I’m back — Did you miss me? Let’s raise our coffee mugs and beer steins and whatever else you have to Aunt Becky, who is out of Internet coverage and has recruited me to fill in as only your friendly neighborhood The Daver can. Thanks to all who sent Daver-friendly questions! Now gather ’round, gather ’round, and let’s all use our inside voices today, because The Daver is trying to catch up on his sleep thanks to being on Mr. Mom duty for several days.

Dear The Daver,

As my topic implies, I am dating someone who is not my baby’s father.

Since I know that you met your son Ben when he was 2, and therefore did not biologically create him, (or if you did your sperm are AMAZING,) here is my question:

When you and Aunt Becky first got together, how did you handle situations in which people assumed, seeing all three of you together, that you were a happy little family? Although we have been friends for a long time, our relationship is very new and it gets awkward when people who are not in the know congratulate him on the baby, or want to take a picture of the three of us.

He doesn’t seem to mind, but it’s gotta be a little weird for the guy…he doesn’t have any children of his own and I don’t want him to freak out when people just thrust him into the daddy role.

Is there a graceful way to handle this? I feel like just letting people assume he’s her daddy is maybe doing him an injustice, but to correct new aquaintances makes THEM feel awkward and apologetic.

Help me out, here, The Daver.

-Manda

Hi Manda,

I know that when people thought Ben was mine, I was always kinda flattered. I mean, I didn’t want to take credit, but he and I were Best Buds from the day we met, so I was perfectly happy to be in pictures or have someone guess wrong. I mean, sure, it was a little disconcerting at first — here I was, walking in to this person’s life, and I wasn’t expecting to become a capital-D-Dad so quickly, but in a way it just…happened. I loved him and wanted the best for him, and my biggest fear was measuring up to that.

Changing the way others perceive things is impossible; we had to put my last name on Ben’s school records because otherwise the school calls and asks for “Mrs. Ben’s-last-name” (NOT what she wants to be called, thankyouverymuch), and the mailman marks mail for him with a “here?”. To this day people comment on Ben’s resemblance to me. If I tried to correct all of them, I’d never have a conversation that didn’t involve explaining my ‘special’ relationship with my son. So I just say, “He sure is good looking, isn’t he?” and laugh later on.

So I’d say the only person you need to worry about is your boyfriend — talk to him about those awkward moments, have a laugh about the way people assume stuff, and tell him what YOU expect. Then when it happens again — because it WILL — you can give him a knowing look and he can play the role as much or as little as he’s comfortable doing, because he knows where you and your daughter stand — and those are the people he’s most concerned about anyhow.

-d

Hey, The Daver!

I’ve been dating this really awesome guy since January. We’ve seen each other every weekend ever since, we call each other many times a day, he has my house key and his toothbrush is hanging on my bathroom. I’ve met his parents a couple of times and he has met all of my friends.

And still, the last time we’ve talk about this (in the beginning of april), he insists that he’s not my boyfriend, because he doesn’t want to have a girlfriend. But we agreed that we aren’t allowed to date -or sleep- with other people.

The Daver, what the heck does he want?? I mean, he says he doesn’t want to be my boyfriend when he clearly is! He’s even thinking about all the stuff he will buy when he moves in with me!

Is it to lame to ask him if he still doesn’t want to go formal with me? Is he afraid of compromise, or just the idea of a girlfriend? Is he just waiting for a better chic?

Love,
The NOT girlfriend.

Oh, NOT girlfriend,

Alas, I don’t have psychic powers and I can’t see into his head to tell you for sure, but I have to ask you this: what do YOU want? If using the terms ‘boyfriend’ or ‘girlfriend’ to describe your relationship is important to you, then it’s important to understand why he’s so adamant not to be called those terms. Perhaps a previous relationship went too fast into those terms and it spooked him? Maybe he doesn’t want to jinx a good thing? Getting guys to talk about this stuff can be tricky, but if it’s upsetting you then he needs to know, and he needs to know why. Rather than just asking him to go ‘formal’, sit him down and share with him how it makes you feel, how he makes you feel, and what it would mean to you to use those terms, and give him an opportunity to open up about it. If he shares honestly, give him a BJ as a reward*, to encourage further sharing. :-)

What you don’t want to have is the doubt you feel about this seemingly minor terminology issue turn into doubt about the relationship as a whole. If the terms don’t match the usual terms, that’s one thing (Becky calls me “fart-face” or “asshole” more than “husband”) but if the commitments you expect aren’t there on both sides, that’s another, and you don’t want that to cloud the good stuff, or fester into something more serious.

He’d better not be waiting for a ‘better’ chick, though. Besides the fact that he’ll be waiting a long time, because OBVIOUSLY, that’s just a dick move, and we may need to put his balls in a jar.

-d

*that one’s for you, SciFi Dad. But I’m only half kidding. Less than half.

Dear The Daver,

(I’m a recent lurker, first-time poster, I love this blog!)
I have a problem because my boyfriend has a problem. He recently read a list of symptoms on The Internet and found that the crappy, omg, awful doldrum feeling he’s had for over a year is chronic depression. Except for suicidal tendencies, the list reads like a mini-biography. He has mentioned going to a therapist and even gone so far as looking up our local HMO approved shrinks in the area…but hasn’t made any appointments. I graduated from college with a psych major so I’m obviously all “oo-rah! go talk to a shrink!” but I don’t want to be pushy with him. I just want him to be happier, so how do I encourage therapy without saying “you’re a really unhappy dude, please make an appointment”? A guy’s perspective is much appreciated and I can’t really ask his friends on this one. Thanks in advance!

-MiniPeds-

Hey -MiniPeds-,

From personal experience being this very boyfriend, let me tell you: make him an appointment, and take him to it. This is not something that gets better on its own, and while depressed, it is unlikely that the idea of getting better registers enough to stir real action in him. Obviously, if you make the appointment and he outright refuses or gets upset with you, you can take a step back, but chances are pretty good that he’s not doing it because he’s just…not doing it. We depressed people tend to feel like making appointments not mandated by jobs or life is an awful lot of effort, and we’re already spending most of what we’ve got on the other stuff, so maybe next week I’ll feel better…

Now that my symptoms are managed, I’m so thankful that Becks made me go. And that she called me an idiot for stopping my meds when I felt better, and took care of me when I crashed after stopping my meds (even though she told me I was an idiot), and got me back on them. I learned my lesson, as most people who face this kind of thing do: the hard way. Having her to get me through the consequences of my mistakes changed everything.

So good luck. He’s lucky to have you.

-d

As always, agree, disagree, and help these kind folks out better than me in the comments!

Comments = full of the awesome. Like gravy. I can haz an RSS RSS feed .

24 Responses to Go Ask The Daver

  • Ami says:

    I totally cracked up about the nuts in a jar comment.

    My Dad says that my Mom keeps his left nut in a jar and if he’s a good boy he gets to hold the jar so the boys can be together but if he smarts off then she shakes the jar….

    Personally I think its a pretty good system for keeping him in line. I periodically threaten my husband with a jar of his very own if he doesn’t watch himself. lol.

    And based on these last two post The Daver, I have decided that I understand why Aunt Becky keeps you around and I approve. ;)

  • Ami says:

    I totally cracked up about the nuts in a jar comment.

    My Dad says that my Mom keeps his left nut in a jar and if he’s a good boy he gets to hold the jar so the boys can be together but if he smarts off then she shakes the jar….

    Personally I think its a pretty good system for keeping him in line. I periodically threaten my husband with a jar of his very own if he doesn’t watch himself. lol.

    And based on these last two post The Daver, I have decided that I understand why Aunt Becky keeps you around and I approve. ;)

  • Fran says:

    It may have been for SciFi Dad’s benefit, but it made me laugh my ass off!! And the nuts in a jar thing too :)

  • Jennifer B says:

    Wow, Daver, you really rock. I love reading your advice and getting to know you a little makes me so happy for Aunt Becky. She definitely deserves a guy as full of the Awesome as you. I’m going to pipe in on the NOT girlfriend situation, because I actually have experience there.
    My husband of 5 happy years used to be my NOT boyfriend. When I first met him he was not really in the market for a girlfriend. He was already dating a “disposable” girlfriend and he was at a place in his life where he wanted to be free to make his own life-altering decisions without affecting anyone else. He was finishing law school and taking the bar exam and finding a career. I was a little miffed after 9 months of dating for him to not acknowledge our status (similar to the one above) but the relationship was so good and felt so right that I let it go. I decided to be patient and let the relationship unfold as it may. The no-pressure attitude turned out to be exactly the right thing. After graduation, when we both moved to the same city and continued our dating without any pressure (neither of us dated anyone else at any point), he kindof realized that he was head over heels in love. All of a sudden, he was so into me and being my boyfriend I could hardly believe it. A few months later we moved in together and after a year or so got engaged, which was a surprise at the time, but our relationship was definitely headed down that path. We have always been right for each other and I knew it from the start. It took him a little longer to figure out, but it didn’t matter then (much) and it doesn’t matter now. What mattered was the quality of the relationship and how I felt being with him. My advice is this – some guys don’t react well to pressure. If you feel happy with the relationship, then a little patience may be all that’s needed. If you are feeling like this relationship isn’t exactly what you want, well then that’s another story. That would definitely require a discussion and more advice from the Daver, I think. Good luck & hope it works out.

    • The Daver says:

      Aw, thanks! I totally agree with you too, relationships are a compromise and sometimes the titles mean different things to different people. It might just be a matter of letting it all fall into place. Aunt Becky is lucky to have Pranksters as full of the Awesome as you guys, too :-)

  • Ali says:

    Nice Job, The Daver, nice job!

  • Mrslala says:

    Great advice D. Lovin it. ;)

  • Manda says:

    Thanks for answering my question, The Daver! I will definitely talk to him. I guess it never occured to me that he might secretly like it. I’ll ask him how he wants to handle it. Or better yet I’ll send him here, make him read this, and then text him a question mark.

    I love how we all totally bombarded you with ‘Omg, what do I do about my boyfriend?!’ type questions…like you can read other peoples minds just because you’re a dude.

  • Melissa says:

    I agree with the advice for the depressed boyfriend. I dont suffer from depression, but anxiety disorder. Granted, my meds are addictive and not everyone should take them, but DUDE. Living with panic attacks, and snapping at anybody that LOOKS at you wrong, the sweats, the hand wringing hours after getting home from work wondering if you did something wrong?

    Seriously, some people need benzos. << I am one of them.

    And until just about everyone in my life told me to take a chill pill, I wouldnt have considered it. My father TAKING me to one of the top ranking psychiatrists in the country (you dont need to do THAT, my Dad is weird about NY and top ranking doctors) it was decided. I no longer wonder if I locked my door all day, I no longer feel like I am going to have a heart attack at any given moment.

    That said, if my Dad hadnt DRAGGED me to his shrink, I would be a basket case to this day.

    • MiniPeds says:

      Daver! You rawk! Thank you SO much for your advice. Putting it into perspective with Melissa’s anxiety problems really brings it on home, too. If he was panicking all the time instead of feeling like ass 24/7, I think he would be more likely to do something about it. I guess that’s the ugly truth of depression, you’re too depressed to do anything about it.

  • mumma boo says:

    Nice job, Daver! You and Becks should have a “She Said/He Said” advice column on the new community site.

  • Becca says:

    Very good advice Daver, I have nothing to add

  • dude if a guys says stupid stuff like I don’t want to be a boyfriend – get away it will only end in tears

  • great advice!! i agree with the he said/she said column.

  • Kristin says:

    The Daver, you rock. Great advice and funny, too. Aunt Becky is a lucky duck!

  • SciFi Dad says:

    Were you depressed because she didn’t give you a blowjob?

    And the whole honesty bullshit thing didn’t help?

  • Christine says:

    Wow, The Daver, I’m really impressed with your advice!!! Even though you did got bombarded with all bf- related questions, ALL your advice was spot-on and much better than advice columns I usually read. I’ve never commented on a blog before but I really wanted to tell you did such a great job!

  • Jerseygirl89 says:

    You rock, The Daver. Great posts and great advice!

  • Jenn says:

    Great advice! It seems that our dear Aunt Becky is just as lucky to have you as you are to have her. :)

    My husband used to “refuse” to be my boyfriend, Once Upon a Time. I still referred to him as my boyfriend but he always introduced me as his ‘friend’ whenever I met anyone. I didn’t think much of the whole thing, to be honest. People get so hung up on terminology when what really matters is how someone treats you. So as long as he wasn’t fucking anyone else and he treated me well, I didn’t really give a rat’s ass what he was calling me.

  • Dot says:

    I think your advice is awesome (because it’s a lot like mine would be, of course).

    Sorry I said you always looked tired the last time you were guest-blogging — I was thinking of a different blogger’s husband.

  • Dot says:

    Oh, and if it’s still Ask the Daver time, why do men always talk about everything in terms of pi$$, $#it and sex? Oh, yeah, I forgot, this blog is not G-rated. Such as, shit-can it, up shit’s creek, shit out of luck, etc.

    And why do men think it’s cool to do everything naked at home? Such as sitting at the computer, or on the sofa? Don’t they realize that, as Denis Leary said, your underwear is there to protect your clothes (and your furniture) from your ass?

    I realize you can’t speak for all men, but I’m guessing you have more of a clue than I do about these things. :-)

  • Kate says:

    NOT girlfriend, I wish I could talk to you directly. I’m in a very similar situation, so I completely understand how frustrating it can be. We actually started out dating, but he broke up with me after a month. However, things never really died off much, and we’ve been in this weird situation for almost a year and a half now. He’s very touchy about the fact that he’s not my boyfriend, and even makes a big deal of reminding me of that sometimes. On the other hand, we’ve had discussions like whether or not we’ll be having kids someday, that STRONGLY imply we’ll be together for good. For the most part I’m okay with it, because even though we haven’t explicitly stated that we’re exclusive, it’s VERY apparent that he won’t touch another girl until I not only say it’s okay, but am also emotionally okay with it. At the same time, I completely understand the frustrations you’re feeling, especially the doubt of “Am I good enough? Is he just waiting for someone better? How do *I* handle this?” Good luck to you, and I hope it doesn’t go on for you as long as it has for me. :)

  • CycleNinja says:

    Dave,

    Spot-on advice about the depression medication. I’ve yo-yo’d too many times to count once I felt better and didn’t give full credit to the meds for being the source of my well-being.

    Cheers.

    Paul.

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