Dear Prudence answers readers' questions live at Washingtonpost.com.

Real-time discussions with Slate writers.
May 18 2009 3:34 PM

Shear Betrayal

Prudie counsels a woman who fears angering her stylist husband by visiting another hairdresser—and other advice seekers.

(Continued from Page 2)

Chicago: Dear Prudence

What do I do about a spouse whose handwriting is so atrocious that I'm embarrassed when s/he writes a thank-you note on the behalf of the two of us? Both of us are fastidious about writing thank-yous; and we each have the responsibility for writing the thank-yous to "our" family and friends. However, my spouse's handwriting is so bad, it looks like s/he doesn't care about sincerely expressing gratitude for the hospitality we've enjoyed together as a couple—it looks like we're just "going through the motions". I've pointed this out, and my spouse's reply is to the effect of: "So few people write thank-yous anymore, they'll be pleased that we acknowledged their kindness at all." Unfortunately for genteel society, my spouse is correct.

Don't even suggest that I take over the duty for the both of us—first, it's not fair; second, my spouse won't hear of it. Do I simply have to bite my tongue while my spouse makes the collective "we" look bad?

Emily Yoffe: He's writing notes! Surely his handwriting can't be so bad that your friends can't decipher that he's expressing his thanks. Yes, such notes are supposed to handwritten, but a legible typed note would be perfectly welcome. But why are you proofreading his work? Just be glad he willingly does his share.

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St. Louis, Mo.: Dear Prudence,

Last year I was involved in a very short lived "relationship" with a man I barely knew. Long story short, we met, spent all of our free time together, and a month later I was pregnant. I suddenly hated him (I'm guessing due to being hormonal) and decided to dump him and terminate the pregnancy. He was not happy about either decision. He has continued to try and communicate with me from time to time during this past year. Fast forward to now. He's back and I regret ever letting him go. He wants us to try and work things out and possibly be together for real this time. I haven't talked to him in about 3 weeks now. He doesn't call and doesn't answer when I call. I sent a text yesterday asking if I should continue on with my life and forget about "us". His response was that he was trying to "clean up" some things in his life so that he could devote meaningful time to me. Should I hold on or am I grasping at the wind hoping for something that may have already passed?

Emily Yoffe: First of all, get some information about reliable methods of birth control. Then be scrupulous about using it. This "relationship" sounds like a total loss, but you don't sound ready for a relationship yourself. You should consider counseling to try to figure out how to get more control over your erratic moods and behavior.

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pink phobic cancer survivor: You could also say that instead of buying a cancer gift they could make a donation instead as a way of honoring you.

Emily Yoffe: Good suggestion!

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Santa Monica, Calif.: I moved here recently, and am just starting to get involved in the community. On a volunteer project, I met this very nice woman and asked her out. She was dressed in baggy sweats so I didn't get a great sense of her "looks"; I just thought she seemed sweet and reasonably attractive.

Turns out she's a model and looks absolutely fabulous "dolled up". So much so that I never would have asked her out, as I would have assumed she is completely out of my league. I can't tell you how weird I felt being out with her as heads turned all over the place. Things clearly went well, but how do I deal with my insecurities? I never thought I'd be with someone like this.

Emily Yoffe: She said yes to you! You two had a great time! She was probably thrilled to meet someone who was clearly interested in her because you took pleasure in her as a person, not a body. Just because she's a model doesn't mean she expects to be dating Donald Trump (God forbid). Keep being the nice, confident person you were when you met her so that she doesn't start thinking, "He seemed so sincere at first, but now he's just like all the heavy-breathing jerks I hate."

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Also from Boston: My husband has a doctorate from MIT, while I earned an MBA part-time from then-much-less-prestigious Northeastern Univ. 20+ years later, we are very happily married with a beautiful family. I outearn him by over a third and no one cares. Ignore dumb comments and focus on what's important to the two of you!

Emily Yoffe: Here we have it from the front lines: It is possible to find love and success even if you didn't go to the most prestigious schools in the country. It is even possible to find more success than people who did go to the most prestigious school (and it is still possible to love your lower-earning prestigious school grad). Thanks for the report.

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Knoxville, Tenn.: Dear Prudence,

I am a 40-ish married female. I have a very good friend, male, who is a 12-year military veteran, including overseas service. He has various physical (not service-related) and mental (probably service-related) problems that have kept him out of work for over four years. The "help" he gets from various organizations wouldn't keep a cat alive. So, last year—with my husband's full cooperation—I invited him to live with us. He doesn't pay rent, but does chip in for food and electricity when I ask. He has been absolutely no problem for us, except for the finances being a little tighter than usual.

The problem is with some of our friends and family. They look on him as some sort of freeloader, and constantly tell me that we have to get rid of him. Not that it is any of their business, but I do often have friends and family over to my house, and I'm afraid that they will say something to insult him to his face.

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