In Which It Was Your Word Against His For The Most Part

Hard to Say is This Recording’s weekly advice column. It will appear every Wednesday until the Earth perishes in a fiery blaze, or until North West turns 40. Get no-nonsense answers to all of your most pressing questions by writing to justhardtosay@gmail.com.

Hi,

My girlfriend of eight months recently revealed that she has a substantial amount of credit card debt, to the tune of $106,000. It is hard to wrap my mind around this. Maybe I am reading too much into it, but now whenever she spends any money I think to myself whether or not it is a wise decision. This knowledge has become a bit paralyzing, and I worry about our future together.

Is there any way I can get over this? I really care for her and don’t want this to ruin what we have, but I don’t know what to do.

Alex E.

Dear Alex,

Handbag addiction can get to even the best of us at times. You don’t explain the reasons she might have feasibly incurred this amount of debt. There are lots of different explanations for why she might have gone into debt, but the reality is that people make bad decisions and sometimes have to pay for them.

There are things your girlfriend can do to mitigate and start taking care of her obligation in a responsible way, and maybe she is already doing that. The real question is how you are going to deal with this. Yes, your girlfriend has more than one master, but that was already true before you entered the picture, and even if she did not have 100K of debt.

No matter how much she owes, she still does have to go on living. If she lets the idea of this become a weight that can destroy the very fabric of existence, then it will do so. Maybe that accounts for why she is handling it the way that she is — it should not be terribly difficult to be understanding about that if you love her. As long as you aren’t married to her, her economic obligations are not your own, so stay single.

Hi,

My boyfriend and I have been living together for 2 years. The discussion of marriage has come up recently, but I don’t think the idea of marriage fits our current lifestyle. He’s an architect and travels lot for work. 

He is a terrific man who challenges me, but I don’t feel committed enough to devote the rest of my life to him. For the past few weeks, I have been FaceTiming with an ex-boyfriend who now lives across country. A part of me wants to break it off and  move across the country to be with my ex, but I have built a great career and life here.

My boyfriend won’t be doing much traveling after next week and I’m afraid that I’ll lose touch with my ex. The thought of losing touch with my ex scares me. Every time we meet his parents for dinner I find myself lying to them about getting married and moving to the suburbs. I no longer want to live a lie. Should I break it off with my current boyfriend or start an entirely new life altogether?

Kendra A.

just plain afraid to fail

Dear Kendra,

It’s time to have a sit down conversation with your boyfriend about the status of your relationship. Depending on how long you have been communicating with your ex, revealing the secret FaceTime sessions is purely optional. Sometimes it doesn’t hurt to keep things to yourself. Keep in mind, you’re not indebted to anything in this life. If you’re worried about what his parents will think, they will get over it.

If you want to start a new life from scratch, Google “WWOOF” and pack your bags. Maybe you’ll find solace, but from experience, I haven’t seen anyone come out of those things alive.

Illustrations by Mia Nguyen.

“Telephone Wire” – Fun Home original cast recording (mp3)

“Rings of Keys” – Fun Home original cast recording (mp3)

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