Tag: advice

Whit’s End: My Ex-Husband Owes Me $50,000. How Can I Get Back at Him?



Hey, Al:

Here is the problem. My ex-husband and I have been divorced for 5 years, and getting money from him is like pulling out teeth with tweezers. We have two teenagers who go to expensive schools. He partially pays for school, but is always underpaying because he says that he doesn’t have to pay for any “extras.” He just refuses to give me anything for medical expenses. At this point he owes me nearly $50,000, but he ignores my requests for reimbursement.

He is a businessman who makes and spends a lot of money, so tight finances are not the problem. Since I make very little, the only way I can make it financially is with help from my parents, who are not wealthy but were always frugal and have savings.

Part of it is that he is getting back at me for divorcing him, and the other part is that in his world, “suckers pay.” He wants the whole world, and especially me, to know that he is the man and that he’s in charge. What should I do?

Tired of Getting Stiffed


Whit’s End: I’m Bored; Should I Break Up With My Boyfriend?



Hi, Whit:

My boyfriend, “Riley”, and I are in our late 20s and have been together for more than two years. We get along well and don’t fight. We have discussed marriage and kids, and have fun together, but we don’t live together. Our sex life is active and healthy, and we love each other.  What we have is good, and I don’t want to lose it, but I do get bored sometimes.

Recently, I made a new, guy friend, “Cole”, who is sexy, smart, and handsome. He’s in a relationship too. Since I am definitely attracted to him, I’m trying not to flirt, but he has made comments and gestures that suggest he’s interested too.

In the beginning, I felt I was clear to Cole about just being friends. Then, when we started hanging out, I let him know again, and more explicitly, that I only wanted something platonic. I thought he felt the same way, but now I’m not so sure. Maybe I was a little naïve, but I also thought a guy who was already “taken” would be a safer choice as a friend.

Maybe I’m just interested in this new guy because I’m bored with my boyfriend.  I’m not sure and would like to spice up my life. My question, I guess, is whether I should let something happen with this guy.

Interested and Bored

Just How Much Should Kids’ Sports Matter?



Got questions about life? Love? Parenting? Work? Write to Whit’s End, a new advice column by local husband, father, teacher, coach, former executive and former Marine Corps officer Al Whitaker.  Each week Al will address readers’ questions about anything ranging from school issues, coaching problems, relationship quandaries and more!  His experience is vast, and he holds a degree in psychology, too. To submit a question, email [email protected]

Dear Whit:

My son is a good athlete and has played on his school sports teams and in rec leagues for years.  This year, he has a new coach at school who is barely playing him.  It kills me to see how heartbroken he is — frankly, depressed — about not getting any play.  I don’t think the coach realizes the devastating effect he is having on my son.

I want to call the coach and tell him about this, but my husband absolutely forbids me from doing so.  My son said the same thing.  What gives?  Is this about guy code?  It seems awful silly to me, after all, what is the value of school athletics?  Isn’t it to teach them a skill, give them exercise, and build their confidence?  Why not call the coach?

Confused about Guy Code

Dear Confused,

Like most parents, you want to help your son when he is hurting, especially when you believe that you could easily take care of the problem. You want to step in and make him and everything better, right?  But, you can’t because the time has passed when you can kiss his boo-boo and wipe the tears away.

You need to ask yourself what you want to accomplish by going to the coach. First, remember the Hippocratic oath to “do no harm” because it applies to parents too. What do you think the coach’s response will be? Most likely, he will resent parental interference because in all likelihood he will have told the players to talk to him directly about any problems or concerns. Remember, he’s not in rec-league anymore, so let him speak and fight for himself.

If your son has been playing school sports for years, I’m guessing that he is a teen-ager in high school and well past the age when his parents need to protect him. Some people say that fathers want to prepare their children and that mothers want to protect them. Whether that is true or not, you want your son to have plenty of practice making his own decisions when you can’t be there to look out for him. The sooner you start expecting him to think and do for himself, the sooner you will be able to have confidence that he can do just that.

Is this mentality part and parcel of “guy code”? If you mean not wanting his mother to “fight his battles”, then “yes”. But that’s not all it is, because you’d want your daughter to be just as capable and self-sufficient as your son. Your son’s coaches want him to come to them if he has a problem because he is the one who will have to take the measures to fix it, not you. One of the most important skills that sports teaches is taking responsibility for one’s behavior and one’s performance. When he reaches that point, your son will have the confidence in himself that he needs to be successful in his life as well as in his sports. That’s not guy code; that’s grown code.



The Best Baltimore High School Graduation Speech That No One’s Given Yet


2011 Aspen Ideas Festival - Day 5

I’m a big fan of Ta-Nehisi Coates, the Atlantic columnist/memoirist/all around sharp guy. Late last week, someone wrote in and asked him what he’d tell the graduating class at Poly, his alma mater, if he was invited back to give a speech. First, Coates points out that while at Poly he failed English, got suspended for assaulting a teacher, and was eventually asked to leave the school (twice!). “So, you see, it is highly unlikely that I would ever be invited back to Poly to address the students,” he writes. (In his stead, he nominates his older brother Malik, a Poly grad who now works for Dreamworks.) But then he goes on to sketch out the sort of speech he would give, if presented with the chance to speak to a class of Baltimore high school students — and it’s pretty rad.

Holiday Tips from John Waters


Along with being a total creep (in the best way possible!), an ardent Baltimorean, and an amazing filmmaker, John Waters is also king of Christmas. The John Waters Christmas album is required listening in certain households at this time of year; the truly lucky among us get to see the man with the mustache perform his annual Christmas show live (tour dates here). He also has a lot of opinions. Here are a few of our favorite John Waters holiday tips (from interviews with the Baltimore Sun and Vice):

  • “Gift baskets should contain cigarettes, candy, and drugs, things you would never buy for yourself.”

What to Do Once Those Early Decision Answers Arrive


Johns Hopkins mailed out its early decision acceptances late last week — yes, that’s them in the photo — meaning that soon 561 eager prospective Blue Jays will be celebrating soon. (And, alas, that 898 will get less-than-happy news.)

As we noted before, lots of schools have seen a jump in ED applications, but Hopkins’s this year was quite significant; the school got nearly 10 percent more applications than last year. Our guess as to why? The university’s consistent and engaging online presence — for example, you can read here about what one admissions officer ate for breakfast on the day that admissions went out. Maybe that sounds silly or trivial, but kids in the midst of the college admissions race are often so consumed with anxiety that every little bit of data is soothing.

The Hopkins admissions team also understands the limits of the online platform. Admissions staff member Daniel Creasy posted a plea that students process the result — whatever it may be — offline:

“No matter what decision you receive, get off the computer after you receive your e-mail. This is a major milestone in your young life, and you should share your initial reactions and emotions with your family and those closest to you. These people have been there since the first moment of your life, and they will be there FOREVER. Your family is not some online community. Your family is not Facebook. Your family is not some anonymous screen name. Your family is not this blog. Please heed this advice. Receive your decision and sign off. Don’t update your Facebook status. Don’t post a comment on this blog. Share your thoughts and emotions in the REAL WORLD first. The virtual world will be there later for you to provide a social media spin on your news.  I say it every year … let the news sink in first. React in the real world before entering the cyber world.”

Wise words.