So I’ve been dating my girlfriend for a little over two years, and we’re happy together. But, I’m worried about 1 thing, $$. I make 3xs more than her. I relocated to the Midwest to be with her, and, let’s just say, the economic crisis here hit much earlier than 2008. Everyone’s poor and there’s a culture of poverty and trying to get “theirs.” The problem is, a lot of the women look at how much a prospect boyfriend is making before falling for him.
My girlfriend always jokes about this. For example, last week, her friend who was feeling a little lukewarm about a guy she’s dating, fell head over heels when she found out he earns a good salary. My girlfriend said that is how it SHOULD be, “Oh that’s right! Right on girl! There’s nothing wrong with starting to like a guy more because of his salary.” I was so blown. With me, she’s never asked for anything, always looks to save a dime whenever possible, and I know she usually dated some regular joe’s (delivery boys), but she always jokes about a man’s salary. She says that’s not what she meant exactly, but…that’s why I don’t be trying to give her anything. She says she likes a man that works, and she’s been working since she was 14, can’t imagine getting with somebody that doesn’t work, and from her track record she IS a hard worker, but hearing things like that just turns me off. Could it be that I’m just her cash cow?!
-Moo Psi Moo
Well First of all MPM, you get big points for the Hits from the Street reference (“MOO PSI!! MILK IT MILK IT!!”). As far as your girlfriend’s jokes go, I make those same types of jokes myself and I’m the total opposite of a golddigger, so my first instinct was to say don’t take them too seriously. But as my Father always says, alot of truth is said in jest, and I can definitely tell you this much: most women* want their man/partner/boyfriend
/husband to prove he can serve a provider/protector role before getting serious with him, and that includes financially. Is this a role that you feel uncomfortable fulfilling, or don’t feel should be expected of you by your girlfriend? If so, you may need to stop wasting your time worrying about her jokes and find a woman whose relationship expectations are more in line with your own (In other words, I-N-D-E-P-E-N-D-E-N-T, do you know what that means?**).
Much more troubling to me than the golddigging jokes is the fact that you’ve been in a relationship for two years and don’t know how your girlfriend feels about money, and specifically your money. After more than two years of going out on dates, possibly paying for her, hearing her comments, and observing how she accepts gifts and money from you, you STILL don’t know whether a thoughtless joke from her is indicative of her true feelings about men and money? You say she’s a hard worker and always keeps a job, but you’d let an offhand comment negate everything you’ve observed in the past two years? Either you two need to have a frank and LONG-overdue talk about your financial expectations of each other, or these jokes just confirm something that you already know: your girlfriend’s a golddigger.
*There are exceptions to every rule, of course.
**I’m letting this song ride while I write, which may affect my judgment. You’ve all been warned.
If you are in a serious relationship/married/engaged, is it okay to accept a drink @ the club/lounge from a stranger?
In my opinion, LL, there is no perfect answer to this question -there is only you and your partner/husband/wife/fiancée’s expectations, and what you both feel comfortable with. And if you’re simply seeking a general consensus, you’re still out of luck. In my experience, there’s an exact 50/50 split of opinions. Some people love for their partners to be bought drinks; it’s another stroke to both partners’ egos (“I still got it!” or “My woman/man still got it!”) and less money coming out of their collective pocket. Others find it disrespectful and perhaps a sign that their partner is being overly flirtatious when they’re out at the lounge/bar. Still others have a “don’t ask don’t tell” policy where what one partner does while out partying is none of his/her partner’s business, and vice versa, as long as they stay within certain boundaries set by the couple. I’m sure the possibilities are endless.
All this to say, bottom line, there’s no right or wrong here LL, only what’s right for you two as a couple. You shouldn’t guess or have to guess whether your partner/husband/wife/fiancée would approve. I suspect you may have written me because you ARE accepting drinks at the bar, either without your partner’s knowledge or with his/her knowledge and disapproval, and you want me to settle the score once and for all. I’d hate to leave you feeling dissatisfied, so if you’d rather abide by my rule than your boo’s, here it is: Non-alcoholic drinks can be purchased for you by anyone (don’t ever leave them unattended or accept them without having seen them poured); Alcoholic beverages, which often result in lowered inhibitions, should be financed by you or your boo only.
Here’s my situation. I have this friend at work who is also my boss. The last time we went to lunch we had a great time, laughing, talking, having a ball.
But on the way home, in the car (we rode together), he started giving me the “uh huh treatment” I don’t know if you’re familiar with this, but everything I started to say, he cut me off mid-word and said “Uh-huh, uh-huh.” repeatedly. It’s not the first time this has happened. What does that mean?? And what should I do?? If my boss/friend is acting like everything’s okay now, should I say anything?
I have been in this situation before, and still find myself in it occasionally (with the “Uh-huh treatment,” not the friend-boss), and I can tell you with confidence that friend/boss’s (F/B’s) attitude likely had little to do with you. You were just an easy and easily-accessible target. Furthermore, the beauty of the Uh-huh treatment is that if you were to actually confront F/B about it now that everything’s back to normal, he could feign ignorance and YOU would end up looking like the crazy/pressed one who can’t separate business & personal matters instead of him.
The way I see it, there are three possible approaches to combat the Uh-huh treatment:
1) The Direct Approach – usually my favorite, but as already stated, F/B has a fool-proof contingency plan. One benefit of this approach is that you would “put it out there,” so to speak, setting the groundwork for diffusing the Uh-huh situation if/when it occurs again.
2) The Silent treatment – modified for the workplace -meaning, you would only speak when spoken to or needed by F/B. While satisfyingly petty, this could potentially hinder your professional development and advancement, as this IS your friend/boss we’re talking about and he WILL take it personally.
3) Kill ‘em with Kindness – another standby technique of mine. To take this approach, you would simply continue your merry workday as though nothing odd happened. “Good Morning, Bob! Oh, I’m doing fine! Here’s the file you requested!” and all that. The downside of this approach is that you would feel like a punk, F/B may very well continue to use you as a punching bag, and you might develop an ulcer due to all your repressed rage.
In conclusion UH, all three approaches could potentially do more harm than good. But you can’t just do nothing!! Right? Right?? WRONG! This is your livelihood here! Short of looking for a new job to escape (which could have an even worse result –imagine F/B “Uh-huh, uh-huh”-ing through reference calls with your potential new employers!), you are stuck in the crosshairs of F/B’s seemingly misdirected anger for now. You must be careful not to ruin your professional relationship with him.
So what do I recommend? A combo of all three approaches. It’s too late to be direct now; directness works best in-the-moment with the Uh-huh treatment, so he can’t deny knowing what you’re talking about. For now, kill’em with kindness, staving off that inevitable ulcer with the knowledge that you will soon be vindicated. If/when F/B’s Uh-huh mood strikes again, don’t ignore it. Ask in a friendly tone, “Are you already familiar with the concept I’m explaining? It seems as though you don’t want me to finish.” Directly yet tactfully confronted with his own rudeness in-the-moment, F/B will likely apologize or try to make amends. Impose the work-modified silent treatment until he does. It won’t take long and he won’t take it personally, since he’ll know the root of it.
Oh, and do note that I didn’t address the friendship side of things. That is because this person is not your friend -he’s your boss. It can be tricky maintaining a friendship with the boss or with an employee, and clearly this person is not up to the task. Don’t cut all social interaction –depending on your field, it could be crucial to your advancement- but always remember in the back of your mind that this person is not a true friend.
If you don’t see your question here, check back next Thursday (09.23.10)