I get so many distressing letters from women in your situation, finding themselves having reproduced with boyfriends who are overgrown children, irresponsible and immature. Talk about The End of Men! You don't specify, but almost always the pregnancies were not planned, and were just something that happened. So please visit your gynecologist and discuss getting one of the new, highly reliable forms of birth control so that you don't accidentally double down with Jake. Yes, you are right to be concerned, because Jake’s behavior is nasty and destructive. But your idea of putting him in an electronic pillory and hoping the humiliation will reform him has me concerned about your own judgment. You two will both be helped by attending parenting classes together. Not only will these help give you the basics in raising your son, the lessons you both learn in empathy and dealing with frustration can be applied to your relationship. Don’t suggest this in a punitive way to Jake. Instead explain that now that you have become parents, you want to feel you are in this together and that you're the best mother and father possible to your son. Let’s hope Jake agrees and that learning about what’s going on in his son’s head will prompt him to realize it’s time he himself stopped acting like big baby.
My brother and I have a close relationship, and despite being in our 40s, we’re fairly juvenile in our jokes and discussions. So, our texting is mostly stupid jokes and bathroom humor (70 percent) and random discussions of pretty women (10 percent). While we can be scatological when we get together, the reflections on pretty women is never, ever done in front of other people. This has been part of our relationship since we were kids. My wife objects to all this. There are no secrets here; my cellphone is open for my wife to look at any time she wants. She, however, gets upset simply knowing it's going on and thinks I should stop. I argue that nobody sees the texts, that we never make comments when anyone else is around, and that when guys get together they'll be guys. Your thoughts?
And now a word in favor of being juvenile. I wish your wife could appreciate how valuable it is that you and your brother remain close and that he is the harmless outlet for the hilarious fart jokes she finds repellent, and the observations about the local talent she finds objectionable. I don’t believe that marriage means people relinquish all privacy rights. You make clear here that your wife has no reason to feel it necessary to snoop on your cellphone. So if she doesn’t want to read crude jokes or harmless appreciation of pretty women, then she should keep her paws off your phone. I also believe married people don’t have to share a sensibility about every aspect of life. You have found the perfect way to blow off gas without involving her. She should stop being such a bluenose and be grateful for the function her brother-in-law performs in both your lives. And I'm dying to know, what's the subject of the last 20 percent of your jokes?
More Dear Prudence Columns
“My Twin Sister Says I'm Fat: Prudie offers advice on twins entangled in family rifts, rows, and rivalries.” Posted Aug. 25, 2011.
“Give Grandpa a Kiss-Off?: A creeping suspicion tells me to keep my father-in-law away from my kids. Should I listen to it?” Posted Sept. 1, 2011.
“Longtime Companion: Is it OK to hide my gay affair since my wife doesn't want sex anymore?” Posted Sept. 8, 2011.
“Deadly Family Secret: My mother-in-law hid a life-threatening condition that could strike my child. How can I forgive her?” Posted Sept. 15, 2011.
More Dear Prudence Chat Transcripts
“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.
“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.
“Am I Dating a Swinger?: Dear Prudence advises a woman who craves a monogamous relationship but can't seem to find one—during a live chat at Washingtonpost.com.” Posted Sept. 12, 2011.
“He'd Like a Virgin: Dear Prudence advises a woman who lied to her fiance about her sexual past—during a live chat at Washingtonpost.com.” Posted Sept. 19, 2011.