Quantcast

Friday, August 10, 2012

345

Workplace Mistakes and Greenerish Grasses

A year ago, while just finishing school, I got very drunk at a work event and hooked up with a co-worker who is definitively senior to me. He had very aggressively hit on me before at work events, but I had rebuffed his advances. On this occasion, however, after he bought me many, many shots of Van Gogh (ugh), and while in a bit of a sexually experimental phase, I let him put his hand up my skirt and then left with him. Huge mistake. Especially as he has a lovely long-term girlfriend, whom I have met quite a few times, and deserves none of this.

I spent the first few months at my new job feeling guilty and utterly paranoid about who knew and what it meant for my future. This guy and I are now collegial at the office. We have never discussed the events, and they have never been repeated.

He and his girlfriend are now engaged. I feel like she deserves to know (especially as I feel like it's basically a guarantee this is not a one-off, right?), but also that it is not my place to tell her. I'm confused about my moral obligations and how to make the kind choice, especially because my judgement may be skewed by the potential professional repercussions. Any words of guidance?

Your principal obligation, in this setting, is to yourself. You don't say how serious your co-worker (who actually sounds less co- than managerial in his work relations to you) was with his girlfriend at the time of your One Night Of Passion, and maybe you don't know, but if you think work was tense right afterwards, imagine it after you break the news to the newly minted fiancee.

Do you think she won't tell him? (What good would the information do, in that case?) That she won't tell him who told her? (Pinky-swear all you like; she'll tell.) That after he finds out, your detente at work won't change? ('Cause men are chill like that.)

I am in general an advocate for more disclosure in this area – secrecy around sex generally benefits men at the expense of women – but you are not her close friend, and you are his co-worker. As tempting as it obviously is to get back at him, and as disappointing as keeping quiet may feel, in this circumstance, self-preservation suggests leaving them to whatever sort of marriage works for them, and continuing to keep your job manageable.

This is sort of an abstract question, but if you're from a family with a lot of divorce (dad divorced three times, mom once, stepmother three times), and you've never really seen up close what goes into a good marriage, what should you do if you want to learn more about what it's like? In high school I had friends whose parents seemed to have something really good going on, but it's been years since I've seen them. And now friends with seemingly nice marriages are getting divorced, etc. (I'm 30ish.) I guess I'm looking for, like ... a mentor marriage? Although now I'm envisioning breathily whispering "what's your secret" to strangers, which is also kind of horrible / false. I don't know. What's your secret?

I don't have much of a secret, maybe just this: one of the smartest people about relationships I've ever known once told me "No one is ever surprised about what ends it when it ends." When people talk about what drove them to a break-up or a divorce, and you ask "Well, did you know he was like that?" they'll usually say "Oh yeah, he was always like that."

Taking that advice, as I was getting serious about one of my girlfriends, I asked one of her friends what her worst features were. (Not so directly, but that was the question.) My girlfriend's friend proceeded to list her faults while I listened attentively, and then, when she realized what she was doing, she started some horrified backpedaling, trying to make my girlfriend sound like a Match.com profile instead.

The high-gloss description was useless, but when I heard all my girlfriend's faults (and her friend had nailed them perfectly), I thought "Those are her faults? I can live with that." (Which I did, and do; we've been happily married a decade and a half now and have two kids.)

So I guess I'd say this: enjoy the fireworks of early attraction, but make sure you don't confuse them with what makes  relationships last. Let yourself know the worst about your partner, and ask if that's something you can live with. Make it as easy as you can for him or her to do the same. Know that even happy marriages include unhappy times. And take heart in the fact that even asking this question may be more than your parents ever did.

What do I do about my boyfriend’s fear of marriage? We are in our late 20s, have been together almost four years. We have a house, dog, and cat. We are incredibly happy, and rarely disagree. We genuinely enjoy each others company.

The first time marriage came up was about three years ago. I became a (crazily) enthusiastic bride-to-be and well, he freaked out and we nearly broke up. My bad. Fast forward three years and we started talking marriage again (this time I kept all the crazy contained inside). Shock and awe, a few days after looking at rings and talking color pallettes, he freaked out again saying things like "although we are great together now, I just don't know if 50 years from now we will still be great together" and "I just don't know if I can marry you because your parents are divorced and I don't like broken homes."

I was (rightfully) insanely pissed that these things were just coming to light four years into the relationship. We had a long, long conversation about it and it basically boiled down to him being afraid to make a commitment because I am his first serious girlfriend and he has no point of reference for what a "healthy relationship" looks like. He said that he feels like a relationship that could lead to marriage shouldn't be so much work. I on the other hand, who have been in several long term relationships, feel that this is the easiest and most enjoyable relationship I have ever been in. I asked for specifics about what made the relationship hard on him, and his only point of contention was that I don't enjoy doing the dishes (really, that's it).

We decided to stay together and ever since then he has jumped right back into the "I want to be with you forever" schtick. So, now I just don't know what to do with him. I love him and want to marry him. I want to keep the life we have built together. But how do I get him to man up, be a big boy, stop playing house like 12-year-olds and make a real commitment?!

Read your note as if a friend of yours had written it to you. What would you hear in it?

You'd hear that your friend wants to pressure her guy, in his first long-term relationship, into marriage. You'd hear that said boyfriend doesn't want to marry your friend (and he doesn't, or he'd ask). You'd hear that some combination of inarticulateness and discomfort has him offering obviously false reasons for same. (I mean, the dishes? As a deflecting factor for marriage?)

But can you imagine that your friend is asking for her boyfriend's reasons, not to understand him better, but so she can talk him out of them? So she can replace his desires with hers? And can you imagine that her boyfriend may regard this not as a mutual exploration but a browbeating?

Notice, too, that in order to keep her desire to pressure him from seeming too obvious, your friend falls back on the old trope of 'commitment-phobia' (ladies, please), as if the commitment in question wasn't to someone, and as if that someone wasn't her. Re-read your note with whatever degree of distance you can manage, and then give yourself the advice you'd give your friend.

I (a guy) have been in a relationship with my girlfriend for almost three years. When we moved in, things began to falter — I don’t know exactly why, but something was just off. In March, I began talking to another woman who I have had a casual, long-distance friendship. It went from one direct message to almost constant communication via text, phone, gchat and email. A week later I was booking a flight to her city to see her and figure out if this intense quick connection would translate in person.

I told her that I was considering leaving my girlfriend and she was under the impression I actually was much further along in that decision process. I told my girlfriend I had a “business trip.” This was obviously cheating.

Upon returning home I decided I couldn't leave my girlfriend with good conscience unless I tried to repair what was off about our relationship. However, I also deeply care about the woman I had an affair with. If I was single I would relentlessly pursue a relationship with her.

In the past my girlfriend has made statements that she doesn't not want me to cheat (of course), but not to tell her if I do. I feel like my hands are tied — I cannot confess and try to repair my relationship without going against this request, but I don’t feel right keeping what I've done from her. The other woman told me she thinks the best option is for me to just leave them both alone and be single.

Do you think that my having this affair means my relationship is fundamentally broken and I should leave? Should I confess to my girlfriend before I know for sure whether I want to stay?

Wait, what? You lied to your girlfriend and booked a flight across the country to fuck someone else after a bit of hot txting? Then you let your new Special Friend think she already had a role you were actually just auditioning her for? You arranged all this in a week? And now, without making up your mind about whether your girlfriend is even worth the bother, you're thinking of telling her anyway, just to see how she takes it? Even when said girlfriend predicted just this scenario, and specifically asked not to be told??

Dude. Take the hint you're giving yourself and break up with your GF, but don't tell her you cheated. It sounds like things were off enough between you you can just tell her it's over; the additional blow of your recent lying and infidelity aren't needed and won't help. (Nota Bene: Don't try this if the two women are part of the same social circle; then just get it over with.)

Your newly minted former mistress and recent ex-friend is right: Time to go solo. Call this your rumspringa. But please, spare your GF the news about your "business trip." It wasn't about her.

And, for anyone who might see themselves in this scenario, especially in the role of New Love Interest, it bears repeating: if he cheats on the way in, he'll cheat on the way out.

It's pretty obvious advice, but it astonishes me how many women I know who heard him say "I never knew what love could be til I met you" (substitute sweet nothings to taste) and thought to themselves "He'll cheat on his significant other with me, because I'm so wonderful!" instead of just thinking "He'll cheat."

Yet these same women later seem gobsmacked that a guy who would break a promise to someone else in order to sleep with them will then break a promise to them in order to sleep with someone else. Who could have predicted such a thing!? To which the proper answer is: "Everyone but you."

Now I'm not saying no one should ever have sex with a guy in a relationship — girlfriends aren't wives for a reason, and I could never feature that 'blame the vixen' bullshit. Just don't assume that a relationship that starts with him breaking a vow elsewhere will exempt you from that behavior later. It might, of course — it's happened on occasion — but there's not a bookie in Vegas who would offer even odds on that outcome.

Previously: Baggage, "Bed Death," and Suspected Infidelity Triangles.

A Married Dude is one of several rotating Married Dudes who don't claim to know everything about marriage. Do you have a question for A Married Dude?

Photo by ARENA Creative, via Shutterstock



345 Comments / Post A Comment

EpWs

The "what would you say if it was your friend in this situation" advice is always, always good.
(Also, is this Ask A Guy Who Looks Like Idris Elba? He seems pretty great. Can we actually ask Idris Elba? Edith, can you swing that?)

Passion Fruit

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher Huh, I didn't find it all that helpful. Like, if I could get enough distance from the situation to give friendly advice to myself, then I would. But I can't. Which is why I'm asking an anonymous advice columnist.

EpWs

@Passion Fruit That's very fair--I think I was more thinking of it in a "I have a dilemma, what do to about it" personal way--if you're to the point where you're asking your neighborhood advice columnist, obviously it doesn't apply so much anymore. Good point, thank you.

redheaded&crazy

@Passion Fruit I thought the message was obscured a bit as well. But the way I read it is: LW wants to get married? Then girl, you need to get out of this relationship because this guy is stringing you along with the occasional hope that you might get what you want - but when push comes to shove, weak excuses are made. That's how I read it.

(maybe this message was more clear to other people and i'm just being repetitive though)

KatieBarTheDoor

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher Yeah, the "look from a friend's angle" was a bit useful, but I thought the rest of the reply was kind of snarky and not really helpful. So here's my two cents for the LW: You could ponder WHY you want to get married when everything is nice as it is, but what it really boils down to is: you DO want to get married. He doesn't, and that sucks, but you don't want to be with someone who needs to be forced into something like that. If something is that important to you, it's time to find someone else who will share your views, as hard as that may seem right now.

TheUnchosenOne

@redheaded&crazie That's exactly how I read it, too.

olivebee

@redheaded&crazie That's how I read her letter but not his advice. His advice sounded more, to me, like "stop bullying your boyfriend into marrying you because he doesn't want to. You just want to manipulate him into it." I don't want to offer my opinions on either the letter or the advice, because I think both the LW and the Married Dude are somewhat right and somewhat wrong, but that's just how I read it.

ETA: I completely agree with @KatieBarTheDoor.

redheaded&crazy

@olivebee Hmmm re-reading it I see your point that the focus is on the "pushy" LW. I suppose I think being pushy is useful to a certain extent .. if you reframe that sentiment as being assertive about what you want. I'm fully in favour of that.

But if the pushiness isn't getting you anywhere because dude has cold feet and in particular is being wishy washy about it ... time to cut the cord.

Also, I feel like my comments are coming off very flippantly and I do not mean them to be. :\

olivebee

@redheaded&crazie Yep, I totally agree with you. That's why I feel like Married Dude and some commenters are being overly hard on her. It's ok to want to know if someone is going to commit to you and want to know the reasons why not. It's how you make the decision to stay in the relationship or not. However, she does seem like she is more concerned with the wedding itself than the marriage to her boyfriend, IMO. I dunno...it's complicated, as always.

EpWs

@lora.bee I am personally offended that my Tumblr feed didn't let me know about this before now. FLAWLESS.

thebestjasmine

@olivebee The thing is, there's nothing wrong with her wanting to be married. There's nothing wrong with her wanting to be married to this guy! But he's been pretty clear that he doesn't want to be married to her. I think it's a natural instinct for her to try to convince him that that's what he does want, but it's not working, and probably not going to work (and if it does work, do you really want to be marrying someone who had to be lobbied to marry you?). She sounds really happy with him right now and like she doesn't want to mess up their lives, but if she's not going to be happy unless they are married, she needs to face that now, because he doesn't want to marry her.

Fiddle dee dee

@olivebee

If the person does not want to commit, the reason(s) why not are moot. And half the time if asked the answer will be a lie anyway (eg you don't like to do the dishes.)

fabel

@Passion Fruit yeah, I always think the "read this letter to yourself, but pretend it's a friend asking you" advice is kind of a cop out.

olivebee

@Fiddle dee dee That's a good point. I guess I just meant that it's ok to want to know the reasons why someone is staying in a [seemingly] happy relationship with you and leading you to believe everything is dandy, and then not wanting to commit for the long term. Or at least, I know I would want to know why someone was kind of leading me on. At the 4 year point, I'd be like "either break up or commit. We're not in the dating phase anymore."

@thebestjasmine Yeah, exactly. I feel the same way (especially regarding the natural instinct thing), which is why I thought that the advice given to her was a little harsh with all the mentions of browbeating and manipulation and stuff. The end result of the advice (and what you are saying, too), that maybe they should break it off because he Just. Doesn't. Want. To. and she wants commitment, is good advice.

Ophelia

@fabel In all honestly, though, I read this letter and thought, "But hasn't she seen When Harry Met Sally?"

TheclaAndTheSeals

@thebestjasmine This is a very sane and compassionate response to this situation. I may repeat it verbatim to a friend.

Linette

@thebestjasmine The thing is, everything about this scenario tells me more that this guy has problems with marriage than that he's not interested in being with her. He seems scared of the marriage, not the relationship.

I also don't understand why being commitment-phobic is somehow automatically a cliche now that we shouldn't use. Many people (dudes and ladies) are afraid of marriage and/or lifelong commitment for many reasons, and those are legit reasons. Maybe their parents were divorced and they don't want to suffer the same way their parents suffered. Maybe their parents have the awesomest marriage ever and they're scared of living up to it. Maybe a marriage ATE THEIR LITTLE BROTHER.

I don't know what this guy's thing is, but I think it's probably something he needs to figure out (maybe with some therapy) on his own, and that she's probably not going to be the one to convince him that Marriage is Cool, because presuming he's not an idiot, he's going to see she's got a dog in that fight.

thebestjasmine

@Linette Whether he has problems with marriage or he's not interested in being with her isn't the point. It all results in him not wanting to marry her. He seems totally fine in the relationship, as long as it doesn't change at all from how it currently is, but she isn't.

Marquise de Morville

@Linette I agree mostly, but on the other hand saying "I just don't know if I can marry you because your parents are divorced and I don't like broken homes." is kind of dick? It implies that he does not trust her based on her family background, something she cannot change, which sounds more like an excuse than a real fear.

thebestjasmine

@Marquise de Morville It's a terrible asshole thing to say to anyone. Kind of a dick doesn't even cut it. If he really meant it, then he has really poor judgment, if he didn't, he just jumps to the easy insult really quickly, either way, it seems that she should be cautious about a decision to share her life with this guy.

Linette

@Marquise de Morville I agree that in the way she put it, it is thoroughly dickish, but I was taking that with a grain of salt since it was a single out-of-context sentence, presumably paraphrased, and may be more how she feels about what he was trying to say than what he actually said. Like, if he'd said something like, "I worry because your parents are divorced and there's a lot of research that says children of divorcees are likely to get divorced too," then I think we'd all be okay with that. Not that he was necessarily that reasonable either, but people say stuff in fights that gets taken out of context, and this seemed like it could be that.

I'm not saying by any means that he's Captain Perfect here, because it sounds like he's not communicating what the real problem is or being particularly curious about his own resistance to the idea, I just thought that coming down hard on him as someone who clearly didn't want to be with her was a wee bit too harsh.

@thebestjasmine Yes, I think that's absolutely right. That's kind of where I went next with it (other comments, below). I was just responding to the feeling that he was automatically not a good dude for not wanting to meet her in Marriageland.

Marquise de Morville

@thebestjasmine You put it much better than I did. I think he likely is an asshole, and that sentence jumped out at me as being a terrible thing to say. It is almost enough by itself to break up. I did not phrase it as harshly, since it might it may not be an exact statement, as @Linette just explained. Being worried about marriage based on bad experiences is legit, but there are better ways of actually discussing it, instead of finding excuses. The guy does not sound like a keeper, especially all this "let's get married - not" stuff. Consistency is important if he wants to be taken seriously. I should add, I did not like the married dude's advice on this letter at all. If anything I thought that 'reading the letter as your friend' would have resulted in 'the guy is treating you without respect, avoid, do not marry' advice and definitely not 'it's your fault for pushing him into marrying you.' The letter writer is at least honest about her intent, while the guy does not seem to want to really deal with the situation that clearly makes her unhappy. This does not mean marry her, but at least try to have an honest discussion as to why not, or why not yet.

checkcheck

@lora.bee Holy fuck, Stringer sings???

Serena

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher - I hated his advice too.

Plus I was (am) in this exact situation, down to the silly reasons for not wanting to get married. OP - if you read this, find me. Seriously, I am further along in this process than you and would love to discuss. I didn't even know there were other people out there til my best friend said 'uh, did you write into the hairpin this week?'

I did leave his ass - joined the Peace Corps. He realized what he'd given up. We got back together when I came home 2 years later. STILL COULDN'T COMMIT. Over the course of the next year or so I realized I couldn't commit either. I also realized I didn't want to be married and that simply being together now was good. I made a decision to stop thinking about marriage and start thinking about how happy I was now, in the present. I think there was one key difference: we never lived together, never had a dog, def never bought a house. You're more entangled and have more to lose than I did. Current situation: He quit his job to move to Africa with me (where I am currently working). I guess we'll become more like you, since we'll now have to move in together. To me that is commitment - I don't need the white dress and expensive ceremony, but my 25 year old self totally did! But his 'reasons' still are fucking annoying and offensive, no getting around him being kind of an asshole. Anyway, a lot of the advice given to you, in both the comments and by The Married Dude, are completely oversimplified and useless, sorry. Good luck girl!

j-furr

this will probably sound kinda harsh, becasue yeah, I am in a longterm relationship with a man who probably wont pop the question for a while - but for what it's worth - I have probably gone to the opposite of pressure, and maybe this is old fashioned but - if the wedding is kinda a Bride show (at least by conventional definition) than the Proposal is the thing that should be fun for the guy .... Maybe the pressure is just spoiling that moment for the guy, and she just needs to be like " Babe, I love you but I know your not ready, I want this to be your choice, so suprize me but please don't take forver becuase that will make me sad".... worth a shot?

Megoon

Oh my lord, cheater dude, GET THE FUCK OUT.

Wants-to-get-married lady, break up with him. Sucks, but if he wants to marry you, he'll come crawling back, and you don't want to marry someone who only kind of wants (or doesn't really want) to marry you back.

EpWs

@Megoon "You don't want to marry someone who only kind of wants to marry you back."

OOOH GIRL, THIS

Emma Peel

@renegadeoboe Mmm. I'm not a big fan of ultimata in general, because I don't think people should have to be coerced into things like getting married, but I do think they clarify the thinking. (And I have given one, and followed through, and it was very useful to me.) And while of course there are long-term unmarried relationships that are better than many marriages, and marriage isn't a guarantee of anything, there are valid reasons to want to be married -- everything from family approval to tax benefits to kids, if you want to have them. So I guess I'd say in a case like that, if things are so great, why not get married?

Also, because this seems like a great place to add it in, I recently read that Obama was a big "Marriage is just a piece of paper" person and Michelle kept trying to get him to marry her. And she won. (I can't find the link anymore, argh)

Edited: And the comment I was replying to got deleted, so now I'm just hanging out down here. oh well!

RK Fire

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher: At the very least because it's such a pain in the ass to plan a wedding! I can't imagine trying to plan one with someone who you suspect is only halfheartedly into it.

smidge

@Megoon Yeah. Also, that line about how he didn't think a marriageable relationship would take so much work? What does he think happens AFTER you get married? Good relationships sort of inherently take work, I think.

Reginal T. Squirge

When I was a teenager in 1930s New York I got caught up with some Italian street toughs and ended up joining the ultimata. It was rough for a few years...

Reginal T. Squirge

And, hey, there's nothing like a nice MLU. A mutton, lettuce and ultimata sandwich, where the mutton is nice and lean and the ultimata is ripe. They're so perky, I love that.

WaityKatie

@Emma Peel Yeahhhh, but it doesn't seem like the boyfriend in the letter is a "marriage is just a piece of paper" guy, he sounds more like an "I am terrified of being married to you" guy. He wants to keep going as they are, and the girlfriend really wants to get married. I think that is an impasse. She needs to leave and find someone who wants to marry her. Full stop. If the guy realizes after she leaves that he can't live without her, etc., he can come back and propose, but constantly haranguing the guy to get married just isn't going to work out, I'm guessing.

Emma Peel

@WaityKatie Yeah, the comment I was responding to (which vanished) was a "marriage is just a piece of paper" comment, so that makes no sense anymore at all.

i make lists

@smidge Yup, that comment in particular made me think that he's not really ready for marriage. It sounds like he's committed to her (they have a house and pets together, after all), but if he thinks relationships shouldn't be "so much work" then I don't imagine he'll suddenly think that their relationship is easy and change his mind about marrying the LW.

tootsky

@i make lists - What stuck out to me was that this was his first serious relationship; naturally he's thinking about all the women he'll never date if he marries this girl. Bad luck for her.

RK Fire

@tootsky: The thing is, it doesn't have to be this way. I was my husband's first serious relationship, and while he'll admit now that early on he wasn't absolutely sure he was going to spend our lives together, forever, he was never hung up on this idea of missing out on another woman. We started dating when I was 20 and he was 21 too, so he could've easily felt that way and broke up with me early on for all sorts of potentially juiceboxy reasons.

redheaded&crazy

I respect the other woman in letter 4 for telling it like it is.

MissMushkila

@redheaded&crazie Yes, she seems like a very together lady, and rightfully pissed that he seems to have misled her about his availability. I don't know why after learning what she had to say the guy is still like "but should I leave my girlfriend for the lady I cheated with?"

Dude, the lady who you cheated with is not going to have you. His even thinking about "relentlessly pursuing her" shows a profound lack of respect.

insouciantlover

@redheaded&crazie Word. There was a situation I was in years ago in which I wish her words had fallen out of my mouth. I want to buy her a drink.

Megasus

@redheaded&crazie She is seriously awesome. LW4 however, is a massive douche and does not deserve any ladies for a while.

Better to Eat You With

@MissMushkila Yeah, the "relentlessly" in that sentence made me want to run for the hills, and I don't have any idea who these people are, even.

aproprose

Cheaters cheat. That's all there is to it.

disco_clone

Why do they keep being described as 'newly minted'? Did I miss the bit about the lottery wins or super promotions? Genuinely confused!

gabba gabba hey

@disco_clone The phrase "newly minted" doesn't have to do with the money part of mints, it has to do with the creating new things part of mints: http://dictionary.reverso.net/english-cobuild/minted

disco_clone

@gabba gabba hey ah, in English-English "minted" means rich, innit

parallel-lines

NOT TODAY WITH THIS "DESERVES TO KNOW" BUSINESS! I can't!

Are you emotional Robin Hood righting the wrongs of the land? Taking back the power from cheaters and giving it to the fair maidens?

When in doubt: mind your own beeswax.

aproprose

@parallel-lines I was going to say something similar, but you already did the best job.

Why are some people so inclined to be shit-stirrers?

datalass

@parallel-lines Emotional Robin Hood = the best way to characterize this that I've ever heard.

Blushingflwr

@aproprose I think mostly they just want to confess and get the burden off.
In which case, find a priest or write PostSecret, don't screw up someone else's life just so you can sleep better.

Inkling

@parallel-lines
I would tell someone, not to be a shit-stirrer, but because I would REALLY REALLY want someone to stop me from wasting one minute of life liking someone who cheated on me. I want to shut down that like ASAP if it is undeserved.
Oh also if they were kind of rapey about it. I would like to know that, sorry, literally yesterday.

paddlepickle

@parallel-lines Man, I dunno. I think I would want to be told in a situation like that. If you have incontrovertible evidence that someone is a cheater (because they cheated with you), it makes sense that you would at least be worried about the issue of whether you should tell. I don't think she should tell in this case, or even in most cases, but I don't get why some people interpret the very idea of it as being selfish or busy-body-ey. The guilt of having helped a cheater plus the worry of letting an innocent person get into a shitty situation is pretty legit, IMO.

parallel-lines

@paddlepickle Yeah but that's you. You have no way of knowing if this woman wants to know that--basically you're dumping it on her and fleeing the scene of the crime. And she isn't the one who cheated (if he cheated--no one knows for sure)--how is it her call of duty to ruin their happiness?

Furthermore--there really isn't enough evidence to know if he cheated. Maybe they we on a break. Maybe things weren't serious, or it was an open relationship. Who really knows but the two of them. Other people's relationships are never any of your business. Better to butt out and learn good lessons by not repeating the act again.

paddlepickle

@parallel-lines In this situation I agreed that she shouldn't tell him. But I don't understand the knee-jerk judginess of people who are pondering the question, because it's a legitimate and difficult one. Other people's relationships aren't your business, but when you sleep with someone in a monogamous relationship you've already butted into their business, and finding the right way to navigate the situation afterwards is difficult. What if the person who got cheated on was a friend of yours, and you knew that they were monogamous and that she would want to know if he cheated? Would you still say "butt out" then?

bluewindgirl

@Inkling Yeah, I'm the kind of person who generally knows What is Going On, but manage to delude myself into thinking that things are/could be possibly different. Having your instincts vindicated feels freeing to me.

eva luna

@Inkling

I would want to know too. I'd be devastated to find out my SO had cheated on me, but I'd much rather know and end things than have a) a relationship built on lies and b) be having (possibly) unprotected sex with someone who has been having sex with someone else.

Also I am glad you brought up the coercion aspect of this. It sounds like rape to me, as she was probably too drunk to consent. I think A Married Dude should have addressed that issue.

Titania

@parallel-lines Ah I think the key thing here was the "because this isn't going to be a one-off, right?" No dear. This WAS probably a one-off, and you don't want to believe you were that inconsequential to such an obviously shitty guy, so you would like his relationship to end and make him available. Step. Off. Stay away from the fiancee. And examine your motives.

Slutface

@Titania I agree. And in this situation where she really knows absolutely nothing about the couple, she would be telling the girlfriend to relieve her own guilt not out of kindness or anything of the sort.

LWone

@Titania Wow.

I do know a few things about their relationship - it's not a huge workplace, I've socialized with them as a couple a number of times. They've been together for years, and are outwardly monogamous, and were at the time. Of course I don't know what's going on behind the scenes, but the safest assumption is that she does not think or know he is sleeping around.

I don't want to make him available, and this comment was deeply insulting and hurtful. I know what happened was inconsequential to him. I meant that I don't think I'm the first or last inconsequential drunk piece on the side. If I thought that, I would not be struggling with this dilemma. A mistake is a mistake, but someone with a pattern of cheating is different.

And, in fact, this Friday he showed his colours again. A bunch of work people went out to celebrate someone's success. I left early, as I always do now, before things get rowdy. After I left he started aggressively hitting on a friend of our co-worker. It's not a one-off, he'll keep doing this, and she's going to marry him without knowing.

Thanks for assuming the worst of me. I appreciate the position that people should mind their own business, but I believe that we have moral responsibilities to others. I have kept this close to the chest for a year. I don't want an easy way to assuage my guilt. I know I did something really shitty and low. I wish I hadn't. If keeping my mouth shut is the kind and right thing to do, I will continue to do so. I just wasn't sure it was, and wasn't sure I could get a real handle on the answer because of my own interests in the situation. My letter was an effort to get some outside perspective on what my responsibilities are.

paddlepickle

@LWone For what it's worth, I think the aggressive comments here were way out of line. It sounds like you are simply struggling to figure out the right thing to do in a very difficult situation- and it was pretty obvious to me that you have no interest in making him 'available'.

Myrtle

@LWone I wonder if the responses weren't b/c people were indignant at reading of this situation? The guy in this story is so disrespectful of the women he's involved with, his stated commitments to his employer and his girlfriend, his co-workers- what male is going to be comfortable having their female friends or spouses around this guy? That's why these become HR matters, which wasn't talked about here but should have been. Deliberately getting a co-worker drunk and putting his hand up her dress? No company wants this disaster onboard. My two cents is that is where your responsibility lies. Also, good call on "leaving when it gets rowdy" at these parties. This is your career and professional reputation.

manshan

@Titania Why are you being so incredibly mean and presumptuous about this? I feel sorry for your presumption that the only motivations that could possibly exist are selfish ones. It sounds like this woman was taken advantage of by her boss, not that she had a fondly remembered affair with someone she wants to continue seeing romantically. How nice of you to decide that now's the right moment to polish that chip on your shoulder. Were I in the fiancee's shoes in this case, I would ABSOLUTELY want to know that the man I'm about to marry is comfortable being so sexually aggressive in inappropriate situations.

manshan

@LWone My heart goes out to you. I think you're in a valid moral dilemma caused by an ugly incident, and the amount of hatred weight getting thrown at you in this thread is quite troubling. I think the Dude's advice is good, but I think it's completely unfair that people are criticizing you for wanting to speak up. As I said above, I would want to know if my future husband was the kind of guy who'd so aggressively pursue a subordinate, only to finally meet his goal with the help of alcohol-aided coercion. I mean this in the least condescending way possible: you may want to talk to a professional about what happened, if you haven't already. I do believe that your desire to tell her does come from a moral place, but it may also be coming from a place of wanting to examine and talk candidly about what happened.

Killer Kitties

Wants-to-get-married lady: He's not even giving you mixed signals or saying he's "not ready", he's just saying "no". Run.

Also, who "enjoys" doing the dishes?

Reginal T. Squirge

I actually made a new friend recently that honestly enjoys doing the dishes. She came over once and cleaned them after we ate. It was kind of awesome!

redheaded&crazy

@Reginal T. Squirge I enjoy doing the dishes too! I don't like cooking. I feel like this places me squarely in a "boring person cooking is so much more IMAGINATIVE" category (at least that's how I read the looks I get when I say this) but like, you'd think people would appreciate it! right?!

if people cook for me I will do the dishes for them. ideal relationship right there.

meetapossum

@redheaded&crazie Are you me? I will do All the Dishes forever if it means I don't have to cook again.

Inkling

@redheaded&crazie
Water chores are the BEST. However, it's no one's obligation to enjoy them.

Emma Peel

@redheaded&crazie I don't like doing the dishes, but I dislike even more fighting over the dishes/waiting for other people to do them when they probably never will/LISTENING TO OTHER PEOPLE FIGHT OVER DISHES (the worst), so I've been known to do friends' dishes just because.

Plus, if you cook for me/have you over, I feel crushing guilt unless I do something in return!

beanie

@redheaded&crazie I have that setup and it's golden. Also, I have a dishwasher so all I have to do is lightly rinse and then throw it in. I don't know if that is actually "enjoying" doing the dishes..

Mariajoseh

@redheaded&crazie yeah, i'm like that too! I hate cooking and I really don't mind the dishes. I do them happily if someone else cooked.

Ophelia

@redheaded&crazie @meetapossum Good lord, come to my house. I'll cook for you all day if you do the dishes.

i make lists

@redheaded&crazie My boyfriend's worst comeback ever after I asked him to do the dishes: "But you cooked, so you dirtied them!"

No. Do the damn dishes.

meetapossum

@Ophelia Yes, please!

Roaring Girl

@Ophelia I would also like to adopt one of these dish-lovers--are there forms to fill out? Do I have to establish residency?

redheaded&crazy

@Roaring Girl i am free to any good home where yummy things are routinely on the menu

Carrie Ann

@i make lists Oh Lord. My husband tries to pull that one sometimes when I bake. Yes, if I'm baking something to bring to work or whatever, then the dishes aren't "his job." But if I spend an hour making dinner or baking cookies, while he surfs the internet and watches Top Gear? And then he eats that dinner or the cookies? Then the dishes are his job, and I get that time to surf the web and watch my stories.

laurel

@redheaded&crazie and your dishes-for-food-doing ilk: Marry me.

isitisabel

@Emma Peel YES to all of this. I don't like doing the dishes, but I don't really mind, so I will do dishes all day long if it gets me a clean kitchen. I value that over petty, passive-aggressive fighting over whose dishes are in the sink any day.

PistolPackinMama

@redheaded&crazie Haaaaaayyyy girl! I love making yummy things.

redheaded&crazy

@PistolPackinMama I WILL JUST TRAVEL THE COUNTRY HAVING YUMMY THINGS MADE FOR ME AND DOING DISHES IN RETURN.

new life plan. riiiight here.

j-furr

@Killer Kitties I do not enjoy doing the dishes but i LOOOVVVVEE to cook, My sweet boyfriend does the dishes most of the time, which I assume he thinks is fair compensation for getting fed yummy things constantly, he says that he would be happy if the next place we lived had a dishwasher, but he has never once complained about my not doing them, cause its a fair deal for grilled bison, cherry clafoutis and eggs benedict on a regular basis, all of this goes generally unspoken. Sometimes it really is those little practical things that make or break a relationship when you live with someone, it sounds flippant but it really could be a deal breaker if you both want to cook but neither of you wants to do the dishes... And Carrie Ann - yeah, if he doesnt eat i do this dishes, goes without saying

NorieY

Is anyone else uncomfortable with LW1's "After he bought me many, many shots..." So - to sum up, a guy was pursuing you, you said no, and then later he got you drunk so you'd "let him put his hand up your skirt and take you home". "Huge mistake" is not the appropriate labeling of this...

area@twitter

@NorieY Yeah, that pinged hard for me too.

anachronistique

@NorieY Yeeeeeeeeeah. I don't want to force a label on the event that the LW isn't comfortable using, but holy shit, more red flags than the time the Matadors' Union and the Semaphore Enthusiasts Convention booked the same hotel.

TheUnchosenOne

@NorieY Definitely set off some alarms in my head.

adorable-eggplant

@NorieY I think it's fair for the LW to label his/her experiences how he/she wants to in this case. It reads shady to me too, but then I've only got a few sentences of context to judge by, whereas LW has far more to go on and knows his/her own motivations much better.

NorieY

@adorable-eggplant For sure - there's only so much you can know from a little letter. I just wanted to point out that, as written, is raises some questions.

LWone

@NorieY LW1 here. Yup, I know. I know I know I know I know I know.

It's horrible. Maybe I've put all my horrible feelings into guilt instead of anger because it's easier. What isn't said in the letter, which I provide for nothing but context (i.e. not excuses), is that I'm in an incredibly intense, competitive, hierarchical, male-dominated field that I went to school for a very long time for and feel very ambitious about. This event happened at the beginning of a one year professional training program after which I was not guaranteed a job. I am now done and have a permanent position.

I'm not going to call it rape, but I'm going to call it sexual harassment. At the time I felt so incredibly alone and scared that I was 100% unwilling to do anything about it. Now... I don't know. I think my desire to tell his girlfriend be a sublimated desire to address this in some way. He gets to walk away, no consequences, while I died inside for months. I know I shouldn't punish her for that.

But also - seriously, and I get the "shit-stirrer" comments above, but would you REALLY not want to know if you were about the marry someone like this? His public persona is that of the nicest guy in the world - coaches our beer league softball team, Mr. Affable, etc. I haven't done anything for a variety of reasons, but I have this idea that I would want someone to give me the chance to not join my life to a person who is this disgusting and hides it so well.

Emma Peel

@LWone I would want to know, yes. But I would not want to hear from a complete stranger (or even passing acquaintance). I am guessing you are not the only one. He sounds like a class-A asshole. I am sure he does this frequently. Which means: either she has already heard and is choosing not to believe it, because he's perfect on the surface, or it will come out sooner or later, and either way you are not the right person to tell her. Someone who seems to be Mr. Affable is going to react with "Who are you going to believe -- me, or your lying eyes?" And she will believe him, because she wants to.

I understand the impulse, but there is no good to be found for you getting mixed up in this. That said, I'm so sorry this happened to you; it sounds like a terrible situation.

adorable-eggplant

@LWone Thanks for the context! I think it clarifies for me a bit of why you want to tell the fiance, because it would be good for his behavior to have consequences. But maybe that's not the most direct avenue?

Here are some thoughts: is it possible to file an anonymous complaint? Does your workplace have a hotline that could guarantee you protection from retaliation? If the answer is no, what about channeling the urge to protect someone (which really is very noble and commendable, but could cause all sorts of problems, if you reach out to the fiance and she reacts with anger) into mentoring an up-and-coming young woman in your field?

You sound like a very awesome person who went through something really terrible.

PatatasBravas

@LWone You know, I think if I were the lady engaged to this dude, I'd want to know if it came from a trusted source like a close friend who knew both of us well. From his coworker, I don't think I'd take it well, and I'd certainly talk to the dude about it, and I'd be inclined to take his side because I trust him more.

So while there could be a case for giving her all the information, I don't think it's your job to tell her. It's your job to protect yourself, your career, and your awesome ambitions!

Also, while this is the last note of this comment, it's not the least important part: what happened is not your fault. It's not okay. You didn't earn it or deserve it or anything like that, and I'm so sorry that it happened to you.

Rock on with your awesome self, and ALL OF THE BEST LUCK on your career!

thebestjasmine

@LWone Oh god, that sucks so so much. I am so sorry that that happened to you, I really am. But telling his fiance isn't going to help -- it's just going to hurt you, because everyone will find out that you slept with him, and she's probably not going to believe you (she'll frame it as you tried to sleep with him and failed or something).

anachronistique

@LWone I am really, really sorry that he did this to you, and I hope - all other stuff aside - you have someone you trust to talk to about it.

NorieY

@LWone I'm so sorry that this happened to you - it is not something anyone should have to go through.

alannaofdoom

@LWone - Chiming in with the above - it's important to remember that a coworker is not a friend, and you're not responsible for your coworkers' relationships. Forgive yourself for what happened and stay out of it.

Re the situation at work, your letter says you are "collegial" and makes it seem like the incident is not affecting the work environment. If that's true, I think you can probably let it be bygones. If there is still tension or a hostile environment, or if you see similar behavior with other young women, please consider going to HR (if you feel safe/comfortable doing so).

Passion Fruit

@LWone I am also so sorry this happened to you. He is a true asshole.

My advice would be to 1) cut him (and his fiancee) out of your life as much as possible, and 2) see a good therapist to understand and process what happened. Both way easier said than done, I know. Good luck with everything; you are strong and determined, and you can move past this.

Inkling

@Passion Fruit
1) cut him ... and 2) see a good therapist.

LWone

Hey all. Thanks for this.

Your advice is all excellent, and I think I've known all along that the answer is "do nothing" but I was worried it is cowardly and weak and selfish.

Also I want you to know that your encouraging words made me burst into tears at my stupid fancy desk. I've felt like a piece of shit for so long - slutty, and cowardly, and weak - and tried to talk myself out of it with limited success. It's nice to have some gentleness.

insouciantlover

@LWone You deserve some gentleness, lady. Try to treat yourself with some, really truly.

LWone

@adorable-eggplant

Also - a few months ago I made a general, non-specific complaint about sexual harassment to my highest boss. He immediately organized a mandatory workplace harassment seminar, which turned out to be a total joke. The message felt loud and clear - the company is concerned about liability and not with on-the-ground experiences. I think that's as far as I can go without bringing on the shitstorm, and I don't want that.

I'm trying to take care of the women coming up behind me. Does anyone have any helpful thoughts about how to help them either avoid similar experiences or deal with them more constructively? I felt so alone. I vividly remember, after this guy made public and obvious advances to me at an earlier party (the rebuffed advances), how the young men who had witnessed kept telling me how drunk he had been and how he didn't remember, with the subtext being "not his fault, leave it alone, don't rock the boat."

Judith Slutler

@LWone You went through such a difficult thing, and it must be so hard to handle it with grace and protect your job. I'm sorry. You shouldn't have to deal with this.

As far as helping the younger women around you - Travel. In. Packs. At any time that it is possible.

Megasus

@LWone Oh my God, such a tough situation. Because you can't like, out and out get all the ladies in the company together and be like, "So I wouldn't recommend being alone or accepting alcohol from these people", but maybe you could just like, sort of start some kind of mentorship program for women within the company, and hope that they will come to trust you enough that they will tell you if something like this happens again so you can do something about it?

Ophelia

@Emmanuelle Cunt Travel in packs, and wherever possible, be the person who helps them out - a few specific ways might be: review something for them, offer to have coffee some afternoon, provide concrete and useful (and, if warranted, positive) feedback if your company does any sort of 360 review process, help them network and share your contacts with people who show promise.

Also, it sounds like you've had a really rough year. Maybe take this weekend to focus on the stuff you really like about yourself/things that make you happy? Take the weekend OFF, don't think about work at all, and give yourself a little room to breathe. You have the Power of the Internet cheering you on :)

saul "the bear" berenson

@LWone I just want to chime in here as a voice in the camp of Speaking Truth to Power. There are so many good points raised about protecting yourself in your job, and I'm mostly playing devil's advocate here... but I feel like it needs to be said that what happened between you and this man belongs to you just as much as it does to him. And if you decide that what your soul needs is to speak the truth about it and let people know who this guy really is, then it's your right.

The choice to prioritize career over this complicated desire for truth-speaking is rational and makes sense, and that might be the right move. Or, maybe pragmatism isn't what you need most here. Is there a way for you to leave this job? Or a way to ascertain that your job will be safe should you elect to tell on this guy?

A good therapist can definitely help you sort this out - and "flying solo" without a therapist's help on this might be too risky. But I think you're asking the question for deep, complicated reasons that are about so much more than moral duties. If you were my friend, I'd probably encourage you to find a way through this that doesn't involve the high drama of telling the guy's fiance, because it just makes you so vulnerable. But if that's what you ultimately needed to do, I think it might be very understandable - and he does not deserve your silence, nor your protection.

eva luna

@LWone

Not that it's any of my business, but may I ask why you don't want to call it rape? Because it sounds like rape, or assault (I can't speak in legal terms here, but I mean in terms of personal trauma). He sounds horrible and it must be incredibly difficult to still have to see the guy.

If I were her, I'd want to know because I certainly wouldn't want to marry a rapist, but then, I'm not her.

I wish you well and hope that you can heal from this. Not that one ever gets over assault, at least I never have.

hummingbird

@LWone I just wanted to jump in and reiterate that what happened to you is awful, and I'm so, so sorry it happened. I'm additionally sorry you have to continue to work in this environment.

Could i echo the suggestion of finding a therapist to talk about this with? You might find it really helpful to have a nonjudgmental person to bounce your thoughts off of and talk through the intricacies of this with. You really deserve some support in this, and you DEFINITELY don't deserve to feel like a piece of shit, because you're not. Therapy can be intimidating, but once you find the right therapist to work with everything is worth it. If you're looking for someone, don't be afraid to shop around until you feel like you've clicked with someone.

Wishing you all the best in the world.

PatatasBravas

@LWone After checking back in on this thread my first impulse was to chirp out DON'T CRYYYYYY I WILL BAKE YOU CAKES AND YOU WILL SUCCEED IN BUSINESS AND IN LIFE, THE HAIRPIN WILL MAKE IT SO!!!!!

But in more helpful things: running in packs is a great strategy for other women entering this business situation. If you have the energy and enthusiasm for it, offer yourself as a mentor to incoming women -- chat about work related things, share your lunch break talking about your experiences in the field, and generally be available for looking at resumes and talking over different career directions for the newbies. That way, they'll know that they have a person they can go to for all work-related advice, and be more comfortable having a mentor in the field who is sympathetic to the nuances of what could be another instance of workplace sexual harassment or assault. Position yourself as a resource -- but only if you want to/have the time/have the capacity to do it. It's not supposed to be a burden to you!

I also think, before parties and social events where he's going to be drinking, it may be helpful to give a heads-up to the other women in attendance. "He's often inappropriate when drinking heavily, and you should be ready to firmly and clearly rebuff anything that makes you uncomfortable. Find me or another employee if you want backup!"

I vividly remember, after this guy made public and obvious advances to me at an earlier party (the rebuffed advances), how the young men who had witnessed kept telling me how drunk he had been and how he didn't remember, with the subtext being "not his fault, leave it alone, don't rock the boat."

THIS FILLS ME WITH RAAAAAAAAAAGE. I cannot even. It may be helpful to pull other male employees that you're friendly with aside for a casual lunch setting and LAY IT ON THE LINE that this behavior is unacceptable and constitutes either harassment or assault, and get them on your side, one by one, and make it very clear that should this sort of thing happen again, this jerkfaceassholedouchecanoe should be publicly reprimanded and shunned outside of mandatory interactions.

Let me know how many hugs and cakes you want, because I have all of them at the ready!

PatatasBravas

@PatatasBravas Oh man, sorry for the cake rant.

Maybe a positive thing to come out of this would be to make a "Women in ______ Field" working group? You and other ladies in your place of employment and other ladies in that field at other firms/businesses could start an every-other-Tuesday happy hour or brunch, and chat about the peculiarities of being business ladies, and become friends and contacts and resources for each other.

TARDIStime

@PatatasBravas
Au Contraire - her experience is VERY cake worthy.
The channeling of this into a mentorship role is very good advice.

RE: other guys making excuses for his behaviour: Next time, just kick him in the balls. Then when they make a big deal, just say "I was so drunk, I don't remember!"
Jks, only do that in your mind to make you feel better coz that shit could get you charged for assault.

PS": Can I just say that it's so sad that our solution is "travel in packs and avoid the drunken idiots"? Like it's the woman's responsibility to avoid assault, rather than the onus being placed on the men in the workplace to not assault female employees?
Not saying it's a bad solution (VERY effective and has worked in my network of females in the office where this is also prevalent) It's just sad that the men in your office are not having to change their behaviour or face consequences, LW1. I feel you.

LWone

Thanks again for this you guys. It has been so great to get some perspective.

A little update. On Friday night we had a work social event. I left early (as I always do now, how fun for me), but I got a report from a friend at work. Dude's fiancee was out of town, which he loudly announced to everyone, before aggressively hitting on and following around a friend of a co-worker all night.

I think I've decided to talk to him directly. His relationship is none of my business, but the way he made me feel at work is. I'm going to tell him that what happened made me miserable for months, I consider it workplace sexual harassment, and if I ever see him do anything similar to any other woman at work I will come forward to management. Furthermore, he needs to know that even if he does something like this out of my line of sight, it will eventually catch up with him, and could ruin his career.

I'm pretty pleased with this plan of attack.

saul "the bear" berenson

@LWone Maybe it would be a good idea to fill in a trusted co-worker, via email, on your plan to speak to him before you do it. Hopefully he will respond appropriately to this conversation, but if not, email correspondence will ensure that your side of the story is on record. It would be good to have some insurance should you ever need to bring this to the attention of the folks at HR.

Sending you good vibes and strength for this conversation. Just say what you have to say - he may not react with the words or actions you'd like, but it doesn't mean he isn't hearing you.

angelene

@eva luna Perhaps she did consent? Not wishing to belittle the trauma, but giving consent and later regretting it is not quite the same as being raped. However, neither does she mention him seeking consent, just 'aggressively hitting on' her, so I can see why alarm bells are ringing. He doesn't sound like a pleasant or respectful guy; he sounds predatory, and the workplace doesn't sound very supportive. nt.

LW: GOOD PLAN. However, I agree with Moxie; let your friend know your plans and perhaps you could team up with the other colleague he was hitting on? Strength in numbers. Good luck – his behaviour certainly does count as harrassment and he needs to be challenged about it.

Megasus

@angelene He definitely erm, "massaged" the situation by pumping her full of shots so she would come home with him. It might not be rape, but it is definitely really creepy.

angelene

@angelene Also, yes the response of his male colleagues was CRAP and they should be challenged on that. It always astounds me how often the response is 'don't rock the boat'. A student at my uni suffered an attempted rape by another student and went to the university authorities, not one of whom mentioned calling the police, they just tried to deal with it 'in house' and didn't trust her word over his so his punishment was effectively the equivalent of being called to the headmaster's office and being asked "did you do a bad thing?". Great to know they have their students' safety at heart *sarcastic thumbs-up*

angelene

@Megano! Oh yeah, not arguing with that! Creepy to the max, not acceptable. I'm just not sure if it would fit the legal definition of rape - best not to just assume that.

Megasus

@angelene For me, and I think most people, that is only one step away from it.

angelene

@Megano! Agreed, I'd be automatically suspicious of guys who think this is acceptable because it's so clearly manipulative – I didn't mean to imply otherwise, I just felt it was too presumptious to bandy the word 'rape' about, as she would have to either not have given consent, or be too drunk to consent (both these things are possible, but we can't just assume that's what happened). I would agree though that the kind of mindset displayed in pursuing a girl after she's already rejected you and then trying to subvert this rejection by getting her drunk, does display a lack of respect quite close to rape, and it is a horrible thing to do. This is why it would be good if the women in the office are able to support each other – and hopefully get across to their male colleagues how unacceptable it is, too – because if there is an office culture where this behaviour towards his female colleagues is seen as permissible, that is quite a dangerous precedent.

Heat Signature

This Married Guy is very no-nonsense. I like that! We need more of his kind in this world.

fondue with cheddar

@Heat Signature He's also quite the looker! (I know the picture is not of Actual Married Dude, but I like looking at it.)

Beatrix Kiddo

@Heat Signature He's no-nonsense, and I agreed with most of his advice, but did you think he came off as a bit...flippant?

okaycrochet

@Heat Signature He also didn't make any of these issues seem funny. Sometimes I feel a leeetle like the "Ask A" advisors are showy for the rest of us, but this was 100% talking to a person who has asked for help. This? Whew:
"I am in general an advocate for more disclosure in this area – secrecy around sex generally benefits men at the expense of women – but you are not her close friend, and you are his co-worker. As tempting as it obviously is to get back at him, and as disappointing as keeping quiet may feel, in this circumstance, self-preservation suggests leaving them to whatever sort of marriage works for them, and continuing to keep your job manageable."
That is heavy and sensible stuff. Nice.

Emma Peel

@Beatrix Kiddo I don't think flippant so much as sometimes there is a Right Answer, because people are Full Of Shit, and sometimes it just needs to be SAID rather than talked around.

Heat Signature

@Emma Peel My thoughts exactly.

fondue with cheddar

Let yourself know the worst about your partner, and ask if that's something you can live with. Make it as easy as you can for him or her to do the same.

This is such great advice. My boyfriend and I told each other about our worst, and we both still wanted to be together. It actually brought us closer. Knowing that someone loves and accepts you and your faults/misdeeds/whatever is a powerful thing.

nyikint

Oh my, these letters just freak me out that all men are awful.

fondue with cheddar

@nyikint Well, nobody asks a Married Dude why their relationship is so awesome and what to do about it.

laurel

@nyikint: Seems to me some women aren't so great either.

redheaded&crazy

@laurel advice columns often make me feel that we're all just doomed to lovelessness on this god forsaken planet.

so cheery for a friday!

fondue with cheddar

@redheaded&crazie They often (but not always) make me feel superior because I see what the person(s) involved is doing wrong and I know better.

Unfortunately, nobody wants to read about people gushing about how wonderful and perfect their relationships are.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@jen325 Everything is beautiful and nothing hurts! What do I do?

nyikint

@jen325 I remember some commentators had the cutest series of comments pretending to write into the advice columns with their 'problems' about like, what to do when their boyfriend snuggles their cat too much.

I really think we need those questions interspersed within all advice columns FOR SANITY'S SAKE!

EpWs

@jen325 Can we do another round of Ask A _______ About Non-Problems?

"Dear A Married Dude,
My boyfriend and I disagree over the correct type of cheese to put in our scrambled eggs. I much prefer the Jack type cheeses, and he is an indiscriminate cheeser who will use things like sharp cheddar--which I love, don't get me wrong, but not on my eggs. How can we find a happy cheese medium?"

fondue with cheddar

@nyikint @The Everpresent Wordsnatcher @PatatasBravas I LOVE ALL OF THIS

narwhalsandwich

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher my boyfriend doesn't like beans. I must know what to do about this!!!

Ophelia

@narwhalsandwich OMG, my husband doesn't either. Or lentils. What do I doooooo?

narwhalsandwich

@Ophelia I don't know! but I don't want this lack of fiber to ruin our relationship!

Judith Slutler

@narwhalsandwich When I read "I don't want this lack of fiber to ruin our relationship" my mind immediately goes to "awkward anal experimentation"

narwhalsandwich

@Emmanuelle Cunt bwahaha

dj pomegranate

@nyikint That comment thread was the best!

Dear A Married Dude,
I like to sleep in on Saturdays, but my boyfriend makes a lot of noise when he makes me breakfast in bed, and sometimes it wakes me up. I really appreciate the gesture, and he makes really good waffles, but I would rather he shut the door so I don't have to hear the cappuccino maker. Is there a way of asking him to do this that doesn't sound ungrateful?

Spice&Snails&PuppyDogTails

@nyikint They did on Captain Awkward yesterday! It was delightful.

PatatasBravas

@dj pomegranate

Dear A Married Dude,

My boyfriend doesn't watch Parks and Recreation and isn't really interested in picking it up -- which is okay, I talk about it with friends -- but the true crisis is that he doesn't get my jokes.

When I yell DANCE UP ON ME, JEAN-RALPHIO while doing the dishes, I expect dancing, not confusion! How can I solve this?

narwhalsandwich

@PatatasBravas this is a real problem. he doesn't dance up on you like jean-ralphio? dealbreaker.

Emma Peel

Marriagephobia lady, it may be that he doesn't ever want to get married, it might be that he doesn't want to get married to you, and at this point I'm not sure that it really matters because you clearly want different things.

I understand backing off a bit if you were still in your early- to mid-20s and had only been dating a year. But if the three (presumably good) years that passed after his first freak-out didn't change things, how many do you think it will take? Don't stay in a relationship where you're not getting what you want because you expect time to make a difference.

Linette

@Emma Peel This is much more what I would have wanted Dude to say to that lady. It seemed like he was being overly shame-y about a situation that didn't seem to require it (to me). She just wanted to get married to this guy she's been with for four years! It's okay that her guy didn't want to, it's equally okay that she wants to, and while it's clearly not a good match, I don't really see that there's a bad guy in that scenario.

And it's always super-hard to acknowledge that while you are perfect in every other way, you simply can't make a relationship work when one of you really needs one thing in their life, and the other needs the exact opposite. Not easy to recognize, because come on, we're so good together!

JessicaLovejoy

If only the "GTF away from the both of us" lady could meet Ms. Browbeat Into Marriage McStereotype.

I hope they'd have an ~*instant connection~* too.

JadedStone

You know, I never liked 'ask a married dude' for a long while. But lately? LOVE YOU MARRIED DUDE.

Is it just me or did LW1 and LW4 already screw the pooch on this? Why you hand wringing NOW?

pekoe

This A Married Dude is REALLY GOOD.

applestoapples

"But how do I get him to man up, be a big boy, stop playing house like 12-year-olds and make a real commitment?!"
You don't. He does that himself. If he doesn't want to, part ways.

ETA: Don't use "man up" and "big boy." Those are annoying.

laurel

@applestoapples: I cannot imagine why he's not eager to legally bind himself to LW.

Killer Kitties

@applestoapples Carolyn Hax, aka one of my fav advice columnists ever, always says "you can't GET anyone to do ANYTHING". So true.

ariandula

@applestoapples I agree. I was thinking I was alone in my feelings that perhaps she is a little overbearing about it all? He may be too immature to tell her that, but I'm thinking the problem isn't ONLY with him.

datalass

@ariandula What struck me was the LW's profound sense that she knew the right path here and was waiting--first patiently, then impatiently--for him to catch up. When all I could think was "Maybe HE's right. Maybe they shouldn't be married."

applestoapples

@ariandula I read his excuses as him tiptoeing around the fact that he doesn't want to particularly marry her, if he wants to marry at all.
He should be honest so that he can find someone who's not waiting on a ring like a dog for a morning piss, and likewise let her find someone who wants marriage as much as she does.

ElBlynx

@applestoapples Yeah, the part that really confused me is it seems like they co-own a house, dog, and cat. Maybe it's just me, but isn't buying a house together one hell of a commitment?

Better to Eat You With

@ElBlynx They might rent. I've always referred to my rented houses as "my" house, as long as it wasn't clearly a short-term situation.

spanglepants

@ElBlynx Yeah. They are not 'playing house like 12 year olds', they are in an adult, cohabiting relationship. Well, an unhappy one, I guess, but still.

meetapossum

I can't get over cheater dude's incorrect double negative to read the advice.

Xanthophyllippa

@meetapossum THANK you! I read the rest of his letter all, "sorry, what exactly is the problem here?"

meetapossum

@Xanthophyllippa Yeah..."So, she DOES want you to cheat?"

Ellie

@Xanthophyllippa No, it's correct (though I would have phrased it differently to be more clear) - she's not diametrically opposed to him having sex with someone else, she just doesn't want to know about it.

purefog

Needed edit of double-negative in fourth letter: "In the past my girlfriend has made statements that she doesn't not want me to cheat. . ."

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

Cheater Man sounds like the type who tries to make it as uncomfortable for his significant other so she'll do the breaking up. Cowardly lyin'.

TheDragon

@I'm Right on Top of that, Rose Those are the only types I seem to get serious with! Ragerageragerage.

Xanthophyllippa

@I'm Right on Top of that, Rose Now I've got Dusty Springfield in my head. Billy Ray was a cheater's son, and when his daddy would visit he'd come along.

vunder

I think people are being unfair to the wants to get married lady. I think it's possible that the dude is having trouble getting over the commitment hurdle and that it IS him and not her or the relationship. I also think it's fair for her to pressure him into making a decision. Couple's counseling, or his individual therapy, can help with this. But it's possible that he won't be ready and that shit can be really hard. Do it now though, don't wait.

themmases

@vunder Yeah, I don't think it's fair for him to continue stringing her along either. If he knows he doesn't want to be married, he's misleading her.

MilesofMountains

@vunder I agree. While she's pushing, I understand why she'd want to make this work however she can. While I agree that people shouldn't stay in a relationship with someone who isn't willing to give them what they want (marriage, kids), the flip side is that people shouldn't stay in a relationship where they're not willing to give the other person what they want.

TheDragon

Cheaters: I will set your penis/vagina on fire.
I'd rather be dumped a million times over than cheated on.

travelmugs

@The Kendragon What is so hard about ending the old relationship before getting into a new one? It's a common courtesy. I just do not understand.

olivebee

I LOOOVE the answer to LW2 (the general marriage advice). Totally spot on and also really helpful. Although, being okay with someone's flaws for 5 years might not necessarily mean you are okay with them for 20. Things can start weighing more heavily the longer you're around it.

themmases

@olivebee Yeah, that advice actually pulled me up short. At least as well as I can tell with hindsight, none of the reasons for my breakups were surprising. Lots of them were about me finally getting fed up with something that had been kinda sketchy all along.

charlesbois

Was anyone else insanely blinded with white-hot rage at the comment "I don't like broken homes" in LW3's letter? It's not her fault she is from a broken home! WTF is up with that anyway. I would have chewed his ass out then and there. That is NOT a valid reason for not wanting to get married, and is hugely unfair to even say to someone. That right there makes me want to tell her to GET OUT!

That being said, marriage is awesome but also difficult. Maybe examine why YOU want to be married instead of why he doesn't. If you can get what you want out of the relationship without being married, then I think that is a case for not being married. But if you absolutely must be married, then it's probably time to think about getting out.

ETA: rings and color palettes are usually part of the wedding, but not really reflective of the marriage. Maybe stress that to him when talk of marriage comes up?

TheDragon

@charlesbois YES. That pissed me off badly. I'm lucky enough to have had parents that have stayed together for almost thirty years. That doesn't mean I'm better at relationships than joe-schmoe down the street! I've lied, been superficial, intentionally mean, and just an all out bitch to some guys I've dated.
Also, it's not like things are all sunshine and roses with my parents! Hell, my grandparents are going on 63 years and they still can't stand each other some days.

RK Fire

@charlesbois: Was anyone else insanely blinded with white-hot rage at the comment "I don't like broken homes" in LW3's letter?

Yes! That is some straight-up ignorant shit. I do think people are being hard on the LW but at the same time, you should spend the rest of your life married to someone who wholeheartedly wants to be married to you.

MissMushkila

@charlesbois Yes that seemed like a really lame excuse, which in light of the letter is what I think it was - a made up reason for why he didn't want to get married. The real reason is probably just that he doesn't see himself married to her.

Also, my boyfriend comes from a divorced family, and his suspicion that his father might have cheated on his mother has made him so very, very anti-cheating. I also think he takes marriage much more seriously than some as a result.

EpWs

@charlesbois YES
RAGE
SET HIM ON FIRE FOR THAT AND THAT ALONE

thebestjasmine

@charlesbois Yes, white hot rage yes.

Rock and Roll Ken Doll

@charlesbois
Yes! It's the lameness of his excuses that are the biggest red flag for me. I understand ideological objections to marriage, and sympathize with them somewhat. And if someone says that they've considered the question and marriage just isn't for them, then you have to accept that. But lame excuses are never a good sign.

themmases

@charlesbois Yeah, I thought that was such a shitty thing to say-- even the phrase "broken home" strikes me as a really melodramatic and mean way to describe most divorces.

Since it sounds like he just doesn't want to get married, it's especially cruel to pull that out as a reason like she's broken because of his life choice.

Megoon

@charlesbois Yeah that's dumb. My parents are divorced. So are my husband's. Big deal. We still like being married.

Personally, I translate him being freaked out because it's his first serious relationship as him wanting to fuck other people before he settles down. But I could be wrong.

EpWs

@Megoon DING DING WINNER

vunder

@charlesbois "I don't like broken homes" is deeply insensitive and reductive to the point of being unfair, especially 4 years into a relationship. That said, I have to admit that I have had generally much stronger and in particular, longer-lasting, relationships (romantic and friendship) with people who are children of intact marriages, even where those parental relationships have sometimes been wildly dysfunctional. I think there's something to it, which is kind of what LW2 is getting at. It's not like a hard and fast rule for me or something, and of course I believe that a child of divorce or single parent can create very loving relationships and strong bonds, it's just something I have noticed in my nearly 40 years. My longest-term boyfriends, my husband, and my longest-lasting close friendships have all been with people whose parents are still together or were together until someone was widowed, with only one sort of exception, and her parents were separated when she was an adult.

garli

@charlesbois Yeah it's a super douchey thing to say. What do you want me to do about it, go back in time and have my parents never meet? Because they never had a chance. How is this my fault?

smidge

@MissMushkila my husband and i are both products of janky marriages, and I think it has just made us more determined. And aware that counseling and shit is a good thing.

charlesbois

@vunder anecdata is all well and good, but anyone who used my parents' failed marriage (something well out of my control) as a reason why they couldn't marry me doesn't deserve to be married in my book

RK Fire

@vunder: I feel like those of us who are younger and are responding to this (and I don't want to make you feel like I'm saying "you're so old!!) so strongly because at least for my age cohort, having divorced parents is extremely common. I don't know for sure if it is more or less common among Gen X-ers (which I am guessing you are) but I think for some of us we take that comment personally.

vunder

@RK Fire I think that's pretty much inaccurate. I don't think there's a substantial (if any as all) difference between the divorce rate of the parents of Gen-Xers vs Gen Yers. The 70s and 80s (ie, my young childhood) saw massive divorce rates. Many many many of my cohort's parents are divorced. I only mentioned my age because as an older person I've had a pretty good amount of time to see this scenario in action for myself. As charlesbois points out, it is nothing more than anecdata, but there it is.

Xanthophyllippa

@charlesbois I didn't get far enough to feel the white-hot rage because that's when I wrote him off as an idiot. Seriously, was he planning on living with her parents?

vunder

@charlesbois We don't know if it was presented as a "reason" and it's hard to imagine anyone saying it is anyone's fault, but if you're a couple who is having a frank conversation about fears of marriage and this is a true feeling or fear, it seems reasonable that this would come up, even if the fear itself is in some way unfair or non-rational, as some fears tend to be.

garli

@vunder Consider that your experiences with friendships might just be because you have common background with people who are from non broken homes. My best and longest friendship is with a girl who's family's dysfunction is similar to my own. Our older siblings are almost the same (awful) person. Does that mean that all people from broken homes make the best friends? No, it just means we have a lot of common experiences that shape the way we see the world.

vunder

@garli Yes, of course, I think this is key for sure. That there's something about a type of commonality of experience.

RK Fire

@vunder: That's fair. My sister is a Gen X-er and our parents are divorced, so my own anecdata wouldn't bear out that assumption at all. I've just noticed as an adult that we had some vastly different experiences to some of the same thing (e.g. how our teachers reacted to the fact that our mom kept her maiden name, etc.).

timesnewroman

@all I think those of us who grew up watching an intact & happy marriage just have an easier time of it when it comes to knowing what an OK relationship looks like and how to behave. Those who grew up with an unpleasant relationship/breakup as their major source of relationship education have to work harder at figuring this stuff out and be more self-aware. If they have that self-awareness, though, that can be a great thing and they can end up much better at relationship stuff than a lot of people that have grown up around happier partnerships and never had to question their own attitudes to love.

WaityKatie

@MissMushkila Yep, I took it as a made up bullshit (and also weird) reason. And for what it's worth, my parents have been married to each other for almost 50 years and they have the definition of a dysfunctional/codependent relationship. I used to pray for them to get divorced when I was in high school, and I didn't even believe in god anymore by then, so that's saying something.

RNL
RNL

@timesnewroman Yes, you probably do have an easier time of it. And you probably don't have the gut wrenching fear in every relationship that this could be the person to try to undo your very personhood and then leave you for a younger, childless woman when you're in your 40s. (AHH sorry clearly a sore spot)

That's why I think a good future life partner would try to be more sensitive when talking about the effect of those experiences when discussing life-long commitment. "I don't like broken homes" is like "I don't like broken people" and when you have felt broken in your broken home, something like that makes you want to slink back under a rock and not take emotional risks ever.

The concern is legitimate - "what does a healthy relationship look like to you?" "Let's figure out conflict styles", "How will we react when the going gets tough" etc are reasonable things to discuss, and when someone's models are all sorts of fucked up, that can become even more important. But to say something to someone that implies that they are less worthy of love because they went through something kind of traumatic and because of their parents is a shitty, shitty move.

Better to Eat You With

@RK Fire I, too, am almost 40, and think @vunder must be reflecting very limited experience. With one exception, my experience has been the exact opposite of hers, so perhaps we cancel each other out.

timesnewroman

@RobotsNeedLove What I was saying was a response to vunder's observation that people from happier marriages have stronger relationships themselves. What I was trying to say was that those people probably just have a head start, nothing more. In case it wasn't clear!

Better to Eat You With

@RobotsNeedLove Also: "I don't like broken homes" is a much different statement coming from someone with divorced parents than from someone whose parents are still married. If his parents are split and he's scared, that's one thing; if they're still together, that's a statement of judgment, and a totally unfair one. (It's not completely clear in the letter, but since she mentioned hers and not his, I suspect his are still together.)

RNL
RNL

@timesnewroman yes sorry! You're not wrong, and you weren't being insensitive. I didn't mean to get all crazy (must be the broken home). It's a sensitive subject, I guess, and I'm thinking about it a lot. Like I really want to have a happy relationship, but I know I carry this baggage, so how do I deal? Counselling. Just keep trying to be a good person. Etc.

Marquise de Morville

@RobotsNeedLove From your comments I think you are doing a very good job? I hope that your hard work will pay off and you will have a happy relationship in the future. I am from an 'intact home' and feel that keeping my marriage happy still takes a lot of work.

checkcheck

@charlesbois That comment made me SO angry and then I got even more pissed that A Married Dude didn't mention it!

beezus.

BAH LETTER WRITER THREE.

All I am thinking of for you is that scene in "When Harry Met Sally": "All this time, I've been saying that he didn't want to get married. But the truth is, he didn't want to marry me." (Here, rewatch that scene: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rgxwh_tQJbg)

On the upside, maybe you will now sleep with and subsequently fall in love with your best friend. Good luck.

Gwdihw

@dahlface
When Harry Met Sally was exactly what I thought of as well. And I've seen it happen in real life, too!

Ophelia

@dahlface Hah, you beat me to it.

Ladies Who Punch

I read the tittle as "Greenerish GLASSES" & was confused when there was no mention of eyewear. :(

olivebee

@Rebekah I read it as "Gases," thinking it was about Greenhouse Gases. Confusing, indeed.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@olivebee See, I saw it as "Greenerish Gasses" which made me think it was about someone needing help with a frequently flatulent friend.

Bittersweet

@I'm Right on Top of that, Rose Ditto. Because farting is hilarious and always top of mind.

hungaryforchile

Not to quote Dr. Phil, but I'm going to quote Dr. Phil:

"If he'll do it with you, he'll do it to you!"

Seriously, if you're cheating, it means you don't want to be with that person anymore (among probably many other things). So why go back to them? So you'll have a security blanket until you find the next person you can hand yourself off to, so there will be a seamless transition?

A Married Dude is right: Be single for awhile. Learn that the world doesn't end if you feel lonely for awhile.

I'm probably oversimplifying this, but those are the immediate thoughts I had reading that :/.

MissMushkila

I also have to say, I might not want to be told my boyfriend cheated on me if he hoped to stay in the relationship and it was a one-off thing. But if he cheated on me and broke up with me because of it, I would definitely want to know he was a cheater. I think learning terrible character flaws regarding someone when you break up with them makes the whole thing MUCH easier. It still hurts, but there is much less longing.

TheDragon

@MissMushkila I thought that too. It's easier to handle a breakup when the thought of the person fills you with rage rather than longing. (It might not be much healthier, but it just feels better.)
I also think it's much easier to get over someone and move on when you know why they dumped you. Nothing is worse than when the guy you love just dumps you with some generic excuse and vanishes.

PatatasBravas

MMMMMMMMM A Married Dude Image, those glasses are a good shape for your good-looking face.

Inkling

@PatatasBravas
I like how he has slight forehead concern wrinkle :)

TheDragon

I do have to say, dishes were a major factor in my most-major breakup.

It's a real thing, people.

MissMushkila

@The Kendragon I had a roommate who never did dishes, left them everywhere, and when confronted by those of us she lived with would very transparently lie and blame them on one of us. We all had a friend-breakup with her. I mean, I'm sure the LW's dislike of doing dishes doesn't rise to that scale, but seriously.

fuck fuck fuck

@The Kendragon i had a best-friend breakup that was mostly about dishes as well. THEY RUIN LIVES.

TheDragon

@MissMushkila Yeah, according to my ex, housework was "women's work." I rushed home from a month long vacation to see him before he left for a week. Things were already getting bad between us, and EVERY dish in the house was dirty and in the sink. I washed every dish, and got madder and madder, and ended up calling my friend and asking if she still had a spare room in her trailer and if I could move in.

garli

@MissMushkila I had a (dude) housemate in grad school who I lived with for YEARS and he never, ever did dishes or put them away.* Anyway after he left town and moved in with another (dude) friend he called me and was all "you're right, I never do dishes and also Justin never does dishes and holy poop this is really annoying, sorry"

So maybe his future wife owes me one.

*He had a bunch of loveable qualities or I would have killed him in his sleep

alannaofdoom

@The Kendragon - I think I would have just thrown those dishes one by one onto the floor. GOOD RIDDANCE.

TheDragon

@alannaofdoom Its a good thing he was gone for work. Cause I was imagining stabbing him in the eyeballs while I scrubbed the forks.
Never again.

insouciantlover

@The Kendragon Okay, so. The bf was telling me a few months ago that he was concerned that I seek something outside of the relationship because my needs weren't being met. I was trying to give him constructive advice for things that would, on my end, really help our relationship, and contributing more to housework was one of them. He did not see ANY correlation to how him doing the dishes more would make me happier in the relationship. I had to really break it down for him. "Hey, if I'm not so exhausted and frustrated all the time because I feel like a maid, then we will have more sex!"

This week I finally drafted a chores list. Guess who has done dishes every fucking day? (hint: me)

Ophelia

@The Kendragon It's literally the only thing we fight about in our marriage. If we had a dishwasher, we'd be nauseating. I like to think our mutual hatred of dishes makes us human.

Megasus

@The Kendragon Yup, that was my last relationship, and was the factor in about 55% of our fights and 70% of my resentment towards him. Even when we got an apartment with a dishwasher he did not a) load it or b) unload it. EVER.

TARDIStime

@insouciantlover
"Guess who has done dishes every fucking day? (hint: me)"
Hint: just do the dishes every day with no fucking. He'll come round. ;-)

Amanda@twitter

"...girlfriends aren't wives for a reason, and I could never feature that 'blame the vixen' bullshit." I get the second part of this but not the first. "Girlfriends aren't wives for a reason"? What?

TheDragon

@Amanda@twitter That made me furrow my brow in confusion too. I like most of this Dude's advice, but that was shaky, at best.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@Amanda@twitter Because she will let him do you know what to her you know whats and wives won't. (I don't know either.)

datalass

@Amanda@twitter I glitched on that as well. In my book, when two people agree to have an exclusive relationship then it doesn't matter whether they're dating, living together, or married, they shouldn't be stepping out on each other.

Girl Named Jack

@Amanda@twitter Because you are presumably not as committed to a girlfriend, as you are to a wife, is how I read it. Like, in a literal sense. If you were completely sure that you wanted to be with your girlfriend forever and ever, she would be your wife. Or, conversely, perhaps your girlfriend is just someone you are dating casually, and could therefore be dating/boffing someone else as well? I dunno, it made sense when I read it, but now I am not so sure.

Passion Fruit

@Girl Named Jack Because you are presumably not as committed to a girlfriend, as you are to a wife, is how I read it. Like, in a literal sense. If you were completely sure that you wanted to be with your girlfriend forever and ever, she would be your wife.

YES, this.

Amanda@twitter

@Girl Named Jack I see that, but that seems pretty antiquated to me. There are lots of reasons not to get married, and lying to people who trust you is not okay regardless of whether or not there's a legal commitment. Also he seems to be implying that if a couple isn't married there's necessarily a problem with the relationship.

insouciantlover

@Passion Fruit But not everyone wants to get married.

Passion Fruit

@insouciantlover Yeah, that's true. It just seems that this sentiment is applicable to their situation. I didn't read this dude as a I-don't-want-to-get-married type, but as a I-don't-want-to-get-married-TO-YOU-but-living-with-you-and-Fido-and-Whiskers-is-fine type.

Blousey Brown

My marriagephobic, I-wanna-be-with-you-forever, I-don't-need-the-piece-of-paper ex just got engaged to someone he's known a year. So LW should be ready for that possibility as well because it's a cliche for a good reason. I wish like hell I'd gotten out of that relationship sooner. Dude totally scarfed my late 30s.

redheaded&crazy

@Blousey Brown oh my god yes this thing where the next person the dude dates they are all commitment here, i love you there, eetc etc etc. WHY IS THIS A THING? this is just some statistical averaging right? like if you date a few people, eventually one or a few of them are going to really hit it off with the next person they seriously date ... kind of thing?

WaityKatie

@redheaded&crazie Haha, story of my liiiife. "I'm not ready for a relationship right now" for months...or a year...and then, the next one the guy dates, it's Instant Relationship and Rapid Marriage. And then of course, "but you and I are such great friends, whyyy aren't you happy for meeeee???"

Linette

@WaityKatie I'll say this though - I've also been in the situation where a guy used the general "I don't want to be married" excuse for previous relationships, and believed it himself, and sort of shocked himself by actually wanting to marry me.

But then there was OTHER STUFF. There was a reason he was scared of marriage, and he had to work through all of that stuff.

Using that situation plus a handful of other friends who were scared of commitment and are now happily married, I'd say this: one of the reasons dudes get married to the next gal is often because you helped him work through enough of the fear that the last little bit of fear wasn't a barrier in the next relationship. Which is SUPER lame for you, who put in all the work to help him. I've seen it happen to multiple people, though. I believe in the thing-ness of this thing.

Better to Eat You With

@redheaded&crazie I sure hope it's a statistical thing, because almost all of my college boyfriends married the next woman they dated after me.

Blousey Brown

@Linette True, I've been that next-phase never-thought-I'd-feel-this-way girl too, until things went south. I think you're right about how your relationship often serves as finishing school for the dude. Like you've made him get his shit together just in time for him to be awesome for someone else! GRRRR.

Blousey Brown

@redheaded&crazie So, my friend has a theory: the Marriage Switch. Until his switch is flipped on, a man won't marry anyone, no matter how wonderful. One day, his switch is flipped on for whatever reason (in my experience, all his best dude friends do it), and the man marries the first woman he dates after that. I think SATC had a similar theory, something about cabs. I'm not usually prone to this kind of thinking, but in this instance it was an incredible comfort. The funny thing is that I'm a known commitmentphobe who never, ever wanted to get married until I met him. HOWEVER, I'm good. I heard the news, I grieved a couple of days and moved on.

Minx Whatmore

@Blousey Brown and others - I had to comment because you are all making me feel better. I have a string of exes who didn't want to commit to ME and then got married / met love of their life in the year after. (I am a little jellus of people who preen themselves on how they have deadbeat exes who have sad, sad lives. I haven't ever wanted to get back with any of my exes, but they're all doing perfectly fine and it's a tad irritating because you can't be smugger than your smug ex.) I think there is something to the 'taxi light' or 'switch flick' theory. Also that you help them get through their fear and then they're ok for the next woman.

Man, I guess I am just so in sympathy with LW2. I see a little of my own relationship with this (situation is not exactly the same). I'm not desperate for the wedding part of things - I'd just like to be married to my guy, because I love him and it's the best relationship we've ever had for both of us. There is so much snippy resentment of women for wanting to be married these days. I don't think it's actually too much to ask that someone who says they always want to be with you, that they do something (loving) with you that represents that. It's like saying I want to be with you, but in case I change my mind I would like to feel not quite that committed, thanks, and I will probably change my mind at some point.

Minx Whatmore

@Minx Whatmore reading this over, there are so many other reasons why I love my boyfriend and want to be married to him! but I was afraid to write too much in case it sounded like a red flag!

WaityKatie

@Minx Whatmore Well, some people do actually not believe in the institution of marriage (myself included). It isn't automatically some kind of attempt to keep one's options open, although for some people it may be. BUT, if being married is important to you, you deserve to be with someone who also wants that. I think that is just one of those dealbreaker things. (Whereas, with me, I would flee a relationship where the guy insisted on being married, because I don't want the legal system involved in my relationships - but it's the same principle). Getting married isn't a guarantee of Together Forever, especially now. Not to say that you shouldn't want that or aren't allowed to want that, because you are! And honestly, the vast majority of people do still get married, so I'm not seeing that much snippy resentment of women or men who want that. It's very normal.

Non-anonymous

I applaud this Married Dude for his use of "gobsmacked." I love this term and am always hoping my fellow Americans will use it more.

Xanthophyllippa

This really has nothing to do with the content of A Married Dude's advice, but I totally misread "A year ago, while just finishing school, I got very drunk at a work event" as "A year ago, while at finishing school..." First-world problems.

PatatasBravas

@Xanthophyllippa Is finishing school a real thing in the year 2012? I am genuinely curious.

TheDragon

@Xanthophyllippa My grandmother tried to send me to finishing school.
I don't know if I would have survived.

Gwdihw

@The Kendragon
You might not have lasted as long as you did with the non-dishwasher as a result. Like maybe you would have realized that *he* was unfinished?

PatatasBravas

@The Kendragon I never have the willpower/time to do any NaNoWriMo activities, but I strongly suspect that if you wrote a story about your imagined life at a finishing school it would be AMAZING.

Insects and boots and smartness all up in their white gloved tearooms!

TheDragon

@PatatasBravas RIGHT? I remember kindly explaining to my grandma that I wanted to track large carnivores through the backwoods of Alaska or Montana for a living.
She told me that that was exactly why I needed finishing school, and that I'd "never catch a man with THOSE cuticles."

TheDragon

@The Kendragon
I should've explained that with all the trapping and tracking I'm learning, catching a man would be no problem.

Xanthophyllippa

@The Kendragon "No, but I'll catch one with this here snare trap and tranq gun."

@PatatasBravas I have no idea. That's part of why I found it so BZUH?

TheDragon

@Xanthophyllippa "Give me enough time, and a good description, and I bet I can bring one in that is exactly what you want as a grandson-in-law."

Ophelia

@The Kendragon "Oh, you didn't want him mounted on the wall? Weeelll, shit."

TheDragon

@Ophelia "Guess I'll take him down to the pawn shop then."

Xanthophyllippa

@The Kendragon "He'll make an excellent hat rack for some hipster somewhere."

TheDragon

@Xanthophyllippa I'm laughing too hard to breathe

smidge

LW2--I got married two weeks ago, and I was scared shitless because my parents have a crummy marriage and my husband's parents are divorced, but we did premarital counseling and it was The Best Thing Ever. It might be a bit early for that for you, but counselors are great. Tim Keller's "The Meaning of Marriage" is also great (he's a pastor so there's a lot of Bible but it's got good advice.) I think the most helpful thing for me was realizing that there will be days when I don't like my husband or I don't want to be married but those aren't a death knell; just an indication that we need to talk about something. Sorry this is kind of a long, convoluted answer, but I'm really gung-ho about the fact that good marriages are possible no matter what your family background.

TheDragon

@smidge Congratulations!

smidge

@The Kendragon aw, thanks.

VolcanoMouse

@smidge Congratulations, and hell YES to listening to Tim Keller during premarital counseling. It is very realistic and very encouraging about what to expect when marrying a human being.

plonk

wait, can someone join me in FREAKING OUT about how terrible the last letter writer is? (married dude did; thank you, married dude.) he is the lady-from-bob-and-eli of dudes! i'd say he's even worse: he wantonly and premeditatedly cheats, then somehow makes the problem about his GIRLFRIEND and her silly rules. WHAT WHAT WHAT

plonk

@plonk (bob and eli lady was worse because they were married and had a kid. SAME LEAGUE THOUGH)

Xanthophyllippa

@plonk I like to think that Bob & Eli Lady is the girlfriend on whom he cheated.

VDRE

@plonk Right? That's what I didn't get- that he's like "well now I don't want to break her rule by telling her what do I do?" You already broke her rule by cheating! Remember the part where she didn't want you to cheat? That's a rule too!

plonk

@VDRE "i couldn't leave my girlfriend with a good conscience..." you can't STAY with her with a good conscience either because you FLEW SOMEWHERE TO HAVE SEX WITH SOME LADY YOU WERE SEXTING. there is no scenario in which you can have a good conscience! just let these ladies be free and work on being a better person!

i am freaking out

Blushingflwr

LW 2:
Here's what's up.
Either your BF doesn't want to get married, or he doesn't want to marry you. Either way, you've got a problem. Here is the opinion of a random stranger on the Internet about what you should do:

1) Have an honest, real, in-depth conversation about your goals for the future, your feelings about marriage, and your feelings about your relationship. Really listen to his points - don't argue, don't defend, just listen. Take them to heart.

2) If he cannot come up with bigger issues than your parents' divorce (something that you had no hand in or responsibility for) and your lack of enthusiastic dishwashing, that says to me that he has problems communicating honestly (at least with you), which will obviously be a problem down the road.

3) If he can come up with real, substantive problems, decide if they can be worked out. If "your parents are divorced" is his way of saying "and I worry that that means you don't have healthy models for conflict resolution" or "you don't do the dishes" really means "you don't do what I feel is your fair share of the housework" or "we have conflicting standards of cleanliness", see if you can work on them. @Smidge's advice about counseling is good.

4) If it's just basically that he doesn't want to get married (at all or to you), end it. Love is a many splendored thing, but it is not all you need for a healthy relationship. You need compatible life goals too. And if you want to get married, and he doesn't, then in the end, you're not compatible. That sucks, but that's life. You're not doing anyone any favors hanging around and hoping he'll change his mind.

redheaded&crazy

@Blushingflwr this is good.

PatatasBravas

@redheaded&crazie Indeed, this is wisdom.

Blushingflwr

@Blushingflwr ARgh, except it was for LW3. But my points still stand.

i make lists

@Blushingflwr Still some good points for LW2!

Also, what happened to numbering the letters? I thought that was going to be a thing.

paddlepickle

"Secrecy around sex generally benefits men at the expense of women"

Huh?

Also, "If he wanted to, he'd ask" rubs me the wrong way, as well as the 'so many women don't realize he'll cheat on you if he'll cheat with you" bit. Ladies can ask things, and cheat on their partners, too, yknow. Lots of weird gender assumptions going on with this Married Dude.

Xanthophyllippa

@paddlepickle Well, yes; but he's not responding to a woman who cheated on her guy. He's responding to a guy who cheated on his girlfriend and wants to know what to do about it. Cheating girlfriends aren't really the issue here, especially if this guy misled his cross-country fling about his relationship.

themegnapkin

@paddlepickle normally the "if he wanted to, he'd ask" would bother me, but I think it's okay here - she's made it clear that she wants to get married, it sounds like they've discussed it, and that he doesn't want to get married. *In this context,* if she asks and he says yes, there is a non-negligible possibility that his "yes" will be to appease her, not because he wants to marry her. If I were her, the only way I would believe that he wanted to marry me would be if he asked me.

Basically, I think this couple should break up.

paddlepickle

@Xanthophyllippa But the quote I'm referencing is when he isn't giving advice to the person, he's giving general advice to "anyone who might see themselves in this scenario, especially in the role of New Love Interest". There's really no need for that to be gendered advice.

paddlepickle

@themegnapkin Hm, possibly. I thought the tone was more "If he wanted to marry you, he would have asked already", especially since he was criticizing her for hen-pecking him about it. But, yeah, I totally agree that they should break up.

Killerpants

"Now I'm not saying no one should ever have sex with a guy in a relationship — girlfriends aren't wives for a reason, and I could never feature that 'blame the vixen' bullshit."

I don't get this. I don't necessarily hold with the "blame the vixen" concept either. But how does the first part of this not say that the only way for a man to indicate "I will not cheat no exceptions" is to get a marriage certificate from the government? So you may have agreed with your boyfriend that you were in a monogamous relationship and discussed exactly what those boundaries mean for you both, but don't expect him to ACTUALLY stay 100% committed to that unless he legally marries you. Because that's the only way a man (or anyone?) can truly commit. Otherwise you're Just a Girlfriend For a Reason (read: he's not really committed to you, so watch out). In that case, that's nice for those who can get married, and who want to get legally married in general. Everyone else...you're screwed.

I just...there's so much wrong with that.

olivebee

@Killerpants Yeah that sentence gave me pause. I was like, wait...so is he saying that because a couple is not married, it's ok to be a mistress with one of the people in the couple? I probably didn't fully understand what he meant there, but it came off as Not A Good Thing.

insouciantlover

@Killerpants "Girlfriends aren't wives for a reason" just made me want to punch a wall.

Girlfriends aren't wives for a *myriad* of reasons, some of which have fuck-all to do with levels of commitment.

Also, married men cheat.

Xanthophyllippa

@Killerpants I think, though, that a lot of what's wrong with that gets better if we substitute "partner" for "wife." I don't think AMD is necessarily saying you need the paper from the government - though certainly infidelity can cause legal issues and lay fault for divorce, depending on what state you live in. I took this to mean, "there's a reason he hasn't made any sort of long-term commitment," especially given that the LW's boyfriend says things like, "I don't know if we'll still be together 50 years from now."

My response to that bullshit, btw, would have been, "I might not even be alive if 50 years; does that solve your problem?" I mean, people get hit by semis while biking across intersections and shit; maybe he'd get an early release.

Killerpants

@insouciantlover Agreed, agreed, and agreed.

tales

@Xanthophyllippa "girlfriends aren't partners for a reason"? I don't buy it and, if anything, it's maybe even more messed up.

spanglepants

@tales Agreed. That sentence ruined this Married Dude for me. Why do we even need a married dude? Why not any dude in a stable long-term relationship? It's freakin 2012, what's the difference?

loose lipped controller

@Killerpants I agree that long-term relationships can be of equal importance and substance as marriages (I think it is ultimately all about how the two people in said relationship feel about their relationship; marriage held lightly by the spouses doesn't weigh more than a long-term partnership taken very seriously)..

But a friend of mine, (much older than me - I wrongly assumed this would mean she would be more 'conservative' than me!) recently said: "well sometimes that's what happens and that's how people break up... they meet somebody else while they're dating someone" (note, she was saying if you meet someone else you care about more than your current Person... you break up with your person BEFORE acting on things with the new person)

So I think that may be what A Married Dude meant? When you're dating, things aren't ALWAYS set in stone and if you DO one day meet someone else or realise the person you're with is Not For You, that is Okay. (IT HAS TO BE, RIGHT? HOW MANY OF US DATE AWFUL AWFUL DUDS AND THEN HAVE TO RESCUE OURSELVES FROM THE DUDDINESS OF THE RELATIONSHIP ONLY TO POSSIBLY ACCIDENTALLY MEET ANOTHER DUD? I assume this terrible dud-cycle will end for me one day [please god one day gasp sad sigh] )

...But when people get married, ideally, there should be less fluctuation. (This is not always true of course. One of my close friends is just getting divorced after being married a couple of years, which is both a good thing for her because the marriage wasn't right, but so sad/hard that she has to.)

Vera Knoop

"I just don't know if I can marry you because your parents are divorced and I don't like broken homes." = auto-DTMFA. It's so, so unkind. So uncompassionate and selfish. Imagine if he'd said this about growing up poor, or having an alcoholic in the family? This is not your guy.

Inkling

@Vera Knoop
Remember on Doug when Doug's family was going to be filmed on TV during Thanksgiving, but Patti Mayonnaise's dad couldn't be in it because he was handicapped? And the producer was like "No no, he's crippled, too sad" and waved his arms?
That guy.

Oh, squiggles

@Vera Knoop That really bothered me too. Since when is the child at fault for the failure of their parents relationship? You don't get to choose your parents!

The Lady of Shalott

@Vera Knoop omg YES. This goes for everything family-related--you don't get to pick your family!!!! You can't help the family you have!

beanie

@Vera Knoop I cannot believe people still call them broken homes. This is not 1950!

Ophelia

@Vera Knoop Oddly, my husband and I had a discussion about this before we got married. My parents (and BOTH sets of grandparents) are divorced, and he mentioned that it weirded him out. So we talked a lot about what it means to get married, what it means to get married when you're 28 vs. 19, and WHY we wanted to be married (or commit, long-term, in general). So...I agree that it sounds like this guy pulled it as an excuse, but it was something that we actually talked about in a helpful way.

Vera Knoop

@Ophelia Yes! And that makes all the difference. Your husband presented it as "I have some concerns," not "Disqualified!"

Megasus

@Vera Knoop Also a stupid and weak excuse.

Vera Knoop

@Megano! It's totally a stupid excuse, but even taking him at face value, he's terrible.

anachronistique

@Inkling I love how many Doug references we've had today. (And yes, this whole line of thinking is bullshit.)

Oh, squiggles

"Now I'm not saying no one should ever have sex with a guy in a relationship"

Fine, then I will say it. No one should have sex with a guy in a relationship (disclaimer: open relationship don't count for this rule). Maybe I am in the minority here, but I think if you help someone break a promise, it still kind of makes you an accomplice. How would cheating ever end up being a good thing? In what scenario has sleeping with someone else's boyfriend ended happily?

paddlepickle

@Awesomely Nonfunctional Agreed. I mean, I don't think anyone who ever has sex with a guy in a relationship should be executed by firing squad, but that doesn't mean it's an OK thing to do. I've done it, and I felt super shitty about it, as well I should. . .it was a shitty thing to do. Not as shitty as what he did, but still. . .shitty. Not to be recommended to anyone.

Oh, squiggles

@paddlepickle And feeling shitty about it is one of the great reasons not to do it! It is so hard to forgive ourselves for our own mistakes. Everyone deserves to forgive themselves. One of the reasons I take such a hard line with this, is that I know, even if the person being cheated on never finds out, people still get hurt. Feeling guilty can weigh someone down. It is such a useless feeling, since things in the past cannot be changed.

I was kind of surprised that a Married Dude didn't want to just actually come out and say that. It is good advice. If it already happened, go ahead and forgive yourself, lesson learned and all that. But it is still good future advice to give!

Better to Eat You With

@Awesomely Nonfunctional I sort of didn't get this whole segment as it related to the letter. Skeevy LW makes it clear that the other lady thought he'd broken up with his girlfriend (but blames other lady for thinking that, instead of taking responsibility for lying), so how is this even relevant?

insouciantlover

I think it's useful in general for people, when they've been committed to each other for a certain amount of time, to talk about marriage and what it means to them.

Because for me personally, if I were with someone for four years and lived together with a small brood of pets, I'd be a little hurt that my partner wouldn't want to make the implied commitment more formal, too. But that's just based on what I think marriage symbolizes, which is a public statement that you and another person are creating a life together and you're calling upon your friends and family to support you in that, as well as to tell your SO's friends and family that you are committed to supporting them.

But I really think it's different for everyone, and definitely worth discussing.

beanie

@insouciantlover the pets part is serious business. I have repeatedly told my fiance that if something were to happen, the dog goes with me, no take backsies.

insouciantlover

@beanie I mean, I can't imagine how we'd split up kitty time. I'd demand full custody and consent to every other weekend I guess?

sudden but inevitable betrayal

@insouciantlover When I first started reading that letter I thought "oh my god, that's ME exactly!" (it was not something I was able to identify with by the end, though). I've been with my dude for more than four years, we live together, we have a dog and a cat, when we talk about our lives far in the future the other is always there too. But we cannot talk about getting married. He just cannot deal with it. I say that I can wait for him to be ready - and I mean it! I'm not on a timeline! - but there is a scared, insecure part of me that wonders if it's not him, that maybe it's me and I'm going to end up being his practice round for his actual future-wife. :/ That part of me is really shitty and unfair but it exists anyway.

I think a lot of his reservations come from everyone in his family being divorced and on bad terms with their exes (whereas my family is pretty much long happy marriages across the board), and I can understand not wanting to sign up for that. But I want to stand up in front of people who love us and make promises to this man!

Augh! Sorry for the novel. PMSy and feeling maudlin today.

insouciantlover

@sudden but inevitable betrayal Girl I've been maudlin ALL WEEK

...and right now that's the best response I have but I totally hear you, right down to the part where your insecurities make you feel selfish but holy fuck, we can only do the best we can do. Group hug?

i make lists

@sudden but inevitable betrayal Me, too! Well, except for the pets. I've been with my boyfriend for five years, and marriage talk has been pretty much off the table until recently. And I felt so so so insecure, as well, even though I'm super confident in our relationship in general. He would tell me that he just doesn't think any relationship lasts forever, so marriage was a pretty pointless gesture.

And actually, everyone in his family is divorced, too! Which seems statistically improbable considering he has thirteen aunts and uncles combined. As a kid he was alternately abandoned and neglected by his (also divorced) parents, and he says it makes him feel detached in his relationships.

Which basically boiled down to me feeling like I couldn't really bring up marriage except in the abstract sense. BUT THEN the other day we were hanging out at home and he said, "So when are we going to get married?" and I fully blushed like a teenager and we had an actual discussion!

sudden but inevitable betrayal

It sounds really cheesy but I'm glad to know I'm not the only one and I'm not crazy or a bad person. <3 Group hugs forever.

bluewindgirl

LW3 made me think of this song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S6396HGC6gk

Bootsandcats

Some time ago, I did basically what LW3's boyfriend is doing now to my then boyfriend, now husband. After each of these "Oh goodness, the future is so big and we have different life goals and I can't really commit" arguments, I'd go back to insisting that I wanted to be with him forever and ever- only to be pretty much absolutely awful when he'd want to discuss it seriously.

Eventually, he asked that I stop voicing my impulses towards eternal devotion if I wasn't willing to back it up. It gave him unreasonable hopes, he said, and he needed to sort out his feelings without getting static from me.

What happened in the short term is that I stopped reminding him of big obvious cracks in our relationship- he was far less miserable. In the long term, I realized that a life plan that involved never spending time with my favorite person in the world was dumb. And then we got married. I'm not saying this would happen for LW3, but she could at least ask her boyfriend to stop breaking her heart a little every day.

RK Fire

@Bootsandcats: This is a really helpful perspective and hopefully it helps the LW. Thanks for sharing. :)

shawbaby

AHHHH Letter 4 is almost exactly my situation with me being the "new interest" with some differences:

1. Cheating man has been one of my best friends for the last 5 years and I've always been a little bit in love with him but we've never lived in the same place
2. He was in town for a wedding recently, we got pretty drunk one night and he kissed me and told me he's always loved me, I said "excuse me sir we cannot speak of this further because you have a girlfriend" and he said "you're right" and promptly returned to his current city of residence and broke up with her

IS THIS THE SAME AND I AM IN IDIOT SHOULD I CUT HIM OUT FOREVER

paddlepickle

@shawbaby I think you can proceed with caution on this one. It didn't go further than the kiss, and he went home and broke up with her immediately. I'd call it a red flag but not necessarily a dealbreaker.

entangled

@shawbaby I agree with proceed with caution and maybe make sure there's some cooling down time. You want to protect not only yourself but your friendship (and your friend) in this situation. Maybe other people will disagree, but I don't see drunkenly kissing someone once and stopping immediately when they tell you it's weird as being the same as cheating. I have known people who are otherwise not at all cheating types who have done this (or kissed and then stopped themselves before it went further). It's not premeditated or repeated and his behavior afterwards doesn't indicate he's the cheating type. (it doesn't indicate he isn't, either, though)

loose lipped controller

oh no I deleted my comment by accident! Damn.

Anyway @shaw, be careful, go slow. Things can be pretty confusing post-breakup so it's more than likely that staying in touch but not jumping into something immediately with your friend may be the best way to be careful with your heart? (I'm pretty impulsive, wish I had been less so recently)

And have a really objective look at your friend: if he's genuinely a nice person, then please refer to my earlier comment above which says that sometimes people legitimately discover they are with someone who is Not For Them, and That is Okay.

Carrie Ann

LW3, the fact that he says "it shouldn't be this hard," but can't give you examples beyond not doing the dishes says to me that he really struggles with his feelings for you. He questions whether they're big enough or strong enough, and if he questions that, then they probably aren't. He's throwing weak excuses at you because he loves you and he's scared of losing you, but not scared enough to go through with a marriage he doesn't really want.

I think that he might THINK that he's just not comfortable with the idea of marriage right now, but as you're his only real relationship, he doesn't realize that he probably means marriage with you. I'm sorry. That hurts and it sucks. Sure, it's possible you'll break up and THAT'S when he'll realize what he lost and he'll try to get back with you. If that happens and it all works out, then great, because you won't feel like you pressured him into marriage. He'll be desperate to spend the rest of his life with you, and that's what you deserve.

skyslang

@Carrie Ann I'm so late to this, but your advice is the most solid of the thread. I hope LW sticks around to read it!

mmwm

#1 - No. No reason to tell anyone about this.
#2 - There is no secret. That's the secret.
#3 - Either be happy with what you have, or leave him and find someone who is looking to be married
#4 - Yeah, break up.

karion

I had mad respect for nearly all of the Married Guy's advice, so this feels somewhat disrespectful to mention, but did you really ask your GF (now wife)'s best friend to catalog her flaws?

Because JESUS, would that have pissed me off something fierce. FIERCE.

Also, I am going to spend the rest of my weekend trying to drown out the pangs of deja vu that occurred when I read LW4. I was the other woman. I said very nearly the same thing. It was one of about a hundred bullets I have dodged in my own matrix.

isitisabel

@Emma Peel YES to all of this. I don't like doing the dishes, but I don't really mind, so I will do dishes all day long if it gets me a clean kitchen. I value that over petty, passive-aggressive fighting over whose dishes are in the sink any day.

SexySadie

I love the bit about nobody ever being surprising about why it ends.

On the other hand, I really take issue with "once a cheater, always a cheater." Yes, there are some people out there who are serial-cheaters, have no self control, and would prioritize their own whims over the feelings and needs of their partners. HOWEVER, there are also people (like, uh, my good friend...) who have cheated on partners whom they dearly loved, but were confused or conflicted about their relationship, and they are not all awful, horrible, unredeemable people. People make mistakes, shit gets complicated, and honestly, until you (or, you know, your good friend...) has been there, it's awfully easy to judge... Just sayin'.

Anyway, LW4 may or may not be a horrible person, we just don't know. But he should break up with his GF and figure his shit out, including what led him to cheat and what kept him in a relationship where he wanted to cheat. Of course, easier said than done...(says my friend)

SexySadie

I love the bit about nobody ever being surprising about why it ends.

On the other hand, I really take issue with "once a cheater, always a cheater." Yes, there are some people out there who are serial-cheaters, have no self control, and would prioritize their own whims over the feelings and needs of their partners. HOWEVER, there are also people (like, uh, my good friend...) who have cheated on partners whom they dearly loved, but were confused or conflicted about their relationship, and they are not all awful, horrible, unredeemable people. People make mistakes, shit gets complicated, and honestly, until you (or, you know, your good friend...) has been there, it's awfully easy to judge... Just sayin'.

Anyway, LW4 may or may not be a horrible person, we just don't know. But he should break up with his GF and figure his shit out, including what led him to cheat and what kept him in a relationship where he wanted to cheat. Of course, easier said than done...(says my friend)

apb
apb

@SexySadie Once a cheater, aways a cheater is such BS. Was I a cheater? Yep. Did I stop being one? Sure did. People do shitty, selfish things, then realize they were shitty and selfish, and stop doing them. Age and experience can do their work. It's definitely a good idea to proceed with caution when you're dealing with someone you know has cheated, but coming from the other side of the table - past cheaters are also people with hearts and consciences and minds. And in fact - I am not proud of this, but it's true - I started a relationship with someone by cheating, and we stayed together for six years, during which I did not cheat on that person. Yes, it was terrible that it had to start that way, and I was young and stupid to have done so. But, "once a cheater, always a cheater" is just...oversaid and simply not true.

SexySadie

(crap sorry for the double post! I thought my comment got eaten...)

Waiting

If he cheats on the way in, he'll cheat on the way out.

---> I absolutely %100 learned this the hard way. In our astonishingly stupid and selfish youth, both myself and a former boyfriend cheated our way into a relationship with each other and then... cheated on the way out (him more than me, it's complicated but I'll own up to it). I have grown up and out of that pattern of behavior but I don't think he ever will.

Take heed, fair readers.

Susanna

Letter three?

O Married Dude! I needed this advice five years ago...

I'm Not Rufus

This Married Dude was excellent.

namtrung89hn

My marriagephobic, I-wanna-be-with-you-forever, I-don't-need-the-piece-of-paper ex just got engaged to someone he's known a year. So LW should be ready for that possibility as well because it's a cliche for a good reason. Thiet ke profileI wish like hell I'd gotten out of that relationship sooner. Dude totally scarfed my late 30s.

Melusina

Does anyone else get the feeling that LW3's dude has certain...aspirations about getting married? In the sense that he is not so much opposed to marriage as that his idea of 'wife material' is someone who is higher up the social ladder, or looks like a model, or is idealized/Stepfordian in some other way? It's certainly what I'm getting from his comment about broken homes. If that is the case, LW3, it's time to break up, and you're better off without this juicebox.

j-furr

LW2, first and formost meet his parents! if they have a good marriage that is a really good sign,I know this doesnt sound particularily girl powered, but there are some nice dudes out there, if he learned it from the right place thats a good start for a relationship with you right?

astrangerinthealps

I don't envy any of the marriages I know, except for one decades-long couple that are still schmoopy like teenagers celebrating their monthaversary. Their secret is simple: have plenty of money (which you share entirely) and stable but stimulating jobs, and never appear to age a day past 25 (except that the man's hair may turn gray). Easy, right?

Mera

LW2, I highly recommend reading anything by John Gottman (or even just start by looking for "four horsemen of the relationship apocalypse" on youtube). His relationship advice is based on research with actual married couples and is practical rather than hokey. It's not "Men are from mars..." cheesy either. I'm such a fan girl. I don't believe in relationship predestination. Obviously there are some couples that are doomed from the start, but there are behaviors that can hurt even good relationships. The bad ones can be unlearned and replaced with good.

spacevalkyrie

I'm coming in here, over a week after this has been posted, just to say that I think this is the foxiest Married Dude so far. Yowza! What a lucky Married Lady he has!

Xa Hoi@facebook

Primal Burn - Paleo Burn Fat Burner System Review Does it Work? ... Primal Burn Fat Burner System is based upon health and weight loss information obtained from ...

vikku

I have been studying this topic for a long time. You have provided great information in your post and some things I have not seen in other content I have read by others.

wpm test

Vishal Kumar@facebook

We are currently researching for a thesis and we have been exploring your blog for some days. Thank you for your post it is handy for us.
how to write a maid of honor speech

mikealbert

Thanks for sharing this so interesting post! I really want to be thankful for the way you have putted it here
ssc results 2014

mikealbert

Thanks for sharing this so interesting post! I really want to be thankful for the way you have putted it here
ssc results 2014

Post a Comment

You must be logged-in to post a comment.

Login To Your Account