DEAR JANN: I live with my boyfriend of nine months, and we are very happy. However, he’s terrible at managing his money, and that’s causing us some grief. I usually help him out when he’s broke, but it keeps happening. Should I offer to handle his finances, or will that just prevent him from ever being more responsible and financially independent? MISS MONEYPENNY

DEAR MISS MONEYPENNY: Oh boy. Someone once told me that if money is your only problem, then you really don’t have one. You say that you’re happy, so that’s saying something, right? I hope you guys are just out of high school and can blame your financial woes on youth. If not, well, you’ve got to get your socks pulled up. Maybe you should talk to him about making you the money manager for a month and see how that works out. It might take the pressure off of him. It’s worth a try. My mother does all the money stuff in her household and has for 46 years. She’s still married, still happy and still spending my inheritance. Hey, if it worked for my parents, it may well work for you.

DEAR JANN: I’ve been with my boyfriend for almost seven years. He was married for 17 years, and I was married for five. We’re both divorced now and have been living together for two years. My question is, why won’t he get off the fence and marry me? He just keeps putting it off and, frankly, it’s starting to discourage me. I know lots of people settle for being common law, but I don’t want to. He still calls me his girlfriend, and I think I’m a little more than that. What do you think, Jann? FED UP

DEAR FED UP: Do you want someone in your life who basically wants the same things you do? The marriage thing is such an old conundrum. Why is it that the guy always calls the shots? Have you asked him to marry you? Are you happy? Do you want something more? I do; I want it all. I want someone to want to be with me as much as I want to be with them. Otherwise, you’re wasting your time and his. If you want to be there, be there. If you’re happy, that’s fine. But if you need more, you really need to be clear about what those needs are. Keep talking. Keep asking questions. Keep those lines buzzing with lots of thoughts and ideas. You may be surprised at what is at the heart of all this. Fear can really stop people from living full lives. Don’t let that happen to you.

DEAR JANN: My two sons take guitar lessons, but they’re unmotivated to practise. How can my husband and I motivate them? TASKMASTER

DEAR TASKMASTER: You’ll never ever get your kids to do something they don’t want to do. It’s an unwritten law of the universe. I’m sure practising the guitar is right up there with washing the dishes; they simply aren’t interested. If they were, they’d do it without ever having to be asked. Passion isn’t something you can force on another person; it’s something organic and natural. Why don’t you ask them what they would like to do and help them to pursue whatever that is. Genius isn’t an educated entity; it is a desire in one’s heart. Offering them money always works too … I’m kidding … er, no I’m not.

Please send your questions to:
Ask Jann, ELLE
25 Sheppard Ave. W., Suite 100,
Toronto, Ont., M2N 6S7
fax: 416-733-7981
E-mail: [email protected]

Photo courtesy of Norbert Mayer