So Janet must be really great in bed. Or maybe she’s on the Forbes 400. I’m trying to come up with a reason you fail to mention that would explain why you are engaged to this jealous, manipulative, punitive woman. But even if she’s done things in bed you’ve never gotten anyone else to go along with or she has an enviable bank account, that shouldn’t be enough for you to consider marrying someone who bullies your child. I get an unfortunate number of letters from people like your daughter who describe childhoods in which their father married a woman who resented them. The stepmother, true to fairy tale form, did everything she could to make the children’s lives miserable and estrange them from their father. The fathers, knowing the hell to pay by standing up to the new wife, became passive jerks. Blessedly, you haven’t yet married Janet. You are both able to see her character with great clarity and admire your daughter’s wisdom and strength. Break it off with the fiancée and vow the honor your obligation to your little girl by finding a partner who will enhance all of your lives.
I graduated from college three years ago and was lucky to get into a government volunteer program that gave me fantastic training. The program also had financial awards that allowed me to pay off my college loans. Meanwhile, my friends are still struggling, working job to job. Recently, I got a great job offer, and while I was waiting for the paperwork, I told a friend. During a monthly group get-together she blurted out that I had no more debt and a good job. The next day on Facebook a friend accused me of lying. Others urged that if I have ever owed anyone money (which I haven’t), they should get it back. I'm livid. The friend who announced my information offered to tell everyone she was joking, that there was no job and I that I still had loans. I worked hard to get where I am, but now I feel ashamed about my success. Should I go along with lying to them to keep the peace?
What a discouraging commentary on our times that a group of recent college graduates would be shocked and jealous to think that one among them could now be debt-free and launched on a career. I share columnist Robert Samuelson's worries that your generation will live economically stunted lives. But you should not feel guilty about your good fortune, nor should your friends mock you. Since you understand their anxieties, just ignore the jibes. Feel free to remind them that the best friend of the underemployed person is someone with a good job who will recommend them for openings.
More Dear Prudence Columns
“Past Imperfect: I want to bury my wretched childhood, but the new in-laws insist on a rehash.” Posted Aug. 18, 2011.
“Fibber McGee Comes Clean: Prudie advises an elderly man consumed with shame over his chronic lies.” Posted Aug. 11, 2011.
“Take My Wife, Please: I convinced her to bed another man, and now I'm insanely jealous.” Posted Aug. 4, 2011.
“A Minor Flaw: I'm dating a man who was charged with soliciting a teen for sex; I wish I'd never discovered this!” Posted July 28, 2011.
More Dear Prudence Chat Transcripts
“The Nudist Next Door: Dear Prudence advises a reader whose new neighbor needs better curtains—during a live chat at Washingtonpost.com.” Posted Sept. 6, 2011.
“Type "R" for Revenge: Dear Prudence advises a woman who got her cheating ex fired by sending a nasty email—in a live chat at Washingtonpost.com.” Posted Aug. 29, 2011.
“Sexy Cougar or Dangerous Predator?: Dear Prudence offers advice about a May-December encounter that the victim deems harmless—during a live chat at Washingtonpost.com.” Posted Aug. 8, 2011.
“Baby Blues: Dear Prudence advises a woman who regrets adopting a child—in a live chat at Washingtonpost.com.” Posted Aug. 1, 2011.