One of my co-workers is getting married, and not nearly for the first (or second!) time. This bride had her TWO bridal registries printed right on her invitations. At one registry Web site, no gifts were selected, but she is asking for gift certificates. The other registry is filled with expensive items. She has told everyone she and her beloved want all new things that they hadn't shared with a previous spouse. Now she is having a bridal luncheon/shower at the office. Each of us is expected to pitch in for food and bring a gift. I am a single parent, and money is tight. I have already gone in with two other single moms to purchase a nice wedding gift. We are being pressured to attend the shower (and not so subtly to purchase another gift). I thought that either a wedding gift or a shower gift was given, but not both. I've been told "times have changed," and a gift is expected for each. I would appreciate your clarification.
—Out-of-date and Out of Funds
While you may feel out-of-date and out of funds, this "bride" must be out of her mind. She printed her registries on the invitations? It would have been more expeditious to send a collection agency rep to each invitee, don't you think? Good taste dictates that more than two times out of the gate calls for the simplest of celebrations—and Prudie knows whereof she speaks. To lean on people for gifts (pricey ones, at that) and gift certificates with the explanation that "they want all new things" never touched by previous partners is wacky and nervy. Prudie hopes you will ignore the requests, resist the pressure, and encourage other browbeaten co-workers to do the same. The day of the office luncheon/shower sounds like the perfect day to go out for a salad.
My wife H. and I have been married for 13 years, and our sex life has deteriorated to almost nil. When we were unmarried lovers, we were very sexually active and had a wonderful sexual relationship. The last few years my wife has refused to engage in any sexual relationship whatsoever with me. I am a clean, healthy male, not overweight, and I take pride in my appearance, but all my wife wants is to use her vibrator and says no man can compete with that. She claims the climaxes she experiences with her vibrator are so fulfilling that sex with me is like washing the dishes. I am at my wits' end and almost tempted to start looking for sexual fulfillment elsewhere, but I love my wife and don't want to cheat on her. Please help me.
—Rebel With a Cause
Like washing dishes, huh? This is some loving lady. Prudie does not mean to sound hard-boiled, but you might ask the Mrs. if her vibrator is capable of earning a living and escorting her to parties? If this woman, who has seen to it that you've been celibate for "the last few years," cannot iron out this problem to everyone's satisfaction—i.e., yours—you need a regime change, then a therapist. She has made you a doormat. Enough of being the good schnook.
I am a longtime reader who has always found your advice to be smart, sensible, and a voice of reason. This is why I need your help now. My boyfriend and I have been dating for three and a half years; we are both 25 and currently live in separate cities. He recently graduated from college and signed a three-year contract at his first "real" job. We had originally planned to be long-distance during these three years and then move to a new city to "start our lives together." Recently I became fed up with my job and found what I think is a great opportunity in the city where he is now. I have an interview for this job, and every day leading up to this interview, my boyfriend has become more and more unexcited about this job opportunity for me—to the point where he is encouraging me to cancel the interview! I think this would be a great job for me and am looking forward to potentially getting a job offer that would not only bring me closer to my boyfriend, but would also be a great career move. But I cannot bring myself to go through with this job interview knowing I do not have my boyfriend's blessing. He offers a variety of reasons for me not to take the job, including he doesn't think I'll like the city he lives in (it's much smaller than what I'm used to), he thinks I'll "depend" on him too much since I won't have family nearby, etc., etc., etc. Should I go through with this job or stay put?
—Confused (and in Need of Prudie's Intervention)
The situation you describe doesn't sound promising. If you two were really in love, he wouldn't be trying to keep you out of town. Prudie's hunch is that there's something wrong with the relationship ... either he wants time without you from some sense of uncertainty or he's dallying with someone else. If the job is really appealing, take the interview—and maybe the job—and tell him you'd like a timeout from the relationship. What happens after that will tell you a lot. You are better off figuring this stuff out now rather than later. And Prudie promises you that this course of action will surprise him greatly.
I never thought I'd be writing you, although I enjoy your column. My question is: What is wrong with men? I was married well over 20 years and did the good-wife thing of forgiving and forgetting his affair, but I did tell him if he ever did it again, I would leave him. So I eventually did, four years ago. We have been divorced now two years. I didn't leave because I didn't love him anymore; I left him because I couldn't trust him anymore. It took two years to finally get our divorce because of him not showing up in court and stalling to get an attorney. I have watched him go through women, even breaking up the marriage of very good friends of ours, and it's like he doesn't have a care in the world. He is a totally different man than the one I married many years ago. I have no idea who he is these days. I guess he finally ran out of women here and decided to go on the Internet to find one. He writes to her for two weeks, and before you know it, she has moved in with him. My kids are in their 20s now and wondering what is wrong with dad. I have no idea why he just keeps going from bad to worse. Any clues?
My dear, Prudie would have no idea what's going on with this particular man, let alone "what is wrong with men." Let's just attribute the deficiencies of your particular ex to the alley-cat gene, deep immaturity, and the frat-boy "party on!" instinct. The good news, though, is that he is now the Internet lady's problem. Until he's not.