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Pervy Poodle!

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Totally Married Podcast

Episode 141

In this pre-recorded episode, Elizabeth and Andy dive into giving their unqualified advice to a BUNCH of listener questions – for starters there’s one about a poodle that’s a leetle too excited by all the, ahem, excitement, then how to handle feelings about your partner being bisexual, how to handle depression and anxiety within a relationship, what to do about your own jealousy in a relationship when you know it’s most likely only an issue thanks to a jerk ex, what to do when you are living under the same roof with your emotionally abusive mother, how to handle the giving gifts when your partner is trying to keep up with the Joneses, whether or not to try to give an olive branch to a future step-mother-in-law who is not receptive, how to gracefully bow out of a bridal shower that the bridesmaids are expected to pay for on top of the bachelorette party, what to do when your neighbors are neglecting their poor pups who are chained outside, and lastly, how to handle asking friends to be in your wedding party when they seem less than enthused. Whew! That’s a lot of unqualified advice. Enjoy!

16 Comments!

Liz says:

I actually totally disagree on the bridal party question– if this couple doesn’t seem happy for you or excited about the wedding, I wouldn’t ask them. There’s more to being in a bridal party than just being close friends with someone. How are they going to feel about planning extra events for your wedding and spending extra money on clothing, the bachelor/bachelorette parties, etc. when they’re already being weird about just the engagement? I’d just chill on it for now. Weddings bring up a lot of personal stuff for people and so much of being in a wedding party is putting the bride and groom’s needs before your own. You’ve already been given a warning that these 2 are going to let their stuff get in the way of celebrating with you. If they work it out and start acting normal you can always add them later.

Writer Inner! says:

Thanks for your advice, Liz! (And thanks Elizabeth and Andy for answering my question!) I’ve been thinking about it for a while, since I am totally an Elizabeth level obsesser, and I think I will just sit on it for a while. The friendship has definitely cooled down a lot since I asked the question, and while I think being in a wedding is an honor, it’s also asking a lot of people, so your friendship should probably be pretty solid going into it – I can’t imagine not asking my other bridesmaids, and with this girl… I can see her not being in the wedding and it’s fine. My fiance will probably ask the guy, but they’ve known each other for way longer, so I think that will be okay too. Also it’s just a wedding so we should probably just calm down a bit. :)

Amy says:

Congratulations on your sweet love! She is SO beautiful!!! Couldn’t be more excited for you all! Great name choice, btw! I wasn’t sure you could beat the name “Baby Oprah,” but Baby Teddy is AWFULLY cute!!!! So, so happy for you.

Kat says:

Elizabeth you look so beautiful as a mama! So excited for you, Andy, and little Teddy Rosen-velt! Welcome to the world!

Becca says:

I recently got married and have had a lot of baby/bridal showers to attend/throw recently so I wanted to chime in on the writer-inner’s question. I’ll preface my answer by saying I completely understand there are regional differences, and also some families just do it differently. This is how it was done for me and how I think it should be done.

First, it depends on the family and friend dynamics. We had 240 guests (plus more that couldn’t make it but were invited) so I had three showers (plus one from each of our work) one for each family and one for my friends. I didn’t feel that one shower would be a good idea, way too hectic. My bridesmaids threw the one for my friends and it’s my understanding that they divided the cost four ways between them. It was held at my mom’s house since my college aged sister/MOH lives there. Then, my bridesmaids threw my bachelorette party, and paid for decorations and alcohol in the room-all the guests split the cost of the hotel rooms.

The two family showers were thrown by our moms/aunts. Two of my bridesmaids live out of state so they didn’t attend those or send a gift – I wouldn’t expect them to because of the shower they threw and the cost involved with flying to Michigan twice and buying their dress, etc. My bridesmaids were not expected to contribute to the family showers in anyway, and since they were not hosting, in my opinion, they shouldnt be.

As for as the writer-inner, if there is only going to be one bridal shower thrown by both families and the bridesmaids, then I think she should be expected to contribute, but it think the moms (and/or aunts if they’re also hosting) should be expected to pay their share as well. If the bridesmaids are expected to pay for the shower they should be the ones planning it so they can choose a place, food, etc. they can afford. While planning my wedding I read that some people don’t think the mother of the bride (don’t think I read anything about the mother of the groom) shouldn’t throw a shower because that looks “gift grabby” (don’t get me started on that word) and would be similar to the bride throwing herself a shower. My guess is that’s why they’re expecting the bridesmaids to pay for it, but as I said, if they bridesmaids are paying, i.e. Hosting, they should be planning and choose where it’s at.

My suggestion would be for the bridesmaid to see if there’s a way she can contribute without spending as much money, ex. Baking the cake or cupcakes, making decorations, etc. that could reduce the overall cost and hopefully be cheaper to do homemade. I do think it is a “responsibility” of a bridesmaid to contribute to the bridal shower and/or bachelorette party, but i think it should be on their terms.

Sorry that was so long winded, these are just my opinions and experiences. I hope something can be worked out, I’m sure she wouldn’t want to miss out on this part of her friend’s wedding events.

Congratulations to you both, welcome to the Totally (un)Laime family Theodora!!!

Lindsey says:

For the writer-inner regarding who should pay for/ host a wedding shower:

http://www.emilypost.com/weddings/new-times-new-traditions/129-who-can-host-a-shower

“Must the bridesmaids host a shower?
Contrary to popular belief, the maid/matron of honor and the bridesmaids are not required to host a shower as part of their official responsibilities, though they certainly can if they want to.”

It is already a financial burden to be a Bridesmaid- it is not your responsibility to pay for a bridal shower unless YOU OFFERED TO THROW ONE.

I would politely tell the mom and the mother of the groom that they need to find a host for the party because the bridesmaids were not planning on the additional financial burden.

Writer Inner says:

I wrote in regarding this, and as of now only the bridesmaids are paying. The MOH is the sister of the bride and has a very well paying job, while the rest of us earn a good living, but throwing a shower for 100 people can be a burden, in addition to a 20 person bachelorette party in a beach town Labor Day weekend. As of right now, we are splitting it 5 ways, but the MOB and MOG picked the locale, which is pricier than some of the others. But, one bridesmaid has very little money, works part time and is a single mom, I’m not sure as of now what her financial contribution will be if any, so it could be four ways. Either way, once the price of the shower is finalized I’ll make a decision of how many days I’ll attend the bachelorette, since finding lodging for 20 people can be hard, especially labor day weekend in a beach/tourist town.

This friend was my MOH and my mother paid for the shower, but my friend was the official host. She made hummus, did the invites and also purchased non alcoholic drinks for the shower. Which, I wouldn’t mind doing some of those things, but having it at a private club, then doing favors and invites for 100 people can add up FAST. My shower was only about 25 people or so. Anyway, thanks for the input. My mother is all about etiquette and I’m surprised she didn’t google this and send it to me.

Cory says:

A friend of mine was in a similar situation- where she was asked to contribute an exorbitant amount of money to participate as a bridesmaid.

She ended up writing the bride a letter saying “I’m thrilled for you and am so honored to be included in your wedding party, unfortunately I can’t afford to chip in for all the festivities…etc”. It was super nice and regretful sounding- I know this because I read over it before she sent it.

She ended up being uninvited from all festivities, the wedding, and the bride never spoke to her again :0 So crazy!

Also ELIZABETH loving all the cute ‘grams of Teddy and the pets! Congrats on your adorable family!

Masha says:

First of all, congratulations on your baby! Teddy is a really nice name–it’s unique (for a girl) but also easy to pronounce. Enjoy these first weeks with your new member of your family :)

I also wanted to comment in response to the question about how to deal with a bisexual partner. I think you and Andy answered this perfectly. As a bisexual woman married to a man, I’ve addressed this issue a few times in my own life. Admittedly, there’s much less of a stigma behind being a bi woman than a bi man. Nevertheless, when I recently came out to some family members about being bi, their concern was what this meant for my marriage. My husband and I explained to our family members that because we have a monogamous commitment, me being bi doesn’t mean anything more for our marriage than does the fact that my husband has the potential to be attracted to women of all ethnicities or all hair colors. I’m not worried that my husband regrets that he’ll never be with a redhead again and he’s not worried that I’ll regret that I’ll never be with a woman again.

There is a stereotype that being bi is a stop on the way to being gay (I don’t remember exactly how you two put it), and one reason that this stereotype exists is that there are a lot of gay men who first come out as bi (to ease the blow) and eventually come out as gay. But keep in mind that there are also a lot of girls in high school who will kiss other girls for attention or who call themselves bi because it’s a trend; the fact that there are some girls who identify as bi who aren’t doesn’t mean that there aren’t girls who are truly bi.

I suspect there are probably many bi men who aren’t out to most people about it because of the way society stigmatizes bi men. A bi man may choose to mostly date other men because many women don’t want to date a bi man. Or a bi man may end up with a woman simply because there are way more women who date men than men who date men, so it’s statistically more likely that they’ll end up in a ‘straight’ relationship. My point is that because bisexuality is something that is hard to spot without a person explicitly coming out (especially once someone is in a monogamous relationship), it’s not surprising that people underestimate the number of bi people who they know. That’s why I decided to come out to those family members recently; I wanted to do a small part to erase the bisexual invisibility that exists.

I think that the boyfriend of the writer-inner did everything right. There’s nothing wrong with the fact that he was seeing someone else before they became exclusive, and it’s great that he told her about it. I do think it’d be a good idea for her to read some literature about bisexuality and ask him if it’s okay for her to ask some (respectful) questions, to ease her mind and to make sure they have an open line of communication.

By the way, I loved how many questions you two answered in this episode!

O-Shen Christ says:

Agreed! being bi is the last step towards enlightened love as spirit has no sex and love is love irregardless of the form. One need only read Rumi to see this. Judgements about sexual preference are hilarious since no one is a body only spirit and u change bodies so much it becomes mute what sex you are from lifetime to lifetime. This choice is only for learning lessons which some forms lend an easier opportunity to learning. Same goes for monogamy. There is only one mind seeming to appear as many so that is also a hilarious ego identification and the more insistent one is on loving you as special the farther away from oneness and real unconditional love. Take heart everyone learns all this eventually and in fact since time is backwards you have all already learned it so have fun and do what makes you happy trying to rid yourself from guilt each day

JAMI says:

Hey I’m the writer-inner with the Bi boyfriend

Essentially: I’ve been friends with him for a year and dating him for 4 months now and it’s been going well.

Thanks for the great advice E&A and for the great comments!

Since I wrote in, I’ve spoken more to my boyfriend about his sexuality and he’s been really open. I’ve learned a lot and I feel like Its improved our relationship and brought us closer. As Andy said on the show, the fact that he told me up front and has been so open with me has been great.

MASHA, do you have advice on good books regarding bisexuality?

Thanks again for all your great responses! I love the podcasts, the questions and answers.

Masha says:

Jami, I’m so glad that it’s going really well for you! I haven’t personally read any books about bisexuality. I listen to the Savage Lovecast a lot, which has helped me be very versed in various issues relating to sex and sexuality, so I would suggest that. When I realized I was bi, I was already a member of the Queer Student Union at my college (attending meetings as a straight ally, which was how I had always identified), so I was able to get a lot of feedback and information through those meetings. However, I did a few google searches just now and found that there are some lists of books about bisexuality:
http://www.amazon.com/Best-Books-on-Bisexuality/lm/R1YXQCXIW0NMJ5
http://www.bilerico.com/2007/12/10_books_every_bisexual_should_read.php

It’s probably a good idea to read the reviews on Amazon of a few of those and find the most relevant and promising ones. (Like you probably don’t want anything where the focus is on bi women or that was written 30 years ago.)
When I wrote my response yesterday, I did a search for bisexual invisibility and found a good PDF from the San Francisco Human Rights Commission about it:
http://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/19907257/bi%20invisibility%20-%20FULL%20final%20for%20HRC.pdf
This describes a lot of stereotypes about bisexuality and the ways that bisexuality tends to be ‘erased’. This might be a good read to see common stereotypes and biphobic ideas/actions that you can avoid, especially in your interactions with other people regarding your boyfriend. You have the opportunity to do a lot of good by being the proud/comfortable girlfriend of a bi man and showing other people that a man being bisexual takes nothing away from his ability to be a great partner to a woman. I’m curious: is your boyfriend out and do your friends/family know that he’s bi? How have people responded? (I’ve seen some negative reactions in some friends of mine when they learned that one of our friends had a crush on a bi guy, so I’m curious about the kind of feedback you’ve gotten.)

But really, Jami, I wouldn’t worry too much. You have an open line of communication with your boyfriend and that’s the most important thing. :)

O-Shen Christ, your comment sounded like you believed you and I are in agreement, but I was not saying that bisexuality and non-monogamy are for everyone and that they are what people should aspire to. It’s not okay for ex-gay organizations to tell gay/bi folks that they need to try to be straight, and it’s not okay for you to tell straight/gay people that they need to try to be bi. Same goes for non-monogamy: in our culture, monogamy is expected and people who choose open or ‘monogamish’ relationships usually have to hide it or they are looked down upon, and I think that the stigma toward these non-traditional relationships needs to be broken down. But that is *not* the same as saying that there’s something wrong with people who are happy in their monogamous relationships.

Jess says:

:D :D SO happy for you guys! Congratulations on your beautiful baby girl!

Also, thanks for addressing my question (the one about talking to my boyfriend about my depression). Things are still tough, but I’ve had a few minor break-throughs in therapy and he and I have had a few good talks, so I’m a little more optimistic :)

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