Advice on morals and manners.

Advice on morals and manners.

Advice on morals and manners.

Advice on manners and morals.
Jan. 23 2003 11:43 AM

To Nag or Not To Nag

9_dearprudence_01

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.)

Dear Prudence,

I have been married for a year now and am having a lot of trouble getting my husband to share the housework. We both work full-time. Right now he takes out the garbage, mows the lawn, and shovels the snow. I do everything else (cooking, cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping, caring for the cats). I really don't want to be a nagging wife, so usually I ask him to do something once or twice and then I drop it. I always phrase it like, "When you have time ..." or "sometime this week, would you please ..." but nothing gets done. If I ask any more times, then I'm nagging or wanting things done on "MY timeline." I tried making a list of chores for the week (the list was ignored), setting aside time on the weekend to do chores together (he was too tired or too busy to help), and I've also gone on strike. (He didn't notice, and the house got really dirty.) I'm at my wit's end! Marriage counselor? Maid service? Separate bedrooms? P.S.: Is there also a way to get a man to put the roll of toilet paper on the holder, or am I really out of line with that one?

—Wit's End, Chicago

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Dear Wit's,

Your tough luck that your guy not only won't pitch in, he doesn't notice when things don't get done. It's possible he could be passive-aggressive about sharing the housework. Or he could have that lunatic idea that no woman is going to tell HIM what to do. Or he believes that men shovel snow and take out the garbage, period. If you can afford a cleaning service, by all means, do that. If you think there are reasons, beyond the obvious, why he won't pitch in, try a counselor. If you are so furious at his unwillingness to help out that you want to sleep separately, try that. One of these approaches has got to make you feel better. As for replacing toilet paper and putting it on the holder, Prudie is not discussing anything having to do with toilet paper. Just the question of which way to hang the roll haunted Prudie's mother for years.

—Prudie, exasperatedly

Dear Prudence,

A friend who's been on a spiritual journey for years invited me to participate in a group of "Christian friends." Since I recently returned after several years abroad, my friend thought it a good way to rebuild my social life with "like-minded" people. This group is under the influence of a self-appointed "evangelist" with dubious credentials. Personally, I strongly disagree with many of this man's theological and societal stances, particularly his sexist opinions on women. Unfortunately, my friend has been trying to include me in several social gatherings where this "evangelist" is also present. What disturbs me most is that my friend has shared many details of my personal life with this man, who is almost a full stranger to me ... and he allegedly made sarcastic comments about my lifestyle. I eventually told my friend I preferred not to see this man again. She was hurt and accused me of being hypocritical because I did not want to confront the evangelist directly. Personally, I don't think I owe this self-appointed guru any explanations. How can I get out of this painful situation in an elegant way?

—Confused Friend

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Dear Con,

Forget elegant, cupcake. Just lop it off with your fatuous friends and the faux reverend ... no explanations necessary. Not only does "the evangelist" sound like a charlatan, but any soi-disant man of God who remarks sarcastically on another's lifestyle is immediately suspect. And because he has committed the sin of snide, you certainly get to excise him from your social life. As for your friend who talks too much, her judgment and discretion make her sound not all that friendly.

—Prudie, huffily

Dear Prudence,

My husband and I have been married almost two years. Although I have never shared my body with any other man in any way, I was caught flirting with an older man. Now my husband has absolutely no trust in me at all—even though in my mind I never cheated on him. I have no life, no friends, can't go anywhere. He checks the phone bill, goes through my wallet, and treats me like a criminal. I'm living in my own little jail cell. I've tried everything to make it up to him, although I'm not sure what I'm trying to "make up." I love my husband more than anything in the world. I would never be with anybody else. How can I fix this? Will I ever have a life again?

—Harmful Flirt

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Dear Harm,

He will have to forgive you and stop being a parole officer, or you'll have to call it a day. As it is now, you are being punished by your partner for making eyes at a gent at a party. Not to put too fine a point on it, but there are people who are married who flirt all the time—with nothing taking place beyond the flirting. A counselor would surely help with your husband's jealousy quotient as well as his need to be the disciplinarian-husband. And need help he does.

—Prudie, adultly

Dear Pru,

I'm 19 years old and in a committed relationship. We've discussed marriage a few times, and it's a definite possibility. We love each other very much, and although we've had a somewhat rocky, on–and-off relationship, I think that we're right for each other. There is really only one thing making me hesitant. I'm bisexual and really want to be able to be with other women. My boyfriend and I had a threesome once with another girl. He seemed enjoy it VERY much and said he wanted to try it again. I was thrilled because it was the best sexual experience I'd ever had. But a few months ago, when I brought the subject up of trying it again, he refused, saying that he doesn't want to share me again and he thought I enjoyed it too much. Is there any way to put my bisexual tendencies to rest? I would really love to be with another woman, but I love my boyfriend and don't want to jeopardize what we have. Still, so much of me just wants to try new things.

—Love vs. Lust

Dear Love,

Prudie thinks you mean you want to try new people.The good news, though, is you are 19 and don't have to make a decision, now, about anything. As for putting your bisexual tendencies "to rest," sexuality does not respond to commands, like telling a youngster to go to sleep. It sounds as though an attraction to women is pretty much part of your makeup. However ... life is choices, and you can decide whether or not your beau means more to you than lesbian sex. All your options remain open to you. Take some time, and make an emotionally informed choice.

—Prudie, patiently