Ask Amy: Girlfriend’s timidity makes no cents

May 7, 2012

DEAR AMY: My boyfriend and I have been together for about 2 1/2 years. We live in different cities, and he is usually out of town working.

I gave birth to a baby a few months ago and so far have only received $200 from my boyfriend for items for our child. I have spent thousands of dollars and have quickly run out of money I saved for the baby.

How do I tell my boyfriend that he needs to give me money every month to support his child without sounding greedy? How much money should I be asking for every month? -- Broke New Mom

DEAR BROKE: If you and your boyfriend live in different cities, don't see one another often and if he doesn’t financially support his child and you don’t even dare discuss it with him, it is challenging to see how “together” you actually are.

It is time for you to learn how to advocate for your child. You will have to do this off and on in many different contexts for a very long time. Expecting the father of your child to be a partner to you in helping to support the child is not “greedy.” Supporting their children financially (and in many other ways) is what parents do.

Each state sets its own child support guidelines, so you can use an Internet search to find the recommended amount in your state. Search the name of your state along with the words “child support.” Generally for one child the recommended amount is 20 percent of a noncustodial parent’s net income.

Many couples work out child support successfully and informally by agreeing on an amount, with the custodial parent receiving money on a prompt and regular schedule.

If you can’t agree to do this or if you are too shy to even discuss it, you can ask for a family court mediator to help both of you along.

DEAR AMY: I want my two best friends to be in my bridal party, however, they both have multiple large tattoos on their arms, chest and back that I think are hideous.

I absolutely adore my friends but when I think of how their tattoos will look in my wedding photos I cringe.

Should I not invite them to be bridesmaids and have two other friends who I am not as close to?

Or should I have them in the wedding and have their body art be a major distraction the whole time? Our wedding is in the Caribbean so cover-up sweaters are not an option.

I hate to think what my conservative grandparents will think about my tattooed bridesmaids. Help! -- Madison

DEAR MADISON: I suggest you approach this by being completely upfront, though not using the word “hideous” to describe their body art.

Tell them both: “I'm eager for you to be a bridesmaid, but my grandparents will be freaked out by your ink. Are you willing to wear a body art concealer on the day -- or wear dresses (or use a wrap) with more coverage? I understand if you don’t want to do this -- so just let me know as soon as you can. Either way I want you to be with me on my wedding day.”

Your friends have made a choice to be inked and one aspect of that choice is that it will occasionally affect their interactions with other people, both positively and negatively.

When a person agrees to be a bridesmaid (depending on the style of the wedding) she also agrees to appear in whatever uniform the bride chooses.

We all know that bridesmaid dresses are sometimes more unsightly than any tattoo, but on this day “hideous” is a bride's prerogative.

DEAR AMY: Your response to “Fresh Scented” stank!

You said it is not necessary to bathe every day and apply deodorant?! What are you thinking?

The very least this boyfriend could do is to bathe so he doesn't stink. I think his behavior is atrocious and your answer is baffling. -- Also Fresh

DEAR FRESH: Many, many readers consider my advice unclean. But as I responded to this letter, both parties could have tried much harder to meet in the middle.

Write to Amy Dickinson at askamy@tribune.com or Ask Amy, Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60611.

2012 by the Chicago Tribune

Distributed by Tribune Media Services

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