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

Real-time discussions with Slate writers.
Nov. 2 2009 3:10 PM

The Closeted Groom

Prudie dispenses advice about a fiancé who has a bisexual past—and counsels other advice seekers.

(Continued from Page 2)

The problem is, I've lost the weight not through diet and exercise, but because of several negative emotional events in the past year. I am seeking help, but am actually unhappy with the way I look.

Saying "thanks!" when people compliment me on the weight loss seems disingenuous, and it often prompts questions as to my weight loss "secret." How can I respond to congratulations on my weight loss, when it's not something to be celebrated?

Emily Yoffe: Surely you don't want to get into the psychological reasons for the weight loss in casual social situations. I hope you are talking about what's going on with those closest to you. But for people who think they're making a pleasant remark, just stick with, "Thank you."

_______________________

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Bakersfield, Calif.: My boyfriend and I have been dating for almost three years (he is 43 and I am 34) . He is a very sweet, dependable, caring man. We see each other five to six times a week but don't live together. My question is, after nearly three years of being together, is it weird that I haven't really met any of his friends?

Believe me, it's not that I want to hang out with these guys but I have never met any of them. When he very rarely does get together with these friends, he does so without ever even inviting me. When asked about it, he says that they just talk about stupid stuff and drink too much beer and he doesn't want me to think any less of him or his friends for being immature. What gives?

Emily Yoffe: Yes, it's weird that after three years of intense, exclusive dating you have no idea about your boyfriend's social life outside of your interaction with him. Tell him since your lives are so intertwined you want to integrate the parts of them better and suggest having a casual get-together—a barbecue perhaps—for some of his friends. Say you understand that his friends may be role models for a Judd Apatow movie, but it won't make you think less of him. (I'm assuming they aren't so immature that you need to childproof your house and have strategic receptacles for vomit.) Tell him the reality can't be as bad as the sense you have now of being cut out from an important part of his life.

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Atlanta: My friend's husband, after almost 10 years of marriage and one child, has confessed to her that he always thought he should be a woman.

She is a strong person, and is handling the whole situation well. But he uprooted his family, made several 'family' decisions (becoming religious to see if he could 'do' it—to see if it would 'help'), and now, well, eventually he will be a woman and they will be divorced.

She says that now a lot of their fights, disagreements, stuff that happened makes more sense to her, but she certainly wouldn't have planned for this to happen to her.

Please try to discuss this with your friend. Perhaps this is the life he wants, but he is lying to himself, or perhaps what he was doing was playing around and is now 'done' with it.

BUT he needs counseling ... and before he gets married. if he is in any way unsure, well, eventually this stuff will all come out. And at that point (10 years later?)—well, it will cause that much more pain.

Please explain this to your friend...

Emily Yoffe: This is exactly why I think in this situation the person who knows about his friend's transgender proclivities needs to tell the fiancée. If this 10-years-later scenario can be avoided, it should be.

_______________________

Syracuse, NY: I apologize for asking yet another mother-in-law question, it is such a cliché, but here goes.

My mother-in-law is a very nice person who loves my kids and is extremely generous with her time and her resources. The only problem is that she has a temper. About once or twice a year, she has a complete explosion over something that usually seems trivial to those around her. She will scream, yell, denigrate, curse, and poke her finger in your face or your chest. It is really unsettling. My husband (only child) is used to this because it has happened all of his life. He says it has gotten better since he is a married adult. When I have said that I do not like to be treated like this, she has made fun of me and asked sarcastically if my family never fights. She clearly thinks that these outbursts are totally normal even though she is the only one that ever has them in the family. By way of history, she is the child of an alcoholic.

Do I recommend counseling? For me, for her, for my husband? She has promised never to have one of these outbursts in front of the kids but the possibility scares me. Do I just ignore it and take it as the price of being part of a (generally) great family?

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