You need reality check before splurging on cottage
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DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: My husband is trying to pressure me into buying a cabin he’s found at a lake he loves, and I’m worried this is going to end our marriage. We have a lot of debt because he wanted to get married and buy big-ticket items, like a house and a new car, which we did!
This cabin is only a “good deal” because it needs serious renovation even to be livable! I feel like we’re already drowning in debt, and yet he seems unfazed. We both make good money but we are definitely living above our means. I want to start a family, but not while being hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt! How do I get through to him?
— Struggling Hard, Transcona
Dear Struggling: You are right to put your foot on the brakes. You both need to see a financial expert but one who isn’t looking for you to invest in their favourite “money products.”
You need advice from an experienced accountant on how much debt you can keep carrying and whether you are, as you suspect, already on your way to serious trouble.
Afraid to step on your husband’s toes? Maybe you should test that out. Ask him how many children he wants to have, and when, and how he thinks things will work financially when you become pregnant several times over, and need or want to take time off to be with your babies. He may not have kids on his radar for another 10 years while he’s busy buying things!
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I bought my boyfriend a guitar for Christmas after he begged for one and made a huge deal out of it. I spent more than I should have because it clearly meant so much to him. He was so happy Christmas morning he cried, and it felt like we had an amazing moment.
Fast forward! He hasn’t used that guitar once since January. Now I am the one crying, and he knows how much I spent on the instrument. After unwrapping it, he tried playing it with a beginner’s book, and no surprise to me, he wasn’t an instant success! So, he put it on the stand I also bought him, and it just sits there!
He leaves it plugged in, to give visitors the idea he actually uses it. What happened is what always happens: he tries something, doesn’t get it immediately, then quits and sulks about it. Yesterday I got mad and reamed him out about how much it cost and the fact he’s just ignoring it. He screamed at me to go ahead and sell it! Should I?
— Guitar Blues, Crescentwood
Dear Guitar Blues: The sooner that guitar is out of eyesight, the better for you. So, tell your boyfriend it’s OK if he sells it and that you’re sorry it didn’t work out for him. No doubt he’s upset and embarrassed. So, tell him gently it hurts you to look at it, and to go head and put it on the market. Remember, it was his gift from you, so the money from a sale goes to him, even though you’re upset.
The lesson here? You only buy gifts to add to something that is already happening successfully for him, as he’s the world’s worst beginner. Just don’t tell him that!
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I recently caught a co-worker secretly snapping photos of some of the women in our office on his phone, and I confronted him. He made a couple of stupid jokes about it and said it was harmless, but I know guys like him. You have to wonder why he wants those photos to take home.
I don’t want to get him fired or escalate the problem, for fear of this weirdo getting angry at me, but I feel like someone should know. What should I do?
— Concerned Worker, Downtown
Dear Concerned: You didn’t tell him outright you told the ladies at work, but he will certainly wonder if you did. That’s a good thing. You might also speak with your immediate superior about it. The last thing anybody needs at work is for a person with a penchant for creepy behaviour to get promoted to a position of power.
Please send your questions and comments to email@example.com or Miss Lonelyhearts c/o the Winnipeg Free Press, 1355 Mountain Ave., Winnipeg, MB, R2X 3B6.
Maureen Scurfield writes the Miss Lonelyhearts advice column.