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Ask E. Jean For DearSugar: I'm a Total Basketcase!

Ask E. Jean For DearSugar: I'm a Total Basketcase!

Sit tight, Sugar darlings: This is a long and juicy letter!

Dear E. Jean,

OK, you ready? My two middle school children decided for themselves to fabricate some claims about me so they could live with their dad, who buys them everything they want and lets them go anywhere they want.

Me? I won't do those things, and even if I could, I'm not able to. I am on disability for fibromyalgia and have a very low income. So because they thought the only way they could make it possible to live with their dad would be to make horrible accusations about me, my visitation has been suspended until it goes to court. Yes, I have an attorney. And, yes he sucks, but I had to beg and borrow to hire him and now I'm stuck.

I also recently ended a six-year relationship with a man who, by the way, is still married to his wife. He has a son. He did not want to pay child support, so he kept stringing me along for those six years with the promise of, "I'll get a divorce in the next few months when we get caught up on bills so I can afford an attorney." Hook, line, and sinker, that’s how hard I fell for this. I tell you what, at the time I even thought I was being so loving and patient — ha! So I booted him out once and for all!

(That's just the beginning! So


You don't know the days that all I could manage to do was cry. I would be so depressed that I couldn't eat, sleep, or even go out to check the mail. However, recently, I've been getting out on weekends and have made some friends. I’ve gone out with a couple of real jerks and I’ve gone out with a couple of really nice, handsome, very successful men. But the nice ones don't want me after they find out about the disability. I feel like damaged goods or like I'm defective in some way, when really I have quite a few good days, where I am able to get out, go dancing, or do whatever I feel like doing.

My current issue is a new man I met online. We had been talking about a month online then decided to meet. He is sooo much fun, funny, down to earth, successful, and gorgeous as all get out! He is just the perfect picture of who I want to be with. The issue? He wants to have children someday, and I had a hysterectomy due to endometriosis. He told me on the phone today that he realized that I wanted a relationship (without me saying a word about that because I didn't want to scare him away) and he admired the fact that I could be so full of love and open with my heart with no fear, but right now he just wants to be friends.

He said that he really had to think about him wanting to be a father and the fact that I was not able to bear anymore children. That hurt worse than if he would have just dropped me like a piece of trash!

I broke down and started crying on the phone when he said this. Well, he felt bad that he had hurt me like that and called back a few minutes later inviting me to go to PetSmart. He told me to bring my little dog so he could pay to get her toenails trimmed. He bought her a new leash and he paid to put gas in my car. (About $125 for just those three things).

After I left his house, I took a walk with my dog for two hours. When I got home, I wrote him a simple email that said, "I am sorry I started crying on the phone earlier. I'm OK now after a long walk to get my head straight. I am happy to have your friendship. I do tend to wear my heart on my sleeve, but I think I'll put it in my pocket for safe keeping. Talk to ya later." I honestly thought I would never hear from him again. That was basically my goodbye.

As soon as he read that email, he called me. I took every ounce of energy I could find to sound chipper on the phone. I kept the conversation very brief. Then, as soon as we hung up, he starts IMing me. We chatted for over an hour about simple trivial things. He said that he was going to bed and would talk to me tomorrow.

I am left sitting here past 2 a.m. with band-aids on six of my fingertips (when I get nervous, I bite my nails), wondering what in the heck is going on! I'm a friggin' basketcase! I know this is a lot to get advice on, but trust me. I could really use some. Not even my therapist can keep up with everything that is going on with me right now! — All Messed Up and Lonely in Tennessee

Dear Miss Messed,

You are wrong, my darling. I do not have "a lot" of advice for you. I have no doubt that you are quite charming, but alas, I have read your insufferably long letter, and your excruciating selfishness, immaturity, and juvenile idiocy comes through with every line.

Your children left you — brought "horrible accusations" against you — and you're writing because you're a basketcase over a man who had your dog's toenails trimmed?

Grow up, hunny. Get your priorities straight. Stop thinking about yourself for one half-second and realize there are other people on this planet. Like your kids.

The one piece of advice I do have for you is this: Take the band-aids off, stop bawling, cease trolling for dudes online, and get a job. Fibromyalgia is painful. Fibromyalgia is a bitch. But you gotta play the hand you were dealt, girl, or be a loser the rest of your life.

Get a job! Get a job! Get a job! Get a job! Get a job! Get a job! A job will bring in money. A job will boost your feelings of self-worth. A job will help you gain your self-respect. A job will give your kids a mother to admire. Every problem you have comes from the fact that you’re a superficial, man-crazy, irresponsible lackwit who lays around the house carping and bellyaching and doing nothing to help herself.

And don’t tell me about the pain. I know from pain. Get a job.

P.S. About that line in your letter that says "the nice (men) don’t want me after they find out about the disability." The guys are not turned off because you have an unfortunate medical disorder, my dear; they are turned off because you are a helpless, rather thoughtless woman who lost your own kids because you would not get a job and fight for them.

No sane man would want a woman like that.

To see more advice from E. Jean, visit Elle magazine and

Join The Conversation
Simbelmyne Simbelmyne 8 years
Wow. Bullying is still pretty much alive and well, even past the teenage years.
Indigo4320 Indigo4320 9 years
Blackwood - Obviously there are people who are on disability that really do need it. My blind brother for instance...someone who is willing to work, but unable. I have all the sympathy in the world for people who cannot work due to a disability. But in this situation...a woman who can go out and date, walk a dog for two hours, run errands and have some poor schmuck she's talking to pay for all of is obvious she is someone who is wanking the system. The OP clearly wants some sugar-coated responses that will make her feel better. In reality she probably won't get a job, probably won't get her children back and most definitely won't land a decent guy...because it takes a decent honest person to acheive all of those things. Word of advice, save your sympathy for an individual who deserves it.
i-am-awesomeness i-am-awesomeness 9 years
This is just ridic! There definitely are kids who make up lies about their parents to get to stay with the parent they want. I'm not disputing the writer's claim that her husband gives the kids money and no rules. I just think it was a helluva lot easier for those kids to lie about their mother without feeling (too) guilty considering that she's pretty messed up. First off, she was with this other guy for six years! And she claims she's too sick to work, but hey, she's not too sick to be sleeping around and carrying on an affair with a married man with children for six years! And as for the crappy attorney: you begged and pleaded for him... hmmm, might as well put your affinity for sleeping around to good use-- get a better attorney. Heaven knows you'd be doing it anyway, might as well get something out of it.
Dublin62505 Dublin62505 9 years
Devils Advocate Here: Good luck getting a job! Good luck getting a job! Good luck getting a job! And, finally good luck getting a this economy and with her disability! My able, healthy, and willing 16 year old cannot find employment. Yes, I realize there are laws in place for disabled folks, doesn't mean prospective employers always follow them or feel inclined to hire disabled individuals. Prospective employers don't want to deal with doctors appointments, sick days and medical costs. Most companies are looking to cut or completely do away with medical benefits. I think prior to OP seeking the responsibility of full-time employment, she needs to manage her disease better through support groups (and no, not the online dating variety), alternative therapies whether that be through diet, exercise, acupuncture, yoga, etc.. Also, given her description of her counselor, I think she needs to seek out a licensed psychologist who is well-versed in pain management. They are trained to teach and help patients employ cognitive behavior pain management skills. Along with the cognitive therapy, she needs help with parenting issues and divorce recovery (all the hyper dating is a result of unresolved feelings from her first marriage). I think family sessions with her children would be most beneficial. Once her head, health, and family issues are in order, then she should seek employment.
emmebeth emmebeth 9 years
Wow! Love it E.Jean!
MisterPinkNoTip MisterPinkNoTip 9 years
Perfect advice E. Jean! I agree 110%. This woman seriously needs to get her priorities in check. After experiencing a similar situation with a family member, I'd have to say that E. Jean's advice is right on the money.
summerjams summerjams 9 years
i wih i could hear the story from the other parties (her ex husband, her two kids..) because hers just dont make sense to me!
JaimeLeah526 JaimeLeah526 9 years
I usually don't think about people like this but this really seems like you just want us to be upset for you. You don't deserve to have your kids if you're more worried about some guy rather than trying to spend time with your kids. You throw all these problems out there to get pity and attention. No wonder your kids don't want to be around you and I'd be willing to bet that their accusations are not untrue but the truth which you refuse to see. Get a grip and worry about your children and not some man. If he wants to be your friend great but you're never going to get a man who wants to be more than that with your selfish, woe is me nature. No guy wants to deal with all that crying and drama. Would you want that in a man?
amybdk amybdk 9 years
Karlotta, Koneko, and Blackwood: I appreciate your empathy, kindness, and down-to-earth statements. "I bet you would go back in time and undo that hysterectomy just so that this random online toe-nail clipping pays for your gas dude would have you." This statement made my stomach crawl. I think that is an incredibly hurtful thing to say. There is a difference between giving some good, albeit hard advice (thank you E. Jean!) and being mean and presumptuous.
Safety-Pin Safety-Pin 9 years
Er Holy Moly. I'm not sure which shocked me more the letter or the response.
Blackwood Blackwood 9 years
"People like you who milk the government for money make me sick. As soon as I read the line "I am on disability for fibromyalgia ..." I knew you were a selfish cow." Wow. That's a horrible thing to say. You may hate the fact that she doesn't try to get a job on the side, but come on... I know from experience that there are some people who get benefits for their disability that really need them, because sometimes they can't work even when they're willing to I have an aunt who was a nurse, worked all her life, raised two kids by herself (she married young and after having 2 kids she realized what a dead beat her husband really was, and discovered that he was cheating on her while she was working), and in her early 40s she started to show symptoms of multiple esclerosis. She now works in the administrative part of the hospital, but when she has an outbreak she can't even go to the bathroom by herself, and needs to be taken care by her sons (who are now in their late 20s). Please note the difference between needing the money and using it properly; and needing the money, using it for things that you don't need and then whine about how complicated your life is.
mks0880 mks0880 9 years
this is exactly why I love E. Jean.
snowysakurasky snowysakurasky 9 years
um, the op definitely rubbed me the wrong way but i don't know anything about the condition she has so don't wanna jusge her on not working... she does not sound like a very devoted mom though. :(
Koneko Koneko 9 years
I'm surprised by the meanness of this response and some of these comments. This woman is obviously experiencing some difficult situations on a number of fronts: kids, partners, work, health, her self esteem. I'm all for common-sense, practical advice - some of which E Jean gave - but there's tough love and then there's inappropriate, overly judgmental, and nasty. I hope you can find some professional help and support soon, All Messed Up.
sundaygreen sundaygreen 9 years
I bet you would go back in time and undo that hysterectomy just so that this random online toe-nail clipping pays for your gas dude would have you. Seriously, get your priorities straight. Maybe your kids were right about you, mmm?
xoxoxx xoxoxx 9 years
One of my dearest friends has Fibro, and - although she was on disability - did everything in her power just to get people to consider her for hire, because she didn't want to become a lazy ass. Now, she's running her own business out of her home, and blogs on the side about said business - which is getting more notoriety by the minute. Now, if my friend can do that, then you should have the energy to fight for your kids. By the way, why are you crying about not being able to birth children when you already have some? Where the hell are your priorities?
lindholmka lindholmka 9 years
Holy Jesus god almighty! My mouth dropped to the ground when I read E. Jeans advice! hahahaha Although I do feel bad for the OP! I'm not really even sure what to say at this point! Focus on your children, who cares about some random guy you met off line. He already admitted to you that he wants children that sadly you cannot provide for him...he's already out the door and down the street by now. Let it go and move on. p.s. I'm curious what the children "supposedly" made up about this woman to go live with their father. If he is a better provider for the children then I suggest letting him have custody.
loveritz loveritz 9 years
I've had fibromyalgia for five years now, and it's definitely possible to keep a job. It could even be beneficial for your health! Feeling sorry for yourself won't help you feel better. Having a chronic pain disorder can leave you feeling helpless, but lying around the house all day is only going to make that feeling worse!
Chloe08 Chloe08 9 years
Best E.Jean advice EVER! I agree with everyone who has already posted. Grow up, quit being such a whiny, immature, selfish bitch, and get a job. I have a friend who has struggled with Fibromyalgia for several years now, and despite the fact that she is YET to find any medication to dull the pain, she just graduated from college, works part-time, and is starting dental school in the fall. Get over yourself, no one feels sorry for you.
Masqueraded_Angel Masqueraded_Angel 9 years
Wow. You sound like apart from your disability, that you're suffering from depression. Like Asia said, find yourself a doctor or therapist that specializes in your condition. Stop counting on other people to FIX you. You're latching onto the first person that shows you kindness or affection, in hopes that they're going to make you "all better." It's not going to work...because in the end, you end up looking clingy and needy. Good men want a woman that is in charge of her own decisions and life. Stop being an enabler. You enabled this man you were with for 6 years, knowing darn well he was married. And you're doing the same with this're letting him play tug-o-war with your emotions, which is NOT helping your situation. And personally, this guy sounds like he has a few screws loose himself. If you don't want your children, then let them go. You have shown them repeatedly that they are not your first priority. Think about how they may be feeling right now...pushed aside by their own mother for these strange men, moving suddenly from one home to the other, going through puberty, and watching you self-destruct. Of COURSE they're going to act out on it! There would be something wrong with them if they DIDN'T! As teenagers, acting out is practically one of the only ways that they know how to cope with the situation. I really don't think you should be allowed to have even partial custody of them until your mental state improves. So drop the lawyer, drop the theatrics and get yourself some professioal APPROPRIATE help instead. And for crying out loud, get some sleep.
kristyrk kristyrk 9 years
Dayum. Excellent advice, E. Jean! I'm so glad I wasn't the only one rolling my eyes while reading the letter!
K-is-For-Kait K-is-For-Kait 9 years
E. Jean, you are a goddess! Thank you for telling it like it is! This woman needs to serious therapy and a good soul searching session, not an advice columnist!
kristyy kristyy 9 years
Hahaha...I love Jean's "get a clue" response! I'm wondering why it would cost $125 for toenail clippings ($8 at PetsMart), a leash (shouldn't the dog already have one???), and gas. Sure, the price of gas has gone up, but what kind of gas guzzling car are you driving??? If you are strapped for cash, why not get a more economical car that doesn't require the premium gas? I agree with the other posters - someone needs a reality check.
karlotta karlotta 9 years
Oh please, be kind, rewind. Obviously, the OP is having a really tough time and she's hanging on to any love and affection she can get, and that's only human. We have all fallen in love with the wrong guy at one point or another - or clung to the wrong emotion because the others, the real ones, were too hard to face. Have you never heard the story of the grandma, only survivor of a car crash that killed her kids and grandkids, who spent the night at the hospital fixated on her ripped skirt? She couldn't fathom, comprehend, and handle the reality of what had just happened, so she obsessed over a small detail. Our minds are not that strong. The OP's life sounds awful, and I feel bad for her. I suppose she's got low self-esteem and got herself in a situation that is too big for her. She's looking for salvation. She's looking for someone to like her. I am terribly sorry for you, OP, and I hope you get through this. The advice isn't so bad, though. You do need to grow up. You do need to concentrate on what is really important: your kids. And probably finding a job is a great step in that direction. Finding a man... I know that loneliness is hard, but you will meet the right guy in time. First learn to take care of yourself, then of your kids, and then maybe you'll find that you life is fulfilling and that married men should stay the heck where they belong. Far away from your happy healthy life. Good luck to you, please take good care of yourself and your children.
RaCheer RaCheer 9 years
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