Advice on morals and manners.

Advice on morals and manners.

Advice on morals and manners.

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Advice on manners and morals.
Feb. 21 2002 2:02 PM

Location, Location, Location

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My wife and I love each other very much, but we have a modern marriage dilemma. I am a magazine writer, so where I live is flexible. After we got married, I moved from New York to her city three years ago so she could take a job with a major newspaper. Over the years, she has thrived in this town while I have not. She has tons of friends through her work and is considered a star at her publication. On the other hand, I've felt more and more isolated working in a profession where most of my peers/friends live in New York and L.A. I feel I'm suffering both professionally and emotionally from our current location and would like to relocate. We have decided to have a child, but my wife refuses to move, even a couple of years after the child is born. She cites her stable job, 401k, and insurance as reasons to stay and argues I can do my job from here. However, I'm miserable. Our stalemate over our place of residence is threatening our marriage, which involves much love and laughter. Is it narcissistic to break up a marriage over location? (I will have lived in "her" city for five years by the time of our proposed move.)

—Stumped in a Major City Not New York, D.C., or L.A.

Dear Stump,

Prudie cannot mediate this because we all can't sit down and talk about it. Someone could, though, and that is what I am recommending. A neutral third party with psychological training could probably help you make headway with this sticky wicket. One could make the case that since she has all her ducks in a row and you are the free-lancer, you should get with the program and find a way to fit in, as she has done. One could also make the case that your emotional discomfort should figure in, and as in many "modern marriages," perhaps you should alternate towns so that each one has his or her shot. You see? This is too convoluted to settle here, so try to line up a couples' counselor and thrash this out. Your mentioning "much love and laughter" makes Prudie think there is definitely a suitable solution to the dilemma.

—Prudie, compromisingly


Dear Prudence,

I had a relationship with this guy and fell hard for him. After about six months into the romance, he realized he had homosexual tendencies. This is the second guy within the past 15 years. I had not dated after what happened 15 years ago. It was rough enough when it happened the first time ... this time it is not any easier. We worked very hard at it, and today the first one and I are very good friends. (I do not know how to remain friends with the second one.) How does one know if some wonderful gentleman has homosexual tendencies if he doesn't even know himself? I would like to avoid a third time, but I do not want to be so afraid that I will not dare to date for another 15 years.

—Gay Magnet!

Dear Gay,

A pretty good way to know if a gentleman hasn't chosen up sides is if he finds a million ways to avoid sex. Other little hints can be if he's more into clothes and hair than you are—yours or his—confesses he's been with very few women, admits to "wondering" about same-sex encounters, is all wound up with his mother, or a best buddy takes up a LOT of his time. But do keep in mind that these are not ironclad tip-offs. Lots of straight guys can have one or more of the preceding traits. And alas, sometimes a girl has no clue because, as you say, the man is heavily repressed or in denial. For heaven sake, though, please don't let there be another 15-year interval between candidates, else your next foray into the dating game will take place in an assisted-living facility. Do try not to be gun-shy because of your history, or you will become immobilized by the fear of hooking up with yet another friend of Dorothy. Chalk it up to two wrong picks, dust yourself off, and start all over again.

—Prudie, actuarially


Dear Prudence,

I have been living with a guy for two months, and I found out that he is still in touch with his last girlfriend. She is married and has told him that she cannot leave her husband for a couple more years. Anyway, he told me several times that he would stop e-mailing her so that he and I may grow in our relationship. I just found out that he is still writing her ... and now he says he cannot end it because he still loves her. He also says he is in love with me and doesn't want to lose me. Should I ignore his e-mail fling, or is it time to move on before getting too involved?

—Confused Female

Dear Con,

Sorry to ruin your day, hon, but Prudie thinks the moving on option is the right one. These guys who can't make up their minds are nothing but heartache, and why you would want to "share" his affections with a married ex is the question to ask yourself. Plus, when the married inamorata is free of her spouse—if ever—Prudie can guarantee you would not want to be around for that game of eeny-meenie-miney-mo.

—Prudie, surgically



A smoking friend of mine has a great response to people who
attack him for smoking. I saw him use it once in an airport lounge. A lady, ignoring about 30 empty seats, took one next to him at the bar. When he lit up, she began fanning away madly with her hands and telling him how gross smoking was. To which my friend quipped, "Madame, does it look to you as though I care about my own heath? What makes you think that I give a (insert expletive) about yours?" It worked!

—Impressed to Death (Ahem ...)

Dear Imp,

Well, of course it worked! It was both logical and profane—an unbeatable combination in the situation you describe. Prudie is not necessarily recommending profanity, mind you (though she has been known to turn the air blue, herself, on occasion).

—Prudie, conversationally