Good morning. I’m taking “Twilight” contest submissions through tomorrow at 5 p.m. The entries are great, so far. There’s an obvious frontrunner – a reader who wrote a fake letter from Bella paired with a fake response from me. And I have to say, the fake Meredith advice sounds like what I would say if a woman dating a vampire and a werewolf asked me for help. That’s the entry to beat, at the moment. Letters can be to or from Bella (or both, if you’re ambitious). I’ve chosen this next letter because it’s one of a few letters I’ve received this week that mentions World of Warcraft. Apparently, World of Warcraft is ruining relationships everywhere. It makes me think of this funny thing I read in The Onion a few years ago.
What do you do when your law-school-grad boyfriend of two years can't find a "real" job and you're sick of covering him for rent when he falls short; or paying the car insurance that we're supposed to be splitting; and paying for every social obligation, like the weddings we keep getting invited to, when we can't afford to contemplate our own? I love him. He's wonderful, caring, selfless, and helpful. But when I met him, he was also an optimistic law student with an unrealistic sense of his earning potential. Now, he's looking at paying back $200 grand and thousands in credit card debt on a waiter's salary!? When we talk about his job search, he tells me I am nagging him. When I back off, I see no results. No interviews; no networking; no nothing. He plays World of Warcraft when I am not home. If that isn't all you need to know than just Google it. I am certain that if he had a good-paying job, the problems would go away. So how can I get him there when I can't do it for him? I am starting to resent him, and I feel like I am enabling his avoidance of reality. Without me footing the cost of the rent and the car he'd have been forced to find a way to support himself by now. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I'd break up with someone because they were broke. Money's not everything, right? But here he is with a shiny new JD that they can't make use of... What a waste of money and time and effort! How can I save this relationship? Thanks for taking to the time to read this submission. I hope you write back.
– Really Broke Attorney, Brighton
RBA, there are two issues here -- his job situation, which I'd like us to be sensitive about, and his budget situation, which I'd like us to be tough love about. As for the job, the market is still quite bad, even for lawyers. Your boyfriend may have stopped his search because he can’t take any more rejection. It probably doesn’t help that many of his peers from law school are having a tough time, too. World of Warcraft is an escape, a way to forget about real life (and the fact that you owe $200,000 for an education that hasn’t landed you a job). You're allowed to tell him that you're worried about him -- that his post-education retreat from the world has made you fear that he's spiraling into the abyss. An abyss with warlocks and elves and such. Tell him you're empathetic, but that you know you'd both be much happier if he continued the hunt for the work he loves. Then you move on to point two -- the budget. He shouldn’t be living outside of his means, even with you around. This is a good time to test his ability to talk about finances. Sit down with him and come up with a budget that works based on his current salary. If you can't do it on your own, suggest going to a financial professional for help. You're only two years in. I'm not so sure you should be paying for his car insurance. Most other waiters pay for their own. If this is the job he has chosen to keep, he needs to make financial choices accordingly. Perhaps after an honest discussion about money, he'll have a renewed interest in the job hunt ... Readers? Thoughts? Is he taking advantage? Am I wrong to be concerned about this guy’s ego? Is the economy really that bad? Help here.