Dear Prudie: How do I protect my fiancé, sexually abused as a child, from my Jerry Sandusky-defending stepmom?

Help! My Stepmom Thinks Jerry Sandusky Was Innocent.

Help! My Stepmom Thinks Jerry Sandusky Was Innocent.

Advice on manners and morals.
July 5 2012 5:45 AM

Willful Blindness

My fiancé was sexually abused as a child. My stepmom defends Jerry Sandusky. How could they possibly meet?

(Continued from Page 1)

Dear Turning,
This is a young woman who is putting her health, even her life, at risk, so as awkward as it may be, bringing this up with her is the right thing to do. She knows she’s in trouble, but keeping this illness a secret allows her to delay the day she has to face what she’s doing to herself. Since you are not a friend or family member, it’s understandable you are uncomfortable about intruding, but the longer she goes without help, the more damage she will do. Ask her to join you one evening for a cup of tea and tell her that based on what you’ve seen and heard, you’ve become concerned that she may be bulimic. Say you know this is a private matter, but she is a lovely young woman with a wonderful future, so you want to emphasize how important it is to get treatment for this illness. Refer her to The National Eating Disorders Association. whose website has lots of information and a hotline. This guide to eating-disorder support groups is another place for her to start. It could be that she is still on her parents’ health insurance, so she can begin the search for a practitioner. When she returns to college, she can take advantage of the counseling resources there. If she seems resistant, you can call the NEDA hotline yourself and ask them if there’s anything else you can do. However she responds, when she leaves after the summer you can feel proud you broke this silence.


Dear Prudence,
I often go outside my comfort zone for my wife and her sister. Whether it's joining their volleyball league or attending a ballet performance, I show interest in the things they enjoy—even if the activities aren’t my idea of a good time. The problem arises when we plan an outing to amusement parks because roller coaster rides terrify me. But my wife loves to ride roller coasters, so I face my fears. However, when we go she and her sister insist on staying the entire day. After I’ve had enough nonstop roller coaster rides I smile and say I'll catch up with them later. But on the ride home they lay into me and say I put a damper on their fun by not riding roller coasters with them the entire time. Am I in the wrong for bowing out early? We're supposed to go to an amusement park soon and I want to ask if we can just spend hours at the park instead of the entire day—but is this unreasonable?

—Party Pooper


Dear Pooper,
Some people are thrill seekers. For them, feeling pressed in their seats or thrown in the air from the positive and negative G-forces induces ecstasy. In others it just causes upchucking. G-forces cause stress and strain on an object, just the way having a spouse who orders you to do things you loathe does on a person. If a roller coaster is the perfect metaphor for your marriage, your marriage is in trouble. Marriage is not supposed to be a decades-long season of Fear Factor. You are brow-beaten by your wife and her sister to do things they like, but you haven’t mentioned if your wife is willing to do any loop-the-loops to please you. You need to escape from constantly being with this tag team, and establish that for the sake of you rmarriage there are limits to how much her sister can come along for the ride. It’s not unreasonable for you to bow out entirely from a day at the park with this bullying twosome. Just give them one of your smiles and explain your idea of a thrill is a day alone with a good book.


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Emily Yoffe is a contributing editor at the Atlantic.