Her Hypnotist Boyfriend Can't Support Himself and She Doesn't Want to Support Him



Plain and simple...DTMFA!


First off, I agree with Dan because of so many other issues the LW brought up. This however:

"I'm concerned because I'm going to be done with my degree in two years and am then essentially guaranteed a six-figure job; I keep telling him not to count on my ability to support him"

Unless there's some factor you didn't mention you could almost certainly support him on six figures.


PLEASE dump this guy. You are so young, you have your whole life ahead of you. Don't make the same mistake a lot of us made by sticking with the wrong people in our youth. Those of us who made that mistake can't get those 'prime of life' years back, but you still have them to grab with both hands.

Spoiler alert: Situations like yours don't get better, they get worse. Get out while you still can.


LW: Such suicide threats by someone who's so depressed but won't take meds? Sorry, but he's not clinically depressed; he's just objective enough to realize that being a human larva isn't something to be joyful about. What exactly do you love about him?

Urgutha @ 2 - Maybe she just doesn't want to support him, whether she makes six figures or not, and just didn't phrase it right.

I often translate (very basic) stuff written by people in STEM jobs, like conference summaries and the like. It's generally rather obvious they didn't study English Lit (or English grammar, for that matter).


She may say she loves him, but this letter is dripping with contempt. Not sure why she thinks she needs to stay with him one more day.


@2 In the handful of cities that pay six figures, having a dependent could make things tough. Or at least tougher than the life LW imagined.

Essentially, LW is with a man that makes very bad life decisions. At 33, I doubt much will change.


@2 If he was into having and raising kids and being a househusband, I would agree that she could support him on her 6 figure salary. And in that capacity, if he wanted to pursue his interest in hypnosis as a hobby, perhaps with money that he himself earned from a part-time job, that might be fine.

That doesn't seem to be in the cards here. One reason people sometimes don't want to have kids is because they themselves are occupying that position within the family life. It would appear that this is the case with this guy.

He's had people supporting him his whole life, his family and now LW. Honestly, it's not doing him much good (and I've seen this all too often with the trust-fund kids I've known; it's the strongest argument I know of for a 100% inheritance tax).

What he needs above all, IMHO, is a swift kick in the rear end from reality. Let him have the experience of finding work, finding an apartment, paying for utilities and food and transportation. Let him discover just how challenging these things are and that the work required to obtain them should not be taken for granted.

I was fortunate enough to have that swift kick administered to me by the Army, and I'm much the better man for it. I also credit myself with being just insightful enough, at the age of 23, to recognize that I needed it. This guy may not be that insightful. So what may be called for here is a conspiracy.

LW, if you do truly love this man and want the best for him, I do agree that you should cut him loose. It's the loving thing to do. But you could, if and only if you really want to, go a step further and coordinate this with his family. Then you can all sit down and have a nice dinner with him somewhere and explain to him that the gravy train is over and he must fend for himself. If you all are feeling generous, you might help with first and last months rent and getting the utilities turned on. But it is by no means required.

Then, if you want, and only if you want, you can remain his friend, talk to him, be supportive, but absolutely no money at all for anything and no providing any other material support (like a place to stay or whatever).

Then maybe go out and find yourself a nice girlfriend who is already adulting successfully for a change.


@5 Not necessarily. She might be getting ready to work in the oil and gas industry. Six figures will take you a hell of a long way if you're living in Oklahoma City.


Good advice, of course, but in what world does a degree "guarantee" anyone anything?


There's such a simple and obvious solution here and I can't believe noone has yet suggested it... Just have him hypnotize you into thinking he's not a total and complete idiot. Problem solved!


@2- She didn't say she isn't capable of it. She said she isn't going to do it. I think her point is that she suspects he sees her future income as a solution to his financial problems, and she's trying to make clear to him that she's not going to play that role in his life.

@8 Depends in what your degree is in, but there are many specialty STEM degrees in which a qualified person is nearly guaranteed a good job, especially if their graduate work along the way set them up for it. In my own family, this tends to be people in certain engineering fields, patent law, some medical specialties, etc. It's this way with some vocational jobs too btw.

@6 The swift kick in the ass might not transform him into a person who can make money though. Loads of people do all those things (work to support themselves, pay bills etc) and struggle every day of their lives and never quite make it. I'd guess most people in fact. But regardless, this isn't her problem, it's his. If he is going to try to find someone to support him financially long term (or until he gets an inheritance or whatever), he's going to have to work on what else he can offer a relationship. As Dan said, if he had qualities that would make him a wonderful homemaker / primary caregiver while she worked and that arrangement worked out for both of them, sounds good. But that is not what's going on here.

More generally,

I fail to see why she's with him if they don't want the same things out of life and he has no future prospects of his own. Only thing I'd add to Dan's response is that if she really believes that he might kill himself, that is not her burden to bear, but she should tell someone- his parents or a trusted sibling, whoever. The fact that it's not HER burden doesn't mean it's NO ONE'S. Someone who cares for this man should be aware that he is suicidal.

She needs to rip off the band aid and get it over with now while they have no shared finances nor future nor permanently entangled personal lives. It will sting a bit, have a good cry, then move on. You have a life ahead of you.


Obviously, this guy’s hypnotic powers are not working on the letter writer.

The one thing I object to in @Dan’s response is the statement that WMBHAB has wasted 10 percent of her 20s in this relationship. Few of us find a forever partner at age 25, and many people, especially grad students, spend their 20s solo, but wishing they had a partner with whom they could share some good times and fun sex. Moreover, in one’s 20s it is not always easy to know who is a good fit and who is not.

WMBHAB has invest a year in a relationship that has brought her some love and clarified some things about what she wants in life and out of a relationship. That is not time wasted.


In my experience, the only thing that makes these man-children grow up is knowing that they have to get a job or get out. My husband wouldn't get a job at 23, and I told him he had a month to get one or we were breaking up. He was employed thereon. If she enjoys his company, great, but she should not ever let him move in or borrow money from her. This relationship will never be enough for her and she wants permission to dump someone who has manipulated and lied to her.

A friend from college had been mostly single for the six years I knew her. She met a marginally employed musician who was allegedly engaged to someone on the opposite coast. The minute he found out that she was going to graduate medical school debt free, he moved in with her, and has been marginally employed since. I ran into them both a few years ago. He looks great, well-rested and fit, not a damn worry. She looks like she needs a long vacation, and looks at him with such contempt, it was shocking. I think her fear of being alone and never having children led her to stay with him, which is a shame.


The LW should read up on covert narcissism, and see how much of it resonates with regards to her boyfriend. I have to wonder what is meant when she says he "tries" to be a good partner. A year is more than enough time to figure it out, and it's not like he's working f/t or doing anything else of substance to distract him from being the best partner he can be. I'm guessing that he is selfish in several ways and relies on the LW's good nature to get away with it. And when she does try to set boundaries, he ignores them- because he knows that if she tries to assert them, he can start talking about how depressed he as, even inferring it would be on her if he ended his life, and she backs right off. If you think it will be hard now, try to imagine how difficult it will be once his parents cut him off, and/or you're finally making those 6 figures. He saw you (and your future salary) as an opportunity to continue this zero responsibility lifestyle of his, which is why he lied to lure you in to begin with. LW, I am begging you... dump- and I cannot stress this enough- this MF already. You deserve so much out of life, and he is incapable of delivering any of it.


Obviously hypnotism is legit and works on you, because otherwise why would you still be with this twit?


Any man who must be financially supported by the woman is not worth having.
Full Stop.

(admittedly, the pickings are thin for the rising generation of females.
Luckily Dildos are cheap.)


LW's BF "taking weekend classes with charlatans that claim hypnosis can do anything from getting women to have sex with them to curing cancer."

100% of the people I know who are into hypnotism - myself included - are into it for sex. It can't get unwilling people to sleep with you (or cure cancer), but it can be a whole lot of fun.

That said, it doesn't sound like LW is enjoying hypnotic sexy times, or that her boyfriend has a snowball's chance of making a career of it. He sounds delusional. That's not likely to improve.


@2 I make six figures in a STEM field, and my town is only somewhat stupidly expensive to live in. I still would live a modest lifestyle if my wife did not also have a job. The extra money brings a small buffer of safety against economic shocks and the ability to enjoy some luxuries, but it hardly luxurious enough that I would enjoy being leached off of by a lying, unsuccessful con-man.



Has never been employed and lives off his parents' handouts while giving his money to scammers to teach him how to scam? Lies about it? Takes himself hostage when LW considers breaking up? Incompatible long-term relationship goals?
Do not waste another precious minute of your life enabling that wretched waste of oxygen. And consider re-evaluating your taste in men to see how the fuck you ended up gravitating towards that parasite.


Mr Savage is essentially correct; land this one safely now before it crashes.


I ended the deepest most meaningful relationship I ever had because I knew my girlfriend was a financial sinking ship and I've worked hard to escape poverty myself and didn't want to go back. If you don't have the stomach for it, don't stay in it. Love isn't magical. There is no Perfect Soul Mate. You're more than young enough to recover.


RUN. And console yourself with this: he absolutely 100% will not kill himself (that's just manipulative bullshit he uses to keep you hooked in) and, once he realizes your gravy train is coming to an end, he will very quickly find another woman to fall for his garbage hook, line and sinker - until she, too, figures it out and the process repeats again, ad nauseum. Your life will be so much better without this human leech.


This letter is boring. Break up with your boyfriend 'cuz I'm bored.


Ah, ok, yeah worded oddly. You guys are probably right, she's saying she just doesn't want to support him.

Meh, ok. Nothing wrong with that but then she should just say it. "I could support him but I don't want to."


LW - I dated someone for YEARS who was a similar flavor of "not failure, but refusal to launch". Here's what I know: Dump him ASAP and examine this as an important learning experience, before you get any further wrapped up in the sinkhole. If you feel bad because he's otherwise a good person, that's lovely, but you are ALLOWED to have more standards to meet than that. It's okay to only want to date people who don't refuse to seek gainful employment.
And! You can't save him from himself, whether he is actually suicidal or not. Give his family a heads up, if you can. If they are financially supporting him, hopefully they can also be there for him when you break up with him.
Because you need to, for your own sake. LW I see wayyy too much of the mistakes I made in here and I am emphatically telling you to DTMFA. Please.
Find someone who sees you for you and not what he seems to - a ticket to continue his lifestyle if/when his parents stop supporting him financially.


Dump him today.

If he were 23 and still trying to get his life together, I could understand it. We don't all have our shit together at 23. But at 33?? Never held a real job? Is learning how to be a hypnoscammer? Still leaching off his parents? No, gurl. If this guy is this much of a hot mess at 33, it will only get worse from here.

And threatening to commit suicide if you don't provide for him is a giant, screaming red flag. You are not responsible for his crazy-ass passive aggressive, emotional hostage taking behavior. DTMFA, and hand him a card with the suicide prevention hotline number.


If you have a partner that feels suicidal you have two choices; let them call the suicide hotline or let them go. I'm sure people will tell me I am wrong; but I have been held hostage by people who said they would kill themselves if I left them. I never got that 3 years back of my life and I never will.

So as much as it chokes you up and it will; you just have to open the door and tell them go. It's not the answer they want; it was/is the answer for me. Because once you find someone willing to do this; you will find others. I'm sorry it's like they tag you with invisible paint only their kind can see; get used to it and learn how to cope with this toxic behavior.

.... in their 30's... I know people doing this in their late 50's ... It doesn't ever change.and t hey are always depressed but are they even getting help for that? ... generally no they are not


GET OUT!!!!!!


Imagine a future where you get him to agree to marriage & kids in exchange for not having to get a job. Do you want your kids raised by a reluctant parent? Someone who does the bare minimum, if that? Do you want to come home to an evening of cleaning, cooking, laundry because this dude just can't abide tedious, mundane work? Or because he spends time, energy, and money chasing some bullshit snake oil scheme? Someone who uses depression and threats of suicide as a get-out-of-jail-free card when you try to get him to shoulder some responsibility?

How long before the loving part of your relationship dissolves in the resentment you'll both harbor because you're forced into a life neither of you wanted? That can't be the future you want for yourself, him or your future children.


LW, you want a husband and kids. If you marry this man, you will have a husband, but he won’t be a partner. He will at best be a head-in-the-clouds teenager and at worst will be a sullen emotional toddler.

Do you value your life, your happiness, and your time so little that you would enter a legal contract with a person who will not act like an adult? Do you value the emotional well-being and sense of security of any future kids so little that you would hitch your wagon to this man when you know damn well that (a) he doesn’t want kids and (b) he isn’t responsible enough to be an independent adult which is not a good sign for a responsible co-parent?

Dump him. You already know that’s the right answer to your question, which is actually “how do I dump this man without hurting his feelings?” You can’t control his emotions, so you just...dump him as kindly as you can. Then block his phone number and email, go stay with a friend for a week, eat ice cream, drink two-bunch chuck, and cry for a while. You will probably realize after not actually all that long how relieved you are.


LW, you are a high achiever.. hoping to be making good money. And this man in his thirties is not going anywhere with supporting himself. Pull the plug for his sake as much as yours. He needs to grow the hell up, and he’s not going to do it while you indulge him.
Yes tell him how you feel, about his bull story, or face more tears of having to lie to him. Fess up then break up.


Years I meant, though tears fit too.


Jeez, "I keep telling him not to count on my ability to support him" can perfectly well mean "the ability to support him, I will have it, and I'm telling him not to count on it", so no nitpicking.


If this guy is white, then when he says he’s going to kill himself you can call 911. If he’s suicidal, he needs urgent intervention.

Not your problem.


LW, please end this. I was in a very similar situation at exactly the same respective ages. It’s now been a handful of years and, I believe he’s doing ok financially, but I don’t think his career ambition has improved. The depression definitely hasn’t and that refusal to deal, combined with his insecurities, made life hell for a while. Before he makes you feel bad about your own success or tied to his emotional well-being (which will only get better if/when he does something about it), get out. Maybe he gets his shit together eventually, but don’t count on it and don’t wait for it. Please.


Who else was shouting "DTMFA!" halfway through the first paragraph? He sounds abysmal. Dump him and don't look back.


You should stay with him. Your love will fix him, you just need to give it more time.


LW is worried that taking a stand might make her a bitch. No. It doesn't, and the fact that she's concerned about this makes me wonder where that message might be coming from. If the BF is communicating that, then that's a deal-breaker. A partner who makes you feel bad for taking care of yourself isn't a partner you want. If that thinking is coming from family, social or other sources, then recognize it for what it is. It's bullshit. Reject that kind of thinking. Acting in your own best interests is mature, healthy behavior.


I've been in LW's shoes, kinda. He did work, but he kept spending money that he thought he ought to be making, rather than what he actually was making. Sufficient to say, that's eight years of my twenties I won't be getting back. Don't make my mistake.


Urgutha @2: Yes, she COULD support him. She just doesn't want to, which is entirely reasonable. He doesn't want to be a house husband and stay-at-home dad, which might be acceptable for her. He just wants to be a mooch. DTMFA.

Ricardo @3b: Yes; "I'll kill myself if you leave me" is the oldest emotional blackmail move in the book. Call his bluff. I'll bet your first year's salary he won't kill himself, because his previous sugar mommies all dumped him and here he still is, right? If you are concerned, talk to his parents, inform them of your plans and devise an exit strategy together. They are complicit by allowing this Peter Pan to never have to fend for himself. Ha, perhaps he could get a job camming?

You @15, I think we can have this discussion without bringing toxic masculinity into it. House husbands and SAHDs are a thing, and deserve respect. 33-year-olds of any gender who have no intention of doing anything with their lives, including raising a family, and live off the largesse of others do not.

Mirea @28, good point. WMBHAJ, if you make this about wanting to get married and have kids, he may agree to it just to keep you. Don't fall for it. You will end up with a husband who does nothing while you work, clean the house AND take care of the kids. And whom you rarely have sex with, due to both being exhausted and having zero respect for a man who's essentially just an extra child to take care of, and who cheats on you due to the lack of sex. The writing is on the wall. Get out now.

Mtn @32, exactly. If only one person didn't understand the sentence, it wasn't phrased badly.

Very @37, yup. Another example of women putting up with shit because we don't want to be the bad guy. Bitch up, WMBHAJ - you'll be glad you did.


"I'm a 26-year-old bisexual woman living in CA…we've been dating for a year. He hasn't made a cent during that whole time…he doesn't have access to therapy with his terrible health insurance…his parents will [likely]stop supporting him…within the year"

If he's not already eligible for better health insurance (depending on how much financial support he's getting from his parents) it sounds like he soon will be. Medi-Cal provides a range of mental health benefits, and it's free.


I don't believe her bf will kill himself if she leaves him. (I believe he'll find someone else). Why does she believe this? Is he a better hypnotist than she thinks?


@3. Ricardo. 'Ability' can mean 'psychological' or 'moral' ability. She said it fine.

@12. Detkar. As for her wanting permission, I didn't have the sense she was writing in soliciting the advice DTMFA'! From her tone and fear she's being a bitch, I felt she'd be happier with the advice eg, 'be open with your bf about how you see his proposed employment, see if he's negotiable on kids, set a hard limit on how much you'll fund him, remember what's great about the two of you together, etc.'. In other words, imo the situation is much worse for her than she imagines--and this needs to sink in.

I thoroughly agree with the advice Dan (and, do far, everyone else) gives.

@26. dumnogenus. That is powerful personal testimony.

@35. Roseanne. I was not shouting DTMFA when she was making advanced degrees the criterion of the soundness of sciences. (I have an advanced degree in social science and view a fair deal of it as either quackery or stating the obvious). I WAS shouting DTMFA when he geld her hostage with suicide threats.


Lose this dickhead now. Staying with him will only bring you years of misery in the future. It's obvious you already depise him. Why wait for it to get worse, when you could instead meet a smart young go-getter like yourself that also wants kids and marriage? It ain't going to happen while Mr Wrong is standing in the way.


"My much older boyfriend is a manipulative deadbeat - what do I doooo?"

Geez, did I end up in r/relationships by mistake or something?


Also you say he tries to be a good partner, but clearly he is failing to be a good partner for you. Trying is different from succeeding.


I reread the part of the letter about, “it’s on me to provide for him on the peanuts I make as a grad student or he will be homeless and kill himself!” part.

This is what a lifetime of women being socialized to fix (or make heroic efforts to fix) broken men looks like. If you JUST love him enough, you can make him better! If you wouldn’t be so selfish (as to want financial stability and a partner who is a functional adult), you can fix this broken soul!!!

In real life, it CAN happen, but then again you CAN walk from Montreal to Toronto and you CAN have a pet elephant. What’s way more likely is that you wind up exhausted, bitter, and in a lot of pain yourself and you still dump the dude anyway. Worst case scenario is the “I can help this dude” turns into a domestic abuse situation which turns fatal. (If only she’d loved him enough, he wouldn’t have hit her!). It’s an extension of the just-world fallacy: if you do everything right, nothing bad will happen! Doesn’t matter here, because SHE cannot control HIS behavior.

Not only does LW need to dump him, she needs to dump him and cut off all contact. Like, get a new phone number cut off contact and consider moving at the end of the lease cut off contact. This dude isn’t going to give up his sugar mommie without a struggle, and it’s a lot easier to maintain “no” when he can’t wiggle his way to a “yes” easily.

Without going into too many details for privacy, a friend had a man like this in her life. She ended up doing months of legwork to get the dude out and another friend literally drove dude to another state and dropped him off at a family member’s doorstep. It had gotten stressful enough that she wasn’t sleeping because she DID love dude, but she wasn’t going to be his caretaker when she had other stuff in her life that needed her time and attention...like things that gave her joy.

So, yeah. Marie Kondo his sorry ass and get on with your life.




I know a guy who is the captain of a U.S. Navy research vessel who is also a street hypnotist and DJ in his not-so-copious spare time. Many people have hobbies or interests that they are able to turn into lucrative side-gigs. There is no reason why your boyfriend couldn't balance his interest in amateur hypnotism with a 9-to-5 job, if he were so inclined. Also, if he's so eager to explain your field to you, maybe he could be a freelance pop science writer -- not exactly a lucrative full-time gig, but if he could manage to sell a few articles a month, it might cover the electric bill. He still needs to get a job, though. It doesn't seem that this is likely to happen as long as he can depend on the financial resources of others, though. DTMFA and let him figure it out for himself.


@33 What if he’s Asian?


@49 He’d have a job.


Such wonderful advice to this endearing letter writer that I only have a tangent to add.

After implementing all the great advice, I think it could also help WMBHAB herself to think about and try to address why she had to ask. Sometimes people who could benefit from healthier self-esteem, and who fear being alone, pick people with big issues to not have to worry such a person will leave. WMBHAB, I absolutely don't mean to insult you with this, it's probably true of the majority of people, but it's also very possible to overcome, and is a specialty of some therapists.


It creates such sadness in me that SO many women deal with situations like this.

Men, for the most part, suck. I should know, I am one.




Alison Cummins @33 "If this guy is white, then when he says he’s going to kill himself you can call 911."

If this guy is white? I don't get this.


@52 there's massively more men in this situation - until very recently, it was the model of relationships. It wasn't until very recently that women having to work at all was indicative of partner's failure to be a proper man and provide.


Beyond the actual letter which should otherwise have led the LW to the DTMFA conclusion if her best friend had written it asking for her advice, there are some fascinating things along the way.

First, she says she's in too deep to give up on him. So, if she were drowning, she should just continue to sink instead of trying to save herself? She already knows that a primary reason for his fake hypnotherapy "business" is so PUA wannabes can get women to sleep with them … and that's apparently okay with her? In a post Weinstein era? That is disturbing.

We already know he has no moral compass, believes his unqualified "advice" is worth $300/hour? She can't get him to stop mansplainin' HER field? On top of it all, she's accepting the emotional baggage of his suicide threats?

It's a wonder she has any energy to study and keep focused on her projects. She already feels that a woman in STEM must bend over backward so not to be perceived a bitch or think she's a failure because she couldn't fix him. But she's not a doctor and not HIS doctor.

She should accept their most basic incompatibility re marriage and children and move on. I wouldn't entrust the care of a goldfish to him, let alone children!

I also agree with contacting the parents to work out her exit strategy.


@LW - +1 to dump ASAP. Steel yourself, get some friend resources together, do the deed, wallow a bit if necessary, then feel incredibly relieved his problems aren't your problems anymore.

@54 Registered European: it can be considered a little bits russian roulette to call emergency services to help a black person in the US. Google black lives matter for examples of the kind of ways things can go badly. These problems can extend to other persons of color as well. Here's a short youtube I found illuminating from 2017 ('Black Parents Explain how to deal with the police'): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=coryt8IZ-DE


RE @ 54 - I think the idea was that if he's white, he won't get an "assisted suicide" from the police, which might happen if he's brown or black.


I don't see "should I dump him". That's obvious (yes). I see "how should I dump him?" "What steps do I take?" And to a lesser degree, I see "can I do it without feeling bad?" (Not necessarily, but the feel-bads are temporary, and once they're done, the I'm-not-being-manipulated-by-a-master-manipulator-anymores take over, and boy do they feel good.

Do some homework. Don't tell him you're doing this. Find out about emergency mental health care in your community. Find out about homeless shelters. Have you ducks in a row.
When he's out of the house, box up his stuff.
When he comes home, tell him calmly that you're breaking up with him and that he's moving out.
Hand him his stuff.
Call whatever emergency services are necessary when he threatens or tries suicide.
Call his parents to let them know what you've just done.
Call a girlfriend to come over for Ben & Jerry's.
Go to the local shelter and get a dog. Dogs are good.


Luluisme @57 and Ricardo @58: Thanks for the explanation.


Harriet @ 42 - You seem to be confusing psychological/moral ability with willingness, which has to do with desire, not capacity.


LW - Listen to what Dan & most everyone else is saying - this relationship will increasingly sicken and will end regardless & that you are much better off ripping off the bandaid now rather than get mired in increasing misery, building pain and resentment until it inevitably ends.

My daughter is about the same age as you & a couple months past breaking up with someone she loved who would not/could not support themselves - and seemed to not have any intention to do so - and as well used their anxieties as a manipulative tool to get their way & shut down any other conversation they did not like. She loved this person and tried hard to not make that person feel inadequate - in comparison to her intelligence, competency, drive etc.

She got to the point you are now and - regretfully - broke up with that person. She was very sad for a short while. But guess what? Clarity. The sadness worked its way away sooner than she anticipated - and as her emotional self drifted from "couple space" to singlehood, she realized that she was way unhappier in that relationship than she thought and is ever more relieved she made the break. Think of the boiling frog analogy - she didn't realize she was becoming frog soup until she got out of that pot of water gradually getting warmer.

You may hurt from the break but don't be afraid of pain. It can be a learning experience. You - and your (hopefully soon to be) ex will BOTH hurt MUCH MUCH LESS if you break now rather than at a bitter end. And, yes, see if you can involve the parents in this break. Perhaps that can give them the leverage for a meaningful intervention for him once you've escaped.


DTMFA: Dump The Mansplaining Freeloader Already

Seriously, sometimes a person just needs to write this stuff out to make sense of it. He may not be a successful hypnotist, but he at least has The Charm, or he wouldn't have kept her around for a year successfully, would he?


From a fellow STEM nerd: maybe read up on neurotransmitters... of course you love the guy, you've been making oxytocin with him for a year, and there's nothing wrong with that, but our biology can get the better of us and lock us in with people we know aren't good for us.
Check out Coming Apart Daphne Rose Kingma. It's not about brain science, but it's a short, easy read on letting go when it's time and it lays out an interesting case for why we get into the wrong relationships (TLDR: we need to learn something).
The sad truth is it's normal to love someone you need to leave.


Jinxie makes a good point.
WMBHAJ, would it be easier to dump this mf if you were convinced that you were doing it for HIS benefit? Because it is for his benefit. Imagine your boyfriend a year after you've broken up with him. You've thrown him out which gave him the wake-up call he needed. He felt awful for a while, really felt suicidal, but that made him get some therapy. With the therapist's help, he realized that he needed a steady job and got one. He was angry with you, got over it, found a girlfriend he's much more compatible with, and now realizes that you and his parents' kicking him out and forcing him to grow up is the best thing that ever happened to him.


@62. Ricardo. I'll go with ciods's reading then: 'I will be able, practically, to look after him, but he shouldn't count on it'.

And what about an expression like 'I don't have the ability to deal'? Is the ability a matter of capacity or of will?


Fichu @59, her questions are: "Am I being a bitch for judging him about his work situation? We're not married and I don't rely on him for money, so it's not really any of my business; do I just try to ignore it until he does ask me for help? Or should I be blunt with him and give him some tough love about how I think he needs to find another career?" None of this implies that she is even thinking about dumping him. She is asking for a magic wand to make him behave like an adult. WMBHAJ, this is who your boyfriend is. One great thing about graduating one's 20s is learning that when you date someone, who they are is who they are, they're not going to change, what you see is what you get. WMBHAJ, you need to learn this lesson before this man bleeds you dry.


I don't understand why people are confused by the "he shouldn't count on my supporting him" sentence. She's telling him, "my income will be my income, not your income." Good for her but her suspicions that the message isn't getting through seem founded. It's only been a year; get out now while you can see clearly but before you feel trapped by the sunk costs of this loser. (Yes, people can start over in new careers in their 30s, 40s and beyond!)


Harriet @ 67 - Her sentence was "I'm concerned because I'm going to be done with my degree in two years and am then essentially guaranteed a six-figure job; I keep telling him not to count on my ability to support him, but I don't know if it's sinking in."

To paraphrase the last section: "I will have the financial capacity to support him, but I have zero willingness to do so, and I've said that over and over again, but I doubt he's taking me seriously."

Nothing in that concerns "psychological/moral" ability. Which does exist, quite clearly, as your sentence @ 67 demonstrates. It just has nothing to do with HER sentence.

As (nearly) always, you're extrapolating quite a bit.


"Too long a parasite and you cannot exist without a host" God Emperor of Dune, Frank Herbert
DTMFA, don't willingly be his next host.


It's amazing how many people put up with losers. I hope I've raised my kids to spot these types and get away quickly.


Wow this letter really resonated with me. My BF has a similarly zany plan to work someday which I doubt will work out due to the very high fees he plans to charge and other self-imposed barriers to getting started. Meanwhile I am employed (nowhere close to earning 6 figures though) at a job I love and carr about. My BF constantly complains about my work and gives his opinions on everything from my schedule to the mission of my work. Yet i feel i cannot share my own perspective on his situation at all for fear of triggering him to get angry. I am also the LW of the GH letter a few weeks ago. I think my BF may have BPD or another personality disorder, yet doesnt want to seek help or use medication- this is a major res flag to me that also stuck out from this letter. I think if the BF here was more willing to get mental health services, even just medication or reduced cost group therapy or find a sliding scale therapist, the LW might feel more comfortable sticking it out and waiting to see what happens. I know for me, i would be happy to support my BF to get therapy and then make a decision about whether its worth it to stay long term. Maybe the LW here can make this offer as a compromise if her BF’s primary excuse dor not getting treatment is the cost.


Remarkable-snow @72 - my heart hurts for both you and LW.
LW -- the next time he talks about suicide, call emergency services and report that he's talking about it. In my area, they have to take you for 48 hours of observation. Either he'll get help that he needs, OR he won't do it again.


BiDan-68-- Is she being a bitch for judging him about his work situation?
No, or if she is being a bitch, embrace bitchdom. Call it from the mountaintops: I AM A BITCH!
Do I ignore it until he does ask for help? No. He's made it obvious that that's what he intends to do, so be pro-active.

Here's what I think is the interesting question. It's the one about tough love. When I first started hearing about "tough love," it was about actions. Tough love meant kicking an adult free-loading child out to make his or her own way in the world, or it meant letting a drug dependent child suffer the consequences of his or her own actions and stepping away from enabling. It meant no longer talking calmly about what you thought the child should do and instead taking action. The way WMBHAJ seems to be using the term, she's asking permission even to bluntly tell him he needs to get a job. It's like it isn't even alright to tell someone what you think and it's tough love to yell at them. I don't get it. That's not what tough love means.


Remarkable @72, if you're still here, would you mind linking us to the letter in question?
Getting therapy as a condition of staying with this guy sounds a good compromise, but to me, constantly criticising my job while not having one of his own would be more than a red flag, it would be a DTMFA. Sorry, but from here I think you and WMBHAJ would both be better off single.


Graduating to a six-figure job in a STEM field? She must be a fucking engineer. (Sounds like my brother.) Or maybe she's in computer science. Or a geologist going to work for an oil company. Good for her, but I'm really fucking jealous. I wish marine biology or science writing paid even half as much right out of grad school!!


I guess I could always go to work for an oil company. But they don't pay biologists as much as geologists anyway.


Ricardo @3 The paucity of writing skills among scientists is well-established. It's part of the reason good science writers and communicators are so needed and important -- if we left it up to the scientists to try to translate the science for the general public, no one without a STEM degree would ever understand anything.

I am very confident in my writing and editing abilities (I'm not just being arrogant -- everyone in my life has always said I'm a good writer, including teachers of various subjects, I won awards in high school, and most people who knew me when I was younger are surprised I'm not a creative writing or English major), and I know this is unusual among my fellow biology and environmental science majors because I have worked on enough group projects and edited enough of other people's papers to have a fair enough sample size. Schools often try to incorporate writing skills for science majors, but, at least at my school, I've found they fall far short of actually accomplishing anything.

Many journal articles are heavily edited for grammar, phrasing, etc., but most I've read still come across as poorly written. Technical language can still be well-written if you know what you're doing -- even scientific papers can have a level of elegance if they're done right. I've seen it done, and I like to think I've done it myself in my reports and class papers. Sometimes I wonder if there's a job out there for a science-literate editor of journal articles. I think I'd be good at it, though I might miss writing things myself.


On the topic of the letter -- a wannabe-hypnotist trying to explain anything about a STEM field based on "intuition" to a graduate student in that field is an absolute joke and not something that should be tolerated. Dump him, but first tell him to cut that out.


Okay -- about the mental health angle here...

I'm torn when I hear people talking about suicide called manipulative. Suicidality is so complex and difficult a subject to effectively communicate, and I'm sometimes afraid that my past self talking about my suicidal ideation could have been manipulative of my parents without my realizing it. My fear of this was actually the main reason I kept the full extent of my suicidal thoughts and self-harm behaviors hidden from them until well after both things stopped being an issue. This lead to me not being hospitalized during periods of time when I really should have checked myself into the hospital (due to constant self-harm and suicidal ideation). Though I'm actually quite glad I was never committed, because it can be quite traumatizing, as I've learned through my brother's recent experience (he got out on Tuesday, by the way), I am frightened by the memory of how intense and constant those thoughts were and what could have happened. There were time when the only reason I didn't attempt suicide was because I knew it would destroy my parents.

So I do worry that an assumption that people who talk about their suicidality are "threatening suicide" and being manipulative could prevent people from being honest about their problems and asking for help out of the fear of being seen as manipulative. But I also understand that such manipulative behavior is also quite common, and that a situation like this letter is probably an example of it. I'm not saying that everyone who says they're going to kill themselves really means it, because of course many people don't, or that anyone should stay with a partner just because they say they'd harm themselves if the other person leaves. This LW definitely needs to dump this motherfucker already, because all his other behavior indicates that he is using "threats" of suicide to keep her in his gravity well. One of my main questions is, instead of spending thousands of his parents' dollars on wannabe hypnotist lessons, why not spend that money on therapy? The answer is most likely because he doesn't think there's anything to fix and his mental health issues aren't as real as he makes them out to be. But perhaps it's a suggestion that could be made to him. And just in case he means it, someone should tell him you don't have to be on the edge of a cliff or holding a knife to your veins to call a suicide prevention hotline. I called one once just to talk because I had a strong urge to self-harm (my brother was being emotionally abusive at a time when I felt vulnerable) and my therapist was on vacation or something. Their main priority is making sure you're safe, but it can be helpful to have a third party to talk to.

I just worry that the idea of "threats of suicide" could be overgeneralized. It's difficult enough to be honest about mental illness with your loved ones without the worry that you're secretly being manipulative. But then, there are also the people who use this as a mask to continue being manipulative assholes. So I don't know. I don't have an answer. I'd just like to caution everyone to try to view these situations complexly and not make "threats of suicide" their first assumption. There is room for both subtlety and assholes in this world.


@78 Calli
Great opportunities await you. I wasn't the very best at the technical career I had, and I'm not the best communicator, but I was as good at anyone at both. Which positioned me to provide great value.

In my case, I designed and implemented IT systems. Which started with talking to normal people to determine their needs, then turned to interacting with other technical people to implement those needs. It was a lot like talking two different languages and very different kinds of thinking. (Which is odd since I don't mind learning other languages easy.)


find, not mind


Calliope, you are an excellent writer!

And you make a good point about suicide threats. This is a fairly easy example of a threat that is almost definitely manipulative in nature. Not all situations are so clear cut.



L is for "loser" because I don't really feel like he's a motherfucker, despite his dishonesty and annoying habit of offering his intuition in a field he knows nothing about.


Calliope Muse,

Engineers and petroleum geologists make more money than marine biologists because marine biology is so much more fun that there are many people willing to do it cheap for every job. I get the regular bioGraphic newsletters with interesting stories and awesome photos.

On a related front, I'd much rather be a mediocre carpenter or a small-scale farmer than a good but disinterested attorney, but only the attorney gig pays the mortgage. We all make compromises. I'm sure you'll make the ones that are right for you.