Advice on manners and morals.

Advice on manners and morals.

Advice on manners and morals.

Advice on manners and morals.
Oct. 13 2005 10:31 AM

The Baby Quandary

Should you have a child if your partner isn't willing?

9_dearprudence_01

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

Hello,
I'll get straight to the point. I just found out that I'm pregnant. When I told my fiance about it he was upset and totally negative about having a child. He said the timing is bad, he'd have to get another job, it would interfere with current projects and priorities (he's a musician), and there's no way we can afford another child (we have two boys). I was devastated to hear him react this way. What should I do? I want to have the baby and he's totally against it. Should I leave a man like this or are his reasons valid? Am I being unreasonable for wanting to have a baby even though we are struggling financially? Please help!

—Confused

Dear Con,
This a tough question, even for Prudie. There are so many things to consider. An unwanted child is problematic in any situation. Having the baby may alter your future significantly—especially because you are not married to this man. If things are rocky now, an addition to the family will not improve the situation. You need to be realistic about being able to provide for another child, and you must consider whether deciding not to have (or to keep) this child will irrevocably change your feelings about the father. It sounds as if another baby would almost certainly make him an unwilling partner. These are just some of the things to think about as you move to a decision. This is nothing Prudie, or anyone, can decide for you. Good luck listening to you heart and your conscience with, one hopes, a realistic ear.

Advertisement

—Prudie, contemplatively

Dear Prudie,
I have read many of your columns and never thought one of the questions might actually come from me, but here goes. My ex-husband and I were divorced four years ago due to many differences, but mainly his infidelity. We have two young children together and have joint custody, so we're in contact almost daily. Two years ago he remarried, and I recently discovered he is having an affair on wife No. 2 with another married woman. My question is, do I confront my ex, tell his wife, or just stay out of it since it is no longer my problem? I would hate for my children to watch another divorce since they do like their stepmother, but I also know how it is to be on the wife end of things when your husband is cheating, and I wished someone had told me earlier instead of feeling humiliated and embarrassed that I didn't see it.

—On the Fence

Dear On,
What a mess—but happily, not yours! Your fidelity-challenged ex is a skunk, granted, but 1) your confronting him would have no effect, and 2) you are the wrong person to clue in his current wife. Trust Prudie, it would be misunderstood. This woman will most likely find out the same way you did. As for your main concern, your children, whether or not they witness another divorce will not hinge on anything you might or might not say. (Human) nature will take its course.

Advertisement

—Prudie, abstinently

Dear Prudie,
In October of 2004, I had a gastric bypass, a necessary step when weighing 320 pounds and being only 5 feet tall. It has been one of the best things that's ever happened to me, and so far I've lost 115 pounds. Not all my closest family members are aware that I had surgery, only my parents and one sister. It's not that I want to hide it, per se; I just feel it is a personal thing that I don't particularly feel like discussing with everyone I meet. Needless to say, the change is remarkable. I look like a totally different person and get many compliments. Some people haven't even recognized me at first! Some people say how great I look, while others go further and ask, "How did you do it?" I recognize the curiosity factor. I probably would ask the same thing were I in their place. I usually respond, "I eat less and exercise more," which I feel is truthful. Some people, however, have been very persistent in asking questions. Any suggestions on what I can say that will be polite but still end the conversation so we can talk about other things?

—Shrinking Daily

Dear Shrink,
There are different ways to consider your question. As a rule, no one owes a casual acquaintance an explanation for anything. The subject of weight, however, has become a national obsession. Even Prudie, noticing a friend looking markedly more svelte, will ask, "How did you do it?" It might be helpful to the questioner if you just said—because your appearance has changed so drastically—that you had the gastric bypass. A famous friend of Prudie's tells anyone and everyone that the way he dealt with his problem was surgery. You might even give hope to someone who might be considering the procedure. (Of course, this is only possible for the grossly overweight. Someone with 20 extra pounds on his caboose is not eligible.) Should you feel the need to be vague, just say, "I've been working on it." This will be true as far as it goes, only omitting that some of the work was done in an operating room. Your situation reminds Prudie of when a middle-aged celebrity babe had extensive surgical work done some years ago, there were press inquiries about why her face looked so different. Her spokesman said she was using different makeup. In other words, at some point certain things are so obvious that your life might be easier if you just spoke the plain truth.

Advertisement

—Prudie, factually

Hello, Prudie,
I'm getting married in December to the most loving and kind guy I've ever known. I consider myself an attractive woman who is usually attracted to the unattractive guy. This is because I think the unattractive men are usually the sweetest for the reason that they think they don't have anything else going for them but their personality. The point of this letter is that my fiance has adult acne. We've never talked about it, except once when he wasn't aware he was talking about it. (He'd just taken a sleeping pill and was practically drunk from it.) I know it embarrasses him, but I just don't know how to address it. I know he's dreading wedding pictures and meeting all of my family, especially if he still looks like a teenager with raging hormones. (He's 25.) I want to help him but I also don't want to embarrass him. He is very comfortable around me and I don't want him to think, "Is she looking at my zits?" every time I look at his face. Help!

—Worried Bride

Dear Wor,
Your lovely guy knows he has acne, so you will not be breaking the news to him. It is a little surprising that he has not tried to deal with this before, because there are different ways to improve or eliminate acne, all starting with a dermatologist. Because of the wedding, tell him you want both of you to look your best, and suggest he see a skin doc because you know there are meds or procedures for acne. Then announce that you are going to lighten your hair/drop five pounds/whatever. Have a terrific wedding party.

—Prudie, strategically