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

Real-time discussions with Slate writers.
Sept. 14 2009 3:04 PM

Will Therapy Change His Woman-Bashing Ways?

Prudie counsels a woman with a sexist fiance—and other advice seekers.

(Continued from Page 3)

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Re: Winchester/anniversary: Prudie, have you remembered it yet—what people can do to celebrate their anniversary for no money? How about announce it on Facebook and then complain loudly next week about not getting enough gifts? Does that sound good?

Emily Yoffe: I'll see if I can come up with the answer. And you're right, it's a virtual obligation to announce such things on Facebook.

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Is he wrong?: Let me start out by saying that my husband and I have a fabulous relationship. But my husband is very up front about the fact that if I lose my figure (e.g., gain 10 pounds), he will not be as physically attracted to me. His position is completely logical, but I still can't help but wish he were one of those men that would desire me no matter what. Emotional and personality attraction just do not intersect with physical attraction.

Is he wrong? Is my anxiety about this over-the-top? I take care of myself, but you never know how your metabolism will change, not to mention the effects of having children.

Emily Yoffe: He's agreed not to go bald, or get a gut, or have a thatch of wiry black hair grow from his ears, or have one of those necks that droops over his shirt collars, right?
Given that I get many, many letters that begin, "My spouse has put on 100 pounds in the past 10 years," a part of me understands your husband's worries. But you need to tell him you are as concerned about staying in shape as he is concerned about your staying in shape—and vice versa!—and that beyond that, you agree not to demean each other about the normal shifts that come with aging.

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I was a T.A.: If something like that rude insult had happened to me, this is how I'd start class next week: "Let me tell you about my obligations to you as your instructor—it's a responsibility I don't take lightly. I'm obligated to be fair, upfront, helpful, honest, and respectful to you. In exchange, I ask the same of you. If anyone does not think this is a fair agreement, speak to me or professor Jones after class in private. Now onto the syllabus, because we have a lot to cover before exams."

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Emily Yoffe: Excellent! And the students will feel like worms, which they should.

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Small-Town Iowa: I recently went to a counselor (provided free through my university) about an abortion I had this summer. It was a very painful experience but something I felt necessary, gave a lot of thought to, and talked over with the father of the baby, whom I am engaged to.

The counselor apparently had strong anti-abortion beliefs, having adopted two children herself due to infertility, and berated me for my decision.

I was already hurt, confused, and depressed over the emotions I felt after the abortion. Now I am even more so. Will this pain go away, or was my counselor right:Will I live with guilt forever?

Emily Yoffe: Report this counselor to the university. She is entitled to her opinions, but she is not entitled to violate the tenets of her profession because of her personal beliefs. She should have immediately told you she is not the right therapist for you and referred you to someone else. Then have the university find someone who will actually help you work through this experience so that you don't feel stuck.
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Emily Yoffe: Thanks, everyone. Talk to you (assertively) next week.