens.

        • Senior Attorney :

          +1 for Gottman

          His method is actually evidence-based and can really help you with techniques for reconnecting and making the relationship a priority.

      • I second the Gottman-trained therapist recommendations. I think what you want is a therapist trained in EFT (Emotionally Focused Therapy), which you can find here:

        http://www.iceeft.com/index.php/find-a-therapist

    • Does he realize that this has become a huge issue in your marriage? I think counseling is worth pursuing as a couple, but also for yourself individually. That might help you sort out whether this issue is fixable (and to what extent). Good for you for drawing boundaries on editing his books. It’s pretty insulting to assume someone, even a spouse, should be willing to put in that amount of labor simply out of the goodness of their heart.

      • You know, after I wrote this, I started thinking that I’m not sure I’ve ever told him how I feel in these same words that I just wrote. He knows I’m not happy about how much time he spends writing, but that’s usually been brought up in the heat of the moment during other arguments. He may think this is just one problem, when I see it as kind of central to everything.

        One of the challenges of our marriage has always been that we both have a tendency to withdraw and retreat to our respective corners rather than at least one person being willing to stick out the conversation and get to a resolution. That’s why I think counseling is at least worth a shot; I’m willing to admit I’m not the world’s best communicator. I grew up.in a VERY high-conflict home and so any kind of tense discussion makes me feel like I’m going to panic. But I am afraid I’ve avoided “conflict” to the point that my marriage has eroded out from under me.

        I found a counselor near our house that does evening appointments, I’m going to bring this up to him tonight and if he doesn’t want to go, I’ll go by myself. I appreciate everyone’s input.

        • Anonymous :

          “The writing is like having a third person in the marriage who takes the best of his time and attention, and I’m left with the dregs.”

          This is very powerful. You might want to think about saying exactly that to him and see how he responds. He may not realize how much this is hurting you.

    • I have a friend who writes and self-publishes and it is definitely a time consuming hobby. First off, encourage him to use the services of an actual editor and perhaps seek a local in-person writing group to meet up with. This definitely helps my friend to discuss her novel writing with fellow writers rather than bouncing all of her thoughts off of those of us who won’t be as helpful in getting her to her end objective.

      I think you do need to make an effort to be interested in his hobby. It doesn’t have to be 100% of your relationship, but if you encourage him to use an editor, it’ll be easier for you to read the post-edited, but pre-published versions. I peer review for my friend to help her identify plot holes, overall story, and point out scenes that need a little more work. It usually takes me a few chapters to get out of editing/sentence structure mode, but my friend and I have really fun discussions about her novels after.

      FWIW, it’s a huge accomplishment if he’s able to take his novel writing to a publishable stage versus half finished.

      • Wildkitten :

        But also, if he’s not willing to act professionally as a writer (like get an editor) but wants to be a professional writer (like quit his job) – RED FLAG.

    • That sounds really hard. I would think about what you want in your future and the pros and cons of staying together. What would you lose if you left? What would you gain if you stayed and tried to make it work?

      I don’t know if marriage therapy will work, but it’s certainly worth a try. Divorce can negatively affect your finances, health, circle of friends, and more, and you might as well explore your options first.

      Also, have you tried branching out the type of experiences you do together? I don’t think it’s always easy to have a deep conversation with your spouse when you are in a rut… but if you do some new activities together maybe you’d bring out a different side of him. Connection isn’t always about talking and ideas. Maybe you could go on a vacation together just the two of you and choose some fun activities that new couples in love might do on a whim and see if that helps you get any perspective.

      I also suggest reading Project Happily Ever After, a memoir about a woman who tried saving her marriage, just to give you some ideas to try. Another good one is the The Science of a Good Marriage, for a more research-based perspective.

      • “Also, have you tried branching out the type of experiences you do together?”

        Not sure if you’re reading, OP, but I would try this. It sounds like you don’t do much together other than run your household and raise your kids. I would suggest trying investing your time in a shared hobby. For my SO and I that’s board games (we are currently playing Pandemic). That might be something else for the two of you. But it sounds like the problem is at least partially that you don’t currently have any shared interests, and it may be that the two of you have to consciously choose to have shared interests. The continuation of shared interests throughout the life of a lifelong relationship doesn’t happen organically, I don’t think, or if it does it doesn’t very often. You have to make conscious choices that get you there.

    • Also, you do not have to edit his books! That sounds awkward and ho w would he take your feedback anyway? Not fun for you. And if it’s not the genre you usually read anyway, you won’t be his target reader anyway. He should hire an editor for that. And he should definitely keep working. It’s kind of absurd that he expects you to support him. Most writers have day jobs and write during their spare time until they publish several books and have a real income from writing.

    • Anonymous :

      This seems to be the exact problem that self-publishing creates:

      A commercial publisher has to *sell* books, so they won’t take bad work that won’t sell and they will spend $ for good editors who will help get good things better.

      When you self publish (and don’t care about being a cash drain on your family), you just want to consume resources.

      If he were the next John Grisham, someone would have figured this out and singed him. He’s not and he doesn’t care. I get it as a hobby, but I’m not going to leave my job and ghost my spouse to make a hobby into a “job”. Get a contract and a six-figure advance: fine, it’s a job then. The market has spoken.

    • Anonymous :

      Call a lawyer. Ask lots of questions about how to avoid paying alimony to support his dream for years.

    • Anonymous :

      Is they’re a reason why you’re bothered about the women in his writing groups contacting him, since you say there is nothing inappropriate in their messages? My husband has many female friends, both through work and through a couple of his hobbies, and I don’t think anything of them texting or emailing him.
      I think your husband needs to pull himself out of this obsession and put effort into reconnecting with you and your marriage, but I also wonder if you have trust issues and why.

      • Anonymous :

        I read this as being about her feeling frustrated that he has time to communicate with other people but is not spending enough time with her.

      • Anonymous :

        I would worry.

        He’s investing significantly in writing. Writing people get his time and attention. Wife gets attention if she helps with writing.

        I had a runner friend like this. Running became his mistress. Eventually, another runner did, too. Wife wasn’t a runner and wasn’t drinking the running koolaid. Dude’s whole world was about The Running.

        • Anonymous :

          “Running became his mistress. Eventually, another runner did, too. Wife wasn’t a runner and wasn’t drinking the running koolaid. Dude’s whole world was about The Running.”

          This is my worry/concern, in a nutshell. And in that case, maybe it is time for a divorce if we can’t meet each other’s needs the way that we used to.

      • I think that it is valid to be aware of these relationships, and to wonder.

        He has a passion. It is a passion his wife does not share, and is actually a source of conflict in his marriage. He may even quietly resent his family responsibilities that he feels are preventing him from following his dream. It is very easy for a supportive colleague who truly understands the passion and who encourages his dream to become attached in a romanticized way.

        I have seen it, and it happens to me.

      • I don’t know about trust issues. If my relationship was healthy and I was happy, I wouldn’t care about that sort of thing. However, if my SO had completely pulled away from me and wasn’t active in our relationship, then I would care about his interactions with women (or other people in generally really) only because I would be upset he couldn’t be active in our relationship but could be active in other relationships. Her comment didn’t strike me that the OP suspected her husband would or is cheating on her – it struck me as more sad that he is active in relationships of any kind (friendships here) and isn’t in theirs.

      • Anonymous :

        I definitely have trust issues from being cheated on in an earlier relationship,and also from growing up in a house where there was infidelity on both sides (both my mom and my dad cheated). I will say, one thing that has lead me to maybe not be as vocal about his time investment into writing is that he is home all the time. He comes home on time, is home all weekend, every day/week, all the time. I’m not getting excuses about “working late” or “business trips,” like some women deal with. It’s more that when he’s home, he’s not mentally there. If that makes sense.

    • Wildkitten :

      This is what happened with Mr. Kitten and I decided we just didn’t have the same priorities in life. I wanted to build savings, retirement, buy a house, etc. He wanted to quite his job to write a book. We both deserved someone who supported our ambitions, and we weren’t that for each other.

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