Listen to a radio version of this piece on NPR's Day to Day.
I'd like your advice on how to handle a delicate situation. On my wedding day, the maid of honor appeared at the wedding nearly two and a half hours AFTER the ceremony was to have started, claiming to have been "lost." I saw this woman the night before, quite inebriated and barely able to stand. I find it hard to believe she was "lost." The trouble is that my wife wishes to continue being friendly with this person and insists that I do the same, holding back my annoyance at what I consider to be a wholly unacceptable gaffe. I suppose I have two questions. First, am I reasonable in refusing to be friendly with this woman? And second, if I must be in her company, how shall this faux pas be addressed? The wedding was three months ago.
The maid of honor sounds lost, all right ... most likely in a drunken reverie. If this person has been stone-cold sober on all other occasions, then you should accommodate your wife and chalk it up to one unfortunate episode and let it go. If she is habitually "lost," then your avoidance of her indeed seems reasonable. And either way, your displeasure need not be addressed at all. Given the particulars, it is your wife who should be put out—and she isn't. Go figure.
I am 22 and recently met a 27-year-old man who seems to be wonderful. (I say "seems" because I've only known him a week.) He is attentive, has called me every day since we met, and genuinely seems to want to get to know me. My problem is that, in conversation, the subject of prostitution came up. I can assume from what he told me that he slept with prostitutes during his Navy days. This of course was an uncomfortable subject for him, and he didn't want to talk about it. I didn't push, but it bothers me. Granted, my past isn't exactly sparkling either, but I've never slept with someone in a foreign country for money! I also realize that what he did before me has nothing to do with me and, frankly, is none of my business. But it still bothers me. Should I just let it go and continue to try and have a relationship with him?
Prudie doesn't wish to seem overly permissive, but commerce with the world's oldest profession, while in the military, is not the worst thing she can think of—assuming the man is unmarried, of course. And you point out that YOU have never slept with someone in a foreign country for money. My dear, if you had, that would not be analogous to your new friend's situation at all. In the case you speak of, it is far better to be a buyer than a seller. So, yes, let it go and continue to see how the relationship develops.
For the last few months, I have been contemplating writing you about this, and now I've decided that it can't hurt to seek advice. In my head I've been saying that it's none of my business, but that has been very hard lately. This has to do with my fiance's mother, "Jane," and the two men in her life. "Bob" and Jane went out for about 10 years. Bob is an alcoholic, a serial philanderer, and an all-around jerk. Why did Jane stay with him for 10 years? Bob is really rich. That just about sums up the type of person Jane is. So six months or so ago, Jane dumped Bob for cheating on her once too often and met "Joe." Joe is an incredibly nice man who is caring, attentive, loving, and fun. And when you see Jane and Joe together, they really seem happy. The problem Jane has with Joe is that he has a blue-collar job; he's an everyday Joe, if you will, and not able to provide the lifestyle Jane is used to and wants. Joe thinks Jane is a perfect angel, and he has proposed. Jane, however, is still talking with Bob, dating Bob, and Bob has proposed to her since Joe's proposal (apparently out of jealousy). Joe has no idea about the other man. I hear all this because Jane feels that since I'm to be her new "daughter," she can tell me everything. I am trying to be the nice future daughter-in-law and listen, but I also want to tell her that Bob is a jerk; that if she marries for money, she'll be miserable; and that Joe is wonderful. What I can't say to her is that I think she's a terrible person and I HATE that she is doing this to someone as nice as Joe. More then once I have had the urge to tell him, "Run!" I know it's not my place, but how can I let some poor man get his heart crushed like this?
—Saddened by What I Know
Any woman who is using a nice guy like Joe to extort a proposal from a philandering, alcoholic jerk does not seem likely to choose goodness over gold—or to listen to you. Your future m-i-l is a money-runner, so it's a safe bet she would not react well to any advice leading away from Fort Knox. Any woman who has spent 10 years with a skirt-chasing drunk already knows what it feels like. And do not fill Joe in about what you know. It isn't your place to tell him. It would surely make for an explosion in the family, and chances are 50-50 he wouldn't listen anyway. For whatever reason, people usually need to "discover" this kind of thing for themselves in order for it to be persuasive. It was perhaps for just such a situation as yours that the expression "Mind your own business" gained such popularity.
My problem is an annoying ex-girlfriend who does not get the clue that she will never be in the picture again with my boyfriend. She seems to think that my bf and I will not last (we've been together for two years now), and she constantly calls/e-mails/text-messages to let him know where she is or what she is doing. Recently, after graduating from college, she moved, so I thought my problems would be over. Wrong. Even after my bf told her it's over between them, she continues to keep in touch. He never returns any of the calls, has blocked her e-mail, and has discontinued her text messaging from his phone plan. Do I have any place contacting this nut of a woman and telling her to stop contacting my bf since she obviously is not listening to HIM? Engagement is on the way shortly, and I would rather not have her ruining anything in the future. Thanks for any advice that you may have.
It would do no good for you to contact Miss Won't-Take-No-for-an-Answer. It might even strike her as a small victory. While your bf may have told her it's over between them, has he told her, definitively, to stop contacting him? If he has—and she hasn't—then perhaps a change of phone number and e-mail address is in order. Even the most persistent of pests gives up the ghost with no encouragement.