Life Advice



Single File: You Ask, You Pay

Susan Dietz on

DEAR SUSAN: Just as men had to be dragged into helping women with housework, so, too, do most women have to be dragged into sharing dating expenses -- even if they are the ones who asked for a date! To me, that's another form of denial -- denial of equal social responsibility. (This has been a sticking point of mine for years.) The women who claim to be independent are the last to open their purses for a man. Isn't that hypocritical?! I think the expenses of dating, from the very first one, should be shared. Not necessarily 50-50 sharing, because most men earn more than most women. The trouble is many women still measure a man's commitment by the amount of money he spends on them. They still haven't realized a man's commitment comes from the heart, not the wallet. (Thanks, Susan, for being so evenhanded in relationship issues.) -- From the 'Single File' Blog

DEAR BLOGGER: When you're right, you're right; your gender has nothing to do with it. And this issue is so blatantly lopsided it makes me more than a bit ashamed of womanhood. Especially the under-30 crowd, which purports to be scrupulously fair in dating situations! (ahem) Hey, young'uns, where are you when the end of the evening rolls around with a bill to be paid? (In some instances, you're earning more than the man by your side.) But even if not, you could still open your purse and quietly ask if you can make a contribution to the evening's expenses. That small gesture can make a huge impression, marking you as a giver and a friend. Suddenly you may appear different to him -- mature, generous, fair. If that isn't what he's looking for, he's got a real problem and you're well-off without him! I dare you, under-30 lassies, to try this end-of-the-evening experiment on your next date. But don't limit the concept to dating; be part of whatever you do with him. It's more attitude than expense; show him a woman as friend. And remember -- you heard it here first.

DEAR SUSAN: I've read and enjoyed 'Single File' for many years and have never felt as strongly about a problem as I do now, seeking your advice. I met a man nine years ago through my work. He was married, I was single, and we became friends. Over a period of several years, we grew closer, going to lunch, phoning each other, and so on. I met his wife several times at dinners and functions. Then he began making sexual advances and flirting with me. I enjoyed the flirting and attention and saw it as harmless. I didn't welcome the advances and told him so. But after several years I grew fond of him, and we became intimate. (Still, I wasn't thinking of long-term because he was married.) The affair lasted several years, with me calling it off -- and on -- many times. Two years ago we grew much closer, phoning and meeting daily. He said he wasn't happy in his marriage; he soon moved in with me. But it was off-again, on-again, as he still had feelings for his wife. He moved out, in, out several times. He came back and said he was filing for divorce. But I learned he was contacting his wife, wanting to be part of her life also. He is helpful, generous and kind; he is also jealous, manipulative and hasn't been very friendly toward my teenage son. But knowing underneath that he is lying makes me not want to be with him. I love him very much but tell myself he isn't healthy for me. I need help breaking the cycle of letting him back into my life. Help! -- From the 'Single File' Blog

DEAR BLOGGER: Your instincts are spot on. This fellow will never be anything you want him to be, and deep in your heart you know that. He is a cad, and no good for you or your son. (Can you imagine how torn your son must be, wanting a father and a husband for you, but knowing this is not the right one? I hope you talk this through with him, assuring him of his mother's love.) There is no better litmus test than this fellow's relationship with your son. You had best cut off this cancerous relationship; it erodes your self-esteem and your home life. And you are wasting time, letting him go and then letting him back into your life. I suggest you take your son for a trip (to Yellowstone?) and strengthen that relationship. Away in a new setting, you can perhaps think more clearly. But you know the score, you just need a little more strength to end this misery. When you feel weak, write again. I'm here to bolster you and your son.



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