March 29, 2011
I know my husband has been cheating on me. He also knows that I know, because I hired a private investigator who nailed him red-handed. I wanted to get back at him, so I slept with two men without telling him. I have to admit it made me feel better and was actually a little fun after 18 years of being faithful. I know that sounds trampy. The point is that initially I was going to confront him and tell him what I had done and put him in his place, but now after I cheated I am not sure what to do. At the moment he feels guilty and I get to have some fun. I realized that maybe being cheated on is not the worst thing that can happen. I definitely do not have feelings for those two men; maybe my husband feels the same way about his dalliances. Anyway, I feel like a terrible, amoral hypocrite about the whole thing. Am I wrong?
—Cheating Duo on Long Island
Dear Cheating Duo on Long Island,
You need to stop cheating. Maybe you did not like these two men, and most likely your husband does not feel emotionally attached to his extracurricular activities, either. Yes, married couples used to mutually cheat and take lovers and somehow make it all work, but they were much more sophisticated than we are, partially because marriages were arranged and divorce was illegal. You need to put a stop to it all before one of you—most likely you, seeing as men are much, much better at compartmentalizing sex—actually falls in love with someone else.
“Maybe your friend is simply a very annoying person and you never realized it before.”
Considering you are both cheating and apparently liking it, maybe you need to think about what the hell is going on in your marriage and try to fix it.
One of my good friends is annoyingly ultra-competitive about her child’s achievements. She goes on and on about her kid’s drawing skills, table manners, clean diction, puzzle-solving ability, you name it—her three-year-old does everything perfectly. Whenever I spend time with my friend, I walk away thinking my child is challenged. I love my friend and her child, but these continual one-upping comments about achievement—or the implied lack thereof in my child’s case—are eating me alive. I don’t think I can listen to her anymore without falling into a deep depression and seeking out doctors to find out what is wrong with my child. How do I make her stop?
—Mommy Competition in Chicago
Dear Mommy Competition in Chicago,
It sounds like your friend is not overconfident, but rather very insecure about her child’s skills and achievements. A mother who is truly confident in her child has no need to go around town boasting of its accomplishments. Your friend is interested in appearances. Have you ever met a genius? Do they throw their intelligence in your face? No. There is a line between being proudly in love with your child and needing to convince the world how great they are. It sounds as if your friend has crossed that line. Maybe your friend is simply a very annoying person and you never realized it before.
If she really is a good friend, tell her how you feel. To avoid a direct confrontation, make comments that will force her to stop blathering on and on about her little prodigy. Every time she starts up you could say, “Let me guess—Janie did it first, better and without a fuss, right?” If you repeat this kind of comment enough and she is not socially retarded, she will understand you are irritated and will hopefully curb her apparently insatiable hunger for attention and appreciation.
Most importantly, do not let her upset you. It does not matter if everyone thinks your child is a heaven-sent nugget of perfection; it only matters if you think so! Don’t let her insecurities take away your child’s sense of confidence by dragging him/her all around town from one doctor to another to see if something is wrong. Don’t fix what ain’t broke!
I got a text message from a blocked number telling me that my wife-to-be—we are supposed to get married in September—is marrying me only for my money. Should I take these anonymous opinions seriously?
—Frazzled Fiancé in France
Dear Frazzled Fiancé in France,
Unfortunately you cannot hire a detective to follow her around, because there is nothing he could photograph that will demonstrate she is marrying you for money. She’ll deny it if you ask. She’ll stomp her high heel to the floor and insist that she is utterly and deeply in love with you—you the man rather than you the ATM.
Money is probably a part of her calculation in marrying you, as is how much hair you have, if she thinks you would be a nice father, and how big she suspects your belly will grow after marriage. Regardless of whether people admit it, everyone has criteria, including money. The important part is to figure out if money is her only criterion. Does she always look at you with big lovey-dovey moon eyes, or only when you buy her a gift? Do you only have sex if you are on an expensive trip at a 5-star hotel? Does she sneer if she has to do menial chores or the driver is out sick? It should not be hard to calculate if she is a spoiled brat who is only interested in your bank account. Tell her you lost the money in the market or were just informed you were written out of the will—even better, have a lawyer draw up complicated trust contingencies that ensure she will never get a penny from you—and see how she reacts. It’ll take some courage, but it is better than being played for a fool. You’ll be far less sorry now than you would be signing that alimony check every month.
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