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Help! My Partner Is Addicted to Collecting Toys and It's Freaking Me Out

Illustration for article titled Help! My Partner Is Addicted to Collecting Toys and Its Freaking Me Out

Hey, folks! Sorry to dispense with my normal nonsense, but I got a really important letter that I‘m very excited to share. I don’t get a ton of letters dealing with real issues, but I’m always happy to try to help. If you only read this for silliness, don’t worry—there’s still an insane Mad Max theory and the world’s finest superhero butt, too.


Collection Agency


Hi! I loved reading your article about your uncontrollable toy collecting addiction. I am not a collector, however my boyfriend is a huge Lego/Star Wars “addict.” Anything that doesn’t have a utility purpose I would not be the one to buy it. My boyfriend’s collecting is absurd in the sense that we have no room for it, he can’t afford it, and he can’t stop. I’m not asking for you to solve my relationship issues, I’m just reaching out to gain an understanding. I don’t see how too much of anything is healthy and it concerns me when we are at an age where making a family and getting the job you’re happy with should be the goal.

I hope that if this your situation you are managing, but here are my main questions: Are you able to live your life happily and still collect? Pay the bills? Afford things like a vacation, even a mini one? I’m a very rational person and I feel in having a comfortable life these questions should be answered “yes” (unless you detest travel). I love my boyfriend, we’ve been together almost 4 years (his active collecting has been the past 2 years), I feel I am enabling an unhealthy addiction by supporting him when he spent his money, and maybe the answer to our problem is him finding someone who enjoys collecting. I’m heartbroken that might be the case and I’m doing all I can to stay calm. I need help from someone who thinks like my boyfriend. Someone who thinks differently than me. Please help!


I’m very happy to help give my perspective here and hope that it helps you out.

At 38 years old, I still buy probably more than my share of toys. I wouldn’t consider myself a hardcore collector since my college days, when I was making purchases that were close to out of hand (although I never missed a bill or failed to eat because of them). I’ve been married for over a decade to a woman who is almost completely unnerdy, and what we do is allot ourselves a certain amount of our budget each month just for “fun money”—money each of us can spend however we see fit. She would likely be appalled at the toys I spend with my money, and I would likely be horrified at her hair product purchases. However, we don’t ask, we don’t tell, and we don’t judge.

However, this arrangement is made possible because of the fact that neither of our dumb spending habits gets in the way of rent, bills, food and savings. As an adult, you have to realize stuff comes first. But the flip side of that is if you two can make a budget that takes care of the basics, and you can set aside a bit of money for fun stuff for each of you, then why not spend it as you both enjoy?

If you want me to tell you that every adult should put away childish things, well, there’s a lot of action figures on my office desk that would call me a hypocrite if I did. However, I can say with all honesty that my overall happiness has increased the less I was obsessed with collecting, which has in turn allowed me to “grow up” in the tradition sense of the term. Let me tell you a few things that you can pass on that may help bring some insight.


Collecting Star Wars toys did make me happy… but in small bursts. I compared it to heroin in the essay you mentioned, but that’s what it was like for me—that rush of finding a rare figure, or completing a certain part of your collection—that rush was totally real.

That said, I am overall happier now that I’ve stopped trying to collect toys, and instead purchase random ones that strike my fancy. I don’t have the stress of the hunt, or the constant disappointment when you don’t find a certain something. And while it sounds hokey, there’s a lot to be said about spending your money on good food and good times—as I’ve gotten older I have found these things bring me a lot more pleasure than a toy I may end up sticking directly in storage.


And speaking of storage, there’s one realization I had that seemed most useful to me to stop wasting all my money of Star Wars toys—and that’s that I was putting them directly into storage in my closet. I was spending hundreds of dollars for items that I immediately put away, and had no ability to display in the near future. It was practically the same as throwing money away, and hoping at some point it would somehow be worth it. This was very, very silly on my part.

That said, if his hobby is actually causing a physical problem of space, then that’s a serious issue that affects you as someone who lives with your partner. Also, if his toy collecting has gotten even close to the point where it’s affecting your ability to pay rent or bills or buy food, then he has a severe problem, and this is an issue that definitely requires you to talk to a professional. I sincerely ask that you seek a therapist—not because you need therapy, but because a licensed medical professional will know far better than me the resources to direct you to in order to help.


I don’t know your relationship well enough to say if you are enabling him, or if you would truly be happier one way or the other. And whether you two want to go on vacations together, or have kids at some point, those are private discussions you two should have. But it’s totally fair for you to ask what his priorities are—and it’s up to you to decide whether you’re okay with that.

It is absolutely possible for collectors and non-collectors to live together in harmony, but it is by no means a given. There’s definitely room for compromise here, but the main thing is to make sure you figure out the solution you’re both happiest with, whatever that may be.


I will say this: If you’ve been with him for four years and he’s been collecting for two, then if he cares about you and your happiness, he should definitely be willing to compromise.

My best wishes and the best of luck to both of you.

Illustration for article titled Help! My Partner Is Addicted to Collecting Toys and Its Freaking Me Out

All in the Family

Will H.:

Dear Mr. Postman,

The recent Star Wars comics have been excellent, and much to my surprise they’ve managed to incorporate the Prequels in intriguing and even moving ways. For example, when Leia sees her mother’s image on Naboo in Mark Waid’s Princess Leia series I got chills.

All this got me thinking about Luke and Leia post-Jedi and how much information would be available to them regarding their parents. Surely Luke would have done some investigating into who his mother was during the 30 years between Jedi and Awakens. Could the name Skywalker or even Palpatine’s history as Senator lead him to discovering his mother’s family on Naboo? Are ancestry holocrons available for purchase in the Star Wars universe?


I’m certain Leia would have done some investigating, especially into her mother Padmé, as she was also active in the Galactic political arena. However, not to bum everyone out, Padmé died at a pretty young age. Her exploits, while noteworthy, were pretty few, and there’s only so much Leia would be able to get out of them other than her voting record, her defeat of the Trade Federation, and her secret marriage to a mass-murdering asshole. I’m sure Leia could have learned about any relations on her mother’s side… except I’m guessing that Anakin/Vader and his minions took care of anyone who could possibly remind him of his dead wife. I sincerely doubt there’s much for Leia on Naboo. (Although, maybe Leia is a princess of Naboo instead of Alderaan? I still have no idea how that Royal/Senator stuff works. Someone write in and ask me about it so I have a reason to figure it out.)

Speaking off, there’s not much Leia or Luke would needs to research about their father, since he was famous throughout the galaxy as the Empire’s most feared warrior, a Dark Lord of the Sith, and, as mentioned a moment ago, a mass-murdering asshole for the much, much greater portion of his life.


Luke and Leia know what they need to know about Anakin/Darth, and I’m sure Leia at least would love to put her father behind her (if she even announced it to the New Republic). Maybe Luke did some more research looking at the details of Anakin’s pre-Darth life, and read about his exploits in the Clone Wars, but eventually he’s get to the part of the Jedi Holocron where it said “And then Anakin murdered a ton of Jedi Babies” and he’d probably call it a day.

Illustration for article titled Help! My Partner Is Addicted to Collecting Toys and Its Freaking Me Out

Rockatansky n’ Roll

Matthew C.:

Greetings Postman of our pending apocalypse.

With the release of Fury Road, I thought that this was a good time to pose an insane fan theory that this humble stamp licker and a few others on the net have come up with.

Mad Max is immortal.

Now hear me out. First, when we meet Max Rockatansky in the first movie, society is on the verge of collapse. But, when we meet him in the fourth one, civilization has been gone so long that only the oldest people have any recollection of what life used to be like. Max remembers the “before times”, but he’s not old and decrepit like the rest who do. He and Furiosa appear to be about the same age and she barely remembers anything.

Next, is Max’s amazing resiliency. Action flick aside, Max gets the shit kicked out of him at least once a movie. In a world without modern medicine, infection is probably one of the biggest threats there is. Even a minor injury is potentially fatal. Combine that with the fact that he (and virtually everyone else) is borderline dehydrated and malnourished, his ability to fight off infection and heal properly has to be greatly reduced. Yet, Max bounces back every time. And when he donates blood to Nux and Furiosa, they both seem to be energized well beyond what they should be.

I propose that Mad Max is cursed (or blessed, depending on your point of view) to wander the wastes and help those in need until earns his redemption. And since Max generally avoids people, that could be a long time.

What are your thoughts, oh Wanderer of the Wastes?

I’m down with it. I find the most compelling evidence being that civilization has barely fallen in The Road Warrior, and yet by Fury Road, people barely remember life before it turned into the gas-guzzling desert hell the world has become. Also, remember Immortan Joe’s giant-skull mountain base? With its dammed water source and giant farms and crazy mega-elevator powered by War Boys? That shit would have takes decades to build and create.


I don’t know if Max is actually blessed or cursed or is on a road to redemption, but given that he’s stayed the same age for a bare minimum of 50 years, obviously something is going on.

Now, whether this is a something that director/creator George Miller thinks is worth answering (or even just exploring) is another story. Frankly, I’ll be fine if Max just wanders the post-apocalypse for the next few centuries. Admittedly, as a fictional post-apocalyptic wanderer myself, I may be a bit biased. (FYI, the above image comes from the Feminist Mad Max Tumblr, which is just as glorious as you’d think.)


Illustration for article titled Help! My Partner Is Addicted to Collecting Toys and Its Freaking Me Out

Age of Marvels

Ken P.:

Hey Postman.

I’ve heard that Marvel/Disney is planning a Mad Men-esque period drama about the early days at Timely with Stan, Kirby, Ditko and such. How involved do you think Stan and Steve will be? And if they are involved, will they come out looking like saints and make Kirby responsible for all the drama?


Yeah, that’s absolutely not happening.

First of all, because their time at Timely Comics—1939-50—is infinitely boring compared to their time forming Marvel in the ’60s. And they’re definitely not going to set a show then and there.


You know why? Because neither Marvel nor Disney want an hour-long drama about how the individual comic book creators got screwed over for the larger company. You think they want mass audiences to learn Jack Kirby is at least as responsible for the Marvel universe as Stan Lee, and yet he’s virtually never acknowledged for his contributions, especially financially? Do Marvel and Disney want to make a series that is focused solely on the importance of creators, writers and artists to these characters, franchises and eventual multimillion-dollar industries, when almost none receive reorganization or compensation for their immensely successful work?

Nope. They absolutely do not. The potential problems—and public scrutiny—and lawsuits—far, far outweigh the small profits and brand good will such a show might inspire, even if somehow it were as good as Mad Men.


And, if I’m somehow wrong or someone wished upon a falling star and Disney-Marvel actually put this show into production, Stan Lee would be the Don Draper. He’s been the face of the company for far too long for them to admit that he had an immense amount of help forming the Marvel comics universe. I’m not downplaying his contribution at all, as he was utterly essential—but he needed Kirby, Ditko and all the other artists and writers just like they needed him in order to turn Marvel into the success it became.

Also, in the ’60s Stan Lee had a weird habit of calling everybody “Tiger” or “Pussycat” (read his ‘60s comics, he calls the readers these things constantly) and that would possibly not be the draw a major network is hoping for.


Illustration for article titled Help! My Partner Is Addicted to Collecting Toys and Its Freaking Me Out

Skrull Candy

Nero E.:

Salutations Postman of future past,

There’s a lot of Skrull talk going around for Marvel’s phase four and this reminded me of a episode of Wonder Women in which she encounters a group of ‘body snatching’ aliens who I think are also called ‘Skrulls’.

1) When did the ‘Skrulls’ first appear in comics marvel or DC?

2) What’s the deal, did marvel steal from DC?

3) Was this just a silly tv plot or did it appear in W.W. comics and was adapted?

*) I hope these questions are worthy of your consideration. Also if you answer please post a super sexy Wonder Women picture.


1) Marvel debuted the shape-shifting alien race known as the Skrulls in 1962, in Fantastic Four #2.

2) In 1977, the Wonder Woman TV series aired an episode titled “Mind Stealers from Outer Space” (a two-parter) where an alien named Andros came to earth, and asked Wonder Woman for help against the body and mind-stealing (but not shape-shifting) aliens called the Skrills. If this wasn’t a random coincidence—because I sincerely doubt how much comic book research the WW TV staff did while making the show—it was definitely a DC property taking a dig a Marvel.


3) Only the TV show. I’m sure if the Skrill had appeared in a DC comic Marvel would have cried foul; I also doubt they wanted to take on something so high-profile as a TV show over a name of a bunch of third-tier antagonists.

*) Sorry, I had already posted this random picture of a bunch of girls unashamedly ogling Dick Grayson before I saw you ask for a sexy Wonder Woman pic. My apologies!


Top image: AP Photo/E.J. Flynn. Stan Lee & Spidey image: Marvel Comics: The Untold Story.

Do you have questions about anything scifi, fantasy, superhero, or nerd-related? Email the! No question too difficult, no question too dumb! Obviously!

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anyone else notice the rising trend of calling people their partners? seems weird to me.