Poor Parental Activity
My husband is leaving me for my 25-year-old daughter.
The big picture is a full-frontal nude of your girlfriend painted by her stepfather. I’m trying to understand how the tasteful portrait by the old guy of your beloved’s naked backside didn’t clue you in to the fact that she takes off her clothes and poses for him. That having his stepdaughter undress for him saves on model fees does not get this guy out of my trifecta of sordid stepfathers. I can’t help but wondering, as I’m sure you are, how that first session came to pass. You make no mention of your girlfriend’s mother. Maybe time and gravity have made her a less than ideal model in her husband’s eyes. But I’m trying to imagine her busying herself around the house while listening to her husband’s brush strokes as he renders her daughter on canvas. There seems to be a general lack of communication among all of you. But now that you’ve seen the artist’s oeuvre, it’s time you talked to your girlfriend about your discomfort. Tell her that posing nude doesn’t bother you, but it was concerning to you to realize she’s been a regular model for her stepfather. Then hear her out. And at least you don’t mention that the old guy likes to feature his work on the family’s Christmas card.
I am 27 years old and I live with my great boyfriend. The only odd thing in our household is that I still have a baby security blanket from when I was born. It is grey and tattered and is more of a knotted-up rag than anything else. I have always found comfort in rubbing the silk edges between my fingers when I am relaxing or going to bed. At first my blankey habit was a joke, but I think it is starting to skeeve my boyfriend out. I vowed to put it away for good, and hid it for six months, but have since unearthed it. I work from home and sometimes I hold it while I’m working. My boyfriend groans when he comes home and sees me pretending I wasn't just sitting with it, or when it finds it under our pillows. Part of me wonders why I can't break the habit. Another part thinks it just a piece of cloth and no big deal. Am I nuts?
—Too Old To Be Linus
I wish you could spare a few inches of blankey—I could use it today. Humans have always relied on amulets and talismans for the sense of comfort and protection they bring. When things get stressful, it sounds nice to be able to stroke a piece of a silky rag you’ve had your entire life. That you were able to put it away shows that you can function without it, but it’s not nuts to conclude that life is just better with a little piece of blankey by your side. Maybe your boyfriend has a “lucky” tie he always wears to important events, or has some little good luck charms on his desk or dresser. In any case, part of being in a great relationship is accepting each other’s harmless quirks and eccentricities. You can tell him that you’ve thought a lot about blankey, and that after discussing it with blankey, you and blankey both agree that blankey is staying with you.
Discuss this column with Prudie on the Dear Prudence Facebook page.
More Dear Prudence Columns
"Big Love: I met a great woman online, but I'm not attracted to her body type. Is our blooming connection doomed?" Posted April 21, 2011.
"I'll Have What the Toddler's Having: Dear Prudence advises a woman whose partner eats only unsophisticated kids' food." Posted April 14, 2011.
"Dating a Cyber Snooper: My boyfriend hacked into my email and now uses my sexual past against me. Should we break up?" Posted April 7, 2011.
"A War of Words: I'm proud of my Marine brother. What do I say when people denigrate the military?" Posted March 31, 2011.
More Dear Prudence Chat Transcripts
"My In-Laws Should Be Outlawed: Dear Prudence offers advice on overly critical, criminal-minded, and cringe-worthy in-laws during a live chat at Washingtonpost.com." Posted April 18, 2011.
"Baby on Board: Dear Prudence advises a mom weary of rude subway riders interfering with her baby's commute—in a live chat at Washingtonpost.com." Posted April 11, 2011.
"Let's Tie the NOT! Dear Prudence advises a reader whose mate is reluctant to wed, even after five years and a baby together—in a live chat at Washingtonpost.com." Posted April 4, 2011.
"Awkward Family Photos: Dear Prudence advises a reader who accidentally sent sexy self-portraits to her in-laws—in a live chat at Washingtonpost.com." Posted March 28, 2011.