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 3)

How do I explain to them that this has been a rewarding experience, and to MYOB? In fact, I hope I'm starting a trend of people helping people. Thanks.

Emily Yoffe: What a wonderful thing to do. When people aren't at your house, you can say that you and your husband feel blessed to be able to help your wonderful friend, who has sacrificed for his country, to get back on his feet. Then move on to MYOB. If people start asking awkward questions when they're over, have some statements that shut down the discussion. "We're lucky to have Joe living with us—he's been a great friend." If people are outrageously rude you can pull them aside and ask them to desist or else you'll have to cut the evening short.

_______________________

D.C.: I received a wedding announcement from a friend who had a small family-only wedding. As I wasn't included in the wedding, I don't feel like I have to acknowledge the announcement at all. I've read that it's polite to send a card, but I really feel like if my friend chose to leave me out of the wedding, she was also choosing to forgo any congratulations from me. Am I right?

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Emily Yoffe: No, you're not right. You know that your friend had a small family wedding and that most friends were by necessity left out. Considering the days-long extravaganzas many weddings have become, be grateful to your friend for not dragging you through a weekend worth of events. You can acknowledge her note with a gift or not as you like. But if you wish to remain friends, you should extend your best wishes.

_______________________

Washington, D.C.: Dear Emily,

I've been married for almost a year now and while there have definitely been some adjustments to make, we've been mostly happy and I love my husband very much. the problem is that he exhibits some behaviors that I see as sometimes being controlling. While he never 'prohibits' me from doing anything I would like, he questions how many times a year I want to see my family, how often I want to see friends, and why I stack the dishes a certain way, etc. This is very irritating to me because I see myself as a reasonable person—i.e. we don't see my family more than we see his (if anything it's the other way around), I make time for my friends, but not at the expense of my spouse, and I don't see why he should care why I stack the dishes a certain way. To me, being married is about making adjustments and I've made quite a few to the way he is accustomed to living, so I feel that he should do the same for me. Am I being unreasonable?

Emily Yoffe: Your husband is scaring me. You've got to get this contol issue under control now, early in your marriage, because someone with these tendencies tends to escalate—especially when children are involved. No husband should be in the position of "prohibiting" his wife from doing things she enjoys, unless it's along the lines of sex clubs, or walking into oncoming traffic. You need counseling to help him see that despite the fact you're his wife, you are still a free individual.

_______________________

Scaryville: Dear Prudence,

Two weeks ago I was diagnosed with a rare cancer. Had immediate surgery, tumor is now gone, no further treatment is indicated, doctors say my prognosis is great. So - how do I shake the feeling that all is NOT well, and that I could die and leave behind my two wonderful children (toddler and infant)? I need a good "snap out of it!" slap to the face. By all apparent measures I am very lucky to have been diagnosed and treated very early. I'm having a hard time focusing on the "I am so fortunate" part and instead am stuck on the "I am so scared" part. Suggestions?

Emily Yoffe: You need to start by being nice enough to yourself to understand that you had a near-death experience two weeks ago and no one is going to snap out of it that quickly. You have just been through a trauma, and even though you will get back to your normal, happy life, you can't just turn off the emotions that come out of this experience. You may want to look for support groups that focus on people who have survived similar diagnoses so that you can work out these feelings with others who have been there.

_______________________

D.C. via Text: Hi Prudie,

I wrote in a few months ago about my hatred of the phone, which I was trying to get over so that I could get to know a new person in my life. Well, it's been a few months and we talk pretty regularly. I wouldn't say I have an accent in the traditional sense, but I talk really quickly and on the phone, it makes it pretty hard to understand what I'm saying. Recently I discussed this with my new phone partner, and we found a way he could understand me—if I speak in what to me sounds like a robot voice. If I didn't want to speak on the phone before, now I dread it with every fiber of my being. He, however, is happy because he can finally understand me, and just wants to talk more. How can I dial back our phone conversations and stop the robot madness? Thanks.

Emily Yoffe: If he starts calling you "R2D2" and telling you you look really good in metallic clothing, run! Next time he calls you tell him in your normal voice that you're ending the robo-calls. If he insists he enjoys them, you might have to unplug this relationship.

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