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7 Ways to Fight the “Mommy Problem” from Within Your Relationship

November 12, 2014

1 Comment


photo via Wikimedia Commons

We loved Heather Havrilesky’s “Mommy Problem” article in the Times this past weekend, about how “the culture demands that every mother be all in, all the time.” And we’re not alone, clearly: We’ve lost count of the number of our friends who have given it the “yep” response in their Facebook feed. Responding in Jezebel, Tracy Moore writes:

It’s still strangely odd to me when someone says, “What’re you up to lately, just being a mom?” Yup, JUST BEING A MOM. Just MOMMING IT UP. As if people can’t reconcile that being a person is a complex interrelated set of roles that are on and off at any given moment and often overlap, and that this is true for everyone ALL THE TIME, not just women! It’s almost always said to me by men, by the way, who are almost never pigeonholed in this way. They are men, and people, who happen to be dads at various moments when they are actually doing dad stuff.

We wish we could change this culture in one single blog post. We wish we could change men’s attitudes in one single blog post. We wish we could fix the Mommy Problem in one single blog post. But in the absence of a Feminist Fairy Godmother to grant us all these wishes, we’d like to offer this advice instead: While we wait for the culture to change (and do everything we can to change it, of course, along the way), here are seven small ways you can fight the Mommy Problem in your own relationship and help erase the contradictory caricature of ideal mothers as “sexy but sexless,” as Havrilesky writes. After all, moms are sexual creatures, too.

1. Insist on Coparenting

At least whenever possible. Nurturing, cuddling, tickling, boo-boo Band-Aiding, dinner-making, homework-helping, party-planning, cleaning — these are all parental responsibilities that can and should be shared by fathers. (Similarly, mothers should feel free to mow the lawn.) Of course, some delineation is necessary and often enjoyable, but living as if mothers possess something in their DNA that makes them uniquely — i.e.¬†solely — qualified for caretaking is dangerous retro Mad Men b.s. Coparenting will help you feel less like you’ve given up your entire identity for your kids, while enriching your partner’s experience with and connection to the kids (not to mention setting a good example for them of what gender equality is all about). Plus, a dad who can change a diaper in 20 seconds flat is HOT!

2. Don’t Let Your Partner Call You “Mommy”

When you two are talking with the kids, that’s totally fine. But when it’s just the two of you having an adult conversation, or even when the two of you are having a one-on-one conversation in front of the kids, call each other by your names. “Let’s thank Mommy for this awesome dinner” is okay. “Hey Mommy, where’d you put the car keys” is not. After all, you are a multidimensional person, and not actually the mother of your partner. (However, if you as a couple would like to use “Mommy” or “Daddy” in a kinky way in the bedroom, that’s totally up to you! We won’t judge.)

3. Make Dates with Your Partner

It’s an oldie but a goodie. With so much on your plates as parents, it’s easy to put the kids to bed and then crash on the couch together, night after night, in front of mindless TV for an hour or two to unwind. And we’re not suggesting you deny yourself this simple pleasure entirely. But you have to give yourselves the opportunity — regularly — to remember why you had kids together in the first place, why you fell in love in the first place: because you enjoyed their company and wanted to have sex with them for the rest of your life! Going out just the two of you, reminiscing about the past, not talking about potty training and after school activities, can help you reconnect to this truth. And we’re not talking about going to the same restaurant and ordering the same dish every Tuesday at 8pm — these dates, at least occasionally, need to be new and novel for both of you, in order to help maintain the spark.

4. Get a Lock for Your Bedroom Door

You don’t have to keep it locked all night, if that freaks out you, or your kids, but at least latch the door for fifteen (or so) minutes while you’re getting busy. It’s good for your kids to know that you as parents need and deserve, not necessarily sex, but quality alone time, at least when they’re old enough to be self-sufficient for the length of a quickie. Play music, or a white noise machine, to help drown out any noise from the other side of the door.

5. Have Morning Sex

Set your alarm ten minutes early for a reason other than your offspring. It’s a good way to do something for yourself before you and/or your partner pack lunches and backpacks and drive the kids to school. It’s kind of like wearing really raunchy underwear and not telling anyone.

6. Play with Power Roles in the Bedroom

Be the boss in the bedroom, and then let your partner be the boss the next day. Be demanding, and then be meek. Ask for exactly what you want and need… without saying please. Say please and beg a lot. Then realize that you can shrug off these roles as easily as a pair of underwear.

7. Treat Yourself to a Decent Vibrator

We get it — sometimes after a day of being groped by kids, the last thing you want is to roll around in bed with your partner. But there are other ways to find a grownup kind of release, remember. Take five minutes of me time with your favorite LELO pleasure object¬†while the kids are watching a show. Because one of the best things about vibrators is that they allow you to be completely selfish for once!

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Your Call: Is Revenge a Dish Best Served Cold or Not at All?

November 10, 2014

4 Comments


photo via Flickr

We get a lot of advice questions coming in at EMandLO.com, but sadly, we just can’t answer them all. Which is why, once a week, we turn to you to decide how best to advise a reader. Make your call on the letter below by leaving your advice in the comments section. 

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Hi Em & Lo,

Love your article “10 Things That Feel Better Than Getting Revenge on an Ex.” Although I completely agree with your points, I just found out my ex was cheating on me. The other girl he was seeing found me on Facebook and we’ve been talking. On one hand, I don’t want to give this jerk any more of my time or energy. But on the other, this other girl is insisting on revenge (making gay dating profiles, egging his car, hooking up with his friends… high school stuff). I know we’re better than this, but this is the third time I’ve been cheated on. He looked me the eyes and told me he would treat me right. That I could trust him… So I can’t help but want revenge this time. I’m sick of being the bigger person, even though I know it’s the right thing to do. I just can’t seem to walk away from this and move on.

He doesn’t know we know about each other and I think he at least deserves to know he didn’t get away with this. But what do you suggest, Em & Lo? And if it’s to be the bigger person… how did you guys find the willpower?

Thank you for hearing me out :) ,

– A Woman Scorned

What should A.W.S. do? Leave your advice in the comments below…

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Dear Em & Lo: In Defense of Cheating on My Husband

November 7, 2014

5 Comments

Dear Em & Lo,

I’ve read your books and love your website, but I notice you are against any infidelity and look down on those who have affairs, but you’re okay with swinging and group sex and anal sex probes and bisexuals and all kinds of things that normal folks (who occasionally stray) find disgusting. I guess my point is, how can you judge like that?¬† You judge cheaters but support skank!¬† You know your sex drive better than I do, obviously, but let’s say your husband could no longer perform in bed due to E.D.¬† You don’t honestly expect me to believe you would go without sex or rely on a sex toy for the rest of your life, do you?¬† I think that’s B.S.

What I’d like you both to know is that we’re not bad people.¬† We’re your softball coaches and school teachers.¬† I feed my neighbor’s son peanut butter and jelly on a Tuesday afternoon and have sex with her husband on Thursday night because she hasn’t let him touch her since she had the baby — THREE YEARS AGO!¬† We’re not trailer trash from the Jerry Springer show. We’re real people, ignored by our spouses.¬† We’re not evil. Give us a break, okay? After all, it’s not like you two are devout Church-going types either, ya know? You preach about free, uncommitted sex with both the opposite sex and the same sex (as long as a condom is involved) and hey, that’s fine.¬† Just don’t judge the rest of us. There are reasons for the things we do.¬† We don’t spread disease through our little suburban neighborhoods or anything like that.

– Straying Dog

Dear S.D.,

Here’s what we do judge:

  1. Lying to your husband (except when he asks if his penis is too small).
  2. Lying to your neighbor (except when she asks if her new haircut makes her look like Blossom).
  3. Lying to anyone, for that matter. And yes, faking orgasms is lying.
  4. Sex without barrier protection (i.e. condoms) — unless you’re committed to one another, have been tested together, have agreed to incur the risks of forgoing barrier protection, and are using another form of birth control (unless of course you’re both trying to get pregnant together).
  5. Sexism.
  6. Homophobia.
  7. Anti-choice people who want to take away our reproductive rights, comprehensive sex education, and access to birth control.
  8. Um, we can’t think of much else that we do judge. Pleated khakis on men, maybe?

And here’s what we don’t judge (as long as it’s done safely and consensually, of course):

  1. Homosexuality.
  2. Bisexuality.
  3. Swinging.
  4. Group sex.
  5. Open relationships.
  6. Casual safe sex (so long as both parties understand and accept its casual nature).
  7. Anal play.
  8. Sex toys, including anal sex probes.
  9. Kink.
  10. Roleplaying.
  11. Spanking.
  12. Bondage.
  13. Booty calls.
  14. Dirty talk.
  15. Phone sex.
  16. Text sex.
  17. Pony play (okay, sometimes we judge pony play…hey, we’re only human).
  18. Strap-on sex.
  19. Celibacy.
  20. Solo sex.
  21. Latex.
  22. Watersports.
  23. Legal prostitution.

Need we go on? We didn’t think so. You’re right — you totally nailed us. So long as sex is consensual, legal, honest, and fully condom-ed, we probably wouldn’t judge it. But if you’re married and sleeping with your neighbor’s husband and the respective spouses don’t know about it or don’t condone it — then hells yes, we judge you! You think anal probes are skank? Well, we think that cheating on your husband — and not only that, but doing it with someone else’s husband, to boot — is 100% pure skank.

We know we sound naive when we say this. We know we’re idealists. And we admit we have no idea what it’s like to want to stay in a crumbling marriage for the kids (or for the mortgage). We have no idea what it’s like to be ignored in a marriage — or in the bedroom. And we have no idea what it’s like to be married to an inoperative penis.

We can think of only a few very special circumstances where unsanctioned cheating might be justifiable, or at least understandable: For example, a husband suffers from E.D. and it threatens his masculinity to the point where he just completely shuts off from anything sexual and doesn’t deal with it at all it in order to keep it together psychologically, while his wife, who loves him and wants to be with him and doesn’t want to break his heart, decides to get a little no-emotional-strings-attached-sex on the side to satisfy her needs. Maybe we could understand that.

Or maybe not. We’re inclined to believe that in the majority of cases of cheating, there’s a lot of rationalizing that’s done on the part of the cheater for two major reasons. First, because it allows people the opportunity for drama and excitement in their lives (doing the new & novel thing, doing the forbidden thing, the taboo thing, the wrong thing always does). But that drama and excitement comes at the expense of the trust and feelings and dignity of the people they made a promise to, the people they’re supposed to truly love: their spouses. Second, it’s simply the easier way out.

Sure, it sucks if your husband gets E.D., but isn’t that the whole point of “in sickness and in health”? Also, who said that sex has to be all about intercourse? Last we heard, cunnilingus didn’t involve the penis. Same goes for handwork…and sex toys. The same goes for most of the stuff in our don’t-judge list, too. We’re sorry, but we just don’t think that faulty mechanics void your marriage vows (assuming, of course, that your marriage vows included sexual fidelity).

And sure, it sucks if your husband or wife ignores you, but since when did cheating solve that? Last we heard, good old-fashioned communication was a much better tool to fix that kind of problem. Or marriage counseling. Or divorce.

If your partner just plain doesn’t want sex anymore and you do — and you’ve tried everything you can possibly think of to remedy the situation, including reading all our books and seeing a sex or marriage therapist together — then ask their permission to have an affair. (Yep, that’s right, if they give their permission, it’s not skanky — it’s just good, clean fun.) If your partner says no, then you have two options: (1) Leave them. (2) Suck it up and deal with a sexless marriage (and learn to appreciate the art of masturbation). And those are your only two options. If sex is soooooooooo important to you that you think it justifies cheating, then it should be important enough to you to get a divorce. And if your marriage is soooooooooo important to you that you can’t possibly consider a divorce, then guess what? You’re going to have to sacrifice the sex part.

If you choose option one and leave your partner OR you get permission for extra-curricular nookie from your partner, do not, under any circumstances, have an affair with someone else’s spouse (especially not your friends’ and neighbors’ spouses!). We’re all in this monogamy biz together, and it’s our civic responsibility to keep each other honest and faithful. We don’t care if you’re not spreading STDs (though you can never be 100% sure about that if people are sleeping around) — you’re still spreading lying, disrespect, and some seriously bad karma.

We know that a sanctioned affair isn’t really the “done” thing yet. But you know what? It should be! Slowly, more and more people are catching on. And we’re going to keep on preaching our honesty message until the rest of you cheaters get on board.

And that’s the gospel according to Em & Lo.

From our high horse,

Em & Lo

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Dream Interpretation: Pregnant and Husband Cheated On Me

November 6, 2014

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Other people’s dreams are never interesting…except when they’re about sex. Each week, our dream analyst Lauri Loewenberg tells one lucky reader what their dirty dream means. Got a dream you want Lauri to analyze? Click here to submit it (18 and older only, please). This week, a reader asks Lauri:

I’ve been having many dreams that my husband left me for another girl while I am pregnant, and I’ve been waking up with tears. I keep on dreaming this, like 5-6 times already. I’ve been trying to look up the meaning of it — I don’t know why I keep on dreaming that. I hope I find an answer and I hope it won’t mean anything.

Lauri:¬†Fear not! It is sooooo common to dream hubby cheats while we are pregnant, and it rarely means he actually is. There are a few reasons for this dream. One may be that you are not feeling your usually sexy self right now. You may be feeling nauseous, emotional, worried, etc. and, depending on where you are in your pregnancy, you may feel you look more like a whale than a woman. These feelings can cause serious concern that hubby doesn’t find you attractive anymore, especially if you yourself aren’t feeling it, and this will manifest in your dreams. But trust me, most men just love it when their woman is pregnant. It is a testament to his own manhood after all!

In addition, with you being “in a delicate way,” there are probably several activities the two of you used to do together that you can no longer do: drinking, partying, sports, etc. Subconsciously, you may be feeling that your pregnancy is getting in the middle of your marriage. And it can get in the middle of it, if you let it. Rather than looking at it as taking away from certain aspects of the marriage, look at it as adding a certain magic to it, because a pregnancy truly is a magical and wonderful thing! Fall in love with your pregnant body. Be confident with it. This will radiate off of you and your husband will be SO TURNED ON! Change your attitude and you will change your dreams.

 

Visit Lauri’s site,¬†WhatYourDreamMeans.com, for even more dream interpretations! If you want to be able to figure out your own dreams every morning, then check out her latest book,¬†Dream On It: Unlock Your Dreams Change Your Life, which will give you the tools you need to become a dream expert, too.¬†Check out all of Lauri’s books here.

 

 

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The Real Reason Why Guys Love Blowjobs So Much

November 4, 2014

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photo via flickr

Advice from three of our guy friends. This week they answer the following: What’s the big deal about blowjobs — seriously, what makes them so special?

Gay Single Guy (Daniel): On the physical level, it’s simple: they feel fucking amazing. They provide physical sensations so desirable that a straight man would let a queer guy suck him off, either for the right amount of money or with the lights out. It’s that real. But aside from that, I recently asked some straight female friends whether or not they actually enjoy giving head, or do they really just do it because they know the guy will like it. Unanimously they said the latter, and that’s why blowjobs are indeed quite special. For many women (and certainly not all), blowjobs aren’t about the immediate satisfaction of their physical wants, but rather, the pleasure gained from satisfying someone else’s desires. There is an element of selflessness. A woman might even think giving blowjobs is downright nasty, but might continue to blow her man because she gets off on getting her man off. Some guys know this and thus know just how lucky they are for getting one.

Straight Single Guy (Mark): My first reaction is an overwhelming, “What isn’t the big deal about blowjobs?!”¬† But there’s more than just the primal, physical, when-they’re-good-they’re-freaking-amazing aspect. Of course there’s the stereotype that the appeal of BJs is about some sort of control or domination/submissiveness, but I think there are deeper factors involved, like trust and acceptance, that truly make them so great. Oral sex — in both directions, by the way — can in many ways be even more intimate than the regular ol’ in-n-out.

We don’t always acknowledge the more emotional aspects of oral, but — even if partly subconsciously — those elements probably get closer to the heart of what makes this expression of affection so special.¬† To be face-to-face and naughty-bits-to-naughty-bits is one thing.¬† But for your partner to be so into you that s/he would go downtown and get up-close-and-personal to provide pleasure exclusively to you (okay, there are those of us who derive almost as much from giving as receiving, but that’s another story)…well, I think that’s a pretty gosh darn “big deal”!

Straight Married Guy (Figleaf): Blowjobs used to be really, really stigmatized and therefore really, really rare. Even for couples in long-term relationships.¬† In a few states in the U.S. it might still legally be sodomy, even for heterosexuals, and in the past it’s been strongly associated with “latent” homosexuality, porn, and prostitution — and strongly not associated with “good girls.”¬† Something else contributing to the stigma:¬† blowjobs break the gender rule that sex is something for men to do and women receive. And all those insults with the word “suck” in them?¬† Some of those used to be taken deadly seriously.

Nowadays, not so much. But add up the little bits of historical taboo, the little bit of gender-bending for both men and women, and the fact that blowjobs feel very good and… well, that’s enough to make them seem pretty special.¬† Which, incidentally, I think they ought to be.¬† Special. Instead of, oh, say, obligatory.¬† Not least because when they start feeling obligatory, men’s partners start wondering, well, what makes them so special?

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Your Call: How Do I Tell Him I Don’t Like His Weight Gain?

November 3, 2014

4 Comments


photo via IMDB

We get a lot of advice questions coming in at EMandLO.com, but sadly, we just can’t answer them all. Which is why, once a week, we turn to you to decide how best to advise a reader.  

Submit Your Own Question to EMandLO.comTry Our New
*PRIVATE*
Advice Service!

 

Dear Em & Lo,

My husband and I have been together ten years, and over the last few years he has gradually put on about twenty pounds. He jokes about it, but he doesn’t seem to be bothered by the weight gain — he just seems to think it’s normal for a guy his age (44) to get thick around the middle. And it’s true, most of his friends have spread in the same way. But I miss the guy I fell in love with! I’m still in love with him, but I’m not quite as attracted to him as I once was, and I worry what this will do to my sex drive as the years go on.

Can I say anything to him? And if so, what do I say and how do I say it?!

– C(hubby) Chaser

What should C.C. do? Leave your advice in the comments section below.

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7 Tips for Determining Who Pays on a Date

October 31, 2014

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photo via Flickr

Dates may be cheap but they ain’t never free. So who coughs up?

  1. Whoever did the asking pays for the date. This is 2014, people, it’s so last century to assume the man always gets it.
  2. However, if you’ve been asked out, you should always assume you’ll be going dutch to avoid disappointment. Bring cash so you don’t end up washing dishes.
  3. When the check comes, the one who was asked out should offer to go halvsies — and try to sound like you mean it.
  4. If you end up sharing the bill, split it evenly, even if one of you got lobster. Exact breakdowns are for roomies, siblings, and other people with no plans to get naked.
  5. In a battle of the Amexes, defer to who did the asking (perhaps it’s the miles).
  6. If your date absolutely insists on getting the whole thing, this is your excuse to extend the date: offer to buy cocktails or coffee at the bar across the street, or insist the next date’s on you.
  7. Though we’d like to believe that everyone knows better by now, we should note that no matter how much your date spends on dinner, you do not owe them a thing in the booty department ‚ÄĒ not even a kiss.

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Dream Interpretation: My Boyfriend Beat Me

October 30, 2014

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Other people’s dreams are never interesting…except when they’re about sex. Each week, our dream analyst Lauri Loewenberg tells one lucky reader what their dirty dream means. Got a dream you want Lauri to analyze? Click here to submit it (18 and older only, please). This week, a reader asks Lauri:

I had a dream that I was in a room trying to hide. I hid in the closet and then under the bed my boyfriend came in and took me from under the bed and started to beat on me. Later the scene changed we were in a parking lot in his car and he had told me he’s back to seeing the mother of his child. Only, it wasn’t the one I knew of, it was a new one. He had gotten someone else pregnant and she was going to have a daughter, but I was pregnant also. In the dream I hadn’t told him I was pregnant, but it was weird because as he was telling me he was looking down at my stomach.

Lauri: Hiding in a dream is a tell tale sign there is something in real life you do not wish others, or someone in particular, to know. Hiding under a bed in a dream means this either an issue that keeps you up at night, or it is an issue that involves intimacy. It could even be thoughts or feelings you are keeping to yourself.

Your boyfriend pulls you out and proceeds to beat you in the dream. I really hope this is solely a dream incident and is not reflective of real life. Because if this happens in real life… GET OUT NOW! If it’s only a dream beat down, then this is more likely connected to you beating yourself up over something in regards to your relationship.

In the dream you also wind up in a parking lot, which means something in your life is stuck or on hold at the moment, no longer progressing forward. It’s probably your relationship. The reference to his baby momma tells us this is an issue for you. Maybe there is jealousy there. Or maybe the dynamics of their relationship is an indicator of what you can expect in your relationship with him. Your subconscious mind brought it up because there is something there you need to pay attention to.

His impregnation of someone else most likely symbolizes that he has started up an interest in something that you may be worrying is taking away from you. Also, you have another reference to hiding something at the end of this dream with not telling him about your pregnancy. It sure seems to me that your dream is trying to show you that things will continue to develop and grow, like a pregnancy, if this hidden issue isn’t worked out. Honesty is always the best policy in a relationship. Work this out, sister, before it gets bigger than it is right now.

 

Visit Lauri’s site,¬†WhatYourDreamMeans.com, for even more dream interpretations! If you want to be able to figure out your own dreams every morning, then check out her latest book,¬†Dream On It: Unlock Your Dreams Change Your Life, which will give you the tools you need to become a dream expert, too.¬†Check out all of Lauri’s books here.

 

 

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What Straight Guys Really Think About Backdoor Play

October 28, 2014

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Advice from three of our guy friends. This week they answer the following: Do most straight guys secretly want to have their bums explored by their girlfriends/wives? Like, even if they don’t admit it, and they’d never ask…deep down, are they curious?

Straight Single Guy (L.A. Chris): When they’re together, straight guys tend to avoid anything that could sound even remotely homosexual. Not even a metro guy will tell his buddies how much he enjoyed the ass-play he got last night. This makes it hard to gauge how many butt-buffs there really are out there, but for me I can easily say no. No curiosity, no secret enjoyment. I’m probably in the minority here, but to me it’s sort of like a stray finger up the nose while making out: not terrible, but not particularly exciting either — just off-target.

Straight Married Guy (Jamie):
I really think this has to do with the guy’s own level of homophobia.¬† If the guy is open-minded and comfortable in his masculinity, then it’s just something else to try in the bedroom.¬† However, I personally know a few guys who are otherwise pretty sexually adventurous, but who feel that any attempted ass play from their partners is a deal-breaker.¬† Of course, these are the same guys who still think it’s funny to make “fag” jokes about each other in public.¬† I think, for guys like this, asking for some anal attention would be too big of a threat to their warped sense of masculinity.

Gay Engaged Guy (Joel Derfner, author of Swish): Let’s face it: The prostate is the prostate.¬† Your nerve endings don’t care whether you like to have sex with boys or girls; when something feels good, it feels good.¬† It’s possible that even ten years ago I would have answered differently, but twenty-first century porn has changed my mind: Porn sites where supposedly straight men have sex with other men are wildly successful. And I do think that at least some of these porn actors are straight, or at least straighter than they are gay. So this makes me think that there has to be something intriguing enough to them about the idea to overcome what’s left of the taboo. And this is with other men! So if very experimental straight men are willing to let other men explore their bums, then yes, I suspect that your average straight man is definitely interested in having his female partner explore his bum — even if he won’t admit it.

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Our ‚Äúwise guys‚ÄĚ are a rotating group of contributors, some of whom wish to remain anonymous and some of whom like the attention. This week‚Äôs Gay Engaged Guy is Joel Derfner, author of Swish.¬†To ask the guys your own question, click here.



Your Call: Can He Skip the Couples Costume This Halloween?

October 27, 2014

4 Comments

photo via Flickr

We get a lot of advice questions coming in at EMandLO.com, but sadly, we just can’t answer them all. Which is why, once a week, we turn to you to decide how best to advise a reader.  

Submit Your Own Question to EMandLO.comTry Our New
*PRIVATE*
Advice Service!

Dear Em & Lo,

My girlfriend wants to do a couple’s costume for Halloween this year. I don’t. I think it’s cheesy and annoying. But I know how happy it would make her. Still, I really don’t want to. Can I stand my ground or am I just being a jerk, especially if I’m going to dress up anyway?

A Reluctant Clyde to Her Bonnie

 

What should ARCTHB do? Leave your advice in the comments section below.

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