Dear Prudence answers readers' questions live at

Real-time discussions with Slate writers.
Aug. 24 2009 3:03 PM

R U Listening 2 Me?

Prudie counsels anyone who's ever been ignored by rude texters—and other advice seekers.

(Continued from Page 3)

Re: Texting: Telling someone you'll wait until he's done with a text or saying that he clearly has more pressing matters to deal with than the person in front of him isn't passive-aggressive. It's the truth! Obviously whatever he's doing IS more important or he wouldn't be doing it, so that's why you should wait.

Emily Yoffe: So you are the person who sits at dinner with their head bowed text-ward and ignores all the dorks who've deigned to dine with you. Unless you're on call at work and apologize profusely for having to deal with a matter that unfortunately can't wait, your behavior will probably take care of those annoying friends who expect you to converse with them while you're out—they'll stop asking you. Or maybe not. Maybe the new way of socializing is to physically be together with people, while virtually interacting with others who are more pleasing.


McLean, Va.: Should I tell my kids (now 17, 15, and 14) that their father is my second husband? I married a college classmate rather impulsively without much fanfare when we were both juniors. We separated almost immediately after graduation and divorced, while not impulsively, certainly without much fanfare.

By the time my husband and I met years later, that part of my life already seemed to have been lived by someone else. He, of course, is aware of my marriage and divorce.

I don't consider that marriage to be a secret, it just never comes up. Certainly, my parents and sisters have filed it away in the "things not worth remembering" drawer. I'd be comfortable discussing it were it to come up in conversation, but neither my husband nor I see the point of playing out a big "reveal" with our kids. It just doesn't seem relevant to our family.

At the same time, as my kids head toward their own college years, I wonder if they could learn something, what I'm not sure, from hearing my story. What do you think?

Thank you ...

Emily Yoffe: It would be worth doing just to see the looks on their faces when they realize that Mom was young once and did something romantic, sexy, and impulsive. You're right this is not that big a deal, but by not having mentioned it years ago, you've now imbued it with more drama and secrecy than it deserves. But as your kids head off to college themselves, what happened to you is relevant (and interesting) and without presenting it as "the big reveal," you should tell your kids about your early marriage and make it clear you are comfortable discussing it and want to hear their questions.



Restroom reading: This is why we have iPhones. The Washington Post's mobile interface is excellent.

Emily Yoffe: Great point. And a possible ad campaign for the Post!


Emily Yoffe: Thank you all—and happy reading, wherever it takes place. Talk to you next week.



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