Real Talk w/Terry


February 4, 2014

Dear Terry,

This situation does not involve me personally, I’m kind of on the outside looking in; and am trying to give some sound advice to someone I care about. My brother has been dating his babies mamma for several years, they have an on-again – off-again kind of relationship; and he has been a live-in boyfriend when they are together. Their relationship has gotten to a crossroad where she wants them to get married and my brother is not interested in getting married at all. This young lady has hinted at asking my brother to marry her since he has not initiated a marriage proposal himself. She has been hanging on waiting for him to propose for years now – it’s obvious he has no plans to ask – at least not anytime soon. I’m screaming inside, “leave him, JUST leave him!” I want to tell her this, but I don’t want to overstep my boundaries or strain the relationship that I have with my brother.

-Frustrated On-looker

Dear Frustrated On-looker,

Wow! I can see you literally, throwing up your hands and yelling, “LEAVE HIM!” All jokes aside, for those on the outside, looking in and trying to understand the dynamics of someone else’s relationship can be quite complicated since we never know all the details of someone else’s relationship business. However, you mentioned several key points that I will address: 1) that your brother and this lady have been dating off and on for several years now. This sounds as if this relationship is “home” for one if not the both of them; meaning, when something better comes along, I will explore that option; and if that relationship does not work out, I know I can always come back to you. How unfair is this? Who wants to be someone’s in the meantime, in between time type of partner? My answer is, no one with a healthy self-esteem; 2) another point you made, that your brother and this lady have children together. This could very well fuel the on-again status of their relationship. Perhaps they are trying to make it work for the sake of the children. They should be careful of trying to force a relationship that perhaps neither of them really wants for the sake of the kids. In the long-run this could backfire – imagine the resentment the person would feel knowing that they only stayed around in a toxic relationship for the children. For some people they are better apart and their children grow up seeing their parents actually co-parent and get along instead of viewing two people live together in dysfunction just because and harbor resentment; and 3) that this woman has hinted at asking your brother to marry her since he appears to have no intention of asking anytime soon. This I see as problematic as well. Tradition aside, the very essence of a man is to seek and conquer. Men love a chase. A woman asking a man to marry her may sound forward thinking and in line with the times, but I guarantee you that any real man would not want his woman asking him for his hand in marriage. I do believe men still want the duty of asking for a woman’s hand in marriage.


Dear Terry,

I am married and I have a secret bank account that my husband has no knowledge of. I’ve had this account since before we were married, there is a significant amount of money in this account – several thousand dollars and I sometimes feel bad about having this secret stash, mainly when things get tight around the house. I am tempted to tell him about the money but always come to my senses before I spill the beans because my mom told me that I should always have some money put aside for a rainy day that my husband does not know about. I feel bad keeping this secret from him, however, I do feel empowered knowing that I have money put away “just in case.” Do you think I should tell him about my secret stash? Why or Why not?

-My Mama Didn’t Raise No Fool

Dear My Mama Didn’t Raise No Fool,

You are not alone; many women, me included have received this advice from well meaning women in our lives. I understand the concept, however, I do not agree with the “secret” part. Being a woman, I get having a “just in case” stash. Some may ask, what is a “just in case” stash; “just in case” my husband loses the good sense that God gave him and decides to leave me, I will have money to help with my transition. That being said, I do have an account that my husband does not have access to, but he knows I have the account. This account that I maintain is the one that was my main checking when I was single. I can so relate to your dilemma, because I had this same issue prior to getting married. I made the decision to tell my husband about the account, he did not agree with me having it, but understood my position. I simply did/do not want to put my total financial trust in a man, especially being that I was single and self-sufficient for so long. Additionally, I have flashbacks of that scene in the book and movie “Waiting to Exhale” when Bernadette went to the bank and she couldn’t access the joint accounts. I cannot tell you what to do; however, I believe you already know what to do. First of all, do some soul searching and come to terms with why exactly are you maintaining a “secret” account; then discuss your feelings with your husband – be open and honest. In this situation, communication is critical – there is a much deeper issue than keeping a secret bank account.

DISCLAIMER: The information or advice in this column should not be substituted for professional counseling. The thoughts expressed in the “Ask Terry” segment of the Relationships-411 blog are the thoughts and opinions of the writer and should be viewed as information and entertainment only. By submitting a question to the column you are hereby granting us permission to publish your question on this blog. You may submit your question or relationship dilemma to for the chance to be one of the featured questions of the week.

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