Coffee Break: Suede T-Strap Peep-Toes

Brooks Brothers Suede Peep Toe T-Strap | CorporetteI’ve been ogling these sophisticated light brown T-strap peep-toes from Brooks Brothers for a few weeks. I like the mixed leathers (suede and patent), the 3″ heel with .25″ platform, and the sale: the heel was $228, but is now $91. (Brooks Brothers is a reader favorite for comfortable heels, so their shoe sale might be worth checking out in general — lots of work-appropriate pieces and good prices.) The pictured T-straps also come in black. Brooks Brothers Suede Peep Toe T-Strap



  1. I have feelings for a good male friends of mine- it’s complicated because he indicated interest a few years ago, I said no, and now I feel differently. We’re both single. I want to tell him, but I don’t want to ruin the friendship.

    • I felt this way 6.5 years ago (minus the him indicating interest/me saying no component). I decided the risk of rejection was worth it, and told him how I felt. We’ve been happily coupled for 6.5 years :)

      • Anon in NYC :

        My husband and I were friends for a few years before we started dating. I was fueled with a little liquid courage when I told him about my feelings, but it worked out.

    • I have had to tell close male friends this a few times. They’ve never felt the same way, but our friendship always goes back to normal.

    • I had a similar situation many years ago, and I voiced my feelings. He wasn’t interested (or not anymore). It did not “ruin the friendship.” I’d say it was awkward for about a week, at most, but we agreed to be adults and put it behind us. Also avoided blabbing to mutual friends, just to curb any gossip. I’ve also been on the receiving end with other male friends, and similarly just…stayed friends, after clarifying that I didn’t want anything more.

      I think people put too much pressure on, acting like the only possible outcome is either rom-com happily-ever-after, or total estrangement. True friendships can handle this kind of thing.

      • TO Lawyer :

        +1 – a close friend told me he wanted more maybe a couple years ago. I did not reciprocate his feelings and even though it was awkward for a while, we got back to normal. And we’re now only platonic friends – real friendships can handle this kinda thing.

        • I agree with Monday and TO Lawyer. I think for the most part it’s really up to you whether you can stay friends with someone after they reject you (assuming, they do). I’ve had male friends approach me with romantic feelings when I wasn’t interested and the only case where we didn’t remain friends was when he felt it was too weird/difficult to do so. Otherwise, it’s a little weird for a bit and then it’s not.

  2. I was just reading a Buzzfeed article about what your degree subject says about you.

    Apparently Politics students (of which I am one) love garden parties….

  3. New Live-In Boyfriend :

    For those of you who are engaged or married, did you all talk about getting engaged before it finally happened or did it just progress naturally without much “planning?”

    My boyfriend and I recently moved in together. I don’t think either of us is planning to get engaged soon, but I was curious as to how this comes up and how people handled it, etc.

    • Oh, we talked about it. Definitely. When we moved in together, we both knew we wanted to be married someday in the future (didn’t mention marriage to EACH OTHER, though). But neither felt it was time, felt a rush. Then I graduated, got a job, started thinking about my timeline for kids, and felt ready to think about getting engaged. It hadn’t occurred to him. Like, getting married to me had occurred to him in a general, fuzzy, someday-in-the-future sense, but getting engaged in the near future freaked him out a but because the idea of commitment scares him. We are now happily engaged.

      I think it just progresses naturally for some people, but that’s not something to count on :)

    • We talked about it. I knew it was coming for about 12 months prior, but didn’t know when. We didn’t plan a wedding before we were engaged, but we definitely had a very clear, mutual understanding that this is what we wanted. We also lived together before we got engaged. There was no one conversation – it was series of actions and smaller conversations. During that time we sorted out how to manage money together, share responsibilities together, work through a job loss together (though that was clearly not planned…), and basically function as a unit. To me it was critical that we learned how to do that before getting married so that when we were officially husband and wife not a whole lot had to change. Now, looking back I can say that once we hit a stride as “roommates” the marriage talk came up naturally, and at that point it was not a conversation of “if” but “when”.

      • New Live-In Boyfriend :

        We definitely agree that we want to be married in the future and talk about our future together somewhat often, but there is never any actual concrete talk or timeline (i.e. in 2 years we will get engaged, etc.) I’m a big planner, but he is not, so I’m worried about how this will end up playing out for us when I am ready to push it along.

        • Wildkitten :

          How does it work when you push along other things?

          • New Live-In Boyfriend :

            Maybe that’s the wrong word. A better way to put what I mean would be to see if we have the same timeline or bring it up in more concrete way rather than an abstract future thing.

          • The most concrete way to find out is to just ask.

            Don’t ask about his “timeline”, ask “have you ever thought of us getting married?” or some form of a vague question that, in no uncertain terms, brings up marriage/long term/forever, that is appropriate given where you both are in the relationship.

            You didn’t have it before you moved in, and the conversation needs to be had. You don’t want to find out after 2 years of co-habitation that he did not have the same intentions as you. The flip side of the coin is that by having the conversation now you could find out you’re on the same page and stop worrying!

    • Sydney Bristow :

      Before we moved in together we had a few conversations about it being a step on the path to marriage. I was clear that I wasn’t moving in if we didn’t see our relationship heading that way and he felt the same way. After that we would sometimes make comments like “when we get married” that felt very natural. Aside from the moving in conversation, it was all pretty casual and came up naturally. He said at some point that he wanted to live together for at least a year before getting engaged and we actually got engaged about 1.5 years after moving in together. That felt very natural. It didn’t feel too early or rushed, but I also wasn’t in any hurry (although completely ready and excited about the prospect).

    • Wildkitten :

      We’re not engaged and it’s not impending and we still talk about it. I want to know we are mindfully on the same page.

    • Anon engaged :

      We talked about it for a long time before it happened, I knew it was coming, and I was still surprised when he actually proposed. We probably started talking about it about 1.5-2 years into our relationship, but I think it started coming up sort of naturally. Didn’t get engaged until we’d been together over 5 years. No rush for us, but if you’re on a faster timeline maybe bring it up earlier? Why not?

    • We moved in together without any concrete plans of getting engaged or getting married, although I’m sure that both of us saw that marriage was the ultimate goal. After about 3 years of living together I asked him his timeline for getting engaged. He said “soon” which to him meant 2 years. I told him three months was much more realistic.

      A lot of this is couple-specific. How do you guys handle big decisions? Does one of you essentially make the decision and then spend time convincing the other of the rightness of that decision? How much time do you spend convincing? Does the other one eventually become convinced? Or do both of you talk things out and get to the decision together?

    • We had lived together for about a year (and been together about 3 years) before we had a talk that involved actual dates/timelines for engagement, marriage, and children, even though we had voiced mutual desire to do those things previously. We’ll be getting engaged within the next year and we’re just starting to decide on a ring budget(!). Our timeline from back then has held up. I think he thought of it in abstract terms back then, because it was a ways out, but he has gotten on board with it in solid terms the closer we get to those big things. I too am a big planner and it definitely comforted me to have a timeline, especially because at the time, neither of us were ready to get married but we both wanted to stay together. It was so long ago, I can’t remember which one of us initiated the talk, but the timing of the talk felt natural.

    • I’ve thought about this a lot lately (not dating anyone right now, so it’s completely abstract). I have known for some time and feel very strongly that I don’t want to live with someone until I’m engaged. It’s not for any kind of religious reasons and I have zero judgment of anyone who does this. It’s based on a number of reasons, but primarily that I’ve had one of those relationships where I was 110% certain he was “the one,” he felt the same (or said he did), and we talked about marriage in terms of “when” not “if.” We wanted to live together and planned to do so as soon as our long-distance ended (we started dating in the same place but he had to move away for school, and I was in school at the time so couldn’t move with him). We ended up breaking up instead of getting engaged before the distance ended. I can’t imagine how much worse it would have been if we were actually living together and I lost my *home* as well as him/our future. I’m also 31 and really want a family, and don’t want to spend years living with someone with marriage as this vague concept in the future, only to go through a breakup when it’s too late for me to have kids (whereas no pressure on him, because he can still make that happen). Finally, at 31, I have lived alone for many years and am pretty set in my home and moving in with someone would be, to me, a serious and permanent change that would happen when we’re seriously about to become a family (i.e. actually engaged). People always mention as a concern that you don’t really know what it will be like to live with someone until you do, and you should know that before you get engaged, but I don’t think that’s necessarily true. In my 3 most serious relationships we ended up sort of living together at two houses — we had stuff at each other’s place, would stay there for days at a time, etc. — and I don’t think I missed out on some sort of secret other side to the person because I wasn’t there the other 3 days a week or whatever. Anyway, I’m just wondering — how out there is this position? Do you think I’ll have trouble finding someone who feels the same way? Is this the kind of thing I should try to get a feel for early on in a relationship, like how someone feels about marriage generally/kids/etc.? Mainly just curious :)

      • TO Lawyer :

        I feel similarly – that I don’t want to live with someone till I’m engaged or married. I don’t know how out there it is but I almost moved across the country to be with a long-distance boyfriend before things ended. I would have been even more devastated had I uprooted my life before it ended. I couldn’t imagine having to deal with moving out of a place in addition to dealing with a breakup and as such, I’m not going to put myself in that sort of situation until there’s a commitment. (I know some people feel like being in a serious relationship is a commitment but I thought I was going to marry my ex and it all went up in flames so I’m not willing to make any decisions until there’s something more concrete in my future)

        • Agree here. I went through a breakup with someone who had very clearly said he intended to marry me (and whom I had no reason to doubt)…and he broke things off a few months after we moved in together. I won’t do that again until I am engaged and very, very sure that the engagement will turn into a marriage, because it compounded the nightmare of the breakup a thousandfold.

        • I agree +1 with all of you. Haveing had a long term relationship with a guy who literaly mooved into my apartement and slept over alot, leaving his dirty laundry for ME to clean for him and stinkeing up the bathroom, I swore when finally dumped him, that I would NEVER let a man moove into my apartement and make me cook and clean for him and let him stink up the toilet unless we were MARRIED. He took me for granted, and dad was right. Why buy the cow if you get the milk for free? Dad never liked any of the Sheketovitses b/c they were from the hill country and were alway’s asking me and him to do thing’s for them. Bertha was OK, but Alan and his dad alway’s asked us to drive them places (they did NOT drive) and buy them food — when cleareley they could buy things for themselfes, and it got tireing when Alan would just come over, have sex and then go to sleep and leave his dirty laundry for me to wash for him.

          Dad said I could do alot better then him, and there alway’s were men lookeing to date me, but I thought that b/c Alan was an accountent, that he would also be a good provider and father once I got pregenant. But instead of followeing through with MARRAGE, he decieded that he prefered the BOTTLE to me, so he went all the time to Garnet Liquor’s and bought wine and VODKA and other things that made his breathe stink and many time’s he was to drunk to do much more in bed then slobber all over me and then fall asleep leaveing me with virtually nothing but dirty sheet’s to clean. FOOEY on men like that! At least if we were married, I could have at least 1 or 2 babie’s by now, and if he then got drunk, I could get him out and then make him suport me and the kid’s until they were 18 year’s old. NOT that I perfer that, I want a NON-DRUNK who can provide, and now, men who are young are dumb and there are men who are to old, but the guy’s over 30 are NOT rusheing over to marry me. That is their loss, mom say’s b/c I am at the PEAK of sexueality and can be sure to satisfy virtuealy any man’s desire’s!

          If I can just find a sober rich guy to MARRY me, I would have a baby RIGHT AWAY and then we could move to Chapaqua and live Happily ever after. DOUBEL YAY!!

      • I used to be a “no living together without an engagement” believer. Then I got a boyfriend who was in a bad roommate situation, a rent I could barely afford, and, voila! I was living in sin.

        Having been there, I would not commit until I had lived with a guy. Part of the reason I ended it a year later was the fact that he was barely house-trained. He was dirty, and he sabotaged basic chores so I would give up trying to teach him.

        I am not judging you. I was you. I am just trying to present the alternative side.

      • I am the same age and same situation and agree completely. I guess this is also because I have made the move in together mistake twice before both ending badly. I avoided it the last time (but he basically lived with me anyways) and was so grateful that when he asked me to move in I told him not unless I am marrying the person. He ended up being a nightmare and I was so grateful we never moved in together and I stood my ground. I haven’t dated anyone seriously since so it’s all hypothetical I suppose. But just saying I am with ya! I am pretty easy to live with and living with the two guys I did, I wouldn’t say it opened my eyes to anything I didn’t already know.

    • hoola hoopa :

      We had a very clear intent and timeline before moving in together. We had acknowledged mutual interest in marriage, discussed future lifestyle (kids, where to live, etc), and loosely planned timing over time naturally, but we did have a specific conversation before moving in together. FWIW, the proposal was still a surprise even though I knew approx when it would happen.

      This sounds super type-A, but actually neither of us are at all. However, we’d both been badly burned in the past and weren’t going to go through that again.

    • When my boyfriend (now fiance) and I were discussing living together, we talked a good deal about what it meant for us as a couple. Living together was a BIG deal for both of us, and we agreed it meant that, provided that living together went well, we’d want to get married eventually. Being on the same page about our long-term goals for the relationship made us both much more comfortable with moving in together.

      During these “State of the Union” discussions, once it was determined that we were on the marriage path, we then set a (very rough) timeline of when we could see ourselves getting engaged. At the time, my FI said he could see himself proposing after 12-18 months of living together, both for personal & financial reasons.

      After 11 months of living together, we went to go look at engagement rings together. 12 months and 3 weeks after we moved in together, he proposed.

      Written down, it sounds pretty Type-A and overly planned, but a) I am that way and b) knowing we were on the same page about our future together was very romantic. Also, once we moved in together and it had been going well for 6+ months, I was READY to get married. Knowing that my FI had a time frame in mind for proposing made it easier to be patient and enjoy the “pre-engaged” phase while it lasted.

    • We talked about it, but after we’d been together for years–maybe 10? We dated for nine months before we lived together, but living together was partly driven by a catastrophe where he lost his job and home on the same day (Sept 11). We knew we were together for life, but we decided to get married when my Dad became terminally ill, and I realized that I was the primary earner in our family and needed to ensure my now husband was taken care of if anything happened to me. So, we talked about legal recognition for the life we were already living.

      Despite all that, it was quite romantic with a ring and bended knee proposal.

    • Perhaps I’m a bit new-fashioned, but I would be absolutely appalled (and pretty ticked off) if I were proposed to with no prior talk of engagement. Getting engaged is a two person decision, regardless of whether one person decides to pop to question.

      • Anonattorney :

        Yeaahhh, I’m in this boat, although to a slightly lesser extent. I don’t know if I would be appalled, but it would be weird to be surprised with a proposal. It’s a really big step and personally I just talk everything out — it would be very weird for me to be surprised with a decision like that.

        My husband and I were together 3.5 years when he proposed. We lived together for 2.5 of those years. We talked about getting married “at some point” about 1.5 years in, and talked specifically about getting engaged “in the near future” 3 years in. We went to look at rings at around that point to get an idea of what I wanted. He proposed shortly after. It was still insanely romantic, even though I knew it was coming (he proposed during the one vacation we had scheduled for the year, and I was 75% sure he would propose on that trip.)

    • My fiance and I moved in together quite soon after we started dating because we were moving to a new city for work together. I made it pretty clear that I wasn’t interested in just living together forever and he agreed. We had discussions about it for sure and we bought a house together before the engagement (which, looking back, seems a bit crazy). We got engaged after living together for a year and half, I think.

  4. Has anyone tried the 21 day fix and/or shakeology program? I’ve gained a little weight I’d like to deal wih and while I don’t like ridiculous diets, I’ve heard this program is more about healthy portion control & exercise. I would love to hear about anyone’s experience/thoughts. I just really need some motivation & structure at this point…

    • Anonymous :

      I personally always ignore anything that is based on an MLM scheme. If it was really that good, it would just be sold in stores or, even better, recommended by actual doctors.

      • I don’t know anything about 21 day fix or Shakeology, but I don’t think it’s fair to simply discount a product because the company chooses to use multi-level marketing to sell it. That doesn’t necessarily mean the product is bad or a scam. I know people who sell Rodan & Field’s skin care products. And while I don’t personally use them or know anything about them, they are created by doctors (the same who created ProActiv, I think) so I’m guessing there is some value to them.

        • Anonymous :

          I have no opinion on R&F specifically, but you absolutely cannot assume that a product has value simply because it was created by doctors. There is a subset of doctors (ie, not all doctors), especially among the dermatologists, who are some of the biggest money-grabbers out there. They will sell anything to make money.

    • I think it’s basically Slim Fast combined with an MLM scheme. If you’re looking for a branded diet to follow that is a less gimmicky, try South Beach or Low-GI.

      • I have an old friend on FB who is a “BeachBody Coach” and the constant selling drives me nuts. I like this woman, but can’t help but think that the MLM nature of the program is clearly a scam.

        If you really want portion control, exercise, motivation, and structure, try Weight Watchers. It is so doable and you will actually lose weight.

        • +10,000 for WW

          Sustainability is the key, and unless you plan on drinking your meals for life, that weight will come right back.

        • I think WW could help you in this situation more than some fad diet.

          It may feel strange to try a program that seems to be marketed towards people who are obese, but it’s quite effective for small weight loss as well. I had gained about 10 lbs over the course of several months and realized that my eating habits weren’t doing me any favors. I needed something to help me be more cognizant of the foods I was eating and it helped me to eat more mindfully in general (more protein and veggies, less pastries).

          The downside, however, was that I became overly focused on food and trying to save points here to spend them there. Assigning different values to foods, for me personally, led to a greater desire to have high point foods, even though they weren’t technically off limits. That could just be a personality thing though.

          • Red Beagle :

            This. I’ve done WW 4-5 times and lost weight when I have, except for the one or two times I missed the whole point of changing my eating and exercise habits for the better and instead focused on manipulating the points. Done like that, WW is as bad as any fad diet and in fact fueled my tendency towards disordered eating (long story short, several different ED’s in my teens and 20’s and somewhat into my 30s.) Currently back on WW with my husband and this time I’m (a) focusing on the big picture of a positive lifestyle change and (2) in friendly competition with Mr. Beagle and (3) finding it easier because we’re a team about not stocking the house with junk food.

            Oh, and WW isn’t just for people with a lot of weight to lose. This time around I’m going for about 15 lbs total – halfway there at 8 after about 2 months now.

        • I also have an acquaintance who is a Beach Body coach and drives me nuts with her shakeology and fitness promotions. However, it appears to have been highly successful for her to this point.

    • Not a Beachbody coach :

      Shakeology actually is recommended by doctors and clinically proven to help lose weight. It contains natural ingredients and is NOT basically slim fast. I did my research before trying it, and while it’s not the end all be all of health or weight loss, it tasted really good and was a quick, healthy breakfast option for me. Check out this video:

      I’ve done the 21 day fix and loved it. It comes with color coded containers that make portion control super easy. You calculate which calorie bracket you fit into and then it tells you that you need, for example, 4 red containers per day. Then you just fill up your red container 4 times that day with your choice of foods from the list of protein – grilled chicken, greek yogurt, etc. The workouts were each about 30 min and varied from cardio, to weights, to yoga and pilates. I liked the variance so I wasn’t doing the same thing every day. I got great results too and they lasted because I was better aware of portion sizes even after the 21 days.

      • SlimFast commercials: “A shake for breakfast, a shake for lunch, and a sensible dinner!” Shakeology, per the video: “All participants drank Shakeology for breakfast and lunch for 90 days. No other diet or exercise changes were required.” I don’t see a difference.

      • There are plenty of unscrupulous doctors who will endorse something for money. (Though many of my favorite people are doctors and they would never do this!).

    • Anonymous :

      For f*cks sake! A program requiring the purchasing and drinking of 2 shakes a day is not about “healthy portion control and exercise!” It is about SlimFast, repackaged so you feel better about it. Foolish.

      • Not a Beachbody coach :

        First of all, the 21 Day Fix program and Shakeology are different products. One can be used without the other. Second, drinking 2 shakes per day is certainly not required, nor even recommended. Let’s say you want a super healthy meal so you make a huge salad with kale, veggies, berries, nuts, seeds, whatever…then you blend it up in a blender and make it taste like chocolate. That’s Shakeology. Also, you can do the 21 Day Fix without buying or drinking Shakeology. I just did them together because Shakeology was an easy way to get in one of my protein servings.

  5. Speaking of shoes….. CH is having a 50% off clearance sale. I have these in purple – very comfy. The only con: they dye the back of your foot the color of the shoe the first few wears. They’re $45 now. Just wanted to recommend.

  6. So, my sibling dynamic has taken a turn for the talk show circuit lately. Brother 1 has a good friend that is a girl (called her one of his best friends), they tried dating, it didn’t work, and went back to being friends. Brother 1 invites Brother 2 to hang out with friends (including Girl) at the Girl’s cabin. Brother 1 finds out that Brother 2 and Girl are now dating (B2 is 6 years younger than B1). B1 is introverted and can be a little moody, and B2 is more outgoing and gregarious. So B1 is feeling betrayed by Girl (like she liked him, but the younger model had some better features), but B2 may not have known about the extent of the relationship between B1 and Girl.

    I’ve only heard B1’s side of it, and a filtered version from B2. I think B2 is being kind of stupid here, though I’m holding off on saying anything to him about it yet (we don’t talking a lot, but live in the same city), but mostly I’m mad at Girl, since she was the one with the most complete amount of knowledge in the situation.

    Anyone ever had to deal with something like this? Or have any advice on what to say to either brother? Or maybe just stay out of it altogether?

    • I recommend you stay out of it. You have nothing to do with the situation so, even though it’s your brothers, it has nothing to do with you.

      How long ago did B1 and the friend attempt dating each other?

      • Not terribly clear on the dating timeline – The filtered version (what I was told that G told B2 – so about 3rd hand) was 2-3 years ago, but B1 didn’t say one way or another.

        • Absolutely let it go then. You (and really B1 as well) have no right to be upset with anyone else in this situation.

          Can you honestly say it sounds at all abhorrent for a woman to be good friends with a guy and eventually fall for his brother several years into the friendship? Even considering the short, but decidedly unsuccessful dating stint some years back, this doesn’t seem bad for anyone involved. If your B1 is really that upset about it that you’re becoming upset about it as well, it sounds like he really needs to reevaluate his approach to friendships and life in general.

    • Anonymous :

      Please, don’t say anything.

    • You’re “mad at” Girl? Grow up!

      • Yup – I’m grumpy at her for hurting B1 and dragging B2 into it. I don’t think it’s immature to be upset when someone hurts your siblings.

        • I’m assuming they’re all adult age or close to it. Let them sort it out.

        • I think this is a normal response when someone hurts someone you love. Try to see it that way instead of “she’s a horrible person and did something wrong”

          • hoola hoopa :


            However, you should keep your mouth shut and stay out of it. Absolutely no good can come from you involving yourself in anyway.

        • Anonymous :

          Wait how did she hurt Brother 1? By tring dating him a short while, ending it, and expecting that he would also have moved on 3 years later?

  7. Stay far, far away from this.

  8. upstate anon :

    @Batgirl, I just replied, quite late, to the earlier thread.

  9. Here’s a doozy… Would you ever turn a family member into child protective services? My cousin – who lives in another state than I do – recently had a baby. She and her husband can’t even come close to affording a decent life for this child. They live with my aunt and uncle, who struggle with health issues and unemployment, and another cousin and his pregnant girlfriend (so this applies to both babies I guess), in a house that I would easily classify as unsanitary (nicest way to put it). She doesn’t work (refuses to) and her husband has a part time job that doesn’t pay enough for them to live on their own. My cousin has had mental issues in the past. It sounds awful to consider this but I think about that poor baby and the fact that she doesn’t have a chance in this life. But I wonder if CPS got involved if that would force them to clean up and make sure the child has safe living conditions. But how could I live with myself?? She has made comments to her parents (that trickled to me) about being concerned that CPS would take her baby if they ever had to get involved. To add to this, other family members in the area (other side of the family – phew!) are recovering drug addicts and/or alcoholics, and one has been incarcerated for armed robbery but recently got out. I live a nice life, three states away, and so desperately want something better for these babies…. What can I do?

    • It’s not clear that anything going on would be actionable by CPS. Being poor and slovenly is not a reason to have one’s kids taken away. Nor are past mental health issues, assuming the kids are not in danger.

    • From what I understand, being poor and refusing to work is not classified as abuse or neglect and probably wouldn’t be sufficient to involve CPS. The sanitation issue may be different, but unless they are really not caring for the child at all or abusing her, I don’t think this is something CPS would get involved in.

      • Yes, sadly, CPS is spread so thin that they are pretty powerless to do anything in all but the more horrific abuse and neglect situations. I saw this more than once when I worked in education.

        Honestly, without knowing details beyond them being poor, the house being dirty, and previous mental states, it sounds like the kids being removed from the home would cause far more trauma than their current situation.

    • Apologies to previous AFT on the handle – just was Anon for this

    • Anonymous :

      This doesn’t really sound like an issue for CPS to me. It sounds like the same conditions (if not better) that a not-insignificant share of children in this country face. Should the children have to live like this? Of course not. But I don’t really think an overtaxed CPS system is really going to be a solution here unless the child is actually being abused or neglected, which it doesn’t sound like she is–she’s just not being read to or provided organic baby food or going to mommy and me swim classes and the other kind of stuff those of us on this board might envision for our children.

      I think in this situation, the best thing you could do would provide help for your cousin–whether that’s mental health treatment to help her overcome whatever is preventing her from taking action (since it sounds like she recognizes the problem and wants to make it better), and possibly paying for a housekeeper if they’ll let you. Can you schedule Skype dates with the baby and read to her? I think things like this–community and family involvement–are more helpful than the potentially punitive and scary hand of CPS when it’s an unfortunate situation but not to a point of being a serious danger to the child.

    • Have you actually seen the house recently? Do you actually know if your cousin is being treated for these past mental health issues? Have you seen the baby or the parent’s interactions with the baby? Do you know if the baby is being seen regularly by a doctor? I don’t really want the answers to these questions, but from what you have written it doesn’t sound like you actually have any idea of what is currently going on. Also the fact that there are family members with addition problems and one that served time in jail does not mean that the parents are incapable of caring for their child. Until you really know that the child is being abused or neglected, I would try to offer support to the parents in whatever ways to can from out of state.

    • Anonymous :

      No. We do not take people’s children away because they are poor. She has found housing and a place with 6 adults in it. This is not your place at all.

      • The OP says nothing about taking the children away b/c they are poor. She references the mental health issues of the adults and unsanitary conditions. And yes, it is her place if she suspects abuse and neglect.

        I can emphasize with your situation. My cousin and her husband have 2 kids which they cannot provide for, but the issues are not monetary. She is an alcoholic, he is an alcoholic and I’m pretty sure a drug abuser, as he doesn’t bother to hide his roaches when people come over. She’s got mental health issues. He’s beaten her over the years- cops- the whole 9 yards. She’s physically fought with his family- cops called on her etc. As much as I love her she is not a competent parent. Their house is in shambles & very unsanitary. CPS has been involved- making house checks to make sure things are cleaned up and they aren’t on an episode of hoarders, anger management etc. Her doctor called CPS on them.

        CPS, respectfully, has been useless. But aside from removing the children from these conditions, I don’t know what more they could do. They both need rehab & a divorce but the State isn’t going to mandate that. It’s utterly heartbreaking for me to see these beautiful children that I love very much go through this. Don’t hesitate to call CPS b/c you think there are children who face bigger issues or they are overtaxed already. “Just a little bit” of abuse is not okay.

        Trust your gut. Call CPS if you suspect abuse and neglect- if it rises to that level. Obviously messy houses or poverty aren’t an issue for CPS. Abuse, not getting properly fed, not going to the doctor, drugs at the home- yes these are issues for CPS. Just bc thousands of children are abused and neglected doesn’t mean you shouldn’t at least try to step up.

        And maybe b/c my family are in social services, my mother a nurse, father a teacher, but I have no problem calling CPS or reporting. Yes, sometimes nothing gets done but then there starts to be a paper trail and if you deep down think something more nefarious is going on, it is.

    • I would certainly turn a family member into CPS if I thought a child was actually being abused. Having parents who are poor and share living expenses with extended family members is not abuse. Maybe spend some time reading about abuse, CPS, and/or foster care to gain some perspective on this situation.

      • +1 to everything said above , and also, I think you need to check yourself and your privilege with your idea that this baby, who just came into this world, already ‘doesn’t have a chance in this life’ because her parents are poor and are crappy housekeepers. That’s ridiculous. Will her life be harder than yours obviously was? Probably. (Though she will likely have a broader worldview which could serve her well).

        But I grew up dirt poor with a hoarder mother and I’m now a lawyer and I do just fine, thank you very much. Probably took me longer and was a lot harder than however long it took you to become whatever you are, but to write this child off as lost just because her parents aren’t well off and don’t keep a nice house is just so absurd.

    • look up the statistics of what happens to kids in foster care (all kinds of physical and worse abuse, educational outcomes, etc.). Studies have shown over and over again that kids do better staying with their family of origin except for a few extremely rare cases (which it does not sound even remotely close to what is happening here). If you involve CPS, odds are that you would make life much much worse for that baby.

      If you really want to help, put your money where your mouth is and start saving for that kid’s future- even a few thousand for an associate’s degree might be a game-changer down the road. If you don’t care enough to pay a penny towards that baby, maybe you should leave the parenting to people who do…like the parents!

      • anon for this :

        Please remember that CPS does more than just remove children-they assess risk and often put in supportive services so that parents can get help they need and kids can stay where they are.

  10. Does it look bad to wear a silk shell and a cardigan of a different material that’s more or less the same color as the shell? I’m wondering if I can do navy & navy or if the black shell navy cardigan would look better (the black and navy are sufficiently different colors that it wouldn’t look like I’m trying to match)

    • Are the navy pieces the same exact color so it would almost look like a set, just different materials? If not, I’d go with the black shell. When they’re distinct enough, I think navy and black look really sophisticated together.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      This doesn’t really work as well with different shades of black because one always just looks faded, but different shades of the same color can look great together. I like the monochromatic look.

  11. Moving in with someone? :

    Related to the question by New Live-in Boyfriend above – how do you know when it’s a good idea to move in with someone?

    Boyfriend and I have been dating for almost 2 years. Things are great; we share a lot of common values, respect each other’s interests and career aspirations, and enjoy spending time and doing things together. When I’m not traveling for work, we spend every night together. We both see this as a relationship with marriage potential.

    But – we’re both young (~25), and while we both feel good about where the relationship is going, neither of us “knows” for sure that we want to get married. The relationship has been great through everything so far, but it feels like we just don’t know enough to say with confidence that we want to spend the rest of our lives together. The current plan is that after another 2-4 years (during which we’d likely experience some transitions with leaving school / going back to school / moving / doing long distance) we’d make a call about whether to get married or go our separate ways.

    1) How wise/unwise would it be to move in together at this point? Moving in together is very tempting from the enjoyment / ability to spend more time together more easily / convenience factors, but I’m a little freaked out by all the studies showing that co-habitation before being engaged is associated with higher rates of divorce. (I may also be shaken by the fact that my parents recently got divorced.) When you move in with someone, does that make it harder to make an objective decision about whether you want to spend the rest of your life with someone?

    2) Relatedly, how do you know when you want to spend the rest of your life with someone? That seems like such a huge decision – how do you ever know enough about someone (and about yourself) to be sure you’re making the right choice?

    • As for number 2- Don’t overthink it. When you know, you just know. We’re about your age too (but have been together much longer) and I used to feel what you’ve expressed, but it came to a point where it was just the obvious and natural choice. It feels great. Make sure you’re not overlooking red flags, though.

    • For no. 1 – I really don’t buy into the whole if you live together first you’ll get divorced theory. There are so MANY ways to explain that – people who don’t live together first may be more morally opposed to divorce, may come from more traditional communities/backgrounds where divorce is frowned upon, may get divorced after living together as a married couple a bit longer … there are just so many variables! I actually just spent a whole lot of time thinking about this whole what makes something work issue and I think it comes down to respect for your partner and having good conflict solving models. There was actually an article someone posted here recently that explained it pretty well as far as the latter goes. I’m no expert, of course, but that’s what I think. The whole living together is bad thing is silly. My parents didn’t live together first and they got divorced. I have two friends going through divorces right now and if they lived together before their weddings it was for maybe a month at most. Moving in together on your wedding day is not a protective spell against breakups.

      Where I do think it sometimes makes a difference is where people get married because they’re already living together and nothing is especially wrong and it seems like the logical next step and then all of a sudden they wake up and realize they’re unhappy and want out. But that can happen just as easily in a non-cohabitating situation.

      • Sydney Bristow :

        I agree with you. I’m 100% sure that my parents would not have gotten married had they lived together first. A major, major factor was their complete polar opposite living styles. They would have saved themselves a world of trouble by living together first and realizing it could never work and it would have been easier to undo at that point instead of after being married and having kids. Obviously I wouldn’t be here if that were the case, but I absolutely learned from my parents the importance to me of living together first. Obviously that isn’t true for everyone, but it definitely was for me.

    • hoola hoopa :

      “we just don’t know enough to say with confidence that we want to spend the rest of our lives together”

      Then honestly I don’t think you should move in together. I wouldn’t overthink on (1) based on rates of divorce, but I am strongly of the belief that you shouldn’t move in with someone until you both *know* that you want to spend the rest of your life together. Do NOT do it because it’s convenient, makes logical or financial sense, or to test out marriage. Break ups are bad. Break ups when you’re living together are so, so much worse.

      As for (2), you just know. You want to be with that person every day of your life, share the good and hard times. They make your life better and you want to make their life better, too. I’m biased by my own experience, but if you have to rationalize it or think about it, then it’s not the right person.

    • Recently Engaged :

      These are such good questions. I’m not that much older than you, and I was 25 when I made the decision to move in with my then boyfriend (now fiance).

      #1 is hard to answer. My BF & I moved in together knowing that if it went well, marriage was the plan. Oddly enough, living together made me more objective about whether or not I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him. It made me take our relationship more seriously, and it made me realize that we were actually on the marriage path, so I better make sure that he’s the one I want to spend the rest of my life with. Caveat: We did not combine finances and lived in a place that he could afford on his income, so we weren’t financially tied to living together. Knowing that I could (relatively easily) pack up my stuff and get my own place and still be financially fine on my own made it easier to be objective about our future together.

      #2. Being recently engaged, I’ve thought about this a LOT recently, and I don’t want to say you’ll know, because that makes it sound like you’ll 100% know. While I think it works like that for some people, I am also a child of divorce, and I have seen firsthand that all of the “knowing” in the world doesn’t mean you’ll stay married to someone forever. I absolutely adore my fiance and I truly cannot imagine a better partner in the world for me and yet I still have moments when I wonder if we’ll hate each other in 20 years or wind up staying married for the kids or be bitterly divorced at some point. I’ve basically decided that I’d rather take the “risk” (though it really doesn’t feel that way at all) of marrying my fiance than miss out on that experience entirely. Romantic? Probably not, but it works for me. It’s also probably a good sign that I can hardly think about saying our vows during our wedding ceremony without tearing up a bit (and I am definitely NOT a crier).

      Also, it’s not perfectly applicable to your questions, but check out “Taking Marriage One Year at a Time” Modern Love piece published recently in the New York Times.

      • Your point on #2 is an important one – I remember feeling like people who got divorced must never have been as deliriously happy as I was with my husband. It just seemed impossible to me that people who felt the way we did about each other could ever end up breaking up. And yet we did. Love is a great leap without a safety net – that’s part of why it matters so much to people.

      • Sydney Bristow :

        I really like your description of #2. As a kid of divorced parents, I feel very similar.

      • I read that Modern Love piece a little while ago – really liked it!

    • Fomer Partner, Now In-House :

      Those studies are nonsense (in the lay-person sense of the word — I am not a social worker, therapist, MD, family law attorney etc). But as AIMS says, there are many reasons that the same people who might not live together before marriage might have lower divorce rates. IMHO, those reasons have little to do with what I really care about: a stable, healthy, joyful partnership. Who cares whether that includes a license? And if you have a license, who cares if no one is happy?

      Better protection against unhappy partnering: “pre-marital” (pre-cohabitation) couples counseling. Or a book-club-for-two read of John Gottman’s “Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work.” Or a serious discussion of a list of things that one should discuss with a spouse waaaay before that person becomes one’s spouse (there are many online).

      Sorry, but I just think that whole “people who wait have better lives” line is bunk.

      • Agreed. I posted above that only moving in with my then boyfriend allowed me to see his true colors. I shudder to think what would have happened had I married him before living with him. That would have been a fun first marriage.

    • Anonymous :

      No advice to offer, but I’m also interested in hearing responses to this, as I’m in a similar boat.

    • OP here – can I just say, I’ve lurked on this site for years, and this is the first time I’ve posted a substantive question. It’s such an odd feeling to see these wise women whose posts I’ve read so many times actually respond to my question! and so thoughtfully too.

      FWIW, for some reason I’m not that worried about the potential immediate fallout if it doesn’t work out. If needed, I’d be able to afford the rent for a few months on my own. And, I can’t actually see it not working out for the next year – we’ve spent enough time together that I’m pretty confident in our ability to co-habitate. One or both of us are likely to move cities in the next 1-2 years, and I can’t see any reason we would break up before then. I’m more worried that somehow moving in will be bad for long-term happiness – that it’ll be harder to end the relationship if, for some reason, it should be ended. Not sure if all this is a good sign or a bad sign.

      • Meg Murry :

        For more food-for-thought, Dear Wendy has a pretty good list of things to consider before you move in together. My husband and I didn’t do any of these things deliberately as a “must do before moving in” checklist, but most of them had occurred or been discussed.

      • Wildkitten :

        If you live together it will be harder to leave the relationship if it ends, because there would be so much more to do – find a place, pack, move. (And I say that as a non-married cohabitation – that’s not necessarily a reason not to do it, but a good reason to think about what you are doing).

      • National_Anthem :

        For what it’s worth, moving out of a shared apartment is awful. An ex-BF and I lived together for 2 1/2 years before breaking up – living together made breaking up so so so much harder than it would have been otherwise. So.much.harder. Even though I could afford rent and stuff on my own, the sorting of things and dealing with aftermath was just really unfortunate.

        That said, things could very well work out much better for you (and I sincerely hope that they do), and, as they say, we should not give up eating for fear of choking. I only chipped in because I specifically remember thinking “what’s the worst that could happen? I can afford rent for a few months!” and in retrospect the money for rent was not the largest issue.

    • Diana Barry :

      I think of 25 as plenty old enough, but I got married at 26 and knew we would get married since very early into dating…so when I was 23?

      If anything worries you about the relationship itself, I wouldn’t move in together, but if it feels right, then go for it. :)

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