Q. Controlling Relationship?: I'm in a young relationship (just under five months). We fell hard and fast, were practically inseparable, and then circumstances led to me moving in at three months. We knew it'd be tight in his studio—we didn't know he'd be allergic to my pet, who also has health problems that have led to our interrupted sleep. I have anger issues that were exacerbated by the lack of sleep. Instead of being supportive, he insists that my anger is the root of all our problems. Every time I have a reaction to something he says or does that goes against what I want, he points out my anger—even when I'm not reacting in anger. He used to be supportive and loving; now he's controlling and jealous. He watches my social media posts, and lets me know when he thinks I'm posting about us; it always turns into a fight. He also gets upset when male friends comment on my posts—even when they're his friends too! On top of all that, he's asked me to move out more than once, but taken it back when we made up. Is there any hope for us at all? For the record, I'm in my mid-30s and he's late 40s.
A: Yes, there's hope for each of you if you break up and move out. Then you both need to spend time figuring out your part in this lousy relationship, and how you can keep from making such bad, impulsive choices in the future.
Q. Re: STD meds: You are being selfish. You yourself don't enjoy thinking of this every day. And he doesn't want to either. When something as simple as taking two pills a day can reduce the chance of you shedding the virus that day to less than 1 percent it seems even more selfish. Herpes can be passed on even when you're not showing signs of an outbreak, so monitoring it will help, but it's not everything.
A: She is on it. It's fair for him to ask her to take it, and fair for her to think about being on medication indefinitely. I agree that staying on it now is the right thing to do, and if she's not experiencing any side effects, it's an easy choice. But it's not out of bounds to discuss this further if the relationship becomes a long-term one.
Q. Declining a Wedding Invitation: How does one decline a wedding invitation from a formerly close friend without destroying what is left of the friendship? This friend is no stranger to bad and abusive relationships, having had several and also having supported me through a terrible marriage and divorce. The guy she is marrying is not as bad as ones in the past, but is still nasty to her, manipulative, and hypocritical. She has changed many of her long-held beliefs and attitudes to match his. She asked me for my honest opinion of him, and I brought up my concerns as gently as possible. She completely dismissed all of my concerns without taking any time to think about them. Since then, she has stopped talking to me. I received a save-the-date card for her wedding, so presumably I'll be invited. Part of me wants to go and be there for her, as she was for me (she was also honest with me about my ex and I didn't stop talking to her), but another part of me wants nothing to do with this wedding.
A: If you got a save-the-date then yes, you'll be invited. Don't make your response simply be about the wedding. She stopped talking to you after she solicited your opinion, but this card is an opening to rekindle your friendship. So do so. Call her and tell her you were happy to hear from her and want to get together. Talk about things other than how rotten her fiancé is. You have registered your opinion about the inadvisability of this union. But since you really are concerned about her, and she helped you extract yourself from a terrible marriage, it will be better if you can be there for her and see her through if things become intolerable.
Q. Re: Guests upstairs: I host a lot of parties. If I don't want guests upstairs, I just put a big, pretty potted plant or two in front of the stairs. Anything large and decorative will do. No one has ever climbed over them.
A: Great idea! A baby gate and "Beware of Dog" sign would also work.
Q. Friendships, Dating: I met a guy, "Paul," online last summer and we went on a few dates. I wasn't interested in continuing to date him, but said we could still be friends when I let him know that. He was new in town and didn't seem to have a lot of friends and we had common interests. However, I really regret that decision. He was inappropriate to one my female friends and weirded out a couple more by being overly eager. He no longer tries to make plans with me, but has inserted himself into my friend group more and more recently by connecting more with some of the guys. I know they are all adults and can decide who to be friends with, but they don't know the back story on this guy and why I am uncomfortable with his presence in my social circle now. I regret saying we could be friends, because if I hadn't none of this would have been happening. But what do I do now? Seems he is a permanent clinger in my circle now. I'm planning to confront him about the way he has creeped some of my girlfriends out. Is that appropriate?
A: He makes your female friends uncomfortable and the guys in your circle don't know this. Since you introduced Paul, I think you should tell them. You can say you're not saying they should blackball him, you just want them to know that some of the women—including you—are uncomfortable with him. Reiterate they are all adults and free to make their own social decisions, but you wanted them to know why some of the women don't want to be around him.
Q. Not Invited to Sister's Bachelorette Party: My sister is engaged and I just found out that my wife is not invited to her bachelorette party. My sister attended my wife's bachelorette and was also in our bridal party. I am not in my sister's bridal party, though other siblings are. I feel hurt (and know my wife will be hurt when she finds out). Anything I should do or say, or should I just let it go?
A: It's not clear whether you and your wife are the only close family members left out of the bachelorette and the wedding party. If only a few of many siblings are in the wedding party, let that go. If all the other females in the family are going to the bachelorette, then have a word with your sister. I hope your wife was invited to the shower. If so, understand that for some women a bachelorette is the occasion to act crazy with a tight group of close friends. If your wife and your sister are cordial but not intimate, your wife will likely be happier not listening to stories of old hijinks she didn't participate in.
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