Frugal Friday’s Workwear Report: Short-Sleeve Ponte Dress

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

Happy Friday! This gorgeous short-sleeve dress at J.Crew Factory (it’s a bestseller there) comes in black and gray and is getting great reviews so far. I like the sleeves, the hidden back zip, the seams, and so on, and I think it looks great. The dress is $64.50 and available in sizes 00–24, which is really nice — I didn’t realize J.Crew Factory had extended sizes. Short-Sleeve Ponte Dress

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Comments

  1. This sounds silly, but my partner’s dog is practically ruining our relationship. We’ve been together for a year and just moved in together. She has a chocolate lab, so he moved in too. I wasn’t thrilled about it. I am super allergic to dogs, he does.not.listen. (so we have to physically put the coffee table on the couch to prevent him from sitting on it, use a network of baby gates to keep him out of the kitchen and other rooms, etc. because commands don’t work), he eats my cat’s food, he makes a huge mess in general. It’s creating a lot of conflict between us. I am never comfortable at home anymore because of my allergies, and I just can’t handle it anymore. Obviously I can’t just ask the dog to move out, but if I could, I would. What am I supposed to do? Is this a breakupable thing? I love my partner and we have discussed marriage, but I can’t envision living with this dog for another 5+ years of my life.

    • Anonymous :

      Have you looked into medications/allergy shots to deal with the allergy component? That should be a pretty easy one to fix.

      And your partner should be willing to put the dog through obedience training – he should absolutely be able to follow commands. Does the dog get enough exercise?

      • Anonymous :

        Please don’t spread misinformation about animal allergies. It is not “easy to fix” for a lot of people.

        And can we also please assume that OP has tried the obvious? We’re all adults here. OP would not be posting if this were as simple as taking a Zyrtec a day.

        • BabyAssociate :

          +1 on the allergy misinformation, this really bothers me too. Allergy shots, if you’re even a candidate for them, really aren’t a quick and easy fix.

          • +1

          • +1 million. I’ve done shots for my various allergies. They brought my allergic reactions from debilitating to being manageable with a normal allergy medicine regime.

      • I second the obedience training. You can even send the dog to it alone for a week or so. That would give you a nice break, too! Then when he comes back, he will, hopefully, obey.

        • Not necessarily. Obedience training only works if the humans know how to follow-through on all of it, so this would still largely depend on her partner’s ability/interest in managing her dog.

      • Allergy shots are NOT a quick fix. My kid is on year 4 of a five-year program. He still takes Zyrtec regularly, even with the shots.

    • Anonymous :

      You guys need live live separately. I’m sorry, but moving in with a pet that your partner is super allergic to is a jerk move. There are probably things that both of you can do, like maybe you get allergy shots and your gf takes the dog to obedience school.. maybe several rounds of it. Then if both of those pan out plan to move back in together later on down the road.

    • Anonymous :

      It’s definately a conversation, and could be a deal breaker. Have you talked to her at all? Not quite “it’s me or the dog,” but discussing what isn’t working and coming up with a plan to address it. She should be willing to work with a trainer at minimum- there’s a lot of bad dog behavior, plus the stress of moving for andog.

      Allergies might be something you have to figure out/ are you willing to take shots? What were you both thinking when agreeing to move the dog in (or did the allergies surface afterward?)?

    • I think hiring a trainer to work with the dog on his behaviors would be a good option. Investigate what you might be able to do with clicker training using food rewards. Clicker training is something you and your partner could do with the dog. You could also crate train the dog so that he is not getting on furniture while you are gone during the day. Are you willing to take allergy medication? Training and meds could make this relationship doable, but you will have to decide if the dog is something you are willing to live with. Anything is “breakupable” if you don’t feel like you can deal with it in the longterm.

    • Anonymous :

      I assume you’re already taking daily allergy meds and have talked to your doctor about this and it hasn’t improved. I have severe dog allergies – not fixable with meds/shots – and I don’t date people with dogs. It sucks because I know there are lots of very nice people with dogs, it really limits my dating circle. But I don’t want to fall for someone when I know we can never live together.

      I think the dog’s behavioral issues are kind of a red herring. You and partner can take the dog to classes, even hire an in-home specialist if you need to. But I don’t see how you’re going to get past the allergy issue.

      • Anonymous :

        Or the partner issue — if she is aware, does she dismiss your side of things / minimize / just not care / just not care enough about you?

      • I think some people can get past allergies, it depends on the person. OP doesn’t say if she is already on meds or if she has tried to address this with her doctor. I think the issue here is really how you two handle conflict. This is something you can handle or break up over; the answer will vary with the relationship.

        • Baconpancakes :

          I’m allergic to cats, but my SO’s cat didn’t bother me as much, and since he’s not allowed in the bedroom, it wasn’t a problem. I take meds every day and I’ve gotten used to him to where this particular cat doesn’t trigger my allergies, but other cats still do. It’s weird.

      • I am on prescription allergy medications already and still can’t breathe in my own apartment. I’m talking, wheezing all night. My doctor has recommended against allergy shots. Where I live (Ontario) I’m not even sure they’re covered by the provincial health care plan for dogs? My doctor gave me the impression they’re not. I had stayed many times at my partner’s house before we lived together and had similar allergic reactions, but I assumed it was because her dog was allowed on all the furniture and in the bedroom (plus she had carpet!). I actually used to have a (small, non shedding) dog as a child, and though my allergies were present, they were fine. I was surprised by just how bad things are with this particular dog. We have tried two sessions of training already. Dog is extremely stubborn and does not seem to care to follow commands at.all. Especially if for iOS is around, he does not listen to a word my partner says. I have discussed both allergies and training with my partner and she has a « we’ve done all there is to do » attitude. Easy to say when you’re used to the bad dog behaviour and aren’t the one with the allergies.

        • Autocorrect got the better of one sentence, which should say “especially if FOOD is around.” If there is food on the counter or any surface, he will eat it (off a kitchen table, off a counter, etc).

          • OP, this sucks but I honestly don’t think that “we’ve done all there is to do” is a workable attitude or one that is healthy in a long term partner. I would tell her that the current set up is not working for you and ask her what she wants to do going forward. I am someone who generally doesn’t look favorably on people who make ultimatums and would not take well to someone telling me “it’s me or your cat/dog” but I also would never act the way your partner is acting in this situation. I think her attitude more than anything else is your biggest issue.

          • Senior Attorney :

            What AIMS said.

            This would not be an acceptable living situation for me. And yes, to me this would be a breakuppable thing.

        • Anecdata, but my sister is generally allergic to dogs but her experience has been that the severity varies quite a bit by breed. With some dogs she can just take a zyrtec and it’s fine. With others, no amount of allergy medicine will allow her to breathe through the night. It has something to do with the specific dander they produce I think. Labs she a _ton_ and have pretty oily fur since they’re bred to be water dogs.

          Honestly, I would move out over this. I wouldn’t end the relationship, but I’d move out. It’s no one’s fault you have a severe allergy to her particular dog, but you do and there’s no reason you should be miserable and unable to breathe in your own home. Your partner will probably take it personally, but if you can’t breathe you can’t live together.

          • Yes, people do live separately over allergies. There is no rule that says you have to live in the same place to be in a relationship, and it’s not a dealbreaker for everyone.

        • BabyAssociate :

          I’d say the dog needs to go, or you live separately. You absolutely should not have to put up with this level of discomfort in your own home!

          • Vicky Austin :

            +1. Perhaps you can rehome Dog with nice people nearby where Partner could go visit him and you wouldn’t have to go along.

        • by two sessions of training, do you mean two rounds multiple sessions or just two individual times? I would think you’d be looking at least two sessions a week for multiple weeks to see progress.

          Has the trainer worked with you in your home? Labs are normally so trainable, I can imagine it must be super frustrating that there is no progress.

        • The issue here isn’t really about your allergies… well, not exactly. Yes, that part matters, but it sounds like there could be changes to help mitigate that if the dog was well behaved… but that’s not the issue either. The issue here is that your partner hears you wheeze and hears your frustration and then not only does nothing to help but makes it sound as if you are being unreasonable. That’s borderline gaslighting there.

          Why would you consider staying with someone who has made it clear that your need to breathe and your need to feel at home when at home are less of a priority than trying to train the dog, make changes in the home, etc.?

          If it were me, I’d point this out to my partner, explain that the breathing, the untrained dog, and their lack of work in trying to fix this is causing me to question the relationship’s long-term potential. I’d say that this cannot continue and I’d ask whether they think it’s a better idea for them to work with me to take serious steps to change the situation or if I should prepare to move out. I might say that I am open to continuing the relationship after moving out and that we can revisit the idea of living together once there’s a clear pattern of dog behavior and allergen mitigation. If the partner doesn’t immediately start to make changes without your prodding them further to do so, that’s a sign that you deserve better. If they do begin to make changes, you can reevaluate the plan moving forward.

          Either way, I’m so sorry you’re going through this, I know none of the options feel good to your heart. <3

          • Thank you for this. I realize that in a certain way, this problem seems unfixable. And people are probably wondering “why did you post?” I posted because it seems beyond belief to me that I finally meet the person I want to marry, and it’s a DOG that is going to potentially break us up. She listens to my concerns and seems to understand them, but the follow through is not there. She tells me she has tried so much to train this dog, and that he is just stubborn. Based on what I’ve seen, I believe her. And I can see why she just gives up after the 10th time of saying “out” in 10 minutes, instead of saying it a 11th, 12th, or 13th time. But I just can’t live like that. So I face the terrible situation of continued trying to train the dog when it doesn’t seem to be working (which I think would help mitigate the allergies), or asking my partner who I love dearly to move out? This sucks so much. I almost just needed a space to vent.

          • Full of ideas :

            Brush the dog with a loop metal brush outside 3-5x week to cut down on shedding. Vacuum daily or get a Roomba. These things can make a big difference allergies wise.
            Also, the dog is not trained and saying something over and over isn’t helping. Get the dog trained – they have classes that meet outdoors, which would be good for you! But if you both train the dog, the results will be worth it!

          • I don’t think this is an untrained dog. Sounds like this dog was trained… to be allowed on the furniture, beg at food, etc., in its former environment. To retrain a dog with these long-standing habits is incredibly difficult (impossible?). I don’t think it’s reasonable to expect the dog to change.

            To be clear, I’m team “you or the dog” and that this is is potentially a break-up-able offense/situation, but I don’t think retraining the dog is a fair expectation of you or your partner.

          • This is probably unpopular but would she consider giving up the dog? Yes, pets are a responsibility, etc. but I can’t imagine choosing a pet over the love of my life. People give up pets for kids, so…….

          • The idea has crossed my mind recently. The thing is, unless she offers that as a solution, I don’t think I would ask. I would worry that it might lead to resentment, and even if it was her idea, I also think we would be judged harshly by our friends and family. Things are honestly terrible between me and my partner right now though. Like, literally getting crazy. I got home before her the other day. The dog was limping a little bit. I warned her that this was the case before she got home. When she got home, she asked “so what happened?” I explained I had no idea. Cue a half hour long conversation where she was basically accusing me of having kicked (or otherwise hit or harmed) the dog. I do absolutely dislike the dog at this point. But I would never hurt him and the fact that she thinks I would just underscores how toxic this has gotten for both of us. I have not done anything ever to suggest I have any aggression towards him in me, but she just knows I’m at my wits end.

          • The quality of commercial dog training varies widely, and the market isn’t great at sorting that out, so I don’t think flunking a training program means anything. Most dogs are both trainable and retrainable (though perhaps not with exclusive positive feedback approaches); I really doubt this dog is just that “stubborn.” The question is whether this dog’s owner is willing to change, since the dog is doing exactly what it’s being rewarded for doing currently!

          • Senior Attorney :

            I used to be married to somebody who was so great, except when he was doing the things that we so awful. He would listen to my concerns and seem to understand, and then he would do the awful things again. And again. And nothing ever change. And he said he was trying but nothing ever changed.

            And finally one day I realized that this was going to be my life, and he understood perfectly well what I needed, and he was unable or unwilling to make it happen. And I left. And my life is so much better now that I feel like I should be pinching myself.

            It does suck but I am a firm believer in “the relationship stands or falls on the worst parts.”

          • She accused you of hurting her dog? This relationship is over. Move out

      • Agree with this. The dog can be trained to behave better. But a severe allergy isn’t something that could or should be overcome. I have a severe allergy to cats and I would never date a cat owner. It’s just a dealbreaker for me because I know I can never live with a cat and I can’t expect someone to get rid of a beloved pet.

    • Anonymous :

      Your partner needs to take the dog to training classes. Most problems with dogs are due to the owner, not the dog. Is she walking the dog enough? Giving positive reinforcement? Yes, I think this is a breakupable thing if she isn’t listening to you and respecting your health. I would never suggest getting rid of an animal and it may not come to that but if you aren’t able to manage your allergies otherwise then it might be best for the dog.

    • lawsuited :

      Are you still suffering after employing all possible allergy strategies (medication, air purifier, pet vacuum)? In general, I think if you’re not compatible with a potential partner’s pets/kids, then you’re not compatible with the potential partner.

    • Could the two of you move to a house with a backyard, where you could let the dog spend most of his time in the backyard?

      • That’s not fair to the dog, and OP mentioned she’s in Ontario (me too)- it’s winter 8 months of the year here.

        • um, where on earth in Ontario are you? I’ve live in both Ottawa and Toronto areas. Unless you are way up north, winter in Ontario is like 3 months max. I’ve owned Labradors my whole life in Canada, they can easily be outside March- June (July/August is iffy depending on heat warnings) and September – November as well. Backyard is a good solution for next couple months while they figure out training options. Dog also needs to be tired out with more exercise. Labs can be high energy and need lots of exercise. Morning walk for a half hour plus evening walk for an hour should help with behaviour.

          • I wouldn’t do those months down south here in Chicago. This is horrible advice. And temperatures aside, she would be kinder giving it away than leaving it with no attention all day after it has been a house dog.

    • Maybe you didn’t share it all here, but what has been done so far to correct some of this besides rearranging the furniture? Training classes, increased exercise/daycare for the dog, better grooming and diet to reduce shedding, air filters and a better vacuum, moving the cat food? Is medication an option for you? Both of you will need to be on the same page with the dog training and be consistent with the dog. A lot of these behaviors can be corrected. But, there is also a certain level of noise/mess that comes with various pets that you both have to figure out how to make it work. I’m a dog person so I have a decent tolerance for noise and mess that can come with dogs. But, I’d have to adjust if we brought a cat into our lives because I am much less tolerant of litter tracked all over my bathroom and hacked up hairballs.

    • If you’re just not a dog person, then unfortunately, you need to break up.

      In my last relationship, he professed to be a dog person, but ultimately if it involved any work on his end, he was not. If you want to make this work, it’s not just a matter of your partner working with the dog, you need to as well. My dogs behaved perfectly for me, but my partner never worked with them, wouldn’t learn to give basic obedience commands that the dogs understood, left food on the coffee table (nose height) and would leave the room, expect a dog to read his mind and *could not grasp* the fact that he was the one with the thumbs and needed to step up.

      The tl;dr is that unless you’re willing to accept the dog as “our” dog along with the work that entails medically and behaviorally, then you are probably best to break it off sooner rather than later.

    • Anonymous :

      At a minimum, the dog needs some kind of obedience classes and your cat needs protection.
      Make sure there is a space where the cat can eat, sleep, and use the litterbox with no threat of the dog. I’ve seen cats get really messed up psychologically from living in places where they feel threatened and it sounds like this is what’s happening.
      You didn’t say if you live in an apartment or a house, but if you live in a house with a yard, the dog needs to go in the yard pretty often to get out some energy. If you live in an apartment, the dog needs to be walked frequently for the same reasons. A tired dog that has plenty of exercise is usually a calmer dog.
      Personally, I think allergies make the biggest difference here. You need to be able to breathe in your own home. You can look into HEPA filters, anti-allergen shampoo, and maybe even allergy shots if that’s an option for you, but ultimately it’s your partner’s responsibility to keep her dog from making your living space unbearable. If your health and comfort in your own home isn’t a priority for her, I’d say that’s “breakupable,” regardless of if it’s the dog that’s causing it.

    • Is the dog super young? It would be one thing if the dog was a puppy and just hasn’t been properly trained yet, there’s still hope for the dog to become better behaved after some obedience classes, or sessions with a trainer. If the dog is already a few years old, it’ll be much harder to break some of its bad habits, like getting up on the couch and generally ignoring commands. Some things you can’t change; if you put cat food (or human food, or any food really) down where a dog can get it, the dog will eat it, training a dog to leave food alone is super hard – now, if the dog is “counter surfing” or grabbing food off tables, that’s an issue that training might be able to fix. Also, you can’t train a dog to stay out of certain rooms, if there’s a place you don’t want the dog to go, you’ll pretty much always need barriers, like closed doors and baby gates.

      I know this isn’t helpful but I have to say it, moving in was a bad idea. I get being in love and wanting to take that step, but unless she just got the dog, you knew she had a dog, and surely you’d been around it enough to know how allergic you were and how badly behaved he was, you should have at least had a plan to mitigate those issues, like you undergoing immunotherapy and her taking the dog to obedience classes, before moving in. It would be silly to move out now after all that work to move in, so take these steps now, but there may come a point where you’re miserable and nothing seems to work, and you may need to end it.

      • Lifetime dog owner here. Don’t listen to And Peggy, she’s probably had difficult animals. A dog can be trained not to do all the things And Peggy said they can’t be trained to do (especially not going into certain areas of the house, not getting on furniture, not countersurfing, and you can train them to ignore food not meant for them), but you can be limited by the individual intelligence and stubbornness the dog. You should at least try a good trainer – most bad dog behavior is due to the owner, not the dog.

    • BabyAssociate :

      Honestly, I do think this is a breakupable thing. I can’t imagine being that physically uncomfortable in your own home! I’m allergic to dogs too and like Anon 9:35 generally won’t date people who have them. Did you have a discussion about what would happen with the dog before you moved in together?

    • I don’t think the issue is the dog. The issue is your partner’s lack of respect for you. You have an allergy, there is no way that dog should be up on the sofa or in the bedroom. Every time the Labs are very very trainable but the owner has to be willing to put in the work. I’d suggest doggy daycare everyday and your partner working with a trainer, including in your home, to train the dog.

      Our dogs were trained not to get on the sofas or beds but we did have a stair gate so we knew they couldn’t sneak upstairs and sleep on the beds in the daytime.

      Is the dog crate trained? That may be another option for when you are home.

      On the allergies, take reactine/claritin daily or whatever for now. It’s not uncommon for people to build a tolerance to pets they live with even if they are still reactive to other animals. So you may not need to be on medication long term.

      • Idk that I’d blame the partner here. OP obviously knew partner had a dog…unless the extent of the allergy wasn’t clear beforehand?

        • As I said above, extent of allergy wasn’t clear before. I have been around dogs my whole life, my family even owned a dog. I have dog sat for friends. It has never been like this, probably because this breed is particularly bad for hair/dander and this dog is WILD. He is 7. Partner agrees that dog shouldn’t be in bedroom, on couch, eating my cat’s food, etc. but she is not consistent with correcting when he does those things. I am the « disciplinarian » (not really, but for lack of a better word) of her dog, because the stakes are higher for me (if he sleeps on the couch, I can’t). I am also more committed to trying positive reinforcement (like, asking him to sit and stay outside of the kitchen while we’re cooking and rewarding him when he actually listens). He literally needs to be told the same thing over and over and over (if we’re cooking dinner he will enter our tiny galley kitchen through the one entrance that isn’t babygated like 15 times). She just gives up. I don’t even know if there’s hope for this dog. He has no eagerness to please.

          • At age 7 he will be hard to train. I would say the biggest issue in training would the lack of consistency from your partner. They need very very consistent messaging, especially if what they are being taught is the opposite of what they have lived with their whole life. Getting him to stay off the couch is like getting you to learn to stand up in a moving car, it’s against your instincts for what’s okay, so it would take a lot of practice to feel comfortable. If the dog has to be physically removed from the couch 25 times in a hour, that might be what it’s like for a week or so before he gets the message. He needs to be removed every single time. For the kitchen, you will likely need to gate for a while, possibly always.

            Not sure if it matters, but labs don’t live much past 10 in many cases so it’s unlikely you’re in for 5 years of this.

          • I don’t know a thing about the allergy side of it, but a few thoughts on the dog part of this equation:

            Start with more exercise. Start any obedience session with a brisk walk or jog. Take the edge off.

            Beyond that, yes you do have to tell dogs the same thing over and over and over until it finally clicks. Dogs as a rule, don’t generalize well. In other words, at first, “sit” in the kitchen at noon is a totally different command from “sit” in the living room at 8AM, is totally different from “sit” outside on the grass. As for figuring out what motivates him, every dog is different. For some it’s a ball, for some it’s a cookie, for some it’s ear scritches and for others, it’s none of these things. You’ll need to figure out what it is. No dog just completely doesn’t GAF. This may out me, but for one of my dogs, the super-duper high-value paycheck that 100% gets her attention is marshmallow peeps. We don’t use them often, but when I need something high value, that’s it. Another one will practically stand on her head for tinned mandarin oranges. My first dog practically had to be tricked into thinking what I wanted him to do was his idea. If you guys are serious about sorting this out, this is the train of thought that will get you there, but it’s not a quick fix. Check out Patricia McConnell’s “The Other End of the Leash”.

          • It really sounds to me as though this dog is just behaving rationally. It’s not “stubborn” to ignore a command if you know that ignoring it will get you want you want, right? Pet training isn’t about communication (saying the thing and being understood), it’s about incentives and consequences.

          • Anon @ 10:51 is correct. Dogs are beyond literal. My dog had to be specifically trained not to go into each flower bed in a family member’s yard because he didn’t see why being told no you can’t go dig here meant you also cant go digging in the identical space next to it. It’s dull, tedious work training dogs & mine is quicker than many. There are people who inherently get animal psychology and enjoy it, but it sounds like at a minimum you could both do some more reading about all this.

          • But yeah, isn’t it stubbornness?…because I’ve been exposed to a LOT of dogs (and other animals, like horses) in my life. And at a certain point, all of the animals I’ve personally been around have seemed at least a little motivated by pleasing their owner. I’ve never encountered a dog that needs to be told 15 times in 15 minutes not to enter a kitchen. Day after day after day. It’s not even a different kitchen, or a different door. It’s the same situation every day. This dog just does not gaf.

          • I am sure the dog does like to please and displayed a lot of willingness to please via behaviors at a younger age. But the owner is sending mixed messages. The messages cancel out, so the dog ignores them. The owner created this situation. I promise you, it would be the same with a different dog.

          • OP: be careful about attributing human emotions and motivations to animals. “Stubbornness” in the sense that it is displayed by humans (i.e., willful refusal to do something that you know it wants you to do) doesn’t really exist in animals. And to the extent a desire to please exists, it’s entirely driven by conditioning. So if your partner never imposed any behavioral boundaries on the dog, the dog learned that it did not have to do anything to receive food/affection/etc. The fact is that now you want it to do certain things (reasonable things!) in order to receive food/affection/etc. This is not how the dog has been conditioned to behave, and it will have to be reconditioned along those lines.

            So the reason the dog won’t leave the kitchen is because the dog has never been taught that it needs to obey that command in order to receive rewards (of food, love, etc.). The dog does not inherently know what “leave” means. It has to be taught.

            My dog has been taught to come when I tap my knee. He hasn’t been taught to come in response to “come.” My mom is very confused about why he won’t come when she says “come.” But dogs don’t speak English. He doesn’t associate that command with an action. She might as well be saying “eggplant” for all that he knows.

            (I am currently teaching him to come in response to “come,” btw. He’s a fast learner, but it’s still going to take a few weeks of very consistent practice. My dog is easy to train, though, because essentially from birth he has been trained to do various things in return for rewards of food, scritches, etc.)

          • No, it’s not stubbornness. You have a dog with too much energy and no structure, an owner who is inconsistent and another person in the house who dislikes him. That’s a recipe for failure if there ever was one.

            Unless you and your partner are willing to have a hard reset of the relationship with the dog and each other, this isn’t going to work.

            Honestly, I feel bad for the dog. He has zero clue what is expected of him and nothing he does is right and half the household dislikes him. I’ve had jobs like that and it sucks, but unlike this dog, I could quit my job and leave.

          • Anon, I completely understand what you’re saying and I feel bad for the dog too. But you’re being a bit hyperbolic when you say “nothing he does is right”. Actually, I do regularly reward him for good behaviour. We have also tried positive reinforcement and consequences to keep him off the couch/out of the kitchen (for like, months, everyday) and so I think he does actually know (or is getting to know) what’s expected of him. When we got home last week and he was sitting on TOP of the upside down coffee table on the couch, he immediately darted off because (I’m assuming) he knew that it was unacceptable before we even needed to say or do anything.

          • Anonymous :

            The way you are talking about this dog makes it sound like you expect him to have read Kant! I agree that The Other End of the Leash might be a good read. I also think you might be displacing some of your (in my view well-founded) frustrations with your partner onto the dog. I’d really encourage you not to place blame on the dog who truly sounds completely normal as untrained dogs go.

    • My husband and I had a similar issue when we first moved in together. He had taken in a very young lab mix from someone who could no longer keep her prior to us meeting. He never spent time training her and often left it in the care of his elementary school age nieces since he traveled a lot for work.

      By the time I moved in the dog was about 2 years old and was a terror. She wasn’t aggressive with people but she was very destructive with furniture and would often “break out” of the house by chewing through screens and doors and digging under fences.

      Training was discussed, but he never followed through with scheduling sessions with a trainer. It ultimately became a decision I had to make- either I spend all the time and effort training the dog myself (knowing that he would not participate much) or we find her another home. Ultimately she ended up going to live with his brother and has been happily spoiled by the nieces ever since. She has had 8 wonderful years of constant attention from two little girls that included everything from costume parties to nail painting.

      Looking back now this was a major preview of how my husband and I would be handling future issues- and the issues that we are now discussing in marriage counseling. Take note on how your partner works with you to resolve this problem. If they avoid dealing with the problem or are unwilling to invest time and energy into finding a solution to balances both the dogs needs and your needs- this will eventually spill over into other areas of your relationship.

      • “If they avoid dealing with the problem or are unwilling to invest time and energy into finding a solution to balances both the dogs needs and your needs- this will eventually spill over into other areas of your relationship.”

        100% agree with this.

      • New Job Who Dis :

        this is an enlightening story.

        It’s not about the dogs. or the children, or the messes etc. it’s about your partner and how two people as a unit deal with conflict — both parties. this kind of problem seems like it will require very serious conversations. and just because you just moved in together doesn’t mean that it cannot be undone.

      • We have 2 dogs and if you both are consistent with training and expectations, you will get results to a certain degree. I don’t know of anyone who has successfully trained a lab to not try to eat food that is accessible because they’re so highly food motivated, I think the other training issues can be corrected. If your partner has decided the dog is un-trainable and willing to live with their bad behavior, I think it’s time for you to decide whether this is a deal breaker for you.

    • I’ve had labs for most of my life. They cannot be expected to behave if they do not get enough exercise daily. My labs run at least 3 miles with me in the morning, take a walk with my husband in the afternoon and run circles around our back yard. However, if the weather interrupts their activity level, there is a noticeable change in their behavior.

      Training is key – but keeping a dog in doors all day will sabotage any level of training. The training facility we use is also a doggy daycare and boarding facility. We sent our labs off for week long training at about a year and then they get refresher courses when we are on vacation. Prior to every training session, the trainers bring them to a field with a tennis ball launcher. (It’s actually pretty hilarious to watch!) When we return, we have a training session with the dogs to see what they’ve learned….and to train the humans to give the proper command.

      Also, cat food is dog kryptonite – regardless of the breed. We have an automatic cat feeder that dispenses only an ounce at a time and keep it on the highest counter in the utility room. The dogs still stalk it daily….

      • this is great advice.

        Agree that labs are food obsessed so keeping him away from the cat’s food will likely always be an issue but it’s mitagable.

    • Honestly, your partner sounds like the typical badly behaved dog owner that seems to be so present these days. You are literally suffering in your own home and your partner isn’t moving heaven and earth to change that, not even through the smallest, lowest-cost actions. Are you sure you even want to be with someone like that?

      • I don’t think any of these solutions are “easy fixes.” We have a friend with a very badly behaved dog that had gone through all kinds of private sessions and boarding school, etc. Boarding school alone was $3000, and the dog now wears an electric shock collar and still isn’t great 100% of the time.

        I also want to add on– are you sure you’re allergic to the actual dog? I thought I was allergic to dogs my entire life and have realized that I’m actually allergic to pollen that gets caught in their fur/hair, so smaller/long-hair dogs have always bothered me more. I currently have a dog, and she does not bother me if she’s just been bathed. If something is blooming that I’m allergic to and she’s been outside, she makes me crazy allergic. To the point where I will not wear the same clothes that she has touched me in to bed.

    • Break up. Or if you really can’t – can’t you “get rid” of the dog?? She comes home one day and it’s just gone – oh must’ve gotten out, must’ve gotten onto the road etc.

    • It doesn’t sound silly at all! It sounds hard and I’m sorry.

    • honestly, your partner sounds SO SELFISH. How is it possible that she can listen to you wheezing all night and not be mortified? I am horrified that she is just totally cool with having you be so uncomfortable. That right there is the dealbreaker for me. Regardless of training or allergy shots or whatever specific steps, the fact that she just waves her hands and gives up WHILE YOU CAN’T BREATHE is terrible in every way. This is not a partner with which to build a future.

      • Rainbow Hair :

        I agree with this (and this comes from a die-hard cat lover who reminds her husband, “I had [cat] before I had you!”) … if she isn’t feeling the same agony that you are, OP, where is her empathy? I don’t know what the solution is, but she absolutely needs to be acting like this is *her* problem as much as (if not more than!) it is *your* problem. I just hope she’s posting somewhere that she’s heartsick because she can’t figure out a way to make her partner comfortable while also keeping her beloved doggy. If she isn’t feeling that way… I think you need to think about what that means.

    • This isn’t silly. It’s a really difficult issue and there are no easy answers.

      If you want to stay together, the dog needs training. And what this really means is training for you and your partner. You need to understand what to expect and how to work with the dog. Like an above poster said, labs need exercise and you can’t train a bored, frustrated dog to sit on the floor all day. This means daily (and maybe multiple) walks and playtime. You need to make accommodations for the cat food. You need to find a way to feed your cat so the dog can’t access it. It’s unreasonable to think you can train a dog to never eat delicious, available food (think of how many people dip in the office candy bowl even if they’re on a diet). You need a good trainer who will work with the dog, you, and your partner. And you and your partner need to be in full agreement on the training. It isn’t going to work if you’re strict and partner lets the dog on the couch, etc. The dog needs absolute consistency (it’s untrue that you can’t teach older dogs, but it’s obviously confusing to a dog that a behavior that was perfectly acceptable for years is now off limits). And make training fun (with play and treats to motivate your dog). I have a lab and clicker training with treats worked best for me. It helps if you’re training a dog to do something (e.g. lay on the dog bed as opposed to don’t get on the couch). A good trainer is invaluable so do your research and don’t skimp. For your issue, I’d spring for personal training, not simply an obedience class.

      If that doesn’t work, you need to decide if you’re willing to keep suffering (doesn’t sound like a good option to me, but it’s your life) or if the dog needs to move out (and I’m guessing partner will go too and it might lead to a break up).

    • I know this is late in the game, and you may not see this, but OP, you have a relationship problem, not a dog problem. Your partner, who you lvoe enough to want to spend the rest of your life with, doesn’t care about the following:
      1) Your need to BREATHE and feel comfortable in your own home
      2) That the dog needs to be trained, regardless of your allergies. Living with an untrained dog is unacceptable, for anyone.
      3) How her untrained dog and it’s affect on your HEALTH makes your life miserable.
      4) She actualy accused you of animal abuse. I hope you realize that she’ll do this everytime you raise a problem with the dog.

      Also, two sessions with a trainer is not enough, especially for a dog who has been undisciplined for most of it’s life. You can’t jsut point out the door and say “Out” and expect it to udnerstand what you want, even if you repeat it 50 times. You need the long-term help of a good trainer and your partner needs to put in the hours/days/weeks/months/years of hard work and consistency it will take to retrian the dog. Your situation particularly makes me mad because I have a dog and I did put in, and still put in, the time and money to make sure he’s well behaved, especially when I moved in with my partner. Please know that if you break up, it will because your partner didn’t care about your needs enough to make even a bit of effort into making your living situation tenable. It won’t be because of the dog.

    • Dogs are pack animals. And packs have a pecking order. In the pack of you, your partner, the dog and the cat, the dog is in charge.

      Any training needs to be done with the intention of teaching the dog its place in the pack, below you and your partner (I’d let the dog and the cat work out their own hierarchy–usually the cat rules). You and your partner eat dinner, then the dog gets his. You and your partner sit on the sofa, the dog gets a nice dog bed on the floor.

      It’s little things–make the dog sit while you put their food bowl down for a meal. If the dog moves as you bend over, you return to a standing position and wait for the dog to sit again. Start to put the bowl down again. If the dog moves, you return to a standing position. It took a very food-motivated, very stubborn, and not-terribly-bright Dalmatian two days (total of 4 feedings) to learn that he would get the food faster if he just sat still. Labs are pretty intelligent dogs–this one gets away with things because he knows he can.

      The Dalmatian took 12 hours to learn that if he wanted a treat, he had to sit and shake hands. By the end of the first day, he was going over to the cabinet that held the treats, sitting and waving a paw in the air, begging for a treat. It can be done. But someone has to really want to do it.

      Find some books by the monks of New Skete–the monks breed German Shepherds and have some good books about training dogs.

    • Consider an indoor Petsafe Pawz Away barrier. You can put multiple ones out where you don’t want the dog to be. And, if you really are hypersensitive, you can also carry one around with you in your back pocket to give yourself a 3 foot radius. The dog wears a collar and is corrected when they go where they are not supposed to be — first with a beep and then with electric stimulation, which you can turn up or down to ensure sufficient, meaningful correction.

  2. Can anyone recommend a pair of flattish booties that has a very small ankle opening? I’ve tried on a bunch of pairs and it seems like the ankle openings tend to almost start in the middle of the foot, which makes me walk out of them.

    • Clarks- I have something very similar to this (bought it last year) and wore it just about every day last winter from November to April. I’m also a bike/train commuter so I got some real use out of them.
      https://www.clarksusa.com/c/Hope-Track/p/26137875

    • Anonymous :

      Spendy, but aquitalia are the only ones that work for my Olive Oyl lower legs.

    • Anonymous :

      Have you tried Blondos? Their waterproof booties are pretty close to the ankle – which you’d expect from waterproof footwear.

    • My favorite are Splendid Hamptyn – I don’t see them on their website now but there are some on 6pm.

    • The UGG Bruno Ankle Bootie is a bit taller than a typical bootie which should help.

    • Also spendy, but I have a pair of La Canadienne chelsea boots that are exactly as you describe – tightly closed around the ankle. They’re also waterproof and incredibly warm – they’ve kept my feet toasty and dry through two cold Ontario winters so far and show no signs of slowing down!

    • The Row Fara boot, Alexander Wang Kori, Steve Madden Dover, Italeau Miralda, Munro Lexie

      • I thought the Everlane ones were pretty small openings. I also have a really old pair from Rieker that work.

    • Ecco sculptured boot–any of the low styles. They look like a bit of a heel, but they actually feel to me like 1.5″ at most. This is similar to but not exactly the pair I have:
      https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00A2Z27V8/ref=twister_B00A9NIKLE
      They are blissfully comfortable and cut quite close to my narrow ankle. They are the only low boots I have that look nice with pencil skirts–the narrow ankle opening makes all the difference.

  3. Brass Clothing :

    I keep getting ads for this company and I’m intrigued, especially by the Essential Dress. I like that it’s washable. Does anyone have experience with this company? Thanks!

    • Yes! I just bought some Brass stuff and it was really great. The tops were a little short my Comfort, but the dresses were great.

  4. pugsnbourbon :

    Does anyone have this dress and can speak to the length and the fit in the shoulders?

  5. Toxic office pattern :

    What advice or support can I give to a friend who consistent finds every office is a toxicly bad fit? She especially hurting right now because at her own office bday potluck (mandatory) she was basically ostracized, and there wasn’t a single dish that accommodated her common dietary restriction. But the much bigger problem is that her performance is often evaluated, at least informally, by people who basically hate her guts.

    I don’t really understand why, even after watching it happen for years I’ve been close with this freind, and we’ve work together in several offices too. She’s always been a very compassionate listen and the kind of person who genuinely wants to help. Over years of working in customer service, she’s gotten exceptional good at friendly, chatty, small talk.

    One of the social divides is that she doesn’t drink- but she tries to bridge that by sometimes going to happy hour anyway. Part of it is probably also that she has different taste in music, tv, etc. When she didn’t flip the radio dial fast enough in the car, a coworker commented, “eww, you listen to that?”

    Sometimes I have to use the, “okay, I’m setting a timer for how long you can vent about work.” And more and more often, she just doesn’t call, because she doesn’t want to dump on anyone about it. So, this isn’t a typical “set boundaries with your friends” dilemma.

    I really wish I could actually help, and I’m fairly certain she would be open to advice too.

    • Anonymous :

      If she always has toxic jobs, could it be that maybe the problem is her/her perceptions/how she interacts with people and not the jobs? I mean, who is so unlucky that they have a series of jobs, all of which are toxic?

      • Yes, she is very aware that she is the common factor in all if these situations. But she’s run out of ideas for things to try to change, and her friends have pretty much run out of advice, without improving the situation much. Which is why I’m asking a broader pool for advice here…
        There are, actually, a lot of sh!tty jobs out there…

        • There are a lot of bad jobs, but even bad jobs aren’t toxic necessarily. Toxic, where everyone is gunning for you, and ostracising you, isn’t really that common. People may be indifferent, but not actively hostile.

        • I suggest if she can afford it to join Talkspace or better help. You can text with a therapist it can really help. You can engage in dbt with them too.

    • Anonymous :

      Well, you’ve worked with her in several of her workplaces — I take that to be at least 3. Of those three offices, WERE they toxic? Of did she just think they were? Did you notice her doing some behaviors that put off your coworkers? Did you find the places toxic, too?

      Bottom line: is she seeing her office situation accurately, or is she the source of the problem? or a mixture?

      • I do agree that they were social disasters, some more than others, of course. I got out through education and leaving town, but my freind can’t do that for financial reasons.

    • Anonymous :

      I went to therapy for my last toxic workplace. It helped me develop coping skills until I could find another (much better) fit. I think you should encourage her to do that.

      But also… it sounds like she takes things way too personally. “Ostracized” because people didn’t accommodate her dietary restrictions? Really? People just brought what they wanted to eat. If they even thought about her – I can almost guarantee they didn’t – I’m sure they assumed someone else would bring something dairy free or whatever.

      And the “eww” comment? It was a kneejerk that I’m sure the person probably felt bad about after they said it (or if they didn’t they’re just a jerk and who cares what they think). I would encourage your friend to understand that people are oblivious and it’s really not about her.

      • She probably does take things too personally.
        Buy I’m honestly kind of stunned that you don’t think someone should be hurt by that level of thoughtlessness. If your office throws a potluck, FOR SOMEONE’S BIRTHDAY, no one would think about what the birthday person could eat? No one would feel obligated to talk to them?
        Is that level of, “it’s not personal, I was just thinking about myself” really the norm, now?

        • No, it’s probably like “Jane’s a vegan, but I’ll make brownies b/c that way everyone else will have something to eat.”

        • I don’t default to thinking that people are evil or selfish.

          I think that people, even good people, are busy and distracted and aren’t likely to highly coordinate potlucks at work.

          “Someone usually brings a veggie tray; I will bring some nachos b/c that is what I am good at making that travels well and people seem to like.”

        • Yeah I don’t know about that example. I have dietary restrictions, and I do not take it personally AT ALL when they are ignored. I also hate birthday parties and birthday attention–but I realize it’s not about me.

        • On the other hand, mandatory birthday potlucks sound like hell. I bet lots of people hate it, they probably bring the same thing every time, and expecting it to be a sincere celebration of your birthday is not realistic. She needs to lower her expectations rather than get upset. I don’t know why my coworkers’ birthdays are, they don’t know when mine is, and I’d like to keep it that way.

        • What? No. She’s taking things way too personally.

        • Anonymous :

          I’m the person you’re responding too – don’t get me wrong, it’s definitely eye roll worthy. And if I were otherwise feeling kinda down, I would feel pretty hurt. But “ostracized”? I mean maybe that’s OP’s word not her friend’s but yikes. Like no your entire office didn’t conspire to make you feel bad on your birthday. Those cupcakes were not intended to be Passive Aggressive Cupcakes From Hell. Cupcakes are just cupcakes.

    • If it’s every office…could it be your friend?

      • +1

        Some people just seem to get picked on more easily. It’s unfortunate but it happens.

      • Full of ideas :

        Could it be less about your friend’s social interaction at work, and more about her actual performance? If she does sup-par work, or cozies up to the boss in an obnoxious way – co-workers might take out their frustration in this way

    • I went through this for years. I’m now in a great work environment with wonderful colleagues, but I went through several incredibly toxic offices. Like, really bad. I posted on here a while back about a female boss who physically cornered me in her office, pointed her finger in my face, kept repeating “Tell me why I’m mad at you” over and over again (to this day, I have no idea), told me to go home for the day because she wasn’t satisfied with my answer and subsequently tried to dock me a vacation day. I wound up taking medical leave with a psychiatrist’s note after that. It was awful.

      Anyway, in hindsight, I think there were a couple of big factors that turned into a perfect storm:
      1) I was picking jobs that seemed more ‘interesting’ and ‘challenging’, which in practice turned out to mean I was choosing less stable companies and ‘reach’ positions I wasn’t entirely qualified for. For this most recent job, I had the choice between two, intentionally chose the one with a more established team and product, and it’s turned out to be incredibly interesting and challenging; but I altered my priorities when making the decision and I’m so glad I did.

      2) I had some really bad generalized anxiety, which can be very self-fulfilling. It made me reactive and paranoid, meaning that every little bit of friction would get amplified. Multiple negative interactions and bits of tension build in an office (especially if there’s already an in-group!) until the organization pushes you out like a body rejecting a foreign object or transplanted limb. When I went on medical leave, I got treatment for this (including anti-depressants, which I had been avoiding because the concept scared me) and it’s made me so much less emotionally volatile. It gives me the self control to calm myself down and de-escalate situations instead of ramping them up. For instance, “eww, you listen to that?” can be taken as a personal slight and built up as yet another example of being rejected, or it could just elicit an eye roll and a chuckle with, “Yeah, don’t you *love* it?” But it’s an entire shift in mindset that needs to happen, and for me that took medication, therapy, and practice. The unfortunate part is that once the well is poisoned, so to speak, it’s really hard to backtrack, but she can work on it now and put it to use when she has a fresh start.

      I hope this is helpful to you and your friend.

      • This comment makes a lot of sense to me. Husband recently quit an incredibly toxic workplace. The reason he took the job was because he was fascinated by the project he would be working on and really wanted the challenge. He barely thought about the people or the culture or the rest of the team and that turned out to be a huge mistake. His boss was borderline verbally abusive and expected everyone to work 100 hour weeks (not in big law!!), among many other issues.

        OP you might counsel your friend to start looking for a new job and this time change how she asks about the company culture and the team she’d be working with.

      • Thanks. I’m pushing on her to make a big geographic shift, which might help, but it’s hard to do without great references.

        • If all her friends have run out of solutions, and you got out through education but she didn’t have the resources to do that, and you’re pushing her to make a big geographic change, and she doesn’t have good job references, .and she takes things too personally …it sounds like there’s a lot more going on here than that she just somehow lands in toxic environments all the time.

          If she’s generally a relationally healthy, vibrant adult with good life skills, and good job skills, and a good outlook on life, who randomly lands in awful jobs, that’s one thing. But if she’s struggling in different areas of life, and also lands in awful jobs, then that’s a whole-life issue. She should work on solving the whole-life issues, and not just the job issues.

      • Rainbow Hair :

        10:06, a lot of what you’re saying is making sense to me. I had a string of three objectively bad jobs: (1) everyone who worked under Person left within a year; (2) I shouldn’t have to help my paralegal figure out how to get a restraining order against my boss; (3) why is the admin buying boots for partner’s escort as part of her job duties? Part of that was the field, part of it was the luck of the draw (/my desperation for any employment). But also, I had bad coping skills that made it harder to deal with that stuff, harder to set boundaries (jk I just didn’t set them), harder to leave work at work, etc. I think that if I had been in therapy back then, the workplaces would have remained objectively bad, but I could’ve dealt with it from a stronger foundation.

    • This reminds me of my Mum-in-law. She is a very empathetic and lovely person, and she constantly bites off more than she can chew in the workplace. She loves challenges, but she also believes in doing everything ethically and cuts no corners, and ends up spending way too much time at work, and way too much time on projects no one in her workplace deems valuable. Because she is fantastic at what she does, her superiors are all too willing to hand over to her work that less competent employees can’t do.

      Another big part of this is her industry. She works in healthcare and it is very hard for her to find a job where someone isn’t doing some shady/fraudulent stuff in order to bill more, or pay less, or what not. And those kinds of activities attract a certain kind of individual.

      I think your friend might need an industry or location changed. People in the Midwest or suburbs or what not may seem nice, but one bad apple can spoil the whole bushel.

      Another option is for her to seek out a psychologist or counselor who might be able to help her work on her self esteem, or discuss just in general her co-workers and help determine how much, if any, of whats happening is in her head, or her doing. I went to a counselor in grad school and the best thing he said to me when I was having trouble making friends in my small program was “fuck em” and go find other friends. The problem wasn’t with me, but with them. But that is something she might need to hear from a professional, rather than a friend.

    • To me it sounds like she’s trying to be too close to her coworkers. Maybe the toxicity comes from being in one of those “family-style” offices where people are “friends” instead of a more professional environment. Why was her coworker in her car? Why is she having these types of interactions?

      My boss doesn’t remember that I have to eat with dietary restrictions but I don’t hold it against him. Shrug and move on.

    • Is the music stuff a cultural or religious thing? Or is it a taste thing, like she’s listening to Yoko Ono or something?

    • She sounds way too sensitive and will never have a good experience until she reframes her expectations. I’m sorry but not having your diet accommodated at a potluck (mine never is) and having someone say “Ewww” about your radio station are garden variety. She really needs to be able to either shrug things off or create bonding experiences from things like that. What’s wrong with “Hey. Don’t hate my country music during your free ride!”

      • It is hard when an office has a friends and family culture that also values homogeneity. Fit issues are real. But “not fitting in” is different from “having your guts hated.” Instead of making any attempts to fit in, can she completely let go of that desire and cultivate a persona that gets a pass without actively annoying anyone?

    • There is a type of person who likes to hurt other people. When someone shows that they don’t like the teasing/bullying/baiting, this type of person enjoys attacking that person often.

      Growing up, I encountered a lot of those people. And I learn to show nothing when my feeling were hurt. The less emotion you show, the less they tease/comment/joke about you. They gain something from these encounters, or they wouldn’t keep behaving this way.

      Your friend might benefit from some counseling on how to handle this type of behavior from others. Not long-term therapy, but a few sessions to gain some insight into her own feelings and also to learn techniques on how to handle negative comments from others.

    • Wow! I am shocked at how cruel some of the comments are here, blaming the victim and all. A lot of people are saying she is behaving poorly or too sensitive but the OP even says that her friend is compassionate and helpful. OP even says that her friend goes out of her way to accomodate others and seems to agree that what she personally witnessed was overly mean to her friend. I do agree with the people that say it is about choosing the right job and the friend should go to therapy. It’s that old saying, people don’t leave jobs, they leave managers (& coworkers). I know too many people who took a job because the job seemed interesting but the people were terrible. The problem is that not all toxic workplaces are easy to identify when interviewing. As for therapy, it sounds like the friend is too nice and toxic people will take advantage of that. So therapy might help her learn to be more assertive and set boundaries. It’s always nice to know what people really think of you because then you know how to treat them (i.e. don’t help mean people).

    • When you mentioned that you got out through education and leaving town, it made me wonder if your friend has more cultivated or sophisticated tastes than her co-workers. Depending on the area, especially if having “regular folks” taste is identified with politics and/or religion, that can be toxic. Bosses especially can get nasty if they feel a subordinate thinks herself superior.

  6. Anonymous :

    Anyone want to share any experiences they’ve had going back to a previous employer after leaving?

    I was in a job I really liked, at a company I really liked, a couple of years ago. I was there four years. But upward mobility was limited and I was also doing a lot of varied things instead of focusing on one or two areas and developing deep expertise in those areas, and I felt like that was going to hurt me long-term. So despite being, overall, pretty happy, I left Great Company for a position with a Very Prestigious company in the same city.

    I’ve been with Very Prestigious Company for a little less than two years and let’s just say, the reputation on the outside doesn’t match the reality on the inside. It’s super dysfunctional, the culture is dog-eat-dog, and the workload is insane. But having just made the move, I didn’t want to walk away yet. Plus, in two years I’ve already been promoted once, which of course addressed my previous concern re: upward mobility. I like my actual job, but I am in a team with a couple of truly toxic coworkers, and our manager is weak and won’t deal with them. So far I have stayed out of their line of fire, but feel like it’s only a matter of time before I get caught up in their toxicity somehow.

    I got a call on Tuesday. Great Company had a manager in a department adjacent to my old department leave. They want to know if I am interested in talking to them about the position. I am, but have a couple of thoughts that are giving me pause.

    – Should I be worried that they want to promote me now when two years ago, I couldn’t get promoted to save my life? A big part of why I left is that I couldn’t get into management; now they are like “hey, we want to bring you back as a manager!” Should I ask “what’s changed between then and now”?

    – Part of me is worried that I am running back to a safe place because my current situation is so bananas. I am not a quitter, generally, and I have made it through the new-person gauntlet at the new place. If I stay it probably will get easier because I’ll get more and more adjusted to the craziness. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing?

    – Great Company is a lot smaller than Very Prestigious Company. If I stay at Very Prestigious Company I’ll have lots more options for movement, although there’s also some weird cultural things at VPC around moving into management (i.e., regardless of education and previous experience they want you to be at VPC a minimum of 5 years before you get promoted to management). I am in my early 40s and have been a manager previously; I feel like I want to get back into management now, I don’t want to wait 5 years. But going back to Great Company in this management position means I won’t have a lot of places to go from that job.

    – Finally I worry it will just be super weird going back to Great Company and people will think I either washed out of the other job or their perceptions of me will be colored by the first four years I was there, and they won’t see me as someone who has evolved during my time not working there.

    Thoughts are much appreciated…

    • Anonymous :

      Good grief. Go interview for the job.

      Also, life is way too short to “become more and more adjusted to the craziness.”

      • yup. You think it’s a plus that you can acclimate to truly toxic coworkers? It is not.

        Also what changed is you, you changed and are a manager now so they want your managing skills.

    • Anonymous :

      You want to choose the job that will give you more options from there. If going back to your old job will limit future opportunities, that’s a prob. And the truth is, every workplace has its own set of issues, it’s just a question of how much you can tolerate for how long. Also consider using the offer from the old job to negotiate for a change at the current job, if that’s something you want, such as developing expertise in whatever area or more leadership opportunities. As for whether people at the old place will judge you for coming back, you can’t worry about that.

    • Sounds like Great Company didn’t have the resources or culture to support grooming you into a management position, so they’ve let Very Prestigious Company train you up (on VPC’s dime!) and now that you ARE qualified, obviously liked you enough that they want you back.

      You’ve been at VPC for two years and already been promoted. This isn’t ‘running away,’ like maybe it would be if you were there under a year. You have the lay of the land, you’re presumably safe and on an upward track, you just don’t LIKE it. Life is short!!! Why do you want to mold your personality around crazy dysfunction? Do you see anyone there several years ahead of you in career whose life you want to emulate? What about your old company?

      Also, why are you approaching this like these are your only two options? You’re being offered a promotion at your old company and you’re also on a promotion track at your new company; it sounds like you’re a hot commodity. Why don’t you figure out your dream company and your dream job and go for that?

    • In many fields, it is very common for someone to leave a great company to go to another either to a position that is a promotion or for the promotion opportunities, and then to move back to the great company at a higher level. It sucks that some companies basically require that step in order to move in to management, but it is not uncommon.

      Unless you’re in a field where that is really uncommon, I wouldn’t have any reservations about returning to Great Company. In your situation, I would totally jump at that opportunity to go back to Great Company. But I have also learned that a big factor for my personal happiness is that I’m working with people I enjoy and like, especially since they are the people I spend the most time with – for ex, I spend at least 2 hours a day interacting with my boss, and normally significantly more.

    • As far as what’s changed that they want to promote you now, it sounds like the thing that changed is someone left. At my current position, that’s what it would take for me to get promoted. I don’t think that’s that uncommon.

      I would at least start a dialogue about it. We had some people leave my company and then come back within a year. I wouldn’t say it’s exactly common but no one here seems to find it weird or uncomfortable when people do it.

    • Look at your time at Very Prestigious company as like, getting an MBA or a Masters degree. Now you’ve come back to Great Company, with all the good skills you have learned, and are ready to move forward.

      Remember at small companies, the choice is usually up or out, and look at you, they’ve decided someone who went out, should have instead go up! I imagine that if you had stuck around for two years, you would be in a similar position and they might offer you this interview, but your extra experience at Very Prestigious will be a bonus that could get you that job!

    • Nerfmobile :

      Over the years, my company has seen a number of people leave and then come back again into higher-level positions. This is not uncommon. Feel good that Good Company has been tracking you and wants you back!

    • At the very least interview. I had a very parallel situation recently. Was at old firm for a long time. My work was generally interesting, but I needed a change. I ended up going to another firm (promotion of responsibilities, title and $). The firm was not everything I thought it would be– very stressful, a toxic person I had to deal with regularly and a long distance relationship with my spouse. A role came up at my old firm, but in a different group. I interviewed and was fast tracked as they knew me. It turned out to be great that we both knew each other. I could not be happier to be back!

      I needed to leave and try something else, but it feels like a great homecoming.

  7. What is everyone looking forward to this weekend? I’m excited to do some fall baking!

    • Yum what are you going to make? I have a potluck this weekend and want some inspiration.

      • My favorite thing to bake in the fall in a pumpkin spice bundt cake with buttermilk icing. Everyone loves it! I use this recipe: https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/pumpkin-spice-bundt-cake-with-buttermilk-icing-233011
        I made two changes (recommended in the reviews). I use the whole can of pumpkin and I double the spices.

    • Anonymous :

      Hurricane Flo will reach us by then (so we’ll get 5-8″ of rain, which will topple trees and down power lines, which may take a week to get restored). I’m going to do my hair really nice each day I wake up w/power b/c it may be my last Good Hair Day for a while . . .

      • I’ll be waiting for my parents who have stubbornly refused to leave their city which is currently being mauled by the hurricane to check in…… awesome.

      • Yup, forecast is now for 10+ inches of rain. I’m lucky not to be too worried about my personal safety, but losing power is fairly likely and I certainly won’t be leaving the house this weekend. To the commenter above, hope your parents are okay!

    • I got new work clothes (still in their boxes) so this weekend will be trying on new clothes, my equivalent of back to school. Fingers crossed I might have find a new HG skirt to replace my defunct The Skirt.
      I will report back on the weekend thread

    • I haven’t had a haircut since…April because I’ve been growing my hair out and my budget has been tight, but I’m finally getting a cut tomorrow!

    • Dinner out at a hip Indian restaurant, and a fall colored manicure.

    • New Apt stuff :

      Shopping for various furniture, lamps, various accessories for the place DH and I moved into a couple weeks ago. That and general unpacking, rearranging of our current stuff

    • Rainbow Hair :

      I’m going camping! With a 3.5 year old, currently accepting thoughts and prayers. Naw it’ll be fine and maybe even fun. Pretty pumped about a campfire and roasting marshmallows and reading a book.

  8. Anon manager :

    Going anon for this one.
    I am on a tough case involving a lot of travel. Last week was particularly tough with many team absences so I decided not to work on the train ride back home. A junior member of my team is most comfortable talking to me about his personal life and he confided that his parent has a degenerative condition which he might inherit.
    He decided to get tested in the coming weeks and carrying the disease means a 100% fatality diagnosis, though the onset and evolution happens over several years.
    I appreciate him sharing such a personal thing but don’t know how to be supportive yet give him enough space. My in-going position is that if ever he needs to share anything further post-diagnosis, he would do so.
    In the meantime, I assume he doesn’t want to talk about it. I understand the upcoming weeks will be nerve-wrecking and would like to make sure he feels fine taking time off or stepping aside to recollect himself if needed.
    Would you do anything differently? we’re looking at a 12 months (minimum) case, it will have intense periods but he is physically fine, it more the emotional burden that I guess made him come forward.

    • This recently happened to a branch of my extended family. A serious diagnosis was made of one family member, which made everyone else panicky and thinking they had to be tested. The doctor’s advice ended up being NOT to get tested until symptoms start surfacing (because it is better to assume you don’t have it until there is a reason to this otherwise, and because once it’s in your records, it could be difficult to obtain insurance, etc.) It is possible this individual doesn’t end up getting tested at all. I’d leave it alone unless he comes back to you.

      • Man, this advice would not work for my psychology. I’d never forgive myself if I could have made more informed choices with more knowledge. The insurance thing is tricky though.

    • This big case might be the kind of thing he needs to keep his mind off the condition. If he doesn’t want to take time to think about it, and instead would rather be busy, you could offer to cater to that instead. Like, if there are any mind numbing busy tasks involved in the case so that he could avoid going into a downward thought spiral, that might be helpful.

  9. An out of town friend is coming to visit.
    I also hope to declutter my closet. It sounds so sad but I am truly excited to get rid of a ton of stuff I no longer wear so I can have an easier time getting dressed in the morning.

  10. Anonymous :

    Wood gift ideas for an anniversary? Right now I am leaning towards a record player in a wood case but I think it may look better than it sounds so curious for other suggestions.

    • Sometimes suburban :

      New cutting board if your husband or wife likes to cook!

    • anon a mouse :

      Wood sculpture or wall art. I love something like this:
      https://www.etsy.com/listing/552550288/wood-wall-art-the-universe-reclaimed

    • Vicky Austin :

      “our gift to each other is picking out a nice [that furniture piece] we’ve been eyeing/needing!”

    • If your SO carries a pocket knife every day, there are some gorgeous ones with wooden handles. What about a small whiskey barrel? You can use it to make whiskey and all sorts of alcohol better, and they work really well! Also if your partner likes wine you could do nice wine in wooden boxes.

    • Are you concerned about the sound of that particular record player, or of record players in general? We have three record players- the sound in all of them is not great, but it is a warm, nostalgic, homey sound and we use them as much as we use our Bose linked devices.
      But other than that, I like the cutting board idea. I got my friend one of those cutting boards shaped like the state they were married in, with a little heart where their city is. Not terribly practical for everyday, but gets used at every party. Etsy has tons of lovely handmade wooden things, too.

    • I just celebrated my 5th wedding anniversary and I bought my husband cuff links made from an old wooden seat from our alma mater’s football stadium. He really loved them, I found them on uncommon goods.

    • I second sculpture or one of those decorative puzzle boxes or something of that sort.

      I had a crosley record player. Definitely looked better than it sounded. I wouldn’t say it would be worth it if you planned to use it regularly, but if its a once in a blue moon when guests come around kinda thing, sure.

    • Senior Attorney :

      I got my husband a watch from www.originalgrain.com and he loves it.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      I got a wedding photo printed on wood (prints on wood dot com) for my husband. It came out very sweet.

  11. Anonymous :

    Any tips on being more focused/less distracted? Books to read or exercises to try?

    I’ve always been a high performer, easily distracted but also easily able to overcome it by just being good at what I do. Lately it is coming up more as a problem that others have noticed, both at work and in my personal life.

    I have a million things on my plate (like everyone I guess), and I can tend to zone out and start thinking about other things in the middle of something else that my brain subconsciously decides is less important. It sucks!

    • Deep work by cal newport!

    • Billables :

      I found assigning myself a task, setting a timer (Apps like Forest) and pairing with a sheet of paper to collect all stray thoughts outside of the assigned task to be very helpful. It takes practice but gets easier with time.

      Speaking of which, i really need to get back into this habit. My billable have been shameful lately

  12. Does anyone else use Schmidt’s deodorant? The last two containers I’ve bought have had hard crystals in it that make it really uncomfortable to put on. Is this a new formula?

    • I use it but I haven’t noticed that yet. I haven’t bought a new stick in a month or so though. I really hope it stays usable since it’s the only natural one that works for me.

    • I do. Out of half a dozen or so tubes, I’ve only had this happen with one and it had visible lumps on top. I now open them up and look at the product before purchase to make sure its not lumpy. I also found that the sensitive skin formula goes on much smoother, but needs more frequent applications.

      • Thanks – one of them looked fine but after 2-3 applications it’s lumpy. I thought maybe I would try cutting some off and seeing if it’s better “down stick”

  13. Anon for This :

    This may out me to anyone who knows me but I need some advice so I’ll try to keep it general:

    I left my old job which I loved (the work) but the environment had grown very toxic after about 6 years earlier this year. I also left because I knew there was no upward mobility. Took another job at a more prestigious company but it ultimately ended up being a bad fit and was let go after about 5 months.

    I got a job at a smaller company which honestly, is not perfect but the people seem great and even if the work isn’t 100% what I was doing at my first job, is good, although not amazing.

    I’m having a hard time settling in and feeling committed. To top that all off, I know people at my first firm were gossiping about my most recent move, essentially saying it wasn’t a good move (a friend who works at that firm mentioned it to me) and now I’m seriously doubting myself, and feeling like I made a mistake leaving that job altogether.

    How do I adjust and settle in to this new job? No job is perfect, I get that but I’m just having a hard time feeling positive about this new opportunity.

    • It sounds like you have job PTSD… your 5 month stint at that job may have you fearing a short stint at this job, which can prevent you from fully committing to it. As for the gossip, if you’re happy, eff them! (I would also tell my friend not to tell me that stuff… because that’s not a good friend and because it’s not at all helpful.)

      Give it time. Take baby steps. And keep checking yourself when you feel the desire to pull back… “is this about this situation or is this a reaction to the last job?’ kinds of questions. You’ll do this and it won’t be long before we’re all envious of your amazing colleagues and good work! :)

    • I am a regular poster and many people here followed my journey which was similar to yours.
      I was pushed out of a unique job at Fortune 50 co. after over 6 years and pretty traumatic family events. I went on to MBB which on paper sounds amazing but was toxic and I was pushed out again after a bit over 2 years because of a conflict with a partner. I landed at a good but smaller company. Some people in my network think it’s a step down from my super prestigious former employers. My job is not the most exciting but still great by most standards and my personal life is slowly improving. For the first couple months, I couldn’t help comparing all the luxury I had vs the smaller structure e.g. having to do my own expenses now… it wears off because you start finding out the things you like, e.g. I truly enjoy the Friday drinks with my nerdy colleagues when I always skipped them with my trendy cool ones at previous job. Don’t think about what people might think. You need to take care of yourself and choose the best work environment for you. Things will get better

    • Give yourself credit for being brave enough to quit the first job! And you chose to leave those awful coworkers behind for a reason – don’t let their ugly gossip follow you now. Who cares what they think?

    • You are taking the gossip too seriously, nobody really cares where you are except you. Don’t listen to people who pass on gossip!

    • Not sure if this is helpful, but I think that people at certain prestigious jobs are suckers. They’re sold this bill of goods that they have this super important job and that they’re so great and all this pompous stuff because the company needs them to work all the time to make the $$$. You know what’s great? Working with level-headed people who aren’t full of themselves and having the opportunity to have a real life outside of work. Plus, your “friend” at the firm doesn’t sound like much of a friend.

    • OP here – thanks all. You’re all right – it’s just been a rough few months so I think maybe I’m not in a super confident place right now but I’ll give it time and hopefully I’ll settle in.

  14. Yesterday at a work event, a colleague made what at the time – caught up in my role in running the event – I thought was just a dumb joke at the expense of a coworker. Now that I’ve had some time to think about it, it strikes me as pretty racist. I did not hear the joke originally and don’t know how the person who was on the receiving end responded, but the teller retold it to me after, as it also reflected on her in a self-deprecating way.
    We all work for the same department but none of us report into the same person.
    What is my action here? Now that it’s a day after the fact (and I’m actually off for some personal reasons today and won’t be back in until Monday) do I let this go or talk to someone? Who? The joke teller? My boss? Her boss?
    I tend to overthink stuff sometimes and I’m not sure if I’m making too big a deal or not big enough.

    • If you weren’t there to hear it first hand, I would do nothing.

    • You werent there, didn’t hear it, are just repeating gossip, and should mind your own business.

    • I think because it was the teller who told you, it could be worth saying something. And probably is your responsibility if you’re in any kind of leadership role. I’ve circled back with people after things like that and said that I didn’t process it at the time, but on reflection was really surprised by what was said — did I recall it right? What was the impact to the other person. I wouldn’t escalate to someone’s boss.

  15. Paging Seattle 'Ettes :

    There will be a MM LaFleur pop up next Tuesday in Bellevue. Also a breakfast will MM LaFleur CEO as part of opening of new Riviter location. You can find it on facebook. Thought some of yku might be interested

  16. office restroom question :

    We have 2 single-occupant restrooms at work. Probably it’s not enough for the size of our office, so basically they’re in constant use. There is no exhaust fan and no window. Being in heavy rotation and being an office that has people in it from 7a-6p daily means that there is nothing to do about, um, smells except air freshener. We have Febreeze bottles, we have those little Glade machines that spit out scent every few minutes. But that means the rooms are usually an awful smelling cloud of air freshener. Has anyone found a good suggestion for this type of situation?

    • Poo~Pourri is the best thing for this, it puts a layer of oils over the water which traps the smell in the toilet, and you just flush it away. It leaves behind a lingering scent but it’s not overpowering for most people, and the next person to use the bathroom won’t feel like they’re breathing in perfume droplets.

      • +1 poo-puri, It is not overpowering and it is “before you go” so the doer of the deed is the one who has to use it

    • Is the bathroom has a plug, I’d get a small air purifier and leave it constantly running. The ones that produce O3 are soooooo effective. Lots of options at a super reasonable price point.

  17. I just found a really powerful, disturbing, and convincing new take on how men don’t really want abortions to stop (on Twitter, of all places). I didn’t know there were still novel arguments to be made in this debate. Link: https://twitter.com/i/moments/1040468130433097728

    • I read that last night and thought it was fascinating. Her point – that this is what it would look like if held men responsible for preventing unplanned pregnancies in the way that we hold women responsible – is honestly one I’d never thought through at this level of detail.

      (Yes, you can quibble with her on a few facts – are women truly only fertile 2 days a month? – but the rhetorical exercise is highly thought-provoking.)

      • I’ve always thought that if men were held responsible for all the children they fathered that the abortion debate would cease. I thought it would be because they would be pro abortion rather than have to pay child support and care for their children, but preventing unplanned pregnancies actually sounds like an even better idea.

        Pro-lifers love talking about how “actions have consequences” but they only mean “for women”. Because there is zero consequence for a man.

        • My very pro-life fiance disagrees with you, in word and in actions. His position is that he would rather go without sex than get a woman pregnant.

          The problem isn’t pro-life (or pro-choice) men who only engage in intercourse when it would be fundamentally okay to have a kid (with or without contraception). The problem is men who have sex when they have no desire to take responsibility, and the women who have sex with them instead of demanding more out of their bed partners.

          • Anonymous :

            Uh, yes, the problem is the men. Woman should and do expect more, but men are often not honorable even if they appear to be, in spite of promises, pro-life positions, etc. They’d rather have pleasure and ignore consequences and why wouldn’t they, as the writer states. Good for you and your fiance … can you please make the rest of society respect women too?

          • Nice #notallmen-ing!

            Your fiance isn’t the problem, but you can still give him a pat on the back if you want to.

          • Did you read the thread? Because that is literally what she says. Men who want unprotected sex but are unwilling to shoulder the consequences are the problem. And our current legal system does a poor job of holding them responsible for it. We put all of that on women (“why didn’t she keep her legs closed?” “why wasn’t she on the pill?” “why didn’t see insist on condoms”). We approach this debate from an assumption that women are responsible for holding the door closed instead of an assumption that it is the obligation of men not to come knocking.

          • nasty woman :

            Cool. Many (most) men are not like your fiance, even if they are “pro-life.”

            I’m not sure what more you think I should “demand” out of my “bed partners.” I don’t want to “demand” that my partners will insist on my gestating any pregnancy. I want them to wrap it up and be equal partners in ensuring our s3xual health. The argument that abortion should be banned in order to make men step up is also wrong. That’s an argument that lots of anti’s make (and I expect this is something your fiance believes, and therefore he believes he’s walking the walk…).

            The argument is that banning abortion will force men to “treat women better” by making women have babies instead of giving men “an out.” The assumption is that men will step up rather than simply abandoning women to the #horrors of safe legal abortion, but we all know that’s not necessarily true because no one really believes that pregnant women weren’t abandoned by their partners before Roe v. Wade.

        • Of Counsel :

          The problem with this is that there is basically no gender divide on abortion. According to every reliable poll I have ever seen, men and women express similar views on abortion.

          See e.g. http://www.pewforum.org/fact-sheet/public-opinion-on-abortion/

          It seems to be a widely held belief among liberal/pro-choice women that the people on the other side of the debate are all men obsessed with controlling women while equally obsessed with avoiding responsibility. That is simply not true. Plenty of women are opposed to abortion (and before everyone jumps all over me – I am not one of them).

    • This is amazing. Thank you for posting.

    • nasty woman :

      Yep. I wouldn’t exactly say it’s a novel argument, but it’s not one that gets a lot of airtime. Blaming women for men’s poor behavior and forcing them to bear the consequences of that behavior is one of our nation’s favorite past times. I’ve never believed that most men want abortions to go away. What irritates me is people (lots of men) who pretend that abortion rights are a pet issue, or identity politics, and that it’s okay to throw them under the bus so that we (democrats? progressives? the left? whatever) can achieve the goals that are “really” important, like economic justice. I have no patience for men who could not give a fig about what’s happening in the reproductive justice world, have no idea what’s at stake with SCOTUS, and who still expect to have all the casual s3x they want without acknowledging the systems in place and efforts made by other people to make that possible.

    • One of the many reasons I respect Scarleteen (despite not always seeing eye to eye with them on every single thing) is their focus on men whenever unwanted pregnancy comes up. (Especially teen pregnancy, since apparently it’s known that the men responsible are usually meaningfully older and also often responsible for more than their fair share of pregnancies.)

  18. I bought an “aubergine”, Calvin Klein blazer from Macys this week. (Link to follow). The first day I wore it, it bled all over my white blouse (polyester/spandex blend). Any advice on how to proceed with 1) getting the dye out of my white shirt and 2) dealing with the blazer? Do I try to return it? Can the dry cleaners help “set” the dye in the lining and the jacket fabric so it doesn’t do this again? Any advice or commiseration appreciated!

    • Synthetics don’t take dye that well, so you may have some luck soaking the shirt and washing it a few times. There’s a product called a “color catcher” that may be worth a try to throw in with it, but not sure how effective they are.

    • https://www.macys.com/shop/product/calvin-klein-collarless-open-front-blazer-regular-petite?ID=6652338&CategoryID=55610&RVI=PDP_3&tdp=cm_choiceId~z6652338~xcm_pos~zPos3&mltPDP=true

    • I bought a red jacket that bled all over a white t-shirt. I didn’t want to deal with it, so I returned it with that explanation and they took it back (Nordstrom), no problem.

  19. I am interviewing for an in-house job in my niche litigation field. The job would be in a small legal department. I’m coming from BigLaw and understand from the salary range that I’d be taking a big pay cut, which I’m willing to do, but I obviously don’t want to end up too underpaid. I’m more senior than the posting required by about 4-5 years. I’d be super grateful for any interview advice–either what to ask or what to be ready to answer. Thanks!

    • City and industry would be helpful.

      In-house oil and gas in Houston ranges from $160 to $300k depending on size of company, experience, level of position, and other parts of the benefits package. My general understanding is this varies quite a bit by industry. I would not give them a salary range at your interview though. Tell them because you’re changing job responsibilities entirely you’d like to know from them what they’re willing to offer, and then negotiate up from there.

  20. How to support a friend during infertility :

    One of my best friends lives across the country and she’s been struggling with infertility for a couple of years now. She is 40 and was diagnosed with PCOS. She has been trying all the methods of treatment for PCOS and IVF but so far, no pregnancy. She is devastated.

    I really want to do more for her than just calling to check in/chat the way we typically always do. She’s allergic to lots of things so sending flowers/food isn’t a good fit and I don’t have the means to afford to fly to visit her and still pay my rent.

    I am someone who has always been clear about being childfree so even when medical situations later caused me to require a hysterectomy, I wasn’t sad about the fertility loss. I want to be as loving as possible to her even though I know it may seem to her like I just can’t get what she’s going through.

    Recommendations/Advice?

    • Id love if a friend sent me a book with a “read this, loved it, thought you might like it” note.

      • This sounds great, but please don’t send your friend any books about her conditions or medical treatments, “living with infertility”, etc. She has enough of that from her doctor and her life. It would be great to recommend light reads to take her mind off.

    • Last year when I was in the depths of (multiple failed) fertility treatments, a group of 4 friends came together and sent me a gift every 2-3 weeks. It was so unnecessary, but also exactly what I needed. One week it was a really nice, small candle with a scent that had ‘relaxing powers’ – sage? I don’t buy into that kind of stuff, but clearly it was thoughtful. The next gift was a small flower arrangement. Another was a gift card for two movie passes. Really little things that were probably less than $20 each but made me feel that people were thinking of me but similarly respected my need for space and not wanting to talk about the day-in-day-out of the treatments.

      Fertility treatments are so draining. And when you’re really in the thick of cycling, for me, things (emotions, hope and actual prognosis, mostly) change so rapidly – like daily sometimes. These little things were such a small but needed reason to smile whenever they showed up on my doorstep.

    • When a friend of mine was going through this, I listened to everything she wanted to tell me without judgment or being squicked out. I also gave her a stack of light reading books, and maybe a bunch of magazine like People or Glamour?

      I also tried to visit when I could when she was on bed rest for the last 16 or so weeks of her pregnancy, until she gave birth to her boy who’s now 8 years old. I think she tried for nearly 8 years to have him.

    • best of luck to your friend :

      I love candles, perfume, makeup, skincare, etc, and I also knit. I might send some nice hand/foot lotion, or a gift card to ulta/sephora, or a local yarn shop. Maybe a puzzle, or books as suggested. Some texts/links to entertaining Podcast recommendations (so many good ones out there) too. Maybe a few month subscription to audible, or ipsy/sephora play?
      Are there any old running jokes you have where you could send soemthing to remind her of the joke? Like, a silly pair of socks or hat.
      Maybe a fuzzy, comfy scarf for fall, or even a coffee/tea gift card or bag of beans/loose teas. (if she can do either, I know you said she has allergies).
      I like the gift card idea cause you can send it in a card, with a story that makes you laugh about your past together, adn she gets to have the experience of choosing what she wants. But I’m open to receiving gift cards, some people would rather receive things.
      She will appreciate the thought, no matter what you choose :)

  21. Shopping help? :

    Does anyone have recs for a flat belt? My torso is on the short side and shirts usually fall a few inches lower than the waistband of jeans. I think it looks really awkward if there is a belt buckle, and I almost always need to wear a belt with jeans. What would/do you do?

    • Panda Bear :

      I love my Beltaway for this problem – stretchy and completely flat. It’s definitely more function than fashion – it is utilitarian looking, and I wouldn’t wear it with shirts tucked in or over a dress. But it completely disappears under shirts and keeps my jeans/pants from gaping or sliding down.

  22. Dating problem. I alluded to this earlier in the week – I had a second date over the weekend with a guy who seemed to have a real problem understanding no (verbal and non-verbal). Ultimately he didn’t do anything I didn’t consent to, but I was annoyed at having to enforce my boundaries over and over again. He has shown other signs of being sort of a boundary-pusher in other ways (lots of personal questions, less willingness to open up on his end). We went out again last night (i was hoping he could redeem himself). I sort of unloaded my frustration with him on him… and he thinks it’s cute and seems to view my “walls” as a challenge. I’m still fed up. I want to call things off (which will probably be a challenge in its own right).

    Is this normal? I feel like it’s not normal (or maybe healthy is a better word).

    • Are you serious? Why are you even typing this instead of breaking up with this guy immediately?

    • Not normal, not okay. You shouldn’t ever be with someone who might rape you. My god. Dump him yesterday.

    • everything you typed reads as awful.
      dtmfa.

    • You’re under no obligation to continue to date this guy. His behavior seems off and you don’t appear to like him. It’s fine to dump him via text and cease all further communication.

    • It’s not normal and it would really bother me.

    • Girl. What? No it’s not normal. Of course you never see him again. And it’s only as challenging as you let it be.

      Want to go out again?

      No. Bye.

      Literally anything else?

      Block his number.

      You need more confidence in yourself!

    • My response to this above was probably too harsh, but I’m having real trouble understanding why you are asking this. You have been on two dates with a rapist-in-waiting and you’re asking if it’s normal? It’s one thing when women have been trapped in an abusive relationship for years (when it’s hard/impossible to leave), but to ask whether you should go on a third date with someone like this is baffling. I mean this sincerely and in the gentlest way possible, but I hope you consider exploring why you are asking this question with a therapist or trusted mental health professional. .

    • Oh hell no that’s not normal or acceptable. His behavior shows a breath-taking level of lack of respect, if not something worse. Follow your instincts and break it off. You may have to block him as well. Expect him to either gaslight you on this or to change course and be all sweet and “it’s just a misunderstanding”, and if so, remember that he has already shown you who he is.

      • Hah. I did send him a text this morning canceling our next date and ended with “Best of luck,” and, as expected, he responded that he understood that he made a bad impression but he is really enjoying getting to know me and why don’t we go for dessert next week (instead of his original suggestion, cooking dinner at his place… which I have turned down twice now).

        I’ll try a more direct no and move to blocking his number if he persists. I’m disappointed that I’m having to deal with this.

        • “I don’t want to see you again. Goodbye.”

        • Applause. You can also just stop responding. Your boundaries are not “cute.”

        • He doesn’t deserve an answer. Stop communicating with him. Wake up!! He’s just trying to manipulate you into seeing him again!

        • Senior Attorney :

          I agree with just not responding at all. You’ve made it clear you don’t want to proceed and there’s no reason to engage further.

        • You don’t need a “more direct no.” Just don’t respond.

        • Don’t respond. January, take control of your situation here. You are being manipulated.

        • 1.) He’s continuing to disrespect your boundaries. He understands he is awful is not sorry for what he’s doing. He’s ALREADY persisting. Don’t give him the opportunity to continue. Continuing to indulge his behavior only gives him the validation/game playing he’s after.

          2.) You don’t have to deal with it anymore. Just stop responding. He sucks, you’ve done your part, you owe him nothing. Go get a drink with your girlfriends or watch a movie or eat or do literally anything pleasurable/useful other than talk to this jerk.

        • Thanks, all. The sad thing is, I can clearly see that he is manipulative, and yet I’m just thrown by it. Which I guess is the point. (And don’t worry, I don’t plan on seeing him again).

          • Anonymous :

            The best manipulators use our strengths and virtues against us as well as our weak points and vulnerabilities. It’s normal to feel thrown; just keep on noticing it.

    • BabyAssociate :

      Ew, no. Call it off.

    • This is not normal. It’s truly awful.

      Look for a guy who understands consent.

      I’d just ghost this guy. So awful.

    • BOY BYE.

    • Ew. At best, he’s being disrespectful and s3xist.

      Also, who wants to be annoyed on a 2nd date and belittled on a 3rd date?

      If this is what he’s like in the courting stage, how much more boorish is he going to be if you get serious?

      I’m sorry, but he’s no good. Being single is fathoms better than dealing with this.

    • Ugh, I’m sorry you’re dealing with this. It’s sadly not uncommon, I too have encountered men like this; interesting, good looking, charming, but didn’t seem to understand when told “no” (but this was years ago, I don’t tolerate this garage anymore). It’s definitely not healthy, and there’s no reason to put up with it. Needing to constantly set, enforce, and defend your boundaries gets exhausting quickly, it’s a poor use of your time and energy. End it now, tell him why, be firm, and then cease all contact, block him if needed because he seems like the type to see a breakup as a challenge as well. There are better guys out there, and honestly, it’s better to be alone than with a guy who doesn’t respect your boundaries.

    • Not normal! Get rid of him!

    • Run, run away!

    • No no no. One of the most self empowering moments I ever had was walking out on a date 20 minutes in, and telling him why (he was a jerk, and I didn’t want to spend another minute listening to his bluster). Once you take control like that, it’s amazing how dating can change for you. For me, I realized I was actually in the driver’s seat and I wasn’t seeking someone else’s approval, and I wasn’t required to give anyone a chance. Remember you don’t owe anyone a second of your precious time.

    • Ewwwwww that is so gross and creepy and terrifying.

      DTMFA!!!

    • Pretty Primadonna :

      Not normal. Do not engage any further.

  23. I’m going to be visiting Colorado at the beginning of October and was wondering what to pack. It’s still very much summer here (90 degrees and humid!) so I’m trying to figure out how much warm clothing I’ll need. We’ll be in Denver and Fort Collins, in case that helps.

    • Expect the days to be warm to very warm and the nights to be a bit chilly. If you’re out in the direct sun, it can border on hot. It depends a lot, too, on how warm or cold you tend to run. I run warm, so I’d wear short sleeves during the day, and have a jacket or sweater to layer with in morning / evening. Closed-toe shoes and bare ankles for me, but not boots and socks (way too hot).

  24. Bracelets to Give Away? :

    As a child I lived in Pakistan. Admist the items we have saved these many decades, are four sets of colored glass bangles that children wear/wore. I have no children so I’m at a loss as to what to do with them. I have the memories, but these bracelets really need to leave my possession.

    Any thoughts really appreciated.

    • Donate to a women’s shelter? Many times children leaving domestiv violence situations don’t have much and I’m sure they would love a special bracelet.

    • Do you have any good friends with kids? It might be a great multi-cultural present. Thinking baby showers, or milestone birthdays.

    • Legally Brunette :

      Do you have any Desi friends with young daughters? My nieces always wear bangles like that to weddings, temple, etc.

  25. Do you wear kiplinger, lipstick and a gloss? If so, do you reapply all 3 again later in the day? I love the look but I don’t know if it’s sustainable for me.

    • I wear all three sometimes, although I find most lipsticks have a satin or midshine finish anyway, so no gloss is needed. I apply in the morning and after lunch (basically after eating). If your lipliner + lipstick can’t last when you’re not eating, you need a longer stay formula. Lip gloss to me hastens the need to reapply so I usually avoid it unless going for that high shine look.

    • Anonymous :

      Yes, I find lipliner helps lipstick stay. I get longwear formulas. If its matte, I top off with a gloss. I have to touch up maybe once during the workday after eating.

  26. I agree that that is not healthy/normal. If he’s pushing this much now and sees your walls as a challenge, he’s going to be constantly testing your boundaries. And that’s definitely not cute, and you’ll be constantly frustrated. I would call things off.

  27. I have posted in the afternoons and it has taken up to an hour and a half for to post and go through. At that point, I think people just stop interacting because why bother? And since most posting are comments on an original post, you won’t get comments to what you can’t see. I think there are some really severe tech issues in the background (or a lazy in person moderator, who knows) that are negatively effecting the participation, especially in the afternoon post. I haven’t read the “Coffee Break” post in four days because you end up with only 30 comments by 5 due to the mods. I can waste my time on more active sites.

    • Anonymous :

      +1

      It takes so long for comments to appear on threads that I find interesting that the opportunity to engage passes by.

  28. It’s the mod. I literally wait 20-30 minutes after each of my posts for them to appear.

  29. My hypothesis is that it takes sooo long for comments to get through mod (especially in the afternoon) that it creates a bottleneck that overall leads to fewer comments/responses.

  30. Too Tired To Clean :

    I’m a litigator 2 years into practice. I love my job and I’m great at it. I work A LOT. I have a chronic illness that I take several daily meds for that have a side effect of making me very low energy, often by the end of the day I’m so zonked my husband has to assist me in getting ready for bed like a toddler. As a result, I absolutely do not do my fair share around the house. I honestly cannot remember the last time I loaded or unloaded the dishwasher. I want to, for so many reasons- including wanting to be a better partner to my husband, and wanting a cleaner home. My husband also works 24/7 (from home), so although he does A LOT more than me domestically, our apartment is an absolute mess 99% of the time and it drives us both insane. I would love to outsource, but things like cleaning up the kitchen after cooking and taking out the recycling daily don’t really feel like things that can be outsourced. Any wisdom?

    • maybe work on it from the other angle, of creating less mess?

    • I haven’t done this and don’t really know how, but when I’ve looked into it I’ve found that there does exist household help for people with chronic illness. Sometimes it’s advertised in the context of eldercare, but obviously younger people with disabilities need help too. And it is thousands of times wiser for you to keep your job and earning potential than to risk those things by using up limited energy on housework (which is often more physically demanding to begin with). I’ve been putting this off for dumb psychological hurdle reasons, so I will follow this thread in case someone outlines the steps involved or otherwise makes it easier for me to act on this too.

    • Senior Attorney :

      Hire somebody to come in and do it. At least give it a try. What’s the use of working 24/7 if you can’t spend some of that money on domestic help?

    • Hire a weekly cleaner. Try it. It’s amazing how much easier the day to day tasks are when you never wash a floor or clean a toilet or the stove.

      And, look into an easier job. Yours isn’t sustainable for you.

      • Anonymous :

        I would like to have the kind of chronic illness for which this might be good advice.

        • Anonymous :

          huh? what kind of chronic illness do you have? Let us give you more appropriate suggestionsn

          Or huh? you would like to have a chronic illness? Tell us more. What is so great about it?

        • Anonymous :

          I apologize for my comment and its tone. From my perspective, if someone is seriously struggling with day-to-day tasks like dishes or recycling, it sounds as though either scrubbing the floor or the oven or the toilet is already not happening or the husband is already doing those tasks. But you are right that there are a lot of ways to be sick, and a linear a fortiori doesn’t work. I personally have found maid services almost useless, since they want the house to be pretty near clean before they come to clean.

          I would also really strongly advise against scaling back a career that’s going well aside from leaving no energy for housework (especially when that’s partly the result of meds), as I didn’t hear from the OP that anything was going poorly at work.

    • Anonymous :

      I outsource once a week cleaning – it makes the daily cleaning easier, and honestly if I don’t get to that, then the housekeeper can handle it on the weekly cleaning.

      • This. I have a cleaner come once every two weeks (no illness, just biglaw) and it makes a huge difference. If I’m too busy to get around to taking the trash out/cleaning the stove/doing the dishes, it gets taken care of anyways in max 2 weeks, and the everyday tidying also becomes much easier because there’s a limit to how much messes can pile up.

    • Anonymous :

      I have a bad back, and end a lot of days lying on the floor, so I can identify. We have a housekeeper who comes in every other week for a half day and blasts through the place. She does laundry (mostly towels) while she’s there. That leaves cooking and dishes, and the rest of the laundry.

    • Have you asked your doctor about nuvigil or other nervous system stimulant like adderall or ritalin? I have a chronic illness as well and when I am struggling I find these very helpful.

    • Have you asked your doctor about nuvigil or other nervous system stimulant like adderall or ritalin? I have a chronic illness as well and when I am struggling I find these very helpful.

      And yes, weekly cleaning helps a ton. Then on the weekend you can catch up on laundry but dont have to clean the bathrooms and stuff.

  31. Anyone work thru anything similar? Late 30s, single and honestly feel like I’m a suburb person. Like the type that drives a car to work which is 10 min away on local roads in a suburban office park. Of course life didn’t work out like that. 10 years in NYC. Left to “slow down” in DC and that’s been 3 years and I find myself not liking DC. The jobs for me are in the city and while I live “close in” driving is a giant pain. So I find myself thinking, obviously I’m not going to get suburbia here, why not just go back to the grind of NYC then? It’s like in between in DC is even worse. Am I crazy? For family reasons, my options are the NYC or DC area – can’t just pick up and move to Charlotte or whatever.

    • find a work from home job and live in the suburbs? Philadelphia as an inbetween option? I hated DC and would never want to live in an NYC suburb.

      • New poster – why not the NYC suburbs? I think if you’re going to have to commute the NYC suburbs (referring to metro north accessible not LIRR or NJT) are way better than Arlington etc. IDK to me DC was culturally the south but not true south (which I love) and if OP prefers north than NYC suburbs are better. Take the job that brings you back to NYC and then keep networking until you can get yourself a job in Westchester or CT and then you have your suburban life – as I assume you’re in finance or law.

    • Hi it’s called NJ and Westchester and Long Island And Maryland and Virginia. There are all kinds of jobs out here in the suburbs.

    • BabyAssociate :

      I’m not fully understanding you questions. Do you want to be in suburbia or are you trying to escape it?

    • Sometimes suburban :

      Are you hinting that your line of work is not available in the suburbs? That’s the case for my husband, who commutes to nyc, it’s tough. Otherwise what are you waiting for? I live in a an outer ny suburb with a walkable, vibrant downtown and I mostly love it.

      • Anonymous :

        Yes sorry to be unclear. Few jobs in my industry in the suburbs and those that exist are a big step down work wise and monetarily even accounting for COL near/in cities. So I’m feeling like the suburb thing is NEVER going to happen — so do I just go with the hardest to live in city (NYC)? Rather than trying to find a city that’s supposedly easier to live in but I find it so much worse (DC)?

        • Is it Friday yet? :

          You can easily work in NYC and live in suburbia. Pretty easy train commutes from places like Montclair or White Plains or their surrounds. Heck, driving commutes from rural places further out (Hunterdon or Somerset Counties in NJ, farther up into Westchester County) are totally doable, depending on where in the city you work.

          • +1. Can’t speak to DC but you can focus on jobs with an office located near, say, Grand Central on a good commuter line and basically never take the subway. Your commute can be reasonably short (45 min), you read a book, look at the Hudson river, and go home to the burbs at the end of the day.

        • If you don’t like DC then you don’t like DC. Why are you listening to whatever external voice is saying that it’s better when you know you don’t like it?

    • Honestly, if you were in NYC biglaw and liked corporate work, see if you have any connections in your network that could get you to Delaware. It’s very suburban and the firms that do corporate work have close ties to many of the biggies in NYC. You’d have to take another bar, though.

    • Anonymous :

      Honestly, just move to CLT. Half of the NYers who move here have their family follow. And it’s a short plane trip (so if you’ve already been as far away as DC, then CLT->LGA or EWR is no big deal). Unless you share custody / respite care duties, CLT is a pretty easy place to live (and I’m from NYC and moved here from DC, along with the other 50% of current Charlotteans; the rest are from Pittsburgh, Ohio, Buffalo, etc.).

    • Anonymous :

      Move further out to NY/DC suburbs? You can drive to the train/metro. You’ll have a longer commute, sure, but that’s life. I live in suburbia in a smaller city and nobody has a 10 minute drive to work.

  32. We’ll see how long it takes for this to show up, but I think it’s hard to have a real conversation with the m0deration policies as they are. So it’s probably a combination of things stuck in m0d and people just giving up, which is unfortunate.

  33. It’s taking forever for any comment I make to show up, so I assume that people aren’t posting because there’s no reason to — what’s being said is delayed a long time, and there’s no way to get a conversation going.

  34. I’ve been wondering the same thing.

  35. I tbink a combo. I generally have less interest in posting when it takes a who knows how long time for my comment to show up. My guess is others may feel similarly.

  36. I posted a few weeks ago about a guy I’ve been dating for several months. He never had me over, saying he lived with his mom. Many posters pointed out he could be married/in a relationship and suggested we videochat, which we did, and it seemed like a normal enough living area without any indications of a partner.

    It turns out he was, in fact, living with his mom…and his girlfriend of 2 and a half years, even though his Facebook said “single”, and he represented himself as single, and I met a number of his friends, none of whom mentioned a girlfriend.

    It has been a hard week with this revelation. He tried making excuses that its an “on again, off again” relationship, which I don’t buy. If that were the case, why did he keep this woman a secret? The fact he is making ludicrous excuses rather than admitting he messed up and owning his mistakes makes it worse.

    He has had the audacity to call me from various numbers (I keep blocking them) to ask me to please meet up with him for drinks, so he may explain everything.

    Nope, hard pass.

    • I’m so sorry and glad that you are moving on.

    • Oh no! I am so sorry, what a horrible thing to find out. And then he has the gall to KEEP ASKING you, from different numbers, to let him explain. A part of me might be interested in how he tells the story in a way that makes him look good, could be entertaining, especially if drinks are involved (bonus points if he’s buying), but kudos to you for deciding it’s not worth your time and just walking away. That looks like a mess of a situation no one needs to deal with.

    • BabyAssociate :

      Yikes! You’re right to not buy any of his nonsense excuses, but this sucks.

    • Senior Attorney :

      Oh, man! I’m so sorry! You are comletely doing the right thing!

      • Anonymous :

        Thank you for all the support. It feels good to know anonymous Internet friends are rooting for me.

    • Good for you not waiting around to hear anything more. May I ask how you found out?

      • Anonymous :

        Apparently his girlfriend put 2 and 2 together and moved out while he was on a business trip. He came back, panicked, and told me he was hospitalized. He even asked me to pray for him (narcissist red flag!).

        I saw him a few days later, and he looked terrible. He said he’d explain everything soon. Then, I didn’t hear from him for almost a week-this after we texted/spoke multiple times a day and saw each other several times a week. I had my spidey senses tingling that something was wrong.

        Then, out of the blue on Monday, he posts a photo of him with a woman to proclaim his love. Apparently it was his grand gesture to win her back. Keep in mind, he had NO photos with this woman, and his status STILL says “single”. He called me later that day, while I was in shock, asking to meet and explain things. Nope, nope, nope. What is there to explain?

        I’ve been cheated on. I feel really bad for his (ex?) girlfriend.

        • Anonymous :

          I’m speechless. Okay I’ll say one thing, I would be really kind to yourself about this situation because anyone who has dug himself in this deep is clearly “good” at what he does (i.e. lying, cheating, getting his friends to cover him, and on and on).

          • Anonymous :

            Thanks. I’m trying, but I feel angry at myself for unwittingly being the “other woman”, and angry at him for putting me in that position.

            He’s also a local elected official, which makes me both unsurprised (good con man) and more surprised (his life is under a greater magnifying glass).

          • +1. This guy is clearly a pro. I am so glad you found out now before the stakes got any higher in your life.

  37. I know several regular commenters, including myself, have expressed frustration that every single comment gets stuck in mod. It seems even longer on the afternoon thread, often to the extent that it’s just not worth replying.

    Typing in an email address seems to make it clear mod faster, at least in the morning.

  38. I’m getting gaslighted and I’d appreciate y’all’s help. I’m dating a guy who has shared custody of his child. He and ex live within about a 20 minute drive of each other. Guy knew for about a month he might be working late one night – turns out it was last night. We talked about it weeks ago (without a date mentioned) and he said his ex wanted to go to his house to spend time with their kid and ex would spend the night there. I said that’s weird and not cool. He said he wouldn’t go home that night, he would come to my place instead. I hadn’t heard any more about it and totally forgot about it.

    Fast forward to this week. I’m super sick and I told him on Monday please don’t come over if you can’t get here by like 8 because I can’t have my sleep interrupted. So last night he went back to his house at whatever hour while his ex was still there. He didn’t tell me ahead of time he’d be spending the night with his ex if he couldn’t come to my place. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt that nothing happened between them, but I still feel so so disrespected. It doesn’t help that he’s been really unsupportive while I’ve been sick – like calling me to wake me up in the middle of the night/early morning because he just wants to talk to me because he misses me – never offered to bring me soup/medicine/etc. He’s pretending to not know why I’m pissed. So tell me – I’m being gaslighted right? And I should leave him?

    • No. Not everything is gaslighting!

      The ex thing, Idk you told him not to come over he didn’t.

      Break up because he’s not treating you well! That’s reason enough!

      • Anonymous :

        +1 not gaslighting, just a jerk. Dtmfa

      • Honestly this specific situation doesn’t sound that crazy to me, but the bigger issue is probably that you aren’t that into this guy anyway, clearly don’t particularly trust him and feel that he generally treats you poorly (which are all good reasons to reconsider the relationship). But this situation? You already knew the ex was at his place and then told him not to come over (don’t know what his line of work is, but in my job, leaving by 8 is early and working late is way later than that so given that you already knew he was working late, not sure what you expected him to do if the choice was get there by 8 or don’t come). Was he supposed to stay in a hotel? And the ex staying at his house thing is a little uncomfortable but if they have a decent relationship and the kid would otherwise have been home alone (or with a sitter) I don’t think it’s all that strange. That would have been something to deal with on the front end, not on the night of when his only other option would have been hotel or crash with friend. I would have gone home too. And being mad for not bringing soup/medicine – being babied is nice but it’s not an absolute right (at least not as an adult). Again, just sounds like you don’t particularly like the guy.

      • +1 this is not the definition of gaslighting and seems like a reasonable place to sleep.

    • Senior Attorney :

      It sounds like you two are not a match. If you want to break up, break up!

    • Hmm.. I’d give him the benefit of the doubt here.
      I can see the ex wanting to stay over if the kid is alone and the dad is working late.
      I can see how his plan A was sleeping at his own house, plan B was sleeping at your place since you were uncomfortable, and when plan B was cancelled he went back to plan A without thinking twice.

      He is not being thoughtful and taking care of you while sick. He should have. Overall I think he isn’t thinking here but I would still not attribute malicious or bad intentions.

    • This whole story is weird. Who knows a month out that they might have to work late one mystery day? How could anyone know that the ex would be available to stay late/over last minute when the mystery day presented itself? Why can’t the ex drive to HER house after he got home since she lives only 20 minutes away?

      And even brushing all that aside… why would you be upset at the guy for going to his HOUSE when you told him not to come over late – was he supposed to pay for a hotel so he didn’t go home where his ex was visiting?

      IDK, sounds like a mess.

    • Anonymous :

      He’s treating you in a manner I wouldn’t be ok with, but I don’t think it’s gaslighting.

      But if you are not ok with it, that’s what matters.

    • Anonymous :

      Why didn’t the ex take the kid to spend the night at her own house?

      • BeenThatGuy :

        That’s the real question. As someone who co-parents, it would never cross my mind to sleep at my ex’s house. If he needed to work late, we’d switch nights.

    • That’s not really gaslighting, but if you don’t like it you can break up with him. You don’t need our permission.

    • And Peggy :

      Dating someone who has a child with an ex can get sticky, and it sounds like this isn’t a good situation for you to be in. It would be totally fair for you to say “I’m sorry, this isn’t working for me.”

      However, here’s what tripped me up a bit, you told him not to come over if he couldn’t be there by 8, but then got mad when he went home where his ex was sleeping. What did you expect him to do? Was he supposed to guess that he should still come over if his ex was at his place, regardless of when he’s be able to get there? It’s never a good idea to expect someone to figure out or “just know” what you want, and then get upset when they pick the wrong thing.

      • Exactly. He couldn’t come to your house, so what was he supposed to do? Get a hotel room because his ex was at his house? Respectfully, you are being too sensitive.

    • No. Not everything is gas lighting. Google the term, don’t dilute it. But you are always within your rights to break up with someone whose behavior is making you unhappy.

  39. It sounds like there was a breakdown in communication, but I don’t understand what would be gaslighting. I’m not sure he’s actually pretending that he doesn’t know why you’re upset. He could have told you that he’d be working late and his ex would be at his house, but you had already told him not to come over past 8. That more recent directive could have just taken precedence in his mind over the weeks-ago conversation about sleeping over.
    It’s annoying if he’s calling at all hours, but I wouldn’t make the leap that he’s been calling solely “to wake you up.” Have you told him to stop calling you late at night or early in the morning?
    Also, how long have you been dating? To me, bringing over soup if I’m sick is a pretty intimate gesture that I would not expect of a casual boyfriend.
    It sounds like maybe your communication skills with him could use improvement, but I don’t see any of this as something to leave him over.

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