Devil’s Advocate

Dear Devil’s Advocate,

I have been with my boyfriend for four years now, and I have recently just become pregnant. He is employed at his family business, making a steady income and enough to afford our own apartment. We are living together now and very excited about the birth of our child. I am very happy with our situation, except for one thing. My boyfriend wants me to drop out of St. John’s in order to become a stay at home mother and wife. He’s a big believer in the “women taking care of home, men providing” idea. I really love him but I don’t appreciate him wanting me to give up all my dreams of being in marketing just to watch soap operas and take care of children all day. I’ve always had serious goals for myself and I don’t intend on letting my pregnancy change that. The last thing I want to do is look back and have regrets that I allowed things to get in my way.
This headstrong attitude comes from growing up in a single-parent household and seeing how much my mother struggled to put food on the table. She worked two jobs and raised me on her own, which I admire so much. She proves that it can be done and I know she would not approve of me giving up on school. However, I don’t want to lose my boyfriend and the family were are going to create. What should I do?

Signed,
Career Child

Dear Child,

Holy cow, this is a tough situation. I am a big believer in women’s rights. We’ve fought to vote, to speak up, to work with the best of the men. I don’t think any girl should give up her dream for romance. However, I’m not here to offer opinions, I’m here to offer you advice. You should really sit down with your boyfriend and let him know how you feel. It takes over a million dollars to raise a healthy child to the age of eighteen. That means the two of you will have to step your game up, especially if you possibly want to have more children after this one. Nowadays it doesn’t seem feasible for both parents to not work. Point this out, and tell him how finances do play a role in children growing up with stability. Talk to some couples you know who both work and raise children. Also, this is probably might be unnerving, but have your boyfriend sit down and talk to some strong single mothers (even though you’re not single), like yours. It should reassure him.

Dear Devil’s Advocate,

My girlfriend is a huge flirt, and I really dont like it when she flirts with other guys, especially when I’m around. She is very friendly and sociable, always smiling and happy. This leads guys to believe she is interested and to strike up conversation with her. I’m not sure if she is just naive or has a hidden agenda– but either way it ticks me off like nothing else. I also have a problem trusting that she doesn’t flirt even more, or something even worse, when I’m not around. What should I do?

Signed,
Jealous Bone

Dear Jealous,

Wait, your girlfriend flirts in front you? Maybe the question shouldn’t be “what should I do,” but “why is she flirting?” Maybe you should evaluate the relationship. Has she always flirted? Have you changed? Are you not showing her as much attention as you used to? She could be taking lessons from Beyonce. In “Freakum Dress” she talks about her man acting up and her attempts to keep the fire from dying. She puts on that dress, goes out with the girls, and drives the fellas crazy. She says, “…turned on by how my dress was fittin’ right. Short and backless. Little does he know, my man’s gone take it off tonight.” After you sit and evaluate your relationship, you have to let her know how you feel. Communication is the key to a healthy relationship. Make sure you express to her, in an intelligent way, that it you love being with her, and by flirting you feel like she’s not as dedicated as you are. Try not to sound accusatory or jealous, but it won’t hurt for you to let her know that she’s so special that you really don’t’ want to share. Tell her you’re a tad selfish (smile).

Dear Devil’s Advocate,

I’m Lebanese and I come from a very strict Muslim home. The freedom that most college students have, I only dream of. My family is a tight-knit bunch, so everyone knows everyone else’s business and can’t keep a thing to themselves. I have to run everything by my parents and siblings, from the clothes that I wear to the guys that I date. My curfew is earlier than most fifteen year olds and I’m a sophomore in college. I still get grounded, and my parents even decided which schools I applied to. I love my family more than anything, but I fear I will never grow as a person if I am always under their thumb. How do I get that freedom that I’m entitled to?

Signed,
Imprisoned

Dear Imprisoned,

Have you ever seen My Big Fat Greek Wedding? If you haven’t, rent it. The similarities are uncanny! Well, if you don’t want to end up a single thirty year old woman still taking orders from your parents, there are a few routes you can take. 1. Maybe you can start by using some assertion, a little at a time. Tell, don’t ask, or act now, reason later-of course in a logical, responsible manner. For instance, buy a new dress on your own and just happen to wear it to a family gathering. Make sure you have a mature explanation. For instance, “I saw it and loved it, and it was on sale. So I couldn’t pass it by.” Don’t be apologetic or sheepish-that will set you back a few years. Also don’t confuse assertion with rebellion. Assertion: Taking some classes that you want. Rebellion: Staying out super late without checking in. 2. If you don’t have one, get a job. A lot of families have trouble letting go of the children, and it doesn’t help if they’re financially dependent. Make your own money, buy your own clothes. 3. Sit down with them and tell them how you feel. You are legally old enough to vote, to buy cigarettes, to be tried as an adult. The girl in our first situation is your age and starting a family of her own! Make sure to tell them that they have to have faith in the way that they raised you.