Relationship Advice From the ’50s


By Jane Evans
For years, people have had questions about love, romance, marriage, money and self-worth. The specifics may have changed, but the heart of the questions remain the same. Jane Evans was an advice columnists whose advice still holds up today. The following column was taken from the March, 1956 issue of True Love Magazine:

Dear Miss Evans:
My husband and I are very happily married. I’m nineteen and he’s twenty. Our only argument is about his getting a job.

We’ve been married for eight months now and he has only had one job which he kept for about four months. We are living with my mother so we don’t have to worry about rent, but we have a baby boy who was born before we were married, and is now ten months old.
My husband absolutely refuses to get a job unless he can get work making enough money so that he can buy himself some clothes every week, plus the things the baby needs and food. I’ve tried to explain to him that he can’t get a job to start at as much money as he wants.

I have thought of getting some night work to take care of my baby and his needs the way my husband should be doing. I have also thought of leaving my husband, but I have decided my baby needs his father’s love as well as his security. I love my husband and know he loves me, but I am tired of his unwillingness to face facts like a man. Mrs. J. W.
I feel that your husband’s “unwillingness to face facts like a man” may stem from two reasons. One is immaturity. At twenty years of age some men are more mature than others. Obviously your husband has never had to cope with many serious adult problems.
The other reason may be resentment which would have its roots in immaturity. I am not questioning the fact that your husband loves you. However, he may still feel resentful at having this unfamiliar responsibility thrust upon him before he is actually ready and willing to undertake the support of a wife and family. A man must weigh the responsibilities with the pleasures of married life, and accept these responsibilities out of love.
I do not agree that you should get a job to bring in the money your husband should bring in. This will make it even harder for him to make his start. I do feel, however, that outside help would be beneficial and I suggest you make an appointment with your local Community Service Society. (You will find it in the telephone directory under that name.) Because you and your husband do love each other, I’m sure you can work out this problem together.

Dear Jane Evans:
I am fifteen years old and a sophomore in high school. My mother is very strict. She doesn’t allow me any privileges at all.

No matter what I want to do she says I have dirty things on my mind. I can’t go out at night or to the movies during the day if a boy is with me, or even with a crowd of my girl friends. When I do go someplace she accuses me of things I hadn’t even thought of. I can’t stand this much longer. Please help me. Miss J. V. L.
DEAR Miss L:
Growing up is sometimes harder on the parents than it is on the teenager. Parents want to protect their children and this is natural. However, I think on and your mother should compromise. Let your mother meet your friends. Maybe you could give a party, so your mother can get to know and like your friends and she will feel you are in good  company when you go out with them.

If you can confide in a favorite aunt, teacher or older friend, she might talk to your mother and convince her that you should be allowed certain privileges within reason. Your mother will get used to the idea as you grow older, and your social life won’t be such a problem.
Dear Jane Evans:
I have been married five years. About two weeks before we were married, my husband and I went all the way and I’ve never heard the end of it since. He keeps telling me he knows there were others before him, because he never found a reason that first time to think otherwise. I, too, know the usual things didn’t happen but I can’t understand why.

My husband says that even if it hadn’t been for that one time, he would have felt the same way after we were married due to the circumstances. . . . Please help me if you can. I’ve told him there were no others but lie says he just can’t believe me. What shall I do? Mrs. B. W.
Perhaps if your husband knew that a factor like bleeding is not necessarily proof of virginity, he would realize his mistake. Maybe your family doctor can either talk to your husband or recommend a book to inform him of the facts. This should be your first step.
Try to make your husband understand that trust is a very big part of love, and that if he loved you he would trust you. If he felt so strongly about your giving into him before marriage, he shouldn’t have married you. Not if he intended to make your life miserable.
Perhaps you should look around for other danger marks in your marriage. Is there some other reason for his unhappiness . . . a reason he may conceal by repeatedly bringing up the one thing he knows will hurt you and is hard to explain away?
After he reads the book or speaks with your family doctor, have a good talk with him. Tell him the truth once and for all, then do not bring the matter up again. If he brings up the subject, let him know that you have said all you can and he must either accept it or not. Try to be patient—suspicion is hard to overcome—and I’m sure things will work out.

Dear Jane Evans:
I am fifteen and a freshman in high school. Most of my girl friends go steady and seem to be happy about it. I have gone steady twice, and I don’t feel ready to settle down. Should a girl and boy go steady at the age of fifteen? I think it’s too young. Last week a popular boy asked me to go out with him. We went together four times and he asked me to go steady. I told him no, because I want to date a boy I like in service. He was mad and now he’s started gossip about me.

I’m afraid my parents will hear the things that are being said about me, which aren’t true. Should I start gossip about him? Or should I tell him I’ll go steady with him? Miss N. S.

I agree with you that fifteen is too young to be going steady. In some places, going steady means the boy and girl are “engaged to be engaged.” In other places, it just means the fellows and girls want to be sure of having a date every weekend.
If your friends want to go steady, fine. however, no one can force you to do something you really don’t want to do, can they?
Tell your parents exactly what is happening. Just ignore the gossip. Any friends who are worthy of your friendship won’t believe false gossip anyway. And don’t worry about the dating problem. You’ve plenty of time.

Dear Miss Evans:
I have been going steady with J. for the past two years. Now he has asked me to marry him. Since he hasn’t finished school yet, we would have to wait two more years to get married. I have already finished school and am working. He wants us to become engaged, but I’m not sure that I love him. What should I do? Miss M. M.
If you want to find out if you really love J., the best thing for you to do is to meet other men so that you are in a better position to judge other people, and to find out how you get along with many types of people. In that way, you will learn more about yourself and, actually, more about J. Then, if you decide to marry J., your decision will be sounder and more mature. I don’t think you should tie yourself down to him for two more years feeling as unsure as you do. I think even the last two years should have been spent meeting other young men, and J. should have been going with other girls as well. If you explain how you feel to J., he should understand this point of view and accept it.

DO YOU NEED ADVICE? Write to Jane Evans, who has helped so many. Perhaps she can solve a problem that’s been nagging you. Confide in her. If she finds your latter will interest others, it will be answered in these columns. Your name and address will not be used—only initials. Mail your letter to Miss Jane Evans, P.O. Box 1664, Grand Central Station, New York City 17, N. Y.

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