Advice on morals and manners.

Advice on morals and manners.

Advice on morals and manners.

Dear Prudence has moved! You can find new stories here.
Advice on manners and morals.
Oct. 2 2003 9:16 AM

Give Your Dog the Boot


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

Dear Prudence,

I have been seeing a man for the past three and a half years. Our homes are in different states. Since he works in my state, he stays with me during the week and goes back to his home on the weekends to spend the weekends with his dog. He seldom brings the dog to my home during the week. On the occasions that he brings the dog to my home, we do not get along at all. I seldom go to his house on weekends because I feel I am ignored because of the dog. We have only had sex twice at his place without the dog being present. The first time, I refused to have sex with the dog present, so he parked her crate outside of the bedroom door so that she could see him. She howled the whole time. The second time, I closed the door, and she threw her body against the door the whole time we were in the bedroom. On the occasions I have given in and allowed the dog to be present in order to keep the peace, she has literally tried to participate. He actually gets up during sex to let the dog outside. This dog takes priority over anything in my boyfriend's life. This dog is allowed to do anything she likes, without ever being scolded. My boyfriend is going to change jobs in the near future and stay home full-time. He is very upset with me because I am refusing to move to his house and live with him there. I just cannot see myself living with that dog full-time. I hate her, and so does everyone else. As I see it, I have two choices. I can either break off our relationship, or learn to live with that dog. I am leaning toward breaking off the relationship. HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!


Dear R.,

Prudie is sorry to have to break it to you, but your boyfriend is nuts, and his dog thinks she's his girlfriend. If ever a pooch needed Prozac and a doggie psychiatrist, it is this one. Your man is so fixated on the hound that it is amazing you have lasted three and a half years. What on earth do you need him for? It's clear the animal doesn't want you around, and since that's who's calling the shots, tell your dog-lover au revoir.


—Prudie, immediately

Dear Prudie,

My husband and I have been married for five years and hoped to start a family. We've been unable to, however, because of fertility problems. We are both very reserved people and while social and chatty, we don't reveal much about our infertility battle except to close friends and family. Despite that, we have had to deal with: 1) a dear friend and neighbor who pestered us so much about having children that I finally told her about our problem. Now she repeatedly brings it up in front of others. She ruined our last weekend by asking about test results in front of other neighbors. I refused to answer, and we left 20 minutes later. 2) My mother-in–law, who tells her entire extended family each and every thing that happens. 3) A brother-in-law who will not respect our boundaries. He and his wife push for details every time we talk. I can't tell you how hard it is to deal with not bring pregnant while also fending off nosy people. We've stopped talking to even close family members about the situation. But that doesn't seem to stop some of them, who keep asking and making dumb quips like, "you won't be young forever" or "well, at least you've got a great career." Can you please offer me a polite way to ask people to back off—as well as reminding your readers that infertility is deeply personal battle?

—Mrs. H.

Dear Mrs.

Prudie would like to say a word about people who pry into this particular matter. The word is "gauche." You get points for wishing to be polite, however, because a lot of people would simply tell the inquisitors to take a hike. Since the people in your life have adopted the Energizer bunny approach to your medical problem, you might try saying something like, "We have decided that our reproductive progress is something we discuss only with our doctor." Good luck.


—Prudie, privately

Dear Prudence,

Let me start by saying I love reading your column; your advice is great. Here's my problem (and I know it's mine): I am increasingly frustrated by the people around me. I've never thought of myself as a perfectionist, but it seems that, lately, nothing is satisfactory to me. The people I deal with at work and even some of my friends are starting to drive me crazy. Whether it's the friend who is married to a man who shows her no respect (she complains a lot but does nothing about it), or the co-worker who can't seem to manage her time, or the people who drive poorly, I feel like I'm surrounded by idiots. I'm no genius, Prudie, and I'm pretty sure that everyone around me is not completely stupid. I am just finding it harder and harder to comprehend and deal with feeling so critical about so many things. Should I just see a shrink and get on Prozac?

—Going Nuts

Dear Go,

For what it's worth, there have been periods in Prudie's own life when she, like you, has been annoyed with people who do things she wouldn't do, who tolerate unacceptable behavior, or who generally behave like dolts. Prudie has also had murderous thoughts about bad drivers and animosity toward total strangers. You are not nuts. Such times, however, are a reflection of general malaise and possibly an emotional device for looking outward instead of inward. When your own life is going well and you are feeling content, odds are pretty good that the rotten drivers and goofy people will elicit no more than a raised eyebrow from you … which is not to say that talking out your discontent with a therapist would be a bad idea. It is easier to mind your own business when your life is full and happy.


—Prudie, sympathetically

Dear Prudence,

I like our yard to look nice, and mowing the grass is good exercise. HOWEVER, what do you think of a husband who not only doesn't thank me for mowing the grass but criticizes me for not mowing in the exact type of rows that he prefers?

—Getting Clipped

Dear Get,

Here's what Prudie thinks: It's an age-old custom that he who finds fault with his wife's lawn mowing gets the job for himself … with permission to do it in any type of rows that he likes. Prudie would, further, satirically apologize for lacking his gramineous skills. (That has to do with grasses, kids.) Oh, and be prepared to possibly make your way through knee-high weeds and dandelions.

—Prudie, agriculturally