Frugal Friday’s TPS Report: Plaid Scribble Print Pima Cotton Cardigan

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

Plaid Scribble Print Pima Cotton Cardigan Hooray for Friday! I’m really loving ths “scribble” pattern on this cotton cardigan, available in both pink and black. It’s fun yet classic — I can’t see the pattern ever being dated or “so last season.” The sweater is $54.50, but with the sale at LOFT today (30% off all new arrivals with code NOW30), it comes down to $38.15. Plaid Scribble Print Pima Cotton Cardigan

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  1. Cute! Makes me all wistful for spring…

    • This is so cute! I was looking at some lightweight flowered cardigans yesterday, but we get so little winter here, I hate to think how soon it will be before it’s warm again.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      I’m so ready for spring! Spring is always my favorite season when its wintertime and fall is my favorite season when it is summertime. I think I just don’t like extremes!

      • Or maybe you just miss the season that you haven’t had for the longest time? I’m always like that, in fall I miss winter, in spring I miss summer…etc

      • SoCal Gator :

        Yes, spring! I am wearing a bright green top today and feel like spring must be right around the corner. With the crazy schizophrenic weather we have had lately, it is supposed to hit the 80’s today, while we were in the 40-50’s earlier in the week. Since emerald green is supposedly the panetone color of the year, I am in the mood for bright green clothes.

      • I wish we had fall…

    • Same here! I keep reaching for my pastel lightweight sweaters… a warm spell will do that to you :)

  2. Fun TJ! If you could build your ultimate library, what type of books would you fill it with? I’ve always been fascinated with libraries and have wanted one of my own for as long as I can remember (especially after seeing Beauty and the Beast). First editions are something I started collecting. I got To Kill A Mockingbird last year and am currently looking for Murder on the Orient Express as my next find. After that, I’d love to have the complete works of Shakespeare, leather bound and proudly displayed on a shelf!

    I guess my questions to you all are these – what first edition books would you want? what other tomes/books would you consider essential for your personal collections?

    I’m excited to hear your responses, as slowly building my own personal library has been my project for some time now. With a growing eBook collection, it’s made me more aware of how much I love having an actual book in my hands!

    • Ooh, fun TJ! I would definitely want To Kill A Mockingbird also, and first editions of The Hobbit & the Lord of the Rings trilogy. I’m also an e-book reader but there are just some books I have to buy as hard copies– What I Loved, Bright Shiny Morning, Middles*x, This Is How You Lose Her (the short story-ish follow-up to The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao– just finished this, highly recommend if you liked the novel).

      This makes me want to go book shopping this weekend!

      • Happy Anon :

        Thanks for the recommendation! I loved Oscar Wao and didn’t know Daiaz had another book out. I’m headed to the library this afternoon to get it. So much for getting anything accomplished tonight!

        • Awesome! It’s a series of short stories (narrated by Yunior from Oscar Wao), so you can break it up into chunks– or just read the entire thing in one long sitting because it’s so good. Hope you like it!

    • Sydney Bristow :

      I’d love a complete collection of the Nancy Drew books.

      • Me too!

      • just Karen :

        This! When everyone got tax rebate checks (five years ago?) I used mine to buy the complete set of Oz books. Nancy Drew might be next on my wishlist…

    • I don’t have a list of specific books but I’ve been wanting to upgrade my particle-board bookshelves with something more permanent and substantial and style my shelves more like I’d see on Pinterest or in a catalog. I love to read, I love the books I own, now I want to love the way they look on the shelves.

    • Raise your hand if the Beauty and the Beast library is part of your dream house. It certainly is mine. Those shelves, that floor, swoon.

    • All of the first edition Stephen Kings I could get my hands on (I have 3), and then other interesting, older books. I pick them up when I’m traveling. For example, a few years ago I found an 1895 edition of Hawthorne’s “Mosses from and Old Manse.” Really great!

      I also have some of the really pretty leather bound special editions Barnes and Noble was putting out – Alice and Wonderland and maybe a few others. The Nook has been fantastic for me, because this way I only take up space on my shelves for my “fancy” books!

      During “normal” periods of my life, I usually read 2-3 books per month, and those things add up fast.

    • Meg Murry :

      I’ve been collecting my favorite books/authors from when I was a kid, because when I was a little girl I used to love going over to my aunt’s house and reading her classics collection, and I realized as an adult that all of my favorite books from childhood were library books, not ones I owned personally. Not so concerned about first editions, although that would be fun to have too. This is the list I always look for at secondhand stores: Madeleine L’Engle (both adult & children’s books), Louisa May Alcott, Lucy Maud Montgomery, Dianna Wynne Jones. Laura Ingalls Wilder.

    • I’d want my library to include a copy of the Little Prince in all the languages it’s been published in- I have one from all languages of countries I’ve visited, and it’s probably the only part of all the books I own that I’d be really chapped if they got lost. I love that I can remember where I bought each one, and what I was doing there, etc, so I guess really I just want to get to curate this collection of books, because it would mean that I’d travelled extensively.

    • I have a huge book collection, so I guess I’ve already done this. I read mostly genre fiction (sci-fi, mystery, and romance), as well as late 19th/early 20th century fiction (Henry James, Edith Wharton). I collect etiquette books, so I have a bunch of those.

    • There are fancy leather-bound editions of the Tolkein books. I bought them years ago for my then-BF.

      I also have a fancy anniversary edition of The Princes Bride. One of my favorite all-time books.

      I’ve totally pared down my book collection. My ex had a room walled in them and I now have two bookcases (other than cookbooks).

  3. anon for this :

    I like the cardigan and I hate to thread jack right away, but I need advice…

    I have managed to be pretty successful at 27. I just got a new job that came with a raise and I’m making around $115K all told. I’m thrilled with this, but am struggling right now. My fiance, whom I’ve lived with for a year, is not making much money at all. He is a self-employed engineer who was very successful after leaving school but then encountered a very abusive boss that left him a bit scarred and prompted him to go out on his own. He managed to do pretty well, but no where near the income he had working for someone else. For a long time he has be supplemented by his parents, but I feel uncomfortable with him taking money from them when in reality my salary covers both of our needs. So he hasn’t in the past few months.

    But that’s the thing, my salary covers our needs and leaves very little left-over to save for now or retirement. We have expenses coming up that we need to cover (the wedding luckily is being hosted and covered primarily by my parents, but we have things like our honeymoon, rings, prenup etc. to cover). Yes, we could cut back. Cut cable (which I primarily watch). Reduce eating out (I hate making my lunch) but in reality all the cuts we could make are things I enjoy and I’m the one making the money. I’m doing the best I have ever done and I have to sacrifice and I’m feeling so anxious over it.

    He has been working on a job that he was going to get a substantial sum of money for that we agreed would be put straight into our savings account, but he found out and told me this morning that something happened with the contractor and that even though this job has had him working insane hours, jeopardized his immune system (he worked straight through having the flu), etc. etc. he will only receive a small fraction of what he was promised.

    I’m tired and frustrated and I just want him to get a salaried position so we don’t have to wonder when he’s next bringing home a check. He wants to stay self-employed in part because of his anxiety from the evil boss and also because he needs to study and pass his professional engineering license this year. But I need him to work.

    So the question is this — how can I gently push him to look for a salaried position?

    • Unfortunately I don’t think you should push him to look for a salaried position, at least not outright. I think it needs to be his idea. Say he does look for one, gets it, and hates it. He will resent you for suggesting he put himself back in a work environment he didn’t want to be in. Not a good way to start a marriage.

      I’d maybe have a talk about what your priorities are, short term and long term. Look at how much you need for X, Y, Z for the wedding, talk about whether you feel like you should be saving for retirement (obviously you think so, and that’s awesome, but maybe he doesn’t feel like that’s important right now, and you guys need to talk about that), etc. Then decide how much money you need to have coming in to make that happen. At that point I’d put it like this, well we really need to bring in this much money to make these things that we both want to happen, happen. How can we make this happen?

      If he decides to look for a salaried position at that point, great. If not, I think you will just have to support his decision and decide where to cut back.

      • Yup. I mean, I think you should talk to him about how you’re stressed out about being the (virtually) sole breadwinner, and ask if he has any ideas about how to help ameliorate that…but I don’t think you can order him to find a salaried job, if he still wants to work for himself.

        Also, I would really encourage you to examine your resentment over scaling back on things like cable, a honeymoon, and eating lunches out. I understand that you value them, but are they more important than your husband’s happiness or your 401(k)?

        • He’s not her husband yet.

        • Whoops, mistyped. But he still will be soon, so.

        • I disagree with this. She works hard and she should be able to have some enjoyment. Cable and eating lunch out are not in the same league as going to the theatre and eating at Per Se every night. Her FI should figure out a way to pull his weight too. Yes relationships require compromise, but it sounds like she’s being asked to do all the compromising – make all the money AND give up what she enjoys – while he gets to “find himself.”

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      I think you need to have a frank discussion with him – not blaming him but laying out the situation, telling him you can see that if this situation continues, you will become resentful, and asking him how he thinks you guys should proceed.

      Is he talking to a therapist about his anxiety? If he doesn’t have a professional engineering license, is the problem that he can’t get a job at his skill level? I think if you know the root cause of why he isn’t getting a job, which it sounds like you’re pretty honed in on, the key is helping him address those causes.

      I would definitely think about considering premarital counseling for both of you, to discuss how to merge differing approaches to finances. I think it’s good your thinking about this issue now, for sure. If you are starting to feel exhausted/concerned about supporting him now, I think you have to consider if it’s possible that you will be supporting him through your marriage, and figure out how you feel about that.

    • I think the two of you don’t want the same things, financially and career-wise, and that is going to cause a lot of tension in the marriage. There’s a lot of work to be done, counseling-wise, before you two get married.

      I think your fiance is being a baby, frankly. Plenty of us have had bad experiences with bad bosses, and we got the necessary therapy and moved on with our lives and careers. It’s one thing to be self-employed because you’re passionate about it and really use it to get opportunities because you’re such a go-getter that you don’t want to be constrained by the Firm’s strictures. It’s something else because you’re avoiding having to deal with bosses. The reality is, you have to deal with people in one way or another, because that’s what doing business is — it’s a set of conversations and working relationships with other people.

      And it sounds like your fiance is not very good at that, in general, because he seems to negotiate badly in such a way that he doesn’t protect his interests and gets screwed after he does the work. He comes across as really inept in his handling of these contract jobs.

      Either that or he’s lying about how much money he would have made on that last “big” job, and is painting himself as a victim of being screwed, rather than someone who can’t make a lot of money on his work. It’s ok to not make a lot of money on his work, but if he’s not fine with it or thinks it’s not fine with you, it’s going to be a problem.

      Life is hard. Do you want a real partner, or a whiny child who can’t hack life? Right now, your fiance sounds like the latter. Think very, very carefully before you proceed, OP.

      • That was exactly my reaction. Think about what you’re signing on for, OP. If you’re resentful now, what’s going to happen 10 years from now when you add in the pressures of being the sole breadwinner PLUS raising kids, taking care of aging parents and handling other not-so-fun adult situations?

        • +1,000,000. You need him to be a financial partner and right now, he’s abdicating. It’s bad now, when you have to give up cable; it will be worse if you have kids or aging parents and you have to give up your soul to keep food on the table and the lights on. You should not marry a man who is willing to sacrifice your joint financial future and your happiness at work for his own personal happiness.

      • Senior Attorney :


        Whatever you do, do not marry this guy unless things change in a major way. Believe me, once you’re married he’s not going to suddenly man up.

      • Blunt, and true.

      • Totes agree. He has one crappy boss so he opts out of the traditional workforce? That must be a nice luxury.

        • My ex had a problem with authority. He eventually hated every boss he ever had. It was sad. He would start out so excited. This time is going to be different! Then it would devolve.

      • Anon in NC :


      • +1. This happened to a friend of mine. Tigers don’t change their stripes. Their divorce was financially and emotionally expensive.

      • Divaliscious11 :

        I’m sorry – he had a crappy boss, and now he doesn’t want to work for someone else again? Really? And what do you mean he isn’t getting his whole pay? Aren’t there payment bonds on the project? Put a lien for his entire payment. If I were you and he was unable to support himself, I’d let him continue to accept money from his parents. You can’t force people into adulthood…….

        I am all for people making sacrifices in their marriage (which you are not yet in), but both parties need to be making sacrifices and contributing – I don’t see that here….

        • Agreed – why isn’t he getting what he’s owed? And he won’t fight for it?

    • Talk to him without accusations. “Honey, I’m concerned about how tight our budget it, and I’d really like to start saving for the future, both short term & long term. Let’s think of a plan so we can do this.” And then gently work his getting a full time position into the conversation if he doesn’t bring it up himself. However, you guys are young. If he needs to study and pass his engineering exam, can having him look for a salaried position wait until after he passes? Won’t it make it easier for him to find a job once he has his license? But definitely talk to him in a way that he won’t get defensive. Broach it as a family problem rather than an issue you have with him.

      I also think, and I mean this very gently, that you need to change your midset a little bit. I’ve been married 18.5 years – got married when we were both in university, and we’ve definitely had our ups & downs financially, and almost every combination of working/unemployed/self employed that you can think of. One thing we’ve ALWAYS done is consider any money that comes into the house as our money, and then we decide on the budget together. I’ve seen marriages end when people thought too much about ‘my money’ vs ‘your money’. Remember that you are a team. However, I also know couples who maintain separate bank accounts, and this works for them, but I doubt there is much income disparity between the partners in these types of situations. Perhaps some premarital counseling would benefit you so you can start to figure out what will work best for you as a couple.

      The most important thing, though is communication.

      • I agree with the my money v. your money thing. That’s one thing that jumped out at me from your post. Marriage is a team effort, and when cut backs need to be made, both parties need to make them. It’s not about who is bringing in more.

      • Olivia Pope :

        I agree. Having this attitude even if they were going to keep their finances separate would still be an issue. It’s unrealistic to think that both people could be perfectly financially stable for the rest of their lives.

      • Blonde Lawyer :

        I agree. I think you need to think short term, then long term, and discuss both with him. Can you put off retirement savings for one year while you get him through studying and getting his license? Can he agree to actively seek out and obtain a salaried position once he has his license? If you can make that agreement, and he can stick to it, it seems like a win/win. Plus, if it turns out he can’t stick to it and is really a “whiny baby” as another poster said, you will know short term. Can you put off the wedding until after that? If you know you would not be happy being the sole bread winner and you are not sure your future husband can actually be an income producer you might want to wait to get married until he shows you that he can and will financially contribute to the marriage. It is fine for us to say “treat it all as shared” but if you are going to resent him for that, the marriage won’t last.

      • We have separate bank accounts and unequal incomes. (I make 2x what he does.) Married 21 years.

        Just so you know that it can work. :-)

        (And we’re not all Joy Luck Club dividing the expenses, either. We just pay for what we pay for.)

        • me too.

        • Same. I make less net, but because I make payments into retirement for both of us (long story). In exchange, he takes a greater share of our expenses. Divvying everything up and maintaining sep. accounts while sharing a life isn’t always easy. That being said, we still consider it our money when big expenses come up (for example, why should one of us take out a loan for school if the two of us can manage it). Before each major change in our incomes/spending situations we just try to come up with a plan and solution that allows us to divide fairly, but each retaining some sense of indepence.

          Clearly, I didn’t enter the marriage with expectation of divorce, but to me it was still important to retain some financial independence (who wants to be the 40 year old divorcee who got cheated on AND is completely dependent on her husband – or who wants to worry about separating finance in addition to the stress of possibly separating). One piece of advice a divorced colleague told me, before I got married was even if we join accounts, to retain some form of seperate account each of us for gifting ourselves. I neither want my husband to have to pay for my clothes shopping, nor do I want to have to ask every time I do it either and then possibly argue.

      • I agree with this “our money vs my money” but only when you are actually married. She’s not married to him yet, and she is already the sole supporter (and from the sounds of it, he’s used toa and comfortable with, having someone ele financialyl support him).

        There were just recent threads with people expressing their resentment of their spouse for “not pulling their weight” and I think this is something that she needs to very carefully consider, because it sounds as though this goes far beyond him just being financially stable and into his ability to work at all. If he can’t deal with bosses who are jerks, he is going to struggle dealing with customers who are jerks and as said upthread, how can he protect his interests and negotiate his payment if he’s afraid of those people. Working for yourself is much, much harder than working for someone else (even though it may be more freeing) as you have to be able to advocate for yourself.

        If they decide to have kids later on, will he be able to support her if she decides to stay home to raise kids (if that is what she wants) or will she be even more resentful at that point.

        • Or maybe she’ll support him to stay home to raise the kids (if that is what he wants). Just a thought.

          • She might, but she’s already resentful about cutting out cable and eating lunch out. So If she has to cut those out along with other stuff she enjoys, while he stays home and gets to do what she might want to do (be more involved), then it won’t end well.

    • Anne Shirley :

      I think you should be pushing him into therapy- alone or couples. Anxiety is a terrible reason to work for yourself, and it’s only going to become more of an issue for you in time. It’s also a values issue- not in a moral judgment way, but in a what’s important to you way. Do you both value providing financial security for your family? Does he value professional fulfillment more? Both are fine ways to live, but not if you can’t agree.

    • Yowza, I can’t see moving ahead with the wedding when these kinds of issues are still outstanding. Sorry, I know you love him and are planning to spend your life with him (Planning! Your life!) but what if this is your life for the next xx years? He says he’ll pull a Steve Jobs, but are you ready for the eventuality that it might not work out that way? You didn’t mention if you want to have kids, but will his freelance “career” that’s not bringing in any money get the same consideration as your 6 figure position when you have to divvy up responsibilities there?

    • Olivia Pope :

      I really hope the wedding is not soon. Ideally, these issues and more would have been discussed in counseling before you even got engaged. Regardless, you two need to have a frank and honest discussion about what you need to do to support each other.

      If you two can’t have an open, non-accusatory, direct conversation about this, I don’t think you should be getting married just yet.

    • Can he get his PE if he’s not working under the supervision of a PE? I thought the exam was just part of the licensure process?

      • anon for this :

        He has all of the other pieces to get his PE, just needs to finish the exam.

        • Why hasn’t he finished this exam?

          I know I’m a total broken record on this point, but actions speak louder than words. It sounds like he talks a good game, but… his actions don’t seem to match up. Red flag.

        • The requirements vary by state, but generally it’s 3-4 years of work experience after graduation. Some states require the work be certified by a PE, but others it can be any supervisor or other person familiar with your work. But still, if he’s only moderately successful while self-employed, I’m kind of confused about how, at 27, he would have enough time unless terrible boss is his endorser.

          I’m not saying I know better, but if the plan is to work for himself until he gets licensed, I’d make sure he’s really on the path to licensure.

    • anon for this :

      To answer some things:

      1) We’re getting married in October. That’s not moveable and there’s no question about whether we’re getting married.
      2) He has gone through therapy and still goes 1x per month but I can’t blame him for being nervous to work for someone again after a traumatic experience
      3) We are negotiating managing finances as part of our prenup and we agreed to have both joint and separate accounts. My struggle right now is that I’m giving up things I’ve had far before I was making this much money.
      4) I’m very sure he’s not lying about the contract getting messed up.

      I am not looking for advice to end my relationship, thanks, not helpful, rather more how to talk about my fiscal concerns with him.

      • goldribbons :

        I would try to bring it up either in a “family budgeting” discussion (here are things you want, here’s what the two of you need to be bringing in to make that happen, how can the two of you get there over the course of the next xx months or years?) or a “family planning” discussion (what type of life do you two want when you retire? what type of vacations do you want to be able to go on? how many kids do you want and how soon?). I think the best you can do is share fiscal concerns, as you said. In a budgeting discussion, you would also be able to have some sort of “end” date for your sacrifices. It’s upsetting to cut anything out of your budget and not know when you’ll be able to get it back. A budgeting discussion would allow you to say that you’ve both been sacrificing (you: money; him: immune system) and it doesn’t seem to be working (he didn’t get paid), so let’s make a plan so that we can be more secure in 6 months (or however long you want it to take). Also, maybe you could make different sacrifices at different times — for example, maybe you could give up cable over the summer to save some money (since you can spend time outdoors instead) but giving up cable in the winter isn’t do-able (because it’s so d-mn cold!). Sorry this turned into a novel. Hope something in here is helpful. Good luck, and congratulations on being so successful so young!

        • goldribbons :

          One other thing. Discomfort today, now, with these responses or with your relationship is kind of like a small rock in your shoe. It’s uncomfortable, maybe makes you want to cry, makes you frustrated, and you hate it. However, failing to deal with the rock will build so much resentment. Acting in a way that causes your spouse to resent you (I’m looking at your fiance here), is the fastest way to pave a road to the end of the relationship. Even if all you share is, “I’m growing resentful of how you’re totally comfortable living off my money,” you owe it to both of you to communicate that. I think there are some good suggestions on here. Your relationship is probably strong and wonderful but you need to work something out. That’s normal. Your relationship will suffer when you stop communicating, so you’re smart to try to figure out what to say to him. You’re also smart *not* to say, “hey get a day job already!”

      • And I used to wonder why so many smart women on this site complain about how they are sick of their husbands who aren’t being good partners in one way or another and wonder how the heck did they marry such schlubs. This is how.

        Your refusal to move something that’s arbitrary, yup, wedding dates are arbitrary, and in the long scheme of a very long marriage, inconsequential, suggest that you don’t see the enormity of the problem before you.

        It’s very easy to get caught up in the momentum of the wedding train and not want to get off, but as inconvenient and awkward as it is to have to postpone or cancel the wedding for the October date, trust me, it’ll be 1000x more inconvenient, painful, awkward, and all around awful to have to plan your divorce.

        Or, if you don’t, roll forward 10yrs from now, if he’s still on the couch, talking about how he’s had yet another contract not work out or another scary boss, and you have 3 kids and can’t move out of your small condo to a better town or a better house, you’ll be posting here and complaining about how he doesn’t make any money and keeps making excuses for why he can’t just be a fricking busboy to at least cover some bills.

        Nobody’s told you to dump him. As unimpressed with him as I am, even I’m not telling you to dump him. But this is a serious issue, people on this site have had marriages break up because this issue wasn’t properly dealt with before or during the marriage. Why are you so determined to rush headlong into something that’s obviously problematic? You’re basically saying it’s more important for you to check the box and make that October wedding than to sort this serious stuff out. If that’s the case, there have been many future versions of you on this site griping about crappy husbands.

        • THIS. I dated my husband for 10 years before getting married, we talked about everything beforehand and are on the same page, but STILL had some fights in our first year of marriage when combining finances and when he got laid off unexpectedly. Do not underestimate the seriousness of resentment and money issues!!!!

        • OMG so this. Preach it sister.

        • Blonde Lawyer :

          I know you are trying to write a “come to Jesus” post but your phrase “still on the couch” sounds a bit like you think less of people that require therapy. A lot of women have posted here seeking advice and courage to try therapy and I feel like phrases like this are part of the reason therapy and mental health treatment have such a negative stereotype. We treat mental illness differently from other illness and that drives me nuts. I 100% agree that the OP has to decide if she could spend the rest of her life married to the man that she is currently engaged to if he does not change one iota. However, I don’t think we should disrespect this man for needing therapy. Maybe he blames his mean boss but maybe he has underlying mental health problems. Again, not an excuse and OP needs to decide if she wants to marry someone with major mental health problems. We shouldn’t, however, mock OP’s husband for needing therapy.

          • Not sure, but I don’t think this is what she meant. I think she meant on the couch as in not working.

          • I’m not the Anon who wrote the come to Jesus reply, but in reading what she wrote, I assumed that by “still on the couch” she meant still sitting at home, not seriously looking for a job, scared of the big bad meanie bosses of the world, unable to take action to make things happen for himself. I didn’t think she was referring to the therapist’s couch.

          • Yeah, I read “still on the couch” as in not working, not “on the couch” as in therapy.

          • Anon from 11:08am :

            @ Blonde Lawyer

            I use “still on the couch” to mean, “still not working any job, including McJobs”, also “still not seeking therapy, either talk therapy or meds or pastoral counseling, whatever kind of help” needed to work through problems.

            Please don’t read offense where there isn’t any.

        • THIS. anon, sorry you don’t like some of the advice you’re getting, but this is the internet and you don’t get to just request the advice that you want to hear. These are reasonable points that you should at least think about before you do something as big as marrying someone – you are instead just explaining everything away for him.

        • phillygirlruns :

          agree, agree, agree, agree. yes, you should talk about finances with him – but this is more than finances. this is values and priorities and you feeling (justifiably) resentful. things like this do not just go away, and no one is saying you shouldn’t marry him – just that you should sort this out before you do. period.

        • Divaliscious11 :

          This x10000

        • Anonymous :

          You go, girl! What a great reality check.

      • I think that you certainly need to bring up these concerns with him, maybe as part of a “let’s talk about our financial goals and how to get there” conversation and not so much a “you don’t make enough money” conversation.

        Second, I think that you also might have to adjust your expectations if you are set on getting married. Such as giving up things that you had before you were making this much money. Relationships are about compromise and sacrifice and sometimes you have to give things up to make it work. It seems important to you to continue to be with your fiance, and so you may have to accept that, for the time being, you do have to make those sacrifices until he is in a position to make more money. Throughout your marriage, there will likely always be sacrifices that you have to make.

      • I agree that it’s reasonable to be nervous after a traumatic experience, but if he’s still experiencing that PTSD, I’d suggest that counseling 1x per month is not sufficient.

        I think one part of the discussion is whether he thinks it is OK for a 27 year old to be dependent on one’s parents (or one’s fiance) for a prolonged period of time. I’ve been married 20 years and I think it’s absolutely OK to depend upon one’s fiance or spouse for a brief period of time (for me, maybe 6 months). After that, I would expect my husband or fiance to step up to the plate and start seriously looking for a job which could help contribute in a signficant way to household expenses. And, this is just me, I would be very concerned about a 27 year old fiance who thought it was OK to rely on his parents. So, I would want to have a talk with him to make sure our expectations about financial self-reliance were in sync.

      • Anne Shirley :

        How did you discuss stopping taking his parents’ money? Is there sone reason why “hey- we need to talk about you job situation. I’m supporting us, I’m frustrated that I’m doing well and can’t enjoy that, and I want us to come up with a better plan”.

        A prenup isn’t going to solve this issue for you.

      • momentsofabsurdity :

        I think you should bring it up with him for sure and I think some of the suggestions here are great for that. I don’t know that you should end the relationship – I’m not in it, you are. I think it’s certainly premature to think about ending the relationship before you’ve sat down and had this conversation about your fiscal goals.

        But I do think – you cannot marry someone expecting that something about them is going to change. I think you HAVE to go into marriage knowing who they are, where they are and being comfortable with the fact that if that never ever changes one bit, you’ll still have a happy life with them. So I think to some extent, he needs either to be clearly making strides toward changing, or you have to be comfortable with the fact that things might remain as they are – even in 10, 15, 25 years.

        • Great comment, momentsofabsurdity. You HAVE to assume they’re never going to change the things that drive you crazy. If they surprise you, well, that’s a pleasant surprise then…;).

        • great post, MoA

        • So true. My sister married someone who sounds weirdly similar to the OP’s fiance. Several years later and he’s still self-employed, they stretch to make ends meet, can’t move to a better school district or afford private school, etc. It would drive me insane; I’m actually not sure how they make it work at all, I know she’s resentful. Also like the OP, she married him a few months after he was traumatized by an employer and decided that salaried work wasn’t for him. She thought he would eventually go back; never happened.

          • I haver to say I have a friend in an again similar position to OP – BUT she and her now husband of five years completely worked it out. He husband had a similar completely scarring experience with a boss and is now self- employed. He is computer engineer so somewhat similiar. My friend is the salaried spouse who brings home the “main money” and health benefits etc. However- before they got married, and actually while negotiating their prenup it forced them to have long, hard conversations about her resentment at having to work and have the “dependable” salary. They ended up making a “contract” with each other (not part of the prenup) about both the finanical and professional goals and realities of him being self- employed. Obivously, it doesn’t solve all problems – but they had an agreement on “their money” how to earn it, how to spend it, and how to save it. It also helped for her to know that while sitations like the one OP described happen – when things just get bad and for some reason a contract falls through- that her husband had a concrete business plan and was determined to make his business a sucess. Not sure if this helps, but sometimes it is not just about the money, but also about the level of resposiblity taken by both partners to contributing to the family. For my friend, knowing her husband was truly committed to growing his business and seeing that plan written on paper- helped her deal with being the more “stable” earner in the relationship.

      • Olivia Pope :

        Hmmmm, I jusr re-read the responses and literally no one told you to end the relationship. Most people told you to go to counseling, which you desperately need. Most people told you to not get married before these huge, life-altering issues are resolved, which is good advice. Also, people gave you advice about how to talk to him about your fiscal concerns.

        I’m glad your wedding isn’t until October. My fiance and I went to counseling and had some major issues resolved in a couple of months. It was fantastic. We are getting married next month with major comfort knowing that we can talk honestly to each other and really work through things. Working through this is what will make you stronger as a couple.

        Your focus needs to be on laying a strong foundation for your marriage. If my fiance and I realized that we needed to postpone our wedding to strengthen, even with deposits paid and 300 people coming, we would in a heartbeat because our relationship is that important.

        Everyone else can see that there are much bigger issues than whether or not you have to start packing lunches because your fiance is basically out of work. I hope you are smart enough to see it too.

      • “being nervous to work for someone after a traumatic experience”?!?!?! If this is your attitude, you are part of the problem because this is not a practical or realistic approach to a professional career. People deal with bad bosses to varying degrees every day. Some not so bad, some who make their lives hellish. I can’t fathom being like, “I can’t work for anybody again!” because I’d had an abusive boss in a previous job.

        • Yeah, if that were an acceptable attitude, every biglaw associate would be hanging out a shingle within a year of graduation.

          • Seriously, I’d be living in a van down by the river, which would double as the Law Offices of Herbie, Esq. LLC.

          • Huh, doesn’t sound like a bad set up, Herbie.

        • There is your standard, BigLaw style abusive boss and then there is a REALLY abusive boss. I actually did not work for a year because I was so messed up from one. I took a complete break from law, and it was exactly what I needed. Then I tried going out on my own. While it was really fun and I worked a lot, I didn’t make a lot of money. I got tired of living on a tiny budget and jumped back in – right under yet another one of those bosses (and now I’m convinced that all law firms are the same, which is why I’m glad I’m getting out). It’s really tough, depending on the manifestation of the abuse and how bad it was.

          My advice, and you can take it or leave it, I’m just throwing it out there, is that you should only be cutting back on HIS stuff. For instance, I don’t care if we have television or not, or if we just pick up broadcast. DH has to have his discovery / science channels. We didn’t have cable for a long time because we just didn’t have room in the budget. Sometimes that doesn’t work because everything is “ours,” but sometimes it does. And just tell him that it’s stressing you out, and maybe suggest he come up with an awesome marketing strategy, give it 6 months, and if it doesn’t work out go back to work for an engineering firm.

          Also, therapy. If the boss was that bad, it could help.

      • Houston Attny :

        I would simply suggest that both of you talk about this (whether together or apart) in pre-marital counseling. I think there is much wisdom in the many responses of ladies who are professionals like you and who are married to professionals like your fiancé. Trust their advice to deal with this now (your expectations about money and stuff, his expectations about money and stuff, what are things you really don’t want to give up, what are things he really doesn’t want to give up, what are things you both expect with regard to money, saving, spending, vacations, standard of living, etc) through, I would assume, pre-marital counseling.

        Some of the wisest advice I’ve received is that whatever the issue is before you get married, it absolutely does not get better once you are married. I think you owe it to yourself and your fiancé to start off fresh, to be able to voice your concerns, for him to be able to voice his, and to set the standard of discussing these matters so that your marriage will be long and healthy. I wish you the best of luck.

        • Houston Attny :

          I should clarify the advice I received “whatever the issue is before you get married, it absolutely does not get better simply by getting married.” Sorry – that’s confusing!

        • We aren’t all married to professionals. I married in my late 20s to a 30-yr-old who had just finished his master’s at one of the best engineering schools in Germany. Given their system, his age at degree wasn’t a problem. I won’t go into details, but he never found a professional position in the US. My parents, our neighbors, other people gave him good leads, but he generally did not follow up in a responsible way. He hated life here and was too depressed to do anything about it. He knew I loved him, but that wasn’t enough to give him strength. Our main disputes were over money, outwardly. He wanted to stretch a few thousand $$ out for I don’t know how long and became extreme in his frugality. Even after he left, he couldn’t manage to handle the divorce as he promised.

          I know this OP is not me, and her fiance is not my ex, but there are just enough similarities that I couldn’t not say anything about the difficulties ahead.

          • @ saacnmama

            I’ve followed your posts of late and didn’t realize that this was the backdrop to your divorce. I’m so sorry your ex didn’t handle these things responsibly. I think you’re absolutely right that it has less to do with whether someone is in a “professional” / corporate type job or not and all about seeing eye-to-eye on values (how to handle money is one of them) and lifestyle preferences. Anyways, I think you’re a good egg and know that I’m rooting for you and your DS.

      • I agree with “Anon at 11.08am”. You say the October wedding date is not moveable but a couple sentences later you speak about the struggle you’re having giving up things you had before. Sort out the issues BEFORE getting married. If you have to postpone the wedding so be it, like the other poster said, planning a divorce is much harder than postponing a wedding.

      • I’m not going to comment on the larger issue, because I think everyone else has it well-covered. But one suggestion I have for your conversation with him is to say that if he intends to work as a contract engineer, he needs to learn to negotiate contracts so that he doesn’t do piles of work and then doesn’t get paid for his time. Being self-employed isn’t easy and one of the most difficult parts is getting employers to pay. He needs a firm grasp of contract law, whether that be by engaging an attorney, or by learning enough to make certain that his contracts state he’s getting paid whether or not the other contractors come through.

      • Flying Squirrel :

        So, I’m somewhat more like your fiance in this case, but with some differences. DH and I had a salary differential before getting married where he earned more than me, enabling a fancier lifestyle than my salary alone could support. I also couldn’t start work for a few mionths after grad school due to health issues, and during that time my parents helped with medical expenses and PT. Once I was working (and engaged soon after), DH was not okay with accepting help from my parents even for what were fairly large PT bills.

        With my degree, I could easily earn a much higher salary than I do, but I’ve chosen a career path that I enjoy. We are at a point where we could easily both save and maintain our lifestyle on DHs salary,but not mine. Ending up here has been hard for me in some ways, b/c for whatever reason I always imagined i’d be the breadwinner…but the way its worked for us is that I’ve shared my insecurities with DH at every decision point, and he’s assured me that he respects what I’m trying to accomplish professionally and he doesn’t in any way feel like he’s somehow supporting me…he’s supportin us. We made these decisions…our marriage wouldn’t work if I were professionally unfulfilled.

        In your case it seems less abt nudging your FI to find salaried work than it does abt figuring out a financial plan you both agree. Sounds to me like you like the uncertainty that comes with contract work less than the lower earnings. That’s fair and deserves to be heard and respected. And there are many ways of mitigating this concern ranging from his getting a salried job to changing how you save and spend money (ie bigger rainy day fund etc). You may also be struggling with your total income being too low, but I have to say that ones harder to deal with. You can’t predict what job he’ll get or who could be laid off when. I don’t know where you live, but in very high COL areas DH and I have been able to live on less than what you earn while keeping our cable (which you’ll pry from my dead corpse), saving, and eating out (incl lunch most days)…though definitely not as luxurious as we live now. It might help that when you’re married your taX burden will likely go down substanitally, increasing your take home.

        I would approach this discussion as your current situation isn’t working for you, and be honest with yourself and him abut really what’s upsetting you…not what you think. The solution is. Then you can figure out how to meet both your needs together. Maybe he’s having a hard time qwith this situation too, but feels trapped that you don’t want him to rely on family income and he can’t bring in more wage income while he invests time/money to get a credential that should increase his earning potential.

        DH and I had some major disagreemens about what we wanted our future financial life to look like in the run up to the wedding. It was hard, but it really forced us to get on the same page on things i’d never even thought of as potential issues before. But now we’re so in sync its weird to me we ever diagreed on some items. This isn’t catastrophic, but I think it may deserve more serious attention than you might have been thinking.

      • Hey there! I just want to encourage you that this is a totally workable situation! My fiance has floundered in his career and it took him years to find a real sense of direction. For a long time, I felt like I shouldn’t push him in a certain direction because I thought it would be healthier for him to decide for himself. But one day, we were talking about possible careers, and I told him, hey, I could really picture you doing this job. It fits your strengths. You’d be good at it! He got excited about it and pursued that very suggestion, even though it was by no means an easy path and required a lot of commitment.

        So trust yourself and what you know and love about your significant other, and don’t be afraid to give him advice. Believe in him. Know that he can figure it out and land a great job if he decides to. Don’t assume you’ll have to carry the burden of the finances. He probably wants to contribute more but feels tired and frustrated and has stopped thinking of other options as real possibilities. Nudge him toward something better. You might be surprised what happens!

      • FWIW, I think sometimes people on here can get a bit snarky about alternative career paths. If he wants to start his own firm and can do so w/r/t engineering licensure, etc, you’re at a great age to do so. If, a couple of years down the road, he’s making great money and is happy not to be in a corporate situation, those lunches, etc., might not seem like such a big deal. I think it might just be a matter of how long you both feel comfortable giving it. If your current salary won’t work for you as a family, long-term, then the advice above about having a conversation re: where you want to be in x years seems the way to go. If you have an end date (we’re going all in on his business for two years, and if we don’t see movement, he’s going to go down a more trad path, or whatever), maybe it’ll be easier to deal with. All this coming from a novelist, so take it with a grain of salt. But not generating income is not a measure of worth, nor is it necessarily a measure of ambition. Good luck. Hope you can work out something that makes you both feel comfortable.

    • anon right now :

      I may get flack for this, but unless you live in NYC, how are you struggling to save for retirement/savings on 115K/year for two people? I make 42K/year by myself, in a HCOL area, and I still save for retirement and have a savings account.

      • anon for this :

        We’re in DC. Just as expensive as NYC.

        • anon right now :

          yes I live in DC as well. I don’t mean to be critical of your spending habits. It just takes sacrifices, like I live in a less expensive area of NW, I have to take the bus to the metro so I have a longer commute.

        • No, it’s not. Not even close. Get some financial counseling – both of you.

          • Yep. Median household income in DC is around 85K – the highest in the country – and at $115K/year (plus whatever he brings in), they’re well over that. Which brings up another point: if you are actually living beyond your means, or are right up on that line, earning more money isn’t necessarily going to help. There’s a point where more income does not necessarily mean you end up saving more money long-term, because people tend to adjust their spending habits even if they were living fairly comfortably before.

      • anon right now :

        Oh, and I have huge student loans. So yes, buck up and pack your own lunch, make more food at home, take public transit…etc.

        • Why not ask him to pack a lunch for you? He has the time…

          • This is actually what I’ve been thinking the whole time. If he’s not working, why doesn’t he do things that help them spend less money?

          • I think we get back to the part where someone pegged him as a “whiny baby.”

      • mintberrycrunch :

        I thought this too, initially, although I admittedly do not live in a HCOL area. My husband and I save for retirement & rainy days on far less. Maybe there are student loans or other debts we don’t know about?

        • I was wondering too. I can support my family of 5 fairly well on about $120k and still save more than 20% of my take home pay (this doesn’t count the pension contributions or discount stock purchase plan I participate in that comes off my monthly cheques). We live in a somewhat higher than average COL city for Canada (which is more expensive to live in than the US as well).

      • Kontraktor :

        Yeah, this to me says something is seriously out of whack. If you have a huge loan payment that can’t be avoided, what things could be changed? Rent? Cars? Are you living in a really really expensive apartment? Could you move? Do you have 2 expensive car payments? Could you sell one car and take more public transit, or perhaps look into leasing a cheaper vehicle if you don’t drive too much?

        Loans, rent/housing, and car payments/insurance seem to be the 3 big things people without kids would have that might be impeding saving… which of those do/don’t you have? Loans are obviously not changeable, but housing and cars might be. If you don’t have issues in these areas, I guess you need to take a really deep look at how you are spending. What needs do you have that are so expensive?

    • Yay! Fruegel Friday’s! NO way would the manageing partner let me wear this at work, for ALL the reasons’s I mentioned in YESTERDAY’s CASUEAL dress post. FOOEY!

      To the OP, I almost got into this SITUATION with Mr. Sheketovits. I had the steady job, and so did he, B/F he started prefereng the bottle to me (and work). Even tho he GOT his CPA, He could NOT do as well on his own as he could workeing for a FIRM. Now he was NEVER a BIG 4 acounting candidate — they like guy’s who are swave and sofisticated, and he was NEVER that, but by the time we SPLIT UP, he was on the verge of NOT haveing his job with a smaller firm and thinkeing he would become a CPA partner with his Uncle Boris. I do NOT know who that was, but he to was a SHEKETOVITS uncle.

      So if you want a guy with a salary, it is tough. But if you want an enterpenuur, then you have one. But make sure he does not get interested in Vodka or Canadian Club. FOOEY! That is why I am single today. The Bottle. FOOEY! DOUBEL FOOEY!

      Now I have to think hard about wether to call GONZALO back. Myrna says no, b/c she think’s he is onley interested in a BEDROOM ROMP. NOT WITH ME! TRIPEL FOOEY if he think’s I want him in BED!

    • OP, I think you came on hoping people would just tell you how to suggest that your SO get a day job. But I think that the advice that other posters have given is really what’s key here. There’s not necessarily a need to make a big announcement yet that your wedding’s on hold, but…….finances are a HUGE issue in marriage. If you can’t resolve this bump in the road now, imagine how it’ll be for the next 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 years? You said you’re looking for “how to talk about my fiscal concerns with him.” I think step one is definitely in pre-marriage counseling, not just prenup conversations–you know this is a big issue, so take advantage of that venue while you have the option!

      What do YOU want? Can you truly be happy if your future spouse has financial ups and downs? Be honest with yourself, don’t hide your feelings. I’m comfortable making more than my husband (and so is he–more money for both of us!), but he knew going into our marriage that I’m a person who craves stability, so he wouldn’t look for an employment situation with an uncertain financial situation. If you know 100% what your own feelings are, it’ll be a little easier to talk to him. It’s really hard, and I’m sorry. But I hope you will really consider some of what the other comments have said.

    • Maybe he needs a lawyer to review his contracts. ;)

      If he’s doing “pretty well,” shouldn’t he be able to support himself and not need money from his parents to get by? It sounds like part of the problem may be that he’s struggling to break even, and I guess if he’s starting a business, it’s not unusual to have periods where he’s not earning a lot. I bet learning to deal with the business side of the equation (rather than just doing the engineering work) has a pretty steep learning curve. Would you feel better if there was some kind of business plan, or if he had a contingency plan if everything doesn’t work out with his consulting the way you hope? Your concerns are valid and you guys need to have a frank discussion about them.

    • hellskitchen :

      I think it’s a bit unfair if you make him stop taking money from his parents because you don’t like it but then ask that he take a salaried position. You could choose to not cover his expenses and put that money toward your savings. Being an entrepreneur is a risk, which his parents seem willing to help him take, but given that you are not married yet, it’s perfectly understandable that you may not want to take the same gamble, at the cost of your savings

      • Blonde Lawyer :

        Excellent point.

      • S in Chicago :

        I kind of wondered about this aspect, too.It sounds like he is dealing with the struggles of being an independent worker and building a business (which comes with a lot of risk). At the company I work for, I manage a lot of freelancers. Many of them are far more talented than our staff–but they prefer to work on a project basis for all sorts of reasons. The issue isn’t that he hasn’t been working (or lounging about on a couch!), it’s that he isn’t earning at the level she wants. And he may never earn at the level she wants, and she needs to take a long hard look at that and be OK with it before marriage. (Just like any man or woman must when they are marrying someone in a creative field that isn’t generally lucrative, or in a sales field where income can have vast swings, or in a belief system where they want to focus exclusively on staying at home raising children for many years or indefinitely). She has no more right to dictate his profession than he does hers–but she can dictate whether she wants to pin a future around someone with these goals. Just like any of those with spouses in the situations I described earlier.

        FWIW-I think anytime you are trying to change someone’s dreams for your own, that’s a really tough path you’re taking.

      • I agree on this. I think the money from his parents needs to be part of your financial discussion.

    • I think you should take everyone’s advice and re-evaluate your finances–both you & your fiance. The anxiety and frustration comes through in your post. So before having the wedding, it’s best to iron out all these differences. And if you feel resentful that you have to cut back on savings etc. Be honest about it. Financial issues can put a huge strain on any relationship, so don’t get married until this is resolved.

    • I think you need to have a conversation about money, period. Approach it from the standpoint of “we’re basically living paycheck to paycheck, what can we do to save money?” and have a frank discussion about everything you’re paying for. What can we reasonably combine or get rid of to save some money? Then you can kind of organically talk about how it’s hard to budget when his income is variable so you both need to keep that at the front of your mind while discussing which luxuries can be completely cut or decreased. I think this kind of discussion can be kind of damaging to his ego and may not be accomplished in one long conversation so don’t expect to fix this overnight. Be sensitive to how he’s reacting and give him time to process if you sense he’s getting defensive. He may have internalized this more than you realize.

      I’ve been in this position and it’s hard to think about giving up things like your DVR, Starbucks, etc but there are worse things than eating a frozen dinner for lunch 3 days a week in order to save some money. And I was so resistant to getting rid of cable but when push came to shove and we had to drastically cut back, I didn’t miss it that much. We now have Netflix and you can watch most network TV online so it’s not as big of a sacrifice as it initially seems.

    • As someone who is in an often frustrating marriage with someone who is not an equal partner, both financially (he works full time but makes 1/3 what I do because he is chasing his dreams while I am suffering in biglaw) and with regard to childcare and household responsibilities, I would urge you to work through these issues before you get married. These things are much harder to fix down the road when you are legally intertwined and have kids, a house,joint retirement accounts, etc. I think you two need to do sit down and do various forms of budgeting, including tracking spending for a month or two to figure out where your money is going. At the same time, you should come up with a list of long-term financial goals and then figure out how much you need to save every month to get there. You can then use your analysis of expenditures to figure out what changes you need to make now to get to your financial goals. Maybe a couple of sessions with a financial advisor would also be helpful.

      The bigger problem is what I read as your resentment towards him. I think weekly couples counseling is a good idea. Maybe you guys will decide it makes sense to keep separate finances, and a counselor could help you decide a fair way to divide common expenses. Though this is hard if he isn’t bringing in money.

    • Wow, I think I’m in the minority here, but I think that you’re both young and still figuring things out and that you just need to have an honest conversation with one another about your financial goals and plans. A lot of people going out on their own for a business have trouble at first, but that doesn’t mean he’s crazy to try it. Maybe you just need to talk about at what point he will move on to a different plan?

      I think the real problem here is your resentment. I don’t think it’s fair to weigh in on his taking money from his parents and then turn around and resent him taking money from you. I can see why you would, but I don’t think you can do it silently. Tell him that you have these goals, that they’re important to you, and that you think he needs to share those goals and act accordingly for your relationship to work.

      I also think that $115K is a high salary for DC (though not for two people) and that maybe your perspective is a bit skewed. I’m not sure how much he’s taking in, but I do think that you’re both early in your careers and that some careers take a bit longer to build. I’m 33 and a non-profit lawyer (in NYC–making 95K) and I pack my lunch four days a week, eat dinner at home most nights, and cut cable years ago. All so I could save more and pay down my loans.

      I think this can definitely work if you’re willing to see yourselves as a team (and be willing to sacrifice for each other) and communicate honestly and openly.

    • So – I haven’t read all the responses yet – but have you considered going back to the situation where he takes money from his parents.

      BUT, instead of it being simply – here’s money. Why don’t they restructure it as his parents lending him money TOWARDS his business. With reasonable repayment structures (many parent’s won’t accept interest, but at the very least I’m sure interest will be lower than a bank) – and terms of the loan etc. I mean you mention nothing in your post about the parents becoming overwhelming busy bodies once they lend the money. And right now, his business could use an investor or two. Why shouldn’t it be his parents if they have the money to do it. This is a time honored way that people get small businesses off the ground. And it will take the pressure off you to essentially support his company by financing his living expenses.

      Anyway – just my two cents. There could be things I’m missing.

      • Oh, but I agree with everyone else that you need to have a serious conversation about finances stat – preferably with a budget calculator and perhaps a third-party there to help mediate (maybe a financial planner, maybe a financially gifted third party who you trust).

        And seriously – its a good thing to want to have your own business. But I’m not sure the reason to start your own business is “I’m scared to work for anyone else”. But that is REALLY my own opinion and others can vehemently disagree with me on that.

        • Anon for family issues :

          I am currently the main breadwinner while my husband owns his own business, which was something we had never even discussed before getting married (it came about 2 years after our wedding). Here are a few questions I think you need to discuss:+

          1) Does he want to own his own business long term, or is this just something he fell into for a little while when he left his last job? If he wants to own his own business long term, is he a decent businessman? He has the training as an engineer, but has he ever taken any classes on accounting, etc? He can be the best engineer in the world, but if he doesn’t understand how to handle it from a business side, the business is not going to make it. For instance, has he been setting aside money for taxes this year? Does he know what expenses he can deduct as business expenses? For example, has he been keeping track of milage if he’s driving to meetings, etc? Is he charging a reasonable amount of money for his services? Remember, its more than just “well, I earned $x/hr at the engineering firm, so I need to charge my customers $x/hr for my services now”. He needs to account for costs such as taxes, insurance, phones, computers, internet service, his accountant, etc. He also needs to put in a buffer so that if the project goes longer or if someone stiffs him he’s not just stuck.
          2) If he doesn’t want to focus on running his own business long term, what are his goals? Does he want to get his PE in the next x years? Go back to working “for the man” by y year? Discuss with him what that means, and how he intends to get there. Then help him put goals in place to accomplish that, whether it means studying for the PE for x hours per week and signing up for the exam on date z, or applying for z number of jobs every week starting in [Month Year].

          I would also be very careful of the resentment factor, and understanding what each of you is willing to give up and what your safety nets are, and understand that for both of you, it may change. Is he willing to eat ramen and live in a crummy apartment for years to get his business off the ground? You have already stated you aren’t, so how much longer will you be able to deal with it? As others have pointed out, what if you have kids someday? Will he take his business parttime so he can be primary caretaker? By running his own business, will he have the flexibility to deal with doctors appointments, sick kids days and being the main grocery shopper/dinner cooker/lunch packer? This is what my husband has done.
          And what if you got laid off tomorrow? What would he do? Are you stressed about having to be the primary breadwinner? I know I am sometimes. Have you told him this?

    • I don’t have any advice, but I’m 90% sure that maybe you’re me and I wrote this in my sleep… Except for the engineer part, this is my life with my SO right now.

    • Senior Attorney :

      I think you said it: “I need you to work. Turns out I thought I would be okay supporting both of us, but when it requires me to give up things I really enjoy and feel like I’ve earned, it’s not okay with me. So… I need you to work because I’m not willing to subsidize you to this extent.”

      The trouble is that if you are 100% set on going through with the marriage no matter what, you’ve got zero negotiating power.

      • Exactly. I was committed to my marriage and deep in when all of this happened, and found myself literally weeping to my DH, begging him to get a job. It was awful and humiliating and — guess what? — wildly ineffective.

    • The Other Stephanie :

      Have more than one option available.

      We don’t know how abusive that boss was. Since you used the word abusive – that implies damage. Time to retrain those muscles Therapy might be one way of handling it. How about coaching? Specifically conflict coaching for the one negotiation. Coaching has some accountability folded in. Some mental health professionals are cross-trained in coaching, others are not. If you do go the therapy route, you may want to screen for this by asking how you/he will know if you’ve made progress, as many will keep collecting a check. The good ones will have a straight answer for you. You may be skirting this because he won’t be covered by insurance. If there is interest in this investment, you may want to just go with a higly recommended coach, understanding that he’s going to do something amazing for you in 5 years, like fund a dream vacation to ______. (I’m on the East Coast and want to see the Redwood Forest – my sweetie knows this. We are patiently waiting for our kids to get tall enough to have fun, long walks doing this, and taking them on long and longer walks so…2015 is the Big Year!) The coach could help you, too, as conflict management is a both a leadership and partnership skill and fuels success. It sounds like you want to force an outcome and there is plenty of advice here about how that might feel like a quick answer, but be the beginning of the end. It may also be a reminder of the abusive boss who was likely all I-have-the-power-and-you-will-dance-because-I can-make-you-do-that-because-I-sign-your-paycheck-and-will-ruin-your-reputation-if-you-don’t. Figure out what is pushing your buttons. I offered this “reward” piece because that seemed to be a button-pusher. You also might want to have your guy look at what you are watching via cable and see if he can hook up the tv to the internet and still get your shows via streaming for less or free.

      Also, I’m married to a licensed PE. It’s a big exam – it may be best if he studies for a month unencumbered by the must-have-a-salary job quest perking in the background. He sounds like he has plenty of internal pressure to perform. Working through the flu is one piece. *HE* needs to learn to value his work and time (coaching can help with that), and getting that PE will give him a sense of accomplishment, and you a sense of partnership if you both talk through what you both need to make that happen. Licensed PEs are MUCH more sought after than those with just the college degree.

      Just some extra food for thought. (There is a virtual spoonful of sugar here) offered with filial love.

  4. AnonInfinity :

    What do y’all think about using the word “girl” to refer to a woman? I really hate it, but it’s hard to figure out what to say when I want to be more casual. This blog post recommends “ladies,” which feels a little off to me sometimes because in the South, “lady” is not always a synonym for “women.” One good thing about the South is that y’all is acceptable, and that is a great way to refer to a mixed-gender group or a group when gender doesn’t matter (which is most always).

    Anyway, I thought y’all might find it interesting. Plus there is a flow chart.

    • Girl/boy doesn’t bother me if it is equal opportunity.

      The only time it bothers me is when I’ve heard people who otherwise always say women/men use girl/boy when talking about a person of color. OMG.

      A Yankee stuck in the South

      • That’s a thing??? That’s still a thing?!?! My California mind is blown.

        • Divaliscious11 :

          Alas, as someone who spends a great deal of time in the South, it is still a thing, with some…. thankfully, not all, but yes, some…

          • Meg Murry :

            Unfortunately, its not just in the South either. Definitely heard older family members say this kind of thing in the privacy of their own homes in Ohio. Although thank goodness the only people I’ve heard use it is people who are 80+ and are a dying breed (literally), it seems to be dying out with their generation.

        • I live in the south and have never heard that. Please don’t judge “the south” based on what “some” people say — perhaps only a few.

      • I grew up in Seattle (a very Caucasian city) and I’m apparently very sheltered…I had no idea this ever WAS a thing. How awful.

    • Interesting chart but for me “guys” will always be gender-neutral. I only use “girl” with very close friends.

      • Ditto. I use “you guys” for groups of girls or guys or a mixed group. You can take the girl out of philly but not the philly out of the girl…

        • Cornellian :

          or, yous! OR! Is this youses car? (as in the car that a group of people own). I miss that.

        • Y’all.

          And I’m a transplant from the north and I use it all the time and I don’t know why. Nothing else sounds correct.

      • Woods-comma-Elle :

        Me too, I use ‘you guys’ all the time.

      • I think (whether “guys” is gender-neutral) this is regional.

        Then again, this is coming from someone who thinks “dude” is gender-neutral.

      • I use ‘girls’ when I’m referring to friends, ie. a night out with the girls but basically use ‘guys’ as my casual gender neutral. I know this is very much a personal thing but it wouldn’t phase me if someone referred to me as a girl. We have a group of interns in the office and I referred to them as ‘the boys’ the other day which I felt slightly bad about but they are really young and hang out in a pack so it felt appropriate.

    • Woods-comma-Elle :

      This is interesting.

      I am definitely a culprit when it comes to the ‘girls/boys’ usage. I refer to my ‘girls’ affectionately and to other women as ‘girls’ and I am not usually offended if someone calls me a ‘girl’. And I certainly refer to men as ‘boys’ sometimes in a similar sense, like ‘i went on a date with this boy’. People get that I’m not talking about actual children.

      However, I can see how this can be an issue in some contexts and I try really hard not to use ‘girl’ in a professional context!

    • Am not Southern, but I really really love “y’all” for that reason.

    • I hate it. I also hate that here in the South, my son is being taught to address teachers and other adults as “Miss ___”

      • Should have made clear that it’s the first name being used that way, “Miss Wanda” when “Wanda” is a woman in her 50s. I at least have him say “Ms” instead of “Miss”, but sometimes we don’t even know these people’s last names. Being addressed that way is also awkward, to say the least, for women who are “Dr [last name]” in other contexts.

        • Really? This just seems normal to me. At church, the kids I teach (elementary school), all call me Ms firstname. That’s for all the adults in the children’s department (babies through 5th grade).

          I think it grew out of the tradition of southern kids not calling adults by their firstname without a title. So, you might call someone Cousin Mamie even though she wasn’t really your cousin, but was close to your family. She was older, so you had to have a title for her.

        • Cornellian :

          Hmm. I was always Miss [Jane] as a late teenaged gymnastics coach, and all adults in my life were Aunt Jane or Uncle John, even if we they bore no relation.

          This is all in Philadelphia. Perhaps it’s the appalachian family roots, but my mom (who taught me this) and I were both born in the city.

          • You called your teachers “Aunt” and “uncle”? I didn’t know that existed. What kind of school was it?

            I grew up at the edge of Appalachia. My swim coach was “Mrs. J”. My soccer coaches were “Mr. [last name]”, as were my teachers at school, unless they were “Sister [name taken when she became a nun]”.

          • hellskitchen :

            Same as Cornellian. Teachers were Sir or Ma’m and all other adults (family friends, friends’ parents etc) were Aunt or Uncle

      • As opposed to, what? Their first names?

        • Ah, thanks for clarifying. Yes, I don’t like that either. I like Miss/Ms/Mrs/Mr/Dr Last Name for children addressing adults.

      • I don’t mind that from kids but I do find it weird when adults use it (I still get “Miss Charlotte” from people, and I am a grown-a$$ woman).

        • I’m expected to use it for the teachers too. I do, in front of him, but not if it’s only adults. I don’t think they like that. To my Northern ears, “Miss [first name]” just sounds snippy and sarcastic.

          • Also in Academia :

            Definitely regional. In the south, we would never find it to be snippy! I did find it weird when my supervisor in my first professional job wanted me to call her “Miss X,” because you know, we’re colleagues. That was odd.

          • Northern Anon :

            I have a junior person on my team who always calls me “Miss Northern,” and I never hear it as snippy or sarcastic. I just know he’s from a region where that’s the norm, and appreciate it as something that makes him who he is. In case it matters, I’m about 7-10yrs older than him and married. He’s a young’un.

        • I actually do the “Ms. Firstname” a lot (I make it a point to not use Miss). I use it primarily with older members of the staff. To me it’s just a sign of respect/deference. Maybe it’s a weird southern thing, but I see it as a subtle way to acknowledge that several members of my firm’s staff are older than me and have been doing their jobs a lot longer than I’ve been doing mine.

      • Hmm, i loved that when i lived in the south. I saw it as a sign of respect for adults (hello Miss Darby v hello Darby as my California friends kids say) and “Miss” applied regardless of marital status, and men are also called “Mr. First Name”. I wish it would export and catch on elsewhere.

        • Lady Harriet :

          I love it too. My mom moved from the north to SW FL last year (which is not very Southern culturally, but still than WI!) She lived with a family that has three little girls for the first few months she was here. The little girls call her Miss Firstname. It shows more respect than just being called by her first name by a three-year-old, but Dr. Lastname would be oddly formal for someone who lives in the same house.

      • Reflecting on my Southern childhood, I referred to neighbors or friend’s parents this way growing up, but usually not teachers. Thinking back on it, I think it’s whatever they told me to call them. (The default was Appropriate Title- LastName until told otherwise).

        Y’all, however, is just a useful word.

      • Divaliscious11 :

        That is a respect thing. The adult is not your child’s peer and shouldn’t be addressed as if she were. I teach my kids that and we don’t live – full time anyway – in the South…

    • I lived in the south, and I use “ladies” pretty frequently. Or “y’all”, “y’all people” (usually in jest) or “all y’all”.

    • I follow the Beyonce test…if its good enough for Beyonce. (WHo run the world? GIRLS!)

      But seriously – I use girls affectionately – like to refer to even my grown up friends. But at work I tend to use ladies or women or female (like when we were discussing gender balance in our office we always talked about female associates).

      I would have almost no tolerance for a male in the office calling me a girl – like here’s the girl or here’s “my girl” and if there were racial differences I’d probably flip my actual sh*t. But frankly that’s never ever ever happened to me, so – I haven’t had to deal with it.

    • I like using gals when taking about my contemporaries but usually I say ladies. I’ve fallen prey to calling certain ladies Miz So-and-So when that’s how others address them but that’s my newly acquired Southern charm. I think you shouldn’t call anyone over 14 a girl unless it’s a term of affection that both parties agree upon. Girls’ night out? Fine. My older boss refer to the “girls at work” would make me cringe.

    • Just looked at that chart–ladies, lady-dudes, and gals would all get my attention in a negative way.

    • I do it in casual settings even though I know I shouldn’t. “Girl” is my version of “guy.” I’m very careful not to use “girl” to refer to a woman at work.

      • Anon for family issues :

        I also use “girl” in the same way I would use “guy” – I wish there was a more generic word, a female equivalent to “guy”. I almost never use “boy” or “man” with adults, they are all “guys”, and groups of people no matter the gender are “you guys” – its the solitary female I tend to use “girl” with. I try not to use it at work, but I know I do without realizing it. Women who are definitely older than me are “women” but people who are my around my age or younger are often referred to as “girls” as in casual conversation. “I was talking to one of the girls at work and she said ….” when referring to a female co-worker. My mom is definitely a woman, my pre-teen cousin is definitely a girl, but everyone in between there is a gray area that I’m not consistant with.

        And tone of voice means everything too, as well as modifiers. If “girl” is said in a sneering way, I have a problem with it, but if someone refers to me as “that girl over there” with no negative tone I’m not insulted.

    • Don’t call women in the workplace girls, gals, etc. If you’re old enough to have a job, you’re a woman. My least favorite thing is when some of the younger women who work for me object to being referred to as women. Own it. Don’t marginalize yourself because you’re not used to professional nomenclature.

  5. Speaking of cardigans, thoughs on styling this yellow sweater jacket for business casual days?

    • mintberrycrunch :

      Love that. My first instinct is to say navy pencil skirt, white or gray t underneath the cardigan. Maybe a grass green skirt instead? But I am not very color-adventurous, so I’m looking forward to hearing what others think.

    • I don’t think you could go wrong with navy skirt or pants and a white top. I also think it would look great with grey. If you’re feeling colorful, why not try it with an orangey-red sheath dress or skirt?

      • hellskitchen :

        Seconded. Am wearing navy, yellow and white today exactly the way you describe and it looks great

    • Navy, gray and white are all classic and go well with yellow. (Belted with a nacy belt over a heather gray pencil or vice versa).

      You could try a deep purple pencil (or even printed) pencil if you’re more adventurous and are in a biz cas environment. In that case I’d opt for neutral accs.

      I’m not completely loving that the yellow is so pale (I think the coral version of that cardi is soooo much cooler) but its a personal adversity to pastels. I think this could also work with a very rich, deep mustard pencil skirt in an interesting texture. Add a belt in navy (or printed belt in navy and a color if you are really brave) and navy patent shoes and I think it could be fabulous (business casual).

    • I’m wearing navy trousers, grey shirt, yellow cardigan, and red shoes today.

    • Thanks all. I had thought of gray and navy and am looking forward to trying your other suggestions. IRL, this sweater is a fairly saturated yellow and not pale at all.

  6. I’m so torn about these shoes. I love pairs that have a little fun detail to liven up my uniform of sheath dresses. I’m kicking myself for not getting this pair while they were in stock.

    Now this pair is out for spring and I’m in love? What do you think? Appropriate for a conservative office with an otherwise conservative outfit?

    • Be still my heart. Those Gucci ones are amazing (and office appropriate, in my opinion).

    • anonypotamus :

      GET THE GUCCIS. those are gorgeous. I would wear them to my office for sure, but we are a west coast, fairly casual law firm (my regular blazer/sheath dress wearing self is often the most dressy) but IMHO because the color is neutral and the shape of the shoe is classic, you could rock them even in a conservative environment.

    • Both are great and perfectly acceptable even for a conservative office, if the rest of your outfit is conservative.

      • Also, animal prints in neutral colors have seriously developed into the new neutral over the last couple of years.

        • The new neutral, REALLY?

          Animal prints just look either like someone’s trying too hard to be “sexy,” like the Jackee Harry character from that old “227” sitcom, or, matronly-but-still-tacky.

    • Love, love, love those shoes. I think they’d be fine in a conservative workplace if paired with more conservative items.

  7. I love love love navy and always have such a hard time finding navy dresses for work. What do you think of this one? Is the V too low? I’m thinking I’d have to have the tailor stitch it up about an inch?

    • Hmmm, it’s a beautiful dress, and I think it could work, especially if altered in that way. My worry is that things may shift when you’re sitting down, but I guess the fit is another matter. You could always wear a thin cami just to protect the “overhead” view, though.

      • Great dress. You can even wear a black cami that comes up high and it’ll be fine. I’d be more worried about fitting the shoulders of these in my suit shoulders and under cardigans without bunches.

    • I think it’s fine, but I am without bosom, which (in my mind) gives me license to push the deep V.

    • Olivia Pope :

      This dress looks fantastic. You know your breasts much better than I do. If you show too much cleavage it, get it stitched up and look fabulous.

  8. darjeeling :

    Adorable! I always get sucked back into Loft with their cute colors and ridiculous sales, despite the fact that the stuff I get there never holds up all that well.

    • Loft has slouched into the category of “disposable fashion” for me. Anything I buy, I end up tossing or donating within a few months.

      • “slouched into”


      • This is exactly why I don’t even go into certain stores or visit certain websites any more. When taking stock of my closet and the things I really love, there are so many “fast-fashion” brands that get me in the mall, but never excite me at home. They end up lingering in my closet and ultimately getting donated. Loft is high on that list. Banana Republic is another one that gets me at the mall, but then I’m never excited to wear anything I buy or it looks rumpled/misshapen quickly.

        That’s why I stick with J. Crew, even though their price points have gone up. If I am picky about what I purchase, I end up with things in beautiful prints and colors that stand the test of time (taste/style-wise; quality is another story, unfortunately).

      • Yes, although I love their Modern Skinny jeans, I’ve been disappointed by the quality of things there recently. Saw a really cute black and white polka dot cardigan there the other week, but it already looked faded/pilled.

      • It’s so weird, everything I pay full dollars for from Loft seems to immediately disintegrate upon purchase but whenever I find something at the second hand store (with the tags still on, mind you) and spend less than $ 15 it becomes a wardrobe workhorse. Not that I’m complaining…

      • I know. I was wearing a loft cardigan the other day and I realised I’ve had it for 4-5 years and worn it pretty consistently. Now, I refuse to buy sweaters there because they just pill!

    • Research, Not Law :

      Add me to the club. It was so hard to break the Loft habit and it’s been hard to stay away.

      Their clothing fits me perfectly and their styles are right up my alley, but the quality has gotten so disappointing. :( Loft/AT used to be the vast majority of my wardrobe and I haven’t found a suitable substitute yet.

  9. Hi, Guys…. I’m considering buying the Brooks Bros. Calfskin Pump, but I have no experience with their shoes. Do they run true-to-size? Does anyone have this shoe who will comment on it (I’ll put the link in a reply)? Thanks!

    • Don’t have that one, but their shoes run true to size generally.

    • I have the Classic Pumps with a more pointed toe. They run true to size but are very narrow.

      • *Very* narrow? Eek. I have very medium feet. Do they stretch at all, and if so, is there enough material to still reach over the foot? I ask, b/c I have a pair of JCrew shoes that are narrow but supple, buuut, there is almost too little material on thes sides to come over my foot and help keep it on, if that makes sense…

        • Just to clarify, I mean at the widest part of the shoe.

        • My feet are medium to narrow (I can wear medium without them falling off but narrow sometimes fit better), and I found them to be a little tight at first. These stretched a bit to become comfortable, but they are not loose. The calfskin may have a little more give to it.

          I think there would still be enough material to cover your foot. I’ve never bought JCrew shoes, but the BB pumps come up higher on the sides than my Ann Taylor pumps, if that helps.

    • True to size and super comfy.

  10. Has anyone experienced really sore b**bs at certain times of the month? I never have had really any b**b soreness at all, but this week I am so sore, and my n*pples are really really sore. It is my period week and I haven’t bled. BUT before you say I’m pregnant, I had the Mirena inserted in November, have had a good successful followup visit with my doctor last month, and can still feel the strings. So I really don’t think I’m pregnant and I think I’m just experiencing body changes with the Mirena, but feel really weird about the no bleeding/sore b**bs thing. After all week, it’s starting to get to me. Experiences? Hopefully, because I don’t have any in real life friends who have any similar experience and feel sort of silly about calling my doctor.

    **Sorry for all the astricks, but I have no idea what will end me up in moderation so erred on the side of too much. :)

    • goldribbons :

      Well since the Mirena is local hormones, presumably the rest of your body would still experience monthly cycles.

    • Yes! In the last couple of years I get SO SORE during that week, so much so that I sometimes dread the few moments after I take off my bra, and I’ve even taken pain killers for it. It was never a major PMS symptom for me, so I’m not sure what happened. Probably hormonal changes as I’ve gotten older, but it’s totally annoying, and dh doesn’t totally appreciate it either. It does help me remember when I should expect my monthly visitor, though, which is good because I don’t keep track any other way these days.

    • anonforthis :

      I experienced the same thing with Mirena if that helps. It is a local hormone but it is still present (albeit in very low levels) in your bloodstream, and different people react differently.

    • I used to get super tender at certain times of the month (pregnant now, so they just hurt ALL the time) and my OB/GYN told me to take Vitamin E. It really worked for me.

    • Olivia Pope :

      Keep in mind that your symptoms will not be the same throughout your life. That particular symptom was standard for me for years. It was my signal. My breasts would basically be saying “Your period will be here in four days.” Then it suddenly stopped happening (no BC change either).

    • THANKS EVERYONE! This made me feel x1000 more normal and less crazy.

    • I’ve had a Mirena for 7 years and haven’t had the same symptoms as you, but I do get light PMS symptoms (mild cramps, and I mean mild, and some, um, sadness) once a month but no period.

    • Happy Anon :

      I went through about six months of sore “girls” during the week just before my period each month. Nothing about my bc or the like had changed. I, too, was a little freaked, but it has stopped. I did notice that my period started changing in duration and flow just after that time. I’m nearing 35, so I wondered if it’s just a transitional, hormonal thing.

    • depending on how old you are, it can be a perimenopausal thing.

  11. This is cute and so springy. But has anyone else noticed that Loft’s cardigans tend to run reallly short? After having to discard about 5 of them after they shrank even more after washing (and trust, I babied them), I’m done with cotton cardis from Loft.

  12. a passion for fashion :

    Dont you love it when you make a new outfit out of stuff already in your closet? I do and I’m having a success in this regard today. It may be cliche, but when you look good, you do feel good.

  13. Major Major :

    Ladies, I desperately need help. I’m looking at booking an all-inclusive resort for a family vacation (all adults), and I was hoping you all could recommend places you’ve been and enjoyed. The only problem is that my husband’s parents are paying, so they need to be budget-friendly. Thank you!

    • Major Major :

      I should mention, budget friendly is around $250/night per room for them.

  14. Anon for this :

    My dearest friend is having a hard time with a guy she has been seeing. Without giving too many details, I sent her the thread from yesterday’s Coffee Break about advice you would give your younger self because I thought it contained a lot of great information. She is newly in her thirties and I think worries that all the good guys are taken. One poster wrote the following yesterday and I was hoping for some positive stories from the Hive so that I could show her that she is not alone and will find someone wonderful even if she is no longer 20:

    “If my 31 self could tell my younger self ONE thing about love/relationships, it would be no, you really should focus on finding a partner while you’re in your 20s, because contrary to what popular culture tries to tell you , you *don’t* have all the time in the world. You shouldn’t be a homebody and focus on school and work while all your peers are settling into long-term relationships and marriages. Because when you’re in your 30s, you’ll find that all the guys who are still single are single for a reason, and all the faithful, family-oriented, stable guys will have been off the market for years.”

    Any thoughts??? Thanks!

    • My DH didn’t meet me until he was 33 and we got married about 3 years later.

      • Similar here – my fiance was also 33 when we met, and never married (he was in the Army for 5 years and law school afterwards, so he kinda… didn’t get around to it — thankfully!). I agree the pickins are slim, but they’re out there.

      • Research, Not Law :

        My husband was 35 when we met. He’s one of the most faithful, family-oriented, and stable men you can imagine. No previous marriage, no criminal record ;) I think he’d just been overlooked.

    • I have several friends who met their now-husbands when they were in their 30s and early 40s (most of those men had been married before or had children). All of them met their guys online.

      While I’m 32 and single (dating a guy who is 30 and divorced—we also met online), I don’t regret spending so much of my 20s focused on school, my career, and figuring out who I am rather than getting married. I shutter to think what would have happened if I’d married the guy I was dating (and wanted to marry) when I was 24 (and I”m not at all implying people can’t make a great spousal choice in their early 20s; I’m saying I would not have selected well). However, I don’t plan to have children so the fact that I’m 32 and unmarried bothers me less than it would if I wanted kiddos.

      • Anon for this :

        Thank you for this!

      • And what I meant to say is that most of the guys my friends married had not been married before and did not already have kids. Sigh. Only changes the meaning slightly :-).

      • Cornellian :

        Whenever I get insecure about having ended a probably perfectly good long-term relationship with an attractive guy who really tried to put my needs first, I think about all the statistics about getting married before 28 and the impact on your earnings potential it is. Not the most mature option, perhaps, but it helps me!

        • Blonde Lawyer :

          Does that change if you don’t have kids on the traditional timetable? Just curious. I married at 23 and think my marriage increased my earning potential. I wouldn’t be a lawyer if I hadn’t got married and I wouldn’t work the long hours I do if I didn’t have a husband to help with some of my other life stuff. No kids. Maybe someday. Early thirties now.

        • Blonde Lawyer :

          Also, not trying to rain on your parade! I just had never heard that statistic and I’m wondering what factors go into and how much children play a role in it.

      • I did marry in my 20s, and because I wasn’t a whole, healthy, and fully emotionally developed person when I did so, it was a complete mesalliance. It’s hard to say that I’d be better off if I’d waited – the path of the untaken road is impossible to know – but I certainly didn’t benefit by getting hitched when I hadn’t yet figured myself out.

        • Seconding this. I took the road your friend didn’t take (settled down and married in my 20s) and now in my early 30s, divorced and figuring out how dating works. If *my* 31 year old self could tell my 20-something self a couple things, they would be: focus on work and education! And DTMFA!

    • I posted about this here a few months ago, and lots of commenters responded sharing stories either about themselves or about friends who met (wonderful, perfect for them) spouses in their 30s and beyond.

      Look, I know it’s tough to be single in your 30s, but that poster’s negative attitude is not helping anything. It’s going to create a self-fulfilling prophecy! You HAVE to believe that someone is out there for you, someone who’s worth going through all the bad dates for. Plenty of guys did the same thing that women do and focused on career, friends, travel, etc. in their 20s while hoping to meet someone without really planning for it, and then they wake up in their 30s and realize that it’s time to make a more focused search. You just have to keep trying and stay hopeful. If you give up now or write off the entire dating pool, of course you won’t find anyone. And I say this as someone who is 32, single, and still very hopeful about finding a great partner.

    • Uh I got married for the first time at the age of 25, between mt seco d and third year of law school. It was a disaster, and got divorced in two years time. I am now 39, and finally with someone that I
      Am considering marrying. Many of my law school classmates who married early are also divorced. If you find the love of your life in law school, then go for it! Otherwise, don’t feel a need to grab hold of the nearest man and marry him.

    • I met my now husband when I was 30 and I’m glad I did. But I’d rather be single than have settled on any of the guys I dated in my 20s. It’s true that you don’t have *all* the time in the world but in my mind that just means that your friend should stop wasting her early 30s on a cr*ppy guy!

    • Anonymouse :

      I am 33 and in a relationship that’s lasted a couple years with many ups and downs. I agree with the poster that you don’t have all the time in the world. HOWEVER, I do think that spending your 20’s studying, working and coming into your own is NOT a waste of time. I think that the lessons you learn then make you view relationships more realistically and this will help when you decide to settle down with someone. Another thing I have realised is that “LIFE HAS NO SCRIPT”. We all grow up believing we are SUPPOSED to do x at this age and y at that age. I have friends who married a couple years ago and one divorced after only 2 years. Another was engaged at ~27, the relationship fell apart & she also lost the pregnancy she had at the time. At 32 she has since found someone else and is engaged again(!) with a baby on the way. The point is, if you hit all the milestones at the “right” age, good for you! However, if you don’t, APPRECIATE what you do have in your life and EMBRACE the possibilities each day brings. Continue to pursue HAPPINESS the best way you know how!!

    • long time lurker :

      I think this attitude does a disservice to men who (like many of us) have focused on their careers or studies in their 20s to the detriment of meeting ms. right. They are not all out clubbing, some of them are working hard.

    • I started dating my now-husband – previously we were longtime casual friends, and this was before internet dating was a thing — when he was 34 and I was 27, LDR my last (and still focused and successful) year of law school, married two years later. The only timeline you need to worry about is your own.

    • Happy Anon :

      I’m a somewhat newly divorced, single mom of three young kids, and nearly 35 years old. I was convinced that all the good guys were married and had accepted that I’d probably be alone for the foreseeable future, if not for the rest of my life. Five months ago I met a 40-year-old divorced, single dad of one. He’s always wanted more kids and is excited to meet mine (we’re waiting a few more months to make sure the kids are ready). He treats me with respect and incredible kindness. We have tons of fun together and freakin’ unbelievable s*x.

      This is all to say that, while I wouldn’t have believed it, there are still good guys out there! And now you know why I am “Happy Anon.”

    • Please also send her the threads where people are unhappy with crappy husbands and have either gotten divorced from them, or feel stuck because of the kids or financial reasons.

      That’s what happens when you keep moving things forward with a crappy SO. They are cautionary tales. Better to be alone than with someone who’s not right for you or, worse, being with a jerk. Settling calms the “ooh i’m XX years old and still single 2am demons” in the short-run but costs a lot more in pain, disappointment, and resentment in the long-run.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      I like to joke that I’m just getting married in the second round. I’m not married or engaged, but am in a serious relationship and I like that we didn’t find each other until now. I’ve changed a crazy amount in the last 10 years and moved across the country. He’s changed a lot too from what I understand and that has made us into who we are. I don’t know what our relationship would be like if we had met back then. We might not have one at all and would have missed out on what is now so wonderful.

    • Moonstone :

      I met my fellow when I was 37 and he was 40. We’ve been together 11 years. We want the same things and spent our 20s with people with whom we were not really compatible. When you are over 35, you do have to keep making an effort to meet new people, but it’s much easier to be firm on what you want in a relationship. One caveat: I knew I did not want kids, so I did not have all that anxiety that other women have when choosing a mate.

    • One of my friends married at 35 (a guy she’d met about a year before that) and has since had three healthy, beautiful kids without medical intervention. Actually, I can think of several other friends/acquaintances in almost the same situation. They all seem deliriously happy. I think it’s because they really knew what they wanted, and by the time they found their spouses/mates, it was easy to see that it was the real deal.

    • I wrote that original post. I’m glad so many people have success stories, but honestly, I don’t think assurances that your friend eventually will find someone are very helpful. Sure, maybe she will. But many women never find the right mate. Rather than empty platitudes, I would much rather be offered concrete assistance — as in, “hey, I know someone you should meet” and NOT some variation of “you just need to put yourself out there more, have you tried Meetup?”

      Of course, I think race and other demographic factors have a lot to do with this. Most of the (gorgeous, highly-educated, amazing) black women I know really struggle to find suitable partners throughout their lives. Even in my own family, my mom was the only one of her sisters to ever marry, and my own sister (almost 40) is still trying to find the right guy.

  15. pregnancy travel :

    How late before your due date did you all travel? I am planning a cross country flight about 2 months before my due date. Is that unreasonable? It’s a work conference so I don’t know if by that time I’ll be over flying and networking or not. Any personal experiences?

    • goldribbons :

      I’m not a doctor but I’m pretty sure you aren’t supposed to fly in your third trimester. Did you ask your doctor about that?

    • I moved in early August, had my 36th birthday on the 18th, started a new job soon after, and gave birth to a full term 9 lb, 3 oz healthy babe on Oct. 8. No flying was involved.

    • SpaceMountain :

      We discussed this recently. You will be uncomfortable, the airline might not let you fly, and your doctor might not let you fly. Plus, you are more susceptible to blood clots, you don’t fit in the seat or the aisle, you have to pee every 10 minutes, etc. I had to fly when pregnant, and I remember trying to squeeze in my stomach to fit by the flight attendant with the cart so I could get to the bathroom, but you just can’t suck in that stomach.

    • My doctor had told me no flying at or after 32 weeks, so you may want to check with yours.

      I did fly cross country when I was about 6 months and it was fairly miserable. If you absolutely have to, be sure and get an aisle seat (maybe spring for an exit row), and walk up and down the aisle of the plane a few times.

    • My doctor said I was totally fine until 36 weeks (assuming nothing popped up to concern them before then). They typically limit international travel to 32 weeks. At least as far as I was told, the concern is more about you going into early labor away from home than it is health related. That said, I have low blood pressure, and the only health risks I’ve seen identified are related to spikes in blood pressure and clotting. My doctor recommended getting up and walking around every few hours and sitting in an aisle seat.

    • My doctor was actually fine with me doing a cross-continental trip in the first month of my third trimester. I was a bit surprised too but she said as long as the airline allowed it, she didn’t see any medical concerns. My mom however forbade it so that’s not happening :-) But for this other cross-country trip, even if my doctor says okay, I wanted to get some opinions from the hive. If flying will be so uncomfortable I’d rather not do it.

      • I don’t want to butt in, but I did notice this relationship with your mom. Many women complain that their mother or the baby’s father’s mother don’t trust them as parents, override their decisions, etc. You might want to think about whether the boundaries you and your mother have now will work for you once the baby arrives. Just a suggestion.

        • You got all that from one line in my post? :-) I know you mean well. But I was planning to fly for 20 hours to see my mom so she first offered to come see me instead and when I insisted that I travel, asked me to move it up by a month. I didn’t get any sense that she doesn’t trust me but will keep your point in mind for future

          • 20 hours!!??!?!? Yeah, don’t do that in your third trimester. You will be miserable.

        • Just because some posters on this site ask for advice regarding their intimate family relationships does not mean that every poster on here is looking for the same thing. The OP was asking for advice about traveling while pregnant, not about her relationship with her mother. Frankly, that’s not really any of your business, and as the OP mentioned, you really don’t have the kind of background information to be making that suggestion. I can see myself making a suggestion to evaluate the relationship between mother and daughter to a very close friend, but even then I would do so very, very, gently, and only if I actually knew what their relationship was like, or perhaps, if she had asked me what I thought.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      As for the airline, they each post their requirements on their website. Here is Deltas. If my link doesn’t work, it is under special travel needs, disabilities, special concerns. They do not require a medical certificate and have no restrictions on traveling while pregnant. They recommend you talk to your doctor if it is in your eighth month or later.

      I have seen other airlines (mostly international) have a week restriction and require a doctor’s letter saying what week you are and if you are medically fit to fly.

    • As PPs noted, there was a thread about this in the last 1-2 weeks with a lot of helpful responses.

      For uncomplicated, uneventful first pregnancies, I think a lot of doctors say you can fly up to 32 weeks, so it’s borderline. Do talk to your own doctor about his suggestions. Also keep in mind that the decision is personal and will be largely determined by your health and medical situation.

      Additional things I’d keep in mind:
      – What happens if you have to cancel on short notice, e.g., are your tickets and registration fees refundable?
      – Will you be comfortable on the flight and in the accommodations?
      – Some of my friends have been told that insurance may not cover if they go into labor away from their home hospital. As a result, a close friend would not travel more than 1-2 hours away by car during her entire last trimester. No personal experience on this point, but something to keep in mind.
      – If you were to go into labor or have to be hospitalized, will you be in an area with good medical resources?

      Good luck!

      • I must have missed that so I’ll check it out. And thanks for all those additional questions – wasn’t thinking about all those factors

    • Greensleeves :

      I flew 4 weeks before I delivered #2, so about 6 weeks before my due date. Most of the way across the country, for a business trip. It was fine, I was somewhat uncomfortable but ok. The partner traveling with me used my very obvious condition to get us bulkhead seats on the way back, which helped lot! (And taught me a lesson about speaking up and asking for things, as well.) You’re more prone to blood clots when pregnant and she mentioned that vocally at the ticket counter. However, that was my easiest pregnancy and I can say without question that I would have been miserable traveling at that point with #3.

      I think it depends on your comfort level, your SO’s comfort level, what your dr/midwife advises and perhaps the destination – I was traveling to a large city so I knew there were excellent medical facilities available just in case something happened.

    • I flew at about 6 months pregnant cross-country and I was business travel at that point. Also – you’re at a much higher risk of blood clots when you fly pregnant, especially that late in the game. Heck I took an acela trip (2ish hours) at 37 weeks pregnant and nearly passed out on the train from shortness of breath/exertion/etc.
      YMMV, but I was really uncomfortable and not up for dealing with travel that late in my pregnancy. Heck, I barely wanted to deal with running errands.

      • Good to know. I think I am more concerned about the discomfort of it all so based on what everyone has said, I think I’ll forego this trip. It’s not essential but would have been a nice-to-do for professional networking

    • I flew halfway across the country at 33 weeks. My Dr. gave the okay and I felt fine.

  16. Help with luggage TJ:
    I need a garment bag. Mine mysteriously disappeared (I think my husband borrowed it and it didn’t come home, but none of our clothes are missing. I have no idea) and I need it because I’m going to start traveling with suits again.

    I was just going to buy another Tumi garment bag, but thought maybe you ladies would have a better suggestion that you love? So what do you think? Bi- fold or Tri- fold? Tumi? Something else?


    • a passion for fashion :

      I bought the Tumi one for my husband and he just loves it. if you can afford it and you are travling with suits on any regular basis, its worth the money

    • I have never figured out why one would travel with a garment bag unless exclusively by car. They’re heavy and they don’t fit well in overhead compartments. I’d seriously look into a rolling suitcase with a “suiter.” Or just fold your suits. They seem to do fine, particularly when you consider how smushed up those garment bags get on the airplane.

      • SoCalAtty :

        I was thinking something like this :

  17. I was trying to be good but the black and white version of this cardigan is so perfect for me that I had to pull the trigger. And I may or may not have bought two more sweaters from the extra-60%-off sale section.

  18. Looking for styling suggestions for a red polka dot blazer that just I ordered from the Loft. I’m worried now that it might be too cutesy – how to make it look a little more serious? And what colors to wear it with, besides black, cream, navy. Will it look too Uncle Sam if paired with navy or blue?

    • Research, Not Law :

      Oh, I really love this. I like the way it’s styled in the pic, which isn’t cutesy at all. Navy is where I’d first go with it actually (the pants in pic look navy to me). I can see it working with some shades of orange and purple, too.

      • Hmm, purple, that’s a good idea. I don’t have much purple in my closet though.

    • Meg Powers :

      This is so cute! I just ordered it for myself. :)

  19. Have any of you ladies gone into a marraige with combined finances, and then split the finances? If so, why? And how did it work for you both? I’m seriously considering splitting my finances, and would like a voice of experience to offer insight.

    • goldribbons :

      I would say that you should each have separate accounts, and transfer money out of your joint account into your separate accounts in a fixed sum each paycheck.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      We were 100% joint and then realized we got sick of comparing personal expenditures. We now put $250/month in a separate account and that is our “fun” money. Part of it is honor system. We don’t scrutinize the joint account. If we both realize we need something “fun” at the same time, say a new suit jacket, we might decide to just pay for it out of the joint account. We also pay for all our dates out of the joint account. For cosmetics and toiletries if I can buy it at the pharmacy or grocery store it typically comes out of the joint account. If I am buying specialty products (body shop, clinique) I use my personal account. The only thing I’m thinking about moving from separate to joint is hair cuts. Mine are $50, his are $10. I originally wanted to do haircuts from my account so I wouldn’t skimp (say on highlights or something) to save us money. I could use “my” money guilt free. I realize now though that haircuts are a bit of a necessity and maybe I should allocate an amount from joint for general haircuts and if I want to do something special then spend that from my separate account. For me, I love having our “allowance” accounts because I wasn’t good about ever spending joint money on me, even though my husband didn’t care if I did.

      • Also in Academia :

        This is our system exactly. It works so well! We also each take 1 or 2 work lunches a month out of the joint account. I don’t know how we started doing that, but I think it was out of our common realization that we sometimes ran out of fun money due to work lunches, that work lunches also furthered our careers through relationship development, and that we ought to lighten up a little bit on that one.

      • So your fun money is for everything: clothes, shoes, purses, more expensive cosmetics, coffee/lunch, etc?

        • Blonde Lawyer :

          Yes. If I am going to expense something work related though, I put it on my credit card. We do make exceptions when they come up. For example, we both have out of state friends and have purchased plane tickets from the joint account. Other times, husband will buy something, like a new tv, that also benefits me but he uses his personal account. His justification was “the old one worked fine, I just wanted a bigger one so I should pay for that, not us.”

      • mintberrycrunch :

        We do this too.

      • Divaliscious11 :

        We do something similar. It used to be 10% of each person’s check goes into their individual account – 90% into the joint account, but now that H has changed career’s and taken a huge temporary pay cut, he puts a fixed amount in the joint, and the rest of his check is for his living expenses/pocket money. When his comp gets more regular, we’ll go back to 10/90 split.

    • Senior Attorney :

      We have joint finances but we also each have a weekly personal spending allowance that we take in cash, and a monthly amount that gets deposited directly to our separate personal savings accounts. We also each have a personal clothing allotment that gets transferred to a separate savings account until we’re ready to spend it. Haircuts come out of the joint account, even though mine are much more frequent and expensive.

  20. Hi, my name is: _______ :

    Has anyone tried the new Cole Haan Milly wedges? Are they basically the same as the Air Tali wedges but with a new name or do they have a different fit?

  21. Kat got a shout-out from the ABA Journal online! Last week’s posting talked about her question to the group about their annual clothing budget and this week the answers were posted. Link to follow.

    It’s a pretty different crowd there at the ABA. One commenter said, “Work isn’t a fashion show…you just need to look professional.” Another, using the name oldguy, thought this was not a question worthy of the ABA, a sentiment echoed by a few others. Give me the ‘r e t t e s any day!


    • Blonde Lawyer :

      She apparently is also being featured on above the law and one commenter thought “don’t wear tights to a job interview” meant “wear bare legs.” Apparently, she didn’t know hose was a third option.

      • Or the commenter was in the UK where I believe “tights” does mean panty hose?

  22. aaaaand they don't fit :

    Just bought some Quincy Apparel final sale items and they don’t fit :( I paid $30 each for the:
    – Elliott sheath dress/38/C/D/regular/black
    – Elliott sheath skirt 32/regular/black

    I thought I’d see if any ‘e t t e s wanted them before I ebay. We could arrange a meet if in DC, or I could ship to you. Email me at bookwormbabe360[at]hotmail[dotcom] if interested!

    • Divaliscious11 :

      What about them don’t fit? what is your normal size? I have a dress from Quincy that arrived yesterday but I haven’t had a chance to try it on….

      • aaaaand they don't fit :

        i’m an 8/10 so i knew these would be too big but i don’t like the fabric enough to take them to the tailor, which is what i was planning on doing.

        skirt is still available!

    • Mine arrived yesterday as well and both are at least one size too large. I generally wear a 0 or 2 at AT/banana on the bottom and am slightly larger on top. I ordered the sheath dress in a 34c/d and a jacket in 34 a/b. The sheath dress is far too big around the waist but fits up top. The jacket is ever so slightly too small up top and too big around the waist.

      I will be taking them to the tailor because for what I paid they’re worth tailoring, and in the future will size down from here. I will buy again, as others have mentioned in the past, the quality is good for the price (particularly the sale prices). Oh, and I won’t be buying next year until the sales!

  23. Baltimore Recs :

    Hi everyone! Thanks for the recs yesterday. I found a good deal on a new, well-rated hotel at the airport, and can either visit the city or go shopping from there. I travel frequently for work/privately, but I’m not an adventurous tourist at all, so I appreciated the tips :)

  24. Is this colorblocking too weird for a conservative office?,default,pd.html?dwvar_D0104607_color=FRR&start=2&cgid=workwear-dresses

    • it kind of looks like an apron in that color scheme.

    • It looks a lot better here, as featured on this very blog a few days ago:

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