Advice on morals and manners.

Advice on morals and manners.

Advice on morals and manners.

Advice on manners and morals.
April 11 2002 2:01 PM

I've Fallen and I Can't Break Up

Get "Dear Prudence" delivered to your inbox each week; click hereto sign up.Please send your questions for publication to prudence@slate.com. (Questions may be edited.)

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Dear Prudence,

I have been going out with this guy for a year and eight months. I love him very much, but recently I've suspected he's not being honest with me. I think he is seeing someone else. Even though I confronted him and asked if I was right—he said no—I still have my suspicions. For the past several months, our relationship has changed dramatically. I don't know what to do. My feelings have changed, and I'm sure he can sense it. I've tried breaking up with him, but he turns around and says to me it's not over until he says it's over. Now what?

—Need Help Desperately

Dear Des,

Oh, really? Get this chap a sterling silver ego-holder. He has clearly taken that singing-fat-lady thing much too seriously. Prudie strongly suggests that you tell him and his control freakery to remove themselves from your life. When a lady says it's over, it's over. If he becomes belligerent about it, you have recourse to a restraining order ... in which case the police will tell him it's over.

—Prudie, fearlessly

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Dear Prudence,

My husband and I have been married for two years, and everything is fine between us, but he has a cousin who is also married who calls him to talk about his extramartial affairs. Although my husband says he tells him it is wrong, he has met some of the "other women" and can still look at his cousin's wife and smile like nothing is going on. The whole thing makes me question his morals. It's one thing to listen to those stories, but to have met the other women is another. Should I be questioning my husband's faithfulness? Because I am.

—Baffled

Dear Baf,

Your husband's fidelity need not be an issue because, so far as you know, HE has no collection of extracurricular women. Regarding the propriety of his meeting the cousin's paramours, let's put it this way: A first-class guy with integrity would not socialize with a married man and his bimbos. It is, alas, regrettably common for men to "introduce" their girlfriends to men friends, with nary a raised eyebrow. All you can do, as someone who cares about moral behavior, is take the high road, yourself. If given the chance, refuse to be in the company of these women.

—Prudie, honorably

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Dear Prudie,

I would like to know if looking at porn magazines and masturbating is considered a form of infidelity if it is kept from the other spouse. Is it common for a married man to do this even if he loves his wife and they have an active sex life?

—Confused

Dear Con,

Let's put it this way: One could not go into divorce court and name Penthouse a co-respondent. So, no, masturbating is not infidelity. Prudie is wondering how you are aware of this when "it is kept from the other spouse." In any case, a sex therapist confirmed to Prudie that flying solo is indeed possible with a man who both loves his wife and enjoys an active sex life adeux.

—Prudie, reassuringly

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Dear Prudie,

I hope "
Perfect ... Almost" sees this. Please stick to your guns! My fiance did the same thing to me. I wasn't comfortable with "swinging," but I gave in because I hoped it would make him happy. All I did was give him a license to cheat on me right in front of my face. What did I receive in return? Nameless men pawing at my body, late night talks with him going over how "great" it was, and my two favorites ... herpes and genital warts.

—Sharing Isn't Caring in St. Louis

Dear Share,

You have lived it, Prudie hasn't—though she agrees with you 100 percent. "Swingers" are emotionally stunted, strange people, and those who get roped into this way of life against their better judgment are fools. The "swingers" have all the qualities of dogs—except loyalty.

—Prudie, assuredly