DEAR AMY: My boyfriend of two and a half years told me that he wants to have a “drunken one-night-stand” in Las Vegas. What should I do?
DEAR UPSET: I’m assuming from your question that your boyfriend wants to have a drunken one-night-stand in Vegas with someone other than you.
The desire to have an encounter without consequence is fairly common — I think that most people would admit to wanting this (or something like it) at some point in their lives. This is the plot that has launched a thousand bromantic comedies, and broken up as many relationships.
If this is a fantasy that you can imagine acting upon (and enjoying), then perhaps you two could give one another permission to do this.
However, you both must understand that this IS consequential behavior. In fact, when it comes to relationships, almost all behavior has consequences.
You should tell your boyfriend that he has free will and that it is not your job to stop him from doing what he wants to do. But — if he decides to do this, there will be consequences to his choice (including consequences to the person he one-night-stands with). You could remind him that — just as he might choose to take a one-night break from your relationship, you can also choose to take a break.
If he wants to hedge his bets, he might choose to have his one-night stand with you. He can pretend to be the weary traveling shoe salesman, and you — the bored heiress with a secret.
DEAR AMY: I’m a 31-year-old woman, and my brother is 37. We are both residing in the same apartment. I have no significant other or children. He is separated from his. We work together so we basically see each other every day. My problem is that he does NO chores where we live — not even his own laundry! I do everything. He didn’t want to get along with his ex, so I have to pick up and drop off my nephews when they come to visit. I don’t know why his issues with his ex are now my problem. I also do the “chores” at his (former) home where his ex-wife lives — I take out the trash, blow leaves, shovel, etc. I know that losing his house has made him even more angry and bitter, so he takes it out on me. He also always stresses about money and wants me to get a second job. The amount of resentment I feel toward him is immense, and I see an end to our relationship on the horizon. I want to be able to do whatever I want, whenever I want. I know that when I confront him about him being a lazy user, I should have a place ready to move to because I do not want to be around him after that inevitably heated argument. What do you think I should do?
DEAR FURIOUS: The way you present this narrative, your brother is a dominating bully. I can imagine why you are so eager to get out from under this shared roof.
You need to understand that your constant presence and willingness to take on every domestic burden is not only a reflection of your own suppression, but you have become part of the problem by enabling your brother to shirk his own responsibilities.
Without you to handle everything regarding his ex-wife and children, for instance, he might have to find a way to communicate with them. Without you laundering his clothes and cooking for him, he would have to figure out how to take care of himself.
I agree that you should find another place to live before confronting him. As you plan your move, you could quietly stop doing some of these domestic chores for him. And by all means, do not further commit yourself to a financial entanglement with him. If he runs out of clean clothes, tell him, “If you want to wash your clothes, I’ll show you how. Otherwise, you’re on your own. I’m not doing it anymore.”
DEAR AMY: “Crowded” described her boyfriend’s friend moving in — lock, stock and barrel — to the home she co-owned with her boyfriend. Thank you for encouraging Crowded to use her own voice to express her very reasonable problems with this arrangement. I couldn’t believe she was worried about being “nice” enough!
Not Always Nice
DEAR NOT ALWAYS: The desire to be “nice” hampers much honest discourse.