Wednesday’s Workwear Report: Stretch Wool Sheath Dress

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

This stretch wool dress from Brooks Brothers’ Red Fleece collection looks like a great basic. I always like a notched or split neckline, and although both the navy and black are shown with the belt, note that it’s removable, in case it’s not your thing or you want to upgrade to a different one. The dress also has a concealed back zip and is fully lined, and I like the darts and the sleeves. It comes in sizes 0–14 and is $158. Stretch Wool Sheath Dress

Here’s an option in plus sizes.

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Comments

  1. Baconpancakes :

    Will it look weird to bring a white noise machine into the office? And does anyone have recommendations for a low-volume one (v. small office) that’s attractive? Our ventilation system carries voices really well, and I’m one of those weird people who works best in quiet, so even playing my own music makes it difficult to focus.

    I borrowed one yesterday, and it made a world of difference.

    • Clementine :

      Temporary solution: If you go on YouTube, there are videos entitled things like ’10 hours of rain and gentle thunder’ that you can play while you work.

      • Along the same lines, I use simplynoise.com through my browser.

        • Anonymous :

          oh my goodness. thank you for this. Though, as I was typing the url in, I thought, Isn’t that what most of the internet is, simply noise? But that’s a conversation for a different day (she says, on the internet). : )

    • Anonymous :

      There are also extensions for Chrome like Noisli that work well.

    • No, I don’t think it’d be weird at all. We all need different tools to concentrate. Alternate suggestion: a small fan? It wouldn’t look out of place at all.

      • Baconpancakes :

        A lot of people have fans in the office, but I run cold in office attire, so I think I’d have to bring in a heater to combat the fan, which even I think would be overkill.

        • Anonymous :

          How about the heater then? Mine is pretty loud and drowns out noise quite well. I use it year-round.

          • Heater is perfect! :

            Heater is great for this! I use mine 99% of the time, but if for some reason it’s off, I will turn it on if I have a call/need “quiet.” I also have earplugs for when I need total quiet (did it all the time in law school), but don’t want to have my office door shut all the time (pretty social firm environment).

    • I have a white noise app on my phone. Maybe try that out?

    • Sloan Sabbith :

      My therapist’s office has one that’s really discreet and small. I can ask her what it is next time I’m there but it won’t be until next Thursday.

      • Sloan Sabbith :

        Alternative: you could get an echo dot and play white noise that way. If you turn it down low it will be pretty quiet but noticeable. I tested it on mine just now and it’s helpful.

    • Anon in NYC :

      We have the Dohm white noise machine in my kid’s room. It’s fairly unobtrusive, has 2 volume choices, and you can adjust the pitch of the white noise. It’s fairly basic, and it’s not hideous to look at.

      • Legally Brunette :

        We have 3 dohms in our house. One is very quiet (both volume choices) and the others are LOUD (even the lower volume choice). Don’t ask me why. Clearly there is some quality control issue. We love them and use them but the two we have are not quiet at all.

        • Anon in NYC :

          Weird! Ours works perfectly fine. Moral of the story – if you buy one, get it from a place with easy returns.

  2. Triangle Pose :

    Anyone going to the ACC Annual Meeting in D.C. next week? I’m a first time attendee and really looking forward to it. Gauging interest for a meetup at one of the events there. All of the events are overwhelming and even know I know a lot of people from my chapter, would be great to meet the women here on this board in person.

    Also, probably a long shot but is anyone going to the Corporate Counsel Spa Day that is on Saturday?

    • No, because my legal department’s budget doesn’t allow for $1500 CLEs when so many firms throw them at us for free!

      • Triangle Pose :

        That’s too bad…it’s more a chance to connect and network with in-house people from all over the country and internationally than it is just reciving CLE credit for 2 days. Plus, it’s a chance to give CLE and develop speaking and presenting skills and to learn about operations within corporate legal departments rather than sit and listen to outside counsel all the time. Plus, the $1500 registration is included in some levels of law department membership at no additional cost.

        Paging Rainbow Hair? I think you said on a thread last month that you were definitely going to cocktails at the Smithsonian and National Portrait Gallery.

        • Ha, you sound like the “toolkit” that ACC provided to try to coax your company into paying :) I hope it’s worth the time, the activities and whatnot look enjoyable, but that is a LOT of small talk.

        • Rainbow Hair :

          Yes, I’ll be there! It would be fun to meet up!

          I think because our legal department is so small, my employer really values things that get us out meeting up with other lawyers … well that and I have at least two other things I need to do in DC that week.

          There are also cocktails at the National Museum of Women in the Arts. If the cocktails don’t come with art, I’m not interested!*

          *this is a lie.

          • Triangle Pose :

            Great! Do you have a throaway email address that I can contact you?
            Yes, I’m ALSO going to that Contangy cocktails and dinner stations at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

          • Rainbow Hair :

            Yeah, it’s my user name on here plus the four letters at the end of this blog’s name, the ones that get you thrown in moderation, at google’s mail platform.

      • The Frenchie Is My Favorite Kid :

        Ughs, our legal department is the same way. They throw money at the business units to attend conferences left and right but NO BUDGET for the lawyers.

        • Also In-House :

          Ugh, same. I’m debating joining on my own and using it to network for my next job.

          • Triangle Pose :

            In thinking about finding your next job, I wouldn’t pony up $1500 personally for the 2 day conference because it’s only 2 days but I would (and advised my SO to) pony up the $300 or so for a year long membership and attend all the events at your local chapter. If I got fired today or my company was bought by another and the law department was let go I know I have good relationships with in-house lawyers at just about every company in my city through ACC.

          • Rainbow Hair :

            Dude, Triangle, when we meet up you’ve got to give me networking pointers. I always feel so … not-extroverted at the ACC events.

    • New Tampanian :

      Not this year. Hopefully next!

  3. I’m on a beach holiday right now and (being single) a little depressed by the number of couples I see in restaurants every night barely exchanging a word over dinner. How do you keep the conversations going after years together, or are these nice happy comfortable silences from couples who just know each other that well?

    • I’ve been with my husband for 14 years. It’s a comfortable peaceful silence in our situation. We have a 3 year old, so silence is really magical sometimes. Especially in a setting like a restaurant where you can just sit there and not be “on” and doing stuff for someone else 24/7.

      • Anonymous :

        +1

        Three kids under 6. Our house is so loud all the time. Love being able to sit with my husband and not feel like I have to make small talk. Silence really is golden sometimes.

        Also sometimes it looks like we are on our phones and ignoring each other but we are really sending each other dirty texts about what’s going to happen when dinner is done.

      • Another +1. I distinctly remember waiting tables in my early 20s and thinking the exact same thing about couples being out to dinner and not talking to each other. I’ve now been with my husband for 13 years and I totally get it! If we go out, we do have comfortable silences and it’s really nice.

    • Anonymous :

      Even as a pair of talkative extroverts, my husband and I have plenty of time quietly co-existing. Sometimes we just want to eat our meal in peace and think our own thoughts. You are only seeing snapshot of these strangers lives.

      • Anonymous :

        +1. They may also just be really hungry. I know I tend to work up a big appetite snorkeling and diving on beach vacations and when I get to a restaurant for a meal I just want to focus on eating, at least initially.

        • +1 When there’s food in front of me, I tend to focus on it and quit talking, especially when I’m hungry.

          Sometimes SO and I chatter away at dinner, sometimes not. Sometimes one of us just isn’t feeling chatty. Plus if you’re on vacation together, you just spent the whole day together.

      • +2 We talk a lot, but are often quiet at dinner. However some of our best conversations happen driving to and from dinner – just not at dinner. When you’re coupled you have lots of private time, so sometimes it’s just easier/more natural to talk when you’re alone vs surrounded by tables of other people.

        • +3 The drive to and from dinner is full of conversation, but dinner isn’t always very chatty. It’s also usually quite loud in most restaurants, so I don’t want to have to yell for my whole dinner when I can just talk to my husband at a reasonable volume in the car. That, or it’s ridiculously quiet, and I don’t want everyone else to overhear our conversation. The comfortable silence is nice, and we’re often making googly eyes at each other across the table. If we’re sitting next to each other and there’s a long-ish table cloth, there may or may not be some naughty suggestive touching happening under the table occasionally as well.

          Don’t feel sad for these couples, if they’re on vacation together and looking content, they’re probably still happily in love but not talkative for a variety of reasons.

    • Sometimes we’re chatty over dinner, and sometimes quiet (been together since college). On a beach vacation, when we’re spending the whole day together, sometimes quiet companionship and enjoying the view/food/drinks is all we need! But on a recent city vacation, we were talking constantly about our experiences that day, the different impressions we got, etc.

      That said, couples that have distant body language or spend the whole meals on their phones? Probably less connected.

    • Flats Only :

      Married 18 years. No kids. We sit at the bar and comment to each other on whatever sport or news is showing on the TV, or we talk to the bartender or the other patrons. We like places with live music as well, as it provides entertainment and something to talk about. Sometimes we have what we call a planning dinner, where we have a specific agenda of things to discuss.

    • My husband is an introvert and I’m an extrovert. He bottles up everything all day and is very quiet at work, while I spend the entire day talking to colleagues and friends and strangers. By the time we both get home from work, he needs to let it all out and talks my ear off. I just want a little quiet and a glass of wine.

      That said, I love him to pieces. We do fall into a comfortable groove on the weekends or on vacation. When we’re all together with our kids it’s rarely quiet, so if just the two of us go out together, sometimes a little silence is nice.

    • My husband I have been together 20 years and have a teenage son and many times, when we go out for dinner we don’t talk a lot because it is really nice to be able to sit at a meal together, actually taste our food and enjoy our wine, and not be talking about sports, activity schedules, grades, who said what about who at school, and generally hashing out the minutiae of daily life. We are way past the “small talk” stage and sometimes there is nothing better than sitting quietly with my husband watching people and enjoying our food. Don’t judge married people for what they do or don’t do. I would hazard a guess that you don’t want people watching you eating alone and making judgements about why you’re sitting there single, am I correct?

    • Depends on who you marry. My husband and I do not shut up and always have a lot to say. But he’s a real talker and so am I so it’s just natural for us.

    • Anonymous :

      One of my favorite things about my husband is his lack of need to fill the silence.

  4. For those of you who’ve struggled with depression or anxiety and it’s affected your work, how, if at all, have you discussed this with your boss?

    I had a difficult 6 months and finally changed medications, which has made a world of difference, but my performance wasn’t great during the difficult period. (Particularly for me, depression presents with forgetfulness, an inability to think clearly, and procrastination. Not awesome for, you know, work.) I have a review coming up and I have a sense my boss is bewildered/confused/concerned by my performance, and I’m wondering whether to bring up the underlying cause. I’ve thought of simply saying that forgetfulness is a side effect of a drug I take and I’m working on managing it, but I’m not sure about that. I’m an extrovert, so for the most part, I still seem outgoing in the workplace, so I’m afraid he might not get/see “depression” if I tell him that’s the cause of my off performance. Or I could just not mention it all and simply promise to do better going forward.

    Thanks for your advice. This forum has been so deeply helpful to me in managing my mental health over the last 3 years <3

    • Clementine :

      I think that ‘dealing with a health issue and some medication side-effects, luckily I’m in a good place now’ is a pretty amorphous blanket statement that conveys that you know it was an issue, it was a you thing, and you’re better now.

    • I don’t have any advice, but would love to see suggestions. I”m in a similar boat. It’s been a rough year for me, and work has suffered. Glad you are doing better!

    • Sloan Sabbith :

      Well, after what’s been a truly disastrous few weeks at work (including an emergence of panic attacks and getting yelled at by my grandboss twice for things that I strongly believe I did not deserve to be yelled at for), I tried to talk to my boss yesterday and be open. We have a pretty open communication style generally.

      He smirked when I told him I’m having panic attacks and told me I need an attitude adjustment when I asked to not be put on a case because I thought it would be a mistake for the client and my mental health and I’m overwhelmed as is. So, apparently, don’t do that.

      • Dude, your bosses are awful jerks. I’m sorry; you didn’t deserve that.

      • Well, that is super sh*tty and not cool. Good for you (as a person and a professional) for speaking up for your needs, and shame on him for that response.

      • Sloan Sabbith :

        Thank you. I’m pretty frustrated with him. He told me to come in with ideas today of how to make it better and that I need to “do my best to manage.” As if I’m not killing myself to do so as is. I’ll ask downthread if anyone has ideas.

        Sorry to derail, OP.

      • Sloan you need a new job.

      • Anonymous :

        I had a co-worker who was having a mental breakdown. As a member of the bar, I felt obligated to tell the boss which meant I just got the cases. There was never an offer of assistance to my co-worker. I finally suggest to both the boss and him that he could go part time (with plenty of paid sick leave) which helped. I was truly disheartened by the lack of compassion for my co-worker and the blindness to the damage the situation could do to the client and our office.

    • New Tampanian :

      I’m fairly open about my mental health situation. It’s one of the things that is important to me not to be quiet about. That said, I have an amazing relationship with my boss. While he doesn’t fully understand it all, he does get that it’s something I deal with and manage. I’m also open about it publicly. So it’s a bit of a different situation. I think you can use a general statement about health and medication. Mention that you are aware of it and what solutions you have to mitigate. Maybe you need to start a work journal. I use this as sometimes my memory isn’t the best. I try to keep one notebook (not a legal pad an actual bound notebook) where I put in my daily to-do list and any notes. I note who I have calls with, anything of interest, etc. I do not put times in but if you need to “keep time” do that. It’s been helpful and is an easy resource.

    • As a manager, I’d appreciate an employee who expressed knowledge of the issue and a plan to address it, without requiring the employee to get too personal or detailed. “Sunshine, I know I’ve had some challenges lately with X, Y, and Z, for example Situation A. I want you to know that I’m aware of this and addressing it through A, B, and C. I’m committed to working through this so that my performance isn’t impacted moving forward.”

  5. Shopaholic :

    Vent – We’ve been so busy lately that I tried to get to work early this morning to get a jump start on things. Of course it’s the one day my boss is in earlier than me and not only did I not get a chance to get things going, I barely got a chance to put my stuff down before I got hit with a barrage.

    I’m going to need all the coffee today…

  6. I like this dress a lot. FYI – BB is having a promo day on Friday where you get 25% off (instead of 15%) if you have their corporate member card.

    • Thank you!! I came here specifically this morning to ask when does BB go on sale because I want to try a couple of Red Fleece pieces. And this dress was posted. And this info on the sale. Meant to be? Would love for folks to chime in on quality.

      • Aside from the accessories (which for the Red Fleece line are surprisingly cheap looking and flimsy), I’ve found the line to be almost as good quality as BB “regular” merchandise. I’ve tried non-iron shirts, jersey dresses, and cotton sweaters, and they’ve all held up very well for 2+ years.

      • I’ve generally been happy with the red fleece stuff. Sometimes the cut has been a bit off and some fabrics are a bit itchy/stiff but mostly positive and I’m loving all the dresses this year. Hopefully, it’s a sign that BB has worked out the kinks with this line a bit and what it is supposed to be. Also: if you have shoprunner (free through Amex) you can get free ship and returns so I always order without hesitation.

    • Baconpancakes :

      I really regret not taking advantage of our BB corporate discount at my last job.

      • I think many, if not all, law schools have this as an alumni benefit and many bar orgs as well. You may have it available to you.

        • Baconpancakes :

          Not a JD, just a lowly public servant. But maybe my attorney friends will go shopping with me.

          • Sorry – assumptions are not my friend! Definitely do ask a friend. I would be happy to go shopping with someone so they could use my card (or let them use it online, since I’m not sure that all the Fleece stuff is in stores).

    • I like it too but I don’t understand why it’s so short. I would have thought you could count on Brooks Brothers for corporate appropriate hemlines.

    • AUGH THANK YOU FOR THE TIP!!! I have two items sitting in my BB cart right now but now I’ll wait until Friday!

      And on a related note: I have FINALLY found the solution to the petite-frame-big-bosoms problem with button-up shirts – Hidden front plackets! If there’s a little flap running all the way down the front which covers the buttons, I can put in a safety pin from underneath and secure the placket in between the buttons without the pin showing. No more boob gap! (It helps to wear a non-padded bra, too.) I’ve found at least four BB shirts over the years that have the covered placket, plus a couple of LL Beans. I’m wearing a BB Red Fleece jacquard cotton shirt today and man, am I comfy. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I’d be this relaxed in a button-up shirt!

  7. Anonymous :

    Any good alternatives to the JCrew Tippi sweater? I tried mine on from last year and realized it was very itchy!

    • Lands End!

      • Coach Laura :

        Lands End has 50% off one regular priced item today only. Plus free shipping over $50. Coupon code on website.

    • Uniqlo, although I have found their cashmere holds up better than their merino wool. At their prices you can buy 3 for the price of 1 tippi, in case they wear out a bit faster.

      • My tippi sweaters get holes in them if I look at them the wrong way, so I can hardly imagine anything wearing out faster.

    • Is all merino wool giving you this issue? Maybe it just needs a wash?

      • does washing make it less itchy?

        • I mean, I’m assuming you wore it last year and it was fine, and now it’s not, it could be? Or have worn other wool sweaters and not had an issue?

          I think you can have different reactions to different types of wool (merino, cashmere, angora, etc.). If you have worn other merino wool sweaters without issues, and this is the first time you are wearing the Tippi, it could be there is something else from the manufacturing process on the sweater that will wash off.

          And I would vote for wet washing it yourself (delicates bag and setting, cold wash, lay out to dry) vs dry cleaning.

    • Is it the wool? I can’t wear anything with animal hair. Sometimes J Crew Factory has all cotton sweaters in this style.

  8. Baconpancakes :

    If anyone wants to dress up as Cruella DeVille this Halloween, J.Crew has the dress for you. Add some fur and a cigarette holder, pointy red shoes, and red lipstick, and you’re the scariest psycholady this side of London.

    https://www.jcrew.com/p/womens_category/suiting/dresses/goingplaces-dress-in-dalmation-tweed/G9442?color_name=black-white-spots

    Alternately with non-costume accessories I think it would just look quite nice for every day.

  9. Anonymous :

    Recently my boyfriend moved far away and it’s been really hard. He recently told me he doesn’t feel connected, and he seems to just be going through the motions. I am hoping we can work it out when we meet in person in a couple weeks, but it doesn’t look good. I’m already trying my best and I don’t want to be with him if he’s not fully in it.

    I see the writing on the wall and I feel desperate. When things were going well in our relationship, my life seemed wonderful. I felt like: I’m healthy, my job is great, my friends are great, I have cool hobbies, my family sucks but it doesn’t matter because I have him. He’s the center of my life.

    With this one change I feel like my whole life is awful. I only see the frustrating parts of my job, I feel like I don’t have enough deep friendships with people who really care about me, my hobbies are pointless and I haven’t accomplished anything real, and my bad family is a millstone weighing me down.

    I just don’t know how to pull myself out of this swamp of believing I can’t be happy without him, that I’ll miss him forever and I’ll never have another partner who makes me as happy as he did during the good times. I’m doing my best to keep my head up and focus at work/do hobbies/see friends, but I feel like crap.

    • That sounds like a really difficult situation and it sounds like you’re handling as best as anyone could do. Sometimes the only way out is through. You’re in the middle of the through part right now.

      I know this is going to sound ridiculous (because I used to think it was ridiculous) but daily mantras really helped me when I feel like I’m in hopeless situations. Honestly I don’t even say mine out loud, but verbalizing a short positive phrase about how I wanted to feel (as opposed to how I did feel) really started to work after a while. Here are three suggestions, but if none grab google around until you find one that does.

      What I seek is seeking me.
      Today I feel joy and know that I am enough.
      I am in charge of how I feel and today I feel happiness.

      My mantra right now is “I am happier, healthier, wealthier and more beautiful today than I was yesterday.” Most mornings I just say it inside of my head. I adapted it from Lori Harder’s Earn Your Happy podcast. The phrasing really rolls of the tongue for me. Lori Harder’s ends “…and stronger today than I was yesterday” however I have issues with my skin that can cause me to feel really self conscious, so I changed it to more beautiful. I do think it’s helped.

      Also, read this book – You Are A [email protected]$s by Jen Sincero. It’s really, really good. Then read The Universe Has Your Back by Gabrielle Bernstein.

    • There is abundance and generousity in this universe beyond your imagination. You know this because you’ve left behind a crummy family and built what seems like an amazing life.
      Most people I know have felt the way you’ve felt and have come out of it with a better partner and a better life, myself included. Stay positive.
      Guess what I know about you from this one post? You’re smart and interesting and kind and fun and tough as nails. You have everything going for you and tons of great people would love to be with you even if you’re not trying your best. Your going to be better than ok. Hugs.

    • Your boyfriend isn’t feeling connected and moved far away without you. It’s over. It might not yet be officially over, but it is.

      I hate the advice to “work on yourself” before you can find someone, because it blames single women for their singleness and makes it sound like a husband is a reward for self-actualisation. That’s all crap.

      But, please, work on your own happiness. Being without a life partner can really, really suck, but you sound like your happiness is tied up with your boyfriend. Unless you’re Bella from Twilight, that’s not going to work out for you. It is exhausting to do the emotional labour of being responsible for someone else’s happiness. Appreciate your friends and put work into those friendships. Find better hobbies. Find a therapist or a life coach.

      • +1. It really sucks that some guys can’t just break up – they have to do something like move thousands of miles away and then say “I don’t feel as connected to you” (wow, really? you don’t say) – but the situation is what it is.

        He wasn’t the right person for you but the right person is out there. Or maybe you are the right person for yourself and this is a great opportunity to work on yourself. Take a class and learn something you always wanted to. Work out more. Teach yourself to cook (or teach yourself to cook a particular kind of cuisine, like Chinese, French, etc.) Join a meetup group that does something you enjoy. Reconnect with old friends and make new friends.

        I’m married and have been for a long time but after having a scary realization when a friend lost her young husband, I realized that there’s danger in making one person “the center of your life” unless that person is you. That may sound selfish, but it’s really not. People come and go out of our lives and at the end of the day, most women will end up alone after kids and husbands are gone. Your boyfriend left but YOU are still there. Spend some time remembering who you are, and what you want.

    • Something really sad is happening. It is okay to feel sad right now. Let yourself grieve so you can move on. The only way out is through.

    • Captain Awkward posted this link a few weeks back, and I found it really insightful. I hope it gives you some perspective. Hang in there.

      http://rolereboot.org/sex-and-relationships/details/2017-09-dear-dana-break-someone-move/

    • You might want to spend some time thinking about why he’s the center of your life rather than YOU. Whether you break up or not, I think you need to learn to value and appreciate yourself more.

    • Invest in your friendships. Boyfriends come and go, and sometimes so do husbands, and your friends will help hold you together during those hard times if you’ve invested in time and love into them during the good times. Listen to Joan Armatrading’s song “More Than One Kind of Love” – it’s a really good reminder that there can be so many nourishing and fulfilling relationships beyond our romantic ones.

    • Anonymous :

      It sounds like you may already be here, but stop making decisions based on your boyfriend and any potential reconciliation with him today. Self-care is your priority in short-term and long-term decisions. Also, while I agree you get to feel sad (this is sad and grieving is completely normal and appropriate), you may have to go through the motions for a while. Being disciplined about daily life will mean you don’t let this create additional hurdles that make it hard to come back. Exercise. Go outside. Eat well. See friends. Do your hobbies. Clean your home. Keep striving.

  10. Anonforthis :

    My boyfriend drinks. A lot. We’ve been together nearly two years. He’s 32 and I’m 28. When we go out, he binge drinks–7-10 drinks is not unusual. He also drinks heavily at home; downing a six pack of beer is not unusual. I drink, but more moderately. I’ll have a glass of wine most evenings, and I don’t drink much out at bars. He gets irrational when he drinks, and often says hurtful things. (He drunkenly tried to give my a birthday present two months before my birthday and when I told him to save it he said I was ungrateful and mumbled something about why does he even bother). He lacks remorse the following morning, still seeing the situation in the overblown way his drunk self did.
    He always wants to stay at a party or wedding until the very end, even if I would like to leave. Part of this is that he’s an extrovert and I’m an introvert, but there is no compromise when it comes to us leaving at a reasonable hour and controlling alcohol intake.
    Why am I still with him? Because when he’s not drunk, he’s wonderful. He’s thoughtful and funny and caring. But when he’s drunk, which is generally at least once a week, he’s annoying at best and mean at worst.
    I have spoken to him about my concerns, specifically how he treats me when he’s drunk. He hasn’t changed. Do I have any options other than to walk? I have concerns that we’ll someday marry and have children and he’ll still be getting plastered at 8pm. At the same time, as irrational as it may be, I love him with my whole heart and the thought of not being with him is horrible.

    • Are you me? I was in this relationship for most of my 20s. He broke up with me 6 months before our wedding. At the time, I was devastated. Now, I realize how much stress his drinking caused me and feel SO thankful that I won’t have to deal with it for the rest of my life. I’m not saying you should necessarily break up with him, but I’d encourage you to think about whether this is the life you want for yourself and your future children. I say this as gently as possible, but he’s not going to change.

      • Also just want to say in response to Anon @ 10:55 below that I completely understand why you’ve tolerated it for so long. I always hoped that THIS conversation and THIS incident would be the one that would finally bring about the change. But it never did.

    • This is like saying, “when my husband isn’t beating me, he’s wonderful and kind,” which is basically what every abused woman says before she’s ready to leave. His behavior is abusive and you know you should not be with this man, who is an alcoholic, or at least places alcohol before you in his hierarchy of priorities.

      You saying that you have concerns that you’ll someday marry and have children is a huge red flag. You say that so passively, like this will just happen to you without you choosing it.

      You need al anon and a lot of distance from this guy. You should break up with him immediately and if you live with him, find a place to live where he cannot come after you in a drunken rage.

      • Senior Attorney :

        Yup. I’ve been saying for a while now that the relationship stands or falls on its worst moments. If he is a mean drunk, that’s all you need to know about him.

        • Anonforthis :

          Thank you everyone. I appreciate the honesty. I have tolerated it because he’s a mean drunk with me maybe once a month, and the rest of the time when he’s drunk he’s not with me (we don’t live together). He’s never gotten physical at all, but I do deserve more than the short temper and selfishness he displays when he drinks.

          I love being with him when things are good, and it is hard and scary to think of life without him. But I think I would probably be better off single than dealing with him and his binging.

          • Senior Attorney :

            Yes, yes, yes!

            There is no room for a mean drunk in your life, ever!!

          • I posted a long response that’s still in moderation – but my ex got so much worse once we moved in together. I don’t know if it was because I saw it more, or if he let his guard down, or he became increasingly resentful of all the little day-to-day things… or a combination. Do not move in with this man. Get out before you’ve combined your life with him more than you already have.

          • Mean Drunk Ex :

            It took me two years to get out of a relationship with a mean (also abusive) drunk, and the freedom I felt the moment I ended it was immense. It takes a toll to always be aware of how much someone else is drinking and if you’re saying the “right” thing to not upset him when he’s drunk and how to bring up his drinking without it turning into a big deal. I didn’t realize how much of a toll it takes until i was out- and I’m still struggling to, for example, be around drunk men or not track how much my ex is drinking the two times we’ve been at events together.

          • Former Mean Drunk Here :

            Hi. I am a mean drunk. Guess how I fixed it? By not getting drunk. I decided my friendships and relationships were more important to me than getting drunk, so I changed my behavior.

            Your boyfriend is telling you that getting drunk is more important to him than you are and he is not interested in changing the order of importance. Leave.

      • +1000 to every single word of this. Stand up for yourself, OP.

    • AnonLondon :

      You’re young and have time to find someone who is not an alcoholic. If he doesn’t even admit that he has a problem and is mean to you and lacks remorse for it, this is not someone who is going to make a good partner and father.

      • Kindly – comments about finding someone else aren’t helpful to someone who’s considering leaving her partner. Everyone who’s thinking of ending a relationship worries they’ll never find anyone else as [insert awesome quality here] as their current partner. But that’s OK. A partner should enhance your life, not bring you down and certainly never harm you. You can and will have a fulfilling, wonderful life without a partner.

        • National_Anthem :

          Yeah, I dated a guy like this during the end of college and through law school. The mean drunk aspect was very minimal before we moved in together, but once we shared an apartment it came out full force, and what had initially been occasional yelling and mean words morphed into that happening frequently, then throwing things, then throwing things in my general direction, and ultimately physical violence and threats to kill me. When I broke up with him (which was terrifying, because then he was even more angry and violent and I was no longer playing along), I consciously decided that even if I never met anyone else, I would rather spend the rest of my life alone than in that relationship. (and I’m not alone, I met a lovely man who is never violent and all that jazz. But even if I hadn’t met my current partner, the life I had once I decided that I deserved to be free from an angry drunk partner was so much better than what it was before).

          He will not be less mean if you live together. He will not be less mean if you have children. You deserve better. While you might not feel ready to break up with him right now, you are certainly in the right if you do so, and please don’t do anything that makes breaking up with him harder (like moving in together). Take care of yourself.

        • AnonLondon :

          That’s a fair comment. And I should have phrased it more as others have, i.e. *this* person is not going to be a good partner and father.

    • Do not marry this man.

      Are you from a family with alcoholics, or did your mother treat your father this way? I am wondering why you have tolerated this for so long.

      I think you need a real boundary setting discussion with your partner, and to go to an Al-Anon meeting.

      You should probably break up with him.

    • I was engaged to this guy in my early 20s (he was older than me and close to 30 at that time). A couple of years ago, he succeeded in drinking himself to death at age 45. Died of chronic alcoholic pancreatitis which would have been treatable had he stopped drinking. He couldn’t stop.

      This will not get better unless he wants it to get better. If he decides he wants to stop drinking and gets help, he has a chance at stopping. Without that motivation from him, no amount of your gentle pushing, suggesting, nagging, etc. will get him to stop. It’s a disease and he needs treatment for it. You have to decide whether or not you want to waste these precious years – where you could be finding another partner who is not an alcoholic and building a life with that person – on this guy, getting him through this issue. I could not do that for my ex-fiance. I left him, met someone else and married that person and have zero regrets about it.

      There is no such thing as a person who is “wonderful except when he gets drunk/uses drugs/beats me which happens more often than it should/I want it to.” That person may have good qualities but they are not a wonderful person because they are being controlled by something that makes them do bad things. You are young. There are millions of other guys out there. Cut loose of this before it’s too late. Good luck to you.

    • Legally Brunette :

      Imagine that your boyfriend never changes and this is your life EVERY DAY FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE. Can you handle that? More importantly, would that life make you happy?

      Please leave. You deserve so much more.

    • Some strong words ahead, but not harshly meant: Do not choose a mean, irritating drunken man to be your children’s father. Imagine having to look at them and say, I knew who he was, I knew how he acted, and I (basically) said Yeah, sure, i’ll have that for my kids for the rest of their life.

      Because, you could marry him and then divorce at some point, but they would be dealing with him and his drinking and his moods for the rest of their lives.

      Also, this: You say that when he’s not drunk he’s a wonderful man. But you also said, “He lacks remorse the following morning, still seeing the situation in the overblown way his drunk self did.” This is not him being wonderful when he’s not drunk. This is him being a man who lacks character, even when he’s sober.

      • Legally Brunette :

        Such good points.

      • Anon in NYC :

        1000% true. Think of your partner’s worst qualities and decide if you want your future children to be exposed to that / whether it would be harmful to them.

      • Sloan Sabbith :

        Plus a million. My dad is an alcoholic. The amount of stress I have around drunk men for that reason has affected my entire social life as an adult. I assume drunk men will scream at me, I feel completely powerless to do anything, and my dad is drinking again and it scares the cr a p out of me when he does- like, if he starts getting tipsy I will go to bed at 8 PM scared. There’s just too many memories of a drunk dad at night who wasn’t apologetic the next day.

        You don’t deserve this. Your future kids don’t either. Please consider leaving. He is not treating you well.

    • I ended my engagement with a guy like this earlier this year. I posted about it here. I could’ve written your post before he started getting violent. If your BF is already saying hurtful things when drunk – and you two don’t have any REAL stressors in your life – imagine how much worse it will be when you actually have real issues. My ex had the same pattern you describe – he’d get mad for something dumb while drunk, blow up, and then he’d hold onto the distorted logic that his drunkbrain had figured out. It escalated slowly. It started with the passive aggressive comments, then cursing, then yelling in my face, then forcing open doors when I walked away, then throwing things (not AT me, just AROUND me, so it’s OK!), until finally he threw fire at me and burned me (but he didn’t mean to! he meant to throw it NEXT TO me!/didn’t realize it was lit!/insert litany of excuses here), so I left.

      We tried therapy before things got physical. It didn’t work because he just wouldn’t stop the excessive drinking. You don’t have to drink every day to be an alcoholic or for the alcohol to continue to effect your brain chemistry. Once or twice a week is enough.

      I didn’t realize how bad things were until after the breakup. He was finally willing to talk to me, I guess in an effort to get me back. He told me that he always felt relief the morning after one of his blow up. Like a release valve. It was absolutely chilling to me to think that someone who professed to love me could feel GOOD about treating me the way he did. The only thing he should’ve been feeling the next morning was regret. Even if he thought he was in the right, he at least should’ve felt ashamed of himself for treating me the way he did.

      I get that he is wonderful when he’s sober. But his sober self also doesn’t care that his drunk self hurts you. That’s not the attitude of a thoughtful, caring person.

    • If he’s getting plastered at 8 pm at 32, he will more than likely continue to drink his 6-pack-a-night habit as a father. He will also still be the guy to shut down the party, only you’ll be at home with the kids and he’ll come stumbling into the house at 2 am. Are you okay with lots of lonely Friday nights? Being the Mom who has to tuck him in and make him swallow a couple Tylenol before he passes out because you promised the kids the whole family would go to the zoo in the morning and HE HAS TO GET UP?

      Drunk Dad isn’t fun no matter how he’s behaving (depressed and quiet, overly happy and silly, etc.) but I can’t imagine how much more it would suck if he’s yelling and angry, or making cutting and hurtful remarks to me and the kids. I also know that life as a dual-income working parent is tedious, and when you’re “stuck” at home with the kids it’s really tempting to go disappear into your own escape. My husband was never a drinker, but he went through a period where he drank way too many beers and sat in a sodden depression in the basement playing video games at night. He tried to hide away and never got nasty with anyone, but trust me, our daughters know what’s going on, particularly the 11 year old.

      I would try to confront him again in a 100% serious conversation. I’d use lots of if/then statements like “If you continue to drink to the point of being drunk, I will leave.” I’d make it perfectly clear what I was asking of him, and what I will do if he fails to comply. Then it’s up to him. Either he agrees that he’s abusing alcohol, or he’ll have to hit bottom on his own to get there.

      • Anonymous :

        Isn’t this just making it your “fault” that he can’t drink anymore – “If you continue to drink to the point of being drunk, I will leave.”

        My mean drunk ex tried to bait me like this a couple of times. The exasperated, “Do you want me to stop drinking completely???” I would normally answer, do you think you should stop drinking? take a break so you develop better coping skills? do you like your behavior when you’re drunk? One time I finally answered YES and he threw it back in my face for about a week before he just started drinking again – “Well I can’t relax because YOU WON’T LET ME DRINK.” People have to make their own decisions. Don’t make his sobriety your responsibility.

        • Geez. “You won’t let me!” is something my 12 year old would throw in my face, but you’re right. I can see someone in the midst of addiction throwing that immature response out there.

      • Anonymous :

        It is ridiculous to tell an alcoholic not to drink to the point of getting drunk. Either he gets sober, or not. THere is no moderation.

    • If you choose this man to be the father of your children, then you are a bad mother.

      Don’t do it.

      Signed,

      your children

      • What she said.

        Signed,
        Wife of child of alcoholic.

        99.9% of our marital issues go back to his childhood with a drunk father. Sometimes I want out.

    • Do you want to look for the right person for you at age 28 or when this falls apart years from now?

    • I’m married to an alcoholic and it’s hard. He was not an alcoholic before we got married so I did not see what was coming down the road. You need to run. Alcoholics are abusive and generally get worse. My husband went from being a social drinker, to a home drinker, to a closet drinker to an out of control drinker who can’t hold down a job. He’s trying to get sober but alcohol is a formidable foe. Don’t go down this road.

    • Anon for this :

      You asked if you have other options instead of leaving. I think you have one – you can have an intervention with him and demand that he go to rehab (inpatient or outpatient) for alcoholism. If he doesn’t go, you have to be prepared to leave. I’ve been involved in two interventions for addiction. They both worked. Not all (or probably even many) work, but some definitely do. I would give it one last shot and see what happens. But note: It’s difficult having a loved one go through recovery, because you essentially have to constantly be prepared to cut them off if they fall off the wagon.

    • DTMFA

    • Your boyfriend is a mean drunk. He’s an alcoholic not in treatment. Leave. Now. It will not get better, but your life will.

    • Anonymous :

      You deserve better than this. Do you want to always be walking on eggshells at weddings or social events, unsure if *this* is the once a month time when he’ll be mean to you? Its not healthy, normal, safe, or functional to binge drink. My father is an alcoholic, and I also dumped one. I realized I was not the priority, getting drunk was, and that’s no way to plan for a life together. I once woke up in the middle of the night, realized my ex wasn’t in bed, and found him passed out on the toilet. He’d been hiding his drinking in the bathroom and fell asleep/passed out, earbuds in his ears, playing music. He was super embarrassed the next day,a nd he was smart, kind, loving, attentive…until he wasn’t. Until he decided (unilaterally) that alcohol was more important than me and our relationship on that particular day. Please don’t stay with him. It won’t get better and his behavior won’t go away no matter what you do.

    • Anonymous :

      I’m in a similar situation – not sure what to do. We’ve been married a year, his drinking started to pick up a few months before the wedding but he said it was due to the wedding stress and I wanted to believe him. He has 7-10+ drinks each night on weekends and 3-5 at least a couple of nights during the week. He says that it’s because we don’t have kids yet and once we have kids he’ll change. I’m just not sure that I believe him anymore. He calls me names and says terrible things when he’s drinking but apologizes profusely the next day. I don’t engage in the arguing anymore I go to bed or to another room. Lately I’ve been locking the door because I guess that I’m nervous it could turn physical or he’ll wake me up on a work night because he’s angry. He tries to bait me when he’s drunk to get a reaction.

      Any suggestions? Part of me thinks that it’s one issue that we can work through and part of me is exhausted. I’d tell a friend to leave in a heartbeat but it seems so much less clear now that I’m in the situation.

      • Anonymous :

        Leave.

      • Please read the book Why Does He Do That? by Lundy Bancroft. And call the DV Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). You may think, “but he’s never been violent,” but you are locking your door at night. That is not a safe place to be.

        “I’d tell a friend to leave in a heartbeat but it seems so much less clear now that I’m in the situation.” That is why women stay in abusive (emotional or physical) relationships. It’s hard to think clearly when you don’t feel safe and you keep hoping things will return to the way they were. Please take care of yourself. Start making a plan to get out safely.

      • Anonymous :

        Do not have children with this man. He’s already lied to himself and you about why the drinking was picking up – he said it was because of wedding stress, but the wedding’s over and he’s still doing this. He will not stop once kids come; his next excuse will be that kids are stressful and he needs to relax.

        Try counseling if you want but this won’t change unless he wants it to. Do not stay with him just because you’re married, or just because you’ve only been married a year and omg what will people think. Sober him is breaking your wedding vows every time he chooses to take a drink. Once you get to the point that you’re locking your husband out of the bedroom to protect your physical and emotional safety, there’s not much of a marriage left to salvage.

      • anon for this :

        Honestly? Film him or take pictures and show it to him the next morning. My DH has had some rough bouts with binge drinking, resulting in a full year without alcohol and various other tactics to reign it in. He understands that it’s not healthy and his behavior is no acceptable when he drinks to much. The biggest difference is that he’s not mean to me and doesn’t say hurtful things about me. He tends to be a very depressed and angry drunk once he gets away from the party, talking about how I should find someone else, he’s not worth loving, he hates himself, etc. He’d get to the point where he wouldn’t remember any of this, and while he believed me when I told him about it the next morning, he didn’t “get” it until I showed him video of him ranting in the shower or photos of him passed out over the trash can.

        The other thing that helped was having goals for the next day. You want to go on a long ride tomorrow? Can’t drink too much because you’ll feel terrible the next day. Want to be productive with grocery shopping and cooking? Gotta be up and at ’em at a reasonable time, so can’t be passed out drunk at noon. Want to hit your lifts tomorrow? Too much alcohol is terrible.

        It has been a LONG road for us to get to a reasonable place, but the first step is recognizing it’s a problem. You can’t fix your SO or make him change or do anything to help. This is HIS issue, and if he doesn’t want to change, he won’t. No amount of pleading or negotiating will help (I know I just said show him his behavior, but that’s basically just to help him see that he has a problem if he’s getting black out drunk).

      • I think when you reach the point of locking your door to keep your spouse out for whatever reason, it’s time to leave.

      • !!!!

        Oh, hun. Reread your comment. You’re locking your door to keep yourself safely away from him.

      • Senior Attorney :

        Oh for the love of all that is good and holy, please please please don’t have children with this man! Pack your bags and go. It was a mistake to marry him but you can still fix it. And you will be SO MUCH HAPPIER on the other side! I promise!

      • Oh my god, no. Leave. He calls you terrible names? LEAVE! Locking the door? LEAVE.

        When my parents were at their worst they yelled and screamed and stomped and stormed around the house, drunk (3-5 drinks/night, getting up to go to their white collar jobs the next day), all night. Ill never forget coming downstairs and seeing mysterious holes in the dry wall that no one would explain. I’ll never forget my mother trying to install a lock on the guest room door where she was sleeping to keep my dad out. I’ll never forget cowering in the bathroom when he was banging *something* around in there one night and she was banging on the door screaming “SOMEBODY HELP ME.”

        What was I supposed to do? I was 12. Do you want to be my mother in 12 years? Do you want to put your children through this? (It hurts them. I was hospitalized for suicidal idealization when I was 15). Because you already sound like her.

        These things didn’t even happen *all the time.* They only need to happen once to have a profound impact on your safety and your children’s sense of safety. You cannot work through this. You can only get out.

        • This is similar to my story. My dad is an alcoholic, and a nasty drunk. He hit my mom, more than once, and hit me and my brothers too. The first time I ever felt safe living somewhere was when I moved in with my now-husband. I was 26. It honestly makes me sad to think about. Please don’t have kids with someone like this; it can do so much damage to your kids.

      • anonypotamus :

        I was married to this guy. We had been together about 11 years (married for 2 of those), since the beginning of college and his alcohol intake steadily increased throughout college and law school. It was easier to justify his behavior as a student (“everyone drinks a lot!” “law school is hard!”), but after graduation it quickly became clear that it was problematic. While he was never physically or verbally abusive, and his use did not rise to the level where it was impacting his ability to hold a job, it was always an issue in our relationship. He never wanted to go anywhere unless there would be alcohol available, would stay up late to drink and play video games, or would pass out super early. Honestly, towards the end, the early pass out nights were a relief because I knew I didn’t have to deal with him until the next day. You said: “he’ll wake me up on a work night because he’s angry. He tries to bait me when he’s drunk to get a reaction.” That was exactly my experience. The volatility and unpredictability is exhausting.

        When he would get drunk he was depressed and dark and mean (often to himself, but sometimes directed at me). Overall he was just generally disengaged in our marriage and I felt single for much of it. My therapist told me that when someone has a problem with alcohol, that is their relationship, and that it is challenging, if not impossible, to have a relationship with someone else when alcohol is in the picture. I always felt like my needs took a backseat to his drinking, and I tried to for years to get him to realize the impact that it had on me and our relationship. Nothing worked. He finally realized this when I told him that I wanted a divorce and moved out, but by then, for me, it was too late. The damage had been done and the resentment too high (and I definitely realize my role in this re: boundaries. I have co-dependent/enabling tendencies which I had/have been working on extensively in therapy). He promised to stop drinking, and while he did stop for about six months, I knew (correctly) that it wouldn’t last. I am so so grateful that I did not have kids with him.

        It seems so hard now, but I promise you that time and distance and outside perspective (and fantastic friends and lots of therapy!) make all the difference in the world. It’s easy to get caught up in the day to day and not realize how awful things are getting. Just because he doesnt have a DUI (yet) or throw things when he’s drunk (yet) or show up to work drunk (yet) doesn’t mean he’s not an alcoholic. As hard as leaving was, it was the best thing I’ve done for myself, even though that means starting over at 30. You deserve SO much better than this.

      • anonypotamus :

        I was married to this guy. We had been together about 11 years (married for 2 of those), since the beginning of college and his alcohol intake steadily increased throughout college and law school. It was easier to justify his behavior as a student (“everyone drinks a lot!” “law school is hard!”), but after graduation it quickly became clear that it was problematic. While he was never physically or verbally abusive, and his use did not rise to the level where it was impacting his ability to hold a job, it was always an issue in our relationship. He never wanted to go anywhere unless there would be alcohol available, would stay up late to drink and play video games, or would pass out super early. Honestly, towards the end, the early pass out nights were a relief because I knew I didn’t have to deal with him until the next day. You said: “he’ll wake me up on a work night because he’s angry. He tries to bait me when he’s drunk to get a reaction.” That was exactly my experience. The volatility and unpredictability is exhausting.

        When he would get drunk he was depressed and dark and mean (often to himself, but sometimes directed at me). Overall he was just generally disengaged in our marriage and I felt single for much of it. My therapist told me that when someone has a problem with alcohol, that is their relationship, and that it is challenging, if not impossible, to have a relationship with someone else when alcohol is in the picture. I always felt like my needs took a backseat to his drinking, and I tried to for years to get him to realize the impact that it had on me and our relationship. Nothing worked. He finally realized this when I told him that I wanted a divorce and moved out, but by then, for me, it was too late. The damage had been done and the resentment too high (and I definitely realize my role in this re: boundaries. I have co-dependent/enabling tendencies which I had/have been working on extensively in therapy). He promised to stop drinking, and while he did stop for about six months, I knew (correctly) that it wouldn’t last. I am so so grateful that I did not have kids with him.

        It seems so hard now, but I promise you that time and distance and outside perspective (and fantastic friends and lots of therapy!) make all the difference in the world. It’s easy to get caught up in the day to day and not realize how awful things are getting. Just because he doesnt have a DUI (yet) or throw things when he’s drunk (yet) or show up to work drunk (yet) doesn’t mean he’s not an alcoholic. As hard as leaving was, it was the best thing I’ve done for myself, even though that means starting over at 30. You deserve SO much better than this.

      • Ruffles gone wild :

        Oh my friend…..it hurts to read your post. You know you need to leave, you just now need to do it. Big hugs.

      • Anonymous :

        Do not, do not, do not get pregnant. Get an IUD like yesterday if you don’t have one already.

        I am one of the people on this thread who posted about having an ex who was an alcoholic. One of the things he did as the relationship was falling apart was try to convince me to get pregnant. “That will make me straighten out,” he said, “I will have to get it together and cut down on drinking (notice: he did not say “stop drinking”) if we have a baby.” I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. This was someone who had already been fired from two jobs for either stealing alcohol from work or being drunk at work, and he wanted me to have a baby with him.

        Poster, please, please leave. Being married to this person doesn’t mean you are shackled to them and their insurmountable problems forever. There are better men out there, people! Not easy to find but there are kind, generous, responsible guys out there who will not get drunk and threaten you.

        Please believe me when I say this, because I’ve been there. No amount of pushing, loving, cajoling, negotiating, nagging, offers of assistance, tantrums, threats, or affection will make a guy stop being an alcoholic. Alcoholics and addicts get better when THEY decide to get better. There is no external force that can make them change; they have to change themselves. If folks here have not watched Intervention (it’s got to be streaming somewhere) please watch some of the episodes with alcoholics. There’s one episode, with a man named Lawrence, who was basically a clone of my ex. Same family issues, same original successful career path. Spoiler alert: Lawrence doesn’t engage in rehab, doesn’t quit drinking and dies. Life is not a Lifetime movie where everything works out in the end and everyone ends up happy. I would hate to see ladies posting here about their alcoholic partners throw years of their life away on someone who is bent on destroying themselves. PLEASE go to Al-Anon and PLEASE get out, sooner rather than later.

      • Anonymous :

        Oh my dear anonymous internet friend, please leave. This is only going to get worse and when you have children, it will be much, much worse and much, much harder to leave. I am thinking of you and sending you love.

    • As someone who had this person as a drunk mean (but really great sober) dad, don’t. Still in therapy at 35 and will probably never be in a stable relationship because I am so angry at my mom for staying with him and him for making excuses for drinking. Still drinks a 12 pack a night (at least) btw.

    • Anonymous :

      Your choices are to leave him or to go to AL-ANON to learn to cope. Al-Anon will likely give you the tools to give him the ultimatum to get sober. But maybe not.

    • I am the adult child of an alcoholic. I love my (deceased) dad very much. I realize he had a horrible childhood, that alcoholism is a disease, and that he did the best he could. Both of us will tell you not to walk away. Run. Run as far and as fast as you can. Maybe, someday, this man might change, and he can come find you then. But now, slap that air mask over your own face and go.

      • Anonymous :

        I was also the child of an alcoholic, and I married one. When we were younger, it seemed ok. We both liked going out and drinking socially. Over the 8 years together, however, I grew up. He kept drinking, on more days each week, and greater quantities each time.

        He got a DUI one night, and that was my breaking point. He took no responsibility, blamed the officer, blamed his friends for letting him drive, etc. He did not want to acknowledge he had a problem. We are divorced, and I feel free. I don’t have to worry if I’ll come home and he’ll be there drunk.

        He never hit me. He wouldn’t be that mean to me while drunk. He would, however, lock himself in the guest bedroom and sing himself to sleep. He missed work. I felt like the mom of an insolent child who would literally reek of booze and stink up the spare bedroom.

        I’m so glad we didn’t have children, and I’m so glad my future children (if I have any) will not have to walk on eggshells around an abusive, aggressive, alcoholic father like I did.

        I worried I wouldn’t meet anyone else, but leaving him was the best choice for me, my mental health, and whatever future family I’d like to have.

  11. Congratulations, you have an all FEmale panel :

    In light of last Friday’s tumblr link, I thought I would brag about how pleased I was yestersay to see so many women at the hard science conference I’m attending. It was great-the bathroom line was terrible.

    Last year at the same annual conference I counted- about 25% of the attendees were women. This year the group is bigger and I bet more than 50% women. And not just students- a whole mixture of professional levels.

    Of the afternoon panels the best attended was all female, and the others were all two women and one man. Anyone who this that is too many women, I suggest they talk to RBG.

    There was an all male panel in the afternoon, with major elected officials. At first I was disappointed (they compounded that by being…politiciany) but then realized a women of comparable office had been given a keynote slot of her own, instead of on the panel. Panels aren’t always second prize compared to speeches, but in this case I’m glad she didn’t have to share the mic with 2 blowhards. Also, she was an amazing speaker :).

    • This just made my day. Not in the sciences but was at a legal conference yesterday. It was 60% white haired men. 30% younger men. And 10% women. (Only one presenter, a man with a terrible sense of humor.)

      • Blonde Lawyer :

        I don’t love teaching CLEs. I feel like they are more work than they are worth. But, I try to say yes every time I’m asked to keep a young-ish woman on the panel.

        If anyone is interested in teaching CLEs, I recommend getting in touch with NBI. They are always looking for instructors. Once they have used you once, they will ask you a ton. Once you are seen speaking for them, you will start getting asked by other organizations as well. Even if you don’t love NBI (their prices are a little steep for attendees) it’s a good way to break in.

        • Blonde Lawyer :

          Also, remember to have the confidence of a mediocre white man. Some group that will remain nameless asked me to speak on a subject that I didn’t have much experience with. I responded something like “I appreciate you thinking of me but I haven’t had a case on this so I don’t think I’m the expert you are looking for.” They called me up and said “so? You can learn it by then, right?” The way they were advertising it, I wasn’t comfortable taking the gig. It said something like “tales from the trenches” which suggested real life experience, not just learning it. I had enough on my plate anyway but this response reminds me that most speakers (men) would just say yes regardless. Don’t worry that you aren’t good enough. You are.

          • Please, please do keep saying yes! I’m also in a very small city, and have said yes to everything I have been asked to do. (Which isn’t much at this point, as I am just starting out.) Even though I am terrified of public speaking, I put on my tough guy pants, prepare as much as I can, and do it because our community needs more female leaders.

    • Anndd… this mornings plenary panel is 3 women and 1 man. So cool.

    • Calibrachoa :

      So, who should be the Thumbs Up photo for this?

  12. Dog help please. I have a dog and my apartment has a definite doggy smell. Or at least I think it does. It doesn’t smell in a way that I identify as “dog” but there’s a very specific smell, not necessarily terrible but noticeable, when you first walk in. I usually stop smelling it after about 10 seconds and Mr. AIMS thinks it’s either not there or “nice” but I would rather not have it and when I asked my mom what she thought it was, her answer was “it’s your dog.” So – what to do? We wash the dog regularly enough, I think, and I vacuum frequently and once a week with baking soda. I’d rather not camouflage one odor with another so just spraying febreeze around is not the best solution. What do people with dogs do??

    • Make sure you wash dog bedding as well. Our dogs are allowed on our furniture, but we put down throws for them to lounge on and wash those frequently. We didn’t do that with our previous sofas and they tended to trap smells/dirt over the years. We also find that our dogs smell less doggy when they are on a high quality, grain free food, we give a fish oil supplement, and they get brushed regularly. Everyone’s house has a smell though and I don’t find ours that bad.

    • Anonymous :

      How often do you change your sheets or vaccum the furniture? We don’t allow our dogs on the sofas or beds but we still vaccum them regularly because I find they absorb smells.

    • Anonymous :

      Dogs have a smell. I think it’s kind of unavoidable. If your dog is bathed regularly and not having accidents, I’m not sure what else you can do.

    • I mop my floors every week – sometimes I mop the areas where he flops in the kitchen multiple times a week. Also I think washing the dog bedding helps, regularly lint/hair rolling my furniture, and also healthy doses of candles/room sprays.

      Where do you leave doge during the day? I’ve found this to be my issue: Doge hangs out in the kitchen which is gated/french doored off so fortunately I can contain the dog-lair smell.

      I hate the thought that I’ve gone nose-blind to the smell of my pet but I’d believe it (and be upset) if someone said my house smelled like dog.

    • Anonymous :

      I have to wash the bedding my dog sleeps on every couple weeks-could that be part of the problem?
      Othe than that, no worries, just comisseratuon; I constantly worry my house smells.

    • Get cats? HAHA, I kid. I worry far more about the cat litter box smells than the dog :)

      I concur with washing any dog bedding regularly and putting something down on any furniture the dog sits or sleeps on and also washing that regularly. My dog is just a Frito-feet stinky little thing no matter how much he gets bathed and it sticks to his bedding so that all gets washed frequently.

      • Ha – I am a total cat person so have always been happy to not have this problem.

        No doggy bed at the moment but definitely need to consider the couch. Maybe I’ll try clean that this weekend. It’s definitely not something that bothers me much after 10 seconds but I hate to think people walk in and think “this house smells!”

        Thanks everyone and please keep suggestions coming!

        • I am so crazy about the litter boxes. I have one per cat and they get cleaned twice a day (I only have two cats). I have baking soda powder and leave the window open in the room where the boxes are on the second floor of the house. I am constantly asking my bf if my house smells!!

        • Baconpancakes :

          I’m super sensitive to smells, and even though I lose some sleep over the environmental aspect, we use the crystal absorbing litter, in a dome litter box, and I almost never notice a smell. It helps that our cat is indoor-outdoor, so he only uses the litter box half the time.

          But in general, getting a robot vacuum (Deebot N79) has made the house smell and feel cleaner, since it runs every day instead of waiting for me to remember to do it.

        • I assure you that cat houses smell just as much as dog houses, just in different ways.

        • I assume that since you have a dog most people that come to your house like dogs or at the very least tolerate them. These people don’t care about a slight barely noticeable smell. I find that when the weather is nice opening all the windows helps air out our town home from the dog and cat smell.

    • Flats Only :

      After washing the additional items that others have mentioned, Febreeze your furniture, curtains and carpets. Those commercials speak the truth.

      • Constant Reader :

        You used to be able to get unscented Febreze (it really does negate odor, not just cover it up) but now it’s really difficult to find it (the reason is in Charles Duhigg’s book the Power of Habit). Zero Odor has a faint scent that is rather pleasantly antiseptic and fades fast — you can get it from Amazon and sometimes in store at Bed Bath and Beyond.

    • I have dogs and I have Glade Plug-ins EVERYWHERE!! I probably have 3 in the living room alone, and I just changed from Clean Linen to the Apple/Cinnamon scent. My friends come over and they always comment that they can’t smell the dogs. And I have multiple dogs…as in more than 3, less than 10, and they’re all inside. Now my house is big with high ceilings, so maybe that helps too? I never wash their beds, just throw them out when they start to loot ratty.

    • We use natures miracle as a cleaning solution for our hardwood and tile floors. It’s meant to neutralize the smell of dog/cat pee, but it’s an enzymatic cleaner that seems to neutralize the smell of everything.
      If you have an upholstered couch and let the dog on the couch, this could be contributing to the issue. Hard to get that smell out.

      • enzyme cleaners, gel beads :

        I agree that enzymatic cleaners can help. I like Kids’n’Pets as well as Nature’s Miracle, and it’s cheaper if you shop from Walmart.

        For ambient odors, I find that the gel beads help. I have some favorites and some I hate, but the idea is not really to smell the product, but to stop smelling other things.

      • Anonymous :

        We solve this by having a carpet-cleaning company come and clean/deodorize our rugs and couch every few months. Also good for keeping down allergens, in addition to very regular vacuuming with a HEPA-filter vacuum.

    • With the caveat that I am very clean. WASH EVERYTHING. I have a sofa with a removable cover for this reason. Bedding gets washed every Sunday, Sofa gets washed once a month, curtains get washed once every 2-3 months, I also hand wash floors not just use a swiffer. But I am very uncomfortable in filth and adverse to covering up smells with glade plug-ins. I want to solve the problem.

    • Try unscented febreeze? I haaaaate the smell of scented air fresheners, but they do come in unscented. I can never find them in stores but you can just order on Amazon.

      Also, Nature’s Miracle recommended above works well as a pet cleaner for me too.

    • Is cleaning your dog’s teeth and ears a regular thing in addition to baths? If not, that might be contributing to the atmosphere.

      • Look at the dogs food as well. Our dog was much less greasy/stinky on some brands vs others (and it wasn’t the $$$$ stuff).

        We switched foods, made sure to brush he dog regularly (he had a short coat and didn’t shed much BUT he had this undercoat and we’d brush for 30 min and it’d still be coming out!!), and gave him teeth-cleaning biscuits. Night and day. Avoid too many baths.

    • In addition to some of the suggestions others have made above, we have a couch cover (not the plastic kind used by my Grandmother’s generation) that we leave on to protect the couch from the dog. It is quilted fabric and was less than $30 on Amazon and was worth every penny. We wash it every week or two and we also pull it off if company is coming over. It keeps the smell and dirt off the couch itself.

    • Arm & Hammer Pet Fresh does wonders for carpet. It is scented, though it dissipates in a few days. It worked on our carpets when we went to sell our dog-friendly house. One other poster mentioned dog food. I can attest to the fact that dogs smell less when they’re on a balanced raw food diet. We feed Primal freeze-dried and since switching have found that our pups are much less fragrant.

  13. Over the past few months, I’ve been getting into very negative thought spirals that I can’t seem to shake. I don’t like the person I’m becoming — cynical, pessimistic, unable to come up with creative solutions. I’ve started therapy, but I know that’s a long-term solution and isn’t going to give me immediate relief. I would really like to feel better on a daily basis. Any tips on how to manage myself better? Specific actions to take, books to read, etc.? I’m really angry all the time and find myself resenting my responsibilities and the people associated with them. I know how terrible that sounds. It’s just this constant feeling of dread that I can’t shake and wondering why I can’t just chill out and enjoy my life.

    • Flats Only :

      You are depressed. Depression feels like what you’ve described. Ask your doctor for some medication. I felt just like you describe, and 10mg of generic prozac took care of it.

    • Ditto. Those are the exact symptoms I dealt with. Don’t blame yourself. Irritability and being short-tempered are symptoms, even if it may seem counterintuitive. Hugs. Your GP can give you a prescription easily.

    • This blog post (and the blog in general) helped me with some of those behaviors: http://www.thehappytalent.com/blog/how-an-angry-bitter-lonely-person-can-become-beautiful-on-the-inside

    • Anonymous :

      Have you tried forcing yourself to write down 5 things that went well for you that day and 5 things you are grateful for? I recognize that this is probably depression, but cognitive behavioral therapy techniques (like these) can actually help you intellectually shift your mood and reposition your thoughts. Also, I think actually avoiding self help books and finding fun fiction books can be helpful. You are perhaps focusing on yourself too much and need to get away from your own thoughts. I thought “The Art of Racing in the Rain” was great, especially if you are an animal lover. And not to be a broken record, but forcing yourself to exercise and get enough sleep definitely can work wonders.

    • New Tampanian :

      In addition to the suggestions above: 1) Ask for cognitive behavior therapy tips from your therapist. There are some great practices that will help you get out of the spiral; 2) Every. Single. Day. write down at least three good things that happened that day or that you are grateful for. Research shows that by taking a few moments to think about what you’re grateful for (it can be simple – like water, air, sunshine whatever), you “reset” your baseline mood to a slightly higher point. It is also a good way to bring yourself out of a spiral. Always happy to talk more – NewTampanian at the g00glewebs mail.

  14. Hive, I’m in my 30s, just got married, and moved to the ‘burbs of a major city. My husband is introverted so we don’t socialize with other people a lot. My job is super boring and I long for work to be passionate about. How do I break out of this funk? I already tried taking an art class after work at the local university, and it was…ok…

    • Is there an activity that you and your husband can/want to do together? Hiking? Climbing at a gym? Cooking class?

      • He would roll his eyes at the suggestion of any of those. The main activity we enjoy together is watching a particular sports team. Otherwise, our interests don’t overlap too much.

        • He would roll his eyes at doing something with you that you would enjoy? I’m not OK with that. My husband enjoys sports and I watch them with him, but he also does things I want to do even if he is not super into them. It’s called compromising.

          • Oh, hello troll. My husband and I compromise all the time. I don’t think he would enjoy signing up for a weekly class or activity, and that is not a compromise I will ask him to make.

          • +1 His attitude towards new activities and resistant to being social even if it is something that you would like to do is contributing to your funk, IMO.

            But if your husband is going to be a turd about this, I suggest going and doing things on your own to try to get yourself out of this funk! If you are at all interested in being outside, go explore hiking or biking trails in your area! Go check out museums, heck, go get a copy of the Sunday paper and sit in a coffee shop just to change it up a bit and people watch.

            Isn’t there anything that you’ve been wanting to try or see in your area? Go do that.

          • +1

            Your SO isn’t willing to try _anything_ you suggest? Not OK. Just go without him.

            He doesn’t have to love everything you love. My SO won’t even try rock climbing, the thing I most love to do with my free time, because he’s terrified of heights and just not at all interested. That’s OK. He’s allowed to not love everything I love. But we do other things together and separately.

          • Ennui no one is trolling you.

          • Not a troll and btw my sports-loving husband 100% agreed with my comment. How is hiking or a cooking class a weekly activity? Do you want advice or are you just here to vent and criticize others?

          • Ennui – Just because you have lower standards for your husband and his willingness to make sure you are happy than I do for mine does not make me a tr0ll…

        • Your husband sounds boring! If all he likes to do is watch sports on tv, then I think you’re going to go have to develop your own social life without him

        • Ooh, be careful of his contempt about this. That’s one of the horseman of the bad-marriage apocalypse.

          • Agree.

            He doesn’t have to love the new activity and pick up a new hobby. But he should be willing to occasionally try a new activity that you’d like to do together even if he’s not super interested in it, the same way you would do that for him.

    • Volunteer for something you care about? It’s a good way to meet people and I always feel better when I feel like I helped someone. I recently went with a friend to deliver a holiday meal to a senior and spent an hour chatting with this very nice lady and I honestly think I got more out of it than she did.

      • I have to echo this. You’ll do some good and get that great feeling from helping. If you pick something you care a great deal about you’ll get some intellectual excitement, too.

        • +1 – I volunteer every week at an awesome non-profit, and the regulars have all become buddies.

    • Alternatively, if you’re not particularly passionate about anything, try the local lions club/ rotary/ etc. My chapter always wants new members.

      • Senior Attorney :

        Yes! I love my Rotary club! The members may skew older than you, but they will love having a new young member! We do all kinds of great service projects in the community and it’s very fulfilling.

    • It’s okay to socialize without your husband, right? My husband and I used to spend a couple of nights a week apart doing different activities/seeing different people that interested us. Even now that we have an infant, we still each get one night a week to do that while the other stays home with the baby. If what interests your husband is staying at home and puttering around, let him do that while you see friends or join a choir or volunteer at a foodbank or take a wine appreciation course or whatever!

      • Definitely. When I’m in a funk it can help to get out and meet new people and expand my world.

        Also, can nobody see the hypocrisy in the comments above to the woman who feels her relationship is falling apart saying you shouldn’t make your partner the centre of your life, and then all the comments here to someone feeling unfulfilled saying to do an activity with your husband.

    • Anonymous :

      Someone asked me to join the Junior League of a medium sized city in South Carolina when I was in your excact situation twenty years ago. I tell people I hated being in the Junior League but it was totally worth it since I met a handful of my very favorite people that way. Can you find the modern day equivalent of such a thing in your location? It helped that we were required to go to meetings and fulfill service hour requirements for volunteering, meaning that there were a ton of people there to meet!

  15. Flats Only :

    Has anyone been to China? I’m starting to look at taking a trip on my own (husband is not interested). I would use a tour company, probably for a private tour vs. a group, and focus on Xi’an and various silk road sites to the west. I have traveled internationally extensively, and am a confident trip planner, but would love to hear your experiences.

    • I went several years ago and it was the most rewarding, yet difficult trip I’ve ever taken. We did not use a tour company, so that was probably part of it. Food is wonderful but be prepared to be stared at and have your picture taken if your appearance is anything other than asian. We were all over the place from big cities to smaller towns. Few people speak english. Be prepared for squat toilets and bring toilet paper/kleenex. Lots of wonderful, helpful people but we also got harassed a couple of times. Practice using chopsticks if you don’t know how. Definitely get many, many foot massages! They are very inexpensive and wonderful, even if the place looks sketchy. Don’t drink the water and make sure that the bottles that you buy have not been refilled (check the cap). Barter but be friendly. Unless you are really petite, it will be difficult to buy shoes and some clothing. I’m about a size 6 and bought a large in everything. Xi’an is lovely and the terracotta warriors are amazing.

    • Yes. Go.

      Though I was there 10 years ago and the air quality has only deteriorated since then. Be prepared for that. You may even want a mask if you’re asthmatic or at all sensitive to smog. That’s the only thing I warn people about. Otherwise I really liked it there.

      Now I’m thinking about the lamb meat buns I had in central China and I’m hungry…

      • If you wear contacts, consider switching to dailies and bring extras. I found that the pollution residue really built up quickly in 2 week contacts while I was in grad school there. Bring tums/pepto/possibly even an antibiotic for intestinal issues if your doc will prescribe. Nasal saline can help with the pollution if you have sinus issues.

        Xi’an is a really cool city. Please eat allll the yang-rou-pao-mo for me :)

    • Anony Mouse :

      I’ve been to China , most recently in 2016. Xi’an is fantastic, and I’m excited to hear that you’re interested in venturing into Western China, as it’s not a region on most tourists’ radar.
      +1 to Anony’s suggestions, particularly about carrying your own tissues for TP. I’d suggest taking a numb of the travel packs, since those are easy to slip in a pocket or purse. Also, don’t be afraid of using a face mask, silly though they may look, especially if you have any kind of respiratory issues. The air quality has definitely decreased in the last decade.
      One city I’d recommend that’s less known to Westerners is Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan Province. Excellent food, especially if you enjoy spicy dishes, and the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding is lots of fun, as you can see lots of pandas and red pandas.
      Also, Chengdu is a popular jumping-off point for side-journeys to Tibet. Train travel is an option as well as flying, and the scenery is supposed to be amazing. Keep an eye on the political situation, though, if you’re thinking Tibet. I had planned to go once but had to change plans rather late in the game.
      Likewise, if you’re thinking of going as far as Urumqi (Xinjiang Province), be aware there’s ongoing conflict between the Chinese government and the Uyghurs, an ethnic minority group. NPR ran an article on it last month: “Wary Of Unrest Among Uighur Minority, China Locks Down Xinjiang Region.”

    • I’ve been to China, but not to X’ian. We did Beijing-Shanghai for tourist things (and another city for a friend’s wedding). We used a tour company, but it was private tours, which was surprisingly not nearly as expensive as you’d think. Having a tour company was helpful–I’m a decently experienced traveler, but it would have been stressful not to have a guide/transportation in Beijing (I think Shanghai would have been fine on our own–their transit system is easy to use). We went to dinner on our own one night in Beijing and had a hard time getting back to the hotel because we couldn’t get a cab and when we did finally get a cab, the first driver wouldn’t take us because he couldn’t read the address of our hotel because the printout we had was too small (and we don’t speak any Chinese). We later found out from our friends that live there that there’s an app that is basically a bidding system to get a cab to come pick you up, which is why we had a hard time getting them to stop. Overall a good experience; my one complaint with the tour company was the prearranged meals were basically westernized versions of actual chinese food and I would have liked more authentic options. Other than that, I cosign the comments on be prepared for squat toilets and people wanting to take your picture. If you do want to go to the Great Wall, we went to the Mutianyu section, which was not crowded at all, especially compared to pictures I’ve seen of people at the Badaling section, which is more popular. The caveat to this is that was several years ago and it looked like they were expanding tourist facilities nearby when we were there, so it may be more crowded now.

    • If you do this please post about your adventure! And the name of the tour! I’m dying to go to China and would travel alone.

    • Anony Mouse :

      I wrote a long reply that’s still in moderation. I loved Chengdu: spicy food, more plants than the average Chinese metropolois (they call it a “garden city”), and visiting the panda preserve is a must.

    • Yes went to Beijing back in 2009. It;s possible to tour the city on your own, you just need a good guidebook, company helps too. Most of the sites are accessible by train and bus. And for tours to the great wall, you can book a tour through one of the hostels. Beijing is actually enough to keep you occupied for a week, you can add on a trip to Xi’an as well.

    • Anonymous :

      I spent several months in Beijing for work, and a few weeks travelling elsewhere independently with a Chinese-fluent friend.

      I am the kind of traveller who likes picturesque landscapes and villages, and for what it’s worth, I found it quite hard to get that kind of experience in China (although the “museums/temples/restaurants/wandering-the-streets-and-people-watching” kind of travel in a big city is easy to do well). Renting a car is impossible, and there are no good maps so travelling by foot or bike is also hard. You’re stuck taking the bus or a group tour to places that are famous-in-China for being picturesque. Such places are always crowded, and not very “wild”-feeling — I think there’s just a difference between the tastes of domestic Chinese tourists and the tastes of adventurous foreigners.

      I think your idea of going with a foreign-catering tour group is good — you want to find a company that has a good sense of what a foreigner will find charming or majestic or wild. I did take a few great dayhikes in this spirit, in Beijing, with this company:
      https://www.beijinghikers.com/
      and they do run longer trips elsewhere in China — so that might be a good bet.

      • Anonymous :

        +1. I’ve been to various parts of China (Beijing, Shanghai, Inner Mongolia, Sichuan), AND speak the language, and it’s still challenging to travel solo. Cities are crowded, massive, and everyone is harried; ‘scenic’ places are invariably clogged with domestic tourists (avoid travelling during Golden Week or the spring festival at all costs!), and even the smaller towns can feel crowded to people used to the US. But, especially if you’re patient and accustomed to things not going according to plan, it’s often nice to pick a neighbourhood and just wander/ people-watch. If you can, stay in hostels that cater to foreign travellers – they’ll often have decent suggestions for things to see or do. Half of China is far, far into the future (cashless payments, you can do *everything* through WeChat) and the other half is, uh, a little further behind (terrifying bus driving and grimy rest stops).

        I second the Chengdu recommendation – for the best food, pandas, and a really fascinating archaeological site.

        Another good read: Country Driving, by former New Yorker China correspondent Peter Hessler, plus all of his other books on China!

      • It’s not really relevant to the OP because it’s really far from Xi’an and I don’t know if you’ll return to China, but this was not my experience in Yangshuo, a small town outside of Guilin. I was with a college group and it was my favorite spot of the 10 or so cities we visited in China. Astonishing scenery. We did go on some tours – the Li River cruise and one of those raft trips among the cormorant fishermen which are standard touristy things – but I also remember our guide just depositing us in the middle of some farms to wander around, and we were also able to rent bikes and ride out from the main street area where we stayed. From what I recall (this was 2004) it was a popular spot for backpackers. It might have changed since I was there, but it’s worth looking into if you go back!

    • Flats Only :

      Thanks everyone! I am aware of the trouble in Xinjiang, and just hoping it does not get worse and shut down tourism – I want to see the Taklamakan desert! I appreciate all the tips above, especially about the contact lenses. I usually get the bi-weeklies and then wear them for months, so I’ll make a note to bring several spare sets for frequent changes. I’m a couple of years out from this trip, so I won’t have a report to post soon, but will definitely report back when I go.

      In the mean time, you all need to read Foreign Devils on the Silk Road by Peter Hopkirk. I was given a copy as a present when I was 13, and now 30 years later I can’t wait to go see the places for myself, and am working my way through the actual works of the archaeologists he covers in the book.

      • BensonRabble :

        I’m so excited for you. Will check out your rec. Im currently making my way through Peter Frankopan’s “The Silk Roads – a New History of the World”. Dream is to go along a entire route one day.

  16. Mystery writer ISO estates lawyer :

    Does anyone here know a lawyer who has experience with probate and will contests in NY? After years of dreaming about writing a novel, I’m actually writing a mystery with a friend and we need an expert to reality check our scenarios. Unpaid, but we would definitely give a heartfelt thanks in our acknowledgements section, if ever we got published! You can email me at corporettemysterywriter, at the mail of the Google.

  17. How to buy a used car :

    We currently drive a ridiculously crappy car – 1987 Volvo wagon, bought on Craigslist for $500. It’s run surprising well (despite being held together mostly by duct tape), but basically just broke and we’ve decided not to put any more money into it.

    We want to buy another used Volvo wagon, since we have had great experiences with them and they suit our 3-dog lifestyle. We only drive 1-2 times a week locally, plus the occasionally 3-hour trip. Our budget is under $10k, and we’re looking at a circa 2010 car which looks like it should be in our budget.

    Any advice here? Should we go to a dealer instead of CL?

    My main question is around financing. We could afford to pay in cash but it’d be around 30% of our cash savings. Should we consider opening a new card or doing a balance transfer on an existing card, with a 0% entry offer, so we’d pay it slowly over a few months? Should we put it on an existing card and then immediately pay off, just to earn points? We’re flexible here so trying to figure out best option.

    • FWIW, the dealership where I bought my used car would not let buyers put more than $3k on a credit card, so that may not be an option. Also, don’t let them force you into authorizing a credit check/financing if you are paying cash. The dealership insisted that I had to sign the form even though I was paying cash. I told them that was not true and all they needed was specific information to run an OFAC check and that under no circumstances was I going to sign a form allowing them to run my credit when I was paying cash for a car. GTFOOH.

      I’m kind of lazy, so I researched cars on CarGurus. Found what I wanted, negotiated over email, they FedEx’d me the docs, I wired the money, and then I went and picked the car up. I prefer buying certified used from a dealer because they warrant that it has gone through their XYZ-point check and all that.

    • You could also finance through a credit union

  18. Update from the newbie gym goer: Thanks for all the tips! I got a quick dry towel for the days I go to the gym before work (so far, that day is Friday). Otherwise, I took the advice to heart and just walk home and shower there on M/W/Th. Hoping to keep up this routine!

  19. Can anyone recommend a nursing home neglect lawyer in the Daytona Beach/St. Augustine area? I don’t know if the situation rises to the level of a suit, but my mom wants to explore it for my grandmother. (Thankfully, it’s not one of the true horror stories you hear.)

    • I can’t, but check whether her admission paperwork provides for mandatory arbitration or jury trials. Could impact who you want to select.

    • If you feel comfortable, can you share the general complaints? And what the goal is here?

      There are state agencies that you can call/complain to anonymously that start a process to address complaints. That may be more effective.

      I have a lot of experience with Nursing Homes. In general, they are pretty poor…. even the crazy expensive ones… particularly if you have a lot of need. This is why we take care of my disabled parent. He would die in a Nursing Home… quickly.

      • It is important to recognize though that not everyone has the ability (financial, psychological) to provide in home care for a family member. It is great that you can but let’s not make the OP feel guilty when dealing with a nursing home that injured a family member.

        • That wasn’t the point I was making.

          It was that my family member would die in a Nursing Home. That is often the end result, with the “best care” a nursing home can give. It sometimes isn’t enough. Even when they are trying.

  20. Period Free :

    I have heavy, painful periods that also exacerbate symptoms of my autoimmune disease. I take seasonique so that I only have 4 periods a year, which has been wonderful, but I’m wondering if there are any better options out there or something to stop it completely? I don’t want children, but I also feel like taking this for the rest of my reproductive life is not the best or most healthy option. The NP at my annual visit was not eligible at all in terms of offering other options. Does anyone have any anecdata to offer?

    • I haven’t had a period since I got an IUD (mirena). Could you also just take the pill continuously, skipping the break for your period? I’ve also done that on occasions in the past and it was fine.

      • I don’t have them with a mirena either, but I know other women with mirenas that still get them, just lighter and less often. It might not get rid of yours completely but it’s worth looking into.

        • Period Free :

          She did mention Mirena but their website says it only stops periods for 2/10 people. She suggested the number was higher but didn’t inspire a lot of confidence. She also mentioned it may be really bad the first few months which is a bit scary.

          • Another anecdata point – I’ve had two mirenas and each time periods have lightened and then disappeared within about 3 months of placement. Placement was uneventful for me, and it’s super easy to get removed. I wasn’t aware of the 20% figure, but hey, what if you’re one of those 20%? May be worth looking into, knowing you can always have it removed if it’s not for you. But I also echo the suggestions to have a heart to heart with an OB about your options.

          • Anonymous :

            I had Mirena and I spotted constantly for over a year (heavy enough that I had to wear a pad), until I got it removed.

        • Yeah, my IUD made me spot every day for more than a year. Also I got some killer, stabbing cramps the first month or two.

    • I took the pill continuously for…14? years, for convenience and birth control purposes only. I had few if any periods. It was glorious.

      However, the hormonal/other changes that the pill caused for me were not ultimately worth it (I was *not* in the same boat you are in; your calculus will be different, of course) and I went off the pill in January.

      Definitely effective, but chat with your doc. It’s a great solution for many women.

      • also, maybe chat with a different doc, too. Yours doesn’t seem to be helping much, on a second reading (sorry I missed!)

    • Wondering if you may have endometriosis.

      check into getting a mirena, which typically lightens or stops periods. You may also want to consider ablation if that makes sense for you. < 3 hugs

      • Period Free :

        That has come up before but I was essentially told by one doctor I might have it and another that I didn’tz The seasonique has been amazing, but all hormonal BC kills my sex drive the longer I’m on it. I have been on it for 15 years except the 2 year break I took before the seasonique and I definitely felt better and more emotionally stable then. The seasonique has not had as many side effects and the traditional pill but it just seems less than ideal to stay on hormonal BC forever. and my husband would certainly appreciate if my sex drive came back.

        • Those were among my major issues with HBC, too. Husband cheerfully agreed to a vasectomy. Doesn’t solve your problem, but there may be non-hormonal ways to help, freeing you up from HBC.

        • What kind of doctor told you these things? You can only trust a specialist re: endometriosis. Not your GP. Not your general, run of the mill OB/GYN that doesn’t see high risk/complex cases on a daily basis, either – they should catch it and diagnose it, but they often don’t.

    • I use nuvaring for this express purpose – I change it every 4 weeks, receive continuous hormones (at varying levels) and never manifest period symptoms.

      if it could work for you, it’s a wonderful way to live.

    • Find a good OB and talk to them about options, including suspected endometriosis. Last time I had this talk with my OB (thirties, no plans for kids) the talk lasted a good 15 minutes and we ended up deciding that all things considered taking HBC (because we found a brand I could tolerate well) for an indefinite period was the best option for me. Most options come with pros and cons that are probably further complicated by your auto-immune disease.

      • +1

        This is way too specialized for an NP. She doesn’t know.

        Talk with a good gynecologist and your ?rheumatologist (ie the doc who manages your autoimmune disorder).

    • Oh so anon :

      I had a hysterectomy in my 20s due to horrific endometriosis. It was the best decision I ever made and I do not regret it one bit.

  21. Sloan Sabbith :

    Somewhat related to the work mental health Q above. I disclosed to my boss (who is usually very understanding and someone I trusted…) yesterday that I’m really struggling with my mental health. He was dismissive, condescending, and demeaning. I was anxious already, and his various dismissive remarks and barbs increased that immensely. It didn’t go well. I’m working on finding a new job, but for many reasons I cannot leave this one until January (and even that will be a BFD). He doesn’t know I’m job searching.

    He wants me to come to our weekly 1-1 today with ideas about how to make work less difficult for me. However, I do not trust him now to react well to my ideas. HR is, trust me, not an option.

    The work itself is overwhelming to me. I feel like the supervision I get from him is often lacking (likely due to inexperience and that he should never have been assigned to supervise me in the first place) and then when it blows up he throws me under the bus/lets me take the fall to our boss.

    The admin environment is toxic. For example, we were recently informed that there’s an assumption we are allowed to take our accrued sick leave, but that may not be true. Sick time double counts with FMLA, and if our HR director decides (in her discretion, separate from FMLA paperwork) that you may not be able to come back post-FMLA, she initiates firing procedures the moment she finds ou. As a chronically ill person with multiple unpredictable health issues, both physical and mental, this policy causes me a lot of stress. Furthermore, I don’t have enough sick time to take off. I’ll need to have it available later this year for surgeries unless I get a job and can do them during my time between positions.

    Last, while I was on vacation it was decided I’d be taking a hearing, despite that there have been multiple discussions about that hearings and litigation create undue amounts of physical and mental stress for me and are not something I’m comfortable doing when my health is shaky. Right now, it’s more like impending earthquake- I am terrified that with one added stressor, I may become s**cidal (mod?). I am not right now and I am not going to mention that to my boss, but I need him to know it’s not about me refusing to take professional development opportunities, it’s about that I cannot do that hearing right now. Maybe once we figure out meds, but right now, I cannot commit to that.

    I’ve been trying to get on the right dose of meds since July. I’m on Klonopin at night and in the AM, and am still having panic attacks, a new development. I cry every day at work. I don’t know what to ask for to make this better. I have an urgent appointment with my psychiatrist tomorrow, who called me to go through the “are you going to hurt yourself?” Questions she was so worried yestwrday. Ideas? I know this isn’t sustainable. I know I’m drowning. I am trying so hard to manage it and get out. Everyone is worried about me, except, apparently, my boss. My colleagues, my mentor, my mom (who is scared to death), my friends. But if anyone has any ideas of concrete things I can ask for today, please help. I’m worried sick about this meeting.

    • Hugs. First, I want to say how strong you are. Not only are you working in a toxic environment, you’re also recognizing these issues *and* reaching out–to friends, to family, and to us. That takes a lot of emotional energy, and I’m so impressed. You should feel proud of what you’re doing to take charge.

      Second, I want to gently suggest that you consider quitting. I have found, through experience, that once I got out of a very toxic environment that brought me to the place I see you in, I didn’t regret leaving–I regretted not leaving earlier. If you leave (and I know why it might seem impossible), your mentor and your mom and your friends will help you figure it out. It will help you more than any of (the important, vital) things you are doing now, including meds. Know that there is at least one anonymous person who is behind you, 100 percent.

      Regardless of your choice, you are strong. I can see in your comment that a lot of your health issues are stemming from this job. I am so excited for you for your next step, when you’ll feel better, like yourself again. Thank you for reaching out to this community.

    • Never too many shoes... :

      Oh Sloan…I am so sorry to hear that. Is approaching the ultimate boss an option perhaps?

      All the hugs from an internet friend. And maybe a little reminder that you are a *warrior* (even if you do not feel like one right now).

      • Sloan Sabbith :

        Thank you. I am repeating “I am enough” as I get ready. My “this is hard but I’m going to be ok” mantra.

        And uh, no. That just isn’t done and he’s….well, awkward is a kind way to put it, awful at talking is how my coworker recently described him.

    • would it be helpful to approach the meeting not as an opportunity to ask for what you really want (which seems difficult, controversial with the boss, and hard to figure out) and instead to ask for what the boss wants/can give you, with the ultimate role of making him happy and thus reducing your stress? I’m not sure if this is a good idea or not but it is another possibility…

    • I am sorry you are hurting. I have been through the cycle of anxiety, panic attacks, crying at work, etc., through a toxic work environment. I mean this gently, but it is not your boss’s job to make it easier for you to work. It’s not HR’s job either. Asking not to be involved in litigation or a hearing until you get your meds straightened out isn’t asking for a reasonable accommodation. I’m not sure what to suggest. As you say, this isn’t sustainable.

      • Sloan Sabbith :

        Thanks…?

      • Sloan Sabbith :

        Actually, no, not thanks. That’s not helpful. It is not normal for a work environment to be this toxic and I am not the only one feeling this way at work. Normalizing it as my problem and not theirs doesn’t help. Maybe that’s expected in Biglaw, but I do not make enough to justify being treated like s*it.

        Litigation is not a core function of my job. I did not take a job that is litigation focused. My boss wants me to do it for the experience. Asking to not do a discretionary and non-core task for mental health reasons is a completely valid accommodation.

        • Sorry, but I agree with SC and her advice was delivered kindly. It doesn’t really matter whether or not you view litigation as an essential job function in your role. If your boss/employer is saying it’s an essential job function, then it is, and you need to find a way to solve the problem within that framework, probably by taking medical leave for your mental health issues.

          • Anonymous :

            +1

          • ^ This.

          • Anonymous :

            +1

            There are some exceptions, but for the most part jobs are what employers/bosses say they are. There really is no such thing as “that’s not my job.” That’s why almost all job descriptions include a line about “other duties as assigned.”

            Is taking a leave of absence, with or without pay, possible? Does your employer have to offer you FMLA leave? Because that might be a better – and ultimately career-saving – option than what you are trying now, which is basically wanting the company to re-engineer your position to fit your very personal and individual mental-health situation. They are under no obligation to do that, and the more you try to fight that battle, the more word will get around – not just in your company, but outside it also – that you are difficult and challenging to work with. Which may ultimately make it hard to leave for a new job.

        • Then quit. Think about the outcome you want here. Do you think you’re going to get your employer to radically overhaul the way they treat you?

        • Just because it’s not exactly what you want to hear doesn’t meant it’s not good advice.

      • I’m afraid I agree with SC.

        This is a terrible time for you. It may not be effective to go through a list of complaints/requests with such an unsupportive boss. This is clearly a rough place for you to be, and I worry that that you need to move to a different position soon for your health.

        The ideal would be to take some sick / FMLA leave, but since medication changes can take months to stabilize, I also worry that sitting at home is not good for your mental health either.

        I would keep your discussion of your specific medical issues to the minimum. You are working with your doctors to optimize your treatment and medications. Enough said.

        If you can come up with one or two specific requests, that are straightforward for your boss to consider, that may be the most effective. Take that one hearing off your plate, for example.

        And also try to GIVE him something…. I want to do this…. I will likely be more likely myself by November… etc… anything.

        Keep it simple. Keep it short. Try to do some deep breathing and the power pose for 2 minutes right before you walk into the meeting.

        You can do it.

      • Never too many shoes... :

        For reals, SC?

        She isn’t asking to be absolved of doing any work at all, just to avoid one thing. Asking not to be put on a hearing (which are intensely stressful even with perfect mental health) is the very definition of a reasonable accommodation.

      • SC, no. You are wrong. Whether Sloan’s employer will actually come through for her is a different question entirely, but she absolutely is entitled to reasonable accommodations for her health issues. (This is especially so if the hearing is discretionary.) See e.g., the Americans With Disabilities Act. I digress.

        It may not be HR’s job to make work easier for you, but your boss should not be throwing up intentional and necessary barriers in your way or requiring you to adhere to truly unrealistic standards. A toxic work environment will gaslight you and leave you questioning whether you are inadequate, weak, or failing when you are pushed up against the normal limits of your human mind and body. That’s part of the reason they’re so toxic. For example, I was in a toxic work environment where I was literally told I would get fired once/ week because Partner XYZ BS reason, and then when I developed anxiety about it (duh) and tried to approach friendly supervisors, would be told to my face: “It’s actually working out very well, you just need to go say hi to him and try to work a little harder, don’t be anxious, that’s very troubling- you have no reason to be anxious.” I’m the poster who has said here on a number of occasions that I had an employer (law firm, ironically) react very poorly when I was forced to disclose anxiety. It was a firm culture where being anxious or unable to perform at the top of your game all the time was simply a reason to cut someone loose.

        It is not a moral failure to need to eat and sleep and rest and step back for your mental health. You are not a machine and it is unreasonable for your employer to expect you to pretend as if you do not have physical limitations (although they will pretend that it is reasonable.) Ex: it is not reasonable for them to expect you to work on the day your mother dies, even though some of them will.

        Specific tips for your meeting- given that they have not reacted favorably, I would stick to minimizing the problem lest they make it worse for you. The best you can ask for is concrete action items that are easy for them to do. I don’t know all the details of what you’re facing, but here are some examples/things that would have worked for me: 1) Permit you to attend all doctors appointments without harassing you for leaving work; 2) cancel this hearing 3) give all assignments in writing and reduce communications to writing 4) check in 1 x/ week with boss on xyz project 4) clearly establish and reduce to writing the situation with your sick leave.

        Asking for things like him changing his demeanor and his response to errors (ie throwing you under the bus), will not be helpful because they’re not concrete and because they go to his management style/personality which he’ll take offense to. It will also look like excuse-making. You need to frame it as “these are the things I need so that I can do my best work for you under the circumstances.”

        The best long term advice I can offer (which you obviously know) is that you need to look for an environment where there is room for less than “perfection.” How are people going to treat you when you ask for help? How will they respond if your work product falls below your usual standard for a time? I am now at a firm where situations like that are met with compassion, and I truly hope that you will be able to find a place like that, too. They are out there.

        • Anonymous :

          SC was right, and not doing hearings as a lawyer is not a reasonable accommodation. This is what FMLA was invented for! Please take it.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      I’m sorry that you are going through this. If I remember from your prior posts, you are a lawyer in some type of legal aid/social services. Do you have lawyer assistance available to you? Now would be a great time to call. They can help you with the big issues like “how do I handle my cases while I deal with this?” Law isn’t like a lot of other fields and we are extra burdened with our fiduciary duties to our clients so we sometimes let our own problems slide. Even if you torpedo your relationship with your boss, you are just looking at trying to survive for a short term, keep your job and benefits, while you find a new one. You aren’t trying to preserve a career there. Those things are two very different goals.

      You can try using some magic legal language. It might not get you anywhere at all but it could help you if you are suddenly terminated and want to get some damages to bridge the gap to your next paycheck. Words like “disability accommodation” and “intermittent FMLA” come to mind.

      Next, what to do about the meeting with your boss. Your boss likely wants to hear solutions, not problems. It is totally unfair and shouldn’t be your job but you are dealing with the boss you have, not an ideal boss. If you can’t do a hearing, what are the other options for that client? Is there someone else that could do it? If there is someone else with a non-hearing related conflict, could you cover their conflict so they could do the hearing? Try to find a solution that you can propose.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      I have a response in moderation. Stand by.

    • How about postponing your one-on-one to after your appointment? I know the anxiety over postponing it will be crippling, but it could really help to prepare

      • Sloan Sabbith :

        I considered it but decided having more information may help if I have to escalate it to getting a doctors note for an ADA issue.

        • Blonde Lawyer :

          I’m still in mod but the biggest part of my advice for today is propose solutions, not problems. Is there someone else who could handle the hearing? Is there something you could do for that person to take something off of their plate?

          • Sloan Sabbith :

            It’s another attorney’s case, who was planning to do the hearing. My boss volunteered me for the experience for me, but please trust me when I say it does not fit into my job description or practice area in the least.

          • As it’s another lawyer’s file already, perhaps “I wish you’d chatted with me before suggesting to X that I do the Y hearing. Although I’d be happy to assist X with the hearing for the experience, taking on the hearing alone right now is not a good idea given the other projects I have on my plate and the health issues we discussed which I am working to resolve.”

          • Sloan Sabbith :

            That’s good language, thank you, lawsuited.

        • Blonde Lawyer :

          Also, utilize your lawyer assistance program.

        • Sloan, I emailed you. Sending the best!

    • Flats Only :

      It’s not sustainable – get out now. Take an immediate medical leave of absence, starting with going home sick this afternoon and seeing your psychiatrist today (she will fit you in). Worry later about how your employer will treat that absence – you can get a lawyer to help you with this. No job is worth what you are describing, and being in the office getting more stressed out will not help you in the end. If someone offers you inpatient treatment please take them up on that offer.

    • My dear, hugs for you.

      May I ask if quitting outright is feasible? Your health is hanging by threads, it seems, and I believe that is most pressing right now. Could you move in with your mom? Please don’t give up on life, though. We <3 you!

      • Sloan Sabbith :

        It’s not. I don’t want to completely out myself, but under the terms of my contract I have to be “released” to not owe back loan reimbursement. Getting released is going to take some maneuvering,

        My mom suggested moving in with them and going on her insurance for a year while I get sorted out. It’s not not an option.

        • Senior Attorney :

          If that’s an option, then maybe you do that. Your health is precious!

        • Explore other options. If I were in your shoes (I have been in bad work situations but not as dire), I would totally take the help from a mom who cares. Mom hugs are the best kind of hugs, imo! Get on her insurance and move in so that you aren’t so worried about health coverage and living expenses.

          Could you coast at work putting them in a situation where they release you while you look for something better? You need to prioritize your health. Whether that is Flats Only’s advice above, which I think is good, or quitting, or coasting while looking for something better, you need to do that. It may come to a point where quitting looks like a more and more desirable option and I, an internet stranger, give you full permission to do that even if it means you have to deal with loan payments. I think of it this way, my husband bought me pretty and expensive jewelry, but if I were ever held up at gunpoint, I would give it all away in a heartbeat, because I know that my life is 100% worth more than a few thousand dollars. Of course, I hope to not be in that situation and try to keep myself out of those situations, but you may be pushed to a point where you have to quit and I promise you that your life and health are worth more than a few thousand dollars in loans. Even if you think it destroys your plans. You can’t have those plans if your health is down the tubes anyway.

          I think that giving yourself open doors (like taking help from your mom so you aren’t staying in this miserable job for the insurance, etc.) and could really help your peace of mind. And please, seek medical help ASAP, especially from your psychiatrist.

    • I think you should investigate going on short term disability. Doing a hearing is part of your job. You are unable to do your job due to your illness (and YES mental health issues found as illness.) It sounds like your doctor would be willing to write the documentation required to disable you. You need a break and time to work on you and not worry about your work.

      Best of luck.

    • Take FMLA leave now. Use the time to find a new job. You’re suicidal and not doing litigation is not a reasonable accommodation.

      • Blonde Lawyer :

        We can’t say what is and what is not a reasonable accommodation without knowing more about her job. There are plenty of attorney jobs where litigation is not an essential job function. There are two attorneys in my firm who have never seen the inside of a courtroom.

        • Sloan Sabbith :

          Not an essential job function. At all.

        • Of course we can’t. But what’s the point of asking strangers if you don’t want feed back? Like it or not this is what your boss is telling you your job is. If you can’t do it because of your mental health take leave.

          • Blonde Lawyer :

            Because life isn’t so black and white. When you have chronic health problems, you rely on your job for your health insurance. You likely rely on your job for a roof over your head. “Just leave” is really unrealistic advice for the majority of the population that does not have a fully funded emergency fund.

            In reality, what most people need is way to finagle their way to get by. This is hard to understand for a lot of overachievers that view life as an all or nothing go big or go home endeavor but there is a lot of in between.

            Sometimes the goal is to just get by while flying under the radar, doing as little as you can without getting fired, until you find a new job that keeps that roof over your head and your health care. Or that keeps you from having to pay back a loan.

            There are some legal protections in place for people going through rough times to make sure that they can survive. It’s okay to use those, even if your employer doesn’t like it and even if it means staying there won’t be a long term option.

          • Blonde Lawyer :

            I just realized you said “take leave” not “leave.” My original response to you was after misreading your reply. Sorry.

      • Litigation is not an essential job function and more over, litigation ain’t rocket science. Unless Sloan is the only person in this law firm who has been working on this case for years (doesn’t sound like it), someone else can take over a hearing.

        Litigators are fungible. Ask me how many cases I’ve jumped in on and gotten up to speed on.

    • Anon for this :

      I’m not sure what to suggest for you, but I’ll share my experience in case it makes any bells go off in your head. At a previous, very high stress job, I began experiencing significant anxiety symptoms (aversion to my phone and laptop because I was afraid of work calls and email, difficulty initiating sleep, frequent crying, thoughts of crashing my car as I drove to work) as well as panic attacks. I reached a breaking point when I came back from vacation to find that my file load had been doubled without consulting me. I immediately went to talk to my boss and told him I would not be able to service the file load. She said it was fine. I stayed at the office until midnight trying to sort through the new files and get a sense of what had to be done. I had a panic attack as I drove home. When I got home my husband asked how my day was and I started sobbing hysterically, throwing things around our kitchen, and locking myself in our bedroom screaming for 30 minutes. When I finally unlocked the door and saw the terror in my husband’s eyes, I knew I was in crisis. I couldn’t keep going day-to-day, and went into crisis management mode. I called in sick to work the next day and saw my GP who wrote me a sick note for 2 weeks. During that time, I saw a therapist and applied for jobs every day. I received a job offer and resigned within a month. Those series of moves, which at the time seemed drastic and irrational, changed everything for me. Now I’m doing a job I love and that doesn’t make me anxious, and I haven’t had another panic attach since I left that job 4 years ago.

    • Hugs. Would one of your colleagues be willing to volunteer for the hearing?

    • Can you go on a reduced schedule or work from home for part of the time? I just have one supervisee. She is trying TMS, which for her means she is out of the office for two hours every day. Usually she keeps driving and works from home until it adds up to 8 hours after that. It isn’t ideal for me but it is something I can make work in the short term.

    • Long time lurker :

      Hang in there and get help soon as possible.
      Don’t have much concrete to add but wanted you to know this internet stranger is rooting for you.

    • New Tampanian :

      I have no good suggestion for you that hasn’t already been said. I do want to tell you that you are not alone and that you are being smart by focusing on what is good for your mental health. Your awareness to what is likely unhealthy for you is such a great skill that often takes years to hone. Good for you! While I currently have an amazing boss, I have been in very toxic positions before and hid my mental health issues until about 4-5 years ago. If you ever need to talk, feel free to reach out to me at newtampanian at the g00glewebs mail. Lots of hugs. Please report back. Also, if it goes poorly and you have a panic attack, call your doctor immediately and leave for the day. You will only shame cycle yourself and create more panic/anxiety if you stay in the office after a poor conversation.

      • Anonymous :

        Co sign here – you are not alone. If you want to talk, email me at [email protected] Any time. I can tell you about my situation and how I handled it. I did manage to get out, but it was a long and painful process. I didn’t do it perfectly – I f’ed up a lot actually – but I learned from my mistakes and hopefully I can share with you some things I learned throughout the process.

    • I was in a similar situation (I posted about it here!) and wound up taking FMLA, getting on medication, taking a much needed tropical vacation, job searching, and finding a MUCH better job within about a month. Burned the bridge with the last company by taking leave and the nnot coming back, but it was worth it and it felt like the only option. I realize not everyone is able to do something like this (I had savings and support, and I’m in a high-demand field) but it absolutely saved my sanity. I’m in a much better place now, and I’d say half of it is due to being out of the toxic environment, and half is from the medication (anti-anxiety and anti-depressants).

    • Meant with love:

      Almost every lawyer is stressed out and unhappy. taking FMLA because of “anxiety” is (like it or not) not going to be well received. (this is not me being mean, this is a decade in law, with similar diagnosis). I worked for “the man”/SME in a certian practice area and he would literally vomit in the bathroom before a hearing and take beta blockers before big litigation–it’s part of the job.

      It sounds like your boss MAY BE trying to help you get additional experience by asking you to cover a hearing (in the law you legit learn by doing…this is everyone everywhere, not unique), and you’re throwing a fit. (if one of my juniors say they “couldn’t” cover something that needed done “because they have anxiety,” I would kind of flip.

      You don’t throw a first year on a hearing you expect to win, so if it’s possible…(not pleasant, POSSIBLE), try to think of it as a learning experience. Is is possible to just file a motion for enlargement of time?

      I can all but guarantee that completely bombing the hearing (as long as you aren’t like, found in contempt or something insane) will be better for you career-wise than insisting that you can’t do x, y, and z needed because of anxiety/panic attacks.

      • Rainbow Hair :

        “Stressed out and unhappy” is pretty different from severe anxiety and depression. Putting “anxiety” in scare quotes is not a great look for you. It’s a real thing.

        • Literally every good lawyer I know is DSM-diagnosable/clinically depressed and anxious–it vascillates in severity. Lots of type A people and high-conflict situations/personalities and having to be very adaptable and a quick study. It is anxiety-producing work for people who are already anxious af.

          “anxiety” in quotes is how it will be perceived (from someone who had a therapist threaten inpatient/involuntary hold after an appointment!) I’m not just being mean. If you’re in a place where there’s a small bar community, it’s going to be a struggle.

          stay the course but work to get out. In a year this will all be different. I promise.

          I thought you read earlier that living with your alcoholic dad would make you anxious/go to bed at 8! I don’t think moving in with parents and adding back student loans is going to alleviate the anxiety, just add a different kind of problems.

        • Another Anon :

          I went through something that sounds similar – depression, anxiety, panic attacks, crying at work, intense therapy, toxic AF workplace. I quit without a job lined up. It was what I needed to do to protect my health. If you can move back in with your parents and get on their insurance, take FMLA ASAP and get out. I had savings, so I relied on that because I was too old to be on my parents’ insurance and living with them would have made everything worse.

      • Yeah, no. I’m a lawyer. We’re not all unhappy. I’m stressed, but I’m not stressed and unhappy like this. I’m not taking Klonopin every day to function. Yoga and a night with friends is usually enough to calm me down. I do a little bit of CBT to help me enforce boundaries and not take on too much stress at work.

        Litigation is stressful. I work at a litigation boutique. I am a very good public speaker and good at oral argument. I still prep like crazy for hearings and I’m pretty junior, and get so nervous before hearings I can’t focus on anything else, have a hard time eating, and feel nauseated. I usually always a little lose weight (temporarily, natch)- I call it the Courthouse Cleanse. But my work day is not CONSTANTLY like this. Litigators are not always puking all the time everywhere. The more senior partners in my firm are certainly not vomiting before hearings.

        It shocks me that you can read her whole post (also, Sloan is a regular) and suggest that she’s “throwing a fit.” You’re not listening to what she’s saying at all. You sound like a terrible person and your post is not meant with love. People like you are why Sloan’s attempts to take care of herself won’t be well received-don’t pretend that you’re just a neutral observer. You are the problem.

        • There are two sides to every story, doesn’t make anyone terrible. I am telling her how this is perceived by a neutral third-party observer from a city with a small bar community who’s seen this play out.

          i understand that this is a clinical issue, and that you can’t rationalize with anxiety (believe me…..), but adjusting meds and adopting a “f-it” attitude for a few weeks is better for you career and reputation long-term. sometimes it helps me to go through the basement/file room or where the old files are kept and remember that someone was once *very anxious* about all of this stuff, and now it’ s just dusty relics. It for real makes me feel better and grounds me.

          Look, think I’m terrible or throw jabs,….here’s the game plan i’d suggest:

          go to the meting and think of somehting (not “don’t do litigation”) but “work from home” or “go along to this kind of hearing before I’m asked to handle it myself.” Imagine the boss as a pimply 13 year old. don’t engage, take notes at the meeting for something to do with your hands.

          get an extension on the hearing as a compromise. take thurs and friday off if you can (or at least Friday). talk to the psych. have your mom come stay with you. calculate day by day the money you’re getting for LRAP or whatever. and finally….remember it’s all dusty paper files in 5 years!!!!

    • Triangle Pose :

      No advice. I’m really sorry you’re going through this. Internet hugs.

    • National_Anthem :

      Your meeting may have already happened – I’m a bit late today – but if it hasn’t, can you say that you completely understand why he thinks that the hearing would be a good experience, but you think you’d learn more if you shadowed the attorney who is already on the case/presumably does this type of work? I think I read that there is someone else who was planning on doing this, so that should be something that can be arranged without too much of an imposition on anyone. That way, you can pretend like you’re appreciating your boss’s perspective without having the stress of actually litigating the hearing.

      Also, I’m so sorry you’re going through this. I work for the state now, but I was previously at a law firm where if you weren’t living in a state of panic due to all of your obligations, you weren’t working hard enough. After several years of that, I got to a similar place with the anxiety, depression, panic attacks, and general inability to function. My life is immeasurably better at my new job. That said, the legal profession can be unforgiving regarding mental health issues, and there seems to be a critical mass of attorneys who fetishize working hard at the expense of your personal life and mental health. However, there are better jobs out there that won’t make you feel like this. I believe you will get there! If you want to talk to someone about this feel free to email me at nationalanthemspo at the google mail – I probably don’t have answers, but I am familiar with the struggle and would be happy to commiserate and be supportive.

  22. late 30s dating strategies? :

    I’m in my late 30s in a major city and trying to be a proactive dater while recognizing that it can really be a timesuck/be demoralizing. Those of you who are actively looking at this age, can you share strategies? What sites are you using? How do you balance dating with having a life? These are my issues:

    *I have a really active social life. I still make time to date, but it’s sometimes tough to think, “I could have been at X event or out with friends A and B instead of on this lame date.”
    *I’m definitely the kind of friend who always shows up. This has led to a really fulfilling social circle. With that comes lots of invites and sometimes a sense of obligation. I can’t miss this friend’s birthday dinner or that friend’s charity event or whatever! I really wish I could be in two places at once sometimes. Do I need to stop seeing friends as often?
    *I need my downtime. If I don’t get 2-3 nights in a week, I feel like I’m losing myself.
    *Also, I like to work out. I find that often dating means skipping a workout or a healthy dinner, which is worth it if it would ever actually lead to something, but so far it hasn’t.
    *I’ve been using OKC on and off for years. I would say the majority of my friends who met their SOs over 35 met on OKC. But I am having zero luck. Do people still use Match? Tinder creeps me out and I don’t really get the appeal of Bumble, honestly. What else should I try?

    • I had better luck with Coffee Meets Bagel and Match than OKC. I think it depends on your city though. I would ask other single people you know in your city what’s good where you are.

      I would also say, hold your 2-3 nights a week sacred and decline invitations from friends or dates that invade them. It’s normal to need alone time! Don’t sacrifice it.

    • I used OKC successfully. What really helped was methodically going through and messaging people who I liked every single week. I think I read about it here and that strategy was a winner. I found Match to be a ghost town, but YMMV.

    • I just had dinner with friends and both met their respective SO on Hinge, which is Facebook’s dating app, I think?
      Also: what if you make plans to just meet for coffee/drink? You can still keep your friend plans and if you click with the person just make a new date.

      • Anonymous :

        This. I found that dinner was too much commitment for a first date. Coffee/drinks, and you have to be at dinner with friends after, but if you clicked, you go on a second date :)

    • Veronica Mars :

      I found my fiance on OKC–the key for me after years of using OKC unsuccessfully was to proactively message guys.

    • shamlet96 :

      I met my fiancé at 37 on bumble and found it to be my favorite app of all of them (was also using match, eharmony, coffee meets bagel and hinge). My friends have all had varying levels of success on each of them. I agree with the advice that first dates should be coffee/drink. Low time investment and if things go well, you can always schedule a second date in the near future. With respect to other social obligations, I definitely didn’t have that issue since all of my friends are married with young kids and not particularly social, but I’m sure they would understand if you can’t make *every* social event, right? As for working out, I think once you get to third/fourth date, you can try doing something active, like going on a hike. I did that with a few guys. good luck! it’s not easy but there are good guys out there.

    • I’ve been married for years so I have no advice on dating itself, but with your friends you could be more intentional. I totally understand not wanting to miss a birthday, but if they are going to a restaurant you don’t like or a move you don’t want to see, you don’t have to always say yes.

      With regards to missing workouts for dates – You could suggest taking a walk somewhere (public, of course, like a popular trail/park or a lively neighborhood) rather than getting drinks or coffee. That way you’re at least moving, even if you aren’t getting your full workout.

    • Anonymous :

      In my mid-30s, I turned dating into a second job…kinda literally. I left work at 5, worked out for 30 minutes, drove home, showered and changed, and met someone new for drinks at 7:30 or 8 pm 3-4 nights per week. I perfected the 30 minute, one drink “So, where are you from originally? Siblings? College? Hobbies?” line of questioning. For me, the absolute most important thing was that I didn’t give people a second chance. It sounds brutal, but I was mid-30s and wanted to meet somebody and chose not to invest my mental energy on somebody I wasn’t crazy about from the start. “Oh, well, maybe…” NOPE, none of that, next. If I wasn’t excited about the guy during the date, if I didn’t want to learn more about him and spend more time with him, that was a clear sign for me to move on. “Eh” first dates didn’t get a second date. (I know there are plenty of stories saying the opposite; this is just what worked for me.)

      I live in DC and used OKC, Match, Tinder, and eHarmony. Hinge seemed to have a really young crowd here – mid-20s. Bumble was super bro-y. Every guy I met from Match was Single For A Reason. eHarmony uses a bait and switch – they show you hot guys for the first couple days, and you’re thinking it’s great, but it turns out they’re not members anymore and those 4 hot guys are the only ones there are. I liked OKC’s algorithm, but never went on a date with someone from there. I actually met my fiance on Tinder! While Tinder can definitely be skeevy, I was just super careful about who I swiped on and never had any problems.

    • fake coffee snob :

      I think OKC is a little bit over. Bumble (and, yes, Tinder) is where a lot of the non-desperate-but-open people are these days. More serious daters are probably still on match. I noticed dramatic changes in OKC as tinder picked up steam.

      I met my boyfriend on coffee meets bagel which has never been quite as big but I like it because it eliminates the “meat market” feel of other dating apps. You don’t get another match if you turn your daily match down so there’s no reason to thoughtlessly swipe past someone just to see who else is there. You end up considering each person thoroughly on their own merits instead.

      Also as to dates – I love drinks or coffee on Sunday afternoons because they’re easy to find a way to end quickly if it’s not going well but they can also stretch on a while if you’re having a good time. Maybe try that if evenings are too packed?

      • Anonymous :

        Agreed. I’m 31 and in DC and I think more and more people are on Bumble and Tinder. Also OKC recently changed their site so you can’t see the profiles of people who you’ve already “liked” so it’s basically just like the swiping apps at this point.

  23. You guys, I don’t know what to do.

    I grew up in a wealthy NYC suburb and really had an idyllic childhood. Both sets of grandparents lived nearby, I had tons of close cousins in the same school system, I loved my school, had great friends, got to spend summers at the beach etc. I’ve always wanted to be able to move back and give my kids the same kind of thing. Literally as a 16 year old junior in High school I remember thinking- have to study hard so I get good grades so I go to a good college so I can get a job that will pay me enough to support having a family in this place. We dated for 6 years before getting married, spent a lot of time in the place, knew how much I wanted to be back there.

    Now my life is how I’ve pictured it- married with an adorable toddler in a cute house in my town with my parents a mile away and my sister and her three kids another mile away. My husband has had a crazy work schedule for the past year and hasn’t really been around. Having my family nearby has been invaluable- last minute ped appointments, taking the baby during evenings where we have work events after the nanny is off duty, companionship while husband spent yet another weekend working and I could at least hang with the baby and an adult in my pjs, etc.

    Last night DH told me he isn’t happy in the town, thinks it’s snobby, hates how expensive it is, and doesn’t think my parents do enough to help out with the baby to justify the high cost of being near family and pretty much wants to move anywhere but where we are. Admittedly, our house costs a lot more than would be responsible for us to have on our salaries, except that I have a significant trust that I try not to touch but have as a safety net.

    I’ve spent the past 6 years moving up the ranks in a job that is only NYC based to finally have a great, flexible, relatively high paying job. DH has had almost no childcare responsibilities for the past year because of his work situation and has no idea how helpful it is to have local trusted backups when you’re the default parent and also working.

    He seems like he just wants to escape everything. At one point was like let’s move to California, and then 10 minutes later is like I want to live in a cabin and just be able to hang out with you and baby. I just feel like wtf?! And like my life is crumbling before my eyes.

    • Ask your DH to spend some time thinking through his ideal situations. Actually lay out 5 scenarios that he sees as tolerable, and one of them has to include staying in that town (so he has to think about what would make it tolerable for him to stay). You need to do the same, since it doesn’t sound like you’re totally pleased with your current situation (default parent) either. Then together, look for the common threads. Do they all involve him scaling down his hours and/or changing industries? Do they all involve a significant change in your budget structure? Etc. Then try to find a way to make baby steps in that direction. If it’s that he should change jobs, why doesn’t he find a different job but in your same location, so he can try that out without uprooting you and the family. If it’s scaling down your budget, then find ways to reduce your expenses now (since living in a cabin or moving would likely come with a reduction in salary) and live well within your means.

      Commit that you’ll give it a year or two, see if the change makes you both happier, and then you guys can reassess if you still need to make additional challenges.

      Basically, you want to tell him that you understand him, your goal is to make the family happy (including you), but that you’d like to take small steps to get there, and reassess along the way, rather than take one big leap. Maybe he’ll feel better to know he’s not trapped as a character in a future you refuse to change, and you’ll feel better knowing there are multiple ways to be happy.

    • Cat Lady In Training :

      Is he just super stressed and pictures the beach or a mountain cabin as a stress release?I’m bad about this, but my husband is particularly bad about it.

      Also, our stories are quite similar. I actually realized the other night I’m the seventh generation of my dad’s family to call Our City home. Meanwhile, my husband spent his childhood and young adult years moving constantly due first to his dad’s job and then to his own career. He doesn’t understand my ties to our city. I think you really need to articulate how much having your family around means to you both operationally and emotionally while his job requires so much travel.

    • I am beyond jealous! My husband and I both wish we’d had the foresight to think a bit more about how our industry/career choices would effect where we can live geographically.

      Anyway – I think it sounds like your husband is tired and stressed and sick of the rat race that comes with living in the NY area, which definitely isn’t for everyone. (I’m originally from NY and spent a number of years living there as an adult). That being said, it is also unreasonable for him to suddenly decide you need to move and his reasoning is not totally sound. It sounds like your husband might be depressed or anxious or just needs a re-set and that there are underlying issues other than the town where you live. Maybe he needs to find a different job, maybe you guys need to work on your social circle in the town where you live, so he feels like he has his own life/friends there too. Would he be open to seeing a therapist? I finally convinced my husband to see one and it has made a world of difference. Have a conversation with him about what he thinks that moving to these other places will accomplish and think about what changes you can make in your current life that might yield the same result. The grass is always greener and just moving across the country will not eliminate any underlying things he is stressed about (aside from the fact that California is also insanely expensive).

      Good luck!

    • I don’t have personal experience with this, but based on your last paragraph, I think you need to encourage your husband to look for a new job. In the NYC area if he’s open to it. But I would recommend dealing with his professional burnout before you try upending your entire lives.

      (And I’m sorry. This sounds rough).

    • Sounds like he needs a new job, not a new location. Ask him to focus on that first. Moving is expensive and not a quick fix.

    • Is the main problem that he is unhappy in his job and feels trapped in it because he needs the salary to afford where you live? I think you should talk that through, and he needs to sort out exactly what he does want, but you should also do some soul searching about why living in this one specific place feels like the key to happiness to you. You can have a happy childhood in a lot of different ways and places. I understand wanting to be close to family but you could move 30 minutes away and still be close. It just sounds like you have a LOT wrapped up in this vision and that seems very confining to me. What if your sister moves away? What if your parents want to move to Florida? Will your life fall apart? If your husband’s job was less demanding would you be able to tolerate this better?

      • This is so important to keep in mind. When my husband was struggling with depression, we considered moving across the country so he could live near his best friends. We ended up not doing that and thank God. None of those friends live there now. One is even divorced. The life we had pictured living there never would have been.

      • Look life happens and I think I’d be very easily able to deal with that, given that we still have a huge support network of friends and extended family nearby. It also wouldn’t make me feel like I’ve been diligently plodding along building a life that I thought we agreed upon only to be told jk don’t want any of that!

        • Yes, the idealized life you’ve been plodding toward since you were 16 IS crumbling in front of your eyes. But that’s OK. You’re an adult now, not a 16 year old in an idyllic world. You are married, and a mother. It’s OK for your girlhood or teenage expectations to be challenged, to be examined, even to be let go of or changed. What dreams and expectations of your husbands are you willing to take on? What life does HE want? Just because this idealized version crumbles doesn’t mean the next version will be awful. It will just be different, as you and your husband build it together, as you give up some stuff you’ve been grabbing onto to feel secure and successful, and as you flex to take on some of his dreams.

          • I guess if there were actually clear answers on what he DOES want, I’d feel less adrift. This is more like tossing aside this in favor of what exactly? California? A cabin in Vermont? He can’t answer anything about what he does want except for “not this” and I have no idea how to make that happen or compromise while also juggling a geographically based job and baby responsibilities.

          • You’re going to have to deal with feeling adrift for awhile. That’s going to be tough for you, since you’ve had your life planned since you were 16. But, again. It’s OK. Learning how to handle this kind of phase of life is essential. You’re right; your husband doesn’t know. He’s flailing. He’s worn out by his job, and he may have been feeling stifled by your entire life for quite a while now. He doesn’t know how to make the changes. Your husband is going to have to walk through this TOWARD being able to answer the question of what he wants, and there’s going to be a lot of uncertainty while he does. In other words: This won’t be fixed tomorrow. Use it as a chance to learn how to flex. You can’t solve this or control it the way you’ve been used to, and that’s going to feel pretty rotten, and you’re really going to want to get all the pieces of your life back into place and lined up again. Instead, learn to live with not knowing.

          • lawsuited :

            I think your initial confusion and anger is normal, but if you can talk your husband through his feelings of anxiety about your current living situation you will be giving him a great gift. I think it’s good that he didn’t come to you with a fully formed plan of what to do next (“I’m unhappy living in this town, so I’ve decided that I want to move to a condo in Springfield, MA and run a convenience store”) so that you can be part of the process and evaluate the problem and consider solutions together.

      • I agree that OP seems really tied to this idyllic vision that is absolutely not guaranteed to pan out. I mean, there are obviously other problems here, but that one is one OP can work on by herself!

      • Anonymous :

        He sounds depressed to me too. My ex had serious struggles with depression, and it followed a pattern: he hated his job; he hated our city/house/neighborhood; he hated his parents; he hated me. Then he hated his job again. Eventually it would always be my turn again; any time I had success he was particularly threatened and angry. He didn’t ever hate the children but he wouldn’t so much as change a diaper, either.

        I strongly suggest doing everything you can to get him some competent mental health care. I’m so much happier after my divorce, but it was very hard on my children that their father refused to take some steps he could have taken to improve his health and wellbeing.

    • So, I’m of two minds here. On one hand, I would personally be pretty unhappy in the place that you are describing. I value socioeconomic diversity and not feeling like I live in a bubble. Large financial obligations make me anxious (our own house is less than 2x our combined salary, and it still keeps me up nights sometimes). I like my in-laws, but I’m pretty sure that they would drive me crazy if we lived in the same town. Overall, your description sounds like you’ve slotted him into your perfect life, without much consideration of what he actually wants or needs. You probably need to have some long and honest conversations about that.

      On the other hand, though, it does sound like he has larger sources of dissatisfaction (job stress? depression?) and is fixating on this specific thing as a scapegoat for it. I’m sure he is indeed underestimating how much your parents contribute to keeping things running smoothly in your house. The solutions he’s advocating for sound unrealistic.

      All of this is to say – this is a question that you are going to have to talk through, in detail, over time, possibly with the help of a marriage counselor. I think that if you signal that you hear him and take his dissatisfaction seriously, that might go a long way, even if you aren’t willing to put your house on the market and move to a cabin in the near future.

    • Senior Attorney :

      Yikes! I’d say marriage counseling, stat. You two are out of touch with one another and you need to figure out how to get back on the same team.

    • It sounds like your husband is completely overwhelmed at work and is letting that color everything else in his life. Is he willing to find a different, lower-stress position? You don’t make big decisions when you’re not in a good place emotionally, which he clearly isn’t. I’d look at his “suggestions” as cries for help, not actual suggestions about how to change your shared life.

      • I’ve been begging him to change jobs since a few months into this one. He felt he was at a unicorn company and wanted to stay until he got his equity, which I then tried to be supportive of.

        It seems like he’s thinking why bother finding another job here since I don’t want to stay here.

    • JuniorMinion :

      Is it possible that your husband feels like he has to keep working at his high stress job so you can live in your preferred location and he resents this limiting factor? As someone who grew up in the greater NYC area and also dislikes the snobby and expensive nature of the NYC suburbs I would chafe if someone completely closed the door on our family’s ability to relocate. Is it possible in trying to achieve this vision you maybe have blinders on to your husband’s experience? I’d urge you to consider that people put their pants on one leg at a time everywhere…

    • I have perhaps been in a similar situation as your husband – paying more money than I was comfortable with in order to live in an area that it was very important to my partner to be in. For me, it created this toxic fixation that affected a lot of my life. I felt like I was making a lot of sacrifices for no good reason – having to stay at a job I didn’t like and be extra careful with finances, all so that we could live somewhere that was unimportant to me. The overriding feeling I had was “What’s in it for me? Why am I doing this??”

      Honestly, it sounds like your husband is having a tough time and doesn’t see a lot of upside to your current lifestyle. You say that your life is currently how you’ve always pictured it; how close is your husband’s life to how he’s pictured it? Is he happy that his work schedule has been crazy? Does he like his job? Does he want to spend more time with you and the baby? Do you want him around more? Your comment seems very focused on what YOU want and how you’ve decided that life is going to be.

    • So obviously your husband shouldn’t have agreed to this situation if he didn’t want it…but I have to say that I get where he is coming from. Those wealthy “idyllic” suburbs are not ideal for everyone, and I can understand why it’s difficult for him to rely on your trust fund. It’s pretty reasonable for him to want to live in a house that you two can afford on your own without your trust, although of course he should have said that BEFORE you bought the house.

      I was once in a similar situation, in a serious relationship with a man who made us move back to his wealthy hometown and live right near his parents, who were kind and well-intentioned but a little too close for comfort. I was miserable. MISERABLE. I cried almost every day, and I felt so guilty, because I was living in a beautiful home, driving a fancy car, going on these unbelievable family vacations, etc. none of which I would have been able to afford on my own. And his family was nice to me, especially compared to all the terrible in-laws stories you hear. But it just felt like I was living someone else’s life and not my own life, and I didn’t want that life. When I left him, all my friends thought I was crazy to walk away from all that wealth and the “cushy” lifestyle. I ended up moving to a small city in a Rust Belt state and marrying someone here. Our salaries are low and we don’t take fancy vacations or drive BMWs but we live in a nice, small single family home that is well within our means and I am ten billion times happier than I was with the rich guy. The difference is I got out before I married him and had kids, and those commitments change things. But I do understand where your husband is coming from, and don’t think you should just dismiss his feelings even if they’re poorly timed.

    • Boston Legal Eagle :

      Forgive me for projecting, but part of it may be that he’s living in your world, with your parents, family and friends, your neighborhood, etc. It may have been idyllic for you and it may be a nice place to live, but it’s still more about you as an individual and not a life that you built for yourselves as a couple. I don’t necessarily think that moving will solve everything and may create a lot of other issues (i.e. back-up childcare, finding new friends, new work) but this is something you need to discuss with him, likely in couples counseling. I don’t think you can just expect him to be perfectly happy with your vision of an “ideal” life.

      • Yep. I have a longer response that got eaten, but your description of your life sounds stifling to me. Which is fine, because I’m not living it – but your husband is, and I get why it might make him unhappy. It also might be a proxy for depression or job burnout, and I don’t think you should immediately sign on to move to a cabin in the woods, but I can absolutely understand why he might not love the life you describe.

      • Yeah, has he had any input into this life at all? Not saying this is all on the OP. He should have spoken up sooner. But it sounds like he’s a pretty passive participant in his life.

      • I totally understand why you’d be shocked, surprised and hurt, especially since you’ve made your wishes clear from the beginning. That said, sometimes the reality of agreeing to someone else’s vision is a lot more complicated. He’s telling you that while he was on board for awhile, this is not a life that he’s happy with. I say this gently, but you really, really need to listen to him and take this seriously. He’s probably very aware of how you would react to the idea of moving and has been sitting on these feelings for a looong time. DH should absolutely look for a new job, but when he tells you he’s miserable, please listen and take him seriously. I kind of get the vibe that you wanted your DH to fit into your pre-existing life, rather than create one with him. Having extended family support is awesome (and I’m a little jealous, TBH!), but your DH and your kid are your primary family now.

    • You have some good responses. I agree that maybe a new job for him would help. But also maybe you can agree to consider moving if it doesn’t. Maybe not to CA, but there are other neighborhoods that would keep you close to friends and family that may be a bit more his speed without you giving up too much proximity. Not sure where you are but the suburbs in NY can really vary. Westchester towns can be super different, same with LI, etc. I think that wanting to move cross country to live in a cabin is usually a sign that someone just wants to escape but I think you should be open to the fact that your particular town may just not suit him and there can be a compromise. Being 5-10 miles away from family is still close enough for them to help out.

    • Everybody is saying that maybe it’s just the job that your husband doesn’t like, but what if it isn’t? What if he really doesn’t like your home town? I think you should take his word that he’s unhappy about that too, in addition to his stressful job, and try to figure out what to do from there.

      • Yes, I think it’s reasonable to re-visit decisions that you’ve made as a couple.

        He moved with you to this town and into the life you imagined. It seems like you’ve lived there for several years now. He may not actually enjoy aspects of your shared life there despite giving it a good try.

        Just because you decided something at one point, doesn’t mean that you as a couple are bound by that decision for the rest of your lives. People grow and change and you need to keep growing and changing as a couple to accommodate that.

        I could imagine it would feel incredibly stiffing if he feels like he’s stuck in this town that he dislikes for the rest of his life.

        If that is the case then you need to have talks as a couple to start feeling out how to move forward and grow together to create a life that works for you both

    • This sounds exaaaaaactly, down to his stressful job, like a conversation my fiancé and I had. In our case it was a combo of his work-related escapism and not wanting to move back to my hometown, which I did. we had initially agreed that we’d work in a larger city for a few years and then move to my mid-size hometown, but when it came time to do it, he balked for the same reasons (too much “my” life, too exclusive, just generally didn’t love the city). We did not get married.

      • This was important to me and I was up front about it. If I had starting dating someone who told me his ideal was to live on the west coast near his family, I would have totally understood and would have thought it was incompatibility in terms of our long term goals and would have gone our separate ways. Also hard because I checked in on it multiple times during our engagement/marriage pre baby (ex: I’m taking the NY bar exam, how are we still feeling about NY? Should I take a second? Or we’re starting to think about buying a house, still agree this town?)

        Now it’s obviously different because we’re married and have a baby and I totally get I’ll have to compromise on this. I think I need him to do some soul searching on what he actually wants / what makes him unhappy and then start to have some more practical conversations.

        • Anonymous :

          I’d strongly suggest doing this thinking and soul searching with outside help — a counselor. There’s more going on here than merely practical conversations can solve, and you’ll be faced with soul-searching as well. You guys need someone to help you negotiate this.

          • Anonymous :

            I think your husband is unhappy. It might be because of job burnout. He might hate the suburb where you live. He might feel pressured to make money to keep you in the lifestyle you’ve wanted since you were 16. He might be depressed for some other reason entirely. But the unhappiness is the issue, not his demand to move somewhere. Ask him to address the unhappiness – preferably with a therapist – and figure out what’s really going on.

            More immediately, what if you said something like, “Hey, you know I love this town – but just as a thought experiment, what would it be like if we moved to California/took a year off/moved to Timbuktu/moved into a cabin and lived off the land?” In my experience, it helps when I can respond non-defensively to the harebrained idea and let it rise or fall on its own merits, so it doesn’t become a stupid marital battle. Maybe your husband feels like the world has gotten very small and he wants to think big and dream about new possibilities. Maybe there are ways to do that – a sabbatical, a new job, a new project – that will reinvigorate both of you.

            Good luck. This stuff is so hard.

        • Didn’t mean to suggest that you didn’t do your due diligence– I sympathize with feeling like you’ve taken someone at their word that you have the same future in mind and they pull the rug out. I think a lot of posters have been unfairly hard on you– you will have to compromise, but the fact that you’re happy bears weight too, even if it’s not a life commenters say they would want. All of that to say, I’d be open to a move/change if I were you, if your husband can propose a real and reasonable plan, but don’t blame yourself if your husband is suddenly changing his mind about your joint future and it’s not one in which you can see yourself and your child.

  24. Once you get to a place where you don’t have any debt except a mortgage and you’re saving a decent amount, how do you know how much is enough to save? I vacillate between really going all in on saving and then being like, “This is why I work! If I can’t buy this fun sweater, then what’s the point?”

    I also struggle with taking anything out of savings to buy stuff I actually need, like a new dining room table or curtains. Even though I have the savings and an emergency fund, when I crunch the numbers for that month and technically see a negative number/percentage saved, I freak out. I have this weird feeling that I MUST have positive cash flow every month—which I do 99% of the time, but there have been a couple months with big home expenses that were the exceptions.

    Maybe this sounds weird. I grew up with very frugal parents. My mom didn’t work and my dad didn’t make as much as I do now and he supported our whole family (while I have no spouse or kids), so I still have a lot of that mentality. And while I’m not really asking for an excuse to be a frivolous spender, I just wonder how those of you with similar upbringings figure out how much to save, when it’s okay to spend a little, and what’s acceptable for you.

    • I have a similar mindset and grew up with frugal parents, one earner, and a very cautious mentality towards saving and buffering. To the extent that I hesitated to ask for anything (piano classes and I was really good at playing the piano) because I didn’t know how much of a strain it would be on my parents.
      For me what helped is marrying a person who is very different. He encourages me to buy that cute sweater and upgrade our 10yo sofa that is falling to bits, besides taking bigger vacations etc. It slowly drew me out of my discomfort and made me feel like things will be ok, even if I spend a little more.
      Read about the lifetime income/consumption smoothing theory. Sometimes its ok to be negative in that month because you are smoothing your consumption along with your income.

    • I’m very much in this situation and will be exactly where you are within about two months (no debt other than mortgage). Earlier this year I was financially ambivalent and while being fairly responsible, I didn’t feel great about my finances, mostly because I didn’t have a clear picture of where things were at. I crowdsourced some info from this board, friends and read a lot on the interwebs. With a little planning, I figured out I could get rid of my car and student loans by year-end and make my money work harder for me. I’d start by figuring out what your goals are, then if you haven’t already, separate out your accounts – it helps me to see things deliberately broken up as opposed to a big number without definition in a savings account.

      What I did:
      – Put 3 months of emergency fund in an Ally savings account that I don’t touch. As my debt load drops off, the same dollars will cover 6-7 months.
      – Fully fund your retirement accounts.
      – Figured out which investment accounts and how much to put in them would help me meet longer-term goals. Ellevest and Mint both have good calculators for goals, investment accounts, retirement, etc.

      I keep a separate savings account that I use for short-term goals open as well, I prefer to “front-end” larger expenditures like vacations and furniture, a new bike, or the like, so it’s already paid for when I go to buy it or travel. Note: I still put purchases on a card to get points/miles, I just pay it off immediately with money I had allocated/saved for that purpose. So, yes, you need a dining room table. Determine your budget, keep track of where the money you’re putting into your short-term savings is supposed to be allocated, and if you don’t want to be negative cash flow any one month, perhaps set the $ aside in smaller chunks for 3-4 months before you go make the purchase.

      I’m pretty frugal when it comes to buying stuff and clothing, but I do budget a few hundred dollars a month for social activities: weekend trips, dining out, drinks with friends, events, concerts and theatre. I also prioritize my major hobby (cycling) and travel.

      Finally, part of my income is commission, with a base bi-weekly. So, on the first Sunday of every month, I spend 45 mins to an hour and sit down, run my expense report, and list out checks I’m expecting to receive that month. Then, I actually list out where the money is going to go from each check/deposit. Once that check or deposit hits my account, I got back to the note where I keep that break down, allocate the money out immediately to where it’s meant to go.

      I use Mint to bring it all together and check things at-a-glance.

      If this all seems a over-the-top: maybe it is? But I find a lot of peace of mind in knowing my exact financial position. Once you get everything set up and all the accounts connected, it’s easy to maintain.

  25. Boston brunch :

    This group is always so great with food recs, and I’m hoping you all can help once again! Looking for recs for Sunday brunch in Boston, specifically off the green line on the T and no more than $20/entree. No preference as to cuisine. Thank you!

    • Legally Brunette :

      Gaslight in the South End. Huge plus is that there is a parking lot for anyone driving.

    • I love the Met Bar (Back Bay) for brunch. If it’s nice out, they have a great patio. Otherwise, ask to be seated upstairs. Their food is delish. It’s a lil pricy, but so is everything in Back Bay.

    • If you don’t mind tapas rather than individual entrees, Barcelona Wine Bar? Outlets in South End and Brookline.

    • Anonymous :

      Gallows in the South End has a great brunch, too.

    • Boston brunch :

      Thanks, everyone! I’m looking forward to browsing all these menus :)

  26. Wedding gift gut check :

    Hi all! I need a gut check on something I think is strange. My fiance (husband) and I got married last weekend! It was awesome, and we had just 18 guests- our immediate family (siblings, parents and grandparents) and a small bridal party. Everyone from my side of the family, and my bridesmaids, all gave us a wedding gift (either something from the registry or a check). But no one from my fiance’s family showed up with a gift. Like his parents, grandparents, and godmother who were in attendance all came empty handed and haven’t sent us anything in the mail. I need a gut check I think because this is making me hurt, and confused. I have never attended a wedding myself without a gift and never heard of this happening- I was always told to at least cover my plate, or send something thoughtful. I am not a greedy person, and my husband has confirmed he does not think I am materialistic. I would never ask/expect a gift from someone….. but I guess I’m feeling like weddings are different? His parents didn’t have to pay for anything for the wedding- not even a rehearsal because it was so small, and they didn’t bother to bring a gift for their only son? I mean, no one from his family has even sent a CARD. And I guess I can’t tell if people don’t like me, or aren’t happy, or are offended we had a small wedding? Gifts or cards have trickled in from my extended family even, and my family doesn’t come from means, at all.
    I guess I’m feeling hurt because his family does have means, and as far as I know they like me and are happy for us to be married, and I find no gifts at all to be weird. Am I being annoying? Greedy? Or totally off base? My mom and my maid of honor (the only two I have mentioned this to) agree with me that this is weird.

    • I agree that is weird. One would think you would at least give something sentimental to your kid on his wedding day…

    • Yep, it’s weird.

      I would try not to take it personally just because I don’t think there’s anything you can do about it, or any way to ask wtf without appearing greedy. I don’t think you _are_ being greedy to wonder about this, but I don’t think there’s a way to ask, “Why didn’t any of you give us a wedding gift?” without getting accused of being greedy, even if it’s a valid thing to wonder.

    • This is very weird and I would be wondering too. Why don’t you ask your husband?

    • How does your DH feel about it? Does he think it’s weird? Has he been to other family weddings on his side, and were gifts involved then? I’d be curious if this is just SOP for his family, or if this was unique to you two.

      Regardless, I’d be really hurt by this, and in all honesty I’d probably start distancing myself from them. I’d have a really hard time letting this go. I don’t think you’ll ever be able to ask about it, and DH probably never will either.

    • What’s your husband’s take on the situation?

      • +1 – what are his family’s traditions around gifting? Are they procrastinators and end up giving the gift after the wedding? Do they just not really do gifts?

        I mean if they’ve otherwise been kind and welcoming to you, I’d take it as a data point to not expect gifts from them (so if you get one it’s a happy surprise). Yeah, it seems a little weird, and normal to feel hurt because reality is different than your expectation, but there’s not much you can do about it, except talk to your husband.

        • Yeah, if it’s the whole family then I think it’s just the way they are and OP will have to learn to live with that.

    • I agree it’s weird to show up completely empty-handed, although technically I think they have a year to send a gift.

      My husband’s parents are well off and didn’t get us a wedding gift. They don’t really do gifts in their family though – they’re not Christian so they don’t do Christmas and adults don’t exchange birthday gifts. They did get DH and his siblings birthday gifts when they were very young, but it was usually just one gift/child and they stopped when the kids were in elementary school (my husband has repeatedly told me I’m “spoiled” because my parents still get me birthday gifts, which I think is really nasty – ‘spoiled’ is more about behavior and whether you expect gifts than whether or not people choose to give them to you). They also didn’t buy us any gifts when we were expecting our daughter and have never bought her a birthday gift, which makes me sad (she’s too young to understand now, but I fear that in a few years she will think this is some kind of punishment or something she did wrong). I obviously haven’t discussed it w/them but DH says their philosophy is basically that because he has launched from the nest and is now a financially independent adult, they don’t believe they need to support him or his family in any way, including with gifts. It’s a weird philosophy to me, but I was brought up totally differently.

      I would definitely say the “cover your plate” rule is outdated though, especially at a tiny wedding where per person costs tend to be significantly higher. My cousin had about 20 guests to a very posh winery for a formal dinner and dancing reception for about $20k — certainly nobody should have to give her $1,000 just because she chose to put her wedding budget toward a nicer wedding for a smaller number of people rather than a less fancy but larger wedding.

    • Yeah, that’s odd. I’ve seen situations where there’s a huge disparity between sides, with the coastal-educated side giving more than twice and much as the rust-belt side, but still giving something. Are you and your husband significantly better off than his side? Did your husband somehow message them that gifts were discouraged because of that disparity? Are they from a culture with vastly different gift giving traditions?

    • I never bring gifts or cards to the wedding – I always mail them or have the gift sent to the house.

      I would give it some time to see if things start to arrive, it’s only Wednesday. I mean if 6 months from now, you still have nothing, it’s weird sure, but you’re going to have to move past it regardless of whether it’s weird or not.

      • Same usually, except even a card–sans check–would have been easy enough, right? Something?

        • Gift giving norms vary so much — I grew up ALWAYS taking gifts to the wedding. Sometime in the past few years I’ve realized that nobody in my current circles does that. Ask your husband what’s normal for his family.

        • Not for me – I generally have a small clutch or no purse at all and carrying something else in is annoying. Plus, I am super forgetful about this type of thing, so mailing is the way to go or you may never ever get anything from me

          Everyone is different!

        • Not necessarily. I think a lot of people (myself included) don’t bring things to the actual wedding because then the couple has to keep track of them and get them home.

        • My understanding is you don’t bring a gift to the wedding because it’s rude to make the couple have to schlep stuff home (although in fairness I think I read this in the context of large weddings where 100 gifts really would be unmanageable) but a check/card is always fine to bring with but also fine to mail.

          • Anonymous :

            I personally know of 2 different couples whose card boxes were stolen from their venue – both very nice, formal venues, too. Please just mail stuff. If you really must bring a card w/ money to the wedding, write a check, don’t give cash.

    • First, best wishes on your marriage! Honestly, I’d be hurt too because I would read it as indifference. BUT, different families do weddings very differently and it’s possible (probable) that your husband isn’t very aware of his family traditions (maintaining these traditions is often put upon women). I’d give his family more time. Maybe they always send gifts after the wedding. If at all possible, just let it go. Weddings are weird ceremonial times and bring out a ton of emotion. People feel slighted when it’s not intended. If it’s really bugging you can I’d ask your husband to ask his family. The thing to avoid, I think, is you asking your new in-laws about this (bad optics).

      • +1 – if this is the worst thing his family ever does, you are lucky. Assume the best of them, let as much go as you can, and work on building relationships with them. If you have children there will be all kinds of opportunities for them to annoy you in the future, so practice grace now. Don’t look for trouble.

    • I was taught that it is rude (or at least inconsiderate) to bring a gift to the wedding itself, and better to send something by mail. And I was also taught that you have a year after the wedding before you are late with a gift. So this may just be a different set of expectations.

    • Baconpancakes :

      Is it possible they all sent something to the wrong address, or purchased off someone else’s registry with the same name? Parents and grandparents and godparents all not sending something seems like too much of a coincidence for there not to be another explanation – is it possible they’re all going in on a huge gift for you, like paying for a honeymoon, and they’ll surprise you with it soon?

      • I had the same thought – including whether it is possible that the gifts were stolen from the venue or all in someone’s car. I would ask husband to bring it up gently with his parents. He could say something like “thank you so much for celebrating with us. When we were packing up, we realized we didn’t have a single gift from our side of the family. That’s ok but I was worried something happened to them. If you know someone got us something, please let us know since we didn’t receive anything.”

    • Is it possible that they are sending gifts following the wedding? I am a habitual late-gifter… maybe his family is too?

    • Nobody owes you a gift. If your in laws are nice to you and supportive of your marriage, that is all you need. Don’t make something out of this that it’s not,because there is no way you’re not going to come across as materialistic and grubbing if you bring it up. Just move on in your marriage.

      • Never too many shoes... :

        I think you are being unreasonably harsh to the OP.

        We are not talking about acquaintances here, the groom’s family did not give them gifts. It is not materialistic for the groom (and therefore the OP as his new spouse) to expect a gift from his own *parents*.

        • It’s materialistic to expect a gift from ANYONE. A wedding invitation isn’t an invoice for a gift. Nobody – including the groom’s family – owes her anything except hearty congratulations and support of the marriage.

        • It is materialistic to expect a gift from anyone.

          • I understand the point, but I don’t think you understand how complicated wedding can be. If you try to do a smaller wedding to save costs, family complains you didn’t invite xyz aunt or cousin. If you elope, parents get upset they weren’t there. There’s massive pressure to have a wedding, invite family, and put on a dinner and open bar for these people (“cash bars are tacky!”. People expect it. Honestly, if they expect that, then it is totally okay to expect a gift in return. I’ve seen lots of friends deal with very entitled family members at their weddings.

          • Yes, but on the other hand, it’s hurtful for your parents to not celebrate by giving you a gift. You could say the same thing to a kid who doesn’t get any birthday or holiday gifts from his family, but it doesn’t mean it’s not still sad for them.

        • Baconpancakes :

          It’s a social norm, so it’s not unreasonable to expect a gift. No one owes you a gift, but expecting one is fine. The social norm of giving a gift at a wedding is particularly strong from parents and other close relatives, so it’s reasonable to want to know what’s going on that the social norm has been rejected (if that is the case).

        • Also: this isn’t just “aunt Betty didn’t send a gift,” this is everyone on the groom’s side. So it’s a little bit more odd. Yes, a gift is not the price of admission for attending a wedding and no one owes you anything but it’s customary and it’s understandable why OP would be confused and a bit hurt here. But it’s still early. I’d talk to your new husband about this. Maybe he can shed some light.

      • I suggest y’all look up the words “gift” and “materialistic” in the dictionary.

        To the OP, it has only been a week. I would assume there will be some gifts trickling in by mail. Don’t dwell on it. Either way, this is not the hill you want to die on.

        • Why are you so set on assigning these characteristics to the OP? She asked a pretty general question and seems very receptive to hearing lots of advice. Why don’t you just chill out for a bit?

        • Anonymous :

          There’s no reason to call her materialistic. She’s going out of her way to make she’s NOT coming from that place. Even though she’s an internet stranger, kindness wouldn’t go amiss here.

      • I’m inclined to agree with this, even if I also agree that it’s a bit strange. Although honestly, 5 years later, I couldn’t tell you what my aunts and uncles and my husband’s aunts and uncles gave us and it has no bearing on our relationships with them at all. We were honestly shocked at the amount of gifts we did receive.

    • lawsuited :

      Given that his whole family didn’t give gifts, I’d assume that his family treats weddings gifts differently than you. What does your husband say about it?

    • Linda from HR :

      I totally understand being hurt, but since it was the whole side of the family, I’d probably assume it’s a quirk of that family – either they don’t “do” wedding gifts, or they send them after the wedding. You should bring it up with your husband, tell him you’re grateful for the wedding, to those who came and for those who gave gifts, but it did strike you as odd that no one from his side brought anything. Hopefully he’ll have some insight as to why. Or maybe he gave his side the impression you two didn’t need anything.

      Just to counteract some of the “anyone who wants gifts for anything ever is greedy” comments, wedding gits are such a commonly followed tradition today that no, you’re not being greedy or gift-grabby.

    • Wedding gift gut check :

      Hey everyone, thank you so much for the replies. To those asking if it is a family tradition not to give gifts, it’s definitely not- his parents attended two separate weddings for cousins last year and mentioned the gifts they gave. We’ve also been together almost 5 years and I never received any weird vibes from them and we get along and they were very excited for the wedding. To the commenter saying this is materialistic/greedy: I hear that. That’s why I mentioned it in my original post. I am conflicted because normally I’d be like ‘get over it, don’t be greedy’. For some reason though it’s our wedding and this just feels deliberately personal.
      I asked husband about it last night, but briefly. I was sorting cards for thank yous and just said “oh, where is your stack of cards, all I have are (my familys last name)” and he said “oh, I don’t have any”. I asked if we forgot any gifts and he seemed to get very embarrassed so I dropped it. I think he is also surprised.
      Seriously huge thanks because I can’t ask many people in real life because I don’t want to give a bad impression to his family.

      • Anon in NYC :

        If he doesn’t even have so much as cards from his side of the family, I would have him ask his mom or dad. That, honestly, seems REALLY weird to me. And I get it – you’re not asking for gifts/money – but for him to have received literally no cards, he should ask his parents and make clear he’s not expecting a gift, but thought it was strange.

      • Anonymous :

        Anecdote–my sister’s MIL’s bible group had a bridal shower for my sister. We all brought gifts except the future MIL and her mother, and her MIL (they’re hyphenated american and it just didn’t occur to them). Not the same since it sounds like MIL knows about wedding gifts—but that sounds really weird…

    • Perhaps you’ve just lucked into a scenario where you never have to give gifts for his side of the family??

    • Anonymous :

      My very Southern mother (in her 70’s) believes it is incredibly rude to bring a present to a wedding since it creates a transport burden for the couple or their family. She also believes a present should be delivered or shipped before the wedding; however, I’ve lived in places where it was the custom to send wedding presents up to one year AFTER the wedding. Could it be something similar?

    • I feel you. It’s weird, but it happened. My own parents, who I’m close with and were happy for my marriage, didn’t give us a wedding present. Maybe they thought their wedding contribution was the present, but a card would have been nice. Something to wish us well. It was years ago and the first couple months it bothered me, but I let it go. They’ve been supportive and lovely and I think it just slipped their mind with travel and everything else. Try not to hold on to this. And most importantly, congratulations!

      • Anonymous :

        Do people’s parents usually give wedding gifts? Mine for sure didn’t and I wouldn’t have expected them to given the money they contributed.

  27. Anyone else find baby kicks kind of uncomfortable? I’d heard that by the end when they’re kicking you hard in the ribs it can hurt, but I’m only 22 weeks along and already the kicks are making me wince. It’s not a sustained pain of course but each kick feels like an uncomfortable pinch “down there” (kind of like a pap smear, honestly) and some of them have been hard enough to make me gasp. I feel like a bad mom for not enjoying this, but ouch.

    • Frozen Peach :

      Oh yes, the kicks can really hurt.

      YOU ARE NOT A BAD MOM FOR NOT ENJOYING THIS.

      I say that with so much love! There are so many aspects of being a parent that are just flat-out not enjoyable. Many involve poop. Labor is also not enjoyable, and if anyone’s telling you it is, they’re lying liars.

      I wanted to comment not just to tell you that what you’re experiencing is normal, but also to offer some friendly advice from someone just on the other side of bad postpartum depression. Start talking back to those voices that tell you you’re a bad mom NOW. You are not a bad mom for not enjoying the things that hurt, or stink, or just are objectively not enjoyable tasks or experiences. That doesn’t make you a bad mom. You will get bombarded with sources telling you to enjoy every! single! second! of parenthood, and if you’re like most of us, it will make you feel guilty. The days are long, the years are short. Enjoy as much as you can, period, and don’t let anyone make you feel like a bad mom because you aren’t enjoying something.

      So ends my small sermon. And hugs!

      • + 1 million to all of this

      • Boston Legal Eagle :

        + 2

        Sooo much of the day to day parenting is not enjoyable, especially the early years, and probably the later years too, just a different kind of difficulty. Even before the kid is out, pregnancy is hard on the body, labor is intense (go epidurals!), breastfeeding sucks (literally…) and it’s completely understandable to not enjoy this stuff.

    • You’re not a bad mom! I found the kicks interesting at first, but largely, I hated how uncomfortable they were. My daughter kicked/punched straight down most of the time, and it was awful. I jumped out of my seat during a court hearing once during an especially strong downward kick (embarrassing!). It sounds like yours is kicking straight down too. It was more tolerable when she kicked out toward my belly, but I never really found it enjoyable. Towards the end of your pregnancy, the feeling may actually get better because as the baby gets bigger, he/she won’t have as much room to kick and punch.

      For what it’s worth, this idea that pregnancy has to be a magical, enjoyable experience is not reality for a lot of people! For me, pregnancy was a means to an end. The only magical part was eating all of the carbs. Good luck!

    • Anon in NYC :

      Yep! Not a bad mom!

    • Anonymous :

      Kiddo is probably kicking your cervix. Happens all the time (sigh). 30w along and BABY MOVEMENTS ARE SO UNCOMFORTABLE. I’m hoping as he grows his movement will be stifled due to lack of space.

    • Anonymous :

      Really, you don’t enjoy being kicked in the ribs? What kind of freak are you? (JOKING!)

      I enjoyed almost nothing about pregnancy and not a lot of the first year of motherhood. I’m human.

      • Anonymous :

        I hated being pregnant. The magical parts did not balance out the fact that a living human inside of me could kick me so hard I wanted to cry and keep me awake whenever he wanted, and there was absolutely nothing I could do about it. Love my son but pregnancy was not my jam. There, I said it.

    • Anonymous :

      My first kid would just kind of roll around inside me and not really kick. It was great– comforting and fun. My second kid alternates between kicking me in the bladder? Cervix? Somewhere down there… and dragging a foot along my ribs, hard. It is nice to know she’s doing well but yikes! I find myself making faces in work meetings and having to explain…

    • Anonymous :

      My son would routinely kick me so hard in some part of my anatomy that I would gasp. He was really, really active and I would end up with his elbow in my ribs and his feet kicking near my kidneys and…it hurt.

      One thing a mom of four taught me when I was pregnant – if the baby is in a really uncomfortable position for you and doesn’t seem to want to move, hold a cold can of Coke (Sprite, root beer, LaCroix, YMMV) on your belly where the painful elbowing/kicks are. The baby will move away from where you’re pressing the can into your belly. It doesn’t sound like it would work but it totally does. Also good for those days when the baby is alllll the way at the top of your belly and you feel like he/she is about to kick/head-butt you in the throat.

  28. White opaque basic blouse :

    Does anyone know of any alternatives to the MMLF Rowling top? I had it in my basket in birch but someone snagged it before me. I’d like white/off-white/cream and opaque. TIA!

    • Try emailing an MMLF stylist. They seem to have a secret stash of birch-colored Rowling tops that they can order for you even when sold out on the website.

  29. Slobbery Office-mate? :

    What’s the nicest way to inform an office-mate that he unconsciously alternates between sucking spit through his teeth and gasping for air like a fish that’s flopped on land? All. Day. Long.

    He’s reasonably put together otherwise, but listening to him eat is pretty horrific too, so there are clearly some baseline manners missing. I’m not normally someone with sound/chewing issues, but it permeates my increasingly-loud ocean white noise youtube stream. We’re the only two people in an office the size of a suburban walk-in closet.

    Is there a better way to say: “Hey, so, you’re probably not aware, but you loudly sigh and make other noises constantly, and it’s distracting me from my work.”

    • Thisperson1 :

      Can you make prolonged eye contact while slurping up the world’s longest noodle and then say, “Unpleasant, wasn’t it?” That’s what my alter-ego, Ms. Terrible Coworker would want to do…

    • No. You can’t change it. That’s him.

      You are ultra-sensitive to noises. I am too. Drives me crazy too.

      But you can’t change things like this. They might even be unconscious tics for him …. they sound like them. Then they are completely unchangeable and probably mortifying to him when you bring them up.

      Have you heard that there is actually a gene that you and I possess that correlates with sensitivity to / irritation from hearing others eat/smack like this? Perhaps we are the mutants… not your co-worker…!

      https://blog.23andme.com/23andme-research/something-to-chew-on/

      Get noise cancelling headphones, listen to music, ask to move your desk etc…

      • I’m not noise sensitive to anyone but him, as I noted. And, as I mentioned, it’s overpowering my white noise. But, thanks?

        • I sympathize. I had a coworker who cleared his throat multiple times a minute (medical issue) and I could. not. not. hear. it. Headphones with music .. nothing worked. Some days it nearly drove me crazy. I think you could ask him to cut back on the constant sighing, or pencil tapping … but some of the noise might be from sinus or breathing difficulty, and there might not be a solution. Maybe get a white noise machine for the office? I find those work better for me than mere headphone white noise.

        • Yah, we tried….

          You’re sensitive to him because of his specific tics and you are in a close room with him all day. You would be sensitive to my tics if I was cooped up with you too, I suspect.

          Same recs. Move your desk, wear better headphones with music/something louder etc…

          You can’t change him, and you will only make your relationship with him worse if you choose to shame him. We aren’t going to tell you that doing that is ok.

    • lawsuited :

      I bounce my heel/leg up and down constantly. Some people tell me that it annoys them and the result is that I feel bad and bounce my heel/leg up and down. It’s very difficult (maybe impossible?) to change unconscious behaviour because…it’s unconscious. So if your goal is to shame him, then definitely say something, but I don’t think the behaviour will change.

    • I’m not sure why you think this is manners and not anatomy. But even if it’s behavioral and not the only way he can breathe, he probably can’t change it.

  30. Ruffles gone wild :

    This is ridiculous. In the work section, no less.

    http://shop.nordstrom.com/s/tracy-reese-cascade-pleat-blouse/4738063?origin=category-personalizedsort&fashioncolor=BEET%20RED

  31. OMG, I stupidly did not check the spelling of a name in a cover letter and submitted it. Then I quickly withdrew my application because I couldn’t figure out how to fix it without them seeing both versions of the cover letter. I called the HR office and they told me that I had to make a new log-in and submit, which I did, but I am mortified and still thinking this will somehow screw up my chances even though I have someone on the inside and outside putting in a good word for me.

    • Eh, I would’t worry that much about it, esp if you have referrals

    • Senior Attorney :

      It’s fine. Breathe!

    • I once spelled my first name wrong in my account for a new job. It was right before the interview process and HR had to point it out to me because they had trouble finding my account. Got the job anyway!!!!!

  32. Shoe Closet Funk :

    What is the BEST air freshener (non plug-in) on the market? Our hall closet has a certain odor from teenage shoes.

    • Anonymous :

      Try spraying the offending shoes regularly with lysol (aerosol)

      • pugsnbourbon :

        I have also had luck (on stinky theatrical costumes) with antimicrobial Febreze – you can usually find it at Target, the label is slightly different from regular Febreze.

    • Try Citrus Magic solid air freshener, the linen scent. Seems to kill musty odors and lasts about a month or two.

    • Anonymous :

      Those big bags of activated charcoal that you can put in the sun to refresh. Find them at the container store, Amazon, etc.

  33. Anybody have any thoughts on buying a home without a realtor? I’m looking for a house in a part of my city where things are never listed and get sold via word-of-mouth. I do have a realtor, but I also have a lead on a house that came from a friend-of-a-friend and the realtor has not been involved at all. I’ve never bought before, so I feel like I have no idea what I’m doing. I’m wondering if it would be worth the commission to have a realtor involved to help me through the process or if I should try to save that money. What do you all think?

    • Certain states require a realtor, so check in to that. Just make sure that you don’t use the same realtor as the seller. It depends on who is paying closing costs, too.

    • Are you a first time home buyer? If so, I think a realtor is worth it. I was amazed how much our realtor did in terms of the initial contract negotiation, negotiating repairs for issues found in the inspection and in terms of getting the documents ready for closing. Granted, we didn’t have a mortgage so we avoided a lot of the bank paperwork, but it seemed like we literally told the realtor “You can offer X,” she came back and told us we had the house (at less than X), we had the home inspected and she told us sellers had agreed to fix all the major issues highlighted in the inspection report, and then we showed up at the closing, signed about 10 forms and got the keys. It was a billion times easier than I expected it to be and I credit that largely to our realtor. Also, seller pays the commission so it’s not like you’ll be paying the realtor out of pocket. It’s likely but not guaranteed that sellers will give you a discount if they don’t have to pay a realtor on your side (their realtor may want the entire commission).
      If you’ve bought a house before, you might able to do it alone but you’ll want a great inspector, appraisor and lawyer or closing agent.

    • As a buyer, you’re not paying the commission – the seller is. Maybe you can get a sightly cheaper deal if the seller only has to pay their agent commission, maybe not. I would use a realtor unless you’re buying new construction. There will inevitably be issues with home inspection, etc and they can really be helpful. They’ll also be helpful with pulling comps, etc.

      • I don’t think the seller has a realtor, either. It’s all word of mouth.

        • Senior Attorney :

          Then double no. Get at least one person involved who knows how to do this.

          • If you get a strong closing attorney on your side, you can snake by without any sort of professional (we did it). But you want the attorney to represent YOU and be paid for by YOU, and not the seller.

    • Senior Attorney :

      I would not do it. You never know what can come up, and if you don’t know what you’re doing … well, you don’t know what you’re doing and it’s a huge transaction and why would you do that?

      • Thanks! That’s what I was thinking. I’m generally a pretty risk-averse person so I’m pretty willing to pay money to avoid risks but I know sometimes I’m a little *too* willing to do so.

      • +1

    • anon a mouse :

      You can do it without a realtor, but you probably want an attorney to help review the contract. Ask around for settlement attorneys — many of them can represent you in a purchase.

    • Anonymous :

      We have saved tons of money buying and selling this way. We lived in a state with a standard real estate contract, which was helpful. Go to your state’s realtors association website and see what you can find.

  34. I’m in the Bay Area and just glued to the TV about these fires. One of my work friends lost her house. Another few have been evacuated, many more are standing by for evacuation.

    I have nothing to request. Just have disaster fatigue.

    The air quality is horrible here. It’s very very gray and dark like a rainy day would be, but it’s not clouds, it’s smoke.

    • Anonymous :

      I’m not in the Bay Area but I got married in Napa and love the region so much. It’s devastating.

    • Anonymous :

      It’s just devastating. My friend works at her family’s winery and they are terrified. She asked her FB friends to buy and drink only northern Californian wine this coming year, to the extent at all feasible, especially smaller family wineries like hers. I will be honoring her request.

  35. vacation ideas :

    I have about 10 days off between christmas & new years and need budget vacation ideas. We would need to drive and are willing to drive about 15 hours away. We tend to like adventure-y/ thrill-seeking vacations but willing to consider options that don’t just consist of relaxing.

    Any ideas?

  36. Senior Attorney :

    You guys! I got new furniture in my (government) office over the weekend and it is so much nicer than I expected it to be! New desk that converts from standing to sitting at the touch of a button!

    I got all inspired yesterday and went through the boxes of stuff I’d removed from the old desk and file cabinets and threw out most of it. Actually hung my diploma on the wall after all these years (long story about that but anyway it’s done!), re-arranged some other wall hangings, and I feel like a million bucks!

    So… to make this post something other than just me crowing, how about I challenge you to clean out your office junk drawer? You’ll feel great when you’re done!

    • Anonymous :

      I moved offices (three doors down), which gave me the kick in the pants I needed to reorganize all of my files, and come up with a system moving forward. IT. FELT. AWESOME.

      Second this recommendation!!

      • Never too many shoes... :

        I also moved down the hall a few months ago and found untouched drawers of stuff from my previous move several *years* ago. The Purge felt so good!

        • Senior Attorney :

          Right? I found a nice little piece of sculpture that somebody gave me maybe 9 years ago, which had been packed up since my latest move almost 5 years ago.

    • I just got rid of all my old shoes in the smelly shoes drawer!

  37. Chi Med Mal Defense :

    Does anyone know the reasonable salary range of a newer (2nd year) associate in med mal defense in Chicago? Thanks

    • Anonymous :

      I don’t know Chicago, but in NYC, it’s under 100k. Like I think I started at mid-70-something as a first year (this was several years ago, but I can’t imagine they’ve gotten any higher. My firm was a little on the cheap side, but not dramatically so. I am now in a different area of law for that reason.

    • Anonymous :

      When I was looking earlier this fall, and surveyed friends, I was told 60-65k at a small firm for 2nd-3rd year Chi med mal defense, maybe 70k in a larger one. I was also told that other types of defense work were likely to pay better.

  38. Anonymous :

    Yesterday I posted the question about how to break the news about moving to my friend/landlord following a recent divorce (fresh start) and landlord adopting a dog-aggressive dog (that hates my dog). I appreciated the replies and felt a lot better after venting. I actually hadn’t told the whole weird dog story to anyone, so I wanted to say thanks to my anonymous Internet friends for listening!

  39. Anyone have any good tips about working from home? I have been working from home at least one day a week for several years, occasionally working two days a week, and soon will be switching to working >50% of my time from home. I am fortunate to have a nice office space at home, but somehow I always end up feeling gross by the end of the day. I don’t eat all day, and I get out to walk my dog throughout the day. Any of your tried and tested tips for working from home and being not gross are welcome!

    • Anonymous :

      Gross how? Like tired? Or physically dirty/slobby? If the latter, putting on regular work clothes in the morning and taking them off at night might help. And eating all your meals in your kitchen, not in your home office.

    • Anonymous :

      Why not post again tomorrow with more information? Give some context for what “gross” means, and people will probably have helpful replies.

  40. A better job :

    I’m getting ready to apply to a kind of perfect job. I’m not actively looking to leave my current position but this is too good to pass up. I alternate between absolute excitement and complete terror at the thought of leaving my current, comfortable job and going to one with more responsibility, a higher profile and the move that accompanies it. I know I’m going to apply for the job, but how do I go into this process rationally and with my eyes wide open?

    • Anonymous :

      I’m you but actively looking, and I had a phone call with HR on one that sounds like the one you’re looking at. No idea, I was going to ask this too but overachievers won’t understand! Part of me likes the underachieving and non-pressure; the other side thinks I should be all I can be. Would love to hear how others view this.

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