I can stop whenever I want.... Too many frappuccinos?
May 7, 2011 10:00 PM   Subscribe

Should my girlfriend be able to limit my Frappuccino intake?

Starbucks Frappuccinos are something of a vice of mine. I have one almost every day, and on occasion have had multiple in a single day.

This bothers my girlfriend. She requests that I drink fewer because she feels I am wasting my money and being unhealthy. I am in fine health at the moment and have had this habit for years.

Is this request crossing some sort of boundary? We have been debating this. What do you all think?
posted by losvedir to Human Relations (86 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
How long have you been together? Also, how does she react when you make idiosyncratic requests about her daily activities?
posted by hermitosis at 10:01 PM on May 7, 2011

How long have you been together?

Just over three years.

How does she react when you make idiosyncratic requests about her daily activities?

Hmm, I can't really think of a time when I've done so. I'll keep trying to remember, though.
posted by losvedir at 10:05 PM on May 7, 2011

I think the thing you have to ask yourself is, which is more important, the girlfriend or the drink? Once you've decided, set up your life accordingly. Since you're asking my opinion, it seems stupid to alienate your girlfriend over something as minor as a drink. Cut back to 3 a week, save the extra cash and use it to buy her (the treat that makes her heart sing).
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 10:06 PM on May 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

Only way I can figure she has any leg to stand on here is if you being short of money is a problem for her. Like if you don't take her out and give money as the reason; or if you guys are supposed to be saving together towards some goal.

Also the calories -- if you're overweight or tending that way, this could be her way of telling you she wishes you'd take better care of your body because it's not cute.

Otherwise... I can understand why she's annoyed, but she has no right to tell you how to spend your $4/day.
posted by fingersandtoes at 10:07 PM on May 7, 2011 [10 favorites]

Is this causing some kind of problem for her, or is this simply a lifestyle differences between the two of you? If it's causing a problem (eg straining shared finances, you act weird when you're buzzed out on frappucinos), hear her out & then give some consideration to whether or not you want to give ground here. If it's more a lifestyle difference, you might give some serious thought to how that dynamic works in your relationship; some people would consider it a minor lifestyle change to keep their SO happy, others would be like, WHOA! Is this the opening volley in a campaign to make over losvedir???! You'll be more familiar with how these things go than us.
posted by Ys at 10:10 PM on May 7, 2011

PS: She's not in the process of doing similar in her life, is she? I know every time my mother thinks about losing weight she looks over at me & says how I ought to start counting calories...some women just think like that.
posted by Ys at 10:14 PM on May 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

She requests that I drink fewer because she feels I am wasting my money and being unhealthy.

If you guys aren't planning a long-term serious future together, then what you do with your money/health is none of her business. If you are planning a serious future, are you a self-supporting adult who pays your bills on time and has enough money for all the things that you need? (And I would ask if the coffee is causing you health problems, but you said no.) If so, then I think it's super inappropriately controlling of her.

If you need to work on your cappuccino intake, she needs to work equally hard on not being controlling and micromanaging.
posted by Ashley801 at 10:22 PM on May 7, 2011 [5 favorites]

it seems stupid to alienate your girlfriend over something as minor as a drink.

I agree with TPS, but I think one could also say:

it seems stupid to alienate your boyfriend over something as minor as a drink.

posted by hermitosis at 10:28 PM on May 7, 2011 [43 favorites]

Well, there's nothing wrong in expressing her views. And debating them with you - in fact, it's great that she is concerned with your health and wealth. That's a big positive. What is *not* a positive, is that she doesn't knock it off after you've asked her to. Unless it directly affects her, as in second hand smoke, she should respect your decision once you're both satisfied that you've fully acknowledged and absorbed her position. If she does not, then I wouldn't worry about the frappuccinos. Because that's not where the problem is. Your problem is that she is overly controlling. Sure you can give in on the frappuccinos. But once you give in to unreasonable requests that control your behavior, there will be more. And therein lies a path of tears. Make a decision. Draw a line in the sand. Explain this to her, and see how she reacts. That will tell you a lot, and you can then decide where you want to go from here, because, believe it, this won't be the end of it.
posted by VikingSword at 10:29 PM on May 7, 2011 [6 favorites]

I think the thing you have to ask yourself is, which is more important, the girlfriend or the drink?

What? No, that sounds entirely unreasonable, and no-one should ever have to make a choice like that unless it's a serious issue on the order of alcoholism or a drug habit, for instance. Your girlfriend needs to understand that you are not her child or her responsibility, and that's not how normal adult relationships work. Unless these are her ~$150 a month you are spending, she has no business controlling you like this.

How did she ever get the idea that making such a frivolous request is appropriate?
posted by halogen at 10:30 PM on May 7, 2011 [15 favorites]

I think the thing you have to ask yourself is, which is more important, the girlfriend or the drink?

This is one of those situations where I think people are hugely more okay with a man being treated badly, which is lame. If a girl/woman wrote a question about how her boyfriend wanted her to stop drinking frappuccinos, I have no doubt you would see a large proportion of people saying to dump him now before he started controlling everything else about her.
posted by Ashley801 at 10:35 PM on May 7, 2011 [48 favorites]

Devil's advocate for a second.

The fact that this EXTREMELY MINOR request from your girlfriend is now an askmetafilter post, seems to be your attempt to go validate your consumption as a way to maybe go back to her and say "Look, the internet says I'm right"

And I'm not sure what size you drink, but that's at least $150 a month on Frappuchino's alone. That's $1800 a year, that's a vacation, a macbook, a huge hunk of change! If she's more on the frugal side of living, I could foresee that driving one a touch crazy.
posted by darlingmagpie at 10:50 PM on May 7, 2011 [35 favorites]

No chance this is about the drinks. This is about how you make decisions, your views on money & spending, and how the two of you communicate and compromise.

There's no right answer about the coffee. But the phrasing of this question seems like you're looking for outside authority/affirmation of your correctness instead of understanding what's motivating your girlfriend's request at a deeper level.

Focus on that instead of being right or defending your habit.
posted by anildash at 10:58 PM on May 7, 2011 [22 favorites]

The OP's question is: Is this request crossing some sort of boundary? to which my answer is for a 3-year long relationship is no. She cares about your health (and finances), a reasonable thing for a significant other to do.
posted by pinksoftsoap at 11:01 PM on May 7, 2011 [5 favorites]

Just as a data point, this is something that would probably bother me if someone I was in a relationship with (especially a long term relationship) was drinking one or more sugary coffee drinks a day.

I don't think there's anything objectively wrong with you habit if it's not a problem for you, but I see a frappuccino as a "sometimes" treat, not a daily treat. Having one daily seems indulgent.

Now, this distinction is obviously arbitrary (my nightly martini might be a weakness in my argument), so I don't feel like I'd be able to convince you logically that you're in the wrong (nor would I want to). I just think she might be thinking to herself "hey! I'm working hard to eat healthy/save money, what's this chump doing drinking the most indulgent drink possible every day?!"

On reflection, I think it's the "has to have one everyday" that's the biggest issue for me. She's probably wondering what's going to happen in ten years when poor eating habits are going to catch up to you. Compromise with the gf and cut the habit down to once or twice a week, if only to show her that she's more important to you than Starbucks.
posted by auto-correct at 11:11 PM on May 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

girlfriend here:

Interesting things to consider. As a follow up question: How many times can I point out to him that I think his habit is stupid? As many times as he drinks frappuccinos on that day?

As an added note, I'd have to admit that I'm a bit controlling. Perhaps I should mind my own business. Man, having a boyfriend isn't going to be as fun as it used to be.
posted by losvedir at 11:19 PM on May 7, 2011 [2 favorites]

GF's response does not reflect well on her. That is the most charitable thing I can say about it.

Drink your Frappucinos. Life is short, we take our simple pleasures where we may. It does no one harm. Ask yourself what you think about being with a person who calls a harmless thing you enjoy "stupid" and tries to get you to stop doing it. And posts this. On your mefi account.
posted by marble at 11:33 PM on May 7, 2011 [27 favorites]

ow many times can I point out to him that I think his habit is stupid?

Once unsolicited, and after that, only if he asks for your opinion about it. He knows what you think about it. Do you honestly believe that repeating your opinion every day is going to make him agree with you? Repeating your opinion is not something you're doing to try to help him, it's something you're doing because it makes you feel smart or superior or in control of the situation. Knock it off.
posted by decathecting at 11:34 PM on May 7, 2011 [20 favorites]

How many times can I point out to him that I think his habit is stupid?

How close do you have to be to someone to earn the right to tell them they're stupid every day?

Alternately: why would anyone spend lots of time with someone who treats them as if they're stupid?
posted by hermitosis at 11:34 PM on May 7, 2011 [10 favorites]

Frappucinos are not worse than sweetened, creamy coffee, and not worse than pop or booze. Compare the average person who might have 2-3 coffees a day, with cream and sugar, a pop with lunch, a couple drinks at night, and suddenly 3 Frappuccinos seems pretty tame.

People who enjoy many small pleasures in life tend to be happier than people who scrimp on the small stuff; read this.

It's your body. Put what you want into it. I say this as a non-smoker who has dated smokers, a non-drug-user who has dated potheads, and a moderately healthy eater who has dated sugar monsters. I did not give them shit about their habits, because their habits affected THEM, not me.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 11:38 PM on May 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

As an added note, I'd have to admit that I'm a bit controlling. Perhaps I should mind my own business. Man, having a boyfriend isn't going to be as fun as it used to be.

Uhm. I think you were trying to come off funny here. But you didn't; you came across as controlling and crazy.
posted by kdar at 11:41 PM on May 7, 2011 [15 favorites]

If the frappaccinos are affecting his health (like if he has diabetes, for example), or affecting your health or well-being in some way (though I can't imagine how unless his frappacino habit is taking away from rent money or something), those are the only scenarios in which you can mention his habit. mentioning it otherwise, or nagging him about it, is in my opinion controlling and un-called for.
posted by bearette at 11:45 PM on May 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

I think the thing you have to ask yourself is, which is more important, the girlfriend or the drink?

I think the most important thing is the girlfriend who does not issue trivial ultimatums.
posted by adipocere at 11:48 PM on May 7, 2011 [7 favorites]

To the girlfriend: pick your battles carefully. If you're campaigning this hard about something that isn't a significant money or health issue, you may very well lose ground on an issue that's truly important to you.
posted by mochapickle at 11:48 PM on May 7, 2011 [2 favorites]

Thanks for all the responses everyone. GF shot for "snarky" above but I guess it didn't come across so well. She's very sweet in real life, honest.

The thing is, I think it is a good idea to cut down on the sweet drinks. It was more the principle of it that we were debating, and it sounds like the consensus seems to be clear: no telling the other person what to do.

Maybe I'll give her this one and cut down to a couple a week, but be clear about drawing a line in the future.
posted by losvedir at 11:56 PM on May 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

How many times can I point out to him that I think his habit is stupid?
Quite frankly, it's hard to read this charitably. This sounds controlling and incredibly disrespectful. Everyone deserves a partner who reacts at worst with bemusement at their bad, but basically harmless habits.

How many times can you tell him his habit is stupid? Zero times. Not one time. I'm sorry if you were having fun demeaning the things he takes pleasure in, but this is simply not the way to act like an adult.
posted by !Jim at 11:58 PM on May 7, 2011 [5 favorites]

I did not preview before posting that comment. If OP says she is sweet, then perhaps she is sweet.
posted by !Jim at 11:59 PM on May 7, 2011

Beware the camel's nose in the tent.

You are you, first and foremost. You can give up pieces of this as desired, or demanded, of course, but you are in a very real way, handing out the equivalent of your fingers. Not fatal, definitely painful, possibly irreplaceable, and not of your own volition.

If you value your personality, which is all you have that separates you from the rest of this herd, go ahead... make a nice gift of a piece of it to your mate.

My vote... to thine own self be true. It is, after all, your life. Yours. The only one you get, buddy.
posted by FauxScot at 12:00 AM on May 8, 2011 [4 favorites]

She can request it. She can't command it.

If she's just teasing you about it, that's fine. If she's hectoring you about it, that's not fine.

But ask yourself, is she asking you this out of true concern or just to be controlling? If it's concern, then do take a look at your habit and ask yourself if it's worth the hassle.
posted by inturnaround at 12:02 AM on May 8, 2011

Well they are expensive and "unhealthy", but that is your choice. (I love coffee, but frappuccinos are more of a milkshake. I had one a few years ago and it made me kind of sick.) Your girlfriend might be truly concerned about you. If you like them and can afford them, then thank her for her concern and carry on. This should not become a point of contention between you two. If it does, you have greater problems.
posted by wandering_not_lost at 12:05 AM on May 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

She is controlling your Frappucino intake now, but where will it end? I'd run from this person as far and as fast as possible.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:12 AM on May 8, 2011 [3 favorites]

I'm a pretty strong believer in holding on to stuff that consistently brings you pleasure. There isn't that much of it. A bus could hit you tomorrow and you'd be cranky if you hadn't had a frappucino on your last day as a non-pancake. If my significant other nagged me not to do some small daily thing that put a smile on my face, I'd be concerned, in particular about the inability to let go of something so insignificant. Everyone has some stuff that they enjoy that other people don't. Maybe a guilty pleasure pop song disaster, maybe a sugary drink, whatever. You're not going to see eye to eye on everything with anyone. Whether or not you drink some beverage or not is, in the grand scheme of things, not important. Whether or not you're with someone who is capable of accepting you and picking their battles wisely is very important.
posted by prefpara at 12:33 AM on May 8, 2011 [14 favorites]

Boyfriend: As long as it is not actually hurting you / your girlfriend financially or your health, it is fine for you to do as you please and spend your money as you please.

Girlfriend: Calling his habits stupid is disrespectful. If you're like this with something so trivial, how are you with major things? That's the more worrying aspect to this.

Part of life is enjoyment - you need to have something you enjoy in your lives. If that is a daily frappuccino, then so be it.
posted by mleigh at 12:33 AM on May 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

Have I missed something? Exactly what is stupid about it? The calories, the money, supporting the evil multinational company that makes it? I've got my own opinion, but I'd like to know what your girlfriend's EXACT problem with it is. Then we can debate it better.

Need more information.
posted by taff at 12:34 AM on May 8, 2011 [2 favorites]

No chance this is about the drinks. This is about how you make decisions, your views on money & spending, and how the two of you communicate and compromise.

Exactly. It is completely valid of her to want you two to have compatible values, but fairly inappropriate to micromanage. Work as a team toward the big picture goals (saving for a vacation?). Forget about these little decisions unless they are causing you to not hold up your end of the bargain.

For whatever it's worth, this wouldn't stand in my relationship. If I tried this with my bf, most likely he would laugh. He'd do any favor I asked, for me, but little things about how he lives his life are not up to me, and vice versa. But we both like our relationship with a lot of respectful laissez-faire like that.
posted by salvia at 12:58 AM on May 8, 2011 [4 favorites]

Here's the thing. If you're spending $120 a month on Frappacinos, that is sort of stupid but it is 100% your stupid to be. The rule in my house is that you can do whatever you like as long as you are willing to gracefully carry the consequences. For me, that would be: buy all the Frappacinos you like, but I never, ever want to hear you complain about how broke you are.

Also, were we to get married or otherwise join our futures and finances, you would need to be putting $120 per month minimum into retirement savings and flexible healthcare accounts. Nobody wants to have to haul your Frappacino-loving diabetic ass through old age.

If all the appropriate grown up bases are covered, however, enjoy it while you can. Because boy will that not last forever, you of the 20-year-old metabolism.
posted by DarlingBri at 1:21 AM on May 8, 2011 [21 favorites]

You're a grown-ass man; Drink what you want.

(Until there's an articulated and sound reason given as to why this habit is 'stupid.' Be it the long-term cost, health issues, whatever).
posted by FunGus at 1:22 AM on May 8, 2011 [3 favorites]

PS: Dr Girlfriend, the answer to the question "how often can I nag my boyfriend?" is never. You can, however, make sure he carries the consequences of his actions. When he complains he can't afford a foo, you are completely and totally allowed to say "Dude, one word: Frappacino. Do not want to hear about this."
posted by DarlingBri at 1:35 AM on May 8, 2011 [5 favorites]

whoa whoa whoa....I'm amazed that some people are telling you to "run away".

First, I totally read the GF's response as joking/being snarky, because that's how I sometimes talk. I wouldn't use the word "stupid" perhaps (that word just comes across as mean, usually...no matter the intent) but I could totally read the dry humor in her words, especially with the "having a boyfriend isn't going to be as fun" bit. People seem to be taking that as evidence of how terrible and controlling she is, but they aren't in a relationship with her and her BF says she's very sweet. Maybe take him at his word and don't jump to conclusions?

Second, I don't think this request is crossing a boundary because I feel like if one were in a solid relationship they should feel comfortable expressing a concern. I don't see anything wrong with requesting that he drink less frapps, as long as it doesn't come with the expectation that it will be fulfilled. This just seems like one of those small areas in which a couple must learn to compromise. If it's a little pleasure that he feels he cannot give up, then there you go. I can also see it from her perspective though--to me frapps kind of fall in the "junk food" category, and if my partner ate, say, McDonald's every day I might get annoyed, too. If this is a relationship that has long-term (life-term?) potential she might also point it out because she cares and is thinking of the future.
posted by sprezzy at 1:46 AM on May 8, 2011 [2 favorites]

I think it's fair of the girlfriend to say "X is an issue for me". X being the amount of Frappuccinos that you drink. However, I think that that is as far as it can reasonably go. Unless you're doing something that directly affects her (taking the rent money and spending it on Frappuccinos, keeping her awake at night because you're so wired on caffeine, etc), then I don't think she has any grounds to complain.

I think that the boyfriend's body belongs to him, and if he wants to do to it what drinking a Frappuccino every day will do to it, then it's his right to do that. If the boyfriend liked a bacon sandwich and the girlfriend was anti-that, then I think it's up to the girlfriend to deal with that. If the boyfriend was butchering a pig in the kitchen, I think that's fair too, as long as he isn't leaving the mess for the girlfriend to clean up.

Girlfriend: you've pointed out to him that it's a problem for you that he drinks something. He knows. Therefore, any time you mention it again is for your benefit, not his. You don't get to mention it again, because it's unnecessary and controlling. If you haven't already, it might be worth explaining to him why you think it's a problem. By that I mean explain exactly why - don't just tell him "you want him to quit because it's unhealthy" because you think that's what he wants to hear or what will work. Tell him the actual reason this bothers you, whatever that may be. Also, if he does cut down on this for you, you'd be wise to encourage him and let him know how grateful you are. Because you really aren't entitled to make someone else change their behaviour.
posted by Solomon at 2:48 AM on May 8, 2011 [3 favorites]

If finances are co-joined and you are struggling financially, or perhaps have concrete plans for buying a house, having kids, or something else that requires both of you to cut out nonessential spending because of a specific objective, then I can see it. If you are both sacrificing small pleasures or less healthy habits in pursuit of a shared, mutually agreed upon goal, I can see it.

But just "I don't do this and neither should you"? I don't see it. But I'm definitely one to get very, very upset with/reactive to controlling behavior. My husband and I are both very non-demanding, so if either of us ever requests something like this, the other one realizes that there's some important reason behind it, and it's treated very seriously. I can't even imagine asking my husband to change some behavior and him refusing, simply because it's so extraordinary that I would make such a request – so if I did, it would be because I had deeply serious concerns... and thus refusing would be an extremely negative marker in our relationship. But it hasn't happened in 20 years, so I think we're mostly safe. Until dementia, anyway.

knocks wood.
posted by taz at 3:02 AM on May 8, 2011 [3 favorites]

Most requests are reasonable. You can reasonably comply or not comply after respectfully hearing her out, and she can then respectfully drop it.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 3:27 AM on May 8, 2011 [3 favorites]

the consensus seems to be clear: no telling the other person what to do

This is a bad way of putting it. Or rather, I think the consensus in this thread is bad.

You don't get to tell him what to do, but if the two of you ever do make a lifetime commitment, he doesn't get to make unilateral financial decisions either. You might not have commingled finances now, but if you hope to make a lifetime commitment someday, then you need to have a lifestyle that the other can accept.

I'd drop the frappucino discussion temporarily and talk about the larger issues that this brings up. Do you feel that $150/mo is a reasonable amount to spend on personal luxuries? Do you both feel that your diet and activity level is where you'd like it to be? What luxuries are most important to each of you? Are you both happy with the amount of money that you are saving? In what ways are your answers to these questions influenced by your upbringing?

You don't get to control the other person, but if you want to be in a relationship, you don't get to be an island unto yourself either.
posted by sesquipedalian at 4:13 AM on May 8, 2011 [8 favorites]

Stay with her if you like having someone control your life.

Frapuccinos are largely meaningless, but this pathology will get bigger and bigger.

If you don't mind being told what to do all the time, though, then stay with her.
posted by zachawry at 4:20 AM on May 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

She requests that I drink fewer because she feels I am wasting my money and being unhealthy.

Buying fewer Frappuccinos is not the same as stop buying Frappuccinos. You could try this a few times and see what your girlfriend says:
- order Starbucks Iced Coffee instead of Frappuccino: zero fat, less sugar, fewer calories. One Grande Iced Coffee has 90 calories, one Grande Caffè Vanilla Frappuccino with whole milk and whipped cream has 420 calories and 45% of the recommended daily value for saturated fat.
- make your own Frappé at home. It's cheaper, and you can use low fat milk and/or less sugar if you want fewer calories.
posted by iviken at 5:10 AM on May 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

GF gets to point out that you spend a lot on a habit that isn't very healthy. If money and health are not a problem, you reply that you appreciate her concern, and have considered the issue. Frappacinos may be a small indulgence that you enjoy, and wish to continue. Once you have acknowledged the concerns and considered it it, why is it still an issue?

GF, I think you are out of bounds in trying to control this issue. If he has listened to you respectfully, has considered the issue reasonably, and there is no problem to be fixed (debt, weight, rotten teeth, inability to drive past Starbucks without getting frapped) why is it still being discussed? He makes a choice that you would not make, and he enjoys it. Let it go. And even, once in a while, bring him a frappacino.

The nutritional information is on GF's side. But, GF, sometimes it's better to be loved than to be right.
Blended drink
Calories 410
Total Fat (g) 16.00
Saturated Fat (g) 10.00
Sodium (mg) 210
Sugar (g) 62

bottled drink
Calories 200
Total Fat (g) 3
Cholesterol (mg) 5
Sodium (mg) 100
Sugars (g) 32
posted by theora55 at 5:32 AM on May 8, 2011

OMG, I'm totally addicted to these too. But my husband knows better than to get between me and my vanilla Frappucino. Like, seriously, I might bite him.

Sorry, she's being totally unreasonable. The only caveat is if 1) you're spending so much on these that you can't pay your other bills or 2) the doctor has directly told you not to consume sugar or caffeine. Are you diabetic? In that case you're SOL and she's right.

BTW, I have cut down by switching to chai most mornings. Also, soy milk + coffee + vanilla syrup tastes very, very similar if you get the mix just right, and you can make liters of it at home for much cheaper. OTOH, you can buy cases of Frappucinos at Sam's Club for much less than buying one at a time. /enabler
posted by desjardins at 5:37 AM on May 8, 2011 [4 favorites]

I'm also a little surprised by the number of people who see this as controlling. (But no, GF, you can't protest every single day; that's just nagging. And I say that as someone with a deep-seated urge to nag about this kind of thing.)

First, in my world, $150 would be close to the monthly budget for "fun stuff" for one person. If that was ALL the fun stuff you bought, I'd STFU, but presumably you also buy books or video games or trips to fun places or other things. Now, if your finances aren't yet mingled, that's your prerogative. But if they are mingled, I think she has a right to be upset. And if you're hoping that they one day WILL be mingled, it might be a serious issue that'd give me pause.

But the second and larger issue is, HOLY SHIT, dude, do you know how many calories, fats, and simple sugars are in one of those? It would be extraordinarily difficult, if not impossible, for me to watch someone I loved and wanted to spend my life with shortening that life with a daily intake of a ridiculous quantity of calories and fats in a drink that I find fairly gross to begin with. You've been doing this every day for years??? GAK! (Do you have further caffeine intake or is that your daily limit? Because if there's more caffeine, I'd be freaking about that, too.)

One reason married men live longer than single men is that, in the U.S. (and in much of the West), men take crap care of themselves unless there is a woman nagging them. (And, yes, even the scientists studying it often refer to it as "nagging" in interviews.) When you say "fine health" do you mean 20something-man fine health, "I'm reasonably thin, I can move heavy boxes, I don't get tired doing the things I like"? Or do you mean, "I have been to my doctor and had a full physical, including bloodwork, and my blood pressure is normal, my heart rate is healthy, my blood looks good, I know how to do a testicular self-check, and my doctor is on board with my daily frappuccino habit"? Because I'm almost certain you mean the first. Young adult males are often shocked when something actually manifests itself that's been quietly going wrong for years, but never made them overweight or interfered with their box-moving ability. "How did this happen?" "Um, the years of horrible food habits coupled with lack of exercise and failure to visit a doctor ever, excused by a lucky metabolism that makes you think you're healthy when really you're just thin, doesn't occur as a cause?"

Personally, it's really hard for me to deal with when my husband refuses to do things necessary to care for his health that are easy and simple, or super-important. Because it feels like, "Why doesn't he care enough about himself and me and our life together (and our children!) to give up a horrible jellybean habit?" or "... get a yearly physical?" or whatever else. (I am not even kidding: When my husband broke his collar bone I had to nag him for OVER AN HOUR to go to a doctor WITH A BROKEN BONE.) Daily frappuccinos would be on this list for me. Weekly indulgence, not so bad. But daily? I'd be concerned about your health too. And I'm willing to bet if you actually asked your doctor about it, nutritional info in hand, your doctor would not be on board.

And yeah, "fewer" frappuccinos for the sake of your health and finances is not the same as "no" frappuccinos "because I said so."
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 5:38 AM on May 8, 2011 [30 favorites]

Second, I don't think this request is crossing a boundary because I feel like if one were in a solid relationship they should feel comfortable expressing a concern.

I don't believe anyone has said that "expressing a concern" is a bad thing in a relationship. I think the point of contention is in the girlfriend's response, specifically How many times can I point out to him that I think his habit is stupid?

Even if we take that with a few grains of salt, I'm of the camp that says "you get to mention it once, and having had your opinion registered and acknowledged by said partner, back off and put it away." Yes, absolutely she should be able to register her concern. No, she shouldn't get to be all judgy about it on a habitual basis. Bringing it up repeatedly is contingent upon it interfering directly with some mutually-agreed-upon goal or tenet of the relationship, i.e., "We promised to work on x together, and behavior y is undermining that agreement."
posted by mykescipark at 5:42 AM on May 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

I'm with Eyebrows on this.

It's not an unreasonable request to ask someone to cut back on something that really is very unhealthy over the medium to long term. There's nothing wrong with spending that amount of money on yourself, but the OP might want to consider what else they could be spending $120 a month on something which might give them more pleasure than merely satisfying the craving for sugar and caffeine that Starbucks so expertly packages and sells.

It might not be reasonable to go on and on and on and on about it once the boyfriend had said, no: I really do want to have my coffee every day regardless of the consequences.
posted by pharm at 5:47 AM on May 8, 2011 [2 favorites]

Where the heck are people coming up with $150/month? Frappucinos are $2 apiece at the gas station. One per day, every day, is $60/month. But if you buy them at the store, they can be found for $6/4, and there are frequently 50c off coupons attached to the package. So 30 frappucinos would come out to $45. So $150/month is a total strawman.
posted by desjardins at 5:48 AM on May 8, 2011

desjardins: "Where the heck are people coming up with $150/month?"

Because the OP specifically stated Starbucks Frappacinos & more than one a day to boot. 1.5 * 30 * $4 is $180.
posted by pharm at 5:52 AM on May 8, 2011

Where the heck are people coming up with $150/month? Frappucinos are $2 apiece at the gas station. One per day, every day, is $60/month. But if you buy them at the store, they can be found for $6/4, and there are frequently 50c off coupons attached to the package. So 30 frappucinos would come out to $45. So $150/month is a total strawman.

It seems like you are referring to the bottled Frappacinos. Which might be what the OP is referring to, but probably not, as usually when people talk about Starbucks Frappacinos they talk about the ones MADE at the coffeeshop, which are a lot different than the bottled kind which are healthier and cheaper. I guess we'd have to ask OP what he means. I do believe frapaccinos made in the coffeeshop are around 4 dollars.
posted by bearette at 6:16 AM on May 8, 2011

Switch to Scotch, become an alcoholic and give her something to REALLY bitch about.
But, yeah, unless your habit is affecting your daily life (can't pay bills, can't walk because all those goodies made you fat and out of shape) I'd say it's none of her damn business.
posted by pentagoet at 6:20 AM on May 8, 2011 [4 favorites]

Perhaps I'm reading through the lines but this seems like a budget issue related to joint finances and concerns over discretionary purchases eating into savings. I advise you to have a larger conversation about the joint budget, and the monthly line item for Frappicco and other small pocket money related expenses.
posted by humanfont at 6:25 AM on May 8, 2011

There are quite a few daily habits that would get more of a "geez, dude, you should probably dial back" response from us: cigarettes (obviously unhealthy, affects your girlfriend directly), pint of Ben & Jerry's for breakfast (calorie bonanza), new shoes every week (expensive, cluttery), watching porn twice a day without fail (weird, may make your girlfriend uncomfortable), refusing to flush the toilet (ew). If 1 is "totally normal daily thing" and 10 is "intervention required now" Frappuccinos are a 2, maybe a 3.

Even for the 10s, though, as long as it affects only you, you have a right to say "my body, my money, my rules." And your partner has the right to consider that a dealbreaker.

It's not always an either/or thing, and there's not an easy way to measure these things or a bright line where one of you is more "right." There will be the "I enjoy this, get over it" things and the "maybe you have a point, I'll cut back if it bothers you" things, and it's up to the couple to find an answer that works for both of them without undermining either's autonomy.

i'm personally inclined to say "lady, it's none of your beeswax, you'll be a lot happier if you let this one go" AND "dude, you really do not need a Frappuccino every day, ease up" but I have no dog in this relationship.
posted by Metroid Baby at 7:06 AM on May 8, 2011 [3 favorites]

(I'm going to assume your American.) One major problem with American healthcare, and with Americans' attitude toward their health is that we tend to ignore preventive care and focus on treatment of existing illness. So we think, "I'm healthy now, why shouldn't I have a frappuchino twice a day? I'll quit when it affects my health." This attitude ignores the possibility that daily or twice daily sugary, high-fat drinks topped with whipped cream could impact one's health imperceptively (but seriously) at first, or that it would be a hard habit to quit once one realized that it was a problem. It's easy to put on a little weight and then a little more, or have other minor changes that build up and build up, but aren't big enough to seriously compel you to break bad habits.

That's not to say that your girlfriend has the right to dictate your health choices, but I don't think anyone would object to someone in a longterm relationship saying, "I hate your smoking habit. I hate that you're risking your health, because I want us to have a lifetime together. I hate that you waste $x per month on it, because I want us to be financially responsible. Please quit." I think this is a similar situation. It's not that the OP must quit, it's that his partner has the right to ask him to make better health and financial decisions. (Of course, the thing for her to do when he says no is to consider how important the issue is to her and break up, press for compromise, or drop the subject accordingly. Nagging is not the answer.)
posted by Meg_Murry at 7:09 AM on May 8, 2011 [3 favorites]

My honest to god response would be "If it bothers you that much, then give me something else to do my mouth and hands." Her response to that would probably be a small sign of how much life the relationship still has in it.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:13 AM on May 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

I don't really get why everyone's jumping on the girlfriend for being controlling. It'd probably be an issue for me if my partner had an unhealthy sugar addiction, too. I wouldn't care about how much money he spends on it, I'd just worry about him clogging his heart or having diabetes.

That said, if you've been doing this for a few years and your health is otherwise good, then it may not be such a big deal.
posted by side effect at 7:55 AM on May 8, 2011

as long as it affects only you, you have a right to say "my body, my money, my rules."

If you're in a relationship, share finances, have kids together, etc., nothing affects only you.

i'm personally inclined to say "lady, it's none of your beeswax, you'll be a lot happier if you let this one go" AND "dude, you really do not need a Frappuccino every day, ease up" but I have no dog in this relationship.

Yeah, me too.
posted by sesquipedalian at 7:57 AM on May 8, 2011

Should my girlfriend be able to limit my Frappuccino intake?

What?! Why is this even a question? The answer is NO.

How many times can I point out to him that I think his habit is stupid?

That's sufficient reason to DTMFA in my book. If you allow her to outfit you with a bit and bridle over this, it's never coming off, mark my words my friend. I hope to hell you aren't thinking of marrying this person.
posted by Scoo at 8:01 AM on May 8, 2011 [2 favorites]

As a follow up question: How many times can I point out to him that I think his habit is stupid? As many times as he drinks frappuccinos on that day?

As many times as it takes for him to leave you.

Is this request crossing some sort of boundary?

You have to make your own boundaries. As a couple, preferably. Seriously, the internet consensus tells you nothing than the internet consensus.

For me, I don't know, it's a tremendously unhealthy habit (even if adverse health consequences haven't shown up - yet), and it's somewhat wasteful to boot (depending on your finances). I'd likely be annoyed, too, if I were her.
posted by J. Wilson at 8:02 AM on May 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

It's kind of weird how many people are saying her request is okay or acceptable. There have been lots of threads where one partner's nagging about the other partner's overeating and weight gain was deemed totally unacceptable. But in this case, at least several of us think this woman's nagging (when there are no discernible health/weight effects) is okay. That seems backward to me.
posted by jayder at 8:10 AM on May 8, 2011 [3 favorites]

(Is it really that unhealthy, if his diet is otherwise okay, to have a Frappucino every day? It seems a bit harsh to talk about it as if it will be the death of him.)
posted by jayder at 8:13 AM on May 8, 2011

Is it really that unhealthy, if his diet is otherwise okay, to have a Frappucino every day?

Perhaps he should ask his primary care physician (and dentist).
posted by Meg_Murry at 8:48 AM on May 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

jayder: "Is it really that unhealthy, if his diet is otherwise okay, to have a Frappucino every day?"

That probably depends on whether you believe Robert H. Lustig or not. (Previously on metafilter.)
posted by pharm at 8:54 AM on May 8, 2011

First she will nag you about the frappuccinos, then she will start on bigger things. Nip this in the bud.
posted by darkgroove at 9:08 AM on May 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

She requests that I drink fewer because she feels I am wasting my money and being unhealthy

She's right that you're being unhealthy. She's not right to nag every day. (The people in this thread that are implying that you're less of a man if you accede to her request to drink fewer frappuccinos are also not right.) However, I don't understand why you can't just say "I understand your concern." and leave it at that. You're not going to teach her anything by drinking more costly, crummy drinks; and she's not going to teach you anything by nagging about them. You're both being silly, in other words.
posted by oneirodynia at 9:21 AM on May 8, 2011 [3 favorites]

First she will nag you about the frappuccinos, then she will start on bigger things. Nip this in the bud.

Yes, it's important to make girlfriends behave the way you think they should, lest they do the same to you.

Seriously, neither one of you can make the other do anything. Internalize that. Then understand that if the other has a behavior that upsets you, you're going to have to talk about it like adults. There's nothing wrong with drinking fewer Frappuccinos- it doesn't mean you've lost or been made to do something, because those are just fictions. You know you can drink as many as you can afford to, every day if you like, no matter what anyone thinks. But if your girlfriend is concerned about your money and your health, you can decide you're going to drink fewer, because she has a valid point and/or you don't mind making a small adjustment in your habit to please her. You won't have lost, you won't be caving, because you're the one making a choice.
posted by oneirodynia at 9:33 AM on May 8, 2011 [6 favorites]

Wait a minute-- are you the guy who, when out with a group of people, has to make everyone interrupt what they're doing and go to a Starbucks so you can get your frap? Is your habit becoming something that actually inconveniences your girlfriend? That's just another possibility I came up with.

Trying to read between the lines of your collective posts, I can't even tell how serious the two of you are about this. It sort of sounds like it's the kind of nagging and ribbing some couples do to be cute and affectionate. I don't get it; it would absolutely drive me nuts; but some people like to bicker that way. Just speculation here; it is really unclear to me what's going on with the two of you.
posted by BibiRose at 9:46 AM on May 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

I have no idea why people are trying to tell you that your girlfriend isn't being controlling when your girlfriend already came out and admitted to being controlling. She's totally trying to control you here. The question is this: will cutting back on the fraps give you leverage in the future, or will it make her more likely to find other ways to control you? Figure out the answer to this question, then decide whether to cut back on the fraps.
posted by 23skidoo at 10:00 AM on May 8, 2011

It's important for your girlfriend to understand exactly what about the frappucchinos bothers her. It's unlikely that it's just about drinks and is probably representative of a greater attitude of yours that she's taking issue with. It would be a good opening for a discussion. If she understands that this is your "treat" and in no way represents your general attitude toward spending, health etc. then perhaps she will understand better. If she makes good points about your overall choices perhaps it will help you see from an outside perspective and make positive changes. Talk about what it's really about though. Otherwise you'll keep having small, similar arguments forever, never gaining ground.

As a long aside: This one is close to my heart. My boyfriend's Starbucks consumption is a constant annoyance to me. He spends $6-10 a day on Starbucks. I try to keep my entire daily food budget under that each day. Clearly we have different attitudes toward money and have worked out ways to deal with that. But the most niggling thing for me is that I think Starbucks makes bad coffee. I can do better at home for an order of magnitude less money. After a couple of arguments about it we've come to a compromise. The only time I allow myself to say anything about it is if he brings it up. If he says "I'm going to run to Starbucks" I offer to make him a better coffee at home and tell him it's a waste of money. If he wants to stop with me there I say "I hate Starbucks, their coffee is gross. Let's go somewhere else." So if he doesn't want to hear my talking points he keeps quiet with the S-word. Maybe you and your girlfriend can work out a truce?
posted by hot little pancake at 10:03 AM on May 8, 2011

My personal rule, when I have a friend doing something that concerns me, is to sit down with them and make my case exactly once, and then let it be. Saying that what the friend is doing is "stupid" is not a productive approach to argumentation: I try to be more specific and more respectful than that.

That said, I agree with your girlfriend. Those frappucinos are expensive and unhealthful. And have a silly name.
posted by adamrice at 11:32 AM on May 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

What strikes me as controlling about your behavior, GF, isn't that you gave the advice in the first place--it's that when you gave it, you expected that he would agree and comply.

In my opinion, it's fine to bring up issues like this when you have a good relationship someone. You can communicate your concern and make suggestions. The thing is, that relationship does not mean that you get to dictate what the other person does, and if you behave as if you think you do--like by not dropping the subject after the person declines to follow your unsolicited advice--that's very controlling. Bring it up once, and then let it go until it starts causing additional problems (such as if you move in together and combine finances).
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 12:10 PM on May 8, 2011

I think the thing you have to ask yourself is, which is more important, the girlfriend or the drink? Once you've decided, set up your life accordingly. Since you're asking my opinion, it seems stupid to alienate your girlfriend over something as minor as a drink. Cut back to 3 a week, save the extra cash and use it to buy her (the treat that makes her heart sing).

Normally I am with you, TPS, but this is by far the worst advice in the thread. You are basically saying, "Cut down on this thing that makes you happy and appease your girlfriend by going out and buying her something pretty!" Ugh. Not good.

OP, what is it about the Starbucks frappucinos that you love so much? is it just the flavor, or is it the Starbucks coffeehouse atmosphere, or is it the indulgence factor? Have you told your girlfriend why you like them so much?

I ask because my husband is (sorry, but true) a control freak. I like to buy drinks out, and he doesn't get this. Cheaper to drink water or get something at home--very logical.

But the thing is, I've been home with my kids since they were born. 24/7 at-home Mom. Taking care of them was always my Number One Job. And I wouldn't have it any other way.

But that kind of life can make you feel a bit like...well, a drudge, if you aren't careful. Stopping on the way to pre-school to duck in and get myself a drink I really didn't actually "need" was an indulgence I badly needed after changing diapers and cleaning house, a way to cure my cabin fever, talk to adults for a change and socialize a bit at the counter, a caffeine energy boost to keep me going after lack of sleep from waking up repeatedly with small children in the night, even a reason to put on a little makeup and look nice and get flirted with occasionally to remind me that, yeah, I'm still hot. ; )

In other words, a drink out represented a lot more than JUST the drink. It was a sanity-saver. And I explained this to my husband, and he backed off about it.

So I say, unless you are in debt up to your eyeballs or physically obese or constantly late because of your frappucino habit, keep doing it as long as you can if it makes you happy. Sometimes the little things in life make all the difference.

So, explain why you want your frappucinos, and if your girlfriend still gives you a hard time about your "stupid" habit, well, I'd absolutely consider that a red flag. Why wouldn't she want you to do this little thing, if it makes you happy?!
posted by misha at 12:23 PM on May 8, 2011 [2 favorites]

Christ, why so *serious* everyone? I read this as a fairly typical minor disagreement about a personal habit that mildly bothers an SO -- especially when the girlfriend came in with what is actually a rather sweetly sarcastic response. The "SHE IS TOTALLY TRYING TO CONTROL YOU DTMFA" responses are just silly and are probably making these two feel pretty beaten down.

OP, you describe the fraps as a "vice" and I suspect you'd actually be happy to cut back -- if it was *you* making the decision, rather than feeling like you were being nagged into it. Just agree between you that you (both of you?) aren't the kind of people who respond well to nagging, and you're actually more likely to have a think about your coffee intake if you're left to your own devices.

Starbucks Frappucinos are awesome, btw.
posted by sleepcrime at 12:30 PM on May 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

I think the answer to this question depends pretty totally on the extent to which you mind being dictated to by your partner. Some people almost seem to get off on that. Maybe you are such a person. Me? If my partner told me not to drink or eat this or that, she'd be my ex-partner in, oh, about 3.2 nanoseconds. Really, The nerve.
posted by Decani at 2:40 PM on May 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

The thing is that people change over time, and the things that didn't seem important to us when we were younger become more important to us when we get older. When I was in my 20s, the prospect of drinking a frappuccino or a mocha cappuccino a day might have raised an eyebrow or two but wouldn't have risen above the level of "eccentric annoyance." Now, such a habit implies poor concern for health and huge waste of money at an age when maintaining good health and being thrifty are huge priorities of mine.

I suspect that your girlfriend's priorities have changed, and yours haven't.

Girlfriend: you are allowed to criticize his habits at most twice. You are not allowed to call these things "stupid." After that, you have to consider that he is never going to change and if you're comfortable with that. You might not have considered things like good diet and thrift as important values before, but you do now. Accept that this is a point of divergence between you and your bf.

Boyfriend: those of us with a few years of dating experience under our belt are going to see some red flags being raised. Your girlfriend's "snark" might be a bit closer to "kidding on the square." your obsession with drinking frappuccinos (milkshakes, really) every day is unhealthy and a waste of money. Do you want to be "frappuccino guy"? Maybe now you do, but I'd wean yourself off them with or without the gf. Also, it raises a red flag when an SO starts criticizing things as "stupid" because it makes me think, "someday that criticism is going to be directed at me."
posted by deanc at 3:31 PM on May 8, 2011 [4 favorites]

If you give in on the fraps, within a few weeks she'll start in on something else until she is controlling every aspect of your life, from how you dress to what time you go to bed. Carry on as you are.
posted by the foreground at 5:10 PM on May 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

While I stand by my earlier statement that GF's behavior is pathological and will likely only grow more insidious and demanding with time, I feel compelled to point out that Frappucinos do, indeed, suck. :)
posted by zachawry at 6:27 PM on May 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

I've always been very careful with money, and, like your GF would probably see Frappaccinos as an expensive waste of money. I had a similar disagreement with my husband, in the early days, about eating out. With enough talking about it, he helped me understand how important it was to him and how careful he was about sticking to a budget (and saving money as well). This is something you two need to talk over and figure out. The solution may be cutting back the number per week, learning to make your own at home, buying the same number but not buying something else instead, or simply just showing her how good you are at saving money as well as buying fancy drinks. It really depends why this is important to each of you and what changes would work to make you happy. In the long run, it's really, do you see eye to eye on how to spend money? 'Cause that's worth a few discussions over.
posted by Margalo Epps at 8:26 PM on May 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

One of the perks of being a self-sustaining adult is the opportunity to make all sorts of small daily decisions based strictly on personal preference, without any expectation of a rationale.

But seriously, don't you two have more interesting things to debate than beverage preference? You two both sound like you're having this argument just to get the other's attention. If you want something to tease each other about, that's fine, but don't let it turn into an actual "thing," for pete's sake.
posted by desuetude at 8:43 PM on May 8, 2011

Misha, I read TPS differently. I read "use it to buy her (the treat that makes her heart sing)" as saying that by cutting back on Frappucinos, you're wooing the girlfriend; that cutting back is the treat that makes her heart sing.
posted by aniola at 8:46 PM on May 8, 2011

No. They're frappucinos, not crack cocaine. If she's worried about your health, what if the two of you worked out several times a week or something?
posted by sugarbomb at 9:12 PM on May 8, 2011

She has the right to request. You have the right to deny. You both have the right to decide that the issues illustrated by this conflict (personal sovereignty, money, health) are deal-breakers. I suggest a compromise.
posted by smirkette at 9:13 PM on May 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

have you shared with your *doctor* how many frappucinos you drink per day? man, do those things have empty calories in them...
posted by custard heart at 7:01 PM on June 2, 2011

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