Advice on manners and morals.

Advice on manners and morals.

Advice on manners and morals.

Advice on manners and morals.
Feb. 22 2007 7:27 AM

It's Raining Men

Should I tell any of the men I'm dating that they're not the only ones?

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Dear Prudie,
I am 24 years old and recently ended a three-year relationship. I was excited to get back into the dating world, and am of the opinion that a date is just that, and there's no harm in dating several people since it's unlikely things will progress further than a first date. I was wrong. I've been dating three men for the past month. There's "Todd," a divorcé with a young daughter; "Chris," an engineer; and "Matt," a graduate student. (I also recently met "Adam," a police officer, but we'll leave him out of this for now.)I'm a bit of a prude (pardon the expression), so nothing untoward has taken place with any of the three. However, when I met them I told each that I wasn't in a relationship. Technically, I'm still not, but I feel like I'm lying when I avoid telling them I'm dating other people. I feel horrible saying something vague like, "I'm having dinner with a friend," when one wants to make plans but I already have plans with one of the other two.I truly enjoy the company of each, and I'm not looking for another long-term relationship now. How do I—and should I—tell each that he's not the only one? I'm under the assumption that each thinks he is, and I'm the only woman each of them is dating. Am I just enjoying my newfound freedom too much? Or am I overthinking this whole situation?

—Struggling With Juggling

Dear Struggling,
It's raining men, hallelujah!But what makes you think that Todd, Chris, and Matt (and let's not forget Adam) aren't themselves singing these lyrics, "A little bit of Monica in my life/ A little bit of Erica by my side/ A little bit of Rita is all I need …"? While it's been an eventful month, there are only so many days in it, so you can't have seen any of these gentlemen enough to owe them a discussion of your status—and though you've made assumptions, you actually don't know theirs. So, just enjoy how this sitcom unfolds (and "I'm so sorry, I'm busy that night" is a good way to beg off). Surely, as you get to know Todd et al. better, some—or one—will emerge as more interesting to you than others. Naturally, I think it's good that you're a prude—remain so, because that will help thin the herd. And if you don't keep a diary, start one. Years from now this will be a gratifying episode to revisit.

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—Prudie

Dear Prudie,
I am a young minister, married for six years to a beautiful, vibrant, and energetic young lady. My wife has been at odds with my mother since we've been married, and says that my mother treats her badly when they're alone. I really can't believe that, because my mother has always been very accepting of her and several times has helped her out of big jams. My wife had a series of affairs three years ago, and my mother was her advocate during that entire exhausting ordeal. Yet my wife still seems to think that my mom is the evil influence behind all the things I do. My wife doesn't accompany me to family gatherings if they are at my parents house, and she is barely cordial to her in public (we are in ministry, so she feels obligated to be). There have been a couple of times during our marriage that she has yelled and screamed at my mom (in public!). I have a fabulous relationship with my in-laws, but I feel like treating her parents the same way she treats mine, just so she knows how it feels. Can you help me gain some perspective? We did do marital counseling together after the affairs for over six months, then I did six months of therapy on my own. She has never sought counseling for herself.

—Save the Drama for Someone Else's Mama

Dear Save,
Let's say a parishioner came to you with these problems: His wife cheated on him multiple times, and she abuses his lovely mother, whom she blames as the source of many of her problems. You might recommend all sorts of therapy, but as you listened, you'd be saying to yourself, "This guy is married to a crazy lady, and no matter what I recommend, this marriage is doomed." Your desire to be mean to her parents as a way of getting even is both juvenile and off the point—that point being that you are married to a lunatic. I'm going to assume you disagree with your wife's characterization that you do evil things and that your mother is the instigator. Of course you are disturbed at the way your wife treats your mother (and what's up with your mother that she's your wife's ardent defender?). But the real issue you have to gain perspective on is why you are staying married to this woman.

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—Prudie

Dear Prudence,
I am a 23-year-old woman with a liberal arts degree, who is working in a medical office. I'd like to be a doctor, but was not ready to make the commitment to a pre-med track while in college. I know that I have the drive and compassion to be a great doctor, but there's one problem. When I see blood drawn or IVs put in, I become faint. When I think about people (including myself) getting stuck with needles, it doesn't bother me, but for some reason, seeing it in real life makes my body shut down. Just last weekend, I watched my boyfriend get an IV and have some blood drawn, and I almost passed out. Giving up my dream of becoming a doctor for such a silly reason is ridiculous, but this makes me worry that I won't be able to cut it (no pun intended). Do you know of any programs or therapies for would-be doctors? Is this just something I need to try to get over if I really want to go into medicine? I don't want to become a doctor who just does research, I want to work with patients (possibly in pediatric oncology), but fear I'll pass out on them if I can even manage to get through med school.

—(Un)Bloody Mary

Dear Un,
My friend Dr. Kerry Foley, an emergency physician, can reassure you that a desire to become a doctor can overcome squeamishness. Once, when Kerry was in medical school, her brother was in the hospital with an eye injury. Kerry was with him when the doctor took off her brother's bandage, causing Kerry to pass out on her brother. While attending her first minor surgery, she also keeled over, which was a problem, as she was holding the light for the procedure. After that, she found she just started getting used to this stuff, and now calmly attends to dismembered people. Kerry says you'll probably get inured to the sights just as she did, but when you start your medical education, make sure there are chairs nearby. She also says a whiff of Vicks VapoRub can snap you out of an impending "neurocardiogenic syncope." And if you find you get through medical school still uncomfortable at the sight of blood, you can choose one of the less moist specialties, such as neurology or psychiatry. So, lay in a supply of Vicks and pursue your dream.

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—Prudie

Dear Prudence,
I'm currently a college student living in a residence hall with several hundred others. One of my peers recently posted the answers to a Spanish exam he had taken in the morning on a Web site for several other students to use, who were set to take the exam later in the day. Obviously what he did fits the bill of academic dishonesty. But should I take the next step and (anonymously) report him to the office of academic affairs? The site is there as plain as day for anyone in the world to see. I've taken the Spanish class they're in and it isn't a cakewalk, although with commitment and regular studying, it shouldn't be difficult for them to get an A. At the same time, there's a negative connotation to the word "snitch," and a certain stigma to it. Should I tell, or let it go?

Se Habla Español

Dear Habla,
Surely there's a bigger stigma to being a chivato than a timador (and since you took the course, you can tell if my attempt at Spanish is correct). Your classmate is a cheat and is violating the principles of honesty and trust on which a university runs. But there's no way to stop such violators unless the people who see them in action are willing to speak up and put a stop to it. If you had been about to take the Spanish exam and had done all the course work, you'd be furious that people who hadn't bothered to study got A's through fraud. Imagine how the professor would feel being duped this way. Don't let a jerk debase others' hard work and financial investment—go ahead and blow the whistle.

—Prudie