Ask Grandma Anything: Do We Downsize?

Dear Cutie,

My husband has been unemployed since October. He is smart and a good good person.  We have only been together for about two years.

We have a couples counselor who suggested we sell our house to relieve the financial pressure. At first I said yes, but now I am not willing to do it. I feel like I have been struggling to find a solution to all our financial and relationship problems, and although he says he is trying and believes he is doing everything he can do, I still feel like everything is on me.

We are not actually married, and the mortgage is in my name only. We do really have a family together though and my daughter thinks of him a  father, and the house is in both our names.

I love him dearly and I know he loves me. What do you think I should do?

Signed,
On the Ropes

Dear On the Ropes,

I know that you are comfortable in your home, but I think it is time to downsize. You can be happy without your home. You can be happy to live within your means. This is the kind of thing that can become a big problem. And it is not worth the stress. Take this opportunity to create a life that is sustainable and happy for you and your family.

You and your husband will continue to work hard to provide a beautiful living situation and not feel so chained by circumstance. Change is scary, but it when you take that first step that you open yourself up to a world that you never could have dreamed of. Don’t be afraid. Keep loving your husband, and let him love you back. Support him in his search for a job.

You don’t have to carry this burden all on your own. And you will still be you even if your life looks a little different.

Good luck to you.

Love,
Cutie
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Restaurant Review: Nibbler’s (formerly Denny’s), Downtown Los Angeles

Nibbler’s in the new place in town. It has taken over for the Denny’s behind Union Station. I’m rushing to give this review, because I learned that they are switching back to Denny’s because the sales aren’t as competitive. I learned this news when I stopped in for blintzes this morning and, boy will I be sad to see them go, because Nibbler’s offers a wider variety of options than Denny’s.

Their blintzes happen to be very good. And they share the menu with other popular Jewish items such as lox, bagels and cream cheese and matzo ball soup. I have not tried the lox or the matzo ball soup. I actually don’t even like lox because I don’t eat fish, but I’m happy to know it is on the menu. Even if I don’t eat these items, I can try to make my family eat them.

There are a few things you need to know about Nibbler’s. It run by the same management and it looks exactly like Denny’s, but without the signage. In fact, they spruced things up a bit by decorating the stone walls with different colors and that is the kind of touch I appreciate. They also offer free items if you come at the right time. I won’t tell you that I’d take the free Philly cheese steak sandwich, mostly because I don’t like that kind of sandwich and because I’d feel embarrassed to take a free meal and leave. But the fact that they offer this service makes me think they are considering the customer.

And after my years of running a shoe store, I’ve learned a thing or two about customer service. That is really what matters when it comes down to it. Food is food. Sometimes it is a little better. Sometimes it is a little more authentic. But the customer service is the asset that really earns a restaurant a place in my heart.

My family happens to like Nibbler’s and we’ve made it our new spot. We will try to go a few times before they switch back to Denny’s and stop serving the flannel cakes and the fresh-squeezed orange juice. The staff is very attentive but they seem sad about switching back to Denny’s. I think there is more freedom when you are your own boss and that is nice but you really can’t argue with name recognition. When the Denny’s sign is back, I’ll fondly remember the brief but wonderful spell when we had Nibbler’s in our lives.
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See this review and Cutie’s other dining adventures at Yelp:
http://www.yelp.com/biz/nibblers-los-angeles#hrid:KTk3L4_2m55J3aV8-9ZU3A
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Ask Grandma Anything: Four Years of Marriage, Three Acts of Love

Dear Cutie,

I have been married for four years, had sex three times, and I am just at the breaking point, My husband said that he had a medical problem about three years ago, but has done nothing about it. Don’t you think that if it really mattered to him, he would have taken care of it by now?

Signed,
Unfulfilled

Dear Unfulfilled,

You should talk to his doctor, together.

If he is not satisfying you, you could get your marriage annulled. Or this could be the beginning of a conversation. Ask him what is wrong and don’t take excuses for an answer. Also, tell him that there is not enough intimacy in the relationship to keep you going.

This is a difficult situation, but you shouldn’t have to settle. You deserve to feel fulfilled in all ways, including sexually. By allowing him to continue this way, you are showing him that you tolerate this lifestyle, when in fact you may not be willing to do so. Please do not wait passively, but act to find out if there is a real marriage worth saving in your home. Good luck to you.

Love,
Cutie
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Ask Grandma Anything: Her Ex Has Moved On, She Has Not

Dear Cutie,

I need your advice please. This may sound silly, as I am 23, but I feel so lost on what to do. My boyfriend of over a year broke things off three weeks ago. I love him very much, but I didn’t always treat him right. I didn’t cheat on him or anything. I never meant to hurt him, but I grew up in a dysfunctional home and have a hard time communicating. I miss him more than words can say. He refuses to talk to me, but I have been able to leave him alone this last week.

I found out he’s been taking some girl out. I’m so hurt! We had been together over a year! What should I do? I really want to fix things and heal the hurt. What should I think about this new girl? My ex is not a jerk, so I can’t believe he’s moved on so fast! I feel sick all the time and cry. I just want him back. He was my best friend. Please help me.

Signed,
Heartbroken

Dear Heartbroken,

He has moved on and I suggest you do the same. The best thing you can do right now is to move on with your life. Pick up a new hobby, call your girlfriends. I know that it is hard and this is an important relationship to you, but you can’t force something if the other person is not interested. This is a great opportunity for you to address the challenges you feel because of your childhood. I know how difficult that can be, but if you don’t look at these things, they will stick with you and end up causing more problems.

A relationship is important. But the relationship you have with yourself is even more important. The stronger you get, the healthier you’ll be and the healthier your relationships will be. It sounds to me as if you need to work on yourself before you can be a good partner to another person.

You can still care about him, but it hurts to chase someone who is not interested. And there are fish in the ocean. Go out and swim again, and with time, you will find someone else who you think is wonderful, and who wants to be with you.

Love,
Cutie
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Ask Grandma Anything: When Friends Turn Toxic

Dear Cutie,

I have been best friends with three girls for the past two years. If you’ve seen the “Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” movies, it’s like that.

One of my friends had become distant, but only from me. She has this new boyfriend. She randomly accused me of trying to take him from her, and trying in the past. I’ve tried to explain to her on multiple occasions I would never do that. She shuts me out.

I logged onto Facebook recently only to discover that she deleted me after not talking to me for months. You could say it was like a slap in the face. I tried emailing her to work it out. In the long run she just wanted to hurt me, and admitted to it, because she doesn’t trust me.

I still don’t know what I did wrong. I went along with her ignoring me, then I tried to apologize. Nothing seems to work. I don’t want to fight back or lose her. What should I do?

Signed,
Totally Alone

Dear Totally Alone,

She is involved with her boyfriend and she has made her position clear. You have made efforts to improve the situation and talk about it, but she is not interested.

I think that you should stop reaching out to her. If she cannot show you respect, then she doesn’t deserve to be in your life. You are not desperate for friends. You may have a history with this woman, but that does not give her a pass to treat you this way.

There are wonderful people out there who are not interested in these games and they want to be your friend. I know this hurts now, but things will get better the less you are involved with this relationship.

Love,
Cutie
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Ask Grandma Anything: a marriage at the breaking point

Dear Cutie,

I’ve been married almost 18 years and have six wonderful children, all home, 6-19, all very well mannered and make me proud daily. The problem is on the outside we look great, but on the inside I’m dying. I want out sooo bad but I don’t know what to do. Do I just sleep in a separate bedroom until the baby grows up or do I get out now? I don’t love him, I don’t even like him. We barely talk unless its about the kids or his or my comings and goings. I miss being in love!

We were separated for almost a year (last year) and I made the biggest mistake I think by letting him back into the house. Nothing has changed. If anything, it’s gotten worse for me. I want to move out, but I have no job, plus the kids need me. Having him move out will be tough because he said last time we could barely afford it!

But please know he doesn’t abuse me — it’s just I feel silenced. He has said what I say doesn’t matter, ever! That it’s trivial to him. It scares me that my kids are seeing him act like this and learning this behavior. I have three girls and three boys, all of them very impressionable

So my question to you is: do we move into separate bedrooms and just deal with it and just exist until the baby grows up, or do we get out while we still can and have a chance at finding real love elsewhere?

Miss Cutie, if it weren’t for my kids I’d be gone, so please help me.

Signed,
Silenced

Dear Silenced,

It sounds like you are completely overwhelmed and in a unhappy situation. Changing your life drastically might help, but people usually say that their problems follow them around. I think that you need to take some time to learn how you can take care of yourself. 

If you want things to get better in your life, you are going to need support. Have you considered going to therapy and talking about your problems? If the two of you can go that would be best, but even if he will not, you can get some benefit.

There are ways you can make small changes in your life that can have a great impact. And after you’ve had some time to really assess your situation, you can come up with a plan that feels right. Maybe you will stay with this guy if things improve. Or maybe you just are not interested. That is a big decision, but it doesn’t have to be rushed. 

Go spend some time with your girlfriends. Be honest about your feelings and lean on them. Reach out to new friends. Join a community church. There are many things you can do to improve your situation and it will be come clear what is the right course of action. 

It is great that you reached out and shared some feelings. They may not feel wonderful but they are putting you in a good direction to turn your life around. 

Finally, I disagree that you are not being abused. Being told that what you think and say is trivial is emotional abuse. You have a right to demand something better than this from somebody who is supposed to love you. So in therapy, you can learn about what is normal and what is abnormal, and what you are willing to accept in your home.

Take care of yourself and good luck. 

Love,
Cutie

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Ask Grandma Anything: My Husband Won’t Lift A Finger

Dear Cutie,

I’ve been married for two years to my high school sweetheart. He is a brilliant man and used to work, but is now finishing his Bachelor’s degree.

Unfortunately, now that he is in school, he does not do much. He is on his last class, which only takes up 8 hours per week plus homework. I, meanwhile, work full-time to support him. I also cook every meal, clean by myself, do the grocery shopping, pay bills, and manage everything about our household. I have asked him to at least learn to cook and pick up after himself but he does not. He does not even remember to feed the dog. He gets out of bed at noon and spends most of the day playing video games and reading. If I tell him to work on the book he said he wanted to write, he says that he has been “thinking very hard about it” and other such excuses. He has been saying that for months.

How do I talk to him about this? I don’t want to insult him, because then he will become defensive, and I don’t want to threaten divorce.

Signed,
Overworked

Dear Overworked,

At this point, you have expressed your concerns but he does not take you seriously. It sounds like you are working very hard to take care of yourself and your family, and he is not pulling his weight. You are newlyweds. This is an important time to build your foundation as a couple. Is this the life you want to live for the next fifty years?

If you don’t like it, tell him you are seriously concerned about the relationship. Let him know what you expect from him — but not in the middle of a fight. Sit him down and tell him how his behavior is hurting you and tell him you will not live this way. He has an opportunity to understand where you are coming from and to turn things around. If he will not do that, you need to, for both of your sakes.

If he is not ready to be a grown up in a marriage with you, then there is someone out there who will love you and treat you with the respect you deserve. And with time, he may grow up, but you cannot force him to if he does not wish it. Good luck to you both.

Love,
Cutie
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Ask Grandma Anything: No Sex Please, We’re Married

Dearest Cutie,

This question is a little embarrassing for me…. but here it goes. How important do you think sex is to a relationship? I have been married for two years. For the last three months nothing has been happening in the bedroom, and I have been on an emotional roller coaster because of it. I feel insecure, rejected and worried. My husband reassures me that he loves me and everything is fine, so I wonder if I just need to have more patience, or perhaps try something to spark his interest. Do you think connecting physically is necessary to have a fulfilling and successful marriage?

signed,
Insecure

Dear Insecure,

Sex is very important because it is a natural phenomena. And if you haven’t had sex in a while, there must be something the matter with either one of you. It could be a physical issue, it could be an emotional issue. I know it is difficult, but you might want to consider talking to a professional about it. Maybe he is stressed out? Something tells me that you are not the problem. He knows that you love him and want to have sex, but there is something getting in the way. Either on your own or with some professional help, try to figure out how to deal with the issues getting in the way and I think things will become clear. Yes, sex is important, but communication and understanding are more important, and if you both want to work things out, I know that you will.

Love,
Cutie
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