Dear Prudence: I was falsely accused of rape.

Advice on manners and morals.
July 7 2011 7:33 AM

An Innocent Man

An ex-girlfriend falsely claimed I raped her. How do I reveal this hurtful incident to future love interests?

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Dear Seething,
I know your question is how you deal with your anger about the sexting seductress at the office. But you tell me you are 27 years old and are facing a long road of recovery because your boyfriend of only two years didn't have the judgment to realize, "She's young, she's sexy, and she's one major nut job." So there you are playing out this psychodrama: months of you having breakdowns so that he can demonstrate, in a smarmy fashion, just how patient and caring he is. To me, this relationship sounds like a dreary slog for everyone concerned. It would be one thing if your boyfriend had come to you to confess he'd slipped and had a stupid one night stand with this co-worker and deeply regretted it. But you "found out" that he was cheating on you, which implies this was an ongoing relationship only ended through your discovery of it. You two aren't married, you don't have kids, so I'm wondering why this mess seems worth all the work. As for the question of your anger, it's good for you to recognize that it feels out of control. Unfortunately, we can't just pluck out the distressing parts of our psyches as if pulling out a screwworm. Perhaps instead of trying to figure out a way to feel less rage toward this young woman, you should spend some time with a counselor understanding your own anger. You're a human being, so you'll never be fully free of wretched feelings, but you shouldn't live in fear of them descending on you. Maybe working on yourself will allow you to go forth and be in less wretched relationships.

—Prudie

Dear Prudence,
I am pleased New York is legalizing gay marriage. I have supported gay rights for years and am proud that we are striving for a more equal America. Last night my family was watching a movie and there was a wedding scene. My 3-year-old son asked, "Who's getting married?" It occurred to me that I'm not sure what to say to him about a man marrying a man or a woman marrying a woman. I want my son to understand the world in which we live, but I think it could be too confusing an issue to introduce the new paradigm.

—Who's on the Cake?

Dear Cake,
This came up for me a few years ago when my favorite section of the Sunday New York Times, the wedding announcements, started carrying same-sex weddings. I had the paper open on the dining room table and my then-elementary-school-aged daughter walked by and her eye was caught by a photo of two men. She pointed and said, "Mom, what's this one?" It was easy to explain to her that while most weddings are between a man and a woman, sometimes they're between two men or two women. She realized she already knew something about this, since she'd gone to school with kids who had two dads or two moms. What she'd never seen evidence of before was a same-sex wedding. But absorbing this "new paradigm" took only a few questions and a few minutes. Your son is just 3 years old, so there's no need to explain to him the fine points of the legalization of gay marriage. In the coming years he'll see that families don't always consist of a father and mother, because many of his classmates will have single parents, and a few will have same-sex parents. Because you are perfectly comfortable with this fact, you'll be able to follow his lead and answer what questions he has. And if he seems anxious about this, it may just be that he wants reassurance that his family is going to remain the way it already is.

—Prudie

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More Dear Prudence Columns

"Financial Affairs: I want to bequeath money to my mistress in my will. Is that wrong?" Posted March 24, 2011.
"A Fool for Love: My wife is super hot but dumb. How can I make the best of our union?" Posted March 17, 2011.
"I Can't Relate: My estranged half-sister wants to get to know me, but I'm afraid my parents won't approve." Posted March 10, 2011.
"Diamonds Aren't a Girl's Best Friend: My ex is blackmailing me for sex. How can I get out of it?" Posted March 3, 2011.

More Dear Prudence Chat Transcripts

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"This Baby Shower Is a Wash: Dear Prudence advises a reader who thinks her brother impregnated his girlfriend to steal her own baby's thunder—in a live chat at Washingtonpost.com." Posted March 21, 2011.
"Teacher Gone Wild: Dear Prudence advises a schoolteacher caught on tape acting a drunken fool—in a live chat at Washingtonpost.com." Posted March 14, 2011.
"Dead Letters at the Office: Prudie counsels an office worker who found love letters while cleaning out the desk of a recently deceased colleague that are not from her widower—and other advice-seekers." Posted March 7, 2011.
"Nightmare Vacation: Prudie counsels a reader who regrets her promise to take an ailing family member to Disneyland—in this week's live chat." Posted Feb. 28, 2011.

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