Written by Sasha

Dear Sasha, I'm 20 years old and my best friend passed away about a year and a half ago after a long battle with many illnesses. After she died, her single mother and I got closer and I was also introduced to her mother's boyfriend of a few years. My friend, we'll call her Jules, was not close with her mother's boyfriend. It's not as though she hated him, she liked him for her mother and was pretty neutral to his existence. They weren't close and they didn't have a special relationship in any way. However, once she died he made it seem as though he was her "father". He even wrote his name in her obituary as her parent which really disgusted me, personally. After Jules' death, I really tried to help her mother through everything as much as I could. I cleaned out her bedroom and her dorm at residence, I put things away for her mother to keep and I was generally there for her in every way possible. Once they realised I was willing to help out for just about anything Jules related, they started asking me to do a little more than I thought relevant to our relationship. For example, they were having a one year anniversary of her burial and they asked me to do yard work for their house because people were coming over (I politely declined). Recently, they became engaged and were planning on having their wedding next August at his wealthy cousin's mansion and informally invited me to the event. But, a couple of weeks ago Jules' mom sent me and my other friends a text saying to us that she is planning on getting married next month rather than waiting at his cousins house and that space is limited so she was wondering if we could be servers at her wedding so we can be a part of their big day. I was SO pissed when I read the text and I felt so cheap and disgusting. I know her boyfriend is behind this, because it is very much like him do think of something so tacky. It is very obvious that they are just using us for cheap labour, as she sent the text to some of Jules' friends that she isn't even close with. Also, if I was invited to the same event at the same location a year from now, what has changed as far as space goes? Has his mansion shrunk? She also recently sent me texts asking if I got her first one. I really don't know how to handle this situation at all without being insensitive and saying something hurtful. No matter what she was my best friend's mother. Am I overreacting? M

Whoa. OMG. What the? Are you kidding me?

Ok. Ok. Ok. Let me back up the crazy train for one second and let you know that the way you supported your friend’s mother after her death is so commendable. You are a great friend. Know that.

Now on to the subject of this wedding….

My mouth actually dropped when I read that you were asked to act as um, staff. That is a ballsy tacky-ass request. So let me be very clear: you are NOT overreacting one bit. Anyone in this position would feel totally hurt.

It’s one thing to want a support system; it’s another to want a personal assistant. And I could give two sh-ts if her boyfriend is behind this or not, if she can’t figure out how inappropriate that is to ask, then sorry, that’s all on her.

So here’s what you need to do: Just like when she asked you to do yard work – also such a gross request- you need to decline. Tell her that you were really looking forward to being a part of her special day as a GUEST and you don’t feel comfortable with what feels like working the event. Continue to say that you hope she understands and if she still wants to have you as a guest you’d be honoured. After you’ve expressed this, then the ball is in her court. If she wants to get angry, if she wants to guilt you, blah blah blah… again, that’s her problem not yours.

If this was any other person I wouldn’t ask you to be this diplomatic, and to be honest I’d actually be happy to call her a bitch, BUT she’s obviously not a random person in your life. She’s your best friend’s mother, so there needs to be a little grace thrown her way.

M, I’m sorry that you have been put in this situation, I really am. But from one sane person to another – don’t feel bad about standing your ground.

Hi, I'm 26 and in an almost 5 year relationship. My bf and I are having serious trouble right now, although our relationship seems to always have drama. I have caught him lying several times about being in contact with his ex, and while the emails between them were nothing major to me, the lying was and continues to be. I broke up with him once a couple years back and moved out because everything seemed so shady to me and we were falling apart. We pulled through that time, although I stayed moved out. He also started drinking again (he had stopped for a few years because drugs and alcohol were out of control for him) and started doing stuff like not coming home til a day or two later, without phone calls, or leaving me at a bar or party with no word of warning. This summer I moved back in with him and this has happened a few times. He goes away for work and doesn't come home when he says he will, and arrives a day later with no apologies and the excuse that his phone is out of battery and he doesn't know my phone number to call from a pay phone.

I am SO FED UP!!! When I confronted him about the fact that he continues to pull these tricks and that it shows a complete lack of respect for me, he says that I am too controlling and high maintenance... I mean, I ask for a phone call when he's going to be gone a day or two longer than usual. And this time I didn't accept his apology and said that I wasn't putting up with all of it anymore, and he basically said he's a good boyfriend and that I need to trust him and stop being a bitch about everything. I don't really know what to do. I'm tired of being mad, but I don't think I'm in the wrong and I don't want to be a doormat. Things haven't changed in years, he continues to tell me to relax, and I keep asking him to consider me when he makes decisions that affect me. I can't forget the fact that he's lied about a lot of things, so it's really hard for me to keep forgiving these things, and really, should I continue to forgive only to go through it yet again?
Thanks for the advice, C.

I want to fill this entire page up with NOs. C, I can’t be nice about this - your relationship, sucks. It’s not healthy, it’s not positive and more importantly it’s not working.

Seriously, what would you say if your best friend was in the same relationship? Would you tell her to stay with a guy who lied constantly? A guy who doesn’t come home for days? A guy who disrespects her at every turn? Sh-t, I hope not. So C, why in the world are you allowing yourself to be in something like this – for what?

Look, I can relate. I was in a relationship with similar-ish problems. I mean, never was he MIA for days, but there were times where he’d come home at the crack of dawn on the regular. I put up with it for a few years and let’s just say C, everything I feared he was doing, well, he was doing. But I finally got a clue when my dislike for his actions was trumped by my dislike of who I had become. I was tired of not feeling like an equal in the relationship. Like, even hearing the sound of my voice saying the same things over and over again started to irritate me.

So listen up, C, because this needs to sink in. He doesn’t deserve any more chances. He knows how to manipulate you, he knows how to turn the blame, and he knows how to make you take him back. This has gone on far too long – the damage is done and he’s not going to change.

But what can change is YOU.

It comes down to this. You’ve got to start trusting your instincts and start paying attention to how this actually makes YOU feel inside. Who knows, maybe another girl would be cool with his behaviour, but you’re not, and that’s all that needs to be said here.

If you do pack it up (which please dear god I hope you do) be ready to fight every weak and insecure thought that creeps into your mind. Those nasty thoughts will try to convince you to stay, but don’t let that fake sense of security win you over.

Let me Ieave you with a Beyonce quote, (I promise I listen to other music) (no, no, I don’t): “Find the good in goodbye”. That pretty much sums up what I need you to do, C. I’ll be rooting for you.

I met the best guy in the world about a year and a half ago. He is my darling, my very favourite one. I have never loved anyone like this, and I have never been loved like this, and it's frigging amazing. We live together, and truth told, we have a wonderful life; we work hard, laugh a lot, and have a life planned for ourselves.

So where's the beef right? Thing is, he doesn't want to get married. Ever. He made it pretty clear the last time we spoke about it (granted, it was when we were dating for about a week - I haven't had the nerve to bring it up since). He had a pretty rough go of it growing up, and he hasn't worked out the part that not every relationship will end like his parents did. Marriage is really important to me, always has been, and I made that clear myself. I want it all - I want to vow before my parents and God, I want people to be able to look at my finger and know, I want to hear the words from him. I won't lie, I want the white dress and the party too, but that is genuinely at bottom of the list kind of concerns.
I know what you are thinking. Suck it up and talk to him right? There is a new wrench in those works - his dad died, very suddenly, very recently. Obviously, I can't bring anything like this up right now. But one of the most heartbreaking parts of his father's death is that his father and step mother never tied the knot, so she had ZERO rights in the whole process. My poor darling had to sign the death certificate. He is left to cope with all that was left behind.
So basically my problem is this - do I bother? Should I rock the boat? Or do I accept that you can't always get what you want? T.H.

This is always a tricky one, but here’s where I stand on the situation. If two people are in love and want to spend the next few decades together then I think the person who doesn’t want to get married needs to pony up.

Sorry, but that’s my take on it.

What infuriates me the most is when I hear: “I don’t need a piece of paper to prove my love”. Oh really? Thanks for the condescending tone, asshole. Pretty sure that’s the dumbest excuse in the world.

Like, if it’s really just frivolous stationary, then what the F is the big deal then? Why can’t that person just suck it up for the person who does think marriage is MORE than a piece of paper?

Why? Because they’re afraid of commitment.

I just wish they’d own up to that instead of pretending that it’s some sort of societal handcuff they don’t subscribe to. I’m not saying that everyone should want to get married, but if one person does so much that they’d feel incomplete without it, then that’s a problem. The fact is you’ll always feel like you got the sh-t end of the stick and that’ll end up being the herpes of your relationship.

Here’s my deal and T, I’m sensing you and I are on the same page on this one. I need my partner to know I’m his ride or die bitch for life, and that means purchasing a real shiny rock and getting down on their goddamn knees. But the reality is a lot of guys are just too damn afraid to do the deed and the truth is some of them need to be pressured into it. Of course there’s oh so many times you can push or force the subject. I mean, if he doesn’t want it, then he’s entitled to that, but that doesn’t mean you have to go along with his decision.

So what to do …

Obviously now isn’t the best time to bring it up. You need to let him heal a little, so wait about 8-10 months before bringing up the topic. Tell him what you want and why it’s so important to you. And you never know his opinion on family and love and relationships could have really changed after his father’s passing. I don’t want to say it’s a blessing in disguise or anything, but people’s priorities can really transform after tragedy.

Hope this helps and definitely keep me posted on the outcome.