Welcome back, my 12 pound pasta hounds! How are you this fine fine day? It’s been such a peculiar week for the good Auntie, but all in all she is optimistic about it all!
So let’s see if we can spread that optimism around, shall we?
Dear Auntie BubboPants,
I’m wondering if I should keep trying with my marriage or not. I remarried for the 2nd time in 2004, after being divorced for 18 yrs. My 19 yr. old daughter moved in too. Last March, 2008, I found out my husband had a My Space account, which he says he doesn’t know how he got it (it just appeared one day). In this My Space account, one of his “friends” is his ex-wife, who he declares to “hate”.
When I confronted him with my find, he said he knew I was right, and had already decided to tell her he couldn’t continue talking to her as it might hurt our marriage. I waited a couple of days, then went onto his My Space page and read his emails to and from his ex. He told her that I had found out they were talking and now he was going to have to start deleting all their emails so I wouldn’t see them. They discuss Me, my daughter, and everything about what’s going on in his and my daily life. He even typed word for word, some medical findings of mine. I’ve dropped hints, such as a “friend of mine found out her husband was talking to a women that the wife wasn’t also a friend of, and what I thought of it and how it would destroy the marriage if the husband didn’t stop, but he always says things like, “yeah, what a jerk, he shouldn’t be doing that..etc”, but he still continues to talk to his ex and discuss our life with her.
I’m fed up and have decided to put money away so my daughter and I can move out, hopefully, this Spring/Summer. Am I wrong? Should I still try? I’m just so DONE with the lying. I doubt I’ll ever be able to trust him again, especially whenever he gets on the computer.
I’m a firm believer that all people need a certain amount of privacy. I don’t read David’s emails and he does not read mine, etc. But this privacy comes from a place of trust. I don’t read David’s emails and I don’t even have the urge to read them because I trust him and understand that maybe he wants to talk about things that he doesn’t want to share with me. That’s cool. I am the same way. Sometimes I like or need to talk about things that I don’t want to share with him. Not necessarily things that concern him or our relationship, just things that are personal or hard to explain or need advice from someone who is not beholden to me.
I completely believe that everyone deserves a bit of privacy. But that privacy is not a place to be unscrupulous or duplicitous! and that privacy exists in a place of trust. It is a sacred trust between two people. It is a privilege that comes from an integral place in the relationship. Violating that trust is violating the integrity of the relationship.
So, that’s what we have here, a violation of the integrity of your relationship. Why he has chosen to do this, I can’t answer. MySpace accounts don’t just pop up out of nowhere. There is not magical MySpace fairy that creates accounts for people and then populates them with ex spouses. So, yeah, that was a pretty lame response on his part and definitely an indicator of how he views the ideas of openness and trust and privacy.
Then he lied again by saying he would not talk to his ex anymore. He continued to talk to his ex. Not only did he violate the trust by lying to you, he also violated the more sacred idea that you do NOT TALK ABOUT YOUR CURRENT WITH YOUR EX!! (relatedly, people, please don’t share intimate details of your ex with your current partner. it’s childish and crass.)
I’m not particularly keen on the idea of reading his emails and then dropping hints, but you did it and you had a pretty solid reason for doing it. You need to come clean about that.
As for the question of should you keep trying? Each person in a relationship is 100% responsible for the success of that relationship. It would only be worth it to keep trying if your husband was truly willing to start being 100% responsible. Otherwise, you’ll only be carrying a burden that will eventually drop you to your knees.
Come clean about what you know. Be honest about how you feel. Discuss expectations and trust. You can bring up the violations of trust without being accusatory and I highly suggest you think about that before you sit down to discuss this. Accusations and ultimatums come to nothing in the end. If you have decided that you are not willing to put any more effort into the relationship, be clear about that as well. I am not saying you have to give him any ‘chances’, I’m just saying that everything needs to be put on the table so that things can be dealt with calmly and maturely.
Dear Auntie BubboPants,
I wrote to you several weeks ago about a baking question because you give such great advice and I wanted to share in the fun, even though I thought I would never have any type of relationship issue to write in about.
Well a bomb dropped in my life yesterday and I’m not sure who to turn to, so I thought I’d take another stab and writing in for advice.
Yesterday my best friend came to visit me for the day. She seemed really upset and after about 20 minutes she broke down and told me that she had heard from a very reliable source that my boyfriend had cheated on me while I was out of town (we lived on two different continents up until about six weeks ago). She said it took her so much by surprise and seemed so out or character for my boyfriend that she originally laughed, but her source said she was dead serious.
I called my boyfriend almost immediately to see what was going on and after relaying the story, he confirmed that it was true. In May he had gotten drunk with some friends and a waitress at a restaurant across the street from his condo ended up spending the night with him. Her version says they slep together, he says they made out, but at this point I don’t know who to believe.
Auntie, I have only been back in this area for about six weeks and am working hard trying to find a job and a place to live and I am staying with my boyfriend until I get settled somewhere. Last night we had a long talk about his cheating and also a lot of other things and I thought I felt better, but I ended up sleeping on the couch (I can’t even go into the bedroom) and feel just as physically sick as I did when the news was broken to me yesterday.
I normally kick a cheating boyfriend to the curb immediately, but I want to work things out with this one. I feel like this was an enormous betrayal that will take a long time to work through, but I also feel that the breach was a one-time thing that I really don’t forsee happening again. What I’m not sure of is if this willingness to work things out is based on the fact that he is providing for my room and boarding until I get on my feet. Honestly, I am in such a confused fog right now I don’t have any idea how to move forward.
Thank you for being there for all of us slightly-broken chicken butts.
Dear Slightly Broken Chicken Butt,
I put this letter after the one above intentionally. In the previous letter, the writer talks about a situation in which she has been pushed beyond the breaking point. In your letter, you have also had your trust violated, but you do not feel this is beyond the breaking point.
This is something I want to talk about. When you write an advice column you have to know that there is no single answer that works for all similar situations. There are few universal truths when it comes to humans, we are so dynamic and fluid. The minutia of every situation gets experienced and cataloged differently. What is “too much” for one person could be “workable” to another. What was “workable” 5 years ago might become “too much” now with a different partner.
You know your partner better than I do. The relationship can certainly be saved if both of you are willing to commit 100% to it. For any relationship to move forward each partner has to accept complete responsibility for their actions and their choices regardless of how much alcohol they consumed or how lonely they are! And you need to determine where you are in terms of your reasons for this relationship and your reasons for saving it. If you do truly love him and want it to work out, that’s cool. If you are just doing it because you need a place to stay, that may or may not be cool depending on how your boyfriend feels about it (since, of course, you are going to be very open and honest about it, right? RIGHT!).
Think, ponder, mull and noodle over this and then together work out what needs to be done. Just about anything can be fixed if both people want to fix it.
Dear Auntie BubboPants,
What to do when you can’t just kill her?
My husband (of 3.5 years) and I are coming out of a rough patch in our relationship. Many factors were involved and blah blah blah, but one of the biggest problems was his platonic but flirtatious crush on a former coworker.
My husband and I are both 31. This girl is 22, beautiful, and completely insane. No, really, she’s been diagnosed with a severe mental illness that my hubby didn’t know about until he’d already been sucked in. She’s a master manipulator, and she knows that the right buttons to push with my husband are a) act needy and b) make him feel guilty. She’s been appealing to both by telling him things like “I don’t have any friends other than you” (she moved here from across the country to be with her boyfriend) and “I’ll just kill myself if I don’t have anyone to talk to.”
He did ultimately recognize this for what it was, and he found a new job, changed his cell phone number, and shut down his MySpace because those were her main ways of contacting him. But the one thing he couldn’t easily do was change his email address, and she’s been emailing him almost daily ever since. Her moods change wildly and without warning…she can go from “Oh I had the best day today!” to “No one loves me I’ll just go slit my wrists now” in a matter of moments. She finally piled on enough of the latter to make him guilty enough to email her back a couple weeks ago. He swears it was just the one message, that she doesn’t have any other way of contacting him, and that in fact she thinks he left town (and me).
He has asked me repeatedly not to contact or confront her, and I haven’t. Yet. But I am getting fed up and I want her out of our lives. I feel like we simply cannot move forward if she’s still contacting him. As much as I would really like to just beat her down, I know that’s not the answer. My next best idea is to contact her boyfriend. I don’t know if that’s actually a good idea, though. Clearly the girl needs help, and presumably the bf is the one in a position to help make that happen. I just don’t know how much (if anything) he knows about her relationship with my husband, and I don’t have a clue how he’d take it. He could just as easily wash his hands of her and then she’d REALLY lay the guilt on my husband, which would make things that much worse.
So, back to my original question: What’s a girl to do when homicide isn’t an option?
I really can’t think of anything clever to say here
What can you do? ignore. That’s it. Every email program comes with filters that allow the user to filter out certain messages when the mail is checked. I have a filter set up that takes every email that fits a specific criteria, marks them as ‘read’ and dumps them in the trash. I never see them, I almost never even know they exist. They don’t bounce back to the sender they just get trashed and are never seen.
Neither you nor your husband are are in any position to ‘help’ this girl. Any attempts on your part will only pull you deeper into the gluey mire. She’s been professionally diagnosed you say, so the people around her are aware of her issues.
For you and your husband to move forward you must live as though she does not exist. This is going to require a great amount of trust because your husband needs to block and never respond to her again and he needs to know that you trust him. You both need to work on this together and without secrets or reservations.
You cannot help her and ‘help’ may not be what she wants or needs right now. What you can do is work on your relationship. So do that instead.
Dear Auntie BubboPants,
I have a cousin my age who lives in Michigan currently. We used to be really close when we were little, even though for seven years her family lived in Singapore. We wrote letters and emails and included fun cards and presents and the sort of thing girls do with their pen-pal friends. Her mom sent lots of pictures of the family. When she moved back to the States, I got to see her on more holidays than usual and we kept in touch.
But gradually about two-three years ago, we began to lose contact. I was busy, she was busy, the letters stopped, so did the emails.
And so did the visits. I’m still not completely certain, but I think the main point was that her brother was arrested for marijuana possession, and her parents felt “ashamed”. They haven’t come down for any family holiday events in two years, I hardly know what they look like as the picture-sending has all but stopped. Now I haven’t seen my cousin in about a year and half, the last time being when I accidentally ran into them at our pool, while they were visiting their other family. They didn’t even call my grandparents to tell them they were in town.
I know the real reason behind the lost contact is between her parents and my grandparents, but I can’t help but feel guilty. I want to send her a postcard or a letter, but I’m afraid that she won’t reply. Mostly, I want my cousin as my friend again and our family feud to be put out of the way. I know the latter is very very unlikely, but is the former still possible?
~The Distant Cousin
What would you lose if you sent the postcard and she didn’t reply? You’d be out the cost of the postcard and out the cost of the stamp. You’d still be out those things if she did reply.
So send the postcard already! For whatever issues she may have going on right now, the offer of friendship is rarely unwelcome.
Dear Auntie BubboPants,
I am a sophomore in college. Now I’m going to go ahead and generalize that I am not an average college kid. I don’t drink, smoke, or do drugs. I’m in a stable longterm relationship and I do not party (in the sense of going out to bars and partying till 4am and throwing up on the floor…I prefer puzzles because I’m just a little bit of a loser) and I am perfectly happy with my chosen life.
Recently, my bestest bestest bestest friend in the whole wide world of 12+ years wrote me a facebook message telling me that she did not want to be friends. Neither of us are big on phone calls, so we never really called each other up to talk about life unless major problems happened, but we’re like two peas in a pod. She wrote to me telling me that I was boring and never wanted to have fun. I had told her a few days earlier that I didn’t want to go into the city and go clubbing with her because I really didn’t find that fun. She said my idea of fun is a tupperware party.
She ended our friendship over facebook, and even though I tried everything to talk to her, I haven’t heard from her in over 6 months. I am crushed. I really love my BFF and she just turned around an dumped me. I don’t understand why but it hurts so much. It’s obvious to me now that she really doesn’t want to be friends. How should I deal with this and get over her?
That sucks, that truly truly sucks. Readers, look at this! If you are not happy with a friend and do not want to be friends anymore, this is a bright shining example of how not to do it!
People grow up, grow apart. It’s the rare relationship that survives from childhood through adulthood. You are not who you were in 2nd grade and neither is she. It hurts sometimes to have to realize that and accept it, but accept it we must because we cannot make people like us! We cannot make people not change.
You deal with and get over her the way you deal with and get over any broken relationship. You grieve for the loss of what you had, you acknowledge the pain and the brand new empty space. You treat the woulds tenderly and you take care of your needs. Then one day, you find it does not hurt so much. Then on another day you bundle up that last bit of pain and concern and you throw it on out to the universe, give up ownership and let it go. You can always miss her and you can always have fond memories, but do not let it eat away at you. Accept the grief, accept the pain, then accept the healing. It will make you stronger.
Dear Auntie BubboPants,
My boyfriend of three-and-a-half-years has pretty much stopped putting an effort towards looking nice for me. For the past year-and-a-half we have had a long distance relationship and when we do get the chance to see each other (anywhere from twice a month to once every two months, depending on our schedules) I get excited enough to wear nice jeans and a non-tshirt top, wear makeup, tweeze my eyebrows, etc. because seeing each other feels like a special occasion. My loving boyfriend, on the other hand, wears ripped jeans, tshirts with holes in them, AND sometimes will delay his shower until right before we’re ready to go somewhere.
The part that gets to me is that when he’s going to work or out with his buddies, he’ll shower, gel up his hair, wear a button-down, and EVEN PUT ON COLOGNE.
I’m not concerned about cheating or anything silly like that; I’m just kind of peeved that he doesn’t feel like he has to, or wants to, look/smell nice for me anymore. Am I being stupid? Does this usually happen after dating for so long? Should I stop wasting my time on how I look for him? Is there anything I can say that will make him want to make an effort (without causing a fight)?
Thanks, Auntie BubboPants,
~ Done With Stinky Boyfriends
The other day I was sitting on the floor working on a project. I was wearing a sundress with a t-shirt under it and at some point had added a pair of jeans to the ensemble. My hair was sticking out in 16 unintended directions. Basically, I looked like a mess. David looked at me and said, “we could take you down right now and get you approved for any government assistance available! You look insane!”
It was funny and it was true. Now that I don’t go to a job and sometimes will go days without leaving the house I let some things go. This letter was a reminder to me that David is just as important, if not more important, than my friends or a job. So, yeah, I needed that little reminder.
What can you say that won’t cause a fight? Well, I find that accusations, ultimatums and anger are a surefire way to make someone defensive and argumentative…and then the fight begins. Be gentle, approach this with only kindness in your heart. Do not accuse, only share your concerns and open up a dialogue.
Now I need to go shower and put on some clean pants.
Hi Chester! We are Pearl and Pumpkin. We are cats and we’ve lived together for a long time. We also live with a lady. We both like the lady but we don’t really like each other. The lady wants us to be friends. Sometimes we think about it, but mostly we think no. What do you think?
P & P
PS: Our names are Pearl and Pumpkin but the lady calls us both My Baby Petunia-Head. What do you think about that!!?
HA HA HA PEEPEE!!! PP HA HA HA!!
Hi! HI HI! Hi! also HI! my name is Chester and I am the dog that knows the things that become all of the stuff!
HA HA HA!!! I get the letters from the pets that need to know the things and some of the pets are cats and all of the letters from the cats say the thing that is “do not like!!!”. So the thing that I know is that cats DO NOT LIKE anything! ha ha ha!! Do you know? YES!! you know because I just told you. Now you know.
Also, “my baby petunia head” ha ha ha!! My lady calls me all kinds of things! Muntz, Muntzon, muntzonite, puntsen, puntsen turner private eye, chest, duchenst, um-tunk, the little, fartbox, weenus, monkey, ohno monkee, little monkey, jerkus, walter, jerkwalter, and some things that I should not repeat for making the littles of the world scared and sad!!!
ha ha ha! BYE! you are cats! BYES!