Welcome back to Other People's Problems, in which we collect and rank the greatest dilemmas of the week, as seen in newspaper and magazine advice columns. This week: a 1-year-old with a birthday party registry, an uncomfortable BDSM question, and a letter from Gwen Stefani. (Maybe.)
I just received an invitation to a child’s 1-year-old birthday party. While I was pleased to be invited, on the invitation it advised he is registered at a well-known toy store. Am I missing something?
My daughter Bella has a great playgroup that meets once a week after school. We were REALLY lucky to get into this group. The girls come from some of the wealthiest families at the school, and since our family is more working class, we love that Bella is able to see how the other side lives and maybe even look for something to aspire to one day. [...] But last week I got a nasty email from one of the mothers. I sent some homemade cookies and store-bought veggies and dip for the snack last week, and apparently this was not up to snuff! The mothers said that my vegetables were clearly not homegrown and organic and that they could taste the pesticides and preservatives on them. They asked if I knew that ranch dip is high in cholesterol and saturated fat which leads to heart disease. I was in tears reading this email. Their assumption that I had no idea how to feed my daughter was so insulting. I emailed them back saying that I was unsure what particular brands of veggies, dip, and baking items to buy, and received another email suggesting I start a garden. Prudie, we live in an apartment complex.
My husband and I enjoy a solid, trusting BDSM relationship, and we're both happy with our life together. There is one issue that concerns me. Roughly twice a month, in the middle of the night, my husband will "attack" me sexually in his sleep. I use the term "attack" lightly because the moment lasts for about 30 seconds, and generally I am able to ignore it and go back to sleep. However, there are times when I become frightened by these incidents and can't seem to "get over it" by morning. Generally, the attacks amount to my husband groping my breast painfully and aggressively, violently digitally penetrating me, attempting to penetrate me with his penis (vaginally or orally), and/or shoving me. He doesn't ejaculate or anything, as it is a very short incident.
Fairly typically, the one near-constant point of disagreement [in my two decade marriage] is that my wife’s sex drive has been less than mine. [...] But about two months ago, that all changed. She let me know she was interested one night, and suddenly the flood gates opened. Out of the blue, we’re having sex nearly every night, frequently multiple times. I think we’ve only missed two nights. We’ve probably made love more in the past two months than in the prior 10 years combined. It’s been wonderful to reconnect in this way, and I’m thrilled that it’s carried over into everyday activities. We’re holding hands more, cuddling more around the house, kissing more and just generally being more affectionate. [...] And yet, there’s something nagging in the back of my mind. Why now?
I accidentally raped my boyfriend. What happened was I awoke to find my boyfriend rubbing up against me. After a little while, he pulled my hand, motioning for me to get on top of him to have sex, as he has done many times before. I obliged, and all was well, until he apparently woke up and pushed me off of him. I did not have any indication that he was asleep, since he was an active participant the entire time and was NOT lying there like a dead fish. In the morning, he expressed his displeasure about being woken up with sex. He said that he felt really violated.
I am a 19-year-old girl who is an identical triplet. All of us are tall, thin, and have curly red hair. We all attend the same state university because it’s cheapest for our parents. Both of my sisters met their boyfriends within the first month of school and are in committed relationships. I don’t have a boyfriend, although I’ve dated a few guys. The problem is that people don't know we're identical triplets, so they think they see one red-haired girl holding hands with one guy, then a few days later they see her kissing another guy, and a few days after that they see her with the first guy. Then they see me with different guys. People have started treating us nastily because of this. I’ve had people come up to me and threaten to tell my “boyfriend” I’m cheating on him.
My husband and I have been married for 10 years, together for 15. When we met, he was in a band and we did a lot of socializing, drinking, partying, etc. Over the years and two children later, I enjoy these activities less as the demands of parenting and full-time careers take top priority. My husband frequently makes the comment, "You used to be fun." I find it incredibly hurtful and have told him so, but he continues to repeat it. Sometimes I'm tempted to lash out and say, "Then go find yourself someone who is!"
I am terrified of the imminent climate change catastrophes our lifetime will bring. I’m prepared to face the end of our standard of living in the U.S., but the rising temperatures and burning forests don’t lie. Should I just savor the present moment until I can’t anymore?
I'm a 19-year-old bisexual woman, and I hate myself for liking men. I feel like I'm not queer enough to have a say in LGBT issues or to call myself a butch or own a strap-on, and I fully realize that this is stupid. I wish I were a lesbian, because I feel kind of hated and left out in the gay blogosphere/community, and I don't really feel any desire to plunge into heteronormative straight culture. The problem is that I keep having strong heart/vagina feelings for dudes. I know that this should be okay with me, and I should be able to say "fuck the haters, I like this person regardless of gender," but every time I’m out with a guy in public I feel guilty. I also really hate feeling closeted when I'm dating/screwing a dude, and I feel much more positive about myself when I'm with a woman. It feels more rebellious and anti-patriarchal to sleep with women, and I'm wondering how I can get over this and just enjoy being with people, because I'm ending up blowing off guys I really like and sleeping with women who treat me badly so that I can be with the more "ethical" gender. I hate biphobia and bi invisibility in real life, and I hate myself for participating in it, and it's probably anti-feminist of me to judge myself for my own desires. HELP!