Hi gang! I decided to start an advice column. I’m like a snarkier Dear Abby for the millennial set. So, what’s first? The optimal amount of Pinterest boards? How badly did Marvel screw up letting go of Edgar Wright? Take it away, Anonymous!
I just got married and my husband turned out to be the complete opposite of who I thought he was. He cheated and possibly has a baby by another woman. He came clean after we got married. I feel like I was set up, because he knew I’d leave him if I knew before. What should I do? Forgive or divorce him?
Oh. Um… okay. Well… Did he decide to come clean after you got married unprovoked? Or did you present rising evidence against him before he had to? If he admitted to the cheating after you pressed him, then he saw what was coming and folded his hand before things blew up. After all, it’s going to be nigh impossible for him to hide the existence of another child. If the news came without warning, then it’s only slightly more heartening, but still awful.
You need to know that his unfaithfulness is not your fault. This did not happen due to any deficiency in yourself; rather, your husband has an issue he’s reluctant to address. I’ve seen some relationships move past this. I’ve seen others come to a grinding halt if the trust is irrevocably broken. There is no “right” move to make here, but I implore you to reevaluate your marriage. You’re going to have to confront yourself point blank and decide what’s important to you. You’ll need some distance and plenty of rumination.
It is absolutely fine if you still love him despite the infidelity and want to reconcile if you accept it was a moment of weakness. It is absolutely fine if you can’t ever trust him again and end the marriage if you decide this is a critical flaw in his character. But if you do stay with him, and he actually has fathered another child, then keep in mind that he will forever have a connection with that other woman and you’ll have to endure that. Best of luck whichever route you take.
Dear Josh, (bestower of knowledge)
My friend is dating someone who I feel is unsuitable and unhealthy for her. He displays the signs of someone overly controlling (i.e. he speaks for her, isolates her from her friends, and always has to be near her or have his arm around her in a way that says “I claim this”). He doesn’t get along with anyone we live with at all. The only reason we have not kicked him out is because he makes her happy. I don’t want her getting hurt in the long run but at the same time we can’t stand him. What should I do?
The unfortunate reality is that people we’re closest to will enter relationships we don’t agree with. You know her well enough to see the writing on the wall, and the conflict from the obnoxious boyfriend may implode them. Still, don’t actively voice your opposition to the relationship. Doubtless you already have, but I’d lay off on that until he does anything truly egregious. As a master of passive aggression, I’d probably leave the house whenever he’s around, just to stay my tongue. Otherwise, she’ll resent you.
I’ve had a partner nearly everyone had an issue with, and I didn’t appreciate the “I-told-you-so’s” when we finally broke up. The “you’re too good for hers” were equally grating; in hindsight the relationship wasn’t perfect, but despite the pain I didn’t regret it and it was (and still is) a meaningful experience for me. The only comment I appreciated after the fact was the simple “I’m sorry that happened” that I’d get from the people who knew me best.
So what you should do is support her. Avoid talking about him unless you have to, and even then in the gentlest words. If the relationship is doomed to fail, it will be through time, distance and growth. And if the time comes, just work on building her back up. Let your kindness guide you.
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