Advice on manners and morals.

Advice on manners and morals.

Advice on manners and morals.

Advice on manners and morals.
June 9 2005 6:05 AM

For Love or Money

What $100,000 can do to a relationship.

9_dearprudence_01

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Prudie,
I met a woman in 1999, we were immediately attracted to each other, and I asked if she was married. She said yes, but she was getting a divorce. From then to the present she has had one excuse after another why her divorce is being delayed. Her husband earns $200,000 a year, she stated early on, but the money was not an issue. I am a realtor who earns $100,000 a year. For the last six years, we have talked about our life together, and she's told me (and written in love letters) that she is in love with me, but her husband won't give her the money to get a divorce. She has three boys in college, and said her husband says she has to wait for a divorce. In the meantime, he's moved out and lets her live in the home they were living in together. Now she says I pressured her "too much" and that she wants to end the relationship and move on! I treated her with grace and respect, and we were compatible being intimate ... so, what happened? She must have written me over a hundred love letters, and if you read those letters you would ask: What changed her mind?

—Joe T

Dear Joe,
What changed her mind? Probably $100,000. For a girl who said money wasn't an issue, it was apparently enough of one that she wasn't able to call any of it her own in order to pay a lawyer. It also sounds as though she had buyer's remorse, finding it more fun to write love letters and meet secretly than to actually leave her husband and build a new life with you. The reality of what you two had planned all of the sudden didn't look so good to her. Prudie knows this sounds crazy, but don't take it personally. You were just there when she was looking for a little excitement. It would not be at all surprising if she and her husband reconciled—if he takes her back. This was an emotionally expensive lesson to learn, and Prudie is sorry you're feeling so bereft.

—Prudie, regretfully

Dear Prudence,
I'm stuck in an office with a co-worker who is driving me slowly insane. She's older than both my superior and I, so I don't know how to approach her about her behavior. She incessantly talks loudly to herself in high-pitched screeching cartoony voices, makes what I can only describe as "squirrel noises," and squeals like a stuck pig whenever she gets an e-mail/fax/etc. Moving desks, wearing headphones, or listening to music are not options. My friends are telling me to just ignore it, but to me this is like sitting next to a dentist's drill all day. I'm starting to really hate coming to work, though I do like my job. How do I get her to stop or get over it?

—Coming Unglued

Dear Come,
This girl sounds like she's escaped from the Disney animation department. Is there a chance she may be mentally disturbed? If she is just, um, shall we say, unconventional, then someone superior to her has to tell her that the sound effects are unsuitable for the workplace and must stop. As for your friends' advice to ignore all this, it is in no way possible to disregard a worker who talks to herself in cartoon voices, mimics a squirrel, and greets each incoming fax or e-mail with the sounds of swine. Good luck to you.

—Prudie, raucously

Dear Prudence,
My husband and I disagree on how our toddler should respond to adults when asked a question. We were both brought up in Southern Louisiana where respect to adults was always pretty high on the list. I'm 27 and a staunch supporter of "Yes, Ma'am" and "No, Sir." My husband is 32 and not so big on the "No, Sir." He says that not many male adults deserve the respect of being called Sir, but he will show respect by not responding with "Yeah" when asked a question. I'm trying to teach my 2-year-old to avoid the "Yeah" response entirely. To me, if those words of respect aren't added, it just screams "rude." My husband's OK with, "Yes, Ma'am and "No, Thank You," but we are at a standstill on how to address the males. Keep in mind that I still refer to my parents' friends as Miss Candy, Miss Debbie, Mr. Carl, Mr. John, etc. (I know the Miss is not the correct title, but that's just Southern.) So, what is the solution? If my father says, "Son, do you want to put on your shoes?" My son says, "Yeah." Then I normally say, "Yes, Sir," which he repeats, and my husband cringes. Is there another way to respond to a male with respect, other than to say, "Sir"?

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—Respectfully Yours

Dear Re,
While "Ma'am" and "Sir" do show a proper, if formal, upbringing, those niceties are definitely in decline. A nice midway point for you and your husband would be to teach your little boy to call people by their names. As a response to your father, for example, Prudie thinks, "Yes, Grandpa" would be perfect. (Though not a southerner, Prudie is with you on the inelegant "yeah.")

—Prudie, courteously

Dearest Prudence,
I am a return caller. You helped me out about a year ago and I now have another dilemma. I am 18-years-old and in my first year of college. I work full-time and go to school full-time, but I'm living with my grandmother for the semester. The duration of my stay was not specified by either one of us. Elements of the arrangement have led me to decide to move out when the semester is over. I discussed this matter with my boyfriend the other night, and we started talking about possible solutions. The one he seemed to favor most was to have us move in with two of his friends and one of their girlfriends. While I would love living with my boyfriend, and I get along great with the two friends, the girlfriend is another story. She has to be the constant center of attention, and just spending an evening with her irritates me. I've never mentioned this to my boyfriend before, simply because I don't want to cause a problem in our circle, and no one else seems bothered by her. My question is how can I let him know that this living arrangement would make me miserable and still not cause a rift? Thanks, Prudie.

—Between Homes

Dear Be,
Life is choices, my dear. You may have to weigh which is more important to you: living with your boyfriend or not being an audience member for this girl who craves the spotlight. … Unless, of course, you can steer him to another housing arrangement. This girl sounds problematic enough for you that you'll probably have to fess up to your main squeeze. As for how to do this, simply tell him you think a little of her goes a long way, and you're not sure you can live in that particular ensemble.

—Prudie, rift-aversely