DEAR HARRIETTE: My fiancee hates working for the Navy, but keeping him in the military is the fastest way we can be financially stable. Just because we are married, we will get a lot of benefits.
He said if he stays, he’ll do it for us. I don’t want him to be unhappy at his job, but I’ll live pretty well if he stays.
Should I encourage him to quit after his contract expires, or would it be wiser to stay?
Marrying a Marine Technician
DEAR MARRIED SHIPPING TECHNICIAN: I recommend encouraging your fiancé to hone his skills while in the Navy so he can become an expert in his field. In this way, he will be ready for the highest possible level of work and wages while looking for a job in the civilian world.
He or she should research specific careers and salaries. You can help by researching jobs in the city you two want to live in.
Rather than pressure him to stay long in a job he hates, steer him towards his goal of leaving the Navy with all the skills he can master.
You never want to push your fiancee into unhappiness. This will not lead you to a happy life. Patience, however, may require staying in the role for a while. Keep an eye on the goal of your post-navy career. This will help keep it positive during the preparation period.
DEAR HARRIETTE: My sister is extremely competitive. I never encouraged this, but he always saw me as a competitor. It’s getting old.
I want to have a better relationship with him without feeling like he’s always trying to dominate me.
I know that in order to start working on the relationship, we had to have a disturbing conversation about her competitiveness. How can I start this kind of dialogue without offending him?
DEAR COMPETITIVE BROTHER: You have to be direct and clear with your sister. Say what kind of relationship you want with him and what you believe is holding him back.
Say what: competitiveness. Accept that you know it’s part of his nature. Ask him to focus his competitiveness on other people. Request that his relationship with you be in the safe zone where he gets a break from the competition. Make it clear that you are tired of his approach to you. You want it to stop and you need it.
Even if he admits, it may take some time (if he can do so) before he quits the competition altogether. As soon as he starts challenging you again, you’ll have to decide how you want to deal with it. You can point it out and ask it to stop as soon as you notice it; You can literally walk away or stop caring about it. You will need to act immediately for him to notice when he does this.
Harriette Cole is a lifestyle stylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, a startup that helps people achieve and act on their dreams. You can send your questions to [email protected] or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.