Dear Abby: I am the mother of a 4-year-old daughter and pregnant with my second child. My boyfriend and I live in a nice house and have a comfortable lifestyle. We each pay our own bills, and I pay half the mortgage that is in his name.
I am extremely unhappy at my job. The job itself isn’t the problem; it’s the management team and its effect on office morale. They treat us employees like dirt, thus everyone is always fighting with each other. I try to stay out of it, but I am unhappy to the core there.
I want to find another job after my maternity leave, but I’m afraid my soon-to-be-fiancé won’t be willing to pick up the slack financially while I’m temporarily unemployed. Isn’t this the normal give-and-take that “married” couples go through? Shouldn’t I expect him to help me if I’m going through a rough patch? Are my expectations unreasonable?
– Expecting and Depressed in Texas
Dear Expecting: I assume that you have discussed this with your boyfriend and he wasn’t receptive. Your expectations wouldn’t be unreasonable if you WERE married or at least engaged. But you’re not. While you and I think he should help you financially over this rough patch, he may feel no obligation to do so.
If that’s the case, your not-quite-fiancé appears to be treating you like a roommate-with-benefits. Because you are not on the title of the house you pay half the mortgage on, there is no guarantee you will ever have anything to show for your contribution. In light of that, of course he should be supportive emotionally and financially if you leave your job. Expecting him to step up to the plate is not unreasonable. But whether he agrees with you and me is another matter. Please find out before you invest any more money or he impregnates you again.
‘Divorced’ or ‘single’?
Dear Abby: I have been divorced for 13 years, and I often wonder how to fill out questionnaires that ask my marital status. I have recently started checking “single” because enough time seems to have passed, and I don’t define myself by my divorce. However, now I’m wondering if there’s a certain etiquette recommended.
– Status Unknown in Ohio
Dear Status Unknown: Honesty is recommended. As much as you might like to present yourself that way, you are no longer single. Calling yourself single is dishonest. As someone who has been married and divorced, you are a divorcee and you will be until you remarry. Saying you are single is a misrepresentation of the facts.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 60069.