Advice on morals and manners.

Advice on morals and manners.

Advice on morals and manners.

Advice on manners and morals.
April 10 2003 10:45 AM

It's a Family Affair

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.)

Prudie,

Recently, my mother passed away. I live more than 1,000 miles away and couldn't make it home for the funeral. The problem is that when I went online to read the obituary, it said that my mom had five daughters, not four. What happened was that the woman taking care of her as she got sicker was having an affair with my dad, and she was called a "daughter" in the obituary. My mother expressed to me many times that she didn't like this woman, but my dad wanted to keep her, for obvious reasons. Well, I called my dad and told him that I thought it was cheap and that he was a pig for doing such a thing with the obituary. He told me all my brothers and sisters, and even my mom's family, thought it was a good idea. My brothers and sisters knew he was having an affair with her, and now they think it is OK to write that this girl was a sibling? My brothers and sisters think that I was wrong and I shouldn't have said anything to our father. I don't think I am wrong in the least bit, and if he asks for an apology, I won't give it to him. He is almost twice her age.

—Burned Up

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Dear Burn,

If you know for a fact that your sibs OK'd this nonsense, then they AND your dad are all whack jobs. You're either a child or you're not, and the caregiver/girlfriend certainly is not. The age difference, of course, is charming. And boy, it's really true: There's no fool like an old fool. Prepare yourself, dear, for the possibility that this woman will wind up in the paper again—on the wedding page.

—Prudie, empathetically

Dear Prudie,

I have been dating a man for almost three years. We live an hour and a half apart but see each other once a week. About six months ago, I found out that my "boyfriend" was seeing someone else. I confronted him, and he said he would end the relationship. All's well, right? No. On one of our "get-togethers," I found a ring in his pants pocket. I asked him about it, and he said he found it outside. I called his house the following day, but no one answered, so I left a message. I became suspicious and did some checking. I found out that he got married two weeks ago to the girl he was cheating on me with! I called one of his siblings right away, and she told me that his mom got my message and asked him about it, and he told the family that we broke up for good two days before the wedding! That's not all. She's also pregnant. I'm crushed! My "boyfriend" and I have another "get-together" in a couple of days. What do I do? Do I confront him with all I know? Do I inform the wife of our "get-together" less than two weeks after they were married? Do I continue to see him?

—Desperately Seeking Answers

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Dear Des,

Unless you need a building to fall on you, the situation is quite clear—and it did not resolve in your favor. Whether he got trapped by baby or not, he's a two-timing sleaze, and you are well rid of him. If you have the stomach for it, at your "get-together" you might hand him a wrapped package of, perhaps, baby booties and tell him to get permanently lost. Skip telling the unfortunate new wife. And Prudie thinks she's answered your question about whether or not to continue seeing him.

—Prudie, amazedly

Dear Prudence,

I did something bad. My girlfriend of three years is very tired of her current employer. In her efforts to apply for a new position, a reply was sent by one company rejecting her resume. Now I have had rejections like "we filled the position," "we felt you were under qualified" —the usual "try to let you down easy" replies. Well, the reply to my girlfriend's application was rude and upsetting. She called me at work, and I could hear in her voice how upset she was about the comment. She forwarded it to me, and it read, "Your resume contains too many errors to forward to the president for consideration." Now we are both college graduates, are literate, and have had classes on how to model and word our resumes. Even I felt upset by this response, so what did I do? I responded to the person who replied to my girlfriend. I wasn't rude, exactly, but I said this was rude and patronizing and that I hoped they treated their customers better than potential employees. I admitted that I did this, and now I am in the doghouse. What can I say or do to get out? I was only sticking up for her. (Oh, and I used her e-mail to send it.)

—St. Bernard

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Dear Saint,

Well, of course you used her e-mail to send it. Yours would have meant nothing. As to how to exit your canine quarters, point out to her that because she had already been turned down, the situation was one of no harm, no foul. The best possible result might be that whoever is writing those letters will try a little harder for the let-them-down-easy approach. She has to know you were trying to stick up for her. And not sure if you should say this, but Prudie thought your gesture kind of sweet. Promise to behave in the future, admit you overstepped, wag your tail, and things ought to be back to normal in no time.

—Prudie, contritely

Dear Prudence,

I am dismayed about the lack of morals of the people who sometimes write to your column, and you don't seem to point that out. Recently you responded to a person called "
Sleep-Deprived." In your answer you started out saying, "Your boyfriend is an oaf, and the boarder is a clod." You should have said, "Your boyfriend is an oaf, the boarder is a clod, and you are a slut." The truth is no one involved here has good moral character, and, that being said, you missed the real issue. First of all, the boyfriend is the owner, but the roommate is the renter. The girl (Sleep-Deprived), even though she said, "I am not a freeloader in this picture, mind you. I am responsible for my share of the bills," did not say that she pays rent. In this case she has no rights, but the tenant does. Unless the rental agreement said differently, the tenant has the right to entertain in his room, and no one has the right to make him move to another room. I would suggest that she moves to the back bedroom, or better yet move out and stop giving it away.

—Sincerely Dismayed

Dear Sin,

My, my, we are judgmental, aren't we? What about the woman's rights as a significant other? Unless there is an egregious lapse, Prudie would not label a writer as immoral. Not too many people, in this day and age, would put adult, unmarried couples living together in that category, anyway. You are a prig, sir, and Prudie would also guess a lawyer.

—Prudie, realistically