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Free Ride

By Mink Stole | Posted 8/24/2005

For years I hoped Iíd meet someone I could really love, and a few months ago I finally did. We met online, and we liked each other so much that we met in person almost right away. That was when I learned he was 10 years younger than I am (Iím 35, heís 25). But it didnít matter. He was living in another town but soon moved in with me. Of course, because he had just moved here he didnít have a job, so Iíve been pretty much the one paying the bills. He says heís looking for work, but so far all heís been able to find is a part-time job at a computer store. He likes it, but it doesnít pay anywhere near enough to cover his share of expenses. Iím going into debt trying to support us, and itís starting to make me crazy. I need him to understand how important it is that he take some responsibility, but I hate the way Iím starting to feel like a nag. He says he loves me and wants to marry me, and I love him so much I would be happy to pay for everything if I could, but I canít. Iím afraid if I keep complaining about the money Iíll drive him away. What can I do to get him to take this seriously without risking losing him?

Willing Heart Empty Wallet

Can anyone here say Oedipus? This is not the mate of your dreams. In fact, when you wake up from this little fantasy, WHEW, youíll be slapping your forehead wondering what the hell you were thinking about with this kid. I call him a kid because heís acting like one, and guess what your role is? Itís not just the age difference; there are plenty of 25-year-old guys who are emotionally and financially capable of having adult relationships. The problem is his lack of ambition and willingness to let you pick up the slack. Heís got a nice cushy life with you; with only a part-time job, he has a roof over his head, food on the table, and a willing woman in his bed. Your problem isnít that you might lose him; itís how hard itís going to be to get rid of him.

Give him a month. If heís really interested in building a future with you, thereís plenty of time for him to get a decent job. Tell him the only way you can share your life with him is if he can share the costs of it with you. Thatís not nagging; thatís letting him know itís time to grow up or get out. Tell him you care about him, but that if you had wanted to adopt an adorable stray, youíd have gone to the pound for a puppy.


Iím a 20-year-old guy. All through my teens I was fat, so I never had a girlfriend. Itís only been since I took off a hundred pounds that women have even started to notice me. I went on my first real date a couple of weeks ago with a woman I met online. I told her I hadnít dated much (I couldnít admit she was my first ever) and that I was a little shy, but she was very sweet and we had a really good time. Iíve seen her twice since then and really like her. It still makes me nervous to ask her out face-to-face, so Iíve always done it by e-mail, which worked because she always said yes. But after our last date, when I e-mailed her to tell her what a good time I had and asked her out for this Friday, she told me she was feeling kind of cranky and didnít think she could see me over the weekend. She said she wasnít blowing me off; she just wasnít good company right now. Do you think she was telling the truth? Is this just a polite way of letting me know she isnít interested? I have no experience with dating lingo, so I donít know if sheís rejecting me or not. I havenít heard from her for three days and Iím afraid to e-mail her again because I donít want her to think Iím pressuring her or that Iím too needy. What should I do?

Fat No More

A high fuckiní five to you, FNM. As someone with firsthand knowledge of what it takes to drop even a few pounds, I hope youíre giving yourself the credit you deserve. What you did took determination, persistence, and courage. Change, even when we want it, can be terrifying. If you can face that, you can deal with the terrors of dating.

Donít assume ďIím crankyĒ is code for ďget lost.Ē It could just as easily be code for some period-related misery, or it may just mean sheís in a bad mood. While it is possible sheís trying to let you down easy, before you give up on her she deserves at least one more e-mail. Tell her youíre sorry she feels so crummy, but you hope sheís better by next weekend because [name of movie] is opening and youíd really like to see it with her. You wonít come off as needy, and her response will let know whether you should move forward with her or move on. Youíre just starting to date; if youíre like everyone else, itíll take a lot of trial and error to find someone youíre willing to spend the next few months with, much less the rest of your life.

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