I Just Can't with This Shit Today

Comments

1

Who does that, indeed?

As they say, when someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.

2

Every introverted woman’s dream, work sixty hours a week and travel time, then get to spend the weekend with a man and his children. Not.

3

OMG, RUN RUN RUN RUN RUN!!!

4

Lava @ 2 - And be accused of making excuses on top of that!

5

So pathetic. She knows the correct answer, but still asks anyway.

5

Fuck him off, LW. He sounds unhinged selfish controlling and rude. Easy answer today.
As the saying goes, don’t negotiate with terrorists.

6

Yes my love, I mean Ricardo.. it’s a post divorce hook up, the LW needs to dump this freak show, and look anew.

7

“I care about this whiny, controlling, manipulative freeloader I’ve known for a few months.”

Okaaaay.

8

Run away!!!

9

Any guy who pouts and acts like a brat when you have a UTI, deserves to be kicked to the curb. Any relationship should be built on consideration, and at least show some sympathy you are in physical discomfort or pain..

10

I mean your behavior IS a contributing factor in the sense that you're enabling your own abuse.

11

Does calling her pathetic make you feel righteous, raindrop? Feel like bad things happen mostly to people who deserve them? Feel like it's just objective truth, just saying?

12

Jesus, it sounds like she's talking about a fucking middle schooler, not a 44 y/o - DTMFA - AND NOW. He is nothin but trouble.

13

Why would you stay?

14

Good points ferret@9, and Luke@10. After the UTI incident, she should have faced the truth, that this man cares nothing for her.
LW, you’re a grown woman in her 40’s, what are you not seeing in this picture, that your friends and we here can see. All Dan could do was play a head banging vid.
End this now, then take some time before you enter any new relationship, to strengthen your boundaries.

15

Listen to Dan and the rest of us, LW - you deserve SO much better. Dump him and better yet, laugh when you do.

16

Those “deep feelings” will fade soon enough once you DTMFA and especially when you find someone better...which shouldn’t be hard.

17

I have sort of a bell curve thing going on with LWs like this, where up to a certain point the greater the magnitude of the fuckery they're dealing with, the more sympathy I have, but then after that I start having less sympathy because if you haven't D'dTMFA on your own already, what the hell is wrong with you?

Anyhow, this letter is way over on the wrong end of that bell curve. What the hell is wrong with you indeed, LW. DTMFA, obviously, but also take a long look in the mirror and ask yourself why you put up with his shit for as long as you did; why you felt you needed to ask Dan's permission to take what should have been the obvious course of action; why the idea of "[your] behavior [being] a contributing factor" ever crossed your mind.

18

LW you will feel better after you DTMFA I promise. I'm a 44yr old woman and I've just extracted myself from a relationship from a man that had some similarities to what you've just described. There were red flags but I ignored them because everything else was so good. I knew 4 months in that the relationship should probably end and I broke up with him. We got back together but nothing changed. Everything was on his terms and they were generally selfish arsehole terms but one of the things that really struck me was the UTI.. With my ex I had two bottom wisdom teeth removed, I looked like I'd been hit by a bus and definitely needed love and care. But he had a new video game to play so he left me to look after his 3yr old daughter and put her to bed so he could do what he wanted. He did realise he was being an arsehole at 2am when his daughter woke up and I wasn't up to dealing with it but really I shouldn't have had to wait that long or be left to deal with any of that while he selfishly thought his game was more important than my health and comfort. I should have left him right then. But I gave the relationship more time because I loved him. I left him 3 weeks ago after I needed him for support and he abandoned me AGAIN... It wasn't the first time and I knew it wouldn't be the last. Entire relationship lasted a whole 9months and you know what 3 weeks out my stress levels are way lower because I'm not walking on his dumb eggshells any more. I'm heaps happier already. Yes I'm sad for the loss of the good bits and the promise of a relationship that didn't quite happen the way I wanted it to but I'm much much better and you will be too.

19

RUN! Run fast, run hard. This guy is not going to get better. I was with a guy who was controlling, but it took 20 years of increasing escalation to get to even CLOSE to this level of control. Try to imagine THIS guy after 20, or 10 or even 1 year of escalating behavior and think if you can stand it.

Go get Lundy Bancroft's book "Why Does He Do That?" It helped me put my ex's behavior in perspective. It might help you as well.

20

The UTI thing was a major asshole move and there’s no excuse for it.

That said, I’m not convinced that he’s the only asshole here. If you’re working 60 hours a week on top of travelling 4 days a week, you have my sympathy - I know what it’s like to work stupid hours, in my case 120-140 hours a week, out of necessity - but I can absolutely understand wanting to see my partner at the weekends (AT LEAST), and being put off when they don’t want to see me. And then if I try and keep the sexual connection there by asking for sexy pictures when we’re apart, and get rejected there too...I gotta be honest, LW, I wouldn’t stay with someone who didn’t seem to be interested in being with me.

The vacation thing...yes, they were your points, but you’re going together, as a couple, which means you should either be alternating choosing the place, or going places that you both want to go. And while he shouldn’t have pressured you into going on a swinger’s vacation, saying you’ll go and then complaining until he changes his mind isn’t exactly functional adult behaviour either.

Ultimately, I agree with Dan: DTMFA. Even without the UTI thing (which to me is borderline dumpable behaviour on its own), you are not compatible, can’t give each other what you both need, and are making each other miserable. But think REALLY carefully about who you date in future. You might be OK being in a relationship with someone who has a full life and only wants to see you once every few weeks. Or you might just not have room in your life for a relationship right now. If that’s the case, there’s no shame in it. But if you get together with another person who wants to see their partner regularly, you’re going to end up right back here.

21

Dear LW, you know the answer. You will never, ever have the relationship you deserve with this... "man". I'd ghost him. He doesn't even deserve anything face to face, in my opinion. If he were a lot younger, I'd tell him off in the hopes that maybe he would learn something going forward, but the dude is your age? He ain't changing. Just looking for dumb females to fall for his crap because he can satisfy them in bed. Since you're NOT a dumb female, just one that is exhausted and muddled in some emotions, I know you're going to wake up tomorrow with not a trace of him in your life and you're going to like yourself for doing it.

Sorry for the rant, but seriously, you KNOW what to do. Don't dawdle.

22

DTMFA, cut, and RUN! Change your locks, and block all his social media and phone number. The guy is a total dickwad.

23

Anemone @18 "3 weeks out my stress levels are way lower because I'm not walking on his dumb eggshells any more"

Yes, thank you for writing in! It will feel so much better, so quickly! (BTW, I hope you have your ex blocked, Anemone, so he can't worm his way back into your good graces.)

Sati @20 - " I can absolutely understand...being put off when they don’t want to see me... I wouldn’t stay with someone who didn’t seem to be interested in being with me."

Exactly! But he saw her lack of interest as a reason to double down on being controlling, to pressure her even more into sending naked photos. Who wants naked photos of someone who is unhappy to send them? Someone who gets off on your unhappiness, that's who.

24

@2 LavaGirl: Agreed. It sounds like nightmare of biblical proportions to me.
@2 LavaGirl and @4 Ricardo: Tied for the WIN.
LW, I sincerely hope you didn't meet and unfortunately hook up with my ex.
Either way, you have my condolences. You deserve better. Dump his sorry ass and move on.

26

Sounds like everything you say, do, or want is wrong according to him. I've never been in a relationship, but I know what that feels like. You have the choice. Choose to get out ASAP -- before it gets worse.

27

I've dated someone like this. Chances are he's already cheating on you (esp if you're always traveling) and making impossible demands as a way to justify the cheating behavior. Leave before you get an STD.

28

@20 Sati. You work 140 hours a week? So you have 4 hours a day for sleeping, eating, and everything else?

Not even Elon Musk does that, I think.

28

Oh, and unless you're salaried, I sincerely hope they're paying you for the time you spend traveling.

29

@9 I thought you were going to say "… deserves to be kicked in the nuts…"

30

What's pathetic is this dude. His behavior sounds younger than dudes my age, which is pretty young!

31

When I was lad (and, indeed, to this day) my favourite TV show was Doctor Who, and my favourite companion, this being back in the 1980s, was the Doctor’s Australian friend, Tegan. I have always remembered her farewell speech, after the Doctor had defeated a particularly bloody Dalek plan. “When I started as a stewardess (it was the 80s), my Aunt Vanessa told me ‘if you don’t enjoy it, you can always do something else.’ It stopped being fun, Doctor.”

Words to live by, I have always thought.

32

Meh, she already knows what he is and what she needs to do. She's just having trouble overcoming the inertia to send him on his merry way. That's why her letter is a laundry list of grievances, each worse than the last, with "oh yeah, I love him" pinned on as an afterthought. She polling her friends and an advice columnist stacking her argument so of course everyone will confirm what she already knows.

So here is Dan, your friends, and a bunch of internet randos all telling you the same thing. Meditate on it during your many flights and eventually it will trickle down enough to activate your do-something button (or short circuit your stay-the-course button).

The question is, how much more of your life do you want to spend feeling like this over this guy? Maybe hurry that process along a bit, huh?

33

@20, Sati; She’s not saying she doesn’t want to see him at all on weekends, and anyway he’s not offering that. He’s offering seeing her with his children. If they are young kids, that involves outings etc, sometimes she might like a quiet weekend after working all week.

34

Gee, I don't know... He sounds like a REALLY nice guy. I'd stick with him!

35

DTMFA, but be prepared to get a restraining order. I get a weird feeling about the guy from this description.

36

I'm kind of in a DTMFA apologist situation myself, but reading this makes me scared of getting back into the dating pool.

37

Life is too precious to spend it on anybody who doesn't appreciate your fabulous self.

This guy must have good traits. But Judy because he's sometimes good doesn't mean that he's good enough for you.

Dump him. Be good to yourself. Expect kindness.

38

To WHTGP: echoing others who have mentioned taking steps to ensure your ongoing personal safety, security, and sanity BEFORE breaking up with this man. Change your locks (and passwords, if need be), and know how to block him from contacting you. It may end up being overkill, but this man has proven that he doesn’t respect your boundaries, and the manipulation may continue even after the relationship is over.

39

I truly wonder why I'm single right now.

Wanting to prioritize quality time with your partner who travels a lot? Reasonable. Demanding day and night check ins? Wack as fuck. How does anyone even entertain that conversation is they're not into it? How do you almost break up over SNAPCHAT and then decide to stay together? This is too overt shittery for me to understand

40

A good number of the couples we know divorced while in their 40s, almost always at the woman's instigation. We've tended to remain friendlier with the ex-wives (since my wife is our social coordinator), so I've been able to observe certain patterns -- i.e, their disastrous efforts to find new, stable relationships -- that help explain why WHTGP is so reluctant to leave this asshole, even though she most clearly knows she needs to give him the boot.

41

As soon as I got to "I have explained to him that I need my downtime on occasion to recuperate. To which he replies that I have my personal time during the week when I’m traveling and therefore shouldn’t need it on the weekends so I can spend time with him and his kids (from a previous relationship)" the DTMFA was clear. He doesn't respect your needs. DTMFA.

Luke @10, yes, she's contributing to the situation by not having dumped the motherfucker already. Hope this constitutes enough votes in the "dump him" column and she dumps him already. Good lord, woman, you can do better -- a good vibrator is a better choice than this controlling asshole. His poor kids (but they're not your problem).

42

I like the comments to this letter, especially UpandOver @17. Y'all are adding good perspective. I'm not sure I have anything to add except more and more eloquent ways to yell RUN!

Here's my question. It's not just "what is it with asshole men". What's he getting out of being such an asshole? My question is "what is it with doormat women." I mean, how can she not see it? I sort of understand that a woman who's getting punched in the teeth by an asshole man might also be considering that she gets a diamond necklace every time the asshole comes back saying he's sorry. When she's not getting her teeth punched out, she might be living in a pretty nice place. But WHTGP is paying for the vacations too. She doesn't like being with him when he's being nice. She'd rather be alone. Does she think she's getting some sort of brownie points for heaven? That's not as sarcastic a question as it sounds. Why?

43

Marty @40, yes. I became newly single at 39 after a LTR and the messages that "you'll never find another relationship at your age" are pervasive and frankly terrifying. It's not helpful at all to call her pathetic. "Everything was great for the first six months" is a great motivator for a false belief that it can be great again (as is great sex). I don't know if we ever get too old for rose-coloured glasses.

44

All the people here who are victim blaming the LW and asking the stupid question "why can't she see it?" don't understand what the dynamics of being in an abusive relationship do to your self esteem, self belief and rational perspective. It always creeps up gradually, wearing away at your confidence and causing you to doubt yourself over a period of time.

LW you don't owe this idiot a God damn thing, get the hell away from him as soon as possible. Try and delete all his naked pictures of you first, if you are able to safely. Being alone can be hard, but it's also very peaceful compared to the level of harassment you are currently having to cope with.

45

Bida fan @40... That's so true! And something else that becomes apparent being an older single woman is that (certainly in my country) single women over 40 far out weight the numbers of single men over 40. Not sure how that comes to be but it's a known thing. So men by in large have their pick. It definitely has the effect of feeling a bit bleak if you let it get to you.

46

@20/Sati strike the right balance in responding. The UTI incident and forcing an open relationship are deeply asshole moves that should end this relationship. At the same time, LW seems a bit clueless about how her actions are being reasonably interpreted. She is traveling four days every week for a demanding job and then wants the remainder of the week for downtime so she can recharge. It may very well be that LW does not have time for a relationship, let alone a relationship with a man who has children. LW may find that many relationship-minded men may be fine with infrequent contact at the start of a relationship, but less so many months into the relationship. One wonders whether any of LW's work obligations and need for alone time factored into her divorce, if so, this relationship should give her further impetus to consider how she interacts with or what she can offer relationship partners.

Her issue about hotel and airline points is also suspect, especially if she is getting these points through employer-paid work travel, which might make them "her points," but not something she acquired at her own expense. But even if that is not the case, when one person makes more money in a relationship, they regularly support the lifestyle of their partner, including paying for vacation-related travel costs.

47

I'd echo @44. Do your best to delete all of the naked pics first and then get the fuck out of there.

48

@44, SBB, I don’t think anyone is victim blaming by asking the LW this question. Of course abuse is incremental etc, that’s why it’s very important to DTMFA after a couple of examples of it, not give it six months to grow and fester.

49

Right, SA@ 46; so she helps raise his kids and pays for his vacations. Win/ win for her, right? It’s a yr old relationship, why should she be supporting this man, paying for any of his lifestyle.

50

@49/LavaGirl: Seriously? Asking his girlfriend to spend time with him and his children on weekends is not "helping to raise his kids," suggesting so is nonsense. And as someone who has made more than most, if not all my girlfriends, I have definitely supported their ability to do things as a couple, whether that is dinner, entertainment, or travel, which I don't see as particularly remarkable. I believe that when you are a couple, unequal contributions based on income are reasonable, and if you are unwilling to do so, don't date someone earning substantially less than you. I wouldn't think that should be controversial, even when the higher income earning person is a woman. That doesn't mean LW's boyfriend shouldn't be very appreciative of her generosity, but sharing with your partner is a basic part of a relationship.

51

SA, I do agree with you that the LW needs to, once she dumps this man’s sorry arse, to clear in her own mind what sort of relationship she can offer. Being an introvert myself, in that I have to have time alone to re focus/ recharge, enjoy solitude, whatever one calls it.
Maybe the LW would do better being with a poly man, then he is not looking to her as his only sexual/ emotional interest.

52

Are they partners, SA, doesn’t sound like they live together. It’s only a year old, and sure, paying for a meal here and there or movie/ threatre tickets, a vacation though after a year that’s expecting too much in my world. Irrespective of income.
See how we all have these different expectations of how one behaves in a sexual relationship? No wonder so many go pear shape.

53

Sublime @46: "It may very well be that LW does not have time for a relationship, let alone a relationship with a man who has children." Ah, but she may have (reasonably) thought, "I don't have time for a full-time relationship, but this guy has kids who are going to take up a bunch of his time, so that will work." She didn't anticipate being expected to spend her downtime WITH his kids.
"when one person makes more money in a relationship, they regularly support the lifestyle of their partner, including paying for vacation-related travel costs." Woooooow. Not unless or until they are living together, they don't. And generally the person who is paying for the vacations does indeed make the decisions about the vacations. He doesn't get to take free vacations AND dictate the terms of them. If he wants to take a swinger holiday he treats her to a swinger holiday. Yeesh.

Sublime @50: "That doesn't mean LW's boyfriend shouldn't be very appreciative of her generosity." Exactly. He was anything but. And as for the kids, if this woman is 44 and doesn't have kids, it's because she doesn't want them. It's not reasonable to expect a child-free woman to want to, or to enjoy, spending a lot of time with sprogs that aren't hers.

All of y'all are also forgetting the sunk costs fallacy. At least she's seeing it a year in, before they're too committed. Not to mention that divorce can fuck with one's head. If her ex-husband gaslit her, it's no wonder she's questioning whether she's caused this nice-for-six-months man to change in some way.

54

I'm with everyone who said the UTI detail was the deal breaker for me. Any penis-haver who's annoyed or frustrated because their partner can't have sex due to a UTI (that was more than likely contracted from having sex in the first place) should have a branch of fire coral shoved up their urethra then be forced to perform sexually (because that's legitimately what it feels like.)

This ass-clown you're dating deserves nothing less than several swift kicks to the family jewels with a steel-toed boot and then to be soundly ghosted.

55

I agree with the DTMFA message but would like to add a cautionary note. Even though this guy may not be physically abusive, he does show many red flags. He’s got all kinds of time and place stamped pics of her from when she was traveling for work; he’s travelled with her so he might know her credit card numbers or other financial info. Make a safety exit plan first and if possible, get the pics deleted from his devices before you leave. Protect yourself against revenge porn and theft.

56

@55. I completely agree, especially about the pictures. A control freak like that could be very vindictive. I worry about what will happen to all those naked pics she's been sending him when she gets up the courage to do the right thing and get rid of him.

57

Hey, LW, I strongly suggest you do some reading on narcissism (both kinds, grandiose narcissism and covert narcissism.) Your partner sure sounds like a narcissist. As much as you can feel like you're a partner at times in this relationship, you're a prop. Thus always with narcissists.

58

I guess some people are terrified of being alone? It is a rebound relationship- maybe included the intensity of the divorce plus the few weeks of being single then the falling in love anew- I guess someone can coast on that a long time and lose perspective? Then you are thinking about sunk costs?

@Sati I agree she has some work-personal life balance stuff to work on, but there are loads of solutions, depending on how she feels about her career and her travel otherwise. If she hates it, well she needs to be talking to someone about financial and job options. If she doesn't have the time to spend in a relationship as much as she wants to or as much as the people she wants to be with want her to, then first step should be to look into altering the work schedule (if possible) since otherwise, it will just lead to the sorts of conflicts you describe.

If, on the other hand, she likes her job and schedule and doesn't want to change it (which is the feeling I got from the letter), then she needs to consider how she wants a love life to fit into that. Maybe she dates more casually. She's in a perfect situation to have a handful of FWBs for example. Maybe she dates people who likewise has a difficult work schedule and is cool with meeting up very rarely. The goal could be to find someone who, like her, is down for the level of interaction she is telling them UP FRONT that she can fit comfortably into her life. Not necessarily that she change her life to fit them in, see?

My husband and I took separate vacations for years. It was wonderful. Sounds like this could be a solution, especially as she's willing to help him financially with his own. But also, she sounds like she has trouble advocating for herself which is on her. My first thought was, he runs off to the swinger club and she goes wherever, then I realized probably he needs her to get into the swinger club in the first place. And he needs her air miles, hotel miles, etc.

Which led me to wonder about this- in light of the discussion about work-life balance. It seems like (maybe?) her solution was to find someone who really has loads of free time available who really just wants to spend it all with her- that way he can fit into her very busy schedule quite easily because he's not doing much else. I bet this was exhilarating at first, with all the new relationship energy, but now it's become a burden. I think this could be a good solution for a lot of people in which one is working and traveling so much- to be with a partner who is more settled and has more time. But it does not sound like it is a good solution for her since when she's back home, she likewise wants a lot of alone time and down time.

So I'd say that in addition to the incompatibilities of personal needs and interests, in addition to his brutish selfishness, in addition to her own problems standing up for herself and putting up with shit, I'd say the LW should break up with the dude and make a decision to ONLY date casually for some time while she falls into the swing of her own single life, and then after meeting a lot of people and getting to know how awesome she can be in her own skin, THEN she sits down and has a long think about what sort of relationship she might want to fit into this life and what are her options to meet someone like that.

My guess would be either another very sexual busy career-minded introvert OR someone who likewise is more settled with a flexible schedule who can fit into yours but is less needy (has his own interesting shit going on and is OK without you always being there). How to find these people? Custom design and order online, home delivery an extra fee, assembly not required, you can get tips on what to make his dick look like from the other thread.

Instead, it sounds

59

In don't know why my post ended with Instead it sounds... must've been a cut/paste accident. Blood all over the keyboard.

60

@BDF "It's not reasonable to expect a child-free woman to want to, or to enjoy, spending a lot of time with sprogs that aren't hers."

Regarding children- The LW chose to be in a relationship with him, not some casual dating thing. They've been together a year. It is unreasonable and unhealthy for her to expect to not spend time with his children if she is going to be in a relationship with their father.

If she doesn't want to be around children, she should not be in a relationship with a man with children. This is a choice she made. What future would there ever have been if she's not interested in being around his kids? I agree that if someone is casually dating or FWB then it's unreasonable to expect her to be around his kids, but she considers this a proper relationship with a future in which she's actually considering working on all these batshit crazy problems- so obviously she'd be expected to be around the kids. That's a normal and reasonable expectation- the alternative would be unhealthy. How could they build a relationship on the basis that his children are an annoyance to her?

However, it is also reasonable that she wants time away from all of them and time with him without his children. And it's worth noting that the LW is not complaining about spending time with his children. She said she wants down time at home not with him and his children- not that she's annoyed by the children specifically or that she'd prefer that down time with him without the children. She's talking about time alone at home. So I think there's some projecting going on here- the existence of the children does not appear to be a problem to her.

@Sublime "Her issue about hotel and airline points is also suspect, especially if she is getting these points through employer-paid work travel, which might make them "her points," but not something she acquired at her own expense. But even if that is not the case, when one person makes more money in a relationship, they regularly support the lifestyle of their partner, including paying for vacation-related travel costs."

What's suspect about this? I don't understand your point here. When I traveled frequently for work, I accumulated points for air miles, hotels, some other vendors as well. How in the world were they not "mine"? And the fact that I got them through employer-paid travel didn't make them less "mine" than someone else's. What do you mean here? They are her points to use as she likes. She is using them to pay for their travel which is fair since she has them and he doesn't. I see no indication that she asked him to pay for half or that she's complaining about this arrangement. I agree with you that it's normal that the higher paying person will pay for things like this and it appears she does too, especially since she also pays for him and his children to take a vacation.

The problem is that their vacation choices are not compatible- him pushing for her to do something she is not interested in, her lacking the spine to stand up and refuse straight out. This has nothing to do with who paid for it.

IMO the reason she included that info is that it might be dawning on her that he's with her in part to get these perks that she can afford (either through her income or her miles - irrelevant which) and he can't. Is this reasonable? I don't know. I think there is a lot of stigma against men who make less than women in a relationship, but there's also the stereotype of the gold-digger applied to women more than men. There does seem to be some implication that since she's paying for the vacations, he should be less selfish about it. In truth, the selfishness is a problem regardless of who paid for it.

@BDF- "Woooooow. Not unless or until they are living together, they don't. And generally the person who is paying for the vacations does indeed make the decisions about the vacations. He doesn't get to take free vacations AND dictate the terms of them. If he wants to take a swinger holiday he treats her to a swinger holiday. Yeesh."

This has absolutely not been my experience. People who make more money in a relationship with a big difference in income (and they have been together over a year) pay for the bulk of the vacation expenses. Otherwise, you end up having all your vacations either solo or camping in a public park. It is not a big WOW in my experience. We live in a very mixed income kind of place, so our friends include all sorts of income dynamics. The ones who make more money, pay for more, and use that as a reason to say they should ALSO get to dictate where they go and what they do are for sure being assholes and using their income to lord it over the other.

I agree that there's no reason she should be expected to participate in his swinger vacation or pay for a vacation that she doesn't want to have, but that's really irrelevant to the income situation and more just about this man being an asshole and her not standing up for herself. Even if he were bankrolling that vacation, he shouldn't have pressured her to go and she shouldn't have tried to compromise (you can't half way go on a swinger vacation).

61

@17 Up and Over - I've thought the same thing.

@18 Anemone- Thank you for sharing, hope the LW reads it.

What I'd really love to read, if either of you are up to it, would be a conversation where Anemone addresses this Bell Curve issue. Obviously the guy was a douche and I'm so glad you realized it and got yourself out of there, but can you speak to what it was that had you stay until it could get to that point and you thought it was reasonable? Why ignore those red flags, why not tell him no when he wants your recovering self to watch his child while he plays video games, why take him back? And if you are only 3 weeks into being single, then I really hope you don't take him back again (this is still the vulnerable phase right?)- is it gas lighting? Abuse? Fear of being alone? Just the irrationality of love and socialization of women to bend over backwards for people? You are in a place of strength now, having left, being less stressed, right? Good for you for standing up for yourself, and I hope you only enter into future relationships that include mutual respect.

62

EmmaLiz @60: "It is unreasonable and unhealthy for her to expect to not spend time with his children if she is going to be in a relationship with their father." Sure, SOME time. But Mr Asshat was demanding she sacrifice time she needs to relax and unwind and spend it, not with him relaxing and unwinding, but with his kids, which sounds like anything but. We don't know how much custody he has. Many men in her age range will be divorced with kids. Really the issue isn't her spending time with the kids, but her being expected to -- which we agree on.

My "wooooow" was at the phrase, "when one person makes more money in a relationship, they regularly support the lifestyle of their partner." Paying more on vacations, sure. Paying for more dinners out, sure. "Regularly supporting someone's lifestyle"? Woooooow. Hope my reaction makes sense now. (If these examples were what Sublime meant by "regularly supporting the lifestyle of their partner," I withdraw my shock.) I agree as well that people who make more and therefore contribute more to vacations and therefore don't give their less-contributing partners a say are assholes.

I also agree that she should possibly get some therapy to figure out why she let this guy get away with so much shit.

63

@62 BDF of course I'm not disagreeing that the LW's bf here was being a jerk nor that she should have alone time as well. But rather with your statement that it's unreasonable to expect a childless woman to spend time with her partner's 'sprogs'. It is in fact unreasonable to expect her not to. If she doesn't, she shouldn't be in a relationship with him as there is no future for a relationship that rests upon a childless woman who sees her partner's children as sprogs she doesn't enjoy spending time with.

As for "lifestyle"- yes if Sublime meant that the higher paid person is expected to fund a lifestyle for the lower paid person separate (like buy them an apartment, car, etc) then that's nuts, but I don't think that's what he meant. If you have more money and you are in a relationship with someone who has less money, then you have two choices: a) take a reduction in your own lifestyle to live within the lower paid person's means, b) fund the lifestyle you want for yourself and your partner. Obviously the specifics of what this means will change depending on how serious the relationship is, what their living arrangements are, what shared responsibilities they have, etc. In the case of the LW, to me, it seems common and reasonable that she would pay for their vacations together. And I don't think this means she alone gets to decide where they go just because she's bankrolling it. I think that sets up an unhealthy dynamic. But it also doesn't mean he gets to decide or pressure her to do something she doesn't wanna, obviously. I'm just trying to say that the pressuring and incompatibility is what's bad- who pays for it is irrelevant.

It seems generous to me that she would also pay for a vacation for him and his kids without her. If they were in an otherwise healthy relationship, I could see this as a very generous and loving gift- to treat your partner and his family to a nice trip. But since they are already having other troubles and the man is so selfish and has no concerns for her pleasure and wants to use her miles, money and relationship status as a way to get into swinger parties that he otherwise alone could not afford nor enter as a single man- all despite the fact that she's not into it- I'd say she might want to consider if he's been taking advantage of her generosity. Which is different than saying the higher paid person gets to decide where to go on vacation just because they are bankrolling it.

64

EmmaLiz @60; of course if she’s in a relationship with a man who has children, she’d have to expect to sometimes be around them.
We don’t know the custody details, so it’s all assumption when this man’s children is with him.
If say, he has them every second weekend, then he and the LW can have one weekend out of two alone and his custody weekend, the LW could plug in a bit, and dad could do his job and be with his children. It’s that he assumes or insists she spend the time with him and his children that rings of controlling and suffocating behaviour.
A lot of parents don’t introduce their children to their lovers because children get attached and hurt easily, until the relationship is solid and looks to be ongoing.
That’s as far as I read EL. When you write essays, I tune out. Which is a pity because you have interesting thoughts.

65

First off, I agree with DTMFA, if for no other reason than the UTI incident.

That being said, does anyone else wonder if we are getting an accurate picture of the situation? "In addition, recently the possibility of swapping partners came up. However, the realities of that are both frightening and overwhelming especially due to lack of time and also emotional ennui." What does "came up" mean in this situation? Is this a conversation that she willingly entertained and gave the impression that she was into? If so, it is probably not surprising that he wanted to explore it, and then felt bitter when she reluctantly agreed to a swinger experience and then complained until it didn't pan out. She says that he tried "to force me to go to an adults only swinger friendly resort". The language "force me" gives us the indication that he is a flaming asshole, but I am not certain that she ever articulated that she was not interested in doing it. That phrase ends with "which I wasn’t quite ready to do", which means that she has given him every indication that she is interested, and just keeps saying no to it. If she tells him that she is not interested and he persists, he is an asshole. If she keeps saying she is interested and won't do it, I'm not sure it works out the same.

I get the feeling that this is a rebound relationship from a woman who just got out of a marriage and is concerned that she will not be able to find another partner and is clinging to this relationship. She says that when she pushes back, she does it by saying "I want to go into this cautiously", not that she doesn't want to do it.

I also have to echo those who have said that subsidizing the lower income partner is a pretty normal thing in terms of dates and vacations. If I would prefer to go to an expensive restaurant instead of one my partner can easily afford, I pay for it and am happy to do so. This is pretty normal couple behavior, especially when vacations can be done with miles. I realize that this is a valuable asset that she owns, but I can see it feeling like it costs less than doing something with money. As far as picking vacations goes, if they have gone on "several nice vacations", and he has yet to have a say in what they are, it does not seem crazy that he would want some input. Of course he agreed to go where she suggested... what was the alternative?

It is possible that some of his seemingly controlling behavior is simply coming from insecurity. I can see it feeling like he is not a priority to her. I agree that he has gone about it in a profoundly shitty way, and she should DTMFA, but she really does need to look at her part, and particularly how she describes the situations, before she tries to get into another relationship. If she is going to date a highly sexual partner, and be gone most of the time, and also not want to sext while she is gone, and also dangle non-monogamy but then complain when it comes up, and also want down time (which is never specified) when she is actually home, then it might explain some of the behavior that he is exhibiting that is so unacceptable.

What does "down time" mean in this situation? Does it mean that they have been together for over a year and she is gone most of the week, but then also doesn't want to see him every weekend? What does she actually want out of a relationship? If she is looking for someone to hook up with whenever she has time, then that is very different from the picture she has painted here. Are we really surprised that 6 months into a relationship "he started making more demands of my time"?

Again, the UTI incident alone makes him an irredeemable asshole, but I get the feeling that things are not exactly as they are described in the letter.

66

"Dan, my boyfriend is a monster in multiple, escalating ways. What should I do?"

67

If men got shit else, they got the audacity

68

@53/BiDanFan: “She didn't anticipate being expected to spend her downtime WITH his kids . . . It's not reasonable to expect a child-free woman to want to, or to enjoy, spending a lot of time with sprogs that aren't hers.”

In a relationship that is just fucking, yes, but in a serious romantic relationship, I don’t think so. When you date someone with children, I think the person and children are a package deal. That introduction shouldn’t happen right away, but after a few months, when things are more serious, I see it as a red flag if a romantic partner was hiding their children or were avoiding spending time with their partner’s children. Nothing LW said suggests that she viewed this relationship as purely casual, so I think spending time with her partner’s children is a reasonable expectation.

I don’t think of myself as extraordinarily generous, but when dating artists, teachers, and social workers, I expect to pay significantly more for our joint social life, and living together or not doesn’t factor into that equation. Dating in New York was expensive, and dinner out could easily run $150.00 and hotels on a trip somewhere for a week together could easily be $1000. Do you really believe people in higher income jobs in relationships with people in lower income jobs aren’t paying for such things? And when we do these things, I never thought I could dictate everything as a couple simply because I am paying. That would be DTMFA-worthy.

69

LW -- Please STOP sending him pictures. If you can delete the ones you've already sent to him, do. He will use these against you.

Also, when you dump him, he will go on the charm offensive and be everything you want in a partner. That will be fake.

70

@60/EmmaLiz: If your employer was paying for your flight and/or hotel rooms, the points accumulated belong to your employer and not you. If LW’s employer isn’t enforcing its rights to those miles so be it. That makes those points and miles “hers,” but it is rather different than if she was using her own earnings from which to pay for these trips.

71

@28 Not long-term. My mom got sick last year (dementia) and needed pretty much 24-hour care, but it took several months to get any doctors or my useless brother to take me seriously, and then several months after that for any help to get arranged, so for six months or so I was working 20 hours, sleeping 3, and spending the last hour on bathing and dressing and stuff. I’ve now had seven or eight months of a more normal schedule, working 10-hour days and sleeping 12-hour nights, and I’m still so run-down that I’m picking up bugs that usually only affect people in chemotherapy or with full-blown AIDS. Not recommended.

72

@33 Maybe my math is wrong (totally possible!) but I read it as, she’s travelling 4 days a week, and then on the 3 days she’s not travelling, she’s working another 60 hours (out of 72). When could she possibly be seeing him?

(Early in the letter she says, “However, I travel four days a week for work,” and then in the next paragraph, “My job can be quite demanding. Sometimes requiring up to 60 hours a week in addition to the time spent traveling.” I guess it depends on what values are assigned to “sometimes” and “up to”, but I took that to mean that 60 work-hours a week on top of the four travel days isn’t a rare occurrence, or I think she’d have said “rarely”.)

To be clear, I DO think that he’s too controlling (the UTI thing was grotesque) and they should break up, but I found her letter...I don’t know, a bit disingenuous, especially the bit where she says “I ask for very little from him other than companionship and the understanding that my time is sometimes limited...” Yeah, no shit. She basically asks for nothing at all, and seems to want nothing at all, except someone who’s fine with hardly ever seeing her, but who’ll still remain monogamous (since she shut down the partner-swapping conversation, which should really have been an open relationship conversation, due to finding it “frightening and overwhelming” because of “lack of time” and “emotional ennui”) - and she doesn’t seem able to understand why he’s not happy with the situation. She even speaks for him, saying “we had a great time on vacation sans swinging” - rather than “I had a great time, and I thought he did” which sounds more likely to me.

Once again, I think he’s an asshole, and I agree with EricaP @23 that he’s using his unhappiness as an excuse to be pushy and controlling, which is absolutely not OK. But I’m not finding her particularly reasonable or empathetic either.

73

@65, @68 - YES to everything in both these posts.

74

Some people will go to extensive lengths to make sure of being The One Who Deserves Better.

75

@70 Sublime I don't know if you are making a philosophical argument or talking seriously here, but in reality that's not how it works for most of us. You are issued a company card that your employer pays but the card and account with the airline is in your name, not your employer's, and the rewards that you accumulate for traveling (miles and whatever points the card gives you) go to you as well, in your name, not your employer's at all. This is how it works for every single person I have ever known who travels with work, including myself.

That she is not paying for those flights out of her own pocket has no bearing on the fact that the miles are in fact hers, they are not his at all, and when she chooses to use them on him, she is giving him something that is hers that she could've used otherwise.

If you are simply making the point that she isn't reaching into her account and spending her earnings on him, yes of course- but that was never the claim anyway and it seems irrelevant to the letter.

76

I feel like I should add that, because she uses the type of language that she does, she clearly does not want to be in the relationship and should have ended it a long time ago, but I don't actually believe her point of view for a lot of it. I feel like, again, aside from the UTI thing, that he could easily have written in and we would be telling him to DTMFA.

She says she wants to be with me but has no interest in making time for me.
She knows I'm highly sexual, but not only can't make time for me, calls me controlling when I try to do it over the phone, which is our only real option.
She knows I'm highly sexual, so she dangles the possibility of opening the relationship, without committing, but then complains constantly if I bring it up.
She makes more money, and controls everything that we do, and acts like I'm an asshole if I try to make a decision for us. It's HER money/miles and therefore I should have no say.
etc.

I feel like if we got this letter we would have the same answer.

77

@64 Lava, as I said, I'm not troubled if you choose to tune out, read, engage, ignore, though I do enjoy our chats sometimes even if we argue sometimes too! Agreed as to the dating a parent, but this is not simply dating. She's calling it a relationship, they have been together for over a year, and she is considering (foolishly) to work on these problems to increase the relationship's longevity. If a person wants to seriously date a parent who is involved in his children's life, then it would be extremely unhealthy for everyone if the partner wished to not be around the children.

@Sati, hope you are taking care of yourself, and glad to hear some of the stress is lifting. As tot he LW, the way I interpreted it was that she works around 60 hours a week, but since she is traveling 4 days a week, there are many hours on her travel days that she is not working. For example, if she completes her work by 7 each evening and vegges in the hotel room or sees the town she's traveling in, etc- that time is not counted in her 60 hours. I think this is confirmed when she later says the the boyfriend says she DOES get down time, the time she is out of town but not working.

78

@11: She's not pathetic - the situation is. There's not 'righteous' to feel about as I've been in pathetic relationships myself.

79

@Sublime, like if I have an auntie that gives me 50 bucks a week and I take you out to dinner every time she gives it to me, that is still my own resources that I'm choosing to spend on you, regardless of the fact that my auntie gave it to me.

80

I always forget that numbered bullet points don't show up in comments. Sorry for the formatting.

81

@Savage, agreed which is why I was trying to stress their general incompatibility as well as the fact that she should take a long hard think about what sort of relationship she wants that will fit into her current lifestyle or else she's likely to have this problem again. Though also (yes the UTI thing and the daily check ins) this man also sounds controlling and selfish.

You can't have it all, and if you have an outlier lifestyle or a very demanding job plus a need for a lot of down/alone time, then you will find it a lot harder to have a traditional relationship. She will have to compromise on what she wants somewhere- she's setting herself up for failure if she doesn't face this head-on, and that is more likely to put her in a situation in which she's filtering for assholes. A healthy person who desires a traditional stable long term relationship with lots of regular personal interaction is unlikely to be happy staying with someone who wants to see them only once or twice a week. So you end up filtering them out and getting unhealthy people or else people who are staying for the wrong reasons (the vacations, etc).

The solution doesn't have to be to cut back on her work but to seek different kinds of relationships or just date casually for a while- a tall order regardless but better than being with a jerk who wants to fuck you with a UTI.

82

No, paying for a lover’s vacations is not standard practice after a relationship is but a year old.
These two are not partners.
Love how some men here just ride on over others’ statements, that no, for them it’s not standard practice in their world.
Despite the LW’s confusing ways at communicating, nothing justifies his behaviour after her UTI, and his weirdo requests for morning/ night pictures.
Right on @67, Clementine D

83

Agree Sati @72, the LW is not being honest here. If she’s not available to be with this man, except whenever, then she should not hold him to monogamy. That’s her version of being controlling in this relationship.
Sorry to hear about your mother. Good on you for stepping up.

84

76-Marquis-- You're right, and that's the point. Relationships aren't a competition to see who's right. Nor are they about seeing who deserves the most sympathy. If he'd written the letter, we would all be telling him to dump her-- BECAUSE THEY'RE NOT COMPATIBLE. That's all we need to know. It's great if each can exit a bad relationship with neither necessarily feeling like an asshole. For my part, my sympathy is with WHTGP. She does need to gain perspective. My sympathy does normally go with the letter writers because I've seen their side of things first. But where my sympathy goes doesn't matter. She still needs to get out of that relationship one way or the other.

85

@75/EmmaLiz: LW wrote the following as one her complaints:

"I also make quite a bit more than he does and I have tons of miles and hotel points that can be used for travel. We have gone on several nice vacations over the past year, largely paid for by me . . . But now he complains that I never let him choose the vacation spots, even though he agreed to go where I suggested."

LW is legitimately angry about her lover's anger about her UTI and his pressing her to engage in swinging. However, she also clearly complains about having "largely paid" for vacations. Here, I think LW is being stingy toward her partner, and should be told so. She makes more than her partner, so I believe her paying more is to be expected, not something above and beyond. Note, these vacations were "largely paid" for by her, not entirely paid for by her. So her lover did contribute something given his lesser resources.

LW also complains that her lover wants to have input into their vacations spots. I think it is also gross that she demands to choose their vacation spots, because she is paying.

I hope up to this point we agree that LW is in the wrong here with these complaints.

With respect to her "paying" for these trips. If your company is paying for your travel, the benefits earned in the form of travel miles and hotel points accrue to the company and not you. That is a matter of law. If they allow you to use those points for personal trips they are simply not enforcing their ownership rights over those points. For this reason, many large companies - like my own - have corporate travel booking websites through which business travel is organized. And unlike your auntie who give you $50 dollars, LW's company is gifting her enough miles and hotel points to purchases multiple vacations. In my mind, she really isn't "paying" for these trips to the extent she is using the miles and points paid for by her company, her company has paid for this.

My view on this is definitely colored by what I see as LW's general stinginess toward her partner and attitude that if she is using "her" points, she get to choose our destinations. In my mind, that just underscores her stinginess. LW has real reasons to dump her boyfriend, but if someone wrote in with these as their only complaints I would hope most everyone would say your partner should DTMFA you. So I think this LW needs a more generous attitude toward her partners with respect to money issues.

86

EmmaLiz @63, I think we agree and just don't know it. My point is that he seems to not understand that spending time with him and children might not always be her preference. Sure, if you date a man with kids, you should expect to spend SOME time with his kids, but he should expect you to want to spend some time without them. Because if she wanted to be around kids all the time, she'd have had them herself. That's all I was saying. I note that she never said she enjoys spending time with them. At any rate the answer is break up, this doesn't seem to be a good match lifestyle wise even if he weren't a raging asshole.
We agree re vacations and the definition of "funding someone's lifestyle," as well. If Sublime had said "contribute more to the couple's shared entertainment" then I agree 100%. As for bankrolling, is the higher paid person paying for the whole holiday or are they contributing proportionately to their incomes? If they're both paying what they can afford, then they make decisions equally. If Rich Partner is footing the whole bill then they make the decisions -- though yes, any decent partner will consider their sugar baby's preferences too. (I use the term "sugar baby" tongue in cheek, to mean the person who is being treated.)

Sublime @68: "I expect to pay significantly more for our joint social life" -- yes, that makes complete sense and was not how I had interpreted "supporting the partner's lifestyle." I read that as, he needs a haircut and his car needs servicing and he wants a night out with the lads, I pay because I earn more. Extremely different things.

Lava, perhaps your remoteness makes vacations away a bigger deal. I've generally taken vacations with partners at around six months -- but those are vacations of 3-5 days' duration. A longer trip would require a longer relationship.

87

Sublime @85, as for her using company-accrued points to take personal vacations, she has "paid" for the points in hours and stress spent travelling and working, has she not? She earned the points just as she would have earned the cash. Like you said, the issue is that he got a free vacation and acted like a brat about it. I guess we have no way of knowing what her attitude would be toward a partner who was appreciative of her generosity.

88

DTMFA

89

BDF We are slightly disagreeing. I think if you have a partner who has children, then you should expect those children to be around whenever the partner has custody of them. (What I mean is, obviously the week that they are with the other parent, you would not be around them and that is when you can do your couples-only stuff.) If the partner has the children all the time in full custody, then you shouldn't expect more than any other parent gets- the very occasional and expensive babysitter for a few hours or family member that helps out so you get a date night or whatever.

If this is a problem for you or you don't enjoy being around kids, then you shouldn't get into a relationship with a partner who has children under his care.

And I'm not trying to make a claim about what is right or what people should expect of others etc, but just basic reality- what is a parent supposed to do with their children? Hide them away?

@Sublime- I think she mentioned this because there's evidence that the man is staying in the relationship to enjoy the perks that she has (and unlike you, I think it's irrelevant how she got those perks). I also do not think that she sounded stingy at all. She literally paid for a vacation for the man and his kids without her. That is not something a stingy person does. The problem doesn't sound to me like it's that she paid for things- as I said, I agree with you that the higher earning person should pay for more things and I also agree with you that this should not put that person in a position to dictate where they go or what they do. Since she happily sends him and his children off on their own vacations, it does not sound like that's how she behaves. She is complaining about being pressured to go to a swinger vacation that she didn't want to go to, and I think considering that a) she didn't want it, b) he couldn't enter with out her, and c) he couldn't afford it without her, it's worth mentioning that she pays for everything because these are red flags that he is taking advantage of her and with her in part for the perks.

90

BDF- I think it's reasonable for a partner to tell the partner with kids- I don't have the bandwidth to deal with children this week so since you have custody of your kids this week, we can't meet up. And maybe the parent-partner can get a sitter for a couple hours, but you wouldn't be able to spend the weekend together. It's not possible. Kid aren't cats- you can't just leave them at home, and a partner with shared custody probably doesn't want to arrange for a sitter during his weekend with kids since that's the time he has them, etc.

The logistics of it lead to a basic incompatibility which is what I'm saying. There's no long term healthy future between a partner with children and a partner who does not want to be around those children- this is a casual dating situation at best.

91

BTW I know you say you are using it tongue in cheek, but sugar baby is offensive for people who are not actually in a sugar baby - sugar daddy/mama relationship. We talked about that before so I won't rehash, but part of the reason it bothers me so much is that it reinforces the toxic view that the only contributions a person makes to community and relationships are those that come with money. Which basically reduces the worth of any non-transactional contribution, reinforces the idea that having/earning more money means you are doing something with more value, etc. All of which I think are extremely wrong headed and toxic ways of looking at the world, but particularly in personal relationships.

The idea that a person who pays for a vacation is "treating" their partner destroys the idea of them being "partners" in the first place- now they are in a patron relationship, and yes this is why it seems natural for you to call them sugar babies, regardless of where you tongue is.

And proportion of income is likewise centering the income again, against any other contribution a person might make to a relationship, again focusing on the transaction and reducing the quality of anything else. This despite the obvious fact that even if the percentage is the same, it is a larger sacrifice for a poor person than it is for a rich person since the wealthier has a larger disposable income in the first place (they are pulling from savings, not the grocery/heating budget).

92

Fan: Our remoteness to what? We are close to Bali, New Zealand, Fiji, New Caledonia, Tonga, Solomon Islands etc. Sure, not just a jump on a ferry, we have Tasmania for that.
Holidays on the mainland / those in Tassie call it that, rest of us call it Australia / we have some beautiful places, esp Nth. Just watch out for the crocodiles.
What does it matter, the vacation part, SA seems obsessed with it. The conflict here is another pointer to these two needing to let this sad story end.

93

I don’t think it’s our remoteness Down Under that makes vacations away seem a bigger deal, BDF, so much as a 3 day break is a long weekend (We get quite a few of those throughout the year), a 5 day break is what everyone takes when invasion Day falls mid week (with a sickie or two to round out the week). A vacation is what we take with our 4 weeks paid annual leave. And a 3-5 day mini-break is plenty of time to visit one of our cosmopolitan cities (or Brisbane), the beach, or some of the most beautiful country on the planet. Unless you’re in Perth - that really is remote,

94

Thanks Lava and Pan for the geography lesson. Would you both agree that it seems reasonable to be taking 3-5 day mini-breaks with a partner of less than a year? I agree, I'd want to know someone much, much better before spending four weeks with them. (Which would be impossible for a self-employed person like me anyway, so I guess it's a decision I'll never have to make...)

95

@39: I used to wonder that about myself, sitting around reading letters from straight women who won't just up and leave terrible or even abusive partners long after the writing's on the wall. Then I realized that the way these LWs present themselves (see Sati @20 - boyfriend is definitely the asshole, but LW is not without her issues) mean I likely wouldn't have started dating them in the first place (though, age/life-stage aside, THIS LW's schedule would actually suit me perfectly; if you're reading, WHTGP, take heart that there are male people who will view the fact that you are looking to spend every minute - or even every free minute - together as a good thing, not a problem). Add to that the fact that people who stay in obviously terrible relationships once they're obviously terrible are not looking to date other people while staying in those relationships, and the disconnect starts to make a lot more sense.

@45: It's because men die younger on average, and not just as a function of dying a few years earlier once they hit old age, but also of more men at much younger ages dying than women. A lot of that is due to the toxic behaviors promoted by masculinity, which is just one more way that Patriarchy Hurts Men Too™.

@53: So, the sunk cost fallacy is a FALLACY - others aren't forgetting it, LW is failing to notice that she's falling for it, which is on her.

As is often the case, I agree with just about everything EmmaLiz has written here.

96

Er, that "are" in the paranthetical comment should be "aren't".

97

I would agree, and, indeed, I have, although I typically split the cost as far as possible. And, yes, a four week jaunt through South East Asia has been the doom of many a promising Aussie romance. I once ditched a guy I had had a crush on for years on the China/Laos border. Turns out that he was the opinion the speaking English slowly and loudly was an effective substitute for learning Chinese, which was especially irritating because I actually studied and can still speak Chinese. Long story short, I let him buy two tickets for the bus to Luang Prabang, then jumped on a truck with a bunch of Chinese sex workers I met eating lunch. Fun girls, once I worked out how to explain ‘gay’ in Chinese.

I’ve never really understood why American workers put up with conditions which no other industrialised country’s workforce would tolerate. However, hopefully the 24 years of presidencies from the eligible 3/4 of the Squad will put things right. I fear we will lose our benefits if Labor don’t make someone electable leader very soon (my money’s on Linda Burney).

98

PS Revised first sentence - I would agree that a long weekend away is normal in the first year of a relationship, and, indeed, I have long enjoyed the dirty long weekend as relationship milestone myself. I usually split the cost, however.

99

PPS - I would also argue, BiDanFan, that the self-employed have as much responsibility as any other employer to ensure their employee has adequate time to rest, recuperate and enjoy the finer things in life. I am actually about to embark on the adventure of self-employment myself, and I plan to be as Bolshie with my boss (me) as with any other corporate suit whose only good is productivity.