When we married, my wife kept her last name, which I supported. However, she resents children being given the father's surname instead of the mother's, as the mother does "all of the work" in child-bearing.
As a compromise, we agreed before having kids that their legal surnames would be mine, but they’d all have her surname as a middle name. At school, they’re registered with both, but, admittedly, the middle name gets dropped often, e.g. with name tags.
This clearly began to bother her. For sports and other after-school activities, she began omitting my surname when registering the kids. She said "it's to avoid confusion” since she was usually picking up the kids.
Ellie, I don't want her to use my name over hers. I want to be consistent so the kids don't have confusion about their own names.
It also bothers me that she’s going back on our original agreement.
I love her, we don't have many other issues worth fighting over.
Am I overreacting? Is there another solution?
- Confused Dad
Talk about two people looking for a problem!
Many kids today have double-barrelled surnames, and many have parents with different last names; most manage just fine, so long as the parents don’t keep changing the rules and disagreeing about them.
You both compromised way back, she’s not happy with that now, so you need to discuss together what works today. Example: If you hyphenate the two surnames into one, as in “Brown-Smith,” teachers and others can’t drop part of it. Even if a child is occasionally called “Smith,” it’s not done as an insult to the mother.
It may be your wife has other resentments – personal or political - which you two should discuss openly so you can work together more effectively.
I’m 30, female, still living at home with my mother, never had a boyfriend, and never been kissed.
I got laid off months ago and still haven’t found another job; I’m trying to attend graduate school.
My former doctor said I was depressed but I sought other opinions why I’m always tired and having severe stomach pains.
It’s depressing seeing all my friends getting married, having babies and a home. Guys I meet either want the fast track to bed, or don’t call back. I’ve been on a dating site, and met some nice men but I sometimes distance myself.
I think one of the main problems is that I’m overweight. I diet most of the time, but don't have the money or time to join a health club or have the correct foods.
Should I take what comes along when everyday when I wake up it feels like I’m dying inside? Am I doing something wrong with my life?
- Never Kissed
You’re avoiding the medical diagnosis that could help you lift your spirits and make changes. There are treatments and therapy for depression. But if you remain in the doldrums, it’s hard to be open to new friendships even when you meet nice men; it’s hard to present yourself well for a job.
Feeling low also interferes with your motivation to do what you need to gain energy and a healthier weight, such as walking more, and eating nutritionally. (Fruit and vegetables aren’t as costly to your well-being as junk and fast food, and are available affordably in most university cafeterias and local delis).
Student counselling services exist at most campuses. I urge you to seek help for your depression immediately.
My fiancé and his sister, 15, were not on good terms.
I’m 21 and invited her to a party; but when her parents and older sister couldn’t attend, I realized she’d be around older people who were drinking, and said she shouldn’t attend.
Now she says I let her down. She’s blaming me for all her problems and not getting along with her brother. She’s also telling everyone she hates me.
The stress is making me reconsider my whole relationship.
- Fed Up
You’re the adult: Recognize that she was embarrassed to be considered “too young,” apologize, and try to arrange some other outing together such as a movie, to re-connect.
You did the right thing, but it matters more to her that she was hurt. If you can’t handle an argument with a teenager, you may not be ready yet for stresses that weddings and marriage will bring.
Tip of the day:
Compromises sometimes have to be re-worked over time – but not through sudden whim.