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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

893

Ask a Married Dude: Bob and Eli

Going to try to be concise here, but I have a feeling that won't be easy and I might skip over some of the stuff that won't make me seem like a total monster, but oh well.

Rewind nine years to me as a fresh-faced and vaguely promiscuous 23-year-old working at a dream job in Boston that was perfect for me. Enter Bob, an account guy at my work 14 years my senior and so incredibly wonderfully grumpy and brusque that what could I do but fall head over heels in love with the guy? He had just left a ten-year marriage and wasn't ready to give me a chance to be his girlfriend, but he was ready to bone me, which he did very enthusiastically a few times but never really pursued it beyond getting off. This sorta broke my heart. but I left the dreamjob and didn't have to look at him anymore, so the whole out-of-sight-out-of-mind thing kicked in and I was ready for the next one if I couldn't have the one that had my heart.

In walks Eli, a super sweet and available guy. Ten years my senior and ready to settle down. He is an insanely smart tech guy and just thinks the sun rises and sets in me. Knowing that the one I really want doesn't want me, I dive into a relationship with Eli. We move in together almost immediately. Eli is amazing and open, and tells me he loves me and I fall in love with him. He goes on a trip around the world for a year, and I go with him. He proposes, I accept. Then I run into Bob and sleep with him. Repeatedly. And it's amazing. Whoops. I know, I know. I'm awful and I know it, but I don't want to hurt Eli, so I just do the right thing and buy a house with him and marry him without ever breathing a word. That's okay, right? No? Whoops again.

So I'm married to this great guy and live in an amazing house and we're happy and since Eli is ten years older than me, he is ready to have kids. So we throw out the birth control and try to spawn. Now don't get me wrong, sex with Eli is fine. Him on top, only, but very skilled with hands and tongue before he climbs on. I can't help but compare this to Bob. Bob was more than fine. He was some sort of sex god (at least for me) and will forever be the one I compare everyone else to. Including my husband. That I'm trying to have a baby with. All this sex with my husband just makes me think of Bob more and I email him. We meet. We have le amazing sex. Repeatedly. Like really emotionally-connecting lovemaking and finally, Bob is on the same plane as me and we start wondering out loud how to move forward together (when we aren't screwing around like horny teenagers). Then it happens. The pregnancy test comes back positive. Super whoops. I don't tell Bob or Eli and when I miscarry, I feel like it's a divine omen for me to Behave with a capital B. So I stop calling Bob. I erase all his information out of my life and devote myself to my sweet and available (and utterly oblivious) husband. Eventually Bob stops calling and I finally get pregnant by the wonderful Eli and I for sure know that it's actually his baby and not Bob's. Whew. We have a baby boy and I try to stop thinking about the what-if.

The other shoe drops. Me, all new motherly glowing and still lumpy, pushing my four-week-old baby around the grocery store with my sweet husband. Hi Bob. Fancy running into you here. Bob sees my baby and husband and the look on his face KILLS me. Well it kills me until he turns to this pretty lady with the protruding stomach and introduces her to me. AS HIS WIFE. HIS PREGNANT WIFE. WE WERE HOOKING UP A MERE YEAR BEFORE AND HE WAS SINGLE AND HOW IS HE MARRIED TO A LADY SIX-PLUS MONTHS PREGNANT?!! He is burning holes into me with this look and I'm sure it's the same look on my face. I feel a bit faint and say I need to go. I send the husband off with the stroller to get some fruit or something and I hide by the car, sobbing like a baby. I eventually scrape myself together and push those feelings for Bob way down in my heart and try to accept that the guy I've been in love with for four years is married and gone. I pick myself and my heart up and we move across the country to San Francisco for Eli's dream job. I settle down?

Eventually, I friend Bob on the evil Facebook because I am still friends with everyone we worked with. I read his posts but try to just keep it cool and as distant as possible. Even when he posts pictures of his gorgeous baby girl with the name that I once told him was my favorite. Two years later one of the people Bob and I work with dies and I reach out to him via email, only to find out that his marriage to the grocery store lady is already over and he is single again. I push my feelings down yet again and stop emailing him. Meanwhile, my marriage is fine. Lovely little family with a great job and all seems perfect but my husband won't touch me and hasn't initiated sex since before our son was born. He is busy, I am busy, we sleep in the same bed, he gives me a peck on the cheek when he gets out of the car. It's fine. But it's not.

I post a picture on Facebook of a new hairstyle and Bob likes it. I post about a new promotion, Bob messages me. Uh oh. We message back and forth for a couple of days and then I send him a drunken message with my # attached and tell him to text me. He sends me a message back and tells me how much he wants to be drunk with me. Then the texting starts. It was witty and semi-flirtatious at first and then we dove into our history and rehashed all of that. No more questions. He was in love with me from the first time he saw me. He was just out of a painful divorce and didn't know what to do so he did nothing and he has been in love with me all along. My long-squashed feelings crash out of me in rambling text messages about how mad I am at him for letting me go. We grow intensely close over text and phone and now we have plans to be together when I am back east over the summer. I love him. I know I do. I am in love with Bob, and he is in love with me. He tells me he wants me to be his partner. He gets frustrated at the distance and my husband. My husband that I don't want to destroy. I feel like I am being eaten alive by this what-if serpent that has transformed into the what-now monster.

I told him that we will be together over the summer for a couple of weeks and see if this works. To see if we're good together. He wants me to come stay with him and meet his daughter that he says he wishes he'd had with me and be his girlfriend, and I want to punch him in the face for taking nine goddamn years to get on the same page as me. I tell him that we will cross these difficult and painful bridges when we come to them, and that for now we just need to get to know each other again. I respect Eli too much to ruin his life, but I can't be his roommate forever. I don't want to take my son away from his dad. I think if you look up Between A Rock And A Hard Place in the universal encyclopedia, this novella will be there.

Is this too little too late? Is it ever too late to have your heart's desire? What if the one that got away comes back? HELP!

P.S. Please don't hate me.

Dear Reader,

This is a gut-wrenching question. Should I try to meta-enable it with Newt Gingrich, or with Eli Manning and "Boston"? In the end, I chose neither.

To chew off and swallow one piece of this griefburger at a time, I'll start with him using your favorite name for his daughter. To me, this says he's got a connection to you that goes beyond just sex. Or that he's the most underhanded, creatively challenged person ever, but we'll give him the benefit of the doubt.

It's not abnormal to see sex plummet after the birth of a child. For all sorts of reasons. It may be heresy to those who weigh the strength of a marriage in orgasms (or my 20-year-old self), but I have spent months in a 3 a.m. baby-rocking state of exhaustion so deep that 15 minutes of sleep was far more attractive than a roll in the hay. Granted, that does pass and it sounds like you have a far graver issue of sexlessness. My only recommendation is that some guys aren't always sure exactly when the all-clear signal is, post-birth, and need a little help.

I worry that you say Bob gets "frustrated at the distance and my husband." That Bob's marriage didn't work out could mean a few things. It could mean that he was in love with you and using her to attempt to forget you. Or it could mean that he grows weary of the monotony of being a happy person and, eventually, would tire of being in love with you, too. "Wonderfully grumpy" can easily become "emotionally unavailable." Indeed, did you ever find out why his first marriage failed? The second. While it's maybe possible one — or both — of these marriages failed because it "was not fate," I'm a pragmatic person who believes many marriages fail for far more mundane, ultimately unsexy reasons. You won't learn anything from the honeymoon-like couple weeks. It's my guess that only three years down the line will you know if you made the right decision.

Not that this matters, as it seems you have made up your mind. It is too little too late, but probably for you and Eli, not for you and Bob. I don't hate you and you're not an "awful" person, you're just a person. Though I cannot vouch that Eli will concur anytime soon. Or ever. This may just be the price to pay to have what your heart desires. If you're lucky, the pain will fade. Look on the bright side, some people never live to get either.

Here's the thing. In addition to being a married dude, I am a dad dude. In fact, probably like a lot of married dudes, I consider myself a dad dude first. Eli will get over you, or at least, over time, he will live to push memories of you out of his daily thoughts. His limited access to his children, however, will hurt forever. It's not like you don't know this.

But no matter if you agree with my advice or not, there appears to be at least one thing we can all agree on from this story: both Facebook and Boston will ruin your life, so stay away from them at all costs.

Previously: The One, the Affair, and the Infuriating Family.

A Married Dude is one of several rotating married dudes who don't claim to know everything about marriage. Do you have any questions for A Married Dude? (300-word max, please.)

Photo by Jeff Banke, via Shutterstock

893 Comments / Post A Comment

leonstj

I feel like you don't get to use "Whoops again" when repeatedly cheating on your husband?

I get that marriages aren't always right, and I'm not in any way opposed to leaving them for a reason as 'simple' (it is so massively important, and not at all simple) as "I love someone else more," but you don't get to repeatedly cheat on someone who has done nothing but be loyal to you and write "Whoops again."

Gnatalby

@leon.saintjean Yeah, I feel super terrible for Eli in this story.

melis

If only Facebook wasn't mandatory!

leonstj

@Gnatalby I haven't even been in like, in a relationship that spanned more than one presidential term, but if I was with somebody for years and years, and they had my kid, then one day I found out that they were in love with some dude before me, still in love when they met me, in love with them, with multiple series of affairs with that person, and then made a secret plan to start living with them, all behind my back?

I'd rather you just literally stab me in the back, repeatedly.

Marzipan

@leon.saintjean Aww, I thought that was kind of charming, in a I'm-awful-but-I-still-have-a-sense-of-humor sort of way.

Of course, I have no bones in the monogamy game because I've never ever ever been in anything close to this situation and tend to take the "Haaahaaha oh MAN. This situation is hilarious/insane." Is that terrible? I mean, sure, this sucks for those people, and but, I don't know, I'm not those people and it's just kind of crazy to me, the whole thing.

rararuby

@leon.saintjean If she patronises Eli as much IRL as she does in this letter, no wonder he doesn't feel like sexy times

noodge

@leon.saintjean this actually happened to a friend of mine. when she had just been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. and was going blind. i never wanted to murder someone who wronged one of my gurlfrans more than this asshat. and you know what? he didn't get custody of their two children. BUT HE GETS TO BE WITH THE WOMAN HE LOVES NOW OMG AWESOME.
letter writer take heed.

Gnatalby

@leon.saintjean Yeah, I have long said that if you wouldn't be willing to punch someone in the face, don't cheat on them (Which applies to the other man/woman too. If you wouldn't punch a stranger in the face don't assist in their heartbreak). The tone of this letter bothers me so much, because I can tell the letter writer really does think she's awful, but she has adopted this cutesy, cowering stance so that no one will be harsh with her because she's *so* *darn* *cute* about it. But people should be harsh with her! This is a really awful thing she's doing to Eli, her kid, and Bob's daughter. What the fuck kind of responsible dad wants to introduce his daughter into this craziness at this juncture. I just, UGH.

@melis I legit LOLed.

bunB

@Gnatalby YES. The tone of this pissed me off so much. You're not a fucking teenager who made out with someone other than your boyfriend of two weeks. You're a fucking grown woman with a child and you probably don't deserve custody of said child. Grow up and stop joking about something that isn't funny at all. (Sorry, Gnatalby, not mad at you. Just worked up.)

@Marzipan: Yeah, this really isn't charming or hilarious at all.

thebestjasmine

@Marzipan Yeah, I thought it was the opposite of charming. "Oh, poor little me, I just happened to cheat on my boyfriend, then my husband, and also have unprotected sex while doing that with a guy who was also sleeping around." And we're supposed to feel sorry for her because Eli isn't sleeping with her now? Ugh to all of this. And man, her poor kid.

Megasus

@leon.saintjean "I have no idea how his cock got in there honey!"

oeditrix

@Gnatalby Yeah, I do kind of hate her. Sorry. Being a clueless jerk is excusable at 23, but nine years down the road with a kid in tow, it's time to be a grown-up and stop using social media as an alibi for bad behavior. Notice there is just the barest mention of any of the children, unless you count all the adults behaving like they're in middle school. I hate to be all THINK OF THE CHILDREN but seriously, SOMEBODY think of the children?

pterodactgirl

@melis I got to the Facebook part, yelled "What the actual fuck!" and went to make tea. Self-sabotage much?

brad

i can't wait for the letter where things went to shit with bob and now she wants back with eli. or maybe the deli-counter guy who she had this spark with.

leonstj

@Megan Patterson@facebook - "You know how clumsy I am, Eli, and the thing is, I just, repeatedly, for about 10 years, kept falling down and wouldn't you know it, it was just....there!"

Marzipan

@thebestjasmine

I guess what I'm saying is, I don't care at all about her problems or life, but if I'm going to read this old story again, there had better be freaking jokes.

But I guess it's also because I don't have any interest in condemning her. I am not mad at her, I am not offended that she would dare be flip when she should be - what, exactly? What possible emotion could she convey to get people to be okay with this? Obviously, she's terrible, but if you are going to write this whole thing out (and you MUST know the response you are going to get?) then I am at least going to enjoy it for the entertainment value.

WaityKatie

@melis I actually personally know one person whose marriage ended as a direct consequence of her need to "reconnect" with her high school boyfriend on FB. Yeah, she's with the high school guy now (long distance) and "totally happy" but I don't know how her two young kids feel about it. I mean, I don't believe in marriage at all, but the FB fantasies seem a bit ridiculous a thing to trash your current life over. What do I know?

WaityKatie

@thebestjasmine She seems realllly young, but I guess by the chronology in this she must be over 30 by now? So maybe just incredibly immature and beholden to a wacky rom-com ideal of life and TRUE LOVE, texting DRAMZ, etc. Sigh.

Lily Rowan

AND IT ALL TAKES PLACE OVER A SPAN OF TEN YEARS!

pterodactgirl

@WaityKatie What's amazing is that in 10 years she achieved about 6 months worth of emotional maturity.

packedsuitcase

@Gnatalby Agreed. Honestly, the more I read, the more furious I got at the letter writer. Because, you know what? Jumping into a relationship you weren't ready for when you were in love with another guy was a BAD IDEA. And she had a chance to make it right every step after that and didn't. She seems like she sees her marriage and family as a mistake she has the chance to fix.

Guess what, LW? YOU made this mess. This is not some epic love story that you're playing a part in. You are seriously risking permanently damaging people (I hope to God) you care about, and the tone of this letter does not show that you take that seriously at all. This isn't about you and Bob anymore. This is about you and Eli and your child. Stop talking to Bob, start talking to your husband, and for the love of all things holy, see a counselor and work this out. Maybe you're of the "wanting to leave is enough" school of thought, but A) ALL of Bob's marriages have failed. You sure as hell weren't the reason his first marriage failed, so what was? He's got two failed marriages with one common denominator. B) It's enough if it's just the two of you. But you've got a kid. Which means you have to think with something other than your libido.

I think you're thinking about doing a Really Terrible Thing, LW, and I think you're trying to use love to justify 9 years of Really Terrible Things. But this doesn't sound like love. It sounds like obsession.

packedsuitcase

@pterodactgirl YES! "What the actual fuck" indeed!

WaityKatie

@pterodactgirl And I just reread the letter and realized that both of these guys are significantly older than she is. 10 years? 14 years? The dynamics of this person's relationships are becoming ever more clear. ("oopsie! I accidentally cheated on you, you aren't MAD at me are you? Don't make bab-eee cryyyy!")

brad

@WaityKatie yeah...don't reread it. it just gets worser...and wierder.

D.@twitter

@packedsuitcase I like how she rationalized it? Like, "Oh I HAD to do it b/c I was already 'friends' w/ everyone else at the job I had left years ago." So what?
As the Married Dude said, this LW is just a person, and not an irredeemable sociopath (PROBABLY). But her ACTIONS? They're despicable, and there's not really a way around that, and yeah, no one should tell her it's going to be okay, b/c what she is going to do is going to have serious consequences. There's a difference between rolling up a tent you pitched, and then bulldozing a brick house w/ the current inhabitants STILL INSIDE. I think the real tragedy here is that she had a child. At all. Ditto for Bob (I hate Bob). I hope Obamacare passes so that they (the children) can get affordable therapy in a few years.

SarahP

@packedsuitcase I don't think she needs to forget her libido--but why not try sex with her husband? It sounds like she just sort of gave up after realizing he wasn't Bob, but did it even occur to her to ask Eli about trying new positions? Or to actually talk to Eli about their sex life and what she likes? Or see a counselor together?

thebestjasmine

@D.@twitter Yeah, dude, no one is obligated to be Facebook friends with anyone. What the hell was that? This is why the tone annoyed me so much -- just acknowledge that you friended him because you wanted to bone him again, and yay, success. Stop pretending that any of what you did wasnt completely selfish. You didn't marry Eli because you cared about him, you married him because you wanted someone to worship you in the way that Bob didn't.

D.@twitter

@D.@twitter Actually, if anyone is a sociopath in this story, my money goes on Bob. Sociopaths can be v. charismatic, even ones called Bob. And the pull they can exert on would-be romantic partners (especially self-loathing ones) is mysterious, but substantial (I speak, alas, from experience). If I had to guess (I don't, but I will), I would predict that Bob is going to back out at the last possible moment before he actually has to assume any kind of responsibility/permanent arrangement w/ the LW. Of course he will say that he's doing it FOR HER. Maybe by this point, Eli will know already; but perhaps not.

oeditrix

@SarahP Yeah I noticed that sex thing too. This poor lady is a saint, having sex with this guy who obviously has a condition that prevents him from being in any sexual position other than on top! Maybe she's skipping over a whole bit about how she really tried with him, but he JUST REFUSED to get on his back, or his side, or behind, or whatever. But I guess I'm predisposed given her immaturity to assume this isn't the case.

I have this funny feeling that Bob's sexual prowess mostly consists of him being the initiator every time and her never having to express what she wants in bed.

cc
cc

@leon.saintjean let me chime in as a defense to those of us smitten with others who are 14 years older! i married my husband after dating for 4 years, im 28, he's 42. now, at no point in this relationship has he determined he's at the baby age, and in fact he buys the condoms in bulk. more importantly though, we do get along as like two normal people without age dynamic weirdness. i'm not speaking for all couples, but there's at least two people out there with an age-disparate relationship that's working just fine with plenty of mutual respect and admiration. if i fuck up, it's because i'm an airhead, not because i'm younger.

omg though i spent the whole letter with my jaw dropped. holy cow! i am so sorry to eli and kid and bob's wives and his poor kid and geez. maybe they deserve each other? wow.

WaityKatie

@cc I also know a great couple with an 11-year difference, been together forever (although the guy (older) DID do an extremely shady thing of pressuring her to have a baby after about 10 years...hmmmm....). But with the LW, it's clearly a pattern.

packedsuitcase

@SarahP Yes. You're saying what I was trying to say before getting sidetracked and discombobulated because ugh. The rage.

Xanthophyllippa

@oeditrix Maybe she can give Eli to the Ask A Lady lady who was pissed that she wasn't getting good oral. Because Eli is very talented with his tongue...

travelmugs

@packedsuitcase "This is not some epic love story that you're playing a part in. You are seriously risking permanently damaging people."

Yes. THIS. A thousand times. This is why I hate 80% of romcoms, because so many times there's a jilted partner who did absolutely nothing wrong who gets disregarded for no reason, other than not being "the one."

Love doesn't work like this. Love is, essentially, unselfishness. Oh, Letter Writer, Love: you're doing it wrong.

redheaded&crazy

@travelmugs "Love is, essentially, unselfishness. " a beautiful sentiment that sadly seems to bypass a LOT of people in today's society.

Jennifer@twitter

@redheadedandcrazy @travelmugs @packedsuitcase yes to all of the above. fuck romcoms and the ridiculousness.

I feel really bad for Eli and the children.

Bitterblue

@travelmugs There's a movie about the one that isn't "The One" called The Baxter, and while the movie itself isn't terribly good, I've always found the concept interesting, which is viewing a rom-com from the side of the jilted, not-good-enough guy. Unfortunately the casting was too perfect (?) and the actor being a sucking black hole of un-charisma couldn't really carry the movie. The fact that he gets a MPDG of his own at the end just makes me wince.
But the point is, other people are human beings too. They have lives and feelings and dreams of their own. Swanning through life like the protagonist of a Bronte novel, without regard for others, is an incredibly selfish and immature way to live.

Elleohelle

@cc You were a little older than the LW when you met your husband though, correct? I feel like being 24 and dating someone 11 years older is A LOT different than being, say, 18. I feel like if you're going to date someone older, it's important to have had similar life experiences- living on your own, having (or having had) some type of job, stuff like that.

slutberry

@leon.saintjean What astonishes me is that she has kept this a secret from Eli for EVER. How do you be married to someone and keep something like that secret??? "Whoops, honey, I actually have this deep carnal desire for this man I fucked when I was 23 and again last night and maybe the night before too, my bad?"

I get the impression that she's just never happy with what she has, and always needs to look for the next thing. I highly doubt she'd actually be happy with Bob.

cc
cc

@leon.saintjean this is true, i had been out to college for four years and then in the big city for a couple of years, living some kind of sitcom with ever-changing roommates. i read people have the urge to go out and live life on their own, damn the spouses, but i'd prefer to bring him with. i've done plenty of stuff on my own, i much prefer company now :)

D.@twitter

@Tori-gate Hmn, I guess you're referencing "Wuthering Heights"? None of the heroines in Anne's or Charlotte's novels were such hussies (although Cathy is my second-favorite, after Jane).

idlesby

@D.@twitter I registered an account just so I could point out that Obamacare passed 2 years ago. It's a law! Some of it is already in effect! Just most of it doesn't take effect until 2014.

Bitterblue

@D.@twitter I am never not referencing "Wuthering Heights".
Aha not really. I was thinking of Cathy, of course, but not just Cathy, but also those readers of "Wuthering Heights" who decide that THIS is the way their life should be lived, most definitely. Because Romeo & Juliet and Cathy & Heathcliff and Tristan & Isolde are such ROMANTIC FIGURES filled with PASSION and kept apart by FATE. BUT THEIR LOVE CONQUERS ALL.
Nobody seems to recall that these couples always end up dying horribly! If one were actually to pay attention to these stories, the moral would be "a person needs love like they need a spear in the gut". But noooo.

...I have problems with "Wuthering Heights". It ... bothers me. I preferred Jane Eyre; there was exponentially less fuckery. Which, if you consider all the cross-dressing, mad wives, arson, and near-bigamy, is fairly astounding.

NellieBly

@cc Yep, I'm in the same boat, except there are 16 years between us. We're getting married this month, after dating for 4 years. And the age gap has never been An Issue in our relationship - the only problems have been the way others have reacted to it. Incidentally, where is he buying the condoms in bulk? A friend would like to know.

lebvs

@idlesby and i logged on to my account for the first time in a year just so i could like this comment!

angermonkey

@melis You should know, I"m going to probably cross stitch this on a pillow, I love it so much.

Pseudo Pseudonym

@Gnatalby The cutesy tone made me picture this letter being read by Zooey Deschanel with a montage of images of her being in all these awful soap opera scenes. Despite her outfit in the grocery store scene being all kinds of awesome, no amount of charm can assuage my pity for their children.

cc
cc

@leon.saintjean yay! mazel tov :D we don't get any looks here in brooklyn, although the cashiers at our grocery store and the waitresses at our fav restaurant will hassle us if we come in alone (wheres the other half!). oh gosh, we're an old married couple after only 7 mos ^_^
i only had one person comment on it that i can remember, a friend from the burbs came to visit. we saw a 30s bride with a 50s groom (foxy dude!!), and she made some noise about the age difference (which quickly stopped as soon as i told her our ages!). no serious flak though.
haha- tell your friend ;) the internet. i found a business card from a shipment from condom man (hehe). mr. says they're much less expensive online.

miwome

@Megan Patterson@facebook "I accidentally slept with a prostitute."
"A prostitute."
"Yes."
"Accidentally."
"Yes."
"I don't understand, did you trip over something?"

NellieBly

@cc Thanks! The INTERNET. Where I buy everything else.

Xanthophyllippa

@miwome

"Before you picked up a hooker?"

"Call girl."

"Well, that's a distinction that's going to be very important to the grand jury."

miwome

@Xanthophyllippa Okay, definitely you can keep a toothbrush in my brain. (I hope you remember that, or else the above sounds really horrifying.)

ANYWAY, "This administration doesn't need an opposition party, you know that? We do fine by ourselves."

Xanthophyllippa

@miwome Speaking of opposition, "The reason I would run, were I to run, is I have a great belief in this country as a country and in this people as a people that go into making this country a nation with the greatest natural resources and population of people, educated people."

You can keep your slippers in my brain, too, if you want. *blush*

miwome

@Xanthophyllippa "By the way--'Crime. Boy, I don' know'--is when I decided to kick your ass."

Slippers! I promise not to let them get stinky by putting my wet feet in them directly after showering like certain Clean Person LWs' boyfriends, because that freaks me out. In case you were worried.

Xanthophyllippa

@miwome
"Do you know when we lost Texas?"

"When you learned to speak Latin?"

Rest assured I wasn't worried about the wet feet, because I would just fill the tub with vinegar, toss you in it, and saran wrap over the top and not let you out until you promised to dry off. (My brain comes with a full compliment of fixtures.)

miwome

@Xanthophyllippa "In the event of a military coup, sir, what makes you think the Secret Service is going to be on your side?"
"Now, that's a thought that's going to fester."

That would not work as well as you think it would, because I LOVE vinegar. Talk astringent to me.

Xanthophyllippa

@miwome "Andrew Jackson, in the main foyer of the White House, had a two-ton block of cheese - "

"And a Wheat Thin the size of Lake Tahoe."

I like pickling, so we're a perfect match!

miwome

@Xanthophyllippa "Leo, wouldn't this time be better spent plotting a war against a country that can't possibly defend itself against us?"
"We can do that later, Toby. Right now I'm talking about President Andrew Jackson."

This is tremendous news! Steady supply of pickles AND a home for my dry slippers. And to think, this fuckwitty LW managed to spark a true love match based on domesticity and Sorkin.

Xanthophyllippa

@miwome "I am making a mental list of those who are snickering, and even as I speak I am preparing appropriate retribution."

Come to think of it, I might be able to use that line in class...

Pickles, dry slippers, and seasons 1-3. The only good thing about S4 was "I love her shoes." Essentially, Sorkin = love.

miwome

@Xanthophyllippa Yup, seasons 1-3. Forever. I choose to pretend nothing ever happened after that, although I remember when Leo died on the show (that I was not watching) I actually grieved.

"I will kill you with my SHOES!"

The Hyperbolic Julia Set

@Gnatalby I will wholeheartedly give this cheating/punching in the face advise. It very well articulates what I've tried, unsuccessfully, to explain to friends. I am not a naturally articulate person. That's why I'm a math/computer person, so I can write explanations with symbols, many alphabets' worth of letters, many languages, and pictures. So thank you.

Yolandi Brits

@leonstj It is sad as I have been with my husband for 7years before he met another woman on facebook and for 9months I had to endure lie after lie on how it stopped and how it was over etc until the day I asked him for a divorce.

atipofthehat

Hello, NONE OF BOB'S MARRIAGES WORK OUT.

Tuna Surprise

@atipofthehat BUT BOB IS IN LOVE WITH HER!!!

leastimportantperson

@atipofthehat Well surely that's just due to a series of meaningless coincidences.

wharrgarbl

@leastimportantperson I'm sure she and Bob will work out this time, in spite of all the obstacles that weren't there when it didn't work out any of the last few times.

Megasus

@atipofthehat Um yeah, I wouldn't destroy my marriage and move back across the country for a dude who doesn't seem to be able to commit. Although, I wouldn't have gotten married to a dude "just cuz" and have a baby and everything with him either.

parallel-lines

@Tuna Surprise He was so in love with her he was forced to marry another woman! And forced to impregnate her, which I'm sure was an act born out of pity and sadness as I'm sure he hated having sex with an another woman. Poor, poor Bob.

raised amongst catalogs

@atipofthehat This is because none of Bob's ex-wives ever spent two weeks with him, in the summer, while cheating on their husbands. It's how you KNOW, after all.

WaityKatie

@atipofthehat Anyone can have two marriages fail in rapid succession, COME ON, JUDGEYPANTS.

Megasus

@vanillawaif Um, as far as we know.

parallel-lines

@WaityKatie I'm still chuckling at the part where she sees his wife in the grocery store and is all "HOW DARE HE?!"

wharrgarbl

@WaityKatie I'm okay with someone having two marriages fail in rapid succession. People do stupid things sometimes, especially coming out of a long-term thing that came apart unexpectedly or explosively. Like, if Eli goes and does something stupid after LW leaves him, I can understand that. But that puts LW squarely within Bob's "stupid shit I did while emotionally reeling" narrative. So. You know.

werewolfbarmitzvah

@atipofthehat Yeah, so it's obviously very clear that the LW has her fair share of morally dubious choices going on, but for whatever reason I'd like to focus on issuing this one piece of advice for her: LW, BOB DOES NOT LOVE YOU. He probably told his first wife he loved her, and he probably told his grocery store wife that he loved her, and he probably told a thousand other foxy young 23-year-old coworkers that he loved them, too. Well, he didn't love any of them and he doesn't love you either! He's a toxic waste dump and he's just here to stir up problems for easily-manipulated women and nothing more! DON'T GO INTO THE BASEMENT, LW, DON'T GO INTO THE BASEMENT!

(And also, it would be for the best if you divorced Eli so as not to continue dragging him into your psychodrama. The answer for you is neither Eli nor Bob. The answer for you is 5 years in a convent high in the Alps, where you can paint watercolors and work on getting your life's priorities straight.)

Bebe

@werewolfbarmitzvah There are many, many people I would like to send to this convent of yours.

Pound of Salt

@wharrgarbl Yeah I know people who are very happily married to their third spouse. I'd like to believe people can make it work with the right person. Not that I think that's happening here.

atipofthehat

@Bebe

Just don't let that one guy out.

D.@twitter

@werewolfbarmitzvah Oooh, I want to go to that convent! Although I don't want to be there if people like LW1 are constitute the majority of the population....

EpWs

@parallel-lines This was my favorite part too. "You had the gall to get MARRIED? And have a BABY? HOW DARE YOU."

The double standards in this thing are stacked up so high I'm getting vertigo.

MailerMattDaemon

@parallel-lines Did Dan Fogelberg's "Auld Lang Syne" pop into anyone else's head while reading this story?

raised amongst catalogs

@MailerMattDaemon No, but I love that song, and I love you for mentioning it. I can see how the grocery store incident might have triggered a memory of that song, but remember: in the song, they shared some beers in the car during a snowstorm, and in LW's story, she cried in the car and Eli somehow didn't notice she was blotchy and tear-stained when she got it together?

MailerMattDaemon

@vanillawaif You are so right. In fact, I dare say LW would most certainly not have "drank a toast to innocence...."

rocknrollunicorn

@werewolfbarmitzvah GROCERY STORE WIFE. God, I am turning that phrase into a thing. I dread one day being someone's "grocery store wife."

EpWs

@rocknrollunicorn Eugh. It brings to mind someone wearing a bunch of drab, unflattering neutrals and not talking much.
BUT. I think we can take back the "grocery store wife" by always dressing drop-dead fabulous when going to the grocery store. Someone else should lead the way here. Someone who has not gone to the grocery in her pajamas.

SarahP

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher Ha, wow, in my head, a grocery store wife is a completely different thing. She's HOMEMAKER SUPREME. She isn't drab at all, but is wearing stylish yoga pants and a fancy athletic top, which means she just came from the gym, but she doesn't look sweaty and gross--her hair is perfect. And she's holding a bunch of kale in each hand and wondering whether she and the kid(s) feel like snacking on carrot sticks or apple slices.

rocknrollunicorn

@SarahP Either version works for me, but is secondary to the fact that she is the middle lady, the one between the first marriage and the LW. She was seen once and will likely never be seen again despite having borne his child. Her credit in the imdb of life is "grocery store wife," and that is awful. If this was a story set in medieval times, Bob would have chopped her head off and thrown it to the dogs with little thought.

miwome

@rocknrollunicorn This is how I feel too! The grocery store wife is a phase, neither fabulous nor pathetic. She is but Fleeting.

Vera Knoop

@vanillawaif The LW probably cries pretty. Assholes always do.

Nancy Sin

Whoa.

acookieaday

@Nancy Sin I feel like laughing except there are children involved. Some people actively don't want to be happy and seem to think that Elizabeth Taylor is actually a good role model and not just an awesome diva (who I would most certainly never be bffs with).

Mira

@Nancy Sin I am just desperately hoping this letter is fake. My only other reaction is D:

melis

I don't think concise means what you think it means.

rararuby

@melis I'm just relieved she skimmed the stuff that made her a monster

mmwm

@melis Yes. On the other hand, she is summing up her emotional/sex life since President Bush signed into law the No Child Left Behind Act, Elizabeth Smart was kidnapped, and the US began the war in Afghanistan ...

melis

"I use the blood of Christian babies in all of my household cleaning."

Oh, squiggles

@melis It is the ONLY thing that gets out all the stains!

rararuby

@melis Ask a Clean Herod?

atipofthehat

@melis

<3 u † ~:0 '~

Xanthophyllippa

@melis Here, let me try: "Insert Ask An X Template #3 here: I don't love my spouse anymore. What should I do?"*

*Works for all values of X that are not "A Spider."

Xanthophyllippa

@Xanthophyllippa Or maybe it does work for "Ask A Spider." Just don't be surprised when the answer is "Eat him."

tee
tee

@melis mmhmm

Gnatalby

You need to understand that you have agency in your own life. These things that happened are things you did, not the winds of fate or whatever. You did have choices along the way, and you need to accept responsibility for them and understand that you have choices going forward and commit to them and your part in them.

I think you want this to be a magical love story where it's beyond your control instead of a tawdry and common tale of everyone cheating, when really, it's something in the middle.

I think it's very likely things with Bob will fall apart. You have never been together like in a real relationship, and three weeks of boning is not going to give you that feeling. I would be very careful about involving your children in your life.

Whether you go with Bob or not, you need to divorce Eli. This is massively unfair to him. And don't punish him by whisking his child far away. If Bob is ready to be with you, maybe Bob should be ready to move so that you don't disrupt your child's life and access to his father.

Finally, it seems like you can't handle being alone, like, at all. Maybe you should spend some time in therapy thinking about why that is. Because the choice isn't between amazing chemistry guy and dull settling guy OR YOU DIE. You could have waited for someone else you felt amazing with, but you chose Eli because you didn't want to be by yourself.

I get from your letter that you hate yourself a lot, which is why it's hard to be by yourself, but people you care about, including your children, are going to be fucked up by the radiation of the hate rays, so please, lady, address that situation.

Reply » 165
The Lady of Shalott

@Gnatalby YES YES THIS EVERYTHING YOU SAID

Oliver St. John Mollusc

@Gnatalby Preach it, sisterlady!

melis

You never heard about hate rays? If they take the ship, they'll rape us to death, eat our flesh and sew our skins into their clothing. And if we're very, very lucky, they'll do it in that order.

lisma

@The Lady of Shalott YEP!

tortietabbie

@Gnatalby YES x 1,000,000,000! Do you have a newsletter? I want to subscribe to it.

BadWolf

@Gnatalby YES, THIS, ALL OF THIS. LW, you are *making decisions* here. It's not like the writers at Lifetime have scripted your magical romance, and you can't fight it, and there's nothing you can do about this all-consuming passionate whatever. Own your shit! Like, really, "Whoops again"? Ma'am, you cheated on someone you say you love. Again and again and again. You *decided* to do that. Take responsibility, for fuck's sake.

Dorothea

@Gnatalby yes, this, exactly this. especially the part about being alone. you chose to marry eli and it was NOT the "right thing." why did you make that choice? why did you think the "right thing" was to buy a house and marry a guy that you knew that you did not love and could not be faithful to? reexamine your assumptions about what is "right" and what is "wrong" in love and relationships. being single or uncommitted can be right, being in a loving relationship with a good man can be wrong.

leonstj

@Gnatalby - To be fair, she may be a hard determinist /incompatibilist, in which case she has sound(-ish, I mean, compatibilism is dope) reason to believe that she has NO FREE WILL AT ALL. In which case, she isn't really 'choosing' this, it just, ya know happens, cuz of causality and stuff.

If she is of this school of philosophical thought, then she also will understand that it is not through free-will but through casuality that I think she is a terrible person.

Mingus_Thurber

@leon.saintjean "If she is of this school of philosophical thought, then she also will understand that it is not through free-will but through casuality that I think she is a terrible person."

God, I love you. I am going to use this every time I meet one of those awful "It was Fate" people.

Fig. 1 (formerly myfanwy)

@Gnatalby Hi hello come and talk to my friend. I will pay for your flight and food and lodging. (If I had any money that is.)

cherrispryte

@melis You know, this all makes more sense if I just imagine the LW as a Reaver.

packedsuitcase

@cherrispryte Because then she's just been genetically mutated into somebody that ruins things, instead of thinking that people can actually choose to be like this?

Yeah, I like the Reaver version better.

tortietabbie

@cherrispryte I would expect a Reaver to be less coherent, more smashing her hands on the keyboard and growling. But maybe she used Google Translate?

RK Fire

@packedsuitcase: But it was because of the Pax (spoiler alert?) so even then it's not her fault!

cherrispryte

@packedsuitcase YES! I am having a hard time otherwise thinking that an actual human being could be this heinous without, as RK Fire says, Pax in the water systems.

SBGBlogs

@Gnatalby I nominate you for president of the internet. Everything you said was SO GREAT AND SPOT ON. Gnatalby for president! Gnatalby for "Ask a Gnatalby!"

HydrogenJukebox

I think the lesson I took away from all this is that we should just blame the Alliance and be done with it.

PistolPackinMama

@Gnatalby Yikes, 81 likes! Is that a Hairpin record? It should be... If not everyone else should like it more so it is.

Okay... so having worked in two maximum prisons with very bad people who did bad things has exposed me to a whole school of Bad Decisions Plus Bad Decisions And Also Total Mental Trainwrecks and Some More Bad Decisions In Addition to a Hard Knock Life.

This? Sounds like felon-level "what? What? I don't get it?"

Which is not to say I am a lock 'em up and throw away the key type. This is a situation you can sort out. Someday. But it isn't going to happen until you decide it's time for you to take control of your situation. You, and nobody else.

PS: Lady? Bob? If my 23 yo daughter came home with him, my heart would quake within me. He sounds dreadful.

ingrid.tuesday

@melis Aw man, I was trying to make it an entire month without a Firefly marathon. *sighs, gets popcorn*

PistolPackinMama

@Gnatlby 96! Ninety-Six! CMON CMON CMON PEOPLE. Make it 100.

Wanderer

@Gnatalby Very well said. And far more reasonably than the this lady deserves to be told it!

redheaded&crazy

@PistolPackinMama over 100!

have you ever seen the hairpin SO united? it's almost ... beautiful ...

samafaye

@melis I THINK I'M IN LOVE WITH YOU NOW.

EpWs

@redheadedandcrazy WE CAN'T HANDLE LIKES OF THIS MAGNITUDE

slutberry

@melis AHHHHHHHHHHHH I LOVE YOU I LOVE YOU I LOVE YOU

fish in barrel

@melis Had to log in because what's better than a conversation linking bad decisions to Reavers? I LOVE THE HAIRPIN LADIES.

queenofbithynia

PS. Please don't hate me.

Oh COME THE FUCK ON already! You get to have the best sex in the world with the love of your life who loves you back, and the one and only price to pay is being judged and hated by strangers (and, uh, your husband and maybe your kid eventually.) I am not joking when I say that is a tiny price to pay and if you are not willing to pay it, that means you cannot afford to buy the thing you want. It is like you walked into a diamond store and saw a million-dollar diamond and HAD A MILLION DOLLARS IN YOUR POCKET, and started begging the diamond salesman not to make you hand over the million dollars. But that's what the diamond costs! Just buy it already!

You are going to fuck up your husband and he will never believe you about the respect, because that is what it costs to get what you want. Pissing and moaning about how much it costs is petty. There is dignity and tragedy in villainy but there is none in pettiness.

catwithglasses

@queenofbithynia Daaammmn. I mean, rightly so, but daaamn.

The lack of agency in these letters is ridiculously commonplace, but just as frustrating every time. These aren't things that are just woopsy-daisy happening to a good person (who doesn't deserve to be hated by anonymous people online, or by her husband for that matter), but actual, real things the letter-writer did and did repeatedly. REPEATEDLY. So many times.

You mayybe get to ask people not to hate you for one crazy accidental screwup. Not for this. You made your bed. You say you want your bed (with Bob). Go lay in it.

fondue with cheddar

@kmc, you said it perfectly: You maayyyybe get to ask people not to hate you for one crazy accidental screwup. Not for this. You made your bed. You say you want your bed (with Bob). Go lay in it.

WOW, this attitude smacks of my ex when he left me for the girl with whom he was cheating on me. In fact, friends said almost exactly this to him because he actually thought people shouldn't be angry at him for what he did. LW doesn't seem to have an ounce of remorse for her actions. GROW THE FUCK UP.

Going to try to be concise here, but I have a feeling that won't be easy and I might skip over some of the stuff that won't make me seem like a total monster, but oh well.

Yeah, of course. You're a really nice person, this story just casts you in an unfavorable light because you're only telling us the bad stuff. Uh-huh. Right.

queenofbithynia

@kmc Maybe I am just feeling extra old and stern today but you know, it is a revelation that everybody needs to have, and sooner rather than later: you can actually do whatever you want, literally anything you want, you can have it, no permission needed. Forgive me for getting all Isak Dineseny here but advice columnists can't put the price tags on these things for you, the universe does, and it will not be bargained with. I mean, sublime happiness with your lover for the low low price of self-respect and human decency? A bargain at twice the price! It used to cost your immortal soul and nobody would invite you to dinner parties anymore! Sheesh.

melis

@queenofbithynia "My dear, LW#1 isn't received. Not even by her people in Charleston!"

thebestjasmine

I'm not sure if your decision is about taking your son away from his dad. Your decision might be whether you are able to leave your son with his dad and go be with Bob. If Eli fights you for custody, which he may, he'll have a pretty good case -- often in custody cases if you're planning on moving away with a kid, you have to show a lot to get the court to let you do it, especially in California.

Tuna Surprise

You should contact a divorce attorney. If you are resident in California before the divorce, you may not be able to move your child back to Boston w/o Eli's consent. Something tells me Eli is not going to bless your desire to create a new insta-family with Bob on the other side of the country.

melis

`Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

"Beware the what-if serpent, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the now-what monster, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!"

He took his vorpal sword in hand:
Long time the manxome foe he sought --
So rested he by the Facebook tree,
And stood awhile in thought.

And, as in uffish thought he stood,
The what-if serpent, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!

"I love your new haircut," it said - And through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.

"And, has thou slain the what-if serpent?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!'
He chortled in his joy.

`Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

atipofthehat

@melis

The Bandersnatch wants what it wants.

Andrea K@twitter

@atipofthehat I was going to make a heart/vagina + Bandersnatch joke to follow this up then couldn't quite deal with the pun.

LilyMarlene

@atipofthehat But I think they make a cream to soothe it, 'specially when it gets frumious.

@melis This is my favorite poem. Nice job on choosing the perfect context for its use!

travelmugs

@LilyMarlene Let the soft animal of your Bandersnatch love what it loves.

LilyMarlene

@travelmugs I'm afraid of what will happen if I try to prevent it from doing whatever it wants.

slutberry

@melis I strive to be like melis when I grow up

atipofthehat

That's what you want, mom. What does your son want?

Or does that not matter?

melis

@atipofthehat I think she should just follow her heart, you know? Whatever her heart wants. Hearts. Hearts of Atlantis. Affair of the heart. Working too hard can give you a heart attack-ack-ack-ack. You oughta know by now. Hart of Dixie! Who could refrain that had a heart to love and in that heart courage to make love known? Yeah, definitely follow your heart, nobody does that anymore.

atipofthehat

@melis

"I don't know. I didn't have any food, any water and it was very cold, very cold. I thought, I thought if I could save just one Sexy Bob, but... he was so heavy. So heavy. I didn't get more than a few miles when the sheriff's car picked me up. The rancher was so angry he sent me to live at the Lutheran orphanage in Bozeman. I never saw the ranch again."

melis

@atipofthehat You still hear him, don't you? You still hear the grumpy mutterings of Sexy Bob. Do you think if you can save this girl, you'll stop the grumpy mutterings? Fly, fly, fly. Fly back.

wharrgarbl

@atipofthehat That's kind of a pointless question, though. The kid's what, 3 at this point? He wants none of this to have ever happened. Which is great, and if we had a time machine, that's what I'd recommend. But we don't, so at least part of this thing that kids never want if they're in a relatively happy home is kind of a done deal, with the time for having thought about that having passed before he was even conceived. In conclusion, what is this I don't even.

atipofthehat

@melis

"Would you fuck me? I'd fuck me. I'd fuck me hard."

selkie86

@melis I'm a longtime lurker/infrequent commenter, but I have to say that I love, love, love you for this.

machinesss

You don't really seem to have much guilt over this extended extramarital affair you've been having, but before you do anything else, you need to leave Eli. You seem to be treating this like your relationship with Bob is out of your control, that you're so *in love* with him that you couldn't possibly stop. But you are making these decisions, and it's all massively disrespectful and unfair to your current husband.

leonstj

@marley - I am so in love with money. Please don't hate me, but I walked into this bank, and they had so much money. And I really love it, and I really respect how the bank has always accepted my direct deposit, and given me a mortgage, and all that. But I just love money so much I decided to take it - you don't think the bank will hate me, right?

Kristen

@leon.saintjean One of the strangest things about the way people view morality when it comes to cheating is that they seem to think that the hurt they cause others is somehow mitigated or made less if, in the end, they themselves end up happy. Transfer that logic into another arena, like bank robbing, and it's revealed as the madness it is. A bank robber going on to live a long, happy, money-filled life after his armed robbery escapades doesn't mean that he made the "right decision." It just means that there is no justice.

LW, If you destroy the lives of your husband and your son by ending your marriage, the pain that causes is absolute. It's not somehow justified by the fact that you, the selfish cheater, ended up in trrruuuuuueeeee looooooooove, your existence filled with orgasms and cuddles. Your eventual happiness doesn't retroactively justify your decision; it just means that you - like most of us in this stupid, fallen world - gained your own happiness at the expense of someone else's pain.

melis

@Kristen Yeah, True Love is the greatest thing in the world, except for a nice MLT - mutton, lettuce and tomato sandwich, when the mutton is nice and lean, and the tomato is ripe. Mmf, they're so perky. I love that. But that's not what he said. He distinctly said 'to blaaaave' and as we all know, to blave means to bluff, heh? So you were probably playing cards, and he cheated -

melis

LIAR! LIAAAR!

kickupdust

@Kristen I get what you're saying, but "destroy the lives of your husband and your son" is terribly extreme. being the child of divorced parents is not the end of the world. going to see mom/dad for half of summer break and the odd long weekend = kind of annoying, in retrospect. what is worse, and I have experienced both things here, is being around a failing or failed marriage and witnessing daily the smaller hurts that come from that.

Gnatalby

@melis I'm not a witch I'm your wife! And I'm not sure I want to be that anymore!

leonstj

@Kristen - Unfortunately, "Ask A Utilitarian Ethicist" was nothing but questions from boring-ass trolley drivers, and was cut because it would garner no pageviews.

Kristen

@marley Yeah, I actually completely agree. Either way, though, this lady's fucking around is guaranteed to cause a lot of people a lot of inexcusable pain.

BoozinSusan

@kickupdust Since CA and MA are across the country, not only would that long weekend be infrequent, it'd be expensive, time-consuming and tiring for the child - and all because the LW decided to make Bad Choices.

Queen of Pickles

@kickupdust yes a million times. Emotionally fraught household tensions - marital tensions - when you're a child are much worse than seeing your dad infrequently.

MUCH worse.

machinesss

@kickupdust Yeah, the eventual result of having a divorced family isn't really that bad most of the time.
However, if Eli is really as ignorant of the situation as LW casts him as, he's going to be pretty emotionally shattered when he finds this out. So is the child, whenever they find out about it. I don't think LW is so much destroying their lives by ending the marriage (really that's the nicest thing she could do for them right now), she had already wrecked things when she disregarded her family and had this bullshit affair.

Also, just noticed she was having unprotected sex with Bob while still have sex with Eli. Seriously? SERIOUSLY? UGHH

PancakeBatter

@marley This, times a million. Thank you.

laurel

@marley The unprotected sex is maybe the worst part. Forfuxsake. Oh, and also the part where she thinks the two week interlude is going to tell her anything about what life with Bob would be like.

leonstj

@laurel - I have run this by my council of dudes, and we believe the worst part is how she was in love w/ the same not-eli dude before, during, and soon to be after their entire decade long marriage.

We are modern men, and we can handle the idea of somebody else up in our ladies' ladyparts, but someone else up in their heart is too much to handle.

laurel

@leon.saintjean The council has exquisite taste in things to believe are the worst.

But hey! We don't have to choose! So many things that are terrible here! I maintain that unprotected sex with someone else while trying to get pregnant with one's husband is a special kind of willful disrespect. And the other part, where a couple of weeks of super special secret sexy illicit bangin' is supposed to tell you whether you're long-term compatible or not? As if!

.
.

@Floorcake Well, at the same time, having a creepy ass stepdad/ mom's boyfriend living with you who doesn't give a shit about you is worse than fighting parents. Especially when that mom is the LW. At least the kid has the caring dad around.

missupright

@marley YES YES YES. I barely saw my dad growing up because he moved to another country (and was uncontactable blah blah and a whole lot of other stuff), BUT, I think it did me a hell of a lot less harm than having unhappy, together parents would have done. Also, did me a lot less harm than actually having somebody that fundamentally selfish play a part in my childhood. So, in summary: divorce is not wrecking people's lives.

Maladydee

@Mooah Depends on how creepy the creepy is. I feel like living the first decade of my life with my parents' terrible failing marriage gave me worse baggage than the string of stepmoms I had later on, at least when it comes to "what is a healthy relationship, how does it work". Then again, the kid wouldn't be getting good lessons on that score from LW1 and Bob, either.

Charity Froggenhall

@leon.saintjean I salute your council of dudes and invite them out for an evening of cocktails and shooting pool.

parallel-lines

Sooooo...basically this lady has been cheating on her husband left and right and she wants affirmation that A) her husband won't hate her and B) this other dudes not gonna do to her what he's already done to her twice and to two other women as well. This seeking out of damaging relationships and trying to fix them shit is not for people who have kids - sorry, you don't get to be a reckless asshole anymore. This guy is horny and lonely, just like he's been before and probably will be again and if he couldn't figure it out in the last nine years with two different women, you probably aren't the answer either. A dude may be kind on your situation but I don't think you'll find too much affirmation if you keep scrolling down the page.

leastimportantperson

Yeah girl, you're already actually in a relationship with Bob, so. There you go. In a long relationship with him, actually, during which he has married another lady. Soooo... fun. This is not "what if". You are already living the reality of your Boblationshape (sorry, couldn't help myself).

melis

@leastimportantperson UGH, I just don't "GET" Boblationshapes.

leastimportantperson

@melis I'm sorry, is Boblationshapes supposed to be funny? Am I just not getting it?

Xanthophyllippa

@leastimportantperson I mean, I want to like it, but I just can't.

Brunhilde

@leastimportantperson You guys, I really want to like Boblationshapes but I feel like I'm missing something? It's just not funny to me.

samafaye

@Xanthophyllippa !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Michael Kors should give this LW some advice.

miwome

@samafaye @Xanthophyllippa (I am way late, but) Ugh, the crotch is inSANE to me.

DrFeelGood

Like, whoa.

My two cents are: #1: you need therapy, like 5 years ago. I don't mean that in a condescending way, merely that an internet forum with an advice column is not really the best format for this type of question.

#2: Bob is a fucking asshole, I can tell from here. Bob and you - is it a fairytale? What is going to happen in "real life"? Do you even really want to know the answer to that question? What is going to happen when you marry Bob and 2 years from now you're bored with each other? I really don't care but I do when you are involving children in this scenario.

ALSO YOU BOTH HAVE CHILDREN, and whether or not leaving your spouse is the best thing for them in the long term, you need to put their needs before having awesome sex for 3 weeks with your ex-lover....

So that is technically 3 cents.

parallel-lines

@DrFeelGood Well, on the plus side this is an excellent opportunity to be an ex-wife twice over in the course of a few years!

DrFeelGood

@parallel-lines 3rd times the charm?

I can think of 1 million issues with this situation but I can't even go into them here... so just please... think of the children!!

Emby

Maybe I shouldn't and maybe it's judgey of me, but I can't respect your P.S. I do sort of hate you on behalf of all the Eli's in the world. I have a million reasons I don't want to get married, but turning out like your poor schmuck is pretty chief among them.

DrFeelGood

@Emby To be fair, it sounds like Eli is in la-la land concerning his marriage, or he's hoping whatever the problem is, it will go away. There is no way this man doesn't know something is up with his wife, he just doesn't want to address it. This is his problem too, whether he wants to deal with it or not.

tortietabbie

@DrFeelGood Therapy for everyone. Lots and lots of therapy.

Emby

@DrFeelGood We have no idea whether he wants to address it. We only have this one side of the story. Something tells me that Eli could be practically pleading to know what's up and trying to do something about it, and LW would be oblivious to it.

Dorothea

@DrFeelGood yeah, i wondered about that too. could just be in LW's retelling, but "he was ten years my senior and thought made i the sun rise and set" suggests to me that eli was also captive to his own narrative. life is not always (ever?) a romcom, and when you see your life that way, you might just be deluding yourself.

Megan@twitter

@Emby He's probably just too busy holding this whole family together because his wife spends too much time living in a fantasy world.

wharrgarbl

@DrFeelGood Or he found all the texts and emails and facebook shenanigans because he's not blind or profoundly retarded, and his response was to not say anything because now they have a kid together and he doesn't want her to leave him and maybe if he just pretends it didn't happen things can go back to the way they were once Bob dumps her for good. I mean, LW does not sound like the subtle type, and Eli the Tech Guy can probably snoop a smartphone the same as the rest of us.

raised amongst catalogs

@Emby Ugh, you know who never wants to talk about making our relationship better? BOB, that's who.

DrFeelGood

@Emby I am certainly reading into this because I can't ask the LW myself. Perhaps Eli is literally BEGGING her to tell her what's up, but she specifically brushes aside what is going on between her and her spouse to concentrate on el boberino. Based on the sentences: "I pick myself and my heart up and we move across the country to San Francisco for Eli's dream job. I settle down?" I assume that she gave up a lot of things for Eli - not just Bob. I've met men and women like this, individuals who cast themselves as a villain and the other person as a saint if only to be able to say - "Well, whoops, what did you expect from me?" She has gone on about how perfect Eli is and yet we're not quite sure why he is perfect - but I'm just saying that he is part of it, whether he likes it or not, and she's either not mentioning his protests/pleading, or, more likely, he's ignoring it, for whatever reason.

queenofbithynia

@Emby I think the refusing to touch her is a pretty good sign he's well aware of what's up, even if he isn't aware he's aware.

DrFeelGood

@Megan@twitter I love that I am getting a total pastiche of Eli, Bob and LW in these comments. I think this is going to get optioned into a prime time ABC drama.

SarahP

@queenofbithynia I dunno, from the way she talks about sleeping with him, I'm sort of imagining that her attitude during sex isn't the best. He definitely picks up on that, no matter how "oblivious" she thinks he is.

WaityKatie

@SarahP I mean, she's always on the bottom? Do her legs/climbing abilities not work, or is he crushing her, or what? I've never been married; is missionary-only in the contract?

SarahP

@WaityKatie After Bob blew her mind with his amazing sex god skills, she is incapable of asking for what she wants in bed.

wharrgarbl

@SarahP The only way she can conceive of it or verbalize it is "Be more like Bob." Understandably, Eli is less than receptive.

atipofthehat

@wharrgarbl

Or it just comes out as "BLEE BLAW BLIE BLOBBBBB," and Eli doesn't really understand what move to make.

nyikint

@Emby Even the way that she would say 'I'm awful, I know' pissed me off. She was clearly trying to preempt the inevitable criticism coming her way: 'I know I'm awful, I'm agreeing with y'all so let's try to move past talking about how awful I am. Poor me, I'm such a bad person. *sniffle*'

Fuck you, LW. Consequences: They exist and you don't get to dictate them.

feartie

@atipofthehat Luckily I had just that second swallowed my mouthful of tea otherwise I would be a writing a letter 'Dear atipofthehat I am so suing you for the ruination of one laptop'. Yes, I have a spammy style when litigious.

noodge

you KNOW how you're going to feel when someone says "don't hate me!" at the start of a story... the fact is that THEY know it too. they're just hoping for one person, just one, who will validate the choices they've already made so they can clear their conscience a bit.

Bebe

@teenie Just like "No offense, but" is always, always the lead-in to something extremely offensive.

SarahP

@Bebe No offense guys, but I think you're just jealous that you don't have a Bob in your life. PS Don't hate me!

WaityKatie

@SarahP Don't hate me, but those pants are just not really that flattering on you now that you've gained all that weight. And I hooked up with your boyfriend last Friday. I'm just being honest!

SarahP

@WaityKatie I'm saying this because I caaaaare.

miwome

@SarahP Listen, I'm just trying to be real! I'm just trying to be real with you! I'M JUST BEING REAL AND DOING ME, WHAT IS YOUR PROBLEM

miwome

@miwome I'm not here to make friends.

mczz

This story is rough and I feel for you, I really do, without judgement.

That said, I've been on every single side of cheating that exists, and I've learned a few things.

It is not ever advisable, EVER, to leave a relationship for another one. It just isn't. You have two separate issues here, as far as I'm concerned: 1. your marriage and 2. your feelings for Bob.

You sound unhappy, and that's legit. You should address that with Eli, perhaps counseling, perhaps divorce, but it really needs to have nothing to do with Bob. You need to cut Bob entirely out of the picture and look at what's happening with Eli and figure that out, all on it's own.

When we're unhappy in a relationship, or just unhappy at all, sometimes we look for outside validation and leap on it, and manage to convince ourselves that it will fix everything. It just isn't the case. Bob looks so attractive partially BECAUSE of the state of things with Eli.

Maybe you'll separate or maybe you won't. If you do, and once you grieve your marriage and work your way through that, THEN examine things with Bob.

To be completely honest though, I don't see a whole lot to be optimistic about in the Bob situation. Like you said, it took him years and years to get on the same page as you. He has failed marriages in the past. He may have been cheating on his partner with you. These don't paint the best picture, unfortunately.

The problem with cheating and being in an affair and then leaving someone for it is that this behavior is frequently symptomatic. I'm not one to scream "once a cheater, always a cheater!" but I do believe that if we don't address the things in our relationships and ourselves that lead us to cheat, we often walk right into the same situations over and over again. And I think that may be true for you AND for Bob, five or ten years down the road, if you were to leave your husband for him.

So, please, look at your relationship with Eli all on its own, without respect to Eli. Make your decisions about that solely based on the content of that relationship. If you are in a position to be with Bob down the line, examine that on its own merits as well.

And good luck, I really mean that.

atipofthehat

@mczz

This is the best advice on the page. And the counseling is critical: get a third party who is objective (but on the side of your doing the right thing, whatever that may be) to listen in real time.

mczz

@mczz wooops, that should be "without respect to Bob." Sorry, internet!

mczz

@atipofthehat and of course! Counseling! Yes.

parallel-lines

@mczz I remember my therapist forcing me to read a book called Come Here Go Away years ago, and it pretty much shook me out of this shit. Basically, getting into relationships with dudes who who were inconsistent (wanting me one minute, running away the next) and getting totally wrapped up in the idea of it being 'fated' was basically a big way to try and validate myself in areas where I felt insufficient - like getting wrapped up with someone who was rich, educated and condescending but emotionally unavailable for three years really hit this nerve about me feeling like I would be poor and uncool forever and making this dude love me could fix that. And it didn't - it was a cycle that made me miserable. Anyway, I recommend this book a lot!

Megoon

@mczz That's great advice.

Also, LW... you don't mention anything about Bob's kid. Are you ready to a be a stepmom? Is he ready to be a stepdad? It doesn't really sound that way, and it's a pretty crucial detail to gloss over.

SarahP

@Megoon It doesn't really sound like she (or Bob) has grown up enough to take care of kids. Which leaves me feeling sorry for said kids.

atipofthehat

@Megoon

And don't try to solve that one with nannies, Bob will definitely fuck them.

Porn Peddler

The complete denial of agency is the worst part about this.

This shit didn't just happen at you. You participated in these events. You don't need a married dude- you need Coketalk, because she will unabashedly lay the verbal smackdown on you and set you the fuck straight.

That said, please leave your husband- your son and leaving him will make two good things you've done for him.

Maybe this is cunty, but I understand lust, I understand feeling that if only all the planets aligned and just the right thing happened you could be with this amazing man who has had your heart for nine years, and if only that happened everything would rule, but I draw a hard fucking line at "everyone in my path be damned."

tortietabbie

@Third Wave Housewife I think what LW needs is a dose of cunty. Sorry, LW, but you are not a sympathetic character.

noodge

@tortietabbie don't have anything to add, just wanted a chance to say cunty.

treeskier170

@Third Wave Housewife You don't sound cunty at all. You sound like someone who understands that there are feelings left lingering, even straight up pulling at your heart strings for other people in life. This woman needs a serious reality check though. She made the decisions she made, and she's being a real asshole about the whole thing. Aside from no sex, her husband sounds like a nice guy, and he's getting shit on bad. This woman wants everybody else to make everything bad go away and she's a shitty person for not taking responsibility for it. The poor husband is going to be seriously fucked up by this, and her son? Oh man, he better be a strong kid because his model for relationships is fucked.

tortietabbie

@teenie Have a cunty day! :D

melis

@teenie Did you know that "clunge" means "cunty" or something like that in England? I learned that today. Clungey. Cluunnnge.

noodge

@melis yessssss, new words for cunt and its derivatives...

machinesss

@Third Wave Housewife Yeah, I really want to get Coketalk in here to give her a little slap across the face.

Maybe you aren't an awful person LW (though right now I'm not inclined to believe it), but your actions and the decisions you are making are pretty fucking shitty.

Dorothea

@Third Wave Housewife reading this totally brought out my inner coketalk.

Bittersweet

@melis: Clunge sounds like a little town in Wales. Clunge, east of Market Fracking and north of Mount Nowitfeelsitchy.

Porn Peddler

@treeskier170 Like...how could you possibly build a life and start a family with someone and really have that little regard for them, and how could "sweet an available" be all you fucking have to say I JUST CANT EVEN AGGGGGGGGH

where is mister twh (he's at work tho) i need to hug him

Speaking of cake, I have cake

@melis http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h-cwcSntqmA

Vera Knoop

@Bittersweet There is a flood routing procedure called Muskingum-Cunge. Muskingum-Cunge!

Artressa Vandelay

Married Dude, thanks for leaving Eli Manning out of this. He has a big weekend coming up and has enough to worry about.

RK Fire

@Artressa Vandelay: YES! I am reading and -rereading this thread, and unfortunately, every time someone says "poor Eli" or something similar my mind immediately goes to Eli Manning. Poor Eli, who is only now getting the opportunity to outshine his older brother and is apparently withholding sex from his wife who is in love with Bob.

Mad as a Hatter!

@RK Fire I love Eli, but here in Indy, no matter what some fans say, Peyton will always have a place in my heart.

And I drove by where the Patriots are practicing. I had to stop myself from going into saboteur mode.

Bittersweet

@Sherlock: Don't do it, Sherlock, or the entire Northeast will hunt you down and yell at you with Boston accents until your eardrums burst.

RK Fire

@Sherlock: do it do it do it!

[I may still be bitter because my Ravens lost. ::sob!::]

Mad as a Hatter!

@RK Fire Idk if I can bring myself to pull a Tara Lipinski though!

On a side note, my parents ran into Eli (Manning) today at a Starbucks downtown! Bastards didn't take me.

I'm Not Rufus

I think Bob's real name might be Tom. He lives in Boston, right?

jstar

something about bob just screams "NO BUENO," and i can hear it 3000 miles away.

(i'm in LA, and yes, i just google mapped the distance from boston to los angeles.)

insouciantlover

@jstar Is it the part where he's obviously a fucking sociopath? Because that's what did it for me.

werewolfbarmitzvah

@jstar I'll tell ya this, Bob sounds like he's got "absentee father" written allllllll over him. I also sense that he's pulling the "I adore you and we're meant to be, forever and ever!" card with about 20 women simultaneously right now.

stonefruit

@jstar My sense is that Bob is actually Don Draper.

Melissa Dzwonek@facebook

@jstar But he drunk-texted her that he wants to be drunk with her! Clearly they are MFEO (made for each other)!

Pizzahut

@Melissa Dzwonek@facebook
That was my WTF moment also. I almost forgot about it!

miwome

@Melissa Dzwonek@facebook Meffeo, as I am choosing to pronounce it, is now in my vocabulary forever.

frushka

so yeah, LW, you fucking suck.

sophduck

BOB. DOESN'T. LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!!
Eli doesn't want to bone you because he knows you do not love, respect or want him.
You are only infatuated with Bob because you've never been able to obtain him and you first nailed him when you were a naive 23 year old and he was in a senior position to you.
But most of alll...
BOB. DOESN'T. LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!!

p.s. grow up and think about your child.

redheaded&crazy

@sophduck well put!

Layla

Here's a message to all the letter writers, a freebie: If a guy waits until you're married and have a kid to tell you he's been in love with you all along, assuming you knew the guy before you were married (or in a serious relationship), he's a dick, period. He's on a power trip, playing games, being manipulative, whatever. Nothing good can come of it.

tortietabbie

@Layla Seriously! Ladies! Do not fall for this, EVER!

DrFeelGood

@Layla For serious. Can we get Bob's first wife out here? Oh wait, this isn't Maury Povich.

atipofthehat

@DrFeelGood

Wait! Is Bob Newt Gingrich?

Oliver St. John Mollusc

@Layla Totally! LW would probably be wise to this sort of dickish behavior already if she hadn't spent the last however many years married to a guy who worships the ground she walks on. OH WAIT...

Layla

@DrFeelGood Let's invite the letter writer, Bob, Eli, and both of Bob's ex-wives to a party but not tell any of them that the others are going to be there.

packedsuitcase

@Layla 1,000,000,000 times yes

Hellcat

@Layla EXACTLY! If Bob had an undying fire in his loins for her, maybe he would have tried to track her down in the first place instead of, ohhh... marrying and procreating with the next warm body unfortunate enough to happen upon Bob. And, really, same goes for her, now that I think about it; if Bob was just that great, she couldn't have made one last overture toward him before steamrolling all over Eli?

She sounds sort of like she's really into the "ROMANTIC FATE!" idea, but only when it conveniently falls into her lap. And she also sounds like someone who loves drama just to see what happens.

Fig. 1 (formerly myfanwy)

@DrFeelGood A small, withered, and evil part of me wants to give the letter-writer a reality TV show.

noodge

anyone want to imagine the stuff she skipped over that makes her sound like a total monster?

tortietabbie

@teenie Bob's second wife accidentally fell under her car?

Marzipan

@teenie "I might skip over some of the stuff that won't make me seem like a total monster"

I'm pretty sure she means that we are to assume that if she sounds like a total monster, it is because she skipped stuff that would exonerate her from Monsterhood, not because she is.

Katie Heaney

@tortietabbie HAHAHA

melis

Her child's name is Grendel and she's been battling some hardy Dane in her spare time?

fondue with cheddar

@teenie NO, see...she said she skipped over stuff that DOESN'T make her sound like a total monster.

I don't buy it.

noodge

@tortietabbie she's currently framing Eli for a terror plot so he gets sent to Guantanamo and she doesn't have to lose face to their child?

ETA: OH, I get it. hunh. so apparently there's something she's omitting that may exonerate her a bit? yeah, don't really buy it.

Faintly Macabre

@melis The LW is Angelina Jolie?

atipofthehat

@teenie

Eli was just diagnosed with a really boring degenerative disease?

leonstj

@teenie - She's skipping the part where "Eli" is "The Zombie Ghost of Eli Whitney". He will only have sex missionary because if she does a bunch of sexy-riding of him, it will break his fragile zombie bones. He provides well for the family with his royalties on his invention, but their marriage is sexless because he will not stop talking about the goddamn cotton gin WE GET IT YOU MAKE IT EASIER TO MAKE TEE-SHIRTS NOW SHUTUP.

See, don't you feel bad for calling her a monster? Really, it's Eli who is the monster. Zombie, to be specific.

jacqueline
jacqueline

@Marzipan She skipped over it because it doesn't exist.

EpWs

@leon.saintjean If I had a cat, my laughter would be scaring it right now.

MilesofMountains

@jacqueline She skipped over it because now when she sees everyone tear into her, she can think to herself that we're all wrong because we don't really know the truth and if we understood that Eli snores like, really loud, okay?? then we would support her.

Megasus

@teenie Eli had a daughter from another marriage and she killed her when she got prettier than her? Well, she thinks she did anyway.

MerelyGoodExpectations

If you can't be a good example, you can always try for terrible warning.

Donovan Gentry@twitter

Sadly I'm too illiterate to be sure of this, but I feel like we're all being played. Isn't this the plot of an Austen or Bronte novel or something? Is the letter writer a governess?

tortietabbie

@Donovan Gentry@twitter I think I read something like this in a romance novel once and it all turned out awesome for everyone involved, so NBD!

DrFeelGood

@Donovan Gentry@twitter For a good portion of the letter I was like ok this is either a riff on Betty Draper from Mad Men, or... a combo of Wuthering Heights and some other fucked up shit.

atipofthehat

@Donovan Gentry@twitter

I do think the thing could be solved with a brace or more of Mr. Bates's patent limp-straighteners, screws tightened to the maximum.

Emby

@Donovan Gentry@twitter I, too, am wondering this. It's a little too pat. But then, there are truly awful people in the world of skin and bone, not only in the world of ink and paper.

Megasus

@DrFeelGood 1/2 of the letter does happen to Joan Holloway.

MollyculeTheory

@DrFeelGood I saw him on the moors and he was like "I really like your new haircut" so we banged on some furze. Whoops! It's not my fault, though, because Edgar only does me missionary style. Don't hate me! Aaah BRB I have to go haunt the heath some more.

Dorothea

@Donovan Gentry@twitter i am in the middle of villette, and LW makes ginevra fanshawe look like a goddess. as far as i can tell, charlotte bronte is all about women of deep feeling and strong moral conviction, who are very judgey and would 100% give LW super-side eye. (and maybe pass out from despair, only to wake up in a long-lost relative's parlor.)

Jinxie

@Donovan Gentry@twitter When I got to the end of the letter I said to myself--out loud, alone in my cube)--"Dude, what? There is no WAY this is real." I would like very much to believe we are being played but I know there are plenty of people out there who are really that horrible.

DrFeelGood

@MollyculeTheory I love you.

Faintly Macabre

@Megan Patterson@facebook Though I don't think I'd describe Dr. Rapey as "super sweet" and "super smart."

wharrgarbl

@Donovan Gentry@twitter Real people routinely do far worse, for far dumber reasons, with far greater consequences. So while it may in fact be a fake, it's not automatically a fake because people don't act like this and then expect everyone to be fine with it because True Love. They do. All the goddamned time.

Megasus

@Faintly Macabre OK so it's really like a 1/3 (although I won't lie, and didn't think he was so bad in the 4th season? Like, he seemed to be good to her).

Faintly Macabre

@Megan Patterson@facebook Yeah, I don't think he's the worst guy ever--he's arguably a better husband than Don. (Though Roger seems like a more charming drunk than Bob!) Your observation was a good one; I just love Joan and don't like thinking of her as the above kind of person.

Megasus

@Faintly Macabre It was really only the "accidently got pregnant with an older man's baby" part that was anything like it at all.

Faintly Macabre

@Megan Patterson@facebook Well, Roger's older than Joan, and they first get together when she's really young. He divorces his first wife and marries some other young thing, while Joan marries a guy she has doubts about. Then they start sleeping together again and Joan gets pregnant. I think the key difference is that Joan realizes that Roger is screwed-up and immature, while LW has been pining away for this guy for almost a decade.

pinkmoon

@Donovan Gentry@twitter Do NOT drag the Brontes and Austen into this! Their heroines are strong, morally sound, smart women. This shit is straight up Carrie Bradshaw drama queen, only want what I can't have, oh the exquisite pain of my life bullshit.

Oh, squiggles

This is so cringe worthy. I can't see anybody getting out of this without a ton of pain and emotional baggage being dealt out.

heyladies

This was a fascinating and horrific story in one. The idea that she could go on lying to her husband for this long, have a child despite the cheating, attempt more cheating while losing all focus on her family. My take: if you want to be selfish, you don't get to marry and have a child first. You don't get to ruin other peoples' lives (including your child's!) for a temporarily better sex life. And it will so, so, so be temporary.

dtowngirl

Sounds like a serious case of grass greener/fence for old Bob. Yeah, Bob loves her when she's married and living on the other side of the country. Who doesn't love great hot sex?

danger

BUT WHAT IS THE BABY'S NAME!?

Gnatalby

@danger Shardonnay.

leastimportantperson

@Gnatalby The child's name is actually Bob. Weird, right? But it's just fate that it's her favorite name. It's just fate. People don't do things, fate does things. Fate. Fate. Fate. Well, fate and Bob (and little girl Bob).

melis

RENESMEE OBVIOUSLY

bitzy

@danger Skrawberry.

SarahP

@danger I assumed it was one of those super common girls' names like Sophia or Elizabeth or Caitlin (etc) and LW's obsession with her own drama meant not that it was the #1 girl's name at the time, but that he must still love her.

iceberg

@leastimportantperson - I just LOLed at "little girl Bob", well done!

adwriter84

@danger Heaven. It's Nevaeh spelled backwards.

WaityKatie

@SarahP Madison. What are the odddssss???

SarahP

@WaityKatie He must have STOLEN it!

ilikemints

@SarahP That's what I thought, too. Some name that's been the *personal favorite* for 6 million women all their lives.

WaityKatie

@SarahP One of my colleagues has kids named Madison and Jackson. No Taft??

gigglefest

@danger Creature Cheeseman?

camanda

@WaityKatie Totally going to name my firstborn Polk Van Buren now.

ilikemints

@camanda Polk Fillmore would be a good pornstar name.

bitzy

@WaityKatie I bet you $10,000, the next one is Reagan.

Being born in the mid 80s in South Carolina, all 3 of these are super common with either my peers or their progeny.

So. Many. Reagans.

Wait, I actually dated a Reagan Jackson. Double president points?

WaityKatie

@ilikemints Or Fill Polkmore.

camanda

@ilikemints Polk Harding Fillmore!

WaityKatie

@bitzy Whoa, Reagan is a thing now? I'm just going to pretend that they meant to name the kid Regan, after King Lear's ungrateful daughter, because that is less offensive to my worldview.

dj pomegranate

@camanda How about Fillmore Buchanan?

camanda

@dj pomegranate That's just filthy.

Chesty LaRue

@WaityKatie Or it could be after the girl from The Exorcist, which is who an ex-coworker was named for.

noReally

If you leave your poor husband, and do not move to Boston, because it will absolutely be the worst thing you could possibly do for your child, after conceiving him before you grew the fuck up, and be-my-third-wife-it-will-be-different-for-you guy is willing to do long distance for the sake of your child best interest, and he doesn't fuck around (hope you're good at telling) and he doesn't find some new sweet young thing (short attention span, that guy) then you may move to be with him when your child is old enough to travel as an unaccompanied minor (that's nine or ten) and you will not be a totally worthless piece of shit who deserves no happiness. But it won't happen, because the guy will wander off, and get back in touch after his third divorce.

tortietabbie

This is a thing that I look at when I need to close a mental door and put distance between myself and something upsetting: Dying. Dying. He cheers me.

Porn Peddler

@tortietabbie Here, here, have some baby sloths getting baths.

noodge

@Third Wave Housewife after you watch them get baths, you really need to watch them getting potty trained. their looks of bliss are just... captivating.

adwriter84

@Third Wave Housewife Here's Kristin Bell having a total meltdown about a sloth: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t5jw3T3Jy70

Dorothea

@Third Wave Housewife aaah!!!! with baby sloths, there's no need for clothespins.

here is a Very Important picture of a bunny.

noodge

@blahstudent LOVE THAT. it's my new gchat message.

tea for all

@blahstudent (my sister sent me this the other day! love it so much. i hoped as i clicked that it was what i thought it was)

EpWs

@blahstudent Someone in this room just made a very high-pitched noise. (It was me.)

bocadelperro

@tortietabbie Here are a bunch of people dressed as foodstuffs singing in Italian about Parmesan cheese: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KmZ28NIQPbM

EpWs

@tortietabbie I don't know what I just watched but it was FANTASTIC.

LeafySeaDragon

@Third Wave Housewife OMG how do i get that job? i died when they hung the bb out to dry and he meeped. and then sleepign sloths, too cute.

ded

miwome

@teenie You have opened a whole new world to me. Their faces are truly incredible, and the little butt wiggles! My god.

paddlepickle

My god. Is this really what people are like?

Maybe I'll be single forever, but at least I'll never be planning a marriage ceremony with someone I'd describe as "sweet and available" and "someone I will cheat on constantly whenever I get the chance".

raised amongst catalogs

@paddlepickle I KNOW, right? It makes me think of When Harry Met Sally, when Marie makes Jess tell her she'll never have to be "out there" in the world of dating again. This just goes to show that not being "out there" doesn't mean you're safe. Ugh.

melis

"He just spent a hundred dollars on a new nightgown for his wife. He's never going to leave her, is he?"

"Nobody thinks he's going to leave her."

"You're right, you're right; I know you're right."

BoozinSusan

@melis Oh lord, what's this from?! Brain fart.

sox
sox

@paddlepickle I read that as "miscarriage ceremony" on the first run and I was like WAIT. Did I skim over that? Maybe that's the monstrous part she left out...

Emby

@BoozinSusan
Hint #1: "Harry, meet Sally."

Hint #2: The past tense description of what occurred in Hint #1.

Hint #3: When Harry Met Sally

Hint #4: Hint #3 is the name of the movie.

sevanetta

@paddlepickle I feel like I keep reading the most fucked up/sad I'm-married stories in the last couple of days where people are like: I'm with the love of my life - but she doesn't want kids! I have a pretty great husband and kid, but I need to go cheat on them with a dick!

And I think hmm, maybe I have been single so long BECAUSE I don't subscribe to stupid bullshit, stay away from men who are already in a relationship, have cut the ties with all my exes and don't live in fantasy land about flings, don't cheat, etc etc.

Gentlemen! Normal-ish woman available!

redheaded&crazy

@sevanetta yeah this is definitely part of the reason that I have ~issues!~ because people throw this word around "love" like "oh I fell in love with this guy after the guy I really wanted wouldn't love me"

what does the word love mean to you? REALLY. PLEASE TELL ME. THE WORLD YOU LIVE IN MAKES NO SENSE TO ME.

PistolPackinMama

@paddlepickle @redheadedandcrazy yah. It's funny how when you stop accepting emotional unavailability/ juiceboxery/ whatever as the price of being with someone... your dating pool shrinks, at least for a while as you recalibrate. And you spend more time single. And you care less about being single.

Also... I am either a frosty bitch, or just slow on the emotional uptake. Because I do not fall in love like this, either.

mmwm

What most everyone else has said, plus: "I don't tell Bob or Eli and when I miscarry, I feel like it's a divine omen for me to Behave with a capital B."

I got to this point and thought, ah, now, no baby on the way, you can make a clean break with Eli and see what life with Bob might bring. Why didn't you do that, if you lurved Bob so much and knew you didn't lurv your husband enough? In my mind, that was the time to leave your marriage. Now it's just a big mess. If you and Eli can't fall in love with each other (and sounds like you can't, because of evil Facebook and malicious coincidence always reminding you of Bob), then get a divorce, but DO NOT SPEND ANOTHER MINUTE WITH BOB! I think you both want what you can't have, and once you have it, you ain't gonna want it no mo'.

Bittersweet

@mmwm: Huh, that's funny because I got to that point and thought, ah, now, no baby on the way, she can make a clean break with Bob and really start working on her marriage with a man who loves her and acts like a grown-up.

thebestjasmine

@Bittersweet See, I got to that part and thought "you were having unprotected sex when you were cheating on your husband? that makes you even more terrible."

mmwm

@Bittersweet Well, that's what LW said she thought too, except for the "working on" part... But she knew then that she didn't really love Eli (says later, after having baby and running into married-Bob with pregnant wife in grocery store, that she tries " to accept that the guy I've been in love with for four years is married and gone"), and that she was caught in the Bob undertow, so I'm at a loss to understand her decision after the miscarriage. Although she DOES, now that you mention it, seem to specialise in wishful thinking ...

HeyThatsMyBike

@mmwm Uhm, and the part where she's not on birth control and sleeping with both of them while trying to get pregnant really underscored the whole "addicted to drama" thing for me. Because "I don't know which one the father is, my husband, or this other guy who I was boning while trying to get pregnant" is like the highest level of drama club membership, and she knew there was a very good chance that's exactly where she would end up.
That shit was straight up deliberate. Without a doubt.

sevanetta

@Bittersweet I know! Jeez! When I was at this point of thinking ('oh good, time to Behave, she settles down and cuts Bob off forever'), I really thought the end issue would be that Bob was stalking her and she needed to decide what to tell Eli about the past in order to explain why crazy Bob wouldn't leave them alone. Or you know, something like that.

slutberry

@sevanetta I know! I thought it was going to be, like, "So I'm recommitted to Eli now, but do I need to tell him about all this past fuckery?"

Not, "WAHH THE LOVE OF MY LIFE!"

leastimportantperson

It's just so extra sad because Bob has so much to lose by asking her to give up her marriage and her child for some kind of sex-based trial run in his hometown. Poor Bob. I wonder if I will ever stop weeping for him. He's just done so much work, made so many sacrifices. He is obviously ready to share happiness with someone.

Faintly Macabre

@leastimportantperson And he was SO SAD when he saw her and her baby, because she had gone and had a baby with her husband while he...oh, wait.

insouciantlover

@leastimportantperson Ugh, I had a Bob once and I can tell you now, the only urge I have is to run into him in a dark alley and shiv him in the gut. Fucking Bobs. What a bunch of narcissistic fuckholes.

SarahP

@leastimportantperson Poor, poor Bob! He is so alone!

ThisLittlePiggy

@insouciantlover Me too, and me too. All the things you thought were a sign of a "true bond" were just signs that that person was an irresponsible nut.

annev6

MMmmm. Yes. A twice divorced crumedgeon who letches after women 14 years his junior in the workplace and "bonds" with people over texts. Sounds like a real winner you got there, letter writer. Good luck with allllllll that.

MrsLlama

I really cannot even with this one.

redheaded&crazy

@MrsLlama I know. I reread this letter and all I can think is I JUST. CAN. NOT. EVEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

themegnapkin

Apart from the babies, isn't this an awful lot like Carrie and Mr. big in SATC?

redheaded&crazy

@themegnapkin poor Aidan. Carrie was way too dysfunctional for him. Carrie belongs with dysfunctional Mr. Big, so they can rejoice in dysfunctional paradise.

it IS an incredibly apt comparison. Apart from the babies. Which complicate things like 1 millionx

Bebe

@redheadedandcrazy Team Aiden all the way. Carrie was such an asshole to him!

themegnapkin

@Bebe Team Aidan here, too - but I think Team Aidan means you want Carrie to go away (w or w/o Mr. Big) so he can find someone who will be nice to him.

Bebe

@themegnapkin Exactly. And then make a show about him being goofy and adorable with a nice lady friend and beautiful, hand-crafted furniture.

Blousey Brown

@Bebe "You love Pete? I love Pete. That's just the kind of girlfriend I am." (While sleeping with Big.) BAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRFFFFF.

bunB

I already expressed my outrage above, and I'm trying not to get mad at a stranger (for my own mental health, not hers), but one last thing: just get divorced and let your nice husband find someone who actually loves him. And you don't need to worry about all of us hating you. You'll hate yourself, or already do, soon enough.

Hellcat

@bunB Yes. Free Eli already!

Tuna Surprise

@bunB
FREE ELI! It needs to become the new battle cry of the Hairpin!

bunB

@Tuna Surprise Yes!!

Cavendish

LW, you are in love with your own drama. Probably more in love with it than either of these two men. Do Eli a favor and tell him the truth, and leave him.

SarahP

@Cavendish Well said!

Oh, squiggles

Also, I'm guessing if she got pregnant and was unsure of the father, then she and Bob have not been using protection regularly. Which, given Bob's track record, means she has put her husband's life and health in jeopardy. I don't hate her, I am not a hateful person. But I do think this qualifies her has having done some pretty awful things.

wharrgarbl

@Awesomely Nonfunctional Maybe some of the exculpatory evidence she didn't submit was "and then one of the condoms broke and I couldn't get Plan B because of some jackass pharmacists who wouldn't dispense and ripped up my scrip and Bob ran out and got tested immediately and it came back clean"? Otherwise, yes, this was also a horrible thing she did.

redheaded&crazy

so I do this anxiety avoidance thing where I don't read emails because I prefer the "anxiety of the unknown" to the "anxiety of the known," and usually this causes me a whole lotta unnecessary anxiety because really, that email didn't end up being so bad after all.

BUT HOLY SHIT IF I WROTE THIS LETTER AND SAW IT APPEAR ON THIS SITE I WOULD ANXIETY AVOID THE SHIT OUT OF THIS THREAD!

I mean! Look at your life! Look at your choices! And for HAMLET. HAM.LET.

wee_ramekin

@redheadedandcrazy Something IS rotten in (this LW's world), and it's h[er] piss poor attitude.

Porn Peddler

@redheadedandcrazy I feel SO FUCKING WEIRD knowing she's a hairpin reader and now knowing that she knows that we all think she's horrible.

bitzy

@Third Wave Housewife Correction: we all KNOW she's horrible.

emilylou

@Third Wave Housewife Yeah, it's hard with these kinds of letters, my first reaction is to be super blunt and critical, but then I'm like, "crap, what if it's a Hairpin reader/commenter who I really like and talk to? That would suck for them" BUT ALSO I think if this is her life, some people on the internet should really be the least of her worries at this point.

Either way, all I've been doing is creepin' and "liking" everyone else's intense commentary.

17th Floor

@redheadedandcrazy I DO THAT TOO.

insouciantlover

@redheadedandcrazy I do that too! Once I got a six paragraph email from a guy who I had rejected after one date and after a week of avoiding it I finally made my roommate read it first. Her hysterical laughter helped me immensely.

heyladies

@redheadedandcrazy There's always the possibility that it's someone's fanciful Lifetime-like reimagining of her own life, though that would still be maddening in its own right.

melis

@Third Wave Housewife Ugh, RIGHT? What if it was, like NancyDrew or Figwiggin or ThundaCunt or one of the other late, lamented greats?

sarah girl

@redheadedandcrazy So I agree with this comment, but the first sentence, holy shit, that is me. I didn't even know... it was something that could have a name, or be explained? I'm getting better about it, but still.

redheaded&crazy

@melis you wrote this letter didn't you. DIDN'T YOU. EVERYTHING WE THOUGHT WE KNEW ABOUT YOU. ALL. A. LIE.

atipofthehat

@melis

All right, commenters, everyone check in and sound off!

redheaded&crazy

@Sarah H. I'm just relieved that somehow, whatever my neurosis, somebody or somebodys on the hairpin is right there with me!

wharrgarbl

@melis I refuse to believe any of them could be secretly doing such awful things in real life.

redheaded&crazy

@redheadedandcrazy guys this situation is bringing out a lot of all-caps fervour in me.

like, A LOT.

SarahP

@redheadedandcrazy I've been overusing italics, myself.

chevyvan

@redheadedandcrazy I would like to add, "Slow down, crazy. Slow down." (with wide-eyed head nod) to your "Look at your life, Look at your choices" comment.

MrComment

@atipofthehat Not it.

thebestjasmine

@redheadedandcrazy I do that too, it's a terrible habit, but thank goodness I'm not alone.

EpWs

@redheadedandcrazy @thebestjasmine SUPPORT GROUP, ANYONE?

Diana

@Third Wave Housewife

SHE LIVES IN SAN FRANCISCO NOW. Has she been to a Bay Area meetup? Are we all going to sit around next month squinting at each other and testing our judgment-dar? "Sooooooo. Got any kids?"

oh, disaster

@redheadedandcrazy "anxiety of the unknown" > "anxiety of the known", yes, definitely.

thebestjasmine

@Diana "Have you ever lived in...Boston?"

emilylou

@redheadedandcrazy Oh, I think a lot of people do this with the scary emails. I know I do. But then once I decide to finally read it after mega anxiety overload, I re-read over and over again until I think I will die. It's really the best - wait, no, WORST - of both worlds! (I do this with potentially good emails, sometimes, too.)

Mingus_Thurber

@emilylouise My trick with potentially anxiety-producing emails, whether at work or at home, is to read them out loud in a Masterpiece Theatah Voice the first time through. If I try really hard to sound like Maggie Smith at her most raised-eyebrows, it takes a lot of the sting out.

Insecurity Millefeuille

@redheadedandcrazy I'm so glad to know that I'm not the only one who does this! Ugh, anxiety.

sevanetta

@Mingus_Thurber what, that is a brilliant idea, I'm so doing that.

pixieg

@redheadedandcrazy Ah, I do that too, but I've never seen it described so well!

nancydrew

@melis It's not me! I only sleep with scumbags my own age! (Just kidding, I'm happily married.) But if I ever do anything this epically selfish, I would be disappointed if the pinners didn't rain their fury down on me like molten lava. Maybe the LW was hoping for some tough love?

redheaded&crazy

@nancydrew Whether or not she was hoping for tough love, let's all agree that the 600 comments recorded herein JUST FOR HER will certainly ... be ... an interesting ... read?

LW report back and let us know how it goes!

:\

contrary

@redheadedandcrazy I think this has been the most appropriate usage of "Look at your life. Look at your choices."

elizabee

@redheadedandcrazy I do that too! In fact, I would agonize over writing a letter like this and then never look at the answer even once.

nancydrew

@redheadedandcrazy Agreed. I hope this shakes a little sense into her. (Also, Bob is a raging douchebag.)

CupcakeTattoos

@redheadedandcrazy Am I the only one who is MUCH more worried about the unknown? I had a horrible couple of months last year worrying my ass off about stuff that hadn't even happened/probably never will. I'd much rather know

yarabollocks

@redheadedandcrazy
I am consumed by second-hand anxiety just IMAGINING her reading (the albeit well-deserved) comments in these threads. Ack.

SarahP

@CupcakeTattoos We are the same, sisterfriend.

tin can phone

@emilylouise OMG I feel the exact same on this. I have started and stopped so many posts since I read this letter yesterday...but every time I start writing something rational it just turns into "YOU......YOU ARE A SELFISH BITCH!!!!!" which isn't really helpful...

Hekatompedon

@redheadedandcrazy Hmmmm I think if I were looking for advice in a public forum I would pick a blog that had been widely advertised lately (Other Molly piece, anybody?) and that I did not frequent... That's just me though, and I haven't gotten into a Great Dramatic Love Caper like this before :)

redheaded&crazy

@Hekatompedon guys ... I wrote this letter

:(

in all seriousness though, i think i would never look for advice in a public forum because what if somebody i know sees it?!

frigwiggin

@melis *cough* I may be semi-late around here in several senses of the word (thanks, new job that I actually find engaging!), but I can PROMISE that I am not this interesting/horrifying. Yikes.

heb
heb

Is this a discussion that really needed to happen? I just ... don't understand?

noodge

soooo, i've had a bit of a rough day, feeling like my life isn't what i want it to be, etc. but then i read this.

Thank you, The Hairpin.

Oh, squiggles

And I think this proves that I am much better at relationships than I thought I was.

Dorothea

@Awesomely Nonfunctional i know, right? PHEW!

GoCeilings

@Awesomely Nonfunctional Could the whole thing have been constructed just to make Hairpin readers feel better about themselves? It's just so hard to fathom that anyone in their 30s - A parent, no less - could actually be this immature.

Separate but related: in the back of my mind, I always have this delusion that people only have kids after they've passed some kind of "maturity level" graduation. Which is patently absurd.

Oliver St. John Mollusc

I don't even understand what the question is. Is it too late to get your "heart's desire"? No, because you got it (but don't ever call it that again or I might barf). Is this plan of yours advisable under any circumstances? No, but you already know that or you wouldn't beg us not to hate you. Are there any other options? Yes, but you're not going to take them. LW, my only advice is to never tell anyone but a therapist this story again, and tell it to a therapist POST HASTE. Yeeesh.

Noelle O'Donnell

I have nothing nice to say about this situation so I'll just leave this here: I hope that many years down the road you are prepared to answer your child's questions about how and why you fucked over his dad, Bob's child, his wife and him.

insouciantlover

Letter Writer, this isn't fucking Love in the Time of Cholera. Get a divorce, get some therapy, and just shut the fuck up.

(I'm sorry I'm really grumpy today.)

Jinxie

@insouciantlover I'm not any more grumpy than usual and I think your advice is spot on. Honestly, I sometimes think "divorce/break up" would be an appropriate answer to 95% of the questions posed to the "Ask A" crew.

atipofthehat
melis

STOP LINKING TO THAT

atipofthehat

@melis

No, you can click through! It's a great movie. It's French!

melis

@atipofthehat Ohh, I thought it was another Twin Peaks video. Carry on.

miwome

@atipofthehat AMAZING. "Mais Bob!"

atipofthehat

@miwome

It's a great movie! Just watched it again the other night.

amitygardens@twitter

@atipofthehat I feel like this is how Bob pictures his life.

MatildaGold

What is this, catharsis by advice column? What the hell advice does she really want or expect to hear? Look, man, I get being an asshat, I get that we are all asshats, including me, but this level of asshattery? The kind where you repeatedly MAKE CHOICES that you know are going to horribly harm people who love you and whom you are supposed to keep from harm? And then explain those CHOICES you MADE away as being carried away by True Love? And in among those CHOICES is also a CHILD you chose to bear, who will inescapably bear some of the weight of your future choices?

I can't. I just. Own your choices, own your fuckery, quit looking to be absolved.

Also Bob will not be the answer three seconds after boning Bob loses its illicit appeal.

EpWs

@MatildaGold "Own your fuckery" needs to go on a throw pillow asap.

cuminafterall

Okay, I realize that many people here are commenting on the actual situation of the letter and they have a lot of good things to say, and I really don't have a lot to and to that conversation, but I just keep having this one irrational and completely off-topic thought and it will out, so here it is...

It's Killer BOB. She's in love with Killer BOB.

parallel-lines

@cuminafterall YES this is the first thing I thought as well. It's all good and fine until he asks you to dance!

Hellcat

@cuminafterall Well, he is pretty seductive when he creeps over that couch. Oh, ugh--that's terrible.

dormilona

@cuminafterall YES!!! I have been thinking this, too. Wonderfully curmudgeonly is an understatement...

SarahP

The letter is infuriating, but Hairpinners' comments are amazing. I've basically been going down the list and "liking" everyone.

SarahP

ALSO I was so looking forward, as I was reading the letter, to being DONE reading it and reading the next letters from presumably more normal people. So sad this was the only letter!

ormaisonogrande

@SarahP this was totally my reaction, too. Like, ok, this was the horror show letter and now we will have some more normally letters that maybe I will have some relevant advice for.

Steph

@SarahP I know right? I get so mad when people can't self-edit their letter (because really like 75% of that detail was unnecessary) and they hog the married dude for everyone!

beanie

@SarahP I hate when people hog the married dude-and then cheat on their husband, have unprotected sex, etc.

redheaded&crazy

@SarahP clearly we could not have handled any more letters!

New Commenter Name

@redheadedandcrazy Other letters would not have gotten the attention they deserve from the commenters.

thanks_maybe

Lady, I mostly hate you for taking up an entire Ask A Married Dude column with a rambling question and pretending that you're actually open to suggestions from the internet on what to do about this self-inflicted INSANE situation. It's pretty clear that you need some face time with a professional.

SarahP

@thanks_maybe Ha ha, twins! Same (well, similar) comment, same time!

sox
sox

@SarahP & thanks_maybe
Yep, and Letter Writer darling, when you read these comments, I don't mean this as scathing as it may come off (which is not very, compared to my co-commenters): but girlfriend, BOUNDARIES. Like, make some for yourself, honor the one that marriage draws, and write your damn letter in 300 words or less like Edith asked.
Now for the love all things loveable, find yourself a good therapist TODAY.

EpWs

@sox CHALLENGE: re-write this pile of crazy in less than 300 words. GO.

"Dear A Married Dude,
I keep fucking some emotionally unavailable dude but married a nice guy and had a baby with him but I want the emotionally unavailable dude because he likes my haircut. Please advise." [36!]

wee_ramekin

Because the Hairpin commentariat has invested months of time making sure that I view everything through the lens of an Arrested Development episode, the entire time I was reading about Bob, all I could picture was this.

atipofthehat

@wee_ramekin

Funny, I was thinking this BOB explained everything.

emilylou

YOU GUYS, I THOUGHT OF BOTH OF THOSE BOBS THE WHOLE TIME
at least we all have good taste in Bobs. unlike some people... LW1 :/

atipofthehat

@emilylouise

Maybe that's all "Bob" is. The evil that men do.

pterodactgirl

@atipofthehat Please don't ever post that again. I'm still not over "Fire Walk with Me."

DrFeelGood

@atipofthehat I was going with Bill Murray from What About Bob? Which gave this whole thing a rather mad-cap tone.

redheaded&crazy

@atipofthehat well that is going to give me nightmares.

OH WHY DID I JUST WATCH IT AGAIN

oh, george

@atipofthehat @wee_ramekin or THIS Bob!

Maladydee

@wee_ramekin I couldn't stop thinking of these Bobs.

miwome

@atipofthehat I will never fucking recover, and I spasmodically closed the tab after the first twenty seconds. That is quite enough. Except I might try again, @redheadedandcrazy WHY DO WE DO THIS TO OURSELVES

ETA I made it through ten more seconds than the last time and then realized, I AM SLEEPING ON A COUCH RIGHT NOW, I cannot be thinking about this sort of thing.

Slapfight

Lately it feels like everyone cheats and everyone snoops. It's really depressing.
LW definitely needs therapy. Bob does not seem like a good guy, either.

SarahP

@Slapfight I don't cheat or snoop! Neither does my husband! unless I am some sort of Eli figure oh god

Slapfight

@SarahP You're not! I'm sure you're not! Thank you. It's so nice to hear.

Bebe

@Slapfight No cheating or snooping over here, either. I promise! I don't even answer my husband's cell phone when it rings and he's in the other room.

paddlepickle

@Slapfight Keep in mind that the people who don't cheat and snoop are way less likely to need to write into advice columns than the ones who do.

DrFeelGood

@Slapfight Don't be sad! It's just cause the non-cheating squares don't have any interesting stories to tell... No news is good news.

wharrgarbl

@DrFeelGood Or non-cheating, non-snooping squares have problems that don't really fit advice-column format. Like, can you imagine the Dullsville answer to "My husband and I are squabbling every so often because he's on some stupid diet that I can't share, and now we get in each other's way in the kitchen at dinnertime and how the fuck do we manage equitable fridge space?"

SarahP

@wharrgarbl "Dear A Married Dude,
Sometimes my husband and I accidentally sleep in too late on a Saturday due to all the awesome marital relations we have the night before, and we miss the morning farmer's market! I'm at my wits' end about not getting fresh organic oyster mushrooms each week. What should I do?"

SarahP

@SarahP "Dear A Married Dude,
This week my husband and I have separate plans each night of the week, so we won't get to see each other much. I would like to leave a little love note on his desk to let him know how much I miss him, but all I have are orange envelopes and his favorite color is green. I just need someone to tell me it will all be okay!"

SarahP

@SarahP "Dear A Married Dude,
My husband's cat pukes on my rain boots sometimes if I leave them by the heater to dry, and even though the husband cleans it up, he doesn't scrub the seams as well as he should, so I'm worried they'll still be cat-vomit-crusty. How can I change his shoe-scrubbing ways?"

wharrgarbl

@SarahP "Dear A Married Dude,
Sometimes my husband gets upset because I tell the dog that I'll love her forever if only she'll help me overthrow him and declare myself queen of the house. How do I get him to understand that it would be for the best if he were to step down from his position as co-president immediately, before the people take matters into their own hands? I can't help how popular my tax abatements and land grants have made me with the peasants."

Bebe

@SarahP Dear A Married Dude,

My husband knows I hate doing dishes, so whenever things have to be hand washed, he does them. Sometimes, though, I see that he has missed a spot or two. I usually just clean the spots and put the dishes away. Should I say something to him, or just continue believing it's not that big of a deal?

Slapfight

@all Thank you. This makes me feel so so much better.
The fridge space thing is a Jolie question. ;)

iceberg

@SarahP "Dear A Married Dude,
Whenever my husband does the dishes, he puts all the cutlery business-end down in the cutlery-drainer. How do I get him to do it correctly (forks & spoons business-end up, knives pointy-end down, obviously) without coming off as ungrateful that he washed the dishes in the first place when it's actually my job?"

ilikemints

@SarahP Dear A Married Dude,
My longterm live-in boyfriend and I like to pause movies and talk about what's happening in them, so it takes like 4 hours to watch a 90 minute movie, so by the time it's over we're too tired to go to the coffeeshop we were supposed to go to where we probably would have talked about movies anyway? I realize there isn't really a problem because we saved money and still had a good time, so maybe one of us should cheat so we're more interesting?

wharrgarbl

@SarahP "Dear A Married Dude,
Sometimes my husband will spend all afternoon and evening napping on the couch every day for a week, then complain later that he's barely seen me all week. This makes me want to smother him with a yak. Am I being ridiculous? Should I settle for smothering him with a pygmy goat instead? Dear Imprudence suggested I take up the drums, but that seems a little extreme. Do you think I could just smash some cymbals together and claim to be playing them? Would anyone notice?"

dj pomegranate

@ilikemints Dear A Married Dude,
I just discovered that my live-in bf doesn't like cauliflower. The trouble is that he didn't tell me this until after I had made him cauliflower-potato soup!?!?! Do you think we have a communication problem? What should I do?

Mira

@ilikemints Oh god my girlfriend and I do that and it takes us, like, TWO HOURS to get through an episode of House Hunters International. (Why do they care about the paint colors so much?) Dear A Married Dude, that makes us both really tired and occasionally sort of cranky. Should we try not to talk to each other so much?

rasko

@SarahP "Dear A Married Dude,
My imaginary husband and I have been fighting a lot lately because I like to take up the whole bed and be left alone a lot. We're still on pretty good terms because he's imaginary. We're so blessed and consider ourselves so fortunate that he's imaginary. Is everyone else as lucky as me?"

wharrgarbl

@dj pomegranate Dear A Married Dude,
Last night I caught my husband slipping the dog table-scraps, even though he knows they give her gas. Is he trying to afflict me with canine death-farts? Do you think he'd get the hint and not do that any more if I short-sheeted his side of the bed?"

EpWs

@dj pomegranate Dear A Married Dude,
My boyfriend and I are having awesome snuggly sexy hot sex as many nights a week as possible, while we're not both working and going to school full time. However, our matching high sex drives demand more sex. How do we obtain a time-turner so we can have more naked time?

wharrgarbl

@Mira I'm not A Married Dude, but, as someone who's been doing that forever, have you tried accepting that you're going to do that and budgeting time accordingly?

Mira

@wharrgarbl It never wooooooorks. The worst ones are when they move to places either one of us has visited ("PAUSE THE DVR, I THINK I ATE AT THAT RESTAURANT!!!") or when the couple in question is especially annoying, like that one lady from Utah who moved to the English countryside and was already practicing a fake English accent and pretending to be "Jaaayne Osten." Magical.

I have, like, 25 episodes of HHI on the DVR right now. We're both hesitant to start watching them because they never ennnnnd.

ilikemints

@Mira Your strumming my pain with your fingers and singing my life with your words. When I found out bf was also a pause-and-talker I thought it was a magical blessing, but now I think it's a curse! It makes binge watching feel even binge-ier. HOW DID WE WATCH 15 HOURS OF MAD MEN BUT WE ARE STILL SOMEHOW STILL ON DISK 2???

wharrgarbl

@Mira How much time do you typically take to watch an episode? Maybe use an egg-timer to limit talk-interruptions to just a minute or two? Maybe save them all up until you're both sick and can do nothing but watch them in two-minute chunks around half-hour conversations and eat chicken soup while cuddling and sniffling and playing rock-paper-scissors to see who has to do the next tissue run?

Bebe

@Mira Oh my GOD the paint colors! They're always like, "Oh, sure, we can just completely gut the kitchen and the only bathroom in the entire house, no problem. But, gee, this paint is really bright." We were going to play a drinking game by taking a drink every time someone complained about the paint color, but we'd get waaaaay too drunk that way.

Mira

@ilikemints It's an electronic black hole, I tell you. Sure, let's watch this dopey half-hour show, it's only 22 minutes when we fast-forward through commercials! Holy crap now it's 11:30 and I have a breakfast meeting and I still need to shower and we still need to see whether they'll go for "Pricey but large" over "Central but needs improvements," how does this happen!

Meanwhile, the DVR continues to taunt me with its 89% fullness, an embarrassing proportion of which is due to DVRed reruns of various Laws and Order in syndication, and I'm only sharing my humiliating TV habits in order to avoid thinking about this terrifying LW and her terrifying life.

Mira

@Bebe Or every time the lady describes an 8-hour plane trip as "grueling", that would also destroy your liver! I mean, I'm not A Fan of flying, but really, you're sitting on your ass in a more-or-less climate controlled environment with people who bring you food, not running a marathon on which the fate of your nation rests or, like, pulling a 40-hour surgical rotation with no sleep!

...Ask A House Hunter?

Bittersweet

@Mira: Ha, I've seen the "Jaaayne Osten" HHI episode 3 times already at the gym. It gets better every time.

Mira

@Bittersweet The smug piano playing!!! It kills me.

HeyThatsMyBike

@Mira and @basically all of these:

"...ETA: Actually in the time it took for me to write this, send it, and then reread it to make sure it sounded ok, I actually had a minute to communicate with him and have a 3 minute conversation about what I mentioned above and we're all good now. Sorry to waste your time!!!"

HeyThatsMyBike

@Bebe And PS While I was sending this I can't believe it turned into a HOUSE HUNTERS thread. Who wants to send hate mail to the smug couple looking for their second home in Napa that hated all the beautiful original wood features in a gorgeous old house?
PS I love this place, guys.

wharrgarbl

@HeyThatsMyBike Of course, now I actually want to see earnest responses to everybody's mundane Ask A Married Dude questions. Oh, well. Time to go find a Bob and start some DRAMA. Back in a tick.

LRMG

@Slapfight Omigod this letter is so awful I was actually glad to see the HHI part. This letter I can be like, you are awful, next! But HHI I have to spend like twenty two minutes being judgmental! It takes a lot out of me. This is my judgymcjudgerton thing - I come from a family of contractors and when people complain about fixtures!! Which take like twenty minutes to swap out and is a really cheapish repair?!?! But then don't notice their sloping floor etc?? Gaaaahhhh!!!

Slapfight

@LRMG The fact that some folks can't see past paint colors makes my head explode. On the bright side, I get to swap heads often.
Think I've been a little sensitive to all the snooping/cheating advice seekers lately. Two really good friends of mine's marriages have fallen apart in the past year from these situations. It seriously has been feeling like this what all relationships are these days. I'm loving the mundane advice seekers.
Dear A Married Dude,
Every time I wash my comforter, one of the cats vomits on it. They seem to take turns. Are the jealous of the dog? Help!

SarahP

"Dear A Married Dude,
I desperately want to be BFFs with all the people in this thread, but my husband is worried I'll look too desperate if I propose a double date with everyone. How do I ask everyone here to be my BFF without seeming desperate?"

wee_ramekin

@Bebe "Dear A Married Dude,

My husband knows I hate doing dishes, so whenever things have to be hand washed, he does them. Sometimes, though, I see that he has missed a spot or two. I usually just clean the spots and put the dishes away. Should I say something to him, or just continue believing it's not that big of a deal?"

I want you to know that this made me tear up. Seriously, actual tears.

This and my partner being the one to fold the laundry are what I imagine when I think of a happy relationship.

@wee_ramekin When I think of a happy relationship, I think of cleaning the bathroom while the other person cleans the kitchen, and then putting on bad dance music while we clean the living room. It may or may not involve a fist-bump and happily heating up leftovers afterward.

#thisiswhyimsingle

smidge

@S. Elizabeth if/when i get married i am stealing the shit out of this scenario

Bebe

@wee_ramekin I've been married a whole 4 years, so clearly I know everything about relationships (that is sarcasm), and I can tell you that picking your battles wisely and judiciously is 90% of a happy relationship (that is not sarcasm, that is what I truly believe).

@S. Elizabeth That is totally a happy relationship, though having enough money to hire a cleaning lady and skipping straight to fist-bumping and leftovers is the HAPPIEST relationship!

wee_ramekin

@S. Elizabeth #metoo

@Bebe That will be in a really long time. Until then, I will love the hell out of Mrs. Meyers.

miwome

@House Hunters Int'l fans OH MY FUCKING GOD, YOU EXIST!!! I thought I was the only one, somehow, which I know is impossible, but I thought I was the only onnnneeeee. This is so amazing to me. I should have known, Hairpin, I should have had faith in you. I am watching Selling LA right now, which is definitely a guiltier thing than HHI, but basically I will watch almost anything HGTV feels like showing.

nyikint

To paraphrase MAJ Hottell: There is a price to be paid for all things of great value....I lived a full life in the Army, and it has exacted the price. It is only just."

LW1: If you honestly think your relationship with Bob has great value, come clean and pay up. Your son and husband will have to pay up too, but that's how family works. Shit don't come free, girl. And by the way, the price you paid for sneaking around with Bob was Eli's trust/love for you.

saul "the bear" berenson

Hey musical theater lovers out there... lets talk about a little song called Stars and the Moon, anyone know it??? From Songs from a New World... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BIF_9zreHvA

cherrispryte

@Moxie das Maven YOU HAVE MADE A JASON ROBERTS BROWN REFERENCE AND THEREFORE MADE MY DAY. But also, I tend to think of that song being anti-materialism/pro-adventure, rather than about the virtues of your first love. And unlike a lot of JRB's work, it has nothing to do with cheating.

Insecurity Millefeuille

@cherrispryte Oh man, it makes me so happy to find people who like JRB!
And re songs about cheating, Nobody Needs to Know absolutely kills me. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JyZqvgtFa-k

saul "the bear" berenson

@cherrispryte Aww, yes, the musical theater it is the truth. Right, I'm more talking about how she meets these awesome passionate guys and that's all great but ends up with the one who looks good on paper, and gives her all the material stuff, and then she ends up really unhappy. That's the part that made me think of it, like Eli is totally the guy who has the yacht. But nice, really nice.

@NlsForNeville YES YES last 5 years FTW on all things relationships.

miwome

@Moxie das Maven I am so with you re: everything you said. But maybe that is more sympathetic than the LW deserves? Not that the protagonist in the song is presented that sympathetically, but at least there are no kids involved and no cheating, that we know of?

saul "the bear" berenson

@miwome Yeah they're totally not the same ladies. I thought of that song more as something I wish the LW had heard before making all these horrible choices.

rudedog@twitter

Dear LW. If it wasn't for the kid, you could have been my ex-wife. You are certainly as selfish and narcissistic as she was. There have been lots of really good points made, but I would like to add one more: there is no fucking way that Eli is "oblivious". He knows exactly what's going on, but you're too blinded by your own self-absorption to see that.

tin can phone

@rudedog@twitter I completely agree. There is no way in hellllll that the husband doesn't know (at least on some level) that she is completely awful. I really like that she is so deluded and self-centered that she thinks she pulled off the charade of a lifetime in the grocery store. As if your husband didn't notice you bug the eff out and then run away to the car crying! AS IF.

GoCeilings

@tin can phone TOTALLY, and it's hard to imagine she was able to contain her love of drama enough to mask her shock at seeing the ex and his wife and kid. She would totally have have played it up, Lifetime Special-style.

ChaCha

A Married Dude is a lot nicer than me, I think. My advice would have just been a Silky Johnson quote. "I don't even know you and I hate you. I hate your guts. I hope all the bad things in life happen to you, and only to you."

redheaded&crazy

@ChaCha I agree! I think A Married Dude knew he was throwing her to the masses to be torn apart, and therefore was trying to easy the blow.

adwriter84

@redheadedandcrazy Srsly. I can sum up my feelings in three short sentences: "You suck. Bob sucks. Leave your husband so you and Bob can ruin each other."

EpWs

@adwriter84 At least someone's observing the word limit.

crane your neck

I don't hate you, LW.

One of the surprising things about being an "adult" (which I will never, ever feel like I am) is that we not only get to make choices, we live with what happens next. How do you want to live? You can choose to put more energy into your marriage. You can choose to go across the country with Bob. But I'd urge you to think more about what happens afterward--where you turn if things don't work with Bob; what you do if you're splitting custody with Eli; what the next step is in your relationship with Eli; how these decisions affect where you live and where you work. What's Plan B?

Also: Do you really want to be in another place or do you just want to escape where you are? Can you separate those impulses?

If you do decide to skip the weeks of trying things with Bob, I don't think you'll regret it as much as you think you will. Life gets busy, you keep moving. You have a baby! Your life will fill with other things.

From the way you've framed your relationships, most of us are going say you should work on things with Eli and cut off contact with Bob. Eli probably senses you're unhappy. It shouldn't be a big surprise to him that you'd like more intimacy in your relationship. Have you tried talking/counseling/all of those constructive things that the 'Pinners have suggested above? Is there any way you can discuss your feelings frankly with your husband without crushing him?

(Please be gentle with your nice dude. We need nice dudes to spawn more nice dudes, who will someday write the Hairpin columns of the future.)

kitkat88

Oh man, I feel like I am the ghost of your bad life choices future! Let me take you down the path of what is going to go down if you stay with your husband....

You marriage was over before it began, but you are still going to stay with him anyways because you think it is "doing the right thing". Spoiler alert - it isn't! Either way, you keep screwing around with Bob for years, until eventually your husband gets a degenerative disease. Now you really can't leave him, but you still keep cheating on him Bob. Eventually, around the time your son is in college, you will realize that taking care of a disabled husband you don't love majorly cramps your style, and you will divorce him for Bob. Amazingly, things will work out for you and Bob, and you guys will be happy together. Less amazingly, your son will then move in with his father after college and become his full time nurse. Your son will become crazy depressed, and his friends will avoid spending time with him because they are living the carefree lifestyle of recent college graduates and your son is living in a pit of poverty and dispair. Eventually your son will get a job to support your ex-husband. At this point the transformation will be complete - you will have taken your son's future of falling in love and carefree living, and your son will have taken your future of dealing with all of your bad choices.

I know all this because I am your son's ex-girlfriend and I was unlucky enough to watch this whole disaster go down. One fun side effect is that your son will never trust women again! Also, I know you don't care, but it will also make your son's ex-girlfriend also respond to any wedding announcement with "Oh god, why? What can I say to talk you out of it?"

Anyways, you should divorce your husband now! I promise you he will be able to move on and find a new lady to love that actually loves him back.

insouciantlover

@kitkat88 Serious perspective, right here.

DrFeelGood

@kitkat88 Yikes! I feel like the best outcome for everyone (not including Bob, fuck him), is they divorce, and have joint custody while LW gets some serious therapy, a job, and a life. I did not include a boyfriend/husband/lover in there because lady, you're not ready for that, and it seems to be the source of all your problems. Be good to your children, they will choose your nursing home!

kitkat88

@insouciantlover Aww, thank you! I have to admit, seeing all these comments that are angry at the letter writer is really cathartic for me.

kitkat88

@DrFeelGood First off, is your icon Ricky from the Trailer Park boys?!?!

Also, your idea for preventing all this bad stuff from happening is the best. And I totally agree about Bob - he is the worst and doesn't deserve a shred of happiness. I hope both the LW and Bob somehow become good people and have to live with the guilt of hurting so many innocent bystanders.

noodge

@kitkat88 really important insight - it's horrible to see how these choices can carry such long-term ramifications. although - if someone is that selfish then i can't see the ramifications impacting her very much.

DrFeelGood

@kitkat88 It's Putty from Seinfeld, with his 8-ball jacket. :)

raised amongst catalogs

@DrFeelGood "All signs point to YES!"

ilikemints

@kitkat88 Does she want Eli to find a woman who really loves him? I feel like that might be a question that LW hasn't considered. She talks all about not wanting to hurt him, but it's not like he's with an available, honest, loyal woman who genuinely loves him and wants what's best for him. He can't possibly be happy now.

kitkat88

@ilikemints Yeah, if the LW situation is anything like my situation then she doesn't really care if Eli is happy or not. Honestly, I don't think that she cares if her son is happy or not. In my situation the lady didn't even care about the DOG. I don't know why that detail is so galling to me, but it is. That dog loved her unconditionally, and she abandoned that poor thing without a second thought.

kitkat88

@kitkat88 Haha, I never thought about how cold it was for her to abandon the dog and now I am crying for the dogs feelings. LOOK AT WHAT YOUR CHOICES DO TO OTHER PEOPLE, LETTER WRITER! I WASN'T EVEN BORN YET WHEN YOU STARTED DOING THIS SHADY BULLSHIT, AND NOW I AM CRYING FOR YOUR DOG'S EMOTIONAL STATE.

atipofthehat

@kitkat88

Trailer Park Boys 4evah!

Tuna Surprise

@kitkat88

Free Eli.

Bebe

Oh, for the love of god.

A child could tell you that Bob is a sleazebag. We all know it, and we are strangers on the internet who know nothing about him except for what we read in a letter written by someone who claims to be hopelessly in love with him. He is a crabby-ass (read, emotionally unavailable), twice-divorced, only-wants-what-he-can't-have (again, emotionally unavailable) creeper with a thing for banging women 14 years his junior WITH WHOM HE WORKS. If you can't see the enormous, walking red flag that is Bob, then there is really nothing anyone can say or do to help you.

Blow up your life, lose custody of your child, move cross-country all for this man who may as well have BAD IDEA tattooed on his forehead. Your kid and your husband will have a rough go of it for a while, but I promise you that eventually they will end up happier and healthier than you will.

dj pomegranate

I feel like LW and Bob both think that love = orgasm.

sallydapper

OMG. Life imitates art. TOO MUCH.

maevemealone

Just in time for Valentine's Day, a guy who marries another woman and gives his daughter your favorite name. If that's not true love, well I don't even know anymore. I can't believe you've managed to wait 9 years for this guy. Get your kid a therapist and a good really hot nanny before you head over to divorce attorney. I could give a crap what you do with Bob because he's already screwing someone else while you're reading this.

melis

@maevemealone Dude, couldn't give. The niceties must be observed even in the midst of a fit of rage.

iceberg

I don't hate this LW either. I actually have a lot of sympathy oddly enough. I know what it's like to be afraid to make a life-changing choice, to regret things... But girl, you *know* these things didn't just magically happen around you. You made thousands of decisions to get yourself deeper and deeper into this mess. You made those choices. Maybe you were too afraid to leave Eli in case Bob didn't want you and then you'd have no one. I hope the more constructive comments have been helpful and improve your family's lives from here on. Bob can go eat a bag of dicks though.

PS - This is extremely true: "You won't learn anything from the honeymoon-like couple weeks."

leastimportantperson

@iceberg Yeah, I think she's using the whole passive-voice, fate, true love construction the same way a lot of people use it. What she really means is, it's obvious what I'm going to keep doing, and I can basically guess the outcome of my actions in some vague way (the marriage will end, she will have sex with Bob again), so what can you do. But yeah, she doesn't want to confront her own responsibilty for her choices, or like you said, that she might (will, sorry, it's true) end up alone for however long.

redheaded&crazy

@leastimportantperson definitely avoidance coping right here! I mean "I added him on facebook because I have all my other co-workers friended."

What a justification!

Oliver St. John Mollusc

@redheadedandcrazy Oh man, so many amazing jumps in logic going on here! My other favorite is "One of our former coworkers died so I reached out to him via email." Of course! It's totally worth endangering your already fragile marriage to make sure that poor sensitive Bob isn't wracked with grief. What a humanitarian!

dj pomegranate

@quickdrawkiddo Also, "...I try to accept that the guy I've been in love with for four years is married and gone." But...she is married at this point. So she considers herself "not gone" although she is herself married and with baby? I just don't understand what is going on.

WaityKatie

@dj pomegranate Married and soon to be gone.

alannaofdoom

"I don't understand, did you trip over something?"

BadWolf

@alannaofdoom "This is bad on so many levels..."

Party Falcon

Personal happiness is important, critical. It can be ephemeral and it is worth searching for.

But being a functional adult is not about happiness. And you, darling LW, are nothing like a functioning adult.

atipofthehat

@Party Falcon

It can coincide with happiness. Usually when other people are able to be happy, too.

kitkat88

@Party Falcon You are so wise, Party Falcon. I also love the thought that a perpetually drunk falcon is able to make better decisions than the LW.

Party Falcon

@atipofthehat Right? Just... grow up. I find that that actually tends to lead to happiness. It's the mistakes and messiness of being young and fucking up that are so miserable.

(Which, a bit of supposing: How old is this girl? And do we suppose she has a career/support system/interests of her own beyond the men in her life? )

ThisLittlePiggy

@Party Falcon Math says she's 32. But yeah, no mention of anything going on her life other than sniffing out drama.

Bebe

@Party Falcon I have a feeling that her hobbies include Self-Created Drama, Adultery, and Needlepoint.

fabel

@Party Falcon She said 9 years ago she was 23, right? (I don't feel like scrolling up) so...32?

Party Falcon

@ThisLittlePiggy Perhaps Bob's sperm permanently arrested her emotional development at 23.

Party Falcon

@kitkat88 Party Falcon is wise. Drunk, sure. A bundle of fun? You bet. But the voice of responsibility and wisdom when it counts.

You gotta earn your Party Wings.

frigwiggin

@Party Falcon I'm 23 and I'd like to think I wouldn't keep--whoopsies!--cheating on my nonexistent husband. Then again, I know plenty of other 23-year-olds that make me feel sad and tired in the same way that LW does.

atipofthehat

WOW BOB WOW

redheaded&crazy

@atipofthehat oh we're stepping up the game from puns to palindromes are we?

BOB. LEVEL BOB.

(I cheated) (but seriously level that fucking guy to the ground)

SarahP

@redheadedandcrazy BOB WAS I ERE I SAW BOB.

insouciantlover

@redheadedandcrazy Bob - A man, a plan, a canal. Panama. Bob.

Party Falcon

@atipofthehat God, Bob? Dog!

atipofthehat

@redheadedandcrazy

Coffee?

dj pomegranate

@Party Falcon Stressed, Bob? Desserts!

EpWs

@dj pomegranate DO NOT DATE BOB ETAD TON OD.

brad

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher - you made me laugh/snort. snortage occurred. that is all.

EpWs

@brad I'm either not very good at or am awesome at palindromes.

carogriffin

@atipofthehat How's Annie?

Judith Slutler

Oh wow, oh wow.

I admittedly haven't read all the comments BUT can we emphasize for a moment what a scumbag Bob is? Lady, this man has zero respect for your choices, for your marriage, for anything. There is no way he wasn't fucking around on six-months-pregnant-grocery-store-wife when he possibly impregnated you. Now he is feeling sad and lonely for some reason and so he's coming back around, nipping at your heels in hopes of wheedling more attention out of you. Personally I strongly suspect that that late-30s curmudgeon divorcee thing he was doing 10 years ago - you know, the act that melted your heart - doesn't work so well on coworkers in their 20s, now that he himself is pushing 50.

I have no idea what to do about your marriage and child, but for fuck's sake do NOT delude yourself into thinking that Bob is actually capable of maintaining a real long-term relationship with you or anyone else. He may have you blinded with sexual compatibility, fond memories, and motherfucking Facebook (he "liked" your new haircut, for real? GIRL PLEASE) but he is not the viable alternative to the life you're leading now. Whatever else you do, you have got to stop thinking of this emotionally unavailable douche as some kind of soulmate!

Do not go on a trip to figure out how you ~work as a couple~, seriously, you already know the answer and it is "dysfunctional" and "reminiscent of a bull in a china shop". Do not ever think of introducing this man into the life of your son. Bob is bad news.

MrComment

@Emmanuelle Cunt Yeah, but have you ever had non-missionary position sex? It's fantastic! Once you find someone who does that, you have to keep going back.

fabel

I've been a cheater & can say that the LW's "Whoops!" attitude doesn't mean she's equating her actions with dropping a spoon or something. I'm sure she knows EXACTLY how horrible she's being, & acting cavalier about it is the way she's coping. People get into these kinds of situations because they're passive and lazy in their romantic relationships. It's easy to tell yourself you'll stop cheating-- to Behave-- but it's not so easy to tell Bob in explicit terms to please fuck off, since I'm married now. It's not so easy to tell the person you're married to that you aren't happy, you're so unhappy that you've been carrying on a long-term affair with somebody else. Doing THOSE things actually require you to take the situation outside of your own head.

iceberg

@fabel This is kind of how I read it too.

ThisLittlePiggy

@fabel Ugh, thank you! So true. If love means never having to say you're sorry, then marriage means being willing to tell other people to fuck off.

cc
cc

@fabel it isn't easy but it is completely necessary. when i got engaged, an ex crawled out of the woodwork. we dated in high school, he had another girlfriend, i found out and said her or me, he picked her, i left (whew! dodged a bullet). they got married and had a kid and wife now has debilitating back injuries requiring surgery. house, sick wife, child. DUDE TRIES TO INSTIGATE A HOOKUP.
needless to say i shut it down (i love my husband!), but i always felt bad for his family, wife can't get off a couch, innocent little baby, and creepazoid dad/husband on the computer trying to hook up with some chick, indeed the chick whom he already cheated on his wife with before they got married. f'ed up.
i met the wife once, post dating, pre-them-married. AWKWARD.

ilikemints

Laura: My secret diary... there are pages missing.
Harold Smith: Who would do that?
Laura: Bob.
Harold Smith: But, Bob is not real.
Laura: There are pages torn out! That is real, Harold!
Harold Smith: Okay, okay, maybe...
Laura: Bob is real! He's been having me since I was 12. And, the diary was hidden too well. There is no other person who could have known where it was. He comes in through my window at night. He's real. He's getting to know me now. He speaks to me.
Harold Smith: What does Bob say?
Laura: He says he wants to be me, or he'll kill me.

atipofthehat

@ilikemints

Garmonbozia.

insouciantlover

@atipofthehat Just reading word that made me feel yucky.

ilikemints

@atipofthehat When this kind of fire starts, it is very hard to put out. The tender boughs of innocence burn first, and the wind rises, and then all goodness is in jeopardy.

SBGBlogs

@ilikemints I HAVE BEEN IMAGINING THAT BOB THE WHOLE TIME.

Diana

@ilikemints

Edith, you must use this picture for this week's ASK A DUDE.

mczz

@ilikemints I, too have spent this entire time thinking of Bob, and being quite upset by it. eeeeeeeegh Bob.

ilikemints

@Diana That's why I searched for a photo where he was wearing shades! I tried to make the alt-text A BOB, but my html skills are limited.

ohpioneer

@Diana Oh, pleeeease!!

jules

Oh, honey. I can guarantee you that he didn't magically meet and impregnate Grocery Store Lady right AFTER you guys broke up. Bob is a mess. And so are you. Open your eyes.

Jinxie

@jules Wait a minute . . . surely you're not implying that Bob could have been cheating on the LW too, are you? Because Bob would never do that! He's just such a stand up guy!

Frankie's Girl

@jules & Jinxie
:D
I always laugh at the cheaters that hook up with each other and think "but he/she wouldn't EVER cheat on ME!" and get all Scarlett O'Hara with the vapors at the thought...

MilesofMountains

@Jinxie I love how she seems to take that as evidence that he was so broken up. Honey, it's only evidence that while you were having unprotected sex with Bob, he was having (probably) unprotected sex with at least one other person.

WaityKatie

@Jinxie He's always been in love with her!

EpWs

@MilesofMountains All these people need a full STD screen, stat.

edit: GASP. The new wife's baby is actually LW's! Dun dun dunnnn...

atipofthehat

@jules

Is a "Grocery Store Wife" similar to a Winter Boyfriend?
Do her kisses taste like supermarket birthday cake?
Does she come with an expiration date?

Speaking of cake, I have cake

Eli is a much sexier name than Bob

ThisLittlePiggy

@skyandgorse Agree!! Also, I have a crush on Eli Manning.

Emma Peel

@ThisLittlePiggy I'm picturing Eli as Eli Gold from The Good Wife, and imagining him eviscerating the LW, his soon-to-be-ex wife. Eli Gold would NOT put up with this shit.

Speaking of cake, I have cake

@ThisLittlePiggy I find it really hard to imagine someone called Bob being a "sex god". Apologies to any Pinners who have SOs named Bob, but I just can't get there....

WaityKatie

@skyandgorse I used to live in a 400 square foot basement apartment hellhole in DC that I named The Bob. (There was a much nicer building down the street called The Jason, which I found hilarious.) Coincidence?

LooseBaggyMonster

@skyandgorse "Do it to me, Sheldon. You're an animal, Sheldon."

ThisLittlePiggy

To me, I'm like:

Examine the problems with the Eli marriage independently of the Bob situation. Actually talk about the intimacy issues. Recommit to that marriage - give Eli (and yourself!) a chance to make the marriage better - before even considering Bob as an option. If the marriage isn't working for you, it might not be working for Eli either. And that needs to be handled with dignity and fairness.

Then you think about spending time with that mooch, Bob. I'm sorry, but he just doesn't sound like a very stand-up guy. He sounds unstable. Drama. DRAMA. But it sounds like the writer enjoys drama. So.

Emma Peel

@ThisLittlePiggy I feel like Eli should get a say in whether she's going to recommit. I usually fall on the side of "if you cheat with a one-night stand and you feel terrible and you're going to change, then maybe it's OK to keep your mouth shut" but this level of affair-having and multiple cheating and manipulation... If she's going to do that, she needs to come clean.

Allie Schulz@facebook

The grass is always greener on the other side, if Bob even means what he says the process of you two breaking up with your respective spouses and the rippling effect on your families will be so hurtful that it may ruin your relationship anyways. Get control of your life and find out what makes you happy, sans the men that surround you- redirect your passion because if you get caught you may lose both men, and obviously one has actually owned up to marrying you and helping you raise your child.

c8te

I'm not really sure why this got posted. It seems purely lascivious?

ilikemints

This is a 'Pinner? This can't be a 'Pinner. Right?

wharrgarbl

@ilikemints Lurkers. The answer is always "Lurkers."

the zazu

@wharrgarbl There's nothing wrong with all of us who lurk! :)

wharrgarbl

@the zazu How can we tell? You never talk to us!

EvilAuntiePeril

@wharrgarbl But we do laugh at your jokes?

selkie86

@ilikemints We do talk! I reply with less frequency because by the time I have something to add at least one other (if not more) 'Pinner has stated it much more eloquently.

And, also the joke-laughing, yes.

EpWs

@selkie86 @EvilAuntiePeril @the zazu EEEEE! Lurkers! Come here, let us love you!

nice_belt

@ilikemints and sometimes we just don't read the post until a day or days after the fact. we always laugh our collective hidden asses off at all yall's your wit, though! kthxbye

pushmi-pullyu

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher Thanks! Sometimes we just want to laugh at the jokes, and, and, LIKE things.

PricklyPear

@nice_belt THIS. Damn timezones! But anyway am full of crazy lurky love for erudite 'pinner comment-makers. Also for likewise timezone, circumstance or shyness incapacitated lurkers. <3

amandadayle

@selkie86 Agreed.
See what I did there?

selkie86

@amandadayle Touche.

New Commenter Name

@wharrgarbl Trying.... such an introvert.... please don't hate me....hahaha, no but I'm not the LW.

bowtiesarecool

@wharrgarbl Nooo! We're just introverts! *puts finger on nose* Not it!

scamels

@ilikemints @selkie86 @nice_belt I am another only mildly creepy lurker who is Not This Letter Writer and who is always too late to comment! It is just that All of the prime lurking spots are already taken. And time zones!

Marzipan

I had a similar problem from one of the 'Emotional Bag Check' people, but, well, much less problematic (no kids, no marriage, no physical cheating). But it was a guy and he didn't want to leave his current lady because she might hurt herself, he thought, if he did.

I sent him '99 Problems'. Is that mean?

wharrgarbl

@Marzipan Kind of, but it sounds like he also had it coming and really should have expected that one.

cc
cc

@Marzipan but you ain't one ;)

FoxyRoxy

Goddamn! I literally said goddamn, out loud after reading this. But you know, life is messy and people are messy and you're kind of a mess but I don't think that makes you a bad person. I'm pretty sure Eli is not as unsuspecting as you think and that Bob is going to chew you up and spit you out, sugar. I hope it all works out the way you want.

FoxyRoxy

@FoxyRoxy Also, GIRL! GIRL! GIRL!!!!!!! I'm not going to join the chorus of condemnation but I had to come back and say GIRL!

@FoxyRoxy Can we make it a Kit Porter "BABY GIRL!"???

FoxyRoxy

@S. Elizabeth Hell yes. And I just love that you conjured Kit Porter, as she is extraordinary.

Steph

Gosh I hope this movie has a sequel.

EpWs

@Steph John Krasinski as Eli!

Steph

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher Hugh Grant as Daniel Cleaver as Bob.

Emily Eileen@twitter

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher John Krasinski as Bob!! Has anyone seen "Brief Interviews with Hideous Men"? Am I the only one who hates John Krasinski since seeing it?

Inkling

@Emily Eileen@twitter
NEVER HATE JOHN KRASINSKI

LittleEdie

What a waste of a question this was as well as my time for reading the whole thing. It's obvious what LW wants to do and has only tried to incite our/ A dude's sympathy with this long winded sob story. If she stays in this marriage, it's really unfair to Eli as she has never been able to truly forget Bob, and never will until she gives it a go with him. Good luck with that, he sounds like a real stand up guy. Considering this was going on before she had a child, I find it disturbing that she would bring an innocent being into the middle of this mess, because she is (in theory) tied to Eli for the rest of her life. So really, why would the sound decisions start now? Hey, at least I got a good hate read out of it!

Flackette

LW, whatever you do, you have to cut Eli loose. He doesn't want to have sex with you because deep in his heart he suspects things are already over. Go ahead and confirm it, set him free (or as free as a single dad can be) and let him go meet some nice lady who will love him for who he is and is okay with being a stepmom. If you want to go hang out with your twice-divorced lover from 10 years ago who suddenly thinks he loves you because he texted you, whatevs. Just let Eli, and your son, have a chance at happiness and stability.

@Flackette Yes. Eli is probably a great guy -- a nice guy, a sweet guy, a good dad, a patient man. I'm sure there are lots of women who would love to be with a man like that and be a family with him. I wish this LW would take an objective look at how wonderful she has it; a great husband, a healthy kid, a house, etc. And if she's not happy with that, let them be happy with the stability they helped create.

The Eli-types of the world are few and far between.

LW, stop. Just stop it. You need someone to shake some sense into you, and I really hope you're taking all of these comments to heart.

a. Bob doesn't love you. Bob went from a dashing 40 year old in the Boston office to a creepy 50 year old (probably balding, beer gut developing, leering at hot young things a bit too much) in a Boston office where the economy is shit and the women who get hired have their shit together. Bob doesn't love you. Bob doesn't respect you.

You know what you do have? New Relationship Energy. It's intoxicating. It's everything and anything that makes us do stupid shit with hot new people. You need to fucking stop it, though. STOP IT.

b. A 3 week trial with Bob isn't going to tell you squat about you as a couple and you know it. I promise you do. Really, 3 weeks of hot sexytimes does not constitute a legitimate means of figuring this shit out. Cut it out.

c. I'm about as "let's be open and honest" as possible, but I'm going to put this in "ladies who take Carrie Bradshaw seriously" terms because obviously you live in fantasy land: You should make him work for it. If he bails because he doesn't immediately get sex/security/new wife, he wasn't all that into you in the first place and he sure won't stick around.

d. You know why I dislike you? It's because you take no responsibility for your shit. And you have a kid, and he has a kid, and once you have a kid SHIT CHANGES. Suck it the fuck up.

e. I cannot even continue. Jesus Christ, your life decisions are awful and I do not understand how you think of this as a "whoopsies!" Also, why are you writing into The Hairpin about this? You have fucked up. Seek professional help -- a counselor and a lawyer are in order.

Consider giving Eli custody. He seems to be the most stable person in the equation.

thebestjasmine

@S. Elizabeth I don't think she has to "consider" anything -- if Eli wants custody, and she wants to move to Boston to be with Bob, she doesn't have a very high probability of taking the kid with her, unless Eli is a child molester or otherwise terrible person.

Megasus

@S. Elizabeth You only got one thing wrong in this, and that is that she needs to be slapped some sense into (several times), not shook (ok something weird is happening with my verb tense here but I think the point is made).

EpWs

@Megan Patterson@facebook Shaken?

@thebestjasmine Honestly, this woman is so fucking out to lunch and batshit crazy (I count thinking your life is a rom-com as batshit crazy, and yes that is the technical term), she could definitely write in to The Hairpin in a few months all "woe is me! and Eli has my baby! Pity me! I'm a victim because my child isn't with me!"

This woman likes to play victim.

atipofthehat

To be serious for a moment, LW: this is long-running self-destructive behavior. When people manufacture crises, there are usually reasons. People with PTSD from repeated abuse, for instance, may try to recreate the arousal and excitement that (horrible as it is to think) comes along with abuse. These are life-long patterns, and can spread destruction.

Please consider whether you may have serious problems that reach beyond this situation. If a professional thinks you may, treatment can help!

rasko

SO. THIS is what we get what, 2, 3, weeks after they introduced the "300-word max, please" clause?

1423 words.

ilikemints

@rasko To be fair (to The Hairpin, not the LW), I think by the time letters get answered, they're about 3-4 months old. I think we'll probably start seeing consistently short letters around March.

rasko

@ilikemints Truth, you're definitely right, I just thought it was funny. Like, one last hurrah in form of a 5-page-essay!

ilikemints

@rasko Yeah, it's almost like Edith's saying "See what happens when there isn't a word limit?? We get tomes from terrible people that don't acknowledge their agency when they continually make awful decisions that ruin lives!"

nice_belt

@ilikemints to be fair LW doesnt strike me as an avid 'Pinner

Fig. 1 (formerly myfanwy)

You guys! I just want to say, everyone is KILLING IT on this thread.

atipofthehat

@Fig. 1 (formerly myfanwy if anyone cares)

Love the new name!

@Fig. 1 (formerly myfanwy if anyone cares) Everyone is killing it in the comments. Seriously, we are all united in thinking that LW is batshit.

wharrgarbl

@S. Elizabeth It's nice to know that nobody else is reading the Hairpin from an alternate soap-opera universe. This behavior isn't going to lead anyone to happiness.

Fig. 1 (formerly myfanwy)

@atipofthehat Oh stop it, you're making me painfully aware that other people notice me on here. :D

purefog

@wharrgarbl Molly Fischer is reading it, tapping her teeth with a pencil, and murmuring: "In-jokes. So many Feelings. Just my point!"

wharrgarbl

@purefog SWIGTSWTIJAFOIAGTCYFT?

jackedjill77

@purefog
I just created an account to like this

purefog

@wharrgarbl I must have stepped out for a beer the day the SWIGTSWTIJAFOIAGTCYFT meme was birthed, because whenever I see it I am like "wha'?"

wharrgarbl

@purefog There's a typo in mine, actually (didn't notice I hit the W when I hit the S). It's from a completely whackadoodle article that made the rounds a long time ago in which a woman got arrested for a slew of variations on "assault" after demanding oral sex with the immortal phrase "Someone is going to eat my pussy or I'm going to cut your fucking throat." while brandishing a knife.

So it turned into an acronym-riddle Someone Is Going To __________ Or I Am Going To ______________. Example: SIGTTMPPWKOIDKWIGTD is solved as Someone Is Going To Treat My Pony Pixie With Kindess Or I Don't Know What I'm Going To Do. I think the Edith editions usually show up on Women in the News posts.

wharrgarbl

@purefog (With mine being solved as Someone Is Going To Stop With The Inside Jokes And Feelings Or I Am Going To Cut Your Fucking Throat.)

purefog

@wharrgarbl Thanks! I am now officially enlightened!

Clarence Rosario

Someone's been reading too many Franzen novels.

WaityKatie

@Clarence Rosario I thought this was somewhat better-written than Freedom.

roaringkitten

I can tell you what happens to your son because my mother did this to me and my siblings when we were adolescents. It does not end well. Her "Bob" treated her like dirt, and she hung on to him like a life raft because she could not and still cannot bear to be alone. That is, until he left her for another woman. She is still in denial that she wronged her children, and cannot comprehend why we don't adore and respect her.

oohdarling

Bob does not love you, it will not work out, if you focused on your relationship with Eli instead of daydreaming about Bob I assure you the sex would improve, you are ruining your marriage and the life of your child over a delusional crush.

MrComment

This is why I never let anyone get close to me.

Fig. 1 (formerly myfanwy)

@MrComment I am right behind you

melis

me too

i brought kniiiiiiives

.
.

@Fig. 1 (formerly myfanwy) this is why i love this website

SarahP

@Fig. 1 (formerly myfanwy) and @melis You two remind me of the creepy raccoons and cephalopods in Dinosaur Comics.

melis

@SarahP No joke, that is one of the nicest things anyone has ever said about me.

Fig. 1 (formerly myfanwy)

@SarahP YOU GUYS I HAVE THAT OCTOPUS SHIRT HOW DID YOU KNOW

we were not meant to be

Fig. 1 (formerly myfanwy)

@SarahP I HAVE FOUND MY PEOPLE

Inkling

@Fig. 1 (formerly myfanwy)
So glad I've read down this far.

SarahP

@Fig. 1 (formerly myfanwy) I feel this way all the time on the Hairpin.

Maladydee

@SarahP This is the first and only site I regularly comment on, because I feel this time all the way too.

largemarge

rilly late in jumping on this horse flogging bandwagon, and I nearly always ninja-lurk, but am I the ONLY one who really wants LW to GO FOR IT??
DIvorce Eli (please, PLEASE, divorce him) and let him have the kid and move on out to Boston and fuck your brains out for 6 months and then realize it's not you that Bob wanted, and that it's not Eli who wasn't wonderful and that you are still just YOU and you are a terrible, terrible person and THEN WRITE ANOTHER LETTER telling us all about it? Cuz I really want to read THAT letter. talk about schadenfreude! it'd be like the crack fucking cocaine of schadenfreude.
SO please- let Eli and your kid get on with the rest of their lives, because the sooner your delusional ass is out of their lives the better and just LET US KNOW how it all turns out- k thkx bye!

laurel

@largemarge With you all the way. Also, she should do this now, before her kid starts making memories, so it won't be as wrenching when she flits away from his life.

adminslave

This question/tale reminds me a lot of all of Loveline I used to listen to growing up. Usually the immediate reaction to any of these long drawn out dramatic tales was to wonder what happened to the person growing up to make them look for this sort of chaos. LW, what happened to you as a kid that made you think this behavior was appropriate? Or if you knew (as you claim) that it wasn't appropriate, why couldn't you get yourself out of your relationship with Eli before you became so enmeshed. It's one thing to want something/someone different for yourself, but it is another thing entirely to drag a husband and a child into your emotional turmoil.

Mostly, I feel for Eli and worry about the child. My long term boyfriend's parents split because his father cheated on his mother, and it has scarred him a lot. He had to watch his father betray and destroy his mother, and now he has nightmares of being cheated on himself. Not to mention that it has taken his mother 5+ years to get anywhere near seriously dating/trusting again. Betrayal is a hard thing to get over, for everyone involved.

ilikemints

@adminslave Completely agree. I say this as the child of a compulsive cheater who hides behind his sex addiction. It's like, geez, Dad, I don't really care if sex addiction is a real thing, why couldn't you get a divorce and not make a mockery of this family? Then you get all the sex you want and Mom could find a decent man who was committed to her, and my sisters and I could have a good male role model growing up that would help us understand better how healthy relationships work? Also, ew, I don't want to talk about your sex problems AGAIN.

Kind of got off track, but seriously, I was the child in all the "think of the children" posts. Think of us, LW.

adminslave

@ilikemints Yeah, my Dad is a piece of cake too (he is closeted gay, it's a long story, he likely cheated on my Mom who died in the mid-90s, but I'd rather not know), so I understand. What they really are is narcissists of varying degrees. Why they have kids, I have no idea.

WaityKatie

@adminslave Narcissists have kids because through them they can live FOREVER.

bangs
bangs

@adminslave I'm a product of two people who stayed together for the kids, and it is just a terrible idea as well. Though living solely with my mom probably would have been just as bad so... Lose lose.

adminslave

@WaityKatie But I wouldn't want to live forever through someone who bad-mouths me. LOL. That's just me!

adminslave

@Xaxa Yeah I just think being self aware while in the moment helps. Know this is not what you want, and try to get out of the situation with limited blood on your hands. My parents stayed together too, and I now realize their relationship was a lie. And it hurts to know my Dad was manipulating my mother and not giving her what she ultimately deserved (obvs. she chose to put on blinders too). My motto has always been "live or die, but don't poison everything."

adminslave

@adminslave "piece of cake" ugh... "piece of WORK" I must be more tired than I thought! Or hungry?

WaityKatie

@adminslave The kids of narcissists are well-trained never to speak badly of them in public. I mean, that's what I've heard...I don't know...

bangs
bangs

@adminslave My parents were just too young. They were highschool sweethearts. My brother was... an accident and they decided why not one more? and got trapped in it. They didn't mean any harm, but the concept of unconditional love baffles me to this day and I imagine must be a myth.

EpWs

As the daughter of a by-all-accounts-adorably-happy couple, I want to hug all of you and loan you my parents for a while. And make you some cake.

elizabee

@adminslave YES. I've been reading all this and on the one hand, agreeing, but on the other kinda sympathetic. My childhood was such (narcissist father, near-complete social isolation until age 16, etc) that I've really had to figure out everything about being a person on my own. In retrospect, did I make some wrong choices? I did. Did I have any clue what the acceptable alternatives were? Nope. Did I base stuff on movie plots? I did, and not because I was a gigantic moron - because that was my source of information. I was about 42 before I really felt armed to make sensible grown-up decisions, but the decisions had already been made.

roadtrips

@elizabee It's hard to make good choices even when your childhood was pretty stable! It's just hard being a person sometimes. I'm thinking too that there's a sort of learned entitlement sometimes, where we think we deserve dream fantasy movie love - or even that it exists. It's hard to let go of those expectations. I think, though, that there is something greater happening here - her choices just seem so destructive and oblivious. I am also feeling pretty ambivalent about this LW. It mostly just makes me feel bad. Ugh. There's no good end to this situation.

@roadtrips I've been in a couple of situations with the "learned entitlement" thing, and it's fucking awful. I don't really have that -- once I came out, I pretty much internalized this message of "my life will not be a happy movie plot, all lesbian films suck anyway, there is no such thing as prince charming." I generally think it's a healthy attitude to have, but I'm finding it frustrating to date women who have this idea that their One True Love will ride off into the sunset with them and then life will be perfect.

Granted, I also grew up in a house with parents who have been married forever, are super traditional, and I'm sure people see them as a great/perfect power couple. And yet, they are some of the most fucked up people I have met and there is some seriously messed up shit there sometimes. Nobody's life is a fairy tale, stop trying to make it fit into one.

Bitterblue

@WaityKatie Ahahaha This is SO UTTERLY TRUE and describes so perfectly succinctly why otherwise totally unsuitable people choose to have children, and then proceed to simultaneously neglect them (because they're so busy being self-absorbed) and smother them (with their own desires for vicarious glory, fame, riches, immortality, etc) that it makes me kind of breathless with awe. With awe and parentheticals.

EpWs

DEALBREAKER

cc
cc

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher SHUT IT DOWN.

dj pomegranate

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher For realz.

alannaofdoom

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher UNSUBSCRIBE

Megasus

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher Not on my watch beeyatch

@Megan Patterson@facebook S that D, shut that down.

EpWs

I love all of you.

Miss Trixie

Oh gosh. If I wrote the Hairpin and scrolled through hundreds of comments from people who took time out of their day to write about how much they hate me, I think I’d have a stroke.

I don’t hate you, LW!

I mean, let’s be honest: you have behaved horribly, and it sounds like you have every intention of continuing to behave horribly into the foreseeable future. You are self-absorbed and self-destructive. You have terrible judgment.

But hey, you’re human. People cheat. People fall in love with people who aren’t good for them. People lie to their spouses. People lie to themselves. People have babies to fix their marriages. And plenty of people do those things without the kind of self-awareness that you seem to exhibit here.

I think you recognize on some level—maybe in your head, if not yet in your heart—that you have made some bad decisions and that you need to take dramatic steps to fix them. A lot of commenters said that it doesn’t seem like your letter contains a real question, and I agree. I think you were looking for some real talk, just in general. And while you might not have been able to foresee that the comment thread would be filled with this sort of vitriol, I can’t imagine that you honestly believed for one single second that anyone who’s even HEARD of the Hairpin would tell you that Bob sounded like anything other than a total fucking skeez.

Face your shit, girl. I’M ROOTING FOR YOU!

PS: I too pictured Killer Bob as I read the letter.

bangs
bangs

@Miss Trixie I don't HATE the LW either, but there are some lessons she should have learned a while back that I sincerely hope she learns very soon.

adminslave

@Xaxa I don't hate her either, but I wonder how people live this way, so dramatically and so chaotically. Life isn't really that dramatic, or at least the romantic stuff isn't. You make it dramatic. But when I read these sorts of stories I wonder how people find the time to do the mundane stuff, like the dishes and laundry and dental appointments.

bangs
bangs

@adminslave I can't take it either. Fun to read but hard to even be around.

selkie86

@adminslave I was just thinking how under-appreciated "mundane" is.

adminslave

@selkie86 I always think of this poem when I think of all the little mundane things that constitute life:

http://www.theatlantic.com/past/docs/unbound/poetry/atlpoets/howe9404.htm

Its all about the little things we do every day to maintain the bigger picture. Sometimes it's boring and often it's slow but you build something. And real relationships are like that too--and they are worth it.

Valley Girl

@adminslave This Is Just To Say
I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
saving
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold

selkie86

@adminslave I have read too many zombie-related things lately for the title not to initially make me thing of shambling ex-people.

But it does encapsulate perfectly the charm of the mundane.

GoCeilings

@adminslave The drama is in the details!

Frankie's Girl

Um. I'm sure this has been said already and probably with much more wit... but this hit a ranty part of me that is just crying to get out. So anyway.

The LW is a selfish, self-centered ass. The entire letter, all of the problems - it's ME ME ME. What I want, what I'm going to do - despite professing to love the man she cheated repeatedly on, the child she lost that may or may not have been her husband's since she was STILL being a Cheaty McCheaterson, the child she brought into a relationship that she is ready and willing to bail on as soon as she cheats a little more to see if she's sure since she wants to be happy. SHE wants to be happy? Seriously?

I just hate her so much, and I don't want her to ever be happy and maybe that's a little because I HATE cheaters with a passion, and maybe because I'm a pissed-off infertile, so I got a heavy case of righteous anger about dumbasses popping out kids.

I hope poor Eli gets custody of that child and finds a partner that is awesome and forgets your name even. You're a horrible, horrible person and I really hope you get EXACTLY what you deserve. And therapy, lots and lots of therapy.

Cheating may happen, but that doesn't mean it's just a little "oops" - it means that there are a ton of people out there that are too immature too break up with someone if they're not happy, or too selfish to be in a monogamous relationship and sneak around looking for something better. Once, MAYBE excusable if you're young and stupid. Still makes you a shit, tho.

Mingus_Thurber

@Frankie's Girl I would happily, HAPPILY take Eli on. Even with the kid, even though I'm childfree.

The only complaint LW has about Eli is that he's always on top during sex. She can't take the initiative to spice up a sex life with a man who adores her, yet she's willing to go all-out to fuck him over?

Girl, I will totally take on your man. And he will forget your name.

sevanetta

@Frankie's Girl and Mingus_Thurber Damn straight. Add me to the list of people thinking 'I can't believe :you: get to have a child while I am wondering where all the nice stable kid-wanting blokes are.'. Sigh

Diana

1) Mean Spirited Wednesday is tomorrow but this is my day off and I appreciate having a little more time to indulge in this schaudenfreude. My god, it feels good. Thanks Edith et al! THIS IS BETTER THAN DEAR PRUDENCE.

2) For the love of god, go marry Bob so you take each other off the market. A wedding ring never stopped either of you, but it'll stop most decent people, so hopefully no more decent people will be hurt by your horrendous awful selves.

3) You "don't want to take your son away from his dad"? What the fuck is wrong with you? You have been impulsive, unfeeling, duplicitous and absolutely selfish for the entirety of your son's life including his conception, why on earth should your son live with you? No divorce court on earth should award you custody. You need therapy, not the responsibility of a child's welfare. Let Eli raise his son and at least have a decent shot at a loving family, if only with two members. You know how there are those moments allll throughout your narrative where you have a chance to do the right thing but your selfishness compels you do make the situation worse and yourself more inextricable? (Realizing you don't love Eli but then marrying him anyway, realizing you don't want to be married to Eli but having his child anyway, etc) This is another one of those moments: you have realized you want out of this life, don't take your son along anyway. You and Bob certainly seem meant for each other, so please get the hell out of Dodge and don't let the door hit you on the way out. Leave your son in the arms of the only person who will truly honestly love and care for him in spite of their own needs and desires.

(I thought about giving you advice about how to help yourself or analyze your own issues, but then I realized you're nearing your mid-thirties and you're too goddamn old to be this childish, so I don't care in the slightest for your own welfare, just that of your family. Be who you are, do what you want, but do it somewhere far, far away.)

Tuna Surprise

@Diana

It's worth repeating. Free Eli!!!

KeLynn

Bob gets divorced because he gets bored. He will divorce you too.

Bob probably hasn't been in love with you this entire time. He is trying to get in your pants now, or else he's rewriting history because he *wants* to have been in love with you this whole time. But he hasn't been. He probably has wanted to bone you this whole time, but that's not the same thing. I have a feeling you have also wanted to bone Bob this whole time, without really being in love with him. But you want to feel better about these lusty feelings so you tell yourself you love him to make it seem more noble. It's not.

Eli probably doesn't sleep with you because he can feel how much you resent him, even if he doesn't know why.

Love is not a feeling. Love is a choice. It's based on feelings, sure. But it is most basically a choice. Choose to love your husband (this involves staying away from Bob in all ways you can - email, texting, facebook, texting, IRL) or respect him enough to leave him.

PistolPackinMama

@KeLynn Ay-men. Least wonderful thing in the world to hear is "I am still thinking about how much I want to marry you but I am still dealing drugs."

(Dealbreaker for me. Deal. Breaker.)

I love you, but not enough to do anything about the problems is not the kind of love that makes a person feel cherished. It is the kind of love (if it is love) that is feelings but not actions.

After that experience, I am all in favor of Love You Know Is Love Because They Act Like They Love You As Well As Tell You They Love You.

-- incidentally, neither LW nor Bob (now synonym for sociopathic juicebox) are acting like they love each other or anyone else, much.

KeLynn

@PistolPackinMama "I love you, but not enough to do anything about the problems is not the kind of love that makes a person feel cherished. It is the kind of love (if it is love) that is feelings but not actions." - Perfectly said!

bookbike

HEY LW I DON'T HATE YOU!!!!! I understand what you're going through because I once did something similar.

But I was 17. You're too old for this - no excuses.

Anyway, if you want to know, I broke off things with both of them when I went away to college and found new juicy co-eds to bone. I still feel bad about it all though. Is going back to school an option for you?

YOU HAVE A BABY; GROW UP.

chickaboom

Wow, it's like everyone here thinks that getting married and having children automatically makes you into that perfect grown up person who always makes good decisions and never is tempted by shit that's really, really off limits?

I mean, yes, we hope we'll all grow up the right way and at the right time, but people make mistakes A LOT and sometimes people make those mistakes while married with children. It's sad, and frustrating, but true.

DAMN Y'ALL. Let's chill. LW, I wish you luck getting your shit under control.

And A Married Dude? Seconded, thirded and infinitied on the Boston/Facebook philosophy.

Mingus_Thurber

@chickaboom "Mistake" is one thing. "Repeated mistake, including going back into that b'rar patch" is another. I would've thought like you do had she not re-initiated contact with Bob, and really tried to clean up her act.

machinesss

@chickaboom I think there is a level of expected maturity expected for a seventeen year old, and it is very different than what is expected for a thirty year old. So yes, there are people who are immature idiots when they are by every legal definition adults, but it doesn't mean we need to just accept it as ok behaviour.

EpWs

@Mingus_Thurber Exactly. Echoing many others when it really sounds like if LW wanted to avoid Bob, she could have. Could have blocked his number, blocked him on facebook, not friended him on facebook in the first place (SERIOUSLY WHAT THE HELL), could have STOPPED SLEEPING WITH HIM REPEATEDLY, could have used protection when she did sleep with him and knew she wasn't on birth control...all these things are choices.

wharrgarbl

@chickaboom We do not expect marriage and parenthood to impart perfect adulthood, no. But we do generally do expect, by that point, a certain amount of understanding that continuing to touch the cherry-red burner on the range will result in burned fingers, even if it is super-pretty and we just want to caress it a little.

amandadayle

@heyad Same here! He kept me on the hook, right where I wanted to be. Except this was from ages 15-20, neither of us were married at any point so there were no major commitments to other people (and I am sure my casual boyfriends from this period would agree), and no children involved. I was lucky(?) to have met a Bob type early on and can now identify Bobs and LW style selfishness and now I instead choose to act like a grownup and make thoughtful, grown up choices, and not base my choices on a selfish idea of love.

Although a Bob is not necessary to learn these lessons, it saddens me that LW had no experience that changed her focus from just herself--and sad that having a child did not do that for her.

Mingus_Thurber

I felt like Cummerbund Bandersnatch's version of Sherlock about halfway through the letter. "Bored! Bored! Bored!"

Y'know what, LW? You've fucked up. You've made the same mistake repeatedly, including actively going after a person you knew was bad news, and you've hurt somebody who loves you. I don't hate you. Instead, I'm bored to tears by your childish selfishness and unwillingness to take responsibility for the mess you've created.

Please, *please* divorce your husband. Give him sole custody of your son and run off with Bob. Publish your username here so we can all avoid being bored by your self-centered, self-created dramas in the future. Make sure you and Bob end up someplace without Internet access, so we never have to hear about this again.

Be a grown woman and give your husband and kid a break from the overdone, juvenile shitstorms you manufacture. Be a grown woman and give *us* a break, too.

Bored. Bored. Bored! *blam*

Tuna Surprise

@Mingus_Thurber

FREE ELI

Waiting

I am not judging you LW - but I'll put it bluntly when I say that you do not seem like the kind of person that is capable of marriage and commitment, and neither does Bob. You both deserve each other. You really have treated Eli horribly for a long time and it is something you will have to live with forever. End it as soon as possible, though the repercussions will be far more painful and difficult than I think you even realize right now. You have a terrible track record and a rough future ahead of you. It is high time, now that you are a parent, that you face your wrongdoings, but mostly - face the fact that you are a coward. You need to do a lot of soul-searching. You can't teach your child to act the way you do (trust me, they do as you do, not as you say). My guess is that things will end disastrously with Bob, and you will finally feel bad enough that I think you might start to change the way you act. I really hope that the next chapter of your life is an improvement.

Diana

Okay one more thing because I cannot stay away from the deliciousness of this post.

This is for all the other 'pinners saying things like "I don't hate you" and "I don't think you're a bad person", I have to ask a question. And I don't mean this to be snarky to you, dear 'pinners, I am just honestly boggled and want to understand where you're coming from.

What does it take for you to hate somebody and think they're a bad person? Do you not hate anybody ever? Do you reserve it solely for people who have actually murdered or molested children? What are your standards for evaluating people's quality of character? Everything about this woman's behavior, her continued determination to be ruthlessly selfish even after acknowledging her behavior as such, her open willingness to hurt everyone around her to get what she wants at any price - how do you possibly categorize her as a good person? Or do you just not separate people into good and bad characters? I'm fascinated, and I'm not being disingenuous here. I'm trying to figure out all your world perspectives here. My reactions to this woman are so instinctual, so reflexive and rooted in gut feelings, that anything other than contempt is literally unfathomable to me. How are you approaching this letter?

melis

"Aww, you guyyyys, let's don't be meeeean."

Mingus_Thurber

@Diana I hate my former best friend, who slept with my husband. (Or I would, had I not grown so tired of that situation years ago that I just gave it up and declared her dead.)

I hate the man who starved a patient of mine to death, a few weeks after she'd left our hospital functional and with her stage 4 bedsores healed.

I hate the person who abused my dog before I found him.

Cheating on your husband repeatedly doesn't rate hate from me. It rates exhaustion with the amount of self-justification one fucked-up human can muster. It rates boredom with the awful, sordid way things have played out so far and with how they're likely to play out in the future. It engenders a deep-seated desire to have the person *far away* from me, as they're peddling Crazy and I'm all stocked up over here.

But hate? Nah. Too time-consuming and energy-sucking. Pity, yes. Loathing, certainly. But not hate.

beanie

@Diana maybe they are Melanies and we are Scarletts? I don't know, I'm just as baffled as you are.

Jinxie

@Diana Eh, generally speaking I'm pretty sparing with my hate because I find it to be a really toxic emotion. (And holy cow does that ever make me sound like a hippie. I have lived in San Francisco too long.) I can dislike someone, have no respect for them, no regard for them, wish a pox on their house, and/or pray for a cloud of locusts to descent on them but for me to really hate someone I have to know them in Meatspace and they have to have done something truly horrible to myself or someone I love. Say if our Eli was my brother, then I would hate the LW. As it is I just think she's a juicebox and an overall shitty person.

bangs
bangs

@Diana I don't hate her because I'm not actually involved in the situation. Exhausted is about right. But if someone did to me what she is doing to her husband... Hate probably is still a bit too strong, but only by a little.

PistolPackinMama

@Diana Because hating people takes a lot of energy and focus, and should be reserved for people who really, really, really deserve it. Usually hating people involves people whose presence in my life requires me to work on/work through/ get past/ forgive something.

Because I worked in a facility with cop-killers, partner-shooters, child-abusers unserweite. The people who allowed themselves to put their disgust and loathing and judgmentalism and sometimes hate before all their other emotions dealing with those folks who had done bad things were poisoned by it.

Do bad things? Yes. Need to be accountable? Yes. Not enable or try and use those other people's behavior to somehow make me feel better about my own stuff? Yes yes yes. Not want to have personal relationships with, trust, or be close to such folks? Yes. Would I want that letter writer to get her shit together before I became her brunch and coffee friend? Yes, I would.

But if there's no priority for redemption, and all the work that comes with it, I'd have gone crazy a long time ago, or also been poisoned.

And I sound like a disgusting Sunday School Special. Blah.

melis

Ugh, you guys, it's definitely not that hard to hate people, I do it like all the time and it's fine, I still have plenty of time for TV.

raised amongst catalogs

@beanie Fiddle-dee-dee!

PistolPackinMama

@melis Unfortunately, while I can hold a grudge like a champ, I have a hard time compartmentalizing. I'd never get any laundry, shopping, shoe organizing, or gel-eyeliner practicing done if I hated people with the power but without the focus. So.

nyikint

@Diana I think you have to be personally invested to actually hate someone, at least for me.

Kind of like love. You can't love someone you don't know (pregnant moms may differ?), and I don't think I can actively hate someone I don't know.

Diana

@nyikin

You are deeply underestimating my feelings about Beyonce.

PistolPackinMama

@Diana hate for Beyonce? Or love?

Chesty LaRue

@Jinxie San Francisco, eh? Did you happen to move recently from Boston by any chance?

fabel

@Diana I think, for me, it's more like...I don't separate people into good and bad? (Except animal torturers, or any sadistically violent person like that. They are bad & I hate them) But people who do shitty things to people, even if I'm involved in the situation somehow, don't register on my hate scale. It's just like...Oh okay, you do fucked up things a lot. I still have no desire to punch you or even cut your hair while you're sleeping.

SarahP

@Chesty LaRue Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

and @Diana I don't hate people. I just look down on them.

Emma Peel

@Diana I don't think there's a lot of point in sorting people into Good People and Bad People. There are people who do good things, and there are people who do bad things. Sometimes the same people do a lot of both. (Bill Clinton: On balance, Good Person or Bad Person?)

The things she is doing are awful. I don't see a lot of point in drawing conclusions about her character one way or the other.

It's like calling people racists. It just makes them put their back up and scream. (See: Republican primaries.)

I do not know or care if this woman is a Good or Bad Person, but she has spent 9 years doing a cascade of really shitty things to people she should care more about not hurting.

She Saved The World, Alot

@beanie Or they are Janes and we are Elizabeths!! (Sorry, re-reading Pride and Prejudice over here)

Fig. 1 (formerly myfanwy)

@fabel Or separating people from their actions. I find it much more constructive to talk with people about bad things they did rather than tell them how bad of a person they are.

Jinxie

@Chesty LaRue Nope! Moved to this area from Georgia nearly 10 years ago. Why do you ask? I have encountered other Jinxies (and Jinxie-deriviatives) on the 'Web, but they were all inferior to me. [She says, modestly.]

Nutellaface

I would LOVE to know what the "stuff" is that wouldn't have made you seem like a total monster. Really! Do you volunteer at the local animal shelter on the weekends or something?

You'll be sorry Jo March

People like this scare me way more than movie serial killers. I can guarantee you that, while I'm washing my face tonight, I'll start to panic because I'll imagine that this lady is gonna creep up behind me and GET ME.

Nutellaface

@You'll be sorry Jo March She will LITERALLY RUIN YOUR LIFE.

Cara Motts@twitter

This. can't be real. Everything after her friending him on facebook must be made up. And I can't believe I kept on reading. I was almost hoping it was going to end with "... and then my husband Ian left me, but I didn't even notice because I was too busy thinking about Bob, Bob, Bob -- and my kid, I guess."

nice_belt

@Cara Motts@twitter free ian!

carolita

Personally, I don't like it when people get all wrapped up acting as if they actually got roped into something they didn't create themselves. When it comes to a marriage you're not satisfied with, you stay or you go and you accept the consequences, that's all. It's not so complicated. I happen to believe that a person is a better parent when they're happy. If that means dumping your husband so your kid doesn't have to witness the pathetic spectacle of you and the co-parent in a half-assed marriage, bon courage! Go for it. But don't use another guy as an excuse. When you leave a marriage, I think you should leave MARRIAGE altogether, live alone for at least a year till you figure out if you really want to be with this guy who's knocking at your door. Then get with someone you like better.

I think this letter-writer is just a huge pain in the ass waiting to happen to an ass. And another thing. I don't think she has enough work. People with enough work don't get into trouble like this. Work more, lady.

sevanetta

@carolita This is my theory about my family and drama-lovers in general... these people do not have enough to do.

SarahP

@carolita You sound like my mom (in an awesome way)! When my siblings and I were being angsty jerk teenagers, my mom would simply say, "Go find something to do." Now, when Mom and I gossip about annoying people in our lives, we're always like "she needs to start volunteering or something, she's got too much time on her hands if she's freaking out about that!"

dracula's ghost

"Why do there have to be puppets like Bob"

Mingus_Thurber

Hey, you guys!

I had a nice, calm, drama-free day. I went to the organic farmer's market place and bought all sorts of fine marvelous stuff, including nitrite-free salami from vegetarian-raised pigs that volunteered themselves to be made into salami, and bread that was kneaded by shoeless monks from Minnesota! And I got a bottle of really great white wine, the name of which I would tell you except that I've drunk half of it already so I can't read the label! And there's tiramisu in the fridge just waiting for me to attack it, nom nom nom nom.

There. Is that better? I feel like I ought to talk about tiny, sweet pears and cornichons and how my cat just came up and sat on my shoulder and how my dog begs for slices of apple in order to somehow obviate the awfulness of this letter.

Mingus_Thurber

@Mingus_Thurber Because, really, my dog is a total goofball. He's half GSD and half something else, maybe flying flapdoodle? Maybe great dane? And he loves apple, sliced thinly, especially when it has triple-cream Brie spread on it, but he'll take it plain.

And the cat who's currently spread out on my shoulders? Loves broccoli. And kiwi, and pineapple, banana, avocado (bad for cats; he hasn't had any in months), lettuce, and sauerkraut but only if I rinse it first. His brother doesn't like anything but cat food and cold boiled potatoes.

Oh, by the way, I dyed my eyelashes today. That rocked.

raised amongst catalogs

@Mingus_Thurber I think you left out the part where you ordered a custom-made satin jacket with your hilarious words from a little way up the page embroidered on the back: "Girl, I will totally take on your man. And he will forget your name." That jacket is what will help me to identify you if we ever run into one another somewhere in the world, and I will give you the high-five of your life.
Goodnight, Mingus_Thurber!

EpWs

@Mingus_Thurber I got to hang out with/babysit my parents' new puppy this morning! He is eight weeks old and extremely fuzzy and a Jack Russell Terrier and his name is Oliver and he is a delight. (He is not as much of a delight as my eight-year-old mutt, but that is because he is The Perfect Dog To Whom None Can Compare.) But the puppy is adorable and I am going to think about him now. Thank you for the reminder!

Also, how does one dye one's eyelashes without going blind?

wharrgarbl

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher Very carefully?

@Mingus_Thurber I moved the cat tree yesterday and the cats are still attacking it furiously as if they would smashed it to bits and roll all over the wreckage. They are so very happy with it now that it is in a different place. It's like they have a whole new tree. Also? It turns out that pizza and IPAs go so well together I can't even tell you. So good. And I don't normally like hoppy beers.

PistolPackinMama

@Mingus_Thurber You can dye your own lashes????

Say more?

EpWs

@PistolPackinMama I KNOW, right? I want to dye mine turquoise or something.

EpWs

@Mingus_Thurber Someone once wrote a comment on a drama-filled thread that was intensely calming and comforting. I wish I could remember who it was or what it said because it needs to be here now, please!

LilyMarlene

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher Um...my cat is currently contentedly snooze-purring in my lap, I am drinking (shitloads of) wine and listening to/singing along with "Make Me Lose Control" by Eric Carmen on repeat and online shopping for raw shea butter, jojoba oil and essential oils with which to make body butter?*

*trying to be comforting to all of us. Which isn't working for me, because this situation makes me sad and aggro.

Mingus_Thurber

@PistolPackinMama 1000Hours eyelash tint. It's Australian. Black is the only color worth paying for. Sadly, it does not come in turquoise.

wharrgarbl

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher It was one of the boys, I think. I remember the comment. It might not have been about drama, though--it might have been one of the threads about something super disgusting or awful.

wharrgarbl

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher Duh. Not one of the boy-pinners at all. This one?

oh well never mind

@Mingus_Thurber Did you know tiramisu literally means pick-me-up? I like that fact and take every opportunity to share it when I can! And eat tiramisu. Om nom nom.

EpWs

@wharrgarbl YES THAT'S THE ONE. With the baked potatoes. Love it.

Mingus_Thurber

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher Oh, thank you! I believe strongly in having nice, boring things to do in the midst of threads like this.

Vera Knoop

@wharrgarbl Cats are so funny about places. My cat gets very excited whenever we move his tree (radiator side in the winter; other side in the summer).

fat dumpling

LW, I read that letter pretty carefully, several times, and one of the things that keeps standing out to me is that you fell in love with Eli, moved in together with him, traveled the world for a year with him -- that was before you "ran into Bob" again. So for that time period, after you had already written off Bob as a potential partner, you were open to falling in love with someone else, right? And all of that felt pretty real with Eli, right? You must have been feeling on some level that Eli was "it," since you married Eli, bought a house with Eli, broke it off with Bob after the miscarriage, and had the baby with Eli.

I actually have two points to make based off that. The first one is that it's likely that your fixation on Bob corroded your relationship with Eli. As in, all that time you've spent dwelling on Bob over the years is time that you haven't spent on bonding with your husband in, like, emotionally meaningful, intimacy-enhancing ways. All that Facebook conversation and textmessaging with Bob could have been conversations with your husband that would have revealed sides of him you haven't known before and improved communication between you two. All that sex while you were thinking of Bob instead and wishing Eli was more like him -- well, you know. People can't read other people's minds, but they do pick up on subtle little signals for things like that. You describe yourself as being in a sexless and distant marriage right now. Of course running off with Bob sounds amazing compared to that. The problem is that your sexless and distant marriage right now is likely at the very least 50% your fault.

The second is that you sort of have a Twilight-esque vibe going through your letter that's like "Bob is my one true star-crossed love, our love knows no bounds," and... ugh. There's mostly no such thing as true love, people just have people they really really click with, and then some of these people are also compatible with each other in the long term. Bob's just one dude you clicked with, his long-term compatibility remains under question. (As mentioned by others, Bob does not sound like much of a prize, but maybe the drama is what you want. Do you work right now? Or are you staying at home with your child? Consider bringing in more things into your life so that you have challenges, achievements, stressors, and projects that have nothing to do with sex or relationships.) The fact that you keep focusing on Bob instead of all the other dudes out there who are a lot less trouble (coughElicough) says a lot more about your state of mind than the quality of your connection with Bob. Might you consider therapy or some hardcore self-examination to explore this whole attraction to the unattainable one-who-got-away thing that you've got going on? I also feel like an inability to be alone and a need to please also sort of got you into this situation, so maybe you could address those as well.

For whatever it's worth, you don't sound like a horrible person to me. You just sound like a really confused person, and often people who are that confused can hurt other people much, much worse than an intentionally evil person could. I sort of had a visceral self-protective cringing-away reaction after reading that letter, and I think a lot of other people did too, so that's probably a part of why you're getting such an intense response in the comments. So, um, good luck with your life, and I hope that the collateral damage to Eli and his kid isn't too bad.

dj pomegranate

@fat dumpling This is a really excellent response.

nice_belt

@dj pomegranate word.

fat dumpling

@dj pomegranate @nice_belt Thanks! :D

Lemonnier

The LW doesn't have to worry about taking the kid away from his dad -- all three of them are domiciled in California, and absent some pretty fucking extenuating circumstances, no judge is going to tell her, "Sure, you can just divorce your husband and move across the country to live in concubinage with some dude, and Dad can see Junior summers and every other Thanksgiving. I give you my blessing."

What's far more likely to happen is, she'll get her divorce and the judge will say, feel free to move to Boston, but you're going to be the non-custodial parent. And really, that sounds like the best result for all involved.

LilyMarlene

I keep thinking about Eli's role in all of this, because there's always that other side to every story. And I keep thinking that even if Eli were the biggest uberdouche to have ever existed - like, if he beat her and their son, is a brutal alcoholic and drug addict and shopaholic who has bankrupted them repeatedly, cheats on LW and gives her diseases, kicks puppies, etc. - it is still the wrong answer for LW to run away to Bob. If Eli was/is said hypothetical uberdouche, she should certainly leave him...and then spend five years alone in the aforementioned monastery with the watercolors, or casually boning college guys, learning calligraphy, hanging out with her girlfriends, or just being a mom, but most definitely in a therapist's office all the while (probably female, so the "daddy" dynamic can be given a rest).

Eli doesn't sound like an uberdouche from the LW's perspective. So...even if he is actually the nicest guy in the world, it doesn't mean LW HAS to stay with him. She should examine if she's actually unhappy with Eli, or if she's just consumed with (emotionally stunted) wishful thinking about "what could have been" with Bob. She's tried Bob, she and Bob as a couple have failed, she's tried Bob again and again (almost ending up on Jerry Springer on the "Who's My Baby's Daddy" special in the process - holy SHIT, that's messy), and it's always failed. Meanwhile, she carries on with Bob on Facebook and by text, and they'll have a vacationship when she goes back East - none of which is real. When shit gets real with Bob, it seems like Bob bails.

LW, Bob is fucking with you - maybe because you make him feel better about himself, because his one shred of happiness in his life came from time with you, for whateverthefuck reason...but that's his problem. If you want to leave Eli, do it under your own steam - not because you are helplessly in love with and running towards Bob and the universe just swept you away because fate because his daughter has your favorite name because you are powerless to stop the whole thing from happening because [all the reasons you are deceiving yourself into thinking you have no control over your feelings and actions to alleviate your guilt].

Your relationship with Bob isn't real. He is a cog in your courtship of catastrophe, which is a problem that lives within you, which only you can fix. Eli is real; reality is sometimes painful. Face up to your real problems within yourself, see if you can work on your real marriage problems (even if it means telling Eli you want to be on top when doing sex - adults need to say icky things like that to one another sometimes), and maybe tell Eli you're working on yourself as well, so please forgive any turbulence he may witness. Unfriend Bob on Facebook, delete his texts, stop calling him. Forever. When the irresistible temptation strikes; have a drink, call a friend, write, play with your son, slap yourself in the head, find a distraction that doesn't involve OPP. If your marital problems are intractable because of issues between you and Eli, leave Eli and stop seeing life in binary (Eli : Bob) terms. There is life outside of Eli : Bob, and it may be worth checking out.

And, for Christ's sake - you had a child with Eli, even if it's just accidentally his and not Bob's. Stop. Fucking. Tempting. Fate. If you don't care enough to protect yourself and your husband from your disaster-inviting behavior, at least care enough about your son to honor the paternity of any future siblings you may give him. There are far worse things than being a child of a clean divorce; like, finding out years later that your whole relationship with someone you thought was your father was based on lies and deception. Don't cast that shadow of doubt over your child/rens' life. And perhaps don't spend your holiday back East boning Bob and maybe getting knocked up again ('cause, if life were a romantic comedy, that would be, like, Fate sending you a message that you're destined to be with Bob, wouldn't it?), unless you've made an honest break with Eli and he understands what's up.

I see plenty of my exes on Facebook, and will occasionally spend an afternoon thinking of what my life could have been like if I'd ended up with one of them. Usually it's in the spirit of "THANK FUCK I DIDN'T". Other times it's wistful, particularly when I'm having a bad day in my relationship, or if the ex has some quality my partner doesn't - e.g., a love of reading, spontaneity, hair - that I am particularly craving on that day. When in committed adult relationships, it is necessary to prevent one's yearning for an informed conversation about Shakespeare's works (or whatever) from turning into a one-way ticket to the old hometown for a roll in the hay with someone you broke up with for damned good reasons. Even if you love Bob for his Bob-ness, which Eli can never provide, your committed adult relationship (imperfect and troubled as it may be) with Eli is more worthy than just being casually thrown away on a(nother) lark with Bob. Whom, I repeat, is just fucking with you.

The lack of agency in the question smacks of stunted emotional growth...and the only way to fix that is to stop behaving helplessly and help yourself GROW YOUR ASS UP. Stop pushing your feelings about Bob down, and instead acknowledge them, because only then can you identify where they're coming from. Turn your back on Bob, turn toward Eli, and try to work on the relationship you consciously CHOSE with him. If you just can't work things out with Eli, let it be because the two of you are ultimately incompatible - not because you just want Bob or The Eternal Something Else. If you choose to leave Eli, you're still taking yourself with you. And no matter where you run, you can't run away from yourself.

kayjay

@LilyMarlene Wow. Well said.

kitkat88

Letter Writer lady, I genuinely hope that you are a better person than the mother of my ex-boyfriend. I can tell from your letter that you probably are, because my ex's mother has never felt any guilt over what she has done.

So, I think you need to set the reset button on your life. Divorce Eli, tell Bob to go fuck himself, and let Eli have custody (real talk, Eli is probably going to get custody). You then need to go directly to a monastery. I even found you a Buddhist one (http://www.shastaabbey.org/visiting-extended.html). You need to go there, and you need to stay there until you are able to read this letter and not recognize the person who wrote it.

EpWs

Am I the only one who thought, when I saw the title, that this would be a column about a nice gay couple named Bob and Eli? NO SUCH LUCK.

sevanetta

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher Yeah, I had that thought... sadface

Oh, squiggles

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher YES! Who were having a totally normal married persons problem, and needed advice!

Mimi Killjoy

It sounds like you and Bob were made for each other.

the angry little raincloud

I am in awe. This is the stuff daytime television was made for!

AllyMcBLT

Ok, so I may have just spent an embarrassing amount of time reading this entire thread. I now feel like this. God damn it, Bob.

EpWs

@AllyMcBLT Flawless.

Blondsak

@AllyMcBLT Best post in the 600+ comments.

KeLynn

@AllyMcBLT HAHAHA

Mimi Killjoy

Let this be a lesson to all the men who perceive emotionally available women as 'desperate'. The women who aren't that interested could be this lady. They might be more desirable or a better catch- or they might genuinely be not that interested or attracted to you- and they never will be. Why would anyone want to spend their lives like that? This can probably go for either gender, but I think there's a perception that someone who isn't too eager must necessarily be a better catch and it automatically makes them more appealing ..."I wouldn't join a club that would have me as a member..."
(Sorry, lady. For all I know, you're a fine person. I'm not trying to put you down. Just trying to make a point about this attraction dynamic.)

sevanetta

@Mimi Killjoy Thankyou! as an emotionally-available non-desperate woman right here. I think this perception also leads to the opposite situation - where I tell a guy I'm not interested and then cease contact and they keep contacting me and I'm like... dude I already told you politely, this is not a romantic comedy where you will win me over with persistence. I'm not interested because I'm not interested.

Mimi Killjoy

And to people suggesting she should lose custody, what does the love relationship between parents have to do with parenting skills? Having an affair doesn't make someone an unfit parent. It's not like she's freebasing cocaine and setting her kid on fire. Jeez. Plenty of people get a divorce because 'They're just not in love anymore." They don't lose custody. There is no basis to accuse this woman of being an unfit mother.

Lemonnier

@Mimi Killjoy I don't think that most people were saying that she *should* lose custody, just that she probably would *if* she insisted on moving to Boston. In general, a judge won't let you take a child thousands of miles away from one (relatively stable, non-dangerous) parent without some very compelling reason for doing so. The only time I've seen it done was following Katrina, when some judges allowed it because New Orleans was a barely-functioning cesspool.

kitkat88

@Mimi Killjoy I feel like I can say that she is an unfit parent, as someone who dated the adult child of someone very much like the LW. She is prioritizing Bob over her child now, why would she do any differently in the future? I think the best outcome is emotional abuse (through complete indifference to this kid's feelings and suffering), and that is hardly a good outcome.

amandadayle

@Mimi Killjoy I think maybe they mean she is LIKELY to lose custody if she moves across the country to be with Bob, and if Eli is able to prove adultery as grounds for divorce. I imagine a judge in the matter (like the judge I for whom I clerk) would grant physical and legal custody to Eli, with liberal visitation to LW. She would be choosing to move away from her child's home base. However, the court would still have to consider a number of other factors we don't know about.

wharrgarbl

@Mimi Killjoy Most people seem to be reality-checking her in response to the line about not wanting to separate her son from his father. Not "Oh, you're a bad wife, your kid should be taken away," but "Uh, judicial prejudice is typically very strong in favor of the existing state of affairs." So they're in, say, Pasadena, they get divorced in Pasadena, Eli and LW and Kid live in Pasadena, and then LW decides to go back to Boston? LW has to come up with a really compelling reason for Kid to come with her to Boston instead of staying with Eli in Pasadena, where he already is.

If Eli got some kickin' new job in Seattle and wanted to move, and LW seized on the opportunity to say "Well, I'm moving to Boston," then the case would much more likely be decided on parent vs. parent lifestyle-type criteria. But that is probably not going to happen.

Frankie's Girl

@Mimi Killjoy

She had unprotected sex with Bob during a time when she was also trying to conceive with her husband and obviously didn't care enough about the possible kid produced to consider that it may screw them up royally to learn at some point that "daddy" wasn't daddy at all.

Her actions just reek of self-entitled egotism and she probably would continue to put her wants ahead of everyone - even her own child.

No where does she say in her letter (and it was long enough to include at least one sentence) about caring about the effect all of this will have on her kid. ONE sentence as a throw away: "I don't want to take my son away from his dad."

MY son. And the assumption that she absolutely will be taking said kid if she chooses - and no though that she is the one cheating and lying and creating all of this godawful mess - just she wants, so she gets. See a pattern here?

Immature, selfish juiceboxes have kids all the time, but that doesn't mean just because they could pop out a kid, they should have. This juicebox shouldn't have.

Eli probably would be a better and more stable parent. I can't imagine he'd be worse anyway.

(and I say this having been raised by a mother who told me when I was a child that she wanted two kids before she left my father, so got pregnant "accidentally" with me. She married my dad as a way to get out of her family home and get someone to take care of her - my father loved her and did whatever she asked... As soon as I was school age, she left my dad, and drug my sister and I all over the place and put us in dangerous situations several times in pursuit of her own happiness... and we had to beg to go back to live with our dad (he's screwy in his own way, but there's not much meanness in him at all).

My mother is a raging narcissist and I currently live 800 miles away. I talk to her a few times a year, and it took me years of therapy to deal with the trust and control issues. I know she loved me, but she was a flawed and selfish person that shouldn't have had children either.

~~~

OMG. I just re-read and saw "I respect Eli too much to ruin his life, but I can't be his roommate forever."
SNORT. Sure, you respect the hell out of him. You respected him so much that you hopped into bed repeatedly with another man, possibly got knocked-up by said other man, and plan on doing a trial run separation probably behind Eli's back (again) and then spring the whole "I've fallen in love with another man that I've known since I was in my 20s and I'm taking the kid and leaving" on him.

Total, complete selfish git.

lil_bobbytables

Wait. Daisy Buchanan, is that you?

dracula's ghost

@melis Hark A Vagrant ref! I see you!

angermonkey

@dracula's ghost Unrelated to anything, but GOT DAMN, you guys (ladies, gender neutral use of guys here) are all up in my personal favorite things of the internet biz.

YoungMrGrace

Thank fucking god I'm not your friend, lady. I'm frustrated enough at your immature, self centered drama-mongering just reading it through the internet - I imagine the interminable phone calls to which you subject your friends about this mess sound like that David Foster Wallace short story "The Depressed Person," crossed with All My Children, and an echo that results from you being so far up your own ass.

I hope by now you have gotten the gist of all the myriad ways you have fucked this situation, and all the things you can do to at least spare your child and Eli a little bit of the hurt that is surely in the works for them as a result of your actions.

And let me conclude with the observation that we have all met a "Bob," but most of us see him for the narcissistic sociopath he is by the time we're in our early 20s. What a shame you didn't realize that sooner about your Bob - and worse, that Eli didn't see it sooner about his.

Oh wait, for real final observation: anyone wondering how to grow your own Patrick Bateman, look at this broad right here.

wharrgarbl

@YoungMrGrace ...this sort of behavior, while awful, does not actually produce, excuse, or account for hypersadistic serial killers. Just, y'know, so you know.

Athena

“Never look down on anybody unless you're helping them up.”
― Jesse Jackson

YoungMrGrace

@Athena "Never go down on a guy named Bob repeatedly, for nearly 10+ years, unless you're prepared to reap the consequences, including those that result from submitting your saga to an internet advice column."
-YoungMrGrace

Blondsak

@Athena Except this lady doesn't want to be helped up. She wants someone to validate her terrible decisions. In a way, most people on this thread are helping her up - they're giving her the proverbial slap-the-cheek wake-up call she has needed for nearly a decade.

kitkat88

@Athena I do not think that Mr. Jackson would apply that advice to KKK members, or, if he was, he would likely mean "helping them up" as "showing them the error of their ways". Helping people does not always take the form of sunshine and rainbows and group hugs for all.

Megasus

@Athena IS THIS THE LW!?

pipsqueak

I'm so late in the piece on this, but I have a question for anyone still here:

Do anyone think it's even possible for LW to recover from this level of fuck uppery? I mean, this is what... ten years of her life, which includes her 20s, her marriage, and the birth of her first child. Even if she does the cleanest thing possible- disowns Bob, divorces Eli, focusses on her kid, commits to therapy and promises to sit really, really still, isn't all of the monumental stupidity above going to be so definitive she won't really overcome it until she's like, 85 or something? I'm trying not to be cynical about it. I'd like to believe anyone can untangle themselves from anything, but this just seems so colossal.

PistolPackinMama

@pipsqueak Yes, she can. She absolutely can. But not without a truckload of work. And its the work that's going to be the problem here.

Much as she is getting hit like a Superbowl defensive line player, this is far, far, far, and away not the worst thing people do to one another and still recover.

pipsqueak

@PistolPackinMama I agree, it will be the work. People keep talking about her agency (or lack thereof) and I suppose that's what she needs to exercise now, in whatever it is that she does next. I'm not sure if she feels like she has any? She even outsourced to (what was always going to be brutal) internet advice rather than owning her own decisions. But it does all seem like so much to own! It's like the bit in Fantasia with all the brooms, but with life drama. So overwhelming! I do feel for her in this regard.

wharrgarbl

@pipsqueak Of course she can. I mean, this is actually relatively minor in terms of how bad this situation could be, never mind how bad it could get. She doesn't have to tell Eli that their son might not actually be his. Her son is too young to really remember much of this right now, so there's no reason this has to cause any lingering issues. She didn't have a kid with or run off to marry Bob, so she can cut him the fuck out of her life immediately and with pretty much no consequence.

There is absolutely still time to put the fucking brakes on, stop making things worse, and start making things better. I guess that's probably part of what's so intensely aggravating about this letter. It would be a very simple thing for LW to pull out of this nosedive. Not easy--emotionally very painful, in fact--but very logistically simple. But based on the letter itself, we can be pretty damn sure that she's not going to and it's going to end with flaming wreckage all over a mountainside and soccer players eating their dead teammates.

atipofthehat

@pipsqueak

Yes.

I've come back from what some would call much worse.

Vera Knoop

@wharrgarbl (Yes I'm reading this days late and spamming everyone, but): It seems like the kid is Eli's, according to her letter. I think she miscarried the pregnancy whose paternity she wasn't sure of, and at the time that she got pregnant with her son, she was only sleeping with Eli.
Not that this in any way detracts from the point you're making here.

Nutellaface

I really thought I could go without an all caps rant on this, but I CAN'T SO HERE IT IS.

YOU ARE A GROWN ASS LADY. THESE ARE PEOPLE'S LIVES YOU ARE FUCKING WITH, INCLUDING A LITTLE PERSON THAT YOU CREATED. YOU ARE NOT A CHARACTER IN A TEEN FUCKING DRAMA. THIS IS NOT TEAM BOB VS TEAM ELI. YOU MADE ME YELL ON THE INTERNET.

/all caps.

Nutellaface

@Nutellaface I mean, I made it a full twelve hours before that happened.

kitkat88

@Nutellaface Haha, I was trying to stay out of this too, and I made it all of 20 minutes. Now I going to live in this page forever.

Bus Driver Stu Benedict

I don't think anyone's mentioned this Bob yet.

MoonBat

I so seriously wish I could have had "ASK AN INCREDIBLY FUCKING WISE GROUP OF 'PINNERS!" when I was a dumbass twenty year old. But there wasn't even really an internet two decades ago.
I have a question for you all now, though :
Should I rename my poor bunny (pictured in my tiny avatar)? I mean, she never expressly asked to be named Bob. But now I inexplicably hate her furry ass. What should I doooooooo?????

wharrgarbl

@MoonBat You should rename her Burt Reynolds.

MoonBat

@wharrgarbl "Burt the Bunny" does have a nice sound to it. Gracias.

wharrgarbl

@MoonBat I am still inordinately charmed by the person in the Facebook Birthday thread talking saying "Goddammit, Burt Reynolds!" when Burt the Cat scratched the furniture. The idea of "Goddammit, Burt Reynolds!" being said in response to a bunny chewing things she's not supposed to is too cute.

reebs14

@wharrgarbl Aww, glad you enjoyed it! @MoonBat You should absolutely name the bunny Burt. And then dress her up in a cowboy hat and mustache and post photos for everyone's viewing pleasure.

MoonBat

@reebs14
I will try, but she's a little badass rabbit, and frankly, I'm a little afraid of her. She growls and smacks me when displeased.

reebs14

@MoonBat All the better to be named Burt Reynolds, then.

tea for all

@reebs14 name her berthe! like, french for bertha, but you pronounce it burt. madame bovary's daughter. 'cos she's a girl rabbit!

laura h

woman. what you need to do is read Freedom by Jonathan Franzen. Patty doesn't pine after Richard because she loves him. And she doesn't cheat on Walter because she's unsatisfied with the sex. She just has nothing else in her life. Get a hobby, lady. Do something. That pining feeling isn't pining after love or great sex, it's just pining after some larger involvement or meaning.

Ham Snadwich

I'm going to take the contrarian view and say "Hey lady, you're doing super. Keep on making those good decisions."

wharrgarbl

@Ham Snadwich But we're all reading it in a really sarcastic tone, so it's not really contrarian at all.

Ham Snadwich

@wharrgarbl - Aw.

kayjay

There's lots I could say about this situation, but I think everyone else up there has already said some really insightful things. So I'll just say this: LW, please leave your husband so he has a chance at happiness with someone who truly loves him and thinks the sun rises and sets around him. Please do it soon before more years pass of him being trapped in a marriage with someone who's in love with someone else. You made this mess. The best way to fix it is to let your husband go find HIS happiness.

Rock and Roll Ken Doll

Patty?

Rock and Roll Ken Doll

@josiah
Crap, missed laura h's comment above. There are over 700 of these, guys, it's hard!!

irieagogo

I, for one, would have preferred this LW to keep to the 300 word maximum for her mess. Edit, edit, edit!

Mira

@irieagogo Yes, but the LW's inability to edit is kind of the problem, isn't it?

lalaland

Oh good, this page is still happening. I couldn't log in yesterday (ack!) but I just wanted to say this.

LW, I don't know if you're worthy of hate, but you are an awful awful awful person.

Lauri

I happened to catch this column when it was first posted and there were only a few (completely outraged, caustically glib, or even cruel) comments. I thought at the time, "I'll bet this turns into a dog-pile, and then a few people will say 'Ok, I get why you are reacting so strongly, but stop screaming at this woman, set aside the issue of her poor word choice (which may reflect nervousness rather than a cavalier attitude), and consider 1) what we actually know and 2) why this scenario is pushing your buttons SO HARD that you are taking it personally,' and then a few other people will retract their initial rants and try to engage in rational analysis, and then, as so often occurs at this site, the whole community will say thoughtful and thought-provoking things, and it will be cool." I think that's almost what happened, but the initial outpouring of "OMG YOU IMMATURE HOAR WHAT ABOUT YOUR KID, YOU ARE AN AWFUL HUMAN" intimidated anyone who might want to look at the scenario with any objectivity and stymied the usual flow of rigorous but ultimately empathetic and constructive thought I'm used to finding at the Hairpin. Now I'm just scared of this whole thread. I predict I will regret posting this as soon as I hit "Post Comment."

wharrgarbl

@Lauri Did you regret posting it as soon as you hit "Post Comment"/as soon as the "delete your comment" button went away?

redheaded&crazy

@Lauri There is lots of rational analysis up in there! Really, there is.

dracula's ghost

@redheadedandcrazy

everyone has said:
1. divorce Eli
2. never speak to Bob again
3. get therapy
3b go to a monastery

I think that is very good advice--really the only advice that could POSSIBLY stop this train wreck. The LW won't take any of it, obviously, but still, rational advice abounds! Also cruel razzing, but, you know. Her letter is pretty epic. If I did any of this shit I would fully expect to be brow-beaten by all and sundry. We only continue having a civilization because of mutually-agreed-upon shaming of bad behavior. Freud said that!

dracula's ghost

@dracula's ghost p.s. wouldn't you love to read Freud's analysis of this letter

Lo, how every day do I wish Freud were still alive to interpret amazing things about penises and daddys

lalaland

@Lauri There really are some helpful comments in the midst. Granted, mine is not one of them (see above). I think the reason why at least I had such a visceral reaction to it is because this woman was just so passive about everything that "happened" to her.

We've all done awful things, and that doesn't necessarily make us awful humans. But you accept responsibility for the awful things you did and you try to do better. You learn from your mistakes.

She doesn't - in fact, it gets worse and worse over the years. Add to that Bob doesn't exactly seem to be Prince Charming and everyone feels bad for Eli and you have the dog-pile that is this thread.

wharrgarbl

@Lauri I do have to ask what you expected to come of the objective and rigorous but ultimately empathetic and constructive thought, or where you expected the rational analysis to have gone. Like, when you look at that letter and envision the platonic ideal of the responses you'd like to see, what's the outcome?

Niko Bellic

@Lauri Yeah, let me take a moment to consider why is "the scenario" of someone's selfish disregard of the well being of children which she brought into this world pushing my buttons.

Lauri

@wharrgarbl Oh lord, I had a long and (hopefully) reasonable response to this typed out, and the page inexplicably refreshed and all the words went bye-bye. Disappeared. I am just home from a long and highly nitrous sojourn in the dentist's chair, so . . . yeah.

I'll just say that you and various other posters made some good points, and I don't want to belabor mine, nor do I want to descend into sarcasm or defensive posturing. I was put off by the some of the anger and meanness I encountered, but the LW did write in for advice, so it shouldn't surprise me that it is being offered (along with pronouncements on her character, Bob's character, etc.)

wharrgarbl

@Lauri Ugh, computers. Try ctrl-Z?

Anyway, I mean, it's a long thread, but yeah, there's not a ton of opinion variation. Don't be put off about posting your own advice, or rephrasing things that you thought were basically helpful but unnecessarily mean-spirited, or offering LW encouragement to do better if that was part of your Ideal Thread. Be the change you want to see, and all that. Besides, once we've hit 700+ posts of "Look at your life. Look at your choices.", I think the Belabor Boat has sailed with all aboard.

Feel better, and may fewer hours in the dentist's chair cloud your future.

atipofthehat

@Lauri

If character is what one does, then it's the actions of Bob and the LW, guaranteed to do major damage to innocent parties, that have defined their characters. If they were deeply concerned about their characters, wouldn't they behave differently? Even if the behavior comes out of illness, the person who is ill has a responsibity to get treatment. But, I must say, if you want to talk about cruelty, don't read the comments: read the letter.

I hope you come back and post what you think would help resolve the LW's situation with the least possible pain to all those involved (especially those who are unwittingly involved).

Lauri

I saw the "Comment editable for x minutes" countdown start, considered it, and then fled. I don't know whether that makes me a coward for fleeing or brave to let the comment be seen.

wharrgarbl

@Lauri It probably just means you have a coping mechanism to deal with the anxiety related to something you want to do but aren't super-confident about.

dracula's ghost

My call:

LW is Scarlett
Eli is Melanie
Bob is Ashley

NOBODY GETS OUT OF THIS ONE SMELLING LIKE A ROSE

The Hairpin comments thread is Mammy
The LW's incorrect fantasy image of Bob is Rhett

IT ALL MAKES SENSE

fabel

@dracula's ghost I liked this... but I also <3 it.

dracula's ghost

@fabel !!! Right? It's so accurate!

Which means, news flash to LW, "this way heartbreak lies"

Also means, "nobody ever listens to Mammy"

If my life ever mirrored a novel I would want that novel to be Anne McCaffrey's DRAGONSDAWN.

EpWs

@dracula's ghost YES. All the Gone With The Wind references in this comment thread (and there are MANY) lead up to this. Perfect.

sevanetta

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher Yes! I have enjoyed them ever so!

Niko Bellic

Oh, wow. Thanks for this bit of a glimpse into the lower parts of humanity. I didn't know that "just a person" was a thing, only "just a child". Persons do get to be awful, and this one is very much so.

Niko Bellic

"P.S. Please don't hate me."

Now there as great ironic name for a help column.

P.S. Please don't hate me

@Niko Bellic Or a commenter name!

dracula's ghost

I AM THE 800th COMMENT ON THIS THREAD

I KNEW WE/I COULD DO IT YOU GUYS

dokuchan

@dracula's ghost You made it happen!

dracula's ghost

@dokuchan I am nothing if not motivated*

*not true

Lurk Out!

Holy hell. I just read the entire thread. LW & I have one thing in common: too much time on our hands.

slutberry

WHAT KIND OF FUCKERY IS THIS?

that is all.

I'm Not Rufus

Bob's relationship with LW is that Bob seeks validation through LW's attraction to him. What a power trip to have a girl who will beg you for a relationship while you turn her down, fuck you while she's engaged to someone else, fuck you while she's married to someone else. Even better that this girl is almost 15 years younger than him -- proof of Bob's sexual prowess. They may have some feeling of an emotional connection, but in the end Bob wouldn't date LW and then married someone else. Why? Because Bob has been using LW for validation but Bob has understood that there was never enough connection to make anything happen in the long run. It's not a coincidence that Bob keeps crawling up to LW after his failed marriages. It's the time when he feels most wounded and is most in need of someone who will act as if the world revolves around him.

Hooplehead

LW, when you are a grown woman whose life I can sum up as a series of Britney Spears songs, there is a problem. Womanizer, You Drive Me Crazy, Oops I Did it Again, I'm a Slave 4 U, Toxic, I'm not (Physically) a Girl, Not Yet (Emotionally or Mentally) a Woman.....

miwome

@Hooplehead If I said I want Bob's body noooow, would you hold it against me-e?

PS Shame on me, whistle whistle, to need release, whistle whistle.

Q
Q

Lady, you need to get your shit together, and I don't mean decide who you want to sleep with regularly.

tardi to the party

there's no justice, but what's done is done. you can't change the past but you can at least resolve to do no MORE harm. if you get out now, at least eli has some chance of meeting someone who will put him (and your son) before all others. or you could try to be that person yourself, but that means cutting off all contact w/ bob, coming clean, and going into therapy. and, if eli has any self-respect at all, he might not even be into that second option. just stop doing what you've been doing for so long, for chrissakes

louisebryant

OK, here goes... I rarely post here, but I'm an avid, everyday Hairpin reader, and I have to weigh in on this.

I agree with many of the points that have been made in this lengthy dialogue. Yes, the LW has made poor choices. Yes, she has acted selfishly. And yes, I too am disturbed by the glib tone of her letter.

But I am equally disturbed by the judgmental and incredibly hostile tone of many of these comments. One of the reasons why I love reading The Hairpin, and especially the comments (even though I don't often have the courage to contribute.), is that -- in contrast to so many other similar websites -- this community has developed a dialogue that can be honest, even if critical, without lapsing into the anonymous nasty snarkiness that's so characteristic of most online commentary; that's genuinely supportive and empowering, rather than just simply affirming the knee-jerk, meaningless, "you go girl!" pseudo-feminism of xojane and such sites; and that's truly thoughtful and insightful. And yet many of these comments exhibit precisely the kinds of anonymous, freewheeling, kneejerk, pile-on judgment and hostility that I can't stand in the "dialogue" of other sites' comments sections, and I'm frankly surprised and a bit dismayed to see this here.

Again: I agree that the LW has made extremely poor judgments. Her actions may end up profoundly hurting her husband and her child. And I don't like the tone of her letter, either. But my sense, as a couple of others have suggested, is that this is not mere selfishness, but an expression of larger mental health issues -- borderline personality disorder, in particular. (See: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001931/)

I say all of this not to excuse her behavior, but perhaps to put it in a different context. I would venture to say that most of us have made terrible decisions in our lives, particularly in relation to love and sex (and particularly at a young age, which she seems to be). Again, I'm not excusing her actions. But I really don't think that she deserves to be attacked like this. And, although the glib tone of her letter disturbs me, so, too, does the vicious tone of many of these comments.

atipofthehat

@calicogirl

Which comments are vicious?

Vera Knoop

@calicogirl Armchair psychological diagnosis is, by some standards, more vicious than holding someone accountable for their own actions. BPD, in particular, is often used as a weapon against women. I get that you're arguing for empathy, but saying "maybe she has BPD" isn't really that.

tactfactory

no one will find this in the comment jungle, but as a math teacher i feel compelled to point out that the comments take up more than thirty times as much room as the actual letter and dude advice. this hairpin page is roughly NINETY SEVEN PERCENT comment.

mecmec

Just in case anyone is still reading (perhaps LW?), I lived out a miniature version of this in college, sans the kids, thank god. I had my sweet nice Eli boyfriend and then Bob, the dude with whom I "accidentally" and secretly had hot hot sex one or two or six times. I moved away, I rededicated myself to my Eli, and then a year later fucked my Bob again. And yes, he IS a sociopath, no doubt about that. At which point I confessed and broke up with the boyfriend, had a three month period of sex/fighting/sex/fighting with the other dude, and started seeing a decent therapist. Trying to be "good" is a ship that sailed a long ass time ago. Time to just be honest.

miwome

@mecmec Trying to be "good" is a ship that sailed a long ass time ago. Time to just be honest.

Well, this just REEKS of truth.

Lurk Out!

I think I might have to name my band "Bob and Eli" now...

Amy Beth Steinberg@facebook

I wonder what she decided. It seems pretty obvious to me she has the right to leave her husband to try out this other relationship, but with a move that selfish, she shouldn't expect to take her son with her. Anyone else agree?

josep

Just in case anyone is still reading (perhaps LW?), I lived out a miniature version of this in college, sans the kids, thank god nj electrical

josep

o the whole out-of-sight-out-of-mind thing kicked in and I was ready for the next one if I couldn't have the one that had my heart. example condolence messages

linkaccu

Ten years my senior and ready to settle down. He is an insanely smart tech guy and just thinks the sun rises and sets in me. Knowing that the one I really want doesn't want me, I dive into a relationship with Eli. buy facebook likes

linkaccu

I wish this LW would take an objective look at how wonderful she has it; a great husband, a healthy kid, BHS Discount Code

linkaccu

I'm awful and I know it, but I don't want to hurt Eli, so I just do the right thing and buy a house with him and marry him without ever breathing a word. That's okay, right? No? Whoops again. blog link

linkaccu

I can't help but compare this to Bob. Bob was more than fine. He was some sort of sex god (at least for me) and will forever be the one I compare everyone else to. BTBCappers NFL Picks

linkaccu

The pregnancy test comes back positive. Super whoops. I don't tell Bob or Eli and when I miscarry, boilies

linkaccu

I'm awful and I know it, but I don't want to hurt Eli, so I just do the right thing and buy a house with him and marry him without ever breathing a word. foundation repair san antonio

linkaccu

I'm awful and I know it, but I don't want to hurt Eli, so I just do the right thing and buy a house with him and marry him without ever breathing a word. dentist boerne tx 2

linkaccu

I left the dreamjob and didn't have to look at him anymore, so the whole out-of-sight-out-of-mind thing kicked online e-learning

linkaccu

Super whoops. I don't tell Bob or Eli and when I miscarry, I feel like it's a divine omen for me to Behave with a capital B. lån-online.se

linkaccu

He proposes, I accept. Then I run into Bob and sleep with him. Repeatedly. And it's amazing. Whoops. Watch video

linkaccu

Me, all new motherly glowing and still lumpy, pushing my four-week-old baby around the grocery store with my sweet husband. rc airplanes

linkaccu

He proposes, I accept. Then I run into Bob and sleep with him. Repeatedly. And it's amazing. downgrade ios 7

linkaccu

So I'm married to this great guy and live in an amazing house and we're happy and since Eli is ten years older than me, he is ready to have kids. luxury

linkaccu

Bob, an account guy at my work 14 years my senior and so incredibly wonderfully grumpy and brusque that what could I do but fall head over heels paul alleva

linkaccu

I dive into a relationship with Eli. We move in together almost immediately. Eli is amazing and open, and tells me he loves ophthalmology assistant schools

linkaccu

Eventually Bob stops calling and I finally get pregnant by the wonderful Eli and I for sure know that it's actually his baby and not Bob's. Whew. macchinette tatuaggi

1963248500@twitter

but I don't want to hurt Eli, so I just do the right thing and buy a house with him and marry him without ever breathing a word. kit tatuaggi

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