20 Episode results for "Prudie"

The Year In Prudie

Slate's Dear Prudence

1:23:56 hr | 1 year ago

The Year In Prudie

"Just a reminder that the dear prudence podcast happens twice a week slate plus members get an additional mini episode. Every Friday sign up now to listen at slate dot com slash pretty pod. You're you're Putin prudence. I think that I should contact again. Help thank thank you. Hello and welcome back to the dear your prudence show once again and is always aim your host dear prudence also known as Danny 'em lavery with me. Today is grace lavery an associate professor in the Department of English. UC Berkeley High Grace. Thanks for being here. Oh Hey it's nice to be here and it's nice to be here. It feels like alien in my rights an alien in your throat. I am no longer grace. Lavery lavery I am Grech. I have come from the planet. LAVERY cleverly designed to mimic human curbs and I am going to take over the dear prudence podcast. That is unless you can stop me. I will return the human known as grace back to you now while I go back to my alien Louis in New York City. I'm sorry what was that. It wasn't anything grace but we are moving to New York City so listeners. Please listen to some of my favorite letters from twenty nineteen while Grayson. I A pack airbags. This one's called overloaded friend. Dear prudence I have a friend who is a therapist she has the fiance who is mentally ill. A compulsive user of porn and we'd major depression unemployed in his mid forties and has done nothing with his life. She has loads of job opportunities coming her way she's been a single mom of two special needs kids who are now in their teens. She knows this guy isn't right for her but he's so nice and she does just doesn't want to hurt with him. I cannot understand how she sees clients all day then visit him in the hospital and try to keep her focus on her kids and take care ever self now. She's having health problems. She's a dear friend in means. Well what can I say or do I feel. It's almost cruel of her to expect this guy to ever step up. They've we've been together three years and before her he never had a relationship lasts longer than two months. His family's overjoyed that they are together. I'm guessing so that she can take over his care. I know oh she sired of doing it all alone but that is not a reason to stay with someone. He can barely take care of himself. What are your thoughts so my biggest question here was that line about visiting him in the hospital yeah It was not clear what he was in. The hospital for I I don't know if he got the flu and had to stay overnight I don't know if he's like chronically ill and is being treated for something really serious. I don't know if it was like after mental health breakdown and I don't know I didn't know Oh porn or we could do either of those things and if so Yeah look into that. An actually did edit that because it was originally addicted to porn and we'd okay and I a really was just like let's set aside whether or not a person can become addicted to pornography which is a bold claim But yeah so. It's very clear this guy does not sound great. I wouldn't want to date him now and I can totally understand why the letter writer is not into this dudes deal. What's your experience with friends who date people you wish they wouldn't date I feel like I've been that person for other people we'll And it you can't say anything you lose always in my opinion not that I've like shut out those friends In fact I kind they would have said something earlier but you run the risk of it backfiring on you but your friend definitely sounds like someone who clearly from Caroline a work And just what the position. She's been in with her kids. She sounds like someone who is comfortable in this caretaking role and is is attracted to people who Are In need. That's why she does what she does. Probably she's good at helping others. But I think maybe the the way in he's like. Hey how are you taking care of yourself you know. Do you have enough time alone can I. Let's do some together. Let's go see a movie. Let's whatever And sort of just checking in with her about like if she has energy any energy left for herself. Because who's GonNa take care of her. It does sound like the hospitalization station is as a result of This person's mental illness and the job. That doesn't sound like a relationship. It just sounds like another job yet so so what I would say. Yeah I very much on the same page there. I feel like she's dated him for three years. She knows what his deal is and You know I I agree. I would probably not feel thrilled if I had a friend who was like really remarkable always helping other people and had a partner who didn't seem to like give back to to her but I just don't think you're going to get anywhere by saying I think you should dump him I think he's a loser. I think the thing to focus on is to ask like what what do you need you know. Is there anything that I can do to help. especially with the health stuff Certainly like if she brings up fears or anxieties around. Like I'm worried he's not gonNA step up. You can be Honest and say things like you know honest but diplomatic like yes. It seems like normally he does not do a lot to help and support you. How does that feel Mike I also think that sometimes by the amount of information that this person knows about their friends like the maybe she's kind of giving giving you clues and almost giving you permission to just straight up. Say I think you need to get out of this relationship because knowing this much like okay the porn use the we'd use the depression like I don't know unless it's a lot of infringes on on your part I would say like this could be. You could go a little little boulder with it. It's been three years. Maybe I doesn't feel like it's GonNa Backfire on you if you say you're you're so wonderful and you've got all all these things going for you and I feel like this person isn't right for you right now isn't who you need to be with right now Because sometimes we just sort of list off these things that are wrong on with our relationship so that eventually our best friends will be like. Yeah what are you doing though. Yeah and so. I think there's room for that conversation once. Like I think if she because sometimes people also kind of do that they'll complain and complain about their partner and they'll say yeah and you repeat the last three things they said about their partner and all of a sudden how dare you like. He's he's okay now I see where you stand you never support me. Yeah so You know again like be careful but I think yeah if if it feels it's like she's really frustrated upset. You can say like hey based on what you've told me you know this this and this I I'm not like maybe don't say stuff like he's never done anything with his life because that is a big enough value judgment that she might get real defensive Kim young but just say like yeah it seems like these things have been really hard for you and they bother you a lot. Do you think thank you would maybe be happier if you weren't relationship with him and again you know she may go to. Yeah I think about it sometimes but I'm not really ready to and that's going to be her choice and you kind of just need to let her do that She may say God you know when you put it like this I I kind of want to break up with him but I don't know how in which case you could help She might I'd say Yep he's Not Everybody's ideal boyfriend but he makes me really happy and I'm comfortable with the issues that we have in which case you can say I love you so so much. Let's get coffee sometime. You know like you're so much more diplomatic and I feel like I would be. I survived a lot of friends. Lousy point have you has. It gotten easier. Do they stay together. Sometimes people do some people. Don't WanNa get too specific because I don't want any of my friends during which ones they are and I have also been the person who's done a little of like the look. I know this is not going to last forever guys. I appreciate your all bearing with me. I'm getting something out of this and it's important. Don't let it run. Its core. Just be friendly. That's all I ask Again unless somebody is being pretty abusive. I just think there's a limit to how much you can intervene. Yeah And sometimes people are in relationships where they get that to the outside. It doesn't look appealing but they do get something out of it. Maybe he's amazing bed you know. Oh there's always that I mean. He's that's implicit in this letter. I think but I also I think that it's for sure it's how your friend is being treated anche. Maybe he can't be the superman that you hope that she finds but it's if she if she if she's being brought down by him that's a problem if she is being drained by him. That's a problem if obviously if there's abuse that's a problem mm-hmm but otherwise. Yeah think there's you have to be. You're you're so diplomatic. I'm not as diplomatic but you have to ride that line. I mean I it's also also just like in life you will. There are often relationships with really accomplished. Remarkable women and kind of bummer couch potato guys and you have to pick and choose the Times that you want to intervene. Because it's just you're gonNA run into this again. I was in a marriage like that and It ran its course and all my friends were like. No that makes sense. You know it wasn't celebratory nor was it like I told you so They were good listeners. And and I think you just have to be a really good listener. So that's GonNa Payoff to sort of. Just be there. And and you know you gotTa do psychotherapy thing where you say nothing. And then slowly insert one question in the span of an hour. That like is the silver bullet question right right right like especially if she's describing her daddy like okay so you helped your clients then you help your kids and then you helped. Your boyfriend was their time three that anyone helped you. Exactly you know like your friends a smart lady. She will get there Yeah and that doesn't necessarily mean she'll dump him immediately thereafter but just any way in which you can kind of help her identify ways in which she might need to take a little time to herself. It's going to be good And for what it's worth I think too I you know when you're listing reasons that this guy is kind of a bummer. I I would not say that. Like has a mental illness in the same category as like you know. Spends all his time smoking weed in watching porn again. Yeah that's not to say that a I guess I just mean like everyone's dealing with something choices are different than like things that are outside of your control A person can have a mental illness and be a remarkable partner or they can have needs that are like challenging but it doesn't make them a bad person So just be careful about how you frame that focus more. I think on the things that he chooses to do or not do around. Yeah Yeah Yeah. This episode of Dear Prudence is sponsored by dipsy. We all have our nightly routines. Maybe you watch your favorite show put on a face mask curb scroll through instagram. But if you're meantime racine has gotten stale dipsy stories can help to priest Bark your imagination. dipsy is an audio apfel of short sexy stories. Unguided sessions designed to turn you on. Each story is created with women in mind their relatable and immersive. And there's something for everyone whether you're into men women or maybe both at the same time find stories about strangers meeting on the beach or seeing that Ex. You can't stop thinking about on the subway or a partner wants to up the ante in the bedroom and and the guided sessions can help your confidence or heightened intimacy with your partner. They add three brand new stories every week. Zeal always have more to explore. Whatever you're in the mood for dipsy always keep it real and really hot for listening to the show? dipsy is offering a thirty day free trial when you go to dipsy stories dot com slash prudence. That's a thirty day. Free trial when you. Dip S EA stories dot com slash prudence dipsy stories dot com slash prudence. And Guess. What Ben? What Nicole Thursday kid is back so excited because this time we are yes? I can't wait to get started. Never heard Thursday kid. This is a little bit about what we do right. We are explorers in expects a what that means is that we will cut and we look could design. Think about the ways in which the two intersect for our listeners. Old and new. That means we're going to stick with our classics Facet Wars Thurston. Am thorough discussions about the ways. Cop Culture Shapes desire absolutely and of course we are going to have guest they also some new voices and we can swing it. Maybe even a celebrity on school or three China's first aid kit where we left out loud. We are back thus day. September twenty six here on slate. Okay this is it. This is the big one. This is Here we go for some reason by the way just interesting. I can't figure out like I just. I was more angry at the husband earlier. Who lied about wanting talks then? I was the first time I read. That's one and I think I'm probably GONNA need to change that. Because this is objectively worse like by any standards. This is so much worse than lying about wanting dogs I think it just seems so like soap operatic. It doesn't quite feel real to me. Yeah I think also the letter writers attitude in this one that might have mitigated your initial angry reaction right whenever somebody clearly feels guilty and apologetic apologetic. It's it's it's hard to stay mad as someone who's like yeah. I lied but get over it Yeah full okay here. We go subject gave away my boyfriend's dog and I lied about it dear prudence five years ago. I did something unforgivable. While my boyfriend kyle was out of town. A- gave away away his beloved dog a Hate Dogs Kyle is a dog nut. He's totally obsessed with them instead of breaking up with someone whose values were different than mine. I acted cruelly. We a regretted it almost immediately. But I didn't know how to extract myself from the situation without losing kyle. So I lied and that his dog ran away. We searched for her for months. The more I've fallen in love with Kyle along that we've been together. The worst. My guilt has become the fear of him. Finding out the truth. PETRIFIES me too now. I'm pregnant and the stress of this secret. Britt has become crushing. I feel like I've trapped. Kyle I despise myself for it. He knows that I'm stressed. But not why what do I do. ps deserve the hate and condemnation. I will receive. So you know there's lots going on here Did you get a read on this one Was it clear whether or not the letter the writer has told Kyle yet that she's pregnant. Oh no actually. That wasn't clear to me Based on the second read of it I would think no. Yeah 'cause the stress of this secret my first time around. I was like the secret being that you gave his dog away. But now I'm a little worried that it's both so I'm going to go ahead and assume that Kyle doesn't yet know that you're pregnant And I don't know what your plans are there. I don't know if the pregnancy was completely accidental. Or if you guys have had a kind of lazy fair approach to if it happens it happens. I don't know if the two of you have talked all about wanting to raise children together. I don't know if you're still on the fence about whether or not you want to carry this pregnancy to term So given that there are a wide range of the possibilities there You Know I. I don't think that the situation as it is is ten like I don't think you can go on the way that you're going My first thought when I had read it and I kind of thought they both know that the letter writer is pregnant. They've been planning on starting a family. The thinking was a little bit more on the side of God. This is horrible but you know it's time to think about the child and I worry about what effect it might have on the baby. The if if you reveal this information right before the baby came And now I don't know that I'm quite so like you just need to suffer with this information by it yourself forever I I am not qualified for this. I say this is this feels like I should turn to all the other advice columnists in the world. I think there's no perfect answer. No matter what what I think that's what makes this a little bit complicated I think that one thing that might help deliberate or a little bit to get some clarity as to see the The literature can cut out some of their own self-loathing so that they can think more clearly about it because definitely the letter writer. Sorry infield bad and notes. What's that this was a significant mistake? So I think that getting that out of the way As much as possible. We'll help figure out the best course of action I don't know if I would necessarily advise continuing with the lie because that essentially means that the future of their relationship is still based on this shaky untenable foundation to your earlier word. Yeah I mean the thing that that I come back to. Is You know. The letter writer says the fear of him. Finding out the truth. petrifies me the stress crushing. I have trapped him. I despise myself so I I frankly think even if my advice to this letter writer was take this to your grave. There's nothing to be done about it now and there's no point in making kyle suffer too. I just don't know that the letter writer is going to be able to keep this secret especially you know if she does decide to try to keep the pregnancy raise a child out with Kyle I think this is only going to keep coming up. 'cause like of course as the idea of starting a family together comes to mind. There's Assad of the the last time I was entrusted with care for something that Kyle loved. I gave it away and didn't tell him so it makes sense to me that there's a fear there of like like what kind of parent will I be. That was a big. You know Inciting incident in terms of how you built the foundation of your relationship with Kyle so boy oh boy if if the two things you need to kyle are able and pregnant and be of all. Your dog never ran away. I gave it away. That's you know that's going to be a big COM. That's going to be a bad big conversation I think it might help to see a therapist. Just for like a couple bluff sessions before you do this maybe even just one maybe just even on the phone so you can kind of get a sense of How you WANNA communicate information And then giving him some space. Yeah I think that the letter should also prepare for a potentially negative reaction and not expect Kyle to you know I guess to this. Basically the conversation should be less about having kyle have a certain reaction but more to be honest and get this out there and you know leave things where they are so Cow might have a negative reaction and that might not be something that can be prevented. Yeah I mean a couple of things one. Is You know if if you do decide to tell him and I I just think you should like. I don't think that this feels good right now. I don't think this is going to be a way. You can build a lifetime together. I don't think you're going to be able able to keep this from him and and I I want you know you know you did something awful And I'm glad that you're able to recognize it but You also I don't think can like make that the focus of the conversation because he needs to be able to would be very angry with you And if you do too much of you know I know I'm awful. I know I'm the worst That kind of takes out any room room for him to get mad So I I would say I find out if you can who the people are that you gave the dog too you because it may very well be that he will want to talk to them I do think he has a right to know if you can find. I know where these people are And the and the dog is still alive like you should have that information for him. If you can get it telling him the truth truth actually might be more liberating comfortable than the state of wondering. What if and keeping the secret and having everything trapped inside So either way Whatever happens this will be a big step for the letter writer and also for their relationship? Yeah I mean you know it's not gonNA go great I don't you know people do stay in relationships where there's been intense hence infidelity or betrayal An and I'm yours may very well be one of those relationships. I don't know I also would not be at all surprised if he ended the relationship And it may. Have you know pretty serious social consequences. If you're close with many of his friends ends in after five years my guess is you may be but I I kinda think there's a party wants it to be known because you've just been punishing yourself privately for years now but without any You know because nobody else is watching you get punished. There's no sense of okay. I can move on from this. Even if it's like in a different way Or start a different kind fly for except that I've lost something as a result of it and try to do better in the future. Like you're stuck because you're the only one who knows and so even if his response is awful full and he breaks up with you and you become a single parent and you to only communicate through lawyers As painful as that might feel a- At least you would have the opportunity to really deal with what you did spend some time with a therapist and talking with the people in your life about why you you did something that you think is unforgivable and find ways to eventually Forgive yourself and I don't say that lightly or like don't worry your life will be fine once you let your boyfriend break up with you But as awful as I think what you did I also want you to be able to live a life. I want you to parent a child if that's what you want. I don't think that you should be thrown away But you cannot begin to forgive yourself until you I Are honest with somebody else about what you did and and are willing to accept some of the consequences of it. That's the first step so if you don't tell him. I don't know that you'll ever be able to forgive yourself. I worry about that and I want that for you. So I think you know maybe before you tell Kyle if you have a parent or a very close friend that you trust the you can talk to about it I Maybe you tell them what you're planning on doing and that you're scared and that you understand that they'll be angry with you but you also want their help because you wanna take responsibility for what you did And and if you lead with that and if when you lead with Kyle you know you can say I I I WANNA help you be able to locate this dog. If that's possible I also. I am not trying to get out of responsibility for this. I'm not trying to Avoid it you need to know you have a right to know. I'm sorry in and and then kind of leave it at that I think that will It won't feel good in the moment. It's not going to be like. Oh what a load off. No big deal It might not good feel good for a very very a long time but I do think five years from now you will not feel quite that same sense of only I know how bad person I am You will feel like you have gotten to make really different choices. And while you can't ever take back what you did You can at least you know. Base future relationships on different foundations ends and act differently towards other people. And you can't start that until you tell them so I think maybe tell him. I if you plan on keeping this. It's pregnancy. Talk about the pregnancy I because that is actually the bigger news even though we've been talking more about the dog Because that will that will if you plan on keeping keeping this baby If nothing else the two of you will be financially linked for at least eighteen years So that's important to talk about and then Once you have done that I think a separate but the next conversation needs to be. I've got something to tell you Yeah one more plug for honesty is is that you know the longer that this couple stays together and they start building a family The dog question is surely GonNa come up if he's a dog nuttier so It needs to be dealt with soon as possible. Yeah and you know the one more reason to tell him. Is You know you know what you did was cruel. But I think one of the cruelest parts of it is. He's spent the last five years wondering if his dog is debt. or if she died in pain And you know I think that's not true and that the dog is with another family only And maybe the dog has died in the meantime but at least I think you have reason to believe that. The dog is You know physically weekly well and for him not to know that you know for him to be wondering All the time she still alive right now as she sick she hungry. Did she get hit by a car. You know you. Have you have the power to take that fear and that sadness not grief away from him And I think that's probably going to be the hardest thing for him to come to terms with about you is that you saw him worrying and suffering every day about what had happened to his dog. And you didn't tell him. I think you guys will end. I think this will probably spell the end of your relationship. I I think that probably needs to happen. I think that will be good for Kyle to no end to be able to not be in a relationship with you will be good for him I want him to know this. I want him to not suffer While worrying about his dog and and I want him to be able to decide whether or not he wants to be with you as a result assaults and I I just think the right thing to do here is is to continue on the path that you started started walking down when you wrote to me You started breaking your silence with somebody who doesn't know you and I think that's partly because you know you can't keep doing this. Yeah Yeah and whatever happens next Either way it's good that Kyle has all the information to make the decision that makes the most sense for him. Yeah and you just you know now now. Oh you know Something about yourself. which is that you no longer want to Make big decisions on behalf of other people in order to control them And then lied to them. You know you don't want to do that again And you can find a therapist and talk to your trusted friends And and take responsibility for what you did and say. I want to do what I can to try to make amends. I know I can't make it right but I also don't WanNa treat people like this in the future. You can have that you know you can't you can't ever undo this but you can Redo your future and that will be good all right so the subject checked is secrets and It begins dear prudence. My husband and I grew up in the same small town. We have a two year old son for a birthday present I've got both of us in Ancestry Kit. I wish to God I never came up with the idea. The results came back saying we are actually first cousins on the paternal side. This news unsettles me and has left my husband's world in tatters. His parents have been married for thirty years and my husband always held his mother close to sainthood. He will not talk about this to me and we are sleeping in separate rooms unto starting to affect our son all my uncles are happily married. I thought I find myself looking through photo albums of our childhood altered together and trying to figure out the truth. This secret is poisoning. My marriage and I am terrified. It will blow up the rest of our family. My father in law likes to rhapsodised. How he he married the first girl he ever kissed? This is going to kill him. I can't confide in my mother or sisters. We were supposed to visit this summer so like if nothing else. I hope that one thing this podcast can do is talk at least one person out of ordering stanic. Yeah that was your first mistake especially in a small town. I feel like I know people who something like this has happened to where it's like. oops you're not related to your dad and that's not or you are with your or you are in this case it. That's that when I was reading this at first. I thought that like the incest thing was gonna be the dilemma problem right right but then I realized that like oh it's also like an infidelity thing. That's like a huge nightmare. Now because what the thing I was going to be like. Listen your your cousins dozens. You're not siblings. You didn't grow up thinking of yourselves as related totally like there are plenty of places around the world. People marry their first cousins. And it's not considered that weird like I think you should just get over that personally but then it becomes a little more complicated once. You factor the other stuff in so I think there are. Do you want me to go. I don't know how like yes. Just just go by the way though I love the are take on. This was both very like it's not really I was like it's not. I mean it's like it's fine. It's not like like go out of my way to date my cousin. But like if you accidentally married your cousin like worse things could happen to you. That is exactly where I come down. We are the same. And that's what you missed on. Game Game of thrones so I kept arguing that when people were talking game of thrones. I'm like they didn't know who cares anyway. So but should should. I think there are really two different issues here and the first one is the more complicated issue which is the relationship with your husband because he seems very upset obviously not has to be something that you guys need to figure out but then you're sort of conflicting with this other question which is should I tell anyone like. Should we tell them which I personally feel like the answer is no like. I don't see the unless your husband's simply can't live with does I don't see the upside in like blowing up. This marriage potentially thirty years later or like telling his you know. I just don't see why that would be a good thing for anyone to do because obviously their family's been fine for however long and people make mistakes mistakes and you know whatever happened. It was thirty years ago. And you know it's probably not worth you know blowing up the family. Has You put it in order to give yourselves peace of mind. I think you opened the Pandora's box a little bit with the DNA testing you found on something unpleasant. And now I think it sort of on you to like not let the blast radius scrutiny wider. That doesn't help you though deal with this with your husband. I mean I feel like maybe you guys need to go to therapy. You say he won't talk about it but like something's gotTa give their you know what I mean unless you were you break up like I. I don't see how doc sustainable you're already living in separate rooms like there's the marriage is not good right now right and I think yeah I I can almost see a way to steer them out out of the various shows here and get out to like we've process it as much as we feel like we need to and we're just going to let that one lie with yeah. I don't often give that advice but like I like the idea of trying for it but there's so many so many different rocks. They found her and I think the one that would probably be hardest at least for the husband right now is the sense of like so at least one of my parents saw me marrying this person and like using their memory remembered. There was a decent chance we were cousins and didn't say anything and that I think would be the hardest part for me would be you like one of my parents knew that I was marrying somebody who is probably my cousin and didn't say Shit to me at that. I think threats like my mother didn't say anything right like that that to me would feel like I don't know that I can put that one away but on the other hand and if you're a so they've been married for thirty years so my parents have been married for like a little over thirty or so. Let's say let's gauge. These people like mid fifties too early sixties. Probably probably age wise right. I feel like if you're in that age range unless you're someone like my mom my mom's coming up a lot. I'm sorry who's obsessed with genealogy so she loves the Ancestry Sunnah stuff but like most people would especially if you know they got married like five or six years ago before that was like a fad really before it was like on TV. All the time I feel like it wouldn't occur to you that they would ever find out so again. It's like one of those things where it's like yes like I made a mistake. Thirty years ago I was unfaithful for all you know. By the way his father knows this and they moved on from it and he raised. The kid has his own and didn't have like you know not say did number problem but like clearly. Their marriage is good too by all appearances. So maybe this is something they worked through but it's also just as possible that the mother knew this was a possibility was never sure if it was true or not ranges hoped it would never ever come up And if that's something he can't forgive his mother for then that's an issue that unfortunately like is sort of above your paygrade because it's not auden about your marriage. I think the main priority is not like if there's a way to not share this with the rest of the family and you two are able to talk about about it and your husband thinks he can be in the same room his parents again. That's you know they'll be kind of remarkable but if it is I would say don't prioritize keeping the secret grit over everything else right like if it just becomes. We have to protect the secret no matter what even if we're all dying inside that's too high a price to pay right. Yeah and again like you know yes I would just say right now. What you need is somebody to talk about this with and if your husband is not able to talk about it with you and he's not inviting you to be with you go by yourself you will still benefit from it And they will be able to help you clarify what do I need. What are my goals? Whatever desires And and figure out kind of a plan and then like from there to talk to your husband about like what are you I need or or or ask for what you need yourself. And if he's just like I wanNA sleep in this guestroom forever and never talk about anything ever you know. I think there needs to come. I'm a point where you can say like so that's not gonNa work long term and I need to figure out something else. Yeah what sort of. That's kind of what I was trying to get like like. I think it's a two tiered problem and the key tear. That's the first tier of the problem. Is your marriage and like figuring out whether this marriage can continue whether this is something. The two of you can process process by yourselves because if you can process it by yourselves or with the help of a therapist amongst yourselves rather than involving the rest of the family the damage to the family will be limited. But if that's not possible then the larger problem is how to approach dealing with this. And if there if you're GONNA deal with it I feel like that's something that he has acidy with his mom. Honestly Yeah and maybe say like. Do you think you want to need to talk to your mom about this. Because again I think the odds are that once you start talking about got it other people will inevitably be drawn into it but it also like he could potentially have a conversation with his mother and therapist. That does not mean you have to call up every cousin you have avenue like okay. Which one of you is my dad But right yeah I I do think that yeah I leave the uncle's out of it. Your uncles You know that's something that he and his mom can deal with if they want to. But you need to like not dig too deep into that. I think unless prompted to. Yeah hopefully they would buy them talk about it in a way that was like I'm obviously like hurting freaked out. I'm not trying to like you know Berry you. I'm not trying to Blake. Destroy you I just I need to know more about this. You need to be able to talk to me about it in a way. That's like I'm not. I don't know I feel like the pressures of trying to keep. All these other marriages going is like if they've already weathered thirty years I think they examined the storm. But yeah I think it's again I think it's very possible that some uh-huh at least I mean certainly the mother knew it was a possibility and the uncle whoever he may be news the possibility. But I think it's also possible that their spouses know that this is a possibility and that they've just all elected not to talk about it. That's not to say that that's necessarily the case but I just think that you're more likely to cause more of a problem. If you start like digging and investigating and trying to figure like a witch uncle was closest with her when they were you know things like that. I just wouldn't do that until it becomes something. That is an open conversation. If it goes that way yeah and I would just say to me if this if you start seeing therapist you have a place to talk about it and it still feels like. I'm getting no traction with my husband this may end my marriage and keeping the secret is killing me at that point. If you need to start talking about it carefully with one or two people in your life then I would say at that point point. That's more important than keeping the secret. is is like take that step. I see how that's going for you if you're not getting any progress and you are like I can't divorce my husband and not tell anyone why I would go isolated and alone you know at that point. It's like I didn't start the fire and exactly the this isn't your except except insofar as you bought the DNA test. But how could you have known. This isn't really like your nothing. Nothing about this is your fault and it's not your husband's fault either. So I think that it like so all my advice is to start by trying to deal with it amongst yourselves. If that's not possible like neither of you is the guilty party here and so right not that anyone should be you know but you got that what I'm saying. I do not something you guys did. So if you need to like lance the wound in order to heal from this then go for it. I just wouldn't be my first rate choice. I do think you guys should not visit this summer. Yoga you're not ready. You're clearly not there. You know what I mean mainly really nightmare. Yeah Yeah but yeah the you know. I think to just really stress like especially if you're struggling to get your husband to open up to say like clearly sleeping in separate bedrooms and not talking isn't working for either one of us. I don't see it making you happy or contented or peaceful. I see that is failing you as a strategy and I WANNA strategy for you that enables you to deal with your feelings be present for our son and ask for the things that you need. Ah Yeah again I think one of the things. That is hard as this does seem to be like I think a little bit more common than a lot of us thought with the advent of alright kits and again. I don't want to just say like don't worry about it. No big deal but I also hope you can like it probably is true that your father in law really loves his wife and right. It's a complicated is not ideal but it doesn't mean everything was a lie. I mean some things were huge life but they didn't love each other and it doesn't mean that they didn't agree to tell that lie for what they thought was the best thing for their son. You know what I mean especially if it's a small town where everyone's gossiping. I mean that's Roy again like you may be surprised how many people it turns out knew about this for thirty years right. I mean these are actually. If it's a small town exactly like this happens all the time. Yeah it's not the part that's unusual is marrying your secret relative. That is wrinkled. I have not encountered before right. Luckily you're not half siblings. That would be that I would be suggesting like other. Yeah that'd be a bummer. But like cousins. I feel like you can deal with this but it's totally work with. You can deal with it I just you know. Take some time to make sure you're dealing with it because you don't don't feel like you have to make this work if he he can't or if you can't or if this becomes untenable but obviously you WanNa make your marriage work you say on the letter so you know give it a shot. I believe that you can make this work Yeah but I would hesitate to go straight to. Let's talk to your family about it. Yeah and good luck. I hope you get that. They're good luck. DOC deserve a therapist. You deserve a lot of support. Follow up on with prudence because I am fascinated to know how this turns out on us and anyone anyone else. Who's listening who like is about to buy a DNA testing kit? Just go ahead and don't get anything else. I or a puppy. We'll be here and don't get upset. I was just say the only thing other than you shouldn't get. Don't get an animal as a gift. That's always a mistake. Oh yeah no not. It's a gift for someone. No God no I know. But that's thinks she got it as a gift gift for birthday present it was. It was his birthday present. Oh God happy birthday like paternity crisis. Yeah no not great all right moving onto something with some lighter steaks and it's your turn to read it which is Great. Because it's tonal conal. Change Yeah Okay yes. The subject of this one is constantly covering dear prudence about once every two months a group of Friends of mine budget to go out to eat very good food. We can't afford on a regular basis however one friend recently moved home and his flat broke. She constantly says she'd rather be invited. and not order anything because it's all about the company and then she picks off our plates. Were all bit sick of it but no one wants to exclude her because she eventually finds out in his hurt hurt known invited her to attend. Sometimes someone will cover her. But we're all recent college grads who can't afford to budget that much any ideas on how to proceed. No one wants to exclude. Who'd her? But the caveat of you can only come if you can pay for yourself seems harsh reminded. Now by the way of Corsica's long ago all piece about how how gays split the check and accompanying picture which was just like a bunch of really handsome and enjoying party that was really iconic a conic piece of journalism. It really really was like so many feelings about this letter. All your feelings slash has this ever happened to you sort of I have I. Mostly this happened because I was the broke friend When I when I was a recent college Grad I I was the one who is you. Know working in media making pennies and all of my college friends very intelligently got jobs as bankers and lawyers and paralegals and things where they were making what seemed to me to be just unimaginable quantities of money and I it was really lucky because there were one or two people in that group who were extraordinarily compassionate about the fact that I in another another person in our group were making like negative dollars and they kind of went out of their way to secretly cover us or or sort of make picture that that we could participate in what was going on but it was still kind of always awkward. And you know now that I'm in a much more financially stable position. I tried to go out of my way to make sure that other people don't find themselves worrying about whether they're gonNA pay rent or pay for drinks but you know this is this is this is slightly different scenario. Reo I think yeah and it's always a little tricky when somebody writes and says we're all a bit sick of it because there's always a weak link right in that group of like everyone when they get together agrees they don't like it but there's always one person at least who's like ads not that bad And there's there's always one person who's like the most upset about it. Yeah so it might be tricky to speak on behalf of the rest of the group but let's let's assume that that's not play here and it's just literally one special event every two months You know you have a couple of options and there's always like sure you can do the thing that is just like the most fair thing in the world and that's fine I I also think it's good to live in a world where you occasionally help out a friend in special circumstances and you don't do a lot of scorekeeping I I think this is you know this feels like one of those opportunities to me If it were like every time we go out to eat she never orders. Food always feels like half of ours and then like doesn't even contribute towards the tip. That'd be different than I would say like your friend. Sounds like a jerk but this feels like I duNno. It's every two months I don't know how much of your food she's taking. But it would be nice if maybe you just like added a couple of bucks each which For this temporary situation while your friend who is living with at home like needs a hand. I agree with that with an asterisk next to it. I think if it that Given the information we have here. There's one of two scenarios that is actually happening right. The first is that this is a group of friends who get together every two months and the venue in which they get together a retirement happens to be a restaurant. That's a little bit more fancy than they normally go out to eat at because like it's fun to you. Know Pantomime the highlife But the point of getting together getting together and on the other hand it could be the the point of getting together is going to these restaurants and this is a sort of high-end cuisine appreciation club and the fact that everybody gets along has become friends is great but is sort of secondary to the purpose of the club. which is that? We're going to go to these restaurants Morgan experience. The best that our city has to offer or whatever it might be and I think the what you have just posited Danny like is a perfect split down the middle. It's advice that that works in either one of these scenarios but I I feel feel like I don't know I feel like the letter writer like I feel like you're not sure which one of these it is yourself. You know like if this is a gathering of friends then amend the venue so that everybody can come without agitate and if this is about you know like flogger Aficionados ars club then if you can't afford the fog and it doesn't make sense to go to Foggia Aficionados Club because why are you even going right and again like like if you're pretty good friends otherwise and you see her regularly To talk through hurt feelings without doing what she wants Like if you decide as a group that this one thing is like really specific And that you all don't WanNa keep paying for her. You know make the plans talked to her about it. And if she says I'm hurt say I would love to see you some other time. Let's plan something that you can't afford whether that's it's getting together at somebody's house or going on a hike or making a meal together And like a allow her to You know plan an event that she can afford. Now if it's really just about seeing you guys my guesses. She will be able to talk through her feelings with you and and do this. If it's a little bit more I really just want the free meal You know you don't have to worry so much about that. You can kind of let that one go. You can kind of say like I'm sorry to hear that but we all don't have a lot of money on either. We can only afford to pay our way. Let me know if you ever want to get together and just like watch a movie So to that to that extent you certainly don't have to be responsible for Hurt feelings if she's not willing to come up with a compromise but this all reminds me of like the most stressful meal I've ever eaten in my life which is when I was like twenty one or twenty two. I was visiting New York with no money and had like my last twenty dollars with me and my one. The thing that I had really wanted to do was like half a fancy breakfast with my friends before. Had to leave that so lovely and he's like this is great because you can go to really fancy places if they do breakfast first and get a really fancy breakfast but it's still not going to be as expensive as a fancy dinner so I went with friends to the Carlyle Hotel Ono. Oh I know where this is going and again had like Headley. Planned ahead had look at their menu online and was like they have a breakfast menu. I can get like a cup of coffee and a breakfast. There and tip for twenty dollars is like ten years ago It like it's a IT'S A. It's a little tricky but I can definitely pull it off This is going to be amazing. Amazing we're GONNA have this like incredibly luxurious breakfast for reasonable price. And then I can go home and rebuild my savings Helen. I didn't know that on the weekends. Fancy hotels do fancy punches where the prices are fixed on it. They're so expensive. It's like seventy dollars. Oh yeah easily. So there were four of us and We went and they were like it is a breakfast buffet and I was like Oh great. Okay and like at this point I got a feeling of like Oh. This isn't quite what I had pictured but website website had normal prices. I'm sure this is just similar to that. And they kept bringing us things like lobster bisque and saying there is a champagne thing down on the seller. Would you like to be escorted there and I was just like my God. This is highway robbery and at the end they brought the check and my friend Ben opened it and he looked at me with the widest. I just is I have ever seen and he said Danny this is the re hundred dollars. Oh and I felt so so so so so guilty We all were overdrawn on our bank accounts that day and it took me a couple of months to pay everybody those fees back and I felt so so bad and then when we went out because my friend is a plucky good sport he like had a little bit more spirits and he looked at me and he said I stole all this it has ever since then whenever I travel anywhere I try to find spoon and buy it And Mail it to him. You should steal the spoon in Belgium. I am now at a position in my life where I don't feel like it's right for me. I mean it's not right to steal jio cutlery. In general not like I have the money to buy a spoon and I you know I I'm not I don't WanNa do that. Yeah but yeah I. I felt as bad as I've ever felt it was a million percent my fault none of us could afford that and it was just me you being so full of wishful thinking. Yeah that's A. That's an amazing story. I'm so sorry I hope you drank a lot of champagne from the champagne. Cellar like get your three hundred dollars worth. I'm sure I did. This is before I got sober so I'm sure I also embarrassed myself in a second. God would you know i. I'm just looking over the letter again. While while thinking about the Har- of a three hundred dollar breakfast bell and there's another aspect vic to this that I want to bring up which is that Depending on the size of of this group of friends and I'm assuming we're not talking like fifteen people we're talking like four or six people like normal restaurant tables worth of folks It's actually a not super great further restaurant for there to be a person at a meal who is not ordering And I don't mean to be taking the side of Capitol but I'm thinking in terms of like the the small businesses that restaurants tend to be extremely thin margins. They tend to run on your very broke friend. Who says it's okay? I'll come along. I just won't order anything like it's kind. You've not super okay to do that The overhead costs of running a restaurant and making sure that there's a chair there and and the ways that servers get paid they frequently are paid less S. than minimum wage. Thanks to this very upsetting. Legal concept called the tipped minimum. Where where you can be paid less than minimum wage? As long as it's made up through tips that are left. All of this is a sort of complicated calculus that largely relies on a person ordering food because we tip usually based on the check total total title. So if you know a server who's presumably not making a ton of money is relying on this four top or the six top to provide a certain amount of income to them and then an you know. A significant percentage of that table is simply not adding anything to the check. It's not really fair to the people who service Jason Labor. You're relying on as you visit the restaurant so it's another reason why I think that your friends desire to be part of this is coming from a place of wanting to be included in God I relate so deeply to like the terror of exclusion but I don't know I think in general. It's not super cool for someone to go to a restaurant not order anything like you know if if I and again and I'm coming at this from a place of you know I I have enough financial luxury to be able to eat out all the time and you know I can buy my own spoons now like that as a rubric of having made it in the world but You know if if we're like lingering way too long even if I don't want dessert I will order desert in order to effectively pay rent for the table that my friends is an Irish sitting at and I think there's that level of consideration as well to take into mind. Yeah Yeah it's it's it is hard because like in addition to all the very fraught interpersonal dynamics. That can come up when you share a meal with friends There's also the fact that like most restaurants you know underpay their staff and they there's a whole host of labor issues that come into play there so you know going out to eat is never going to eat. There's a lot going on and I'm going to go ahead and read it because I want to make sure that we do time right a but the subject is can't stop dreaming about my ex-boyfriends so I mean this to be hopeful. Maybe you will keep dreaming about this person. You can still have a good life dear prudence. I dated an absolutely wonderful Guy Benjamin overeager while I was was in college however our relationship which was long distance became unhealthy on both sides and he eventually ended it apart of me will always love him. Though that was three years ago. It'd be given another twenty. I've moved on dated other people etc.. But I'm still dreaming about him about two three nights a week. My dreams are all about my pension mention. Sometimes we're back together or thinking about getting back together or just plain fighting. These dreams are exhausting. I wake up feeling incredibly depressed and drained. The worst part is knowing that I will never see Benjamin ever again other than in my dreams. Is there a way to cope with having these dreams. which sometimes feel like nightmares nightmares? I know they may never stop. But I don't WanNa feel like cartridge when I wake up anymore for reference. I do believe that some dreams can inspire you to make a change in your life but I definitely do not believe that but these dreams are some sort assigned to initiate contact. did I write this letter. I had a college boyfriend named baton and me several times and definitely three years out of college I was like I will never get over this. I will never forget him. I'm sure I'll always be a woman and I'll always love him and like give it a couple of years you might end up with exciting new facial hair and no dreams at all. I felt I felt for this letter. Ride a soy okay deeply. Because we've all been there where you know we've out dream lovers dream to accorded. There's nothing worse than that exhaustion of waking up after a terribly traumatic dream in which all of the the worst pots of either not being when someone will breaking up with them just comes back not off tonight. I don't know why she's still dreaming about him. That's she seems very clear on the fact that and they're not meant to be together. She's she's okay with that. But maybe there's a part of its not being fully honest about what she's clinging onto in love sometimes has a long ass echo in one's life. I think and it doesn't necessarily mean that we want to go back and try to recapture the past. But I absolutely still think about about people that I have broken up with ages and ages ago. It's not always quite to this extent but I don't think you necessarily need to think I'm doing something wrong. Sometimes you just feel something very deeply and it stays with you a long time so to that and I would recommend reading the novel persuasion. Is You guys. Remember the conversation great adult novel at the end where it's like. I claim only one virtue for my sex. which is that long after all? Hope of love is gone. We maintain loving the longest. And he's like what's going on. He's very joined the letter. Like which is actually maybe not a great book jury because they do end up getting back together after seven years but I do think that maybe throwing a little Barbara Pym in there because then there's just unrequited love forever and nobody gets married which is great. I would recommend reading persuasions Barbara Pen and I would also recommend keeping a dream journal. I also think that there is a part of you that feels like you didn't get closure. The relationship ended because you both on the other side of the country from each other and and I mean no matter what people like to believe. Love can't survive anything. Oh everything looks like the love. CanNot I folks consultations and you know maybe you had the basis. I really great relationship but the thing that just didn't work out with the fact that you were physically separated from each other. The feelings that you had for each other didn't end and because the relationship did and that's what is still kind of barring down into your heart is that you didn't get any closure and I would just say. Don't be afraid of big scary. Gary feelings I I often feel like if I'm feeling upset or particularly twisted up about something. It must be a sign of something is wrong. That's not always true. Sometimes we just have big big feelings links so I would just say if three years out from the end of a relationship that meant a lot to you a couple tehreek you wake up feeling kind of twisted write it down. Write down what you dreamed. Write down what you felt acknowledged like I'm starting my day with this particular feeling of longing or despair I know it will eventually fade and the day will take its place. But that's where I'm at right now. How and let those feelings inspire you to be kinder to the people in your life right now kind to yourself? Let that be the kind of high bar that you Half future relationships of like I'm a person with deep capacity for love and a deep deep loyalty. That's a good thing but yeah I would just say. Pay attention to these feelings. Don't don't necessarily try to let them drive the car of your life But like three deeply read about people who have felt deeply and who have loved lost and so on and connect with them in that way and What you dream dream Nicole? Would you read that first letter forest. Please sure subjects. My boyfriend keeps masturbating in front of me. Dear prudence. I've lived with my boyfriend of two years for the past year. Recently I had some problems with my uterus and was hospitalized for severe uncontrolled bleeding after I got out of the hospital three days ago on bed. Rest my boyfriend has started jerking off to porn on his phone right in front of me without warning without asking how. I'm feeling or anything the first time it happened a few hours. After I was was discharged I was mostly shock and too exhausted to even say anything. It's like because we haven't had sex for a couple of weeks. He thinks it's fine now. It's happened again end. The last two nights. I honestly felt uncomfortable and almost violated. Why can't he do this in private? Our communication can't suck sometimes but we're otherwise very very open with each other. I don't feel well and I'm certainly not turned on by this. I can't even think about sex right now with the pain. I'm in is it normal or okay. Hey to ask for a break in our sexual relationship until I am feeling better. I don't feel like just because I'm out of service to him. It means he deserves special treatment. Because he's so so deprived. I understand that we should be comfortable enough around each other but this made me feel upset if feels like all he cares about is getting off. When I haven't had an orgasm awesome in a month because it's too painful? How do I even bring this up? Now that I let it go on for longer than one time. Wow right who ooh I think. If there's one thing I wish I could kind of communicate to a lot of people who ate in is that it is okay to bring something up even though you haven't brought it up before Like you don't suddenly lose the right to be bothered by something or hurt by something just because you couldn't kind of coalesce all of your feelings about it or you couldn't put words to what was bothering you before. So the idea that like. Oh Man I is. He allowed to do whatever he wants. Because I didn't say anything anything previously like. I I hope that they can just let go of that idea. Of course you're allowed to be bothered by this and you can just say I didn't know how to say it before because they were so shocked and groggy from surgery. But I'm saying now right right the KI Term in in this letter for me is Violated this person felt almost violated by their boyfriend. Doing this and I think that that is what needs to push them to say something something about this because it is a violation. They did not have a discussion about it beforehand. This is this was done without their consent and I think they need to. Yes address it. Because you're you're when you come home from the hospital particularly after Invasive surgery you need to rest is takes a while to get the drugs out of your system. You don't think the same way all all that. So that can be there Way of getting into the discussion. Hail really wasn't feeling well You know a lot of things going on but I wanNA talk to you about this because I I don't feel comfortable with it right right and another another bit of the the less of a kind of got me was the line where they said. I understand that we should be comfortable enough around each other. But this this is made me feel upset and comfort always makes room for upset. It doesn't matter how comfortable you are. If you feel upset. You feel upset and like Nicole. said I'd like this feeling of icon broach this now. It's like no you you absolutely can if you're in pain and that's that's what they said in the letter I'm in pain. I was in shock doc and I was exhausted and so on and so forth but also like I'm in pain. I don't know how to say any more clearly like I can't do the things that you clearly are kind of yearning for no and that's fine you know it's not ideal but it is what it is. Can we talk about what that means for both of us rather than you kind of just assuming that you can just kind of you know. Whip it out and get going. I just I find that just like no you have every. This is literally the epitome of I have grounds to say something. It's not like some sort of Frat boy away you know. Oh you're on your period so can you give me a BJ. You know that kind of thing. That's ridiculous This is much more serious than that. And they definitely need to have have a discussion about it and the letter writer needs to say. Don't do this right and like you said a good way in is kind of in a us the you know the truth of it. which is I was exhausted? I was groggy. I wasn't feeling myself and that's why I didn't bring it up. Because that's that's where the letter ends. How do I even bring this up now and I think that you know you're looking for a sort move in? That's that's it it's accurate and it's you know it's also very useful in the situation where I wasn't shocked the first time and I wasn't quite sure what was going going on but now that I can like you said I I've coalesced my thoughts and I have some. I have some thoughts. You know where you know the thoughts that I can now say out loud bringing up up is difficult but necessary you know. I think it's a full fits your rights to bring it up because time has paused. Yeah and also you know the kind of implications as I know we should be comfortable around each other would be like if he had asked I would have to say yes. It's also really fine to have the kind of relationship where your partner like Asks to jerk off in front of you while you're recovering from surgery if you're like I'm not into that that does nothing for me no So if party you feels like the the only thing that I should be upset about is that he didn't ask it's just you can also say I don't like this and you don't say anything about like otherwise he's been very helpful and attentive You you're on bedrest and in a lot of pain and so yeah I I just I wanNA give you a lot of permission to not only bring this up. But we really don't rush to forgive him and don't rush to make an excuse for him so to say like this was wildly. You know like just insensitive to the fact that I'm recovering. It was also a violation of my consent. And just because we're dating doesn't mean we're not capable of violating consent. So you need to take that real seriously boyfriend. That's a that is an issue of like respecting consent and other people's bodily autonomy and like It doesn't go away just because you're dating somebody especially if it's like I'm introducing a brand new thing. We've never done together before so I think you have a right to be very upset if this were me and I brought this up. My partner responded really badly I would really question like am I safe with this person. Yes person care about me and my wellbeing well-being so really let yourself feel this one really let yourself object to it if you need to like be kind yourself beforehand and just say like look. I didn't bring this up earlier because of X Y and Z. That's fine it's also just okay to go straight into like what the fuck man. I am recovering from unbelievably painful surgery. I haven't come in a month and you start. Jerking off in front of me without vowed even asking if I'm cool with it. What is the matter with you What indeed he should be like? Not that there's anything wrong with wanting to get off but like he couldn't have he couldn't have major soup. I write the SUV and then go do in the boss room. It's it's the phone like it. It just reeks of a certain kind of like a basic lack of respect. You know you're over the kind of holding onto your insides and someone is GonNa like anyway anyway BOOP and then there's porno it's like we even gonNA come on. I'm watching this US like I'm holding a hot water bottle to my stomach and watching Schmaltzy Network TV. What I don't need is this also is just like the does? Does you know the letter writers pain is he getting off on that and some kind of way because they're clearly like in bed in pain. I'm sure that they don't look great. You know they're probably Pale and I'm sure you're wonderful but I mean I'm sorry yes you probably look like you just got home from a serious medical little procedure. What is that like? Why would you think? Oh this is the time right. This is the right time to do this. Yeah yeah a reeks of something. That is yeah. Yeah Yeah that entitlement and that indifference and potentially that like enjoying I think my partner is probably too like exhausted and in pain to say anything so I'm just go for it. That's just none of those are good things to having a partner and again especially when you could talk about this with your partner and ask like. Is there a way that they could incorporate like the way that I masturbate. While you're recovering that would feel kind of fun and playful for you or would you want to just keep that really separate like that's a perfectly legitimate question to ask and he could have asked you and like could have potentially gotten something that felt fun and light for the both of you but instead you feel like we what just happened. uh-huh yeah. It reeks selfishness and It's it's definitely something that you want to broach as soon as you feel up to it because you know the alternatives what you just Sit there and take it no. You should definitely you know if you feel if if he you know the the question being how do I bring this up is just like Danny said you you bring it up you know whether you want to ease into that or launched into it is entirely up to you but it's something that is worth you taking the time to kind of question because yeah it definitely is something that has put you in a place where you off feeling. Oddly enough in a defensive position when you've done literally nothing except recover from surgery right and I just want to acknowledge which you put the the bit about being quote out of service and deprived in quotation marks. And what it felt like in that was your frayed. That that's what he's GonNa say to you That that's is going to be his defense and and I just WanNa say if you tell him you did something that made me feel violated hurt and uncomfortable and his response is anything like oh so. I'm not allowed to get off just because you've you've had surgery. He is trying to dodge the issue. he's trying to distract you and you don't have to fall for that you get to say we are not talking about whether or not you have a who've right to orgasm in private. We're talking about the way that you chose to do it which you did not have to do You made that choice So if he does try to come at you with that defense percents Don't give any quarter. Because it's it's ridiculous I just I loving said. Don't give him any quarter. That feels very kind of you know staunch politician. I responded to that so thank you lutely absolutely absolutely all right. We're GONNA do one more letter because it is just such a classic classic you know happen to all of us Sooner or later it's GonNa Happen to you listeners. The subject is just guessed. Did our the homework during my wedding and furious dear prudence. I recently got married to my dear husband. Ricardo however during the ceremony Ramona. The wife of four. Hey a college buddy of my husband's actually whipped out her macbook during the ceremony and worked on a college paper the entire time. The sound of Ramona's typing was audible during the ceremony. She barely lowered the volume on her laptop and she even attempted to facetime with her study partner although she was at least quote considerate enough to walk walkout when the call connected recur reached out after the ceremony. And that's where he. Why RAMONA's off to use my wedding hall as a Study Hall? He replied that she was under a tight deadline for her class and had plan on skipping but decided to come when she saw we had an open bar and quote Ramona had earned a breather after putting in so much effort at school and she sat in the back row. Anyway you can hear for her message alerts chiming over mouth in the wedding video pretty furious. She ruined my wedding to score some free booze which she enjoyed while continuing to type away during the wedding toasts and our first dance. How do I properly convey my frustrations to her and Ramona or am I overreacting well? Wow Wow your friends are assholes this this is not a thing that should happen to be very clear. This is not no no no never yeah. I've never heard of this one. This is a brand new to me. yeah this is my again. This was totally totally bizarre and I understand why no one anticipated this but like rather than overreacting. I think what should have happened in the moment. It was like somebody and yeah he again. I get that you don't go into your wedding thing like now we've deputized such and such a person to make sure that everyone turns off their laptops And doesn't take a call during this but like the moment would have been then to lake even at the risk of things looking a little bit uncomfortable to like stop. And like send somebody send an usher or whatever over to her and be like you need to stop again without saying like therefore it's your fault. I think one of the things that is good in in the moment Is To stop and and address this rather than just like poll a shocked face and hope that somebody becomes it comes bashed when they have made it clear that they will never become abashed but that moment has passed. You can't undo that nonsense happened. Just full stop. This should never occur to anyone to do but unfortunately it is a thing that happened in the past. And so it's like you can be as bad as you. What about it? Unfortunately it is it still firmly lodged in the past. Once you cannot dislodge and we'll it'll be on those. Maybe you could see if they'd be willing to pay the edit video jio no I actually don't think that's a good suggestion but it just seems like people who are clueless enough to just urge. They're studying and Ramona to come and type blindly away. During the ceremony. With alerts going off would not feel that any wrongdoing had happened for which they be be willing to compensate. You just know that you are completely in the right about this but unfortunately there's probably not a ton you can do about it other than maybe reevaluate whether these folks are folks if you want to continue to cherish his friends. Oh yeah so I mean I just kind of made that move. The guests were in the moment like turned around and closed her lapse out for her. Yeah no this is. Why relatives existed So there's two things to do here one is like how do I properly convey my frustrations astray Shin's You just say like hey that was awful. You know like you don't have to properly. Can I mean short. Don't scream at them and don't say like your horrible monsters and I hope you get hit by a car. Do say like really rude and distracting The sounds of your typing and studying are in my wedding I I wish so you hadn't done this it. It really hurt my feelings that I didn't have your full attention during the fifteen minutes that a wedding ceremony takes it was rude and damaged our friendship. That's all you have to say. If if they apologize you can say thank you for your apology. I still need time. If they don't apologize. You can safely right. These people off as bad friends. Who Do not ever have to see again? They are their commitment. Whitman to rudeness is greater than their commitment to you But then beyond that once they are out of your immediate social circle you can I think laugh about it a little bit maybe not right away But like you still got to marry your husband. you get to be married for the rest of your life if you would like and that person does not have the power to do anything else to you and one of the things that I think you will eventually get to laugh about like you guys are not GonNa believe this. When we got married? Twenty years ago we had a great time and we had one guest who was studying during the ceremony. And your friends with what. No you're making that up you like I am not making this up. This happen happen and they'll be like I have a video you can hear her laptop remember laptops chiming in the background. And the like that's wild because of course now we all have some new technology analogy that's replaced laptops and you'll get to dine out on the story of the Totally Bananas Wedding guests who you don't talk to anymore. Yes no because one of the greatest gifts which I hope eventually this will become a gift is to be given the perfect story about why somebody is a bad person. Not a bad person necessarily but like this is the perfect incident. Did you can bend us to explain. Why you have the attitude towards that person that you have and this is a gift wrapped classic? Yeah just a beautiful example. Continued friendship with this person. Who's impossible because She studied and took phone calls throughout my wedding And then when I told her that that bothered me Her boyfriend said well she. She wasn't gonNA come anyways but she saw that there'd be free booze and everyone's response to that will be home. Goodness gracious that belongs in a museum and you will be able to dine out on the story for years to come. Nobody will be like. I think you have reacted. Everyone will be like this lady. Sounds like a jerk and again like it hurt obviously because it is fifteen minutes out of if your life. I'd like to pay attention ceremony. No one's even saying like. Don't look at your phone or leave early during the reception but yet like to say boy. Oh boy I want the people who attend my wedding to pay attention during like the ten minutes when we're actually talking with the efficient and taking vows the very very very very very easy easy simple request. I can't get over the fact that she was on a laptop not even her phone on a laptop typing dean noises. No you're going and this is just a beautiful horrible story that no one will ever find issue with your behavior but they were jaws will drop to the ground Paul and and then he was like well she was in the back row. She actually didn't even feel it coming to your wedding to start with like we. We did get some free booze out of you is just like that. It is just you know I'm truly impressed at at both of their Charisma I'M GONNA call that Charisma Panache. There's another word frontier perhaps. Yeah yeah true. True for some people truly truly do not worry what anyone in the world thinks of them and Ramona and her hair definitely in that category. Of just like I'm GonNa do exactly what I need to get by and everyone what else can go hang and that is just too much confidence. You shouldn't have that much confidence. You should have less confidence than that. Always the people with that confidence are the ones you wish didn't have have that confidence and vice versa. Yeah they don't use it to make wonderful useful. You know choices that benefit others. They do it to facetime in their study. But can you imagine being the study getting that call. I mean like we we're are you. You're calling me from this. This can I hear Organ Music Zik. Are you some where you can talk. It's fine. It's fine up serving booze yet so I can talk. I'm still free. Someone who wants left a reception to watch Joe Jeb Bush's speech where he dropped out of the race. You know if it were possible to find a sympathetic audience for this. I would have been bad but I left reception demure manner and didn't make any noises once left a reception early early to go audition for jeopardy because there was like twice a year window when you were allowed to do. So but I- cleared it with the the bride I and I just went to a nearby nearby Panera bread and then I came back afterwards because it was only like twenty minutes. So you know you gotta hear it with the bride. If you're thinking of doing anything anomalous at wedding yes she was my cousin. It wasn't it. Was You know anyways I realize now. I'm exposing myself to censure from others. Who say no you wait until they have the addition that's not during your cousin's wedding and I will you know if someone wants to chasing me for that I will accept it? I should potentially have reconsidered. But what's done is done and I already went on jeopardy loss robots so. I've already been punished it. I hope you all enjoyed and got something out of these letters. Grace and I are done packing. And we're heading to New York City next episode you will hear will be from the other side of the country thanks all of you for listening and supporting show. Our producer is still circus. Our theme music was composed by Robin Hilton. Don't Miss Recent episode of the show had to sleep dot com slash dear prudence to subscribe and remember. You've always more prudence by joining slate plus good a slate dot com slash. Pretty pod to sign up if you want me to answer your question. Call me and leave a message at four zero one three seven one dear. That's three three two seven you don't have to use your real name or location and at your request last week. Even alter the sound of your voice keep it short thirty seconds the minute tops. Thanks for listening. And here's a preview of our slate plus episode coming this Friday. Your level of fear is not commensurate with what you're proposing doing like most reasonable. Oh people if their friends says I cannot host you for an extra two nights would not say then fuck you and your bloodline. I hope you all die. They'll just say okay will will rearrange our plan so and again. I think the fact that you were like texting and a panic back and forth about this instead of just picking up the phone and saying either like hey you know we agreed to this. You were in a really different situation and also now that I'm in Grad School in close to finals week. I've just realized it would be too hectic and too challenging to host the whole family's here so I'm afraid we're not going to be able to host you and you'll have to make other arrangements. I'm really sorry for the inconvenience but I just think this is the best thing to do to listen to the rest of the conversation. Join slate plus now at slate dot com forward slash pretty pot.

Times kyle writer New York City partner Danny flu Ben UC Berkeley High Grace Putin Grech Grayson LAVERY Caroline Department of English associate professor Louis Kim young China
New Prudie Mini Episodes on Slate Plus!

Slate's Dear Prudence

01:17 min | 2 years ago

New Prudie Mini Episodes on Slate Plus!

"Hello daniel mallory or of dear prudence here. We are now releasing the dear prudence podcast twice a week. We'll have a regular episodes that come out on tuesdays and now a mini the episode that comes out every friday to hear this many episode you have to be asleep plus member as a member not only will you get here this many episodes each week but you can also listen to any sleep podcast without ads plus members also get an extra answer each column for me and my dear friend nicole cliff on the slate website so sign up now at slate dot com slash privacy pod. That's slate dot com slash pretty pod. Here's a preview of today's mini episode if she's angry with you if she's hurt hurt if she feels abandoned. You know that's gonna be the cost of getting to get out <hes>. I don't think you can try to leave and make sure she thinks well of. You and i feel like that's kind of why you wrote this letter which is like i love her. I wish i could stay with her. I don't really believe i can talk out of doing this but i want her to understand understand why on leaving and i just. I don't think you can ask for that. I think the most you can ask for in this situation is to maintain your own boundaries and not become apparent to listen the rest of that conversation join slate plus now at slate dot com forward slash pretty pot.

daniel mallory nicole cliff
New Prudie Mini Episodes on Slate Plus!

Slate's Dear Prudence

01:18 min | 1 year ago

New Prudie Mini Episodes on Slate Plus!

"Hello Daniel Miller or burke or dear prudence here. This is just a reminder that we're releasing the prudent podcast twice a week. We have a regular episodes that come out Tuesday's and we also release a mini episode every Friday to hear this many episode though you do have to become a slate plus member as a member not only will you get to hear this mini episode every week but you can also listened to any sleep podcast without ads so sign up now at slate dot com slash pretty pot. That's slate dot com slash pretty pot. Here's a preview of today's as many episode featuring Nicole Perkins and Bam at a one neat from slates thirst aid kit podcast all right lady. I mean worry you're old breath palm that that was a that was a diesel for me where I physically recoiled and I thought oh come on like this out. I understand the excitement that comes with being you know a grandmother. It's exciting. A lot of things are falling into place things that you know and this is a woman who has said she is excited. She's as you know in wanting to be a grandmother. This is she's always dreamed of it. I think when people do that they dream to the exclusion of everybody else's dreams and it can be difficult terrain someone in to listen to the rest of their conversation join slate plus now at slate dot com forward slash pretty pod.

Daniel Miller Nicole Perkins burke Bam
New Prudie Mini Episodes on Slate Plus!

Slate's Dear Prudence

01:09 min | 2 years ago

New Prudie Mini Episodes on Slate Plus!

"Hello daniel mallory or of dear prudence here. We are now releasing the dear prudence podcast twice a week. We'll have a regular episodes that come in on tuesdays and now a mini the episode that comes out every friday to hear this many episode you have to be asleep plus member as a member not only will you get to hear this many episodes each week but you can also listen to any sleep podcast without ads plus members also get an extra answer each column for me and my dear friend nicole cliff on the slate website so sign up now at slate dot com slash privacy pod. That's slate dot com slash pretty pod. Here's a preview of today's mini episode. I'm sorry that there have been a lot of women more interested in a sort of situation where they thought you were cheating on your fiancee. That is too bad. Those don't sound like women who would adum materially improve your life if you spent a lot of time with them but that doesn't mean like what do i do differently to make sure lots of women do wanna sleep with me and my open relationship ship. Many won't listen to the rest of that conversation. Join slate plus now at slate dot com forward slash pretty pot.

daniel mallory nicole cliff
Dear Prudence: The "Unrequited Colleague" Edition

Slate's Dear Prudence

46:53 min | 2 years ago

Dear Prudence: The "Unrequited Colleague" Edition

"Before we get started. We have an important favor to ask you. We'd like your help. We've put together a survey. So we can learn more about listeners like you and make your favorite podcasts. Even better. This is your opportunity to tell us what you like. And what you don't like it should take about fifteen minutes to complete. Just visit slate dot com forward slash podcast survey to participate. That's slate dot com forward slash podcast survey. We appreciate your feedback. You're listening to this week's excerpts from the dear prudence podcast to get the full length. Members only version every week. Join sleep plus at slate dot com slash pretty pod. You're you're Putin. Prudence? Here. Do you think that I should contact him again help? Thank thank you. Hello and welcome back to the dear prudence show once again, and as always I am your host Daniel Mallory or Berg, also known as dear prudence with me in the studio this week is Janet cheetah bell who left her position as a textbook editor in nineteen Eighty-four to become a consultant to authors, the book publishing industry and to produce her own books. She recently moved to the San Francisco Bay area to be near her three amazing granddaughters. Janet, welcome to the show. Thank you. And welcome again to the San Francisco Bay area. This is my home. I hope that the weather starts to feel more and more home like to you well to have fifties in February for midwestern girl feels pretty good. I remember right before I left the midwest. One of the times that I realized it was time for us to go was I came home early from school one day. And I saw my mother who is a remarkable woman and she had come home early and was in her pajamas curled up in the fetal position to get the last rays of sunlight at thirty in the afternoon. It was time to go. Yeah. Yeah. I do not miss that. Well, I'm really looking forward to tackling some of these questions today because a lot of them feel too big to tackle alone. Yes, they do. And I was wondering if you'd be so good as to read our first letter. Sure, dear prudence, I have a problem in which I seem to morph from girlfriend into therapist for my significant others might current relationship of four months started passionately and full of fun. But over time, my girlfriend's mental health has taken up more and more time in our conversations. Now at least eighty percent of our conversations are about her depression, and I feel like her depression has taken over my life too. I want to help her and courage her to speak to a therapist in addition to continuing to take prescription anti depression. Medication but having to battle her persistent self-doubt and constant need for reassurance. And emotionally vestment has. Left me exhausted and killed my sexual interest for her stone dead. I have asked for space and time alone at least one day a week. But she's still ends up at my house every day, sad and seeking attention. I feel like an unpaid unqualified mental health support for an issue that is not getting better. How can I balance being a supportive partner while not allowing my partners mental illness to take over my life? The thing that really struck me about this letter. I in addition to how painful and overwhelming this sounds, but they have been together for four months, and she has already referring to herself as her girlfriends partner. That feels really soon. Yeah. You like four months, and you should just be trying out the word girlfriend Acas Zakel like this is the kind of letter. I would maybe expect from we've been together for fifteen years. Yes. Four months should be. You know, we just had our first weekend away together and Kazak clear. What jumped out at me though, with the very first sentence. I seem to more from girlfriend into therapist for my significant others. So this is happened a lot. Yes. Yeah. That was what got me. Yeah. That this happens a lot and that is apparently happens faster and faster each time. Yes. So my thought here is, you know, it's been four months you're already at a point where she comes over to your house every day, despite you're asking her not to I I see no reason not to just break up right now. That's what I would do. But then the question is how do I live my life in such a way that I don't just in another four months? Find myself doing this again, exactly, you know. And that's where you know, the word therapist shows up in the first sentence. Yes. See one, exactly. But you know, you're going to get to ask yourself difficult questions like. What do I get out of those relationships? Yes. And that's not gonna feel good. I I was recently not that recently. But somebody had asked me something along those lines. Like, why do you find yourself in this pattern, and I felt so defensive like, oh, I just have bad luck. These people just find me. Yes. And they were lovingly, but gently persistent sort of said like. But why do they find you? And what do you think you're getting out of it? And as I actually sat and answer that question. I I found an answer. I didn't like it because they wanted to think of myself as unfairly victimized. Yes. You you you you must get something out of this weather. It's feeling together by default, or like, it takes the attention off of you. So that you don't have to look at things in your own life that you might need help for. I I don't know the answer. But or sometimes people who always find themselves taking care of others. It's really their cry for help to be taken care of. Yeah. Oh, man. Yeah. There may be a part of you that feels like if I keep taking care of other people really really well someday someone's gonna come up and say, I've noticed you doing all this amazing work, and I want to do it for you now. Yes. And if I have to ask for it, it doesn't count exactly where I can't really trust that other people do it. If I ask for it. Right. But yeah, I mean, it's been four months, you're using the expression it's killed my sexual interest for her stone dead. You know, that's bad. That's really bad. Yeah. The question that you ask is the most important one. What is she getting from it? Yeah. So I I think the question you asked at the end, how do I balance being supportive partner while not allowing you know, a particular partners mental health to take over your life is a really good question. But it sounds like you want to answer it while staying in this relationship. Exactly. I don't think you can do that. No. I I don't think that this woman has demonstrated that she's able to do that. I don't think she's interested in doing that, you know, having serious, depression and an untreated mental health issues. Doesn't mean you can't listen to somebody when they say, I need a day alone. Like the fact that she's ignoring your boundaries. I don't think that's fair to say. Of course, she's doing that. She's depressed. I think that's kind of unfair to people with depression. Right. Who do listen when people say, no? So, you know, four months in if fun is that far in the past let this one go, you guys, aren't you know, you're not living together. You don't have kids. You don't share? Custody of a cat. Yeah. This this one feels this is kind of nice. We get to start with like a really easy one not easy. Obviously, it's sad and painful and. I think you know, part of the problem right now is the sense of my partners already partner. She's not your partner. She's your girlfriend. She's already so sad. If I break up with her she'll be sadder. You don't seem to be making her happy. Now. Exactly. So if that's holding you back from ending it. I think you can just say to yourself. I don't think I'm capable of affecting her happiness. She needs to figure that out for herself. Exactly, I need to spend some serious time alone. Just asking difficult questions. Maybe even asking some year, close friends whose judgment interest like have you noticed this pattern? Do you have any thoughts about it? I realize inviting your friends to give advice about your dating life might feel like opening a door. You won't know you can close later so feel free not to do that. But. All right. This episode of to your prudence is brought to you by every plate experienced full plates and fuller wallet. With America's best value meal kit from every plate get meals, you'll enjoy and your Bank account will love delivered right to your door. Every dinners are the cheaper healthier alternative to take out or delivery. When other dinner options cost around ten dollars serving every plate is offering five chef designed recipes each week from only four ninety nine per serving think of it this way one meal is the same price as a lotta depending on where you get your tastes recipes come together in about thirty minutes, definitely faster than a trip to the grocery store less time. Deciding what to cook means more time spent enjoying good food with your family every plate does the meal planning shopping and prepping for you taking the time consuming guesswork out of cooking for six free meals across your first three weeks and free shipping on your first livery, go to every plea dot com and enter prudence six at checkout that six free meals during your first three weeks and free shipping on your first delivery at every plate dot. Com promo code prudence than the digit six. So in keeping with this theme of wiry, or when are we allowed to break up with people the subject this next letter is creepy or sad to prudence last year. I broke up with my boyfriend for no real reason. He hadn't done anything wrong. I just realized that I didn't really want to date him anymore. That's actually, a great reason. You know, that's a fabulous reason thing is he doesn't seem to want to accept this. He knows that. I don't wanna see him anymore. But he has not told any of his friends when he ran into a friend of mine at a restaurant. She thought we'd gotten back together from how he spoke about me after Christmas. I got an Email from his mom that said she was sorry. I wasn't well, but that she looked forward to seeing me some time next quote this year, I had worked myself into a panic about this before Christmas and actually ditched my plans. So it could go home to my parents and hide out. I had visions of him breaking into my place and just acting like he was supposed to be there. That's worn off a bit. Now, as my ex hasn't tried to approach me or been seeing hanging around my place or anything, I guess I'd just gotten a bit paranoid. However, I don't know how to deal with this. Should I confront him? Tell people that we're not together. Make an announcement on social media. I manage the social media at work. So I tend to curate my own presence carefully online and keep relationship status and other things offline or should I just leave? It alone. And hope it will get better. This has all been really disconcerting even now when I feel better that he's not just going to turn up somewhere this behavior so out of character from exit I feel really off balance when I think about how to proceed. Certainly strategy for life, which is just sort of not acknowledging it when bad things happen. To bed that doesn't work. Yeah. You two are in fact, broken up. All he seems to have done is misled his mother and confuse your friend. I'm trying to think now all the times in my life. When I have just responded to bad news with that didn't happen. And I can relate to it to a certain extent. But you know, there comes a point where you do have to knowledge that you haven't seen someone in a year, you're probably not dating anymore. I think that might be the case. So I feel like saying making an announcement on social media is not necessary. It would be kind of out of character for you. It doesn't sound like that's something that you would wanna do feel right? Yeah. I don't recommend that at all. What about the the mother? You know, if this were you would you want to have any contact with her would you start with her? Would you talk to your friends? I I would tell the mother that your son, and I aren't seeing each other anymore. I'm sorry that you were misled seems pretty straightforward you. You know, you can even respond to the Email and say sorry didn't write back to the sooner. I was a little confused your son, and I broke up over a year ago. I hope you're well. Yeah. And then sign your name and be done. Right. There's no reason not to do that. Especially if you don't think there's you know, it doesn't sound like she is covering up for him. Or no. Behaving unreasonably herself. She just mistakenly thought you were sick and ignored her at Christmas. So if anything probably nice for her to know. Yeah. Yeah. As for your own friends, certainly say like if you run into my ex he may apparently tell you or talk about us like we are still together. I just want you to know, we're not I I've been a little put off by this. If he asks for information about me at prefer that you didn't give to him. And you know, let me know if he shows up, I think that's a good idea. Do you think that it's worth a letter writer getting in touch with the ex and asking or do you feel like keep the distance? No, I wouldn't get in touch with him at all. Yeah. I wouldn't because he may see that as encouraging. Yeah. Yeah. I think I think that's probably the way to go. You know, I think part of the reason you say I can't really dentistry. The reason I just didn't want to be with him anymore. And then this weird unsettled feeling you have right now of the sort of seems out of character for him. But also, I now no longer feel like I know what he's going to do next. I think that's you're talking to you. I think that you knew. Something maybe even on like a sub-conscious level of just like, I don't get a good feeling around him. I don't feel like I can trust him. Whatever that is you listen to it. And you made I think a really good decision. I think that's being born out now. So I I would say even don't say like for no real reason not wanting to be with somebody is a fabulous reason to break up cly, possibly the best reason, I think she should just let him alone altogether. Make it clear to other people, but not I wouldn't get in touch with him at all right, especially because it doesn't sound like he's been trying to get in touch with the letter writer, right? So at least we know that this can hopefully be contained by just talking to other people. But yeah, I think you did the right thing paying attention to how you feel not wanting to be with somebody even if they haven't done a bad thing is completely fine. There are lots of people who do nice things all the time. But I don't want to date. Yeah. Yeah. If you made yourself stay with somebody just because they hadn't done anything wrong. I think you'd be unhappy. And I think he did the right thing. So talk to other people, you know, keep a keep a keep an eye out. But it doesn't sound like he's likely to escalate, and that's a good thing. All right. This next letter is all you childless in cheery. Dear prudence, I am career woman in my forties was never married or hit children many of my professional peers of a similar age are eager to commiserate with me about the assume is our shared situation of missed opportunities, except I never wanted children's still don't and while I tried relationships. It was never something. I was cut out for possibly because I thought I was straight for a long time and was pretty set in my ways once I realized I wasn't. So I don't feel like I said her Feist anything for my career except a one time almost profitable printmaking hobby. I find myself stymied in these moments. As to how to respond to what is usually heartfelt sympathy and has an official occasions been quite raw confidences offered by someone. I've been non-committal which feels untruthful and blunt, which seems unkind any suggested scripts man, I'm sorry that it sounds like what appears to be a lot of your co workers have offered a really really personal confidences about their own personal life. And I hope that they're not doing this. You know on the clock. I hope you're not being introduced to a new colleague. And they say are you in your forties and childless let me tell you about something sad that happened to me recently. But that is also painful because it's different from when you know, somebody's rude. You kind of have a little permission at least to be a little bit rude back or do acknowledge like you have behaved very rudely, I'm going to walk away. But when people are trying to be sympathetic or when they're sharing something deep. Painful and personal even if it's totally misguided. It can feel a little trickier to draw a clear boundary. But I think you know, anything from. I don't really wanna talk about my personal life at work. Which is always a great thing to say her physically legitimate for any reason all the way up to I'm actually really happy with my life or I'm really happy with my situation. Or if somebody just says, oh, I'm so sorry. You know, you can just clarify. I have arranged my life the way that I want. It don't want children. I realize it's always hard. Once you get on the defensive like, no, no, no. I don't want it. And then if people are already inclined to not believe, you kind of say, of course, you brave little thing. Yeah. Yeah. Any other recommendations besides just I'm fine. Thank you. I. Yeah. I think I'm fine. Thank you is enough explanation. And if you were really comfortable with yourself and your life the way, it is just say that you don't have to explain anything, nor do you have to concern yourself with whether or not they will be offended by what you say. And it can be hard too. Because I think often if people here pretty general information about your life, and they respond with some very painful raw confidences about themselves while that sad. It's also kind of a signal that they don't have great emotional intelligence. It's kind of a signal that there may be going to get really emotional with you or try to invite confidences in return. And I think it can be really important. To maintain a tone that is professional and really light and breezy and also firm, so just something along the lines of. Oh, I'm really sorry to hear that match. Very happy. Let's talk about something else or I don't actually like to discuss my personal life at work. I'm sorry has gonna say I'm sorry for your loss. But I think not getting married isn't really Dolan. Yeah. But but generally letting somebody know you're not going to be meeting there in their level of emotion. Yes is really key. So I'm really sorry. I hope they stop. I hope they can find a close friend to cry to or a therapist or a journal to share it with and just how odd to think that people are offering you their sympathy when they're professionals, and I don't think it's up to the letter writer to be non I I really recommend just being very confident and firm and saying, I'm quite happy. Thank you. Yeah. Yeah. And the worry that the letter writer has about being blunt is I'm worried that that's kind. I don't think you should worry about that. I think people are being a little rude or sometimes a lot route. Yes, when they take it upon themselves to offer you sympathy for something you have not framed as a tragedy. Or a loss. And even if they're sharing something sad about their own life that still rude. And that's not you know, you didn't bring that to the conversation ended numbering that energy use not bring that information. You did not invite those confidences. So if the moment sometimes feels a little bit unkind when you just say, I'm actually very happy that's their discomfort to work with exactly you just get to you know, enjoy that. Silence. Knowing that you didn't make it and you don't have to fix it. Because I and you know, if other people experience a moment of discomfort because they have just made unnecessary assumptions about you shared and uninvited confidence, or you know, treated you're single status as sort of burden. They get to go ahead and sit with the feeling that that brings up and maybe decide to act differently in the future. Right. And you don't I hope you're able to spend a little more time with your print making hobby that actually sounds really cool. Does I hope you find some free time for that? Maybe all the free time in those uncomfortable silences. Turn to your friend making machine. But good luck. And I wish next letter writer could learn something from you and your professional attitude because our next letter writer. Is suffering some consequences of some choices that they have made. And I wanna help. I don't want to just be judgmental. But this is sort of like a. It's it's the kind of letter that I wanna show to a lot of other letter writers who say like, I'm really interested in somebody at work. Do you think I should go for it? Almost never feel like yes, you definitely should. This person's your soulmate, and it's going to have good professional and personal repercussions for you. The subject is unrequited colleagues. Dear prudence for about a year and a half. I was romantically involved with a colleague at work and for the first year of that relationship. He was also in a long distance open relationship with someone else we never crossed any of the mountains of that relationship. However are affected definitely crossed over from more than just friends. He told me that he cared for me. And that he would break up with his girlfriend for me. Of course that didn't happen for months after his initial promise during this time, I fell in love with him. We'll who wouldn't and while he cared for me. He apparently didn't feel the same way. Eventually he left his girlfriend, and we began dating after six months, we've broken up because. We have different visions for the future. But have also both been promoted and now share a leadership position at work. I love him and regularly in agony. He appears not to share these feelings and has had a much easier time working together than I have. I love my job. And I'm good at it. I want this to be my long term career. He's just using it as a temporary gig until he gets his PHD in a few years, but I'm tempted to leave because working together, it's just too hard. He's pretty unemotional and expects break-up to be no issue, professionally even though we broke up because I loved him, and he didn't feel the same way. Should I give up and try to start over at the bottom? Elsewhere, or should I hold my ground and stick it out. See opposite of a catch. Because that's what this guy sounds like. Like, I sorry. I feel like I'm being hard letter writer, and I don't want to say like you fool. You should never have liked someone who didn't treat you out. I think many of us have fallen for somebody who didn't treat and then the worst they treated us. The more felt like I've got to get you to treat me. All right. But this guy is just bad news and red flags all rolled up in a bundle of newspapers. I agree. I'm sorry. I'm glad you're not with him anymore. If nothing else, you no longer have to be in a relationship with the kinda guy who says things like I'm definitely gonna break up with my girlfriend for you. And then forgets or who hears? I love you and says, you know, what let's just be co leaders on work projects. You know, this is not a guy who cares about your wellbeing. This is not a guy who cares about your feelings. This is not a guy who's looking out for you. So I would say if you're at a point already where you think I can't imagine working with him for the next couple of years. Start looking for another job. Yeah. But you say, you know, should I try to start over at the bottom? Elsewhere. I worry that right now, you feel so low and so down that you're kind of looking for ways to punish yourself or like slink off into the rain, so sad and bedraggled that you hope he notices and says like wait, I take it all back. Do you know what I mean? I I may be reading a little bit too much into it. But there's no reason why you should have to start over again from the bottom. If you have recently been promoted, and you have a good career and you otherwise get good feedback at work. You know, you could look for a job of equal stature at a different company. Exactly. So part of me worries that this fantasy of starting over at the bottom somewhere else is kind of at least indirectly in attempt to get him to notice like look at how much you've ruined my life. Look at how sad you've made me. And I relate to that. I do but I don't want that for you. I really don't. And I don't think it will work. Frankly, I don't think this guy would notice if you were kidnapped by. Knightley whiplash and tied to the train tracks and was like twirling a mustache this guy with not bust out his Dudley do right hat and finalist to do. Right by you. I agree with you. I don't think he would do anything right by you. Because his past indicates how he how he has to do is how he will continue to treat you, and he's not going to be a better ex-boyfriend than he was a boyfriend. No, very few boyfriends are no, do you think there's any value in trying to stick it out at this particular workplace, or do you think it's just a matter of getting some distance? Well, I think if she tries to stick it out with attitude that she has now the the cheese so in love with him that she probably won't be a good employee anyway. So I recommend leaving. Yeah. I if there's any way you could try to, you know, keep your contact with him to a minimum, which I would probably be pretty difficult. If you to share a leadership position. It would be great. If you could just kind of think of him as like, a sort of decent colleague when he's not busy dating people at work while also dating someone else far away, but just a lousy boyfriend who did not get it and someone you are better off without. But if you just can't get there, and if right now every time that you see him, you're just like this was the one that got away. Then you gotta look for a job somewhere else. But please don't look for jobs starting at the bottom. You you sound like you work, really hard. You sound like your own managers think really highly of you. It sounds like you've been given a position of responsibility. And and I think just because you feel really demoralized. Personally. Does not mean that you should disregard yourself, professionally don't allow his opinion of you, become your opinion of you. Yeah. Exactly. Like, this guy did not appreciate your value. And I'm so sorry, you sound like a person who has a lot of love to. Give and I hope that you've actually are able to find someone who deserves it and who wants to give it back you and our first letter writer, both I want you both to get to a place in your life where the idea of somebody who either totally disregards your emotional generosity, or who sucks it all up and demands more no longer appeals to you. Exactly. Like, I hope you can in future see version of your ax and say, oh, I wanna be really far away from you. I want good things for you. I hope you're well, but don't come anywhere near me. Exactly. I agree. Yeah. So, you know. Pull out your resume update. It look for good jobs that you are qualified for not punishment jobs to make yourself feel more abject and abandoned and get away from this terrible guy. And frankly, not that great a colleague, you know, if you're getting involved secretly with your own colleagues while also involving them in your long distance open relationship that you're promising you're about to end, you don't have great work boundaries some. Yeah. Good work boundaries are important is never really good idea to have a relationship with someone that you work with. But so I, you know, leaving that job and having a fresh start with a fresh attitude seems like a good move to me. Yeah. And just again, I want to give a plug to just finding a job that you like, okay. And you just show up, and you do your work, and you go home again, I don't want to be too hard. On this individual at writer. I just want to say that I think a lot of the problems that get in this column are people who thought that maybe the workplace is where they were gonna make all their best friends and meet their spouse and develop a brand new family. And I think it's great if you like your co workers, but it's just fine. If you don't you still get a paycheck. Yeah. Okay. This. This is our last letter and this one out of all of them. I think makes my heart hurt the most just really feel for this letter writer. So the subject is searching for stability. Dear prudence, I came out of the game an about six months ago, but long before that I'd consider the possibility that I had romantic feelings for my best friend, Steven we've been friends for ten years. And even though he spent the last five living abroad, we still talk every day and share the most emotionally intimate relationship. I've ever had with anyone we took a trip together over the holidays. It was my first time seeing him since coming out. He's been out since long before we met, and I had no intention of making my feelings known. So soon after I had changed the lens through which we both you'd our relationship. But then the first night if our trip he came into my room, and we had sex and again the next night, and it was good and it felt natural. And at this point. I was ready for this trip to become the great romantic getaway of my life. But on the third night. I was with. I'm at a bar and sense that he was pulling back a little bit a asked what was wrong if this was too much, and he told me he thought we should put the sexual part on ice, and I panicked. I started telling him everything that this was unfair. And I was sorry. But that it was crazy about him. He said that our friendship was the most important relationship in his life that he didn't want to jeopardize it. And he didn't feel that way about me, I managed to talk to him later or soberly, and he told me that he had searched his feelings when I first came out and realized that he didn't love me romantically, which cut even deeper shouldn't he have known that having sex with his best friend might trigger feelings that he wasn't prepared to reciprocate. I managed to pack this all away and made it through the rest of our trip and genuinely had a good time. Now, I'm back home. I'm back at work, and he wants things to go back to normal checking in everyday chatting, making jokes, the usual. But it's excruciating. For me, like there's this enormous painful thing between us that he is content to ignore that I feel pathetic bringing up I can. Imagine life without this friendship, which has been a rock amid chaos for so many years, but it feels as though the burden falls entirely on me to put a brave face on to preserve a relationship with the man who rejected me, and that feels daunting and unfair is their way to salvage. This is there were path back to normalcy. I can't imagine how it can be resolved. Because apparently, he feels very strongly about this man in his not reciprocated. I think too that he told you when you came out, I asked myself could I have romantic feelings for you decided that the answer was no didn't mention that to you. And then we went away on our trip, you know, knocked on your door in the middle of the night. And you know, was ready to go. You know, it would have been one thing if he had said, hey, I'm so glad you're out. I'm excited for you. If you ever wanna have casual sex with me, let me know, but I'm not available for. Anything else? You could have either said sure that sounds great to me or no I wanna be either friends or in a relationship nothing in between. But men, oh, man if he wanted to communicate to you, congratulations on coming out. I'm excited for you. I don't wanna get involved showing up in your room and sleeping with. You was a very very misleading thing to do. Yes, definitely was misleading and just selfish. I'm glad you both had a good time. But there was no reason for him to do that. And not say, by the way, this is not an escalation of our relationship. Like, yes, you're right to say, you know. Shouldn't he have known better than to do something that might trigger feelings? He didn't reciprocate. Yes. He should have known better. But what he really wanted to do was have Saxon. He kind of didn't care if he hurt you. And that is the person who is your best friend. Yeah. I think sometimes we can be friends with people who we kinda notice the way they treat their like, romantic or sexual partners. And we think like, oh, well, it's not great. But you're really good friend, and that can be one thing. And then if we experience it firsthand, and we see it, and we feel the way that it's kind of demeaning or or or selfish or pushes you aside. It's like, oh, this is actually not a funny little quirk of yours. This is an issue of your character. His and it it was one thing when I saw you do to other people. I never thought you do it to me and you did. And so I think, you know, the path back to normalcy would kind of involve pretending you don't know what you know. That's an excellent point. And it sounds like you could maybe force yourself to do that. It sounds like you've already done a pretty good job of squashing down your feelings saying they don't matter trying to make yourself. Enjoy the things that you used to enjoy before you knew this about him. And you are wondering is this going to work long term? And you know, I just think. You need to be mad at Steve. Yes, oppressing feelings is not good to you or good for you. Especially like, he didn't even say, you know, he didn't even say after the second time, I've really really enjoyed this. But I really don't want to be involved romantically. I wanna make that clear with you and had like stuck around to hear you have your own response to it. Maybe even to get a little angry. He he went out to you with a bar, and then started acting icy like you guys are in middle school or something like he was hoping you would pick up you had to ask him. Why are you giving me the cold shoulder on our trip together? Right. So that that to me says a lot again about Steve he wanted to get what he wanted. And then he didn't want to, you know, watch your feelings get hurt in real time. So he played a little game where he knew you would have to be the one to say something, and I think that's. It's not a very I don't have a lot of respect for that choice. Yeah. Good question to ask is do I want to be this person's friend? Yeah. So, you know, I think be mad at Steve say to Steve I'm angry with you. A I can't just go back to pretending like things are the way that they used to be. I when we first started sleeping together. I had real reason to think that we might both want the same thing. It was both hurtful that you slept with me knowing that you did not have any romantic feelings for me. And that you didn't say anything you didn't make that clear sled. I kind of had the option of making a decision for myself. And then when you were done kind of like having fun, you made guests, and you pulled away until I said, why are you treating me differently? And those things were unkind they seem really out of character for you. That's not the behavior of a friend, and it really hurt. Me. Yes. I think he has to have that conversation with them. He has to. I mean, if they known each other all these years if they can't have that conversation. What kind of friendship is it a, oh, I think that's it right there. Like, maybe Steve can hear that. And really apologize. And really say, you're right. I was being selfish. I was only thinking about what I wanted. I hurt you. Maybe then you can kind of say, okay. I appreciate that. I still need a little time to get over it. But maybe someday we can resume some kind of a friendship and and look back at that as a really difficult time. But you know, if he hears that and just says, you know, oh, well, you should've known or I'm sorry that like you were confused, but, you know, this is you should've just known or if he tries to diminish it or downplay in any way, then I think you have a pretty good indication that Steve is not as good a friend as you think he is. And that's gotta be unbearably painful. I know you this is the most intimate. Relationship you've had. But it may also may also be that the intimacy for a long time depended upon a certain dynamic. That's no longer the dynamic you to have. Yes. And it may be if you learn this about him, and you have to part ways that you will have time and space to develop different kinds of intimacy with other friends and other relationships and other boyfriends, I think this may be perhaps the greatest listen you've ever encountered, especially since you newly come out this just be a nice little learning experience for you. Yeah. That he was willing to be your friend when sex was off the table. But when sex was on the table, he kinda stopped carrying about your feelings. Yes, in you know, I I would put him in a similar category as the colleagues slash X from a couple of letters earlier, which is just as long as I'm getting what I want a lot of fun to be around. Yeah. Yes. But when I'm not. You know, I'm gonna I'm gonna make life difficult for you. And I'm gonna make you feel like you're a difficult person for having feelings sounds a little narcissistic to me, I. Yeah. Just like I don't love that Stevens kind of like bubbliness is just sort of like. But now we're going to have a good time. Right. You're not gonna make a scene, right? You're gonna make things easy for me. Right. Yeah. It's not your job to make things easy for Stephen. You get to have feelings about the sex that the two of you had and about the cruel and thoughtless way that he communicated to you that he was nine interested in anything else. And you get to have a fight about it. And maybe he will be able to hear you and react in such a way that you can salvage something and maybe he won't. But you the way forward is not just taking a little time off, and then jumping back into it or dealing with your feelings quietly on your own and then going back. It's telling him that he hurt you and giving him the opportunity to try to apologize. It has to be confronted has to be. Yeah. 'cause you just deserve better in your friendships from your sex partners. Even if it's casual you deserve like transparency. Honesty, forthrightness, and you know. Similar desires. I'm just really sorry. And I hope that the next guy that you date is so much better than your best friend, more considerate. Yeah. Well, we I think have time for voicemail today, which is very exciting. Hello prudence. I'm calling about a question of etiquettes. Well, not really etiquette. But it relates to weddings. And my question is this recently, a deer mentor of mine college mentor? Became ill and was at the time believed to be terminally ill. And fortunately, the partner is a little better. But he is still ambiguously he has cancer, and he is still ambiguously ill. And so while death is not imminent, and they are trying to fight it. He is still sick. I am getting married, and I wish to invite him to buddy, I was planning to invite him to the wedding. And now I am torn because I feel like on one hand. It's a gesture to show that I care, but on the other hand, it really feels like he might, you know, this isn't he he's not a family member. And so it seems a little frivolous to ask him to come to the budding and his you know, in this time. So I was just wondering what you what you would do. And what advice you might have? All right. Well, we can each do this. Then what would you do? Well, I would invite him since obviously, this is someone that she cares about and I would invite him. And also let him know that I understand if you're unable to come. But I. Just want you to know that it would make me happy to have you there? Yeah. I think sometimes people can get really anxious and second guess stuff. That's actually pretty intuitively. Correct. When somebody else's sick, or when dying is possibly on the horizon, just this kind of like people sort of lose their ability to gauge what is kind like, of course, he would like to be invited to your wedding. He's not going to be offended or think that you're making a demand on him. If you're worried that he would read that invitation as an obligation. I think it would be lovely to add either in a little handwritten note in the invitation or by calling him immediately after sending it I know that you've got a lot on your plate right now. And if you're not feeling well enough to travel to my wedding. I totally understand. I just wanted you to know how much we care about you. And would love to see you if you're able to make it that's all you need to do. But he's not going to be hurt or offended, or I can't believe you're worried about your wedding. When i'm. Sick that that would just I don't believe that that would be anybody's reaction. So send the invitation do a little follow up making it clear that he totally get it. If he can't come you just want him to know how much you care. But you know, it's not like you're demanding he show up to a destination wedding stand up into reading. It's totally totally kind and thoughtful. And he will appreciate being invited. I agree. Yes. Sometimes I hear from people who who say, you know, I got sick. And it felt like a lot of my friends dropped off the face of the earth. Yeah. Because they don't know how to handle it or they don't know how to treat me anymore. And so they just assume the worst thing to do would be to do or say something that offends you. So the only thing that I can do is do and say nothing. Yes. Which, you know, without anyone intending to be unkind has the effect of making people feel abandoned. Right. And so I don't think you need to you know, he's not suddenly made of bubble. App or or going to read everything you do or say the worst possible light. He's still the person, you know, he still cares about you. Just like you care about him. He still wants to be invited to things even if. Yes to say, I'm too sick to travel. Yes. Yeah. He'll he'll let you know if he can't make it. But yeah, send the invitation, and, you know, send a send a casserole or flowers or or an invitation to go to the movies sometime or to, you know, help run errands, if anybody needs anything, you know, if they're in the kind of immediate managing serious illness time of life and congratulations also on your upcoming wedding. Yeah. Congratulations to your friend on. It sounds like doing doing really well with what was once the terminal diagnosis. Yes. Two pieces of good news. Is there? What a lovely note to end on. Yes. Yeah. People getting married people getting better. Congratulations. Janet. Thank you so much for coming on the show. It was fun. I am just glad that we can get everybody out of the midwest whose too cold onto this podcast the dream. Okay. Have a great wrestling. Thank you. Thank you. Thanks listening to dear prudence. Our producers, Phil circuits and our theme music was composed by Robin Hilton production assistance by Taylor Simmons. Don't miss an episode of the show had to sleep dot com slash dear prudence to subscribe. And remember you can always hear more privies by joining slate. Plus, go to sleep dot com slash pretty pod to sign up. If you want me to answer your question. Call me leave a message four zero one three seven one dear that's three three to seven. And you might hear your answer on an episode of the show. You don't have to use your real name or location and at your request. We can even alter the sound of your voice, keep it short, thirty seconds a minute tops. Thanks for listening. And on today's plus segments. Your dog is clearly underweight not eating. I see the dog when you leave the house and his miserable. You need to take responsibility and go to the vet. And if you don't I will, yes, which is probably gonna make living together a little tents to listen to the rest of that conversation. Join sleep plus now at slate dot com forward slash pretty pot.

writer partner Steve I Janet cheetah San Francisco Bay Steven Acas Zakel wrestling America Daniel Mallory consultant editor Feist Stephen
Dear Prudence: The Friend, Not Therapist" Edition

Slate's Dear Prudence

59:02 min | 2 years ago

Dear Prudence: The Friend, Not Therapist" Edition

"You're listening to this week's excerpts from the prudent podcast to get the full length. Members only version every week join sleep plus at slate dot com slash pretty pod. You're you're Putin. Prudence? Dear prudence, you're here. Do you think that I should contact him again help? Thank thank you. Hello and welcome back to dear prudence as always. I am your host Daniel, Mallory or Burke, today's show was recorded live at the bell house in Brooklyn on March thirteenth twenty nineteen. I was joined on stage by Jesse bell writer. Jasmine Sanders now, let's join the show at the bell house in Brooklyn. Jevon. Thank you so much for coming back on the show and having to tell people how to live their lives. Yes. Do you feel like there is a theme tonight show or something that you want everyone to be able to take away from your advice? The theme from my advice. Probably just don't take it. A theme is feelings. So your your advice is going to be more like a thought exercise right that people can choose to perform. Yeah. For making their own gentle suggestion gentle suggestion, I'm so excited, especially because our first letter could use some gentle suggestions, and I'm gonna let you read it. Okay. The subject is nightmare. Nanny life. Dear prudence. I am a college student working as a part time nanny for a family with two young daughters. Five and seven I've been with the family for a few years and really care about the girls, their mom is a single mother and definitely relies quite heavily on me increasingly for emotional support. The daughters have significant behavioral issues, which I've worked hard to deal with a patient and constructive way lately. However, it's. Become almost too much to handle the daughters behaved terribly, and I can't institute consequences because their mother doesn't follow through with them. The seven year old regularly throw screaming kicking tantrums. She knows that she's behaving terribly. But she doesn't stop because she always gets away with it. She is angry and sullen when I'm there because she would rather be spending time with her mom, even though I try my best to engage her in make our time fun. She regularly tells me she hates me. I know she doesn't, but it still stings. I can't put her in time out or take away her screen time. Because her mother doesn't do these things. She's bidding me kicked me and tried to run away from me, she lashes out at other adults teachers while we're out, and it is humiliating to be. So unable to handle her tantrums taking to school is a knockdown drag out fight her younger sister mirrors, much of her behavior. Working with these kids is taking a huge emotional toll on me, I care about the family and know that the mother's life is. Difficult and stressful. She's also always been a good employer in other respects further complicating the situation is that I'm graduating college in two months, and I don't know if I will be able to find another job to support me until starting a full time position. I'm not sure what to do. Should. I suck it up and stick it out in another job. Try to talk to the mother stick it out at this job. Try to talk to the mother about her parenting style, and the way we work together or leave for the sake of mental health. So this one was in my inbox for a long time. Because generally like, I don't I don't have children. And so whenever I get a question about children, unless the answer seems incredibly obvious. I'm always just like, maybe it's normal seven-year-olds to buy you a lot. I don't. Like that was part of my sense here. Like, I could totally see myself being like, oh, my God, she bites you and then like a parent like they buy constantly like. Seven is biting. That's just what. What? It's hard to know if you don't have kids like what's normal child behavior. Yeah. So some of it certainly feels like a lot of the exile is like the nanny has not spoken to the mom about it much at all like like she's picked up on that the mom doesn't institute any like punishments. But other than that she hasn't said like, by the way, this is really hard for me because the mom is like coming to her for a lot of emotional support. So again, like this is hard like I know how to handle stuff where it's like the nanny diaries where it's like, and the parents are monsters, and they're like made of marshmallows and cash and don't pay attention. Because then it's like, oh, just be mad at them. But yeah, I do it Meyer the competence of her saying, she tells me she hates me. And then in horrendous, I know she doesn't really goes like, I don't know that I would have been there in a child that I hate you. I need to just go internalize this. So. If it's you your options are suck it up and just like keep doing this job until you leave for a fulltime job somewhere else. Saying nothing saying something to your employer or quitting right away. And hoping somebody else will hire you which of those options are you going to take I would quit. But that's also because I've never had a real career. So to me job as jobs a job, you're gonna work for the rest of your life. You can leave a job and find another job like even if you just work at a coffee shop. So I don't understand why she hasn't quit. But I do understand like having consideration for the mom. But in my mind, can't you just can't she just get another nanny like if I quit once you get another nanny presumably, I don't know if it'd be easy to like, she's a single mom who sounds really like. I don't get the vibe that she's like doing amazingly would just be able to hire somebody like overnight. But. Do I do get the sense that like she is trying her best? But it's the job. Yeah. Well, it's hard. Like, I always know when companies say we're like a family here like writers. Don't listen to that. That's awful that is a lie. They're doing that to get more work out of you. But when there's an actual child, and you're like, but I love this like unhappy seven year old younger sister and her younger sister. It's a lot harder to walk away. Then just like some guy who hired you and sucks. Okay. I think my vices still to quit. Yeah. I think my vices talked to the mother, and like, you know, quitting is going to happen. Eventually. Yeah. So I think my advice would be prepared to quit in the best way that you possibly can. Which is like, I don't know like. You may be can't get the mom to like follow through the punishments that you institute, but you could at least try like I dunno. I this sounds like if someone's biting in your like, I'm taking away your iphone that sounds like a recipe to get bit again. Offer this with a grain of salt like if you try these things, and they don't and the kids just like, I'm I don't care because I know my mom will give me back the phone, and you talk to the mom, and you're like, I'm having a really hard time with this. Can you help me out by like continuing these consequences, and you don't get anywhere then? Yeah, I think probably quitting is the next best option that you have because I don't want you to just get bit all the time. Yeah. That's probably the most concerning part. Like if you could talk to the child and get everything else. It's like you can like just stop biting. Yeah. It'll be a lot better. But she refused. If she refused to stop biting and the mother can get her to stop biting everything else. Honestly. Like, I feel like this is normal. This is like what children do. Yeah. I don't want to like make a ruling of like this is a really unwell seven year older, this is super deal. But I guess what I would say is the question at the an kind of implies like should I either suck it up or leave for the sake of my mental health, which is I think sometimes a framing that I get often which is sort of like either I can't bring this up, and I just have to deal with it. Or I say for the sake of my mental health. I have to leave right now before we've had any conversations about it. We're tried to find a compromise. And a obviously sometimes that does need to happen. But at want there to be room in the middle for this is a problem for me. I am having a tough time with it as you know after graduation. I'm going to be looking for a job in a different field. I'd love to stay for another couple of months. But if this continues, I'm not going to be able to let's talk about that. And plus that way, the mom at least has a heads up that she for somebody to. Okay. I'll I I'm on your team. Then we talked because I've definitely done that in my own life where I'm like, this is fine. This is not a problem. I can totally handle it. And then the day came when I was like, I can't handle this at all. And the first conversation I had with the other person was like I can never do this again. And they I'm surprised and I'm like sorry to hear that. So it's hard. But you gotta try to talk about it with the mom 'cause it's fine to say that you're having a hard time. You're not going to hurt her. I know she's been leaning on you a lot. But like she has to she can't just lean on you. Yeah. That's true. And then I guess children have such complex lives. Like, maybe the mother really doesn't know that like when she leaves the child a Chucky doll. Biting and kicking. When she leaves like turn comes alive. Maybe so yeah, I talked to her. Today. We are sponsored by European wack centers acts the pink tax campaign. The pink tax is the extra amount of money. That women are charged every year for basic goods and services and adds up to about thirteen hundred fifty one dollars every year, the pink tax charges. Women more money on everything from baby bottles to canes toys, personal care products. Clothes dry cleaning women are even being charged more for dry cleaning than men sometimes for bringing in the exact same shirt. Now, you know, see for yourself at acts the pink tax dot com. This episode of dear prudence is sponsored by absolute absolute has always been a brand that stands out, but a lesser known side of their signature identity is how they treat the world around us absolute loves the planet, and it shows in the way that they make their product it's made using wheat and pure water to still until it's perfect and sourced from southern Sweden. They also care about how they make their product both inside and out which is why all of their vodka bottles are made with forty percent recycled glass in one of the most energy efficient distilleries in the world. Absolutes productions almost no waste to landfill. They recycle everything they can. Plus the us their leftover still edge to feed two hundred and fifty thousand local farm animals every day with all this consideration. You can be sure that you're consuming a product from a brand that's looking out for the planet and its people. That's why absolute is planet earth favourite vodka. Join the movement at absolute planet dot com. Okay. So to childless people did our best. I feel like we opened really seriously like at a disadvantage, and we're just gonna move on to something that I think we're both very qualified to talk, which is like, my friend is exhausting. So I will read this one. Sometimes I am exhausting. Yeah. The subject is friends, not therapist. H one like the language of like friend for therapy is so and pantomime ING waiting into something for for people who are later listening to this recording of just like, it's really great sometimes telephone and they're being too much. I feel like also you get to the other side where someone's like, hey, can I ask you a personal question? I promise Venlo you. And it's like, no, no, no, no. That is not the direction function. I think it's because of the internet. It's not a good thing. I don't think. Again, I'm not saying don't ever Venlo people. I just. We got us anyway. So here's the letter. Dear prudence, I have a friend that I think sometimes asks too much of me, for example. I once spent over two hours chatting with her exclusively about her problems and offering advice, then I mentioned a problem of mine, and she abruptly stops talking without addressing what I'd said. Or even thanking me for listening to her it made me feel more like an unpaid therapist than a friend. I feel like our friendship consists of me listening to her problems or helping her without any reciprocating or gratitude, I feel actually this person's a great job of saying I feel I feel like you've been to therapy yourself. She probably is. I feel like she acts entitled to my help. When I mentioned a problem. I'm having often she just won't respond. But if I don't respond promptly to her she'll usually get angry. I brought this up and she accused me of seeing our friendship as transactional. Is it transactional or wrong of me to want the friendship to be a little less one-sided? I mean, I definitely don't think you have a great friend. Can we let's be empathy to the needy friend? Sure, I'm in the needy. Not like this. This is extremely have you ever called someone transactional? No. But like a level of insults. I've never been considered intern. Yeah. So I feel like a part of like when we have conversations about emotional labor and being aware of what you're asking for someone. I feel like the in will the result has become well, how much emotional labor did you do today, and like people being conscious of it? But it's kind of strain. It's tricky sometimes the as like a topic can get introduced into the general conversation. And then everyone kind of runs with it. And is like is this what it means? Sure. And like it can get real far afield sometimes and so mostly I don't wanna make a ruling about like if you have a fr-. Friendship. It needs to involve like X number of hours listening versus why number hours talking because different friendships are different and sometimes through phases where you need a little more. Like, there's a difference between like the kind of friendship where you sort of intuitively like sometimes one of us gets the check. Sometimes the other one doesn't versus the friend who you know, has money, but always like forgets their wallet. And is like well, you did actually help yourself to some of my tortilla chips at the house last week. So it would love it if you could pay for part of my groceries, and it's just like this is not the spirit of the law. And yeah, I guess it depends on like, your particular friendship chemistry like I have friendships where I know that I'm the needier friend and those friendships where you're the you're the front who gives more. So I guess it depends on the friendship makeup. And then when she called you transactional. I mean my God. That seems like a great opportunity to say like thank you for letting me know data, you know, don't do that. I mean, I feel like this is probably not a friendship that is going to. I am assuming that this is not a friendship that on that test of time. Maybe it will. Maybe we'll get past this jobs. Don't leave your friends. But I am sorry. The the feeling that I get from this one is how do I convince my friend that I'm right and make sure she doesn't get mad at me. And I think the thing that you have to figure out a way to make peace with is like if you have a friend who you think is mad at you for an unreasonable reason, how do you just let them be mad at you? And for a certain type of person of which I count myself one, especially for a huge chunk of my life. If a friend was mad at me. It was like someone had implanted a bomb in my chest and set it I have six hours to fix this. Or we all die. But like with this friend. It is okay. If you have been talking for an hour to say, I would love to talk about something else now. And if your friend is like, you monster. This is a transaction. Why don't you just stab me with your checkbook? Then you can say like, no, I'm gonna go. But yeah, if it's totally one-sided acknowledge, it friend blows up say, I'm sorry that you feel that way. But like, I don't wanna have a friendship. We're all we do is listen to your problems. Do. I feel like I need more information. Like, how long have you been friends? You know, what I mean like is this like an old friendship, whereas she occasionally falls into these types of periods or maybe she just had a break up. Or is this like someone you met Thursday? You're like, wait. Yeah. This went left. But yeah, I'm I don't want us to I feel like you can just maybe ask her like Judith. Can we talk about the imbalance? Yeah. And in fairness, I say this like every time I notice there's an imbalance in any one of my friendships like time to address it. That is not what I do if this were happening to me. And I felt like I wanna keep this person in my life. I don't think that a head on conversations going to go great, probably what I would do is just be a little bit less available and spend more time with my other friends, who do you keep giving me this look of horrors? I mean, cutting down to our conversations to half hour conversations. I don't mean like turning the lights out in my home and hiding when they come to the door. I just mean like cutting back a little. Extreme. All right, taking it from two hours to an hour and a half an hour and a half. Yeah. Incremental I felt bad for this friend. Well, doesn't even know like her friend like wrote, dear prudence like well. I mean, I think I think the friend does know that the person who wrote to us has a bone to pick. Yeah. They've talked about it. And their response was just like you cash. Register of a friend. Yeah. So. Okay. All right. The options are do nothing. Do nothing say something say something be slightly less available on G chat, or whatever. People don't use anymore. I'm mom. Do they I don't know. So this is true. When I changed my name. I also got a new g mail address. And I forgot the password to the old one. And then it was like three factor verification. I never remember. And then I lost my laptop. So long story short. I just don't have access to it anymore. And so I have now like four people on my G chat list. And that's it like, I couldn't remember anyone else's Email address. So like, my life is very sad now, and I can't really blame it on so much available for this friend. Clearly, I actually do have a lot of spare time to listen to now. So if this person wants to get in, touch, I will happily listen to their to our problems. Suggestion is like just to like try to talk it out, first and. Yeah. I think that I'm fighting finally with somebody because usually usually it's too much agreeing. This is good. So the subject of our next letter. Is the future? Mrs absent minded, professor, which just makes me think of the song in English teacher's wife, and that always makes really happy because she Rivera's the best. Okay. Dear prudence, a love my fiance. Berry much, and he's the sweetest man I've ever met. Never. No, it's going to shit. It's gotten so bad that when people are like I'm really excited for you to be my boyfriend like I love him. Oh, no. Outside of an advice column letter, that's genuinely good sentiments by. The kiss. This was actually not so bad as it could be kinda sweet. However, he's very much absent minded, professor. He so easily distracted and is unaware of his surroundings. Mostly it's small things like not knowing you have to actually turn the engine onto defrost a car or forgetting to lock the car while leaving his wallet, and laptop and THAAD. But other times, he's hit my parks car forgotten to turn headlight while driving at night left. Our gas stove on closed closed doors as I was walking. Just picturing Bella swan at this point, by the way. Like he is a beautiful. Yeah. Knocked you the door. It's gotten to the point where if he is doing something that might present danger supervise him or ask them a lot of questions like is the oven off. Did you lock the car stuff like that? And he's getting really annoyed about it. He's hurt by people assuming generally incompetent. It's his biggest sore spot. He wants me to back off. But pretty I wanna live. Can I just say I love this audience. I love how responsive you all. Are. I feel so confidence I feel like I could say anything up here, which is a dangerous way to feel. We've had a couple of close calls in these years together. But one is all it takes. I'm so afraid. So afraid that one day there's going to be an accident. Is it just my executive should I back off? What's another way of saying? Honey, you need to face backs. I love you so much, and you are so competent not in this area. Like, I. Is it like the six cents? I guess she goes. He's like he hits doors. I don't understand. So I don't think this is necessarily the explanation. But it just feels like worth saying like talk to doctor about any possible like executive function disorders that could be affecting him. Again. I don't wanna say like, this is definitely a sign that you're dealing with executive function like, but you know, anything that could have to do with spatial awareness certain like brain and nerve connections. Like just give out all checked out rule. Everything out make sure that that's not a serious treatable thing that's causing this because that's worth checking out assuming you have health insurance. I hope you do. I hope you all he's a professor. Yeah. If he's if he's a he's a tenure track. Professor, he probably. Yeah. So go get that checked out. That's worth checking out and. I've been I'm not a doctor. I do not know. I don't think it's a slam dunk. It could just very well. Be that he's. I really absent minded too. Do you ever slam doors and people's faces while they're walking behind you? Oh, it's self directed. Like, I fall a lot. I know why don't. Yeah. So the only ones that are listed here that are like. Actually life threatening or stuff like hitting a parked car because like head somebody. Yeah. He's. Her park. She heard. Yeah. Yeah. Turn on his headlights that. That's not good left the gas stove on a couple of these are like girl. That's how that's how you die. Maybe you can do like when I lived with like, my roommate's. I'm really absent minded. So maybe you can write notes like on the soap don't forget to turn it off or like when he's leaving the door. There could be a sign like, don't forget, your keys or. Yeah. I mean, I think if the price is that he's annoyed. That's okay. I I would say like I get that you're annoyed, but like until we can have a sign. That's like it's been a hundred days since our last incidents. You know, I'm not doing this. Because I liked correcting you because I don't trust you. I'm doing it. Because it happens often enough that I, you know. Yeah. I remember that. I'm you left a gas stove on. I'd like to breathe air. That feels really clear to me like I will try to get some notes finger tags. Yeah. Yeah. And just make it really clear like not doing this. Because I don't like you or because I think you're dumb, but it does happen. And I want to engage with reality. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. And don't let him drive, frankly. Like, I would just why does he still dry? Yeah. I would just I would just be like I'm gonna drive or why does he like why why is he near the stove like keep him away him away from like certain like, yeah. If his goal is to like never have to drive himself or cook a meal like he's doing all, right. This could be a long game. It's it doesn't seem like it's in that category of the laundry. Just gets folded so much better than you. Do it. But I'm always on the lookout for that. Whenever I feel like someone's trying to get out. He really seems like he's like walking like Home Depot slip sign. Hazard. You may fall husband. Yeah. I mean, I'm sorry that he gets annoyed when other people aknowledge the things that he's done. But. He's going to need to like he's going to need to find a way to deal with those feelings that aren't like everybody. Just let me hit cars. God. Professor imagine your teacher. Imagine you're a teacher. Yeah. And the closing open doors for him from now on walk a little bit in front of him. You open the doors. You be like Honey, I'm really into chivalry right now. And I'm going to do it. Yeah. But even the fact that you started with a compliment like I love him. And he is the sweetest man I've ever met, and then you ended with Honey, I love you so much and all of that stuff. I feel like she's probably the type of person who has tried to make this as gentle as possible. Yeah. And and he's still superhero -tated. Yeah. He's really rotated. So don't feel like the annoyance in the rotation as your problem to solve your main problem is to like stick their stuff that he habitually messes up that could be dangerous state your comfort level in like don't go past it like if he has not been driving responsibly lately, and you don't feel comfortable getting in the car say it, and if he's like don't be ridiculous. The human Sally what it's not ridiculous. I remember how you drove yesterday. That's some nerve. He's getting really annoyed at them. Some defensiveness warranted. It just to me takes me back to like one. I went to like Christian college back when I was like a gal, and I would like open doors, and like if somebody was behind me, I would keep it open almost all the time. If a guy was behind me, he would be like, no, we can't do this. Like you're gonna have to switch. Just like what? But we're going to have to switch, and so we would have to switch, and it would be less convenient for everyone. The opposite happens to me where it's having a lot especially since I moved to New York where a guy will be going through a door and hold it for me. And I don't say thank you quickly enough for his lackeys. You're welcome. And I'm like. So those are two ways to be batted doors. And doors. It's hard. It is it's very strange. And now I feel like I mean that phase where like sometimes men will like hold the door behind me. And then like, wait, should I be holding the door? Like, I don't know if you deserve it yet. And it's really great to watch them like try to figure it out. And then I'm like, oh, they'll be like definitely gonna keep the door. Like, no way man, like, no, homo, really. Oh this. Yeah. You revisit goes. A real woman. She would be like, I'm really sorry. And you was talk about the fact that like one of you has to turn the stove off. And one of you know, what I mean, it will be much more collaborative. But because he's like a professor and apparently sensitive. Yeah. I just yeah. Yeah. He's got to figure out a way to deal with his feelings that don't involve asking people to ignore reality on his behalf. I would say leave him notes and like right things. Yeah. Keep doing what you're doing. You're fine. Hold the line. This next one I had not heard of this phenomenon. And when I got the letter that's awful. I can't believe this. And I went and looked it up, and I found out that it was legal in forty five states, and I'm very upset. Yeah. I'll read it. Thank you, the subject is feeling assaulted. Dear prudence, I am a single professional woman who considers herself independent and proud recently. I had shoulder surgery at a local hospital the procedure would went seemingly well, and I am recovering at home. However, while I was still in my hospital room. I noticed a fair amount of pain in my groin area. Which didn't make any sense as the procedure did not involve a catheter or anything when I asked my nurse about it. I was told that nothing would have been done to my battle area. But nonetheless, it hurt for the first day something didn't seem right. So I use the time to look on the internet for women with similar feelings after surgery. Imagine my surprise no utter astonishment when I discovered multiple articles about how common quote, pelvic exams under anesthesia without consent are performed on unsuspecting women apparently just like me pretty I'm beyond disgusted outraged after reading. The articles. It all makes sense someone I'm pretty sure he was a medical student did introduce himself right before surgery. And now, I believe he violated me. That's what apparently happens or maybe more that just him as I hurt pretty badly. Inside apparently students will even take turns. And I wasn't even at a teaching hospital. I don't know what to do. I don't know whether to call the police, my attorney, or my congresswoman I have an appointment with my surgeon where where I am going to ask what happened. But I'm scared that the antiquated answer will only make me more disgusted and angry. Shouldn't this be illegal part of hippo? No one asked me for my permission to do this. Yeah. That that one I found so shocking. And then I looked it up and like other people had there was an article about it in Forbes, which I had not anticipated. And they were just like, yeah. It's legal in forty five states and number of people have talked to their doctors about it. And their doctors have said like, yeah, we do it. And I'm just really sorry. That was my main responses just like I wish so much that I could say this letter writer like you have the following five recources that you can turn to right now. And we can guarantee that this will never happen again. I'm really glad that the letter writers going to talk to her surgeon. I think bring someone with you. Both. So that you can have like a witness on hand. And also who can just maybe because the sounds really really intense who can take notes and kind of like keep record of how the conversation goes. So you don't have to worry about like both staying present in the moment. And keeping a record in case, you do want to eventually, you know, talk to a lawyer or like talk to your congressperson to see about changing those laws because I think you should have to ask before you do an exam on that just feels so yes, bananas horrible. And I think having somebody with you that you trust. And who you know can both like help provide you with emotional support. So it's not just you and some defensive surgeon alone in a room. But also, then like who can help you talk through your options of like. Certainly if you wanna see therapist, certainly if you wanna talk to avoi- and see if there's any local groups who are trying to get that law changed in your state. Maybe look up states that have had that changed and see what would the process was there. Yeah. I agree. I completely understand feeling violated and something happened to your body while you were in such vulnerable. Stay without your permission. It was gonna Pauling to realize that it's legal. Yeah. Everything about that was just like. You can see in the history of medicine how that was like a decision that got made. And it's just like devastating and upsetting that that hasn't yet been changed. And I'm just like really really hopeful that this particular person able to get some traction because it sounds like she's just like ready to like talk to people about, and I hope very much that like she's met with support and understanding and help on that this fucking changes to. Yeah. I think that one's pretty straightforward. I don't I don't know that I have anything else other than just I'm so sorry. And and it will also be good maybe to talk to other people who have experienced it too. So that you can talk to someone who's been through the same things. You don't feel so alone. Let's. Let's take the next letter. Just good old-fashioned fighting with your grandma. Thawed is family war. Dear prudence growing up. I lived with my grandmother and her two adult children. It was mostly raised by my aunt who had a habit of taking in strays and was close to both her and my grandmother, but not my uncle, my uncle. Took completely over her basement and her back porch. He only paid the cable Bill. So he could watch TV never helped out with the rest of the bills. He let us kids do whatever they want it despite my aunt's complaints, including heavy partying and drug dealing. He lived off his sister and his disability checks. We were also constantly bullied by him. But my grandmother would insist he's just got a mean sense of humor. I love by the way, how often the defense of like someone does something awful as well. They do it a lot. He's just mean. So like, oh, this person really hurt my feelings. Oh, yeah. He makes a habit of that. So obviously he's done. It's funny. Yeah. Headed happened over at once. Of course, we would yell at him. But he doesn't everyday. My aunt would cry about how badly she was treated and how desperately she wanted him to leave. But couldn't because my grandmother insisted that she would go with them three years ago. My amp passed away, she left her home and her car to me infuriating, my uncle he insisted that because he fixed things and mowed the yard the home should have gone to him. Immediately threw him out. He wasn't gonna Beuys sponge off of me while I paid the bills and rent my grandmother once again declared she would follow him. Unlike my aunts. I told my grandma she was making a mistake. But I would stop her. I just when we were reading this backstage. I've never told my grandma she was making a steak that is. A bold letter writer. Rest with your ability to engage in conflict. She went I haven't stopped speaking to her, but I'm not close to her anymore. She now lives, my uncle and his daughter's home. I don't visit I rarely call. I miss her dearly. But my estrangement has also given me a sense of relief because I no longer have to deal with my uncles abuse. And my wrong here for not wanting to reach out to a have to make up with them because they're family. I kind of appreciate hearing from somebody who did the I'm trying out estrangement to see how it works because often hear from people who are considering it and not so often from people who are kind of in the middle of it. That's kind of exciting. It is. Yeah, mostly it seems like your life is better you just feel guilty. And the question is like do I let that guilt lead me to do something? I don't wanna do or do. I find another way to deal with it. Yeah. I mean kudos to you for standing up to like elder family members. As if you're gonna fight with your cousins your sisters. She told her grandma to go. That's bold. Yeah. Her grandma and her uncle. I do think that when sister because he fixed things and mode. The art the home should have gone to him. I did the hydrangea. Yeah. Just like how if you like get a chance to mow someone's law on the first day of spring Tam that it's yours now. Yeah. I mean, things are so messy when someone dies. Yeah. Yeah. And like inheriting property is always like from matter. How small of an inheritance it is yet? Always it's like, I always loved that. But Zucca Joe comic. And I must have it. So I guess okay. Your primary questions are my wrong here for not wanting to reach out. No, you're not wrong. Do I have to make up because their family? No, no, that's super easy. That's super easy. And I think too like you don't like your grandmother is clearly doing, okay. Like, he's always had a soft spot for her. Apparently, he was like dick to you and your aunt. But grandma seems to get along with him. Great. So it's not like, yeah. It's not like you have to worry like, oh, she's not. Well, she's where she wants to be. And so it's not like you're not protecting her and keeping her safe. And the question really just now is like how do I deal with my guilt over the fact that my life is now like appreciably better? Like, I kicked my grandmother out of my house. My life got better. I feel like a monster. Yeah. I would feel pretty bad. Yes. Because that's what you were used to. But like she's where she wants to be. You too are able to maintain like some kind of like, how are you? What's going on like, okay? I'll talk to you in another couple of weeks. So it's not like you have no idea what she's up to how you're doing. So the question is really just like what do I do with my feelings of guilt? Besides given. I do there's really only two varieties of grandmother. Those like, you know, a lovely old grandmother like loves even bakes the light of your live. And then there's that old bitch. I love my grandmother. But I frequently meet people who really don't like their grandmothers. It's still alien. I think there are probably many kinds of grandmother, but. Often, I do get letters from people where they have one grandmother who's very very nice, and one grandmother who is very very difficult. I don't I don't I don't. I don't wanna make any guesses about whether or not this grandmother in particular bakes or not. Like, he's fine. He lives with his daughter. She's fine. She lives with her kids. So you didn't put anybody out on the street. Nobody is like I don't know getting like they're parked car. Hit. Like everyone's doing say that the acceleration from he only pay the cable and watch TV and he didn't pay bills. Like, you know, it was kind of local, and then it was like heavy partying and drug dealing. The drug dealing. Yeah. I mean, maybe they were there's there's a lot of ways to be a drug dealer. Just as a lot of ways to be a grandmother. And kind of the same thing where like the part about like being a jerk to everyone else in the house, and like acting entitled not great back where he's receiving disability checks. I am fine with that. That's not something that you need to add into the category of stuff. You don't like that's fine. That's what we have disability checks for for people to receive that money. But there's plenty of reason. I think really the question is I'm so used to my home being a place where I feel guilty yelled at and like belittled that now that I have peace and quiet in my home. It makes me nervous and feel like I'm doing something wrong. That's gonna be the problem of a lifetime is figuring out how to feel good when you feel safe and therapies really good for that journaling is really good for that talking to people who love and trust like that you can trust. And who want you to be well is good for that? Sometimes just like naming your feelings and saying right now, the house is quiet and no one in here hates me. I don't know how to. Enjoy that. Yeah. And practice enjoying little things. Like making yourself a Cup of tea and saying isn't quiet in my house. Yes. Hi deserve. Yeah. But that's just going to take some time. Because that's not what home feels like to you home. Feels like an asshole who took over the whole portion hates you, that's home. How big was the porch took over the basement. And I'm just picturing like again, I don't know why keep going to home alone. But like the old GameBoy home alone. There was like the whole basement section where like there were all the like little tax you'd have to jump over. And I'm just picturing like those were the two parts of the house that we're just like littered with dead. Little tetris, PEX, whatever, that's Pete's. Yeah. So no, you get to enjoy this peace and quiet, and you get to use that to work through difficult feelings about what you deserve. That's what you should do with the guilt. Not calling apologize because you want them to come home and be mad at you. Oh boy. So when I sent these questions to jazzmen, I said, I think this one is almost certainly fake. But I don't care because I love it. Yeah. Yeah. I don't usually have this reaction to letters. I don't really think stuff is fake. If I have any reason to suspect that it is. I don't run it. Sometimes I'm wrong, whatever. But like this one I was like either this is not an all true. Or this is the most exciting workplace in the world. And I told me an exciting in a good way. I mean like season the OC like Julie Cooper, running the magazine. Sorry. She was reading the magazine season two because Caleb died at the end of season two. And so the magazine and watch the oh see I did love the hills. I never watched the hills. I only watch the would you read this letter, please. Subject secret recorder. Dear prudence, my supervisor often says misogynistic things to me, so I have been secretly recording our conversations at first I never planned to share them. I kept them for myself as proof that I'm not blowing things out of proportion. I recently recording him recorded him saying some pretty awful things about his own boss, supposedly having an affair and his telling the woman involved Laurie threaten to file sexual harassment charges against the boss, Eric if he did not endorse her for a promotion, and my supervisor said that he was thinking about giving Eric aheads up abrode Abreau that people are talking about it. He says that women can seduce men and then just make up lives and ruin a man's career. More context. I don't think this rumor is true. Eric is a devoted family, man. Laureus smart and wonderful. Absolutely deserves promotion I think my supervisor is jealous of both Eric and Laurie and it's motivated to smear their character because he wishes he had either of those jobs. Yes. He actually said that those were his words see why needed to record this to prove. It is true. I tried reaching out to Lori. She works in a different office than me. So I sent her message saying I'd love to talk to her in person. She hasn't responded. I think she knows she is the topic of gossip in my office. And she doesn't know that she can trust to me. I think I have three options left. One. I could stay out of. Getting in trouble over my secret recordings. I'm obviously a workplace that would prioritize my sexist supervisor over me to I could speak to Eric and hope that he is angry enough at my supervisor to do something to him and that angry enough at Laurie to take it out on her flee. I could use these. I could be used these recordings to blackmail my super. Blackmail is my favorite plan. Because I really want to choose our new intern. This would be my only chance to influence the selection. Of the applicants, the smartest and most qualified insert also happens to have a disability. My stupor buys is going to exclude that applicant just because of this ability sharing the recordings could hurt feelings and might not even make a difference. But. Using them as blackmail might actually help this one intern. Get his foot in the door and change the culture. Our word. Blackmails? I really want to change the workplace. Heart of goals. Go by the obviously, you gotta do it. I mean, if chased thank you for reading that by the way, I think you should blackmail too. But. I don't understand how you're going to blackmail without also like getting possibly fired. Oh, I recorded conversation more than by your. I don't know. What state? This person is writing. But. You have to get somebody else's permission miserable INSEE accord of law. And so you would not just get like a little trouble at work. You could get in legal trouble, potentially. I just. I love this letter. I love like, I wasn't intending to share the recordings. I just need them for myself but blackmail the opportunity for blackmail has arisen coincidental. Yeah. And she's considering taking it, and I think you should. I think you should definitely the port in turn the like. No pressure, right. Like, by the way, you're gonna change this. But as an intern you're gonna fix it. Like, you're the chosen one slightest claim the slate is clean. Yeah. That's a lot of pressure to put on an intern. So just assuming this is a real workplace. With. Often mifflin. This is definitely. So I think option one is part of a good response. I think not blackmailing a really good idea. I don't I do not think that blackmailing gets you closer to somebody June. I mean, like, I don't blackmailing isn't the sort of thing that you do when you wanna get distance from someone like less involved in your life. So anything that gets you like more in a daily correspondence with your supervisor is bad. Yeah. We've lost the plot. Which was like your supervisor is saying misogynistic things to you. I feel like the biggest part of the plot actually is reporting. Like, the fact that, you know, your supervisor is planning on not hiring somebody based on their disability illegal. You report that to the relevant. I should know. What board? It is. Does anyone know what board you would report this deal char? No, no, no. Like the state like a government. Thank you. Yes. Equal should know this. Office of equal opportunity. Make that those girl document the hell out of this make that report let them investigate that is something that, you know. A bigger agency should come in. Yes. And do some paying attention to this? That's your number one number one is the that the fucking able ISM. Yes. That's number one. And number two is that your bosses misogynist or has says misogynistic thing? Yeah. Your boss is a Munster your bosses awful in which case like if you have an HR department. Go to them again. It may not work out. Great. But it's better than blackmailing him. That's but don't tell HR you've been recording. Don't tell anyone you've been doing that. Just like tell them what he has said. Like pretend you've been taking notes the whole time like write down what you have on the recorder and then get rid of that. And then just say like, I have my boss on record saying all these awful things. I think he didn't say these things and again same thing saying, wildly sexist thing. Should in theory, not be allowed. Leave poor Laurie out of it. Oh, I got that weird. Like, hey, can we talk sometime like? But that was bad. Judge hasn't responded. I think she's like. Yeah. Like someone I don't work directly with has. Everybody knows this person. I'm so sorry. But like though, that's oh, yeah. No this pushing records conversation. Like how it can't be subtle? There's always that little like an iphone starting to record voice literally like this microphone, and what was that? Is definitely correctly getting vibe from you. They. I think she knows she is topic of gossip, and she doesn't know that. She can trust me. Like, I don't know that she can't. You don't trust. She's got a record you. So I don't know. I feel like staying out of it is you're not the type of person who's gonna stay out of it like you recorded people. So that's. Two I speak to Eric and hope that he's that's also kind of just manipulating in like to speak to Eric and hope that he's angry enough at your supervisor to do something to him. But not angry at Lori and also not angry at you. Yeah. Yeah. I think. Yeah. This will hopefully give you enough like grist for the part of you that wants to do something which is go to HR and tell them all the crazy shit. Your boss says about just women in general because Laurie and Eric are both apparently doing fine. I don't think you need to introduce you have enough material on him that you don't need to be like, by the way. I don't think they had an affair. But people are saying they had an affair. They did and you tell lower. She can trust me. Like. No good would come out of that. All it would do would be to increase the gossip about them which like supposedly, you don't want to you. Do you want your? So the source of the rumor that they were having an affair. Yeah. I mean, again, I think you're better than your boss. But the issue is your boss. Yeah. You're on that he used like Ableson potentially excluding perfectly qualified candidate who you think turn this all super sex is. And by the way, that you think the intern is going to have the power. Fix your boss. This person showing up to work. Viewed her fucking g chats contacting Lori and be like what's going to change this in terms like day one you will need to wear a wire. Don't tell anyone else. I told you this, and yeah, if Lori Lori trust, you you tell Laurie that is only. Yeah. Yeah. Laurie alum do not try to follow up their report your boss start. Also while you're doing this like your reporting stuff too. I've already EEOC your reporting stuff there your stuff to HR. In addition look for another job. I feel like if I wrote back to this person and said have you considered looking for another job? I would get back the professional equivalent of. I love my fiance, which is like when this shit isn't happening. It's a really great job. You have a horrible job. If you have been reduced to this. You are not living your best life. But can you imagine being the intern who doesn't know that this is what you're expected to do for like, she's probably what if this intern is the one like the nanny girl like you're trying to leave your one badge. Okay. No one's going to bite me anymore. And then you show up and the person the one person, you thought might be okay. Like secretly recording. And I need you to find Lori for me because she doesn't know we're best friends. I need you to tell Laurie that everyone else is saying that she's having an affair not me. But of other people I mean, like think through what you would wanna say to Laurie. It would either be do, you know that everyone says you're having an affair? Don't worry. I don't believe it. Which is a content lists sentence. Like, all it does is hurt her feelings. It does not get anything useful to do. Or it's by the way, you should know. I've been secretly recording my boss. That's just a burden. You have now. Yeah. Thank you for writing. This letter. Thank you for giving me the sentence. Blackmails my favorite plan. Thanks for listening to prudence. Our producers, Phil circuits. Our theme music was composed by Robin Hilton production assistance by Tillerson's don't miss an episode of the show had to slate dot com slash dear prudence to subscribe. And remember you can always hear more prudence by joining sleep. Plus, go to sleep dot com slash pretty pod to sign up. If you want me to answer your question. Call me and leave a message at four zero one three seven one dear that's three three to seven. And you might hear your answer on an episode of the show. You don't have to use your real name or location and at your request. We can even alter the sound of your voice short, thirty seconds a minute tops. Thanks for listening. And on today's plus segments. Sometimes especially if someone's being this unreasonable the thing that they they don't listen to argument. They don't listen to like, you're hurting me what they listen to cause a quences sort of like when like the dog whisperer was a thing. And I feel like a big part of his thing was like don't give the dog the negative reaction. And that a lot of us were like, oh, great. I'm gonna apply that to people for shirt. Sometimes moms like feed on fear, and like wanting to get a response out of you wanting to like just get anything out of you. And if you're like, I will talk to you at a later date when I feel ready to listen to the rest of that conversation. Join sleep plus now at sleep dot com forward slash pretty pod.

supervisor Laurie intern Eric aheads professor writer Lori Lori bell house executive Jesse bell Meyer Brooklyn Home Depot Jasmine Sanders prudence EEOC
Dear Prudence: The "Affair To Remember" Edition

Slate's Dear Prudence

1:09:04 hr | 2 years ago

Dear Prudence: The "Affair To Remember" Edition

"This is British royalty. I'd like to invite you to join me for a new podcast from slate in new America better. Lifelock. So many of us struggle with working long crazy and sometimes predictable hours feeling stressed out or busy all the time. And that we just don't have enough time for our lives. We're going to hear stories from people who struggle with that. And we're going to learn about the science that can not only help us understand why. But also provide the tools for helping us figure out what to do about it. Join me for better life lab. You're listening to this week's excerpts from the dear prudence podcast to get the full length. Members only version every week join sleep plus at slate dot com slash pretty bud. Putin. Prudence? Here. Do you think that I should contact him again help? Thank thank you. Hello and welcome back to dear prudence as always. I am your host Daniel Mallory or Burgh. We have a very special show today as the recording from the first album. I recent dear prudence and friends tour. It was recorded live at the soil dove underground in Denver Colorado on March six twenty nineteen. I was joined by Nicole cliff who currently rates for slates care and feeding advice column, and she was also my former partner at the toast. Let's join the show. Hello, denver. Welcome. Big you all so much for coming to the first live show of the twenty nine thousand nine tour and my first year, Putin's live show is a gentleman. Very exciting. Nicole Nicole has decided to rea- per gender for another year. Which is sticking with it for a while longer. I think is fantastic. When the contracts that good. Why renegotiate? So so so glad that Nicole is the first person that we're starting with because. The first time I ever didn't advice column was with Nicole. And it was back at the toasts, and it was mostly just telling people to stop talking to their mothers and break up with their boyfriends, and very little has changed. That's all it is. That's the whole advice game. That's all so much of it is. So if any of you tonight, maybe came here with a sort of unsettling nagging feeling of what's not right in my life. Maybe you should stop talking to your mother. Maybe she's a wonderful woman. I don't know. But I'm so glad that you're here. I'm so glad that we have printouts of all the questions. I'm so sorry that we're starting with the one that we're starting with because it's really heavy. It's a stone cold bomber. The other ones are more. You know, kind of glad that's not my problem. But this one is we're starting off with a hard one. And then we're just going to work our way up from there. So I will read our first letter because that just feels like the right thing to do. Subject is helped me, please. Dear prudence, where do I start? I seem to have lost zest for life. I feel like my life is nowhere near where? I wanted it to be. I'm twenty three years old. I have a great family the cutest little nephew in an amazing girlfriend yet. I can't seem to enjoy any of it. Whenever I feel there. Whatever I feel is there for the moment and then dissipates into thin air, and I'm left emotionally dry again. Just feels like whenever have a second think my mind starts going through this cycle where I essentially end up thinking about myself was worthless. Pathetic. And someone who's just not meant to be alive. I know this is a problem. But I'm way too scared to say it out loud. I feel like if I do my worst fears will come true on all push the people close to me away in a way, you could say I'm alone already having to deal with these conflicting thoughts on a daily basis, religion, honestly, just adds to it. I find myself questioning every decision I make or going to make the extent the most times, I don't act on it out of anxiety for the outcomes. What can I do feels like my life is already over? And I'm still so young. I've been trying to. Smoking cigarettes for almost two years. But it's impossible. Every time. I start to over think I end up having a cigarette. Call my nerves financially speaking, I'm no better. I cannot for the love of all things. Good safe money is there no way to combat the lack of willpower. I have because maybe it might just be that this is what's causing this ripple effect of uselessness and worthlessness that I feel twenty four seven maybe it would be better if everything was over at least that way people would have great memories left at me. Instead of me is such a worthless person. Sometimes I even find myself questioning myself weather was a mistake that I'm alive, thanks for taking the time to read this. So this one has just been in my inbox for really long time. And I think that's part of why I chose it for the live show. Just because it is sat with me like I wanna find this person and just hug them before we say anything. But this is so heavy and so deep, and there's there's so many different elements to it. And I'm so glad that this person sat and wrote this all down because so much of the problem right now is the saw the sense of like if I knowledge this in any way, my life will get worse. And not is I think one of the lies that I don't want to diagnose this person with depression. But whatever, this particular voice is this kind of self loathing. This kind of depression, adjacent fear part of what that voice does is say the worst thing that you can do is tell anybody about this because then you will have the same problem, but you'll also have clarity that asking for help doesn't work right now. I think that's completely true. I was going to toss in don't try to quit smoking right now. Yeah. You can you can kick that can down the road just in the realm of the things you're dealing with like emotionally, psychologically, like just I. Just cool it if it's making you feel better just go with it for a while longer. You know, you have all the time in the world. Ideally, you know to cope with this issue. And that is you don't need to be like edgy and upset and anxious extra. Yeah. During this time permission to smoke as somebody who has spent like a lot of his adult life trying to quit smoking. I definitely don't want to make light of that either. Because I know that it can be bad for your health. But like when you were in crisis mode of I wanna die most of the time. And I haven't really told anybody about it yet. If cigarettes are kind of the one thing helping you get through those moments of overthinking, let that one set that our goal right now is keep you alive long enough to tell the people that love you what you need and tried to get help. So obviously, I think it's a good idea to tell the people in your life about this and even to start with I have not wanted to talk about this with you because I have felt like as soon as I met. It all have proof that I'm not like other people. And then I'm a burden to be around. And I think it can help to pick one person to start with maybe not a relative. Maybe not somebody that you feel a little iffy about but to start with somebody. Because once you say it, and they don't run away in horror that can help make it feel like people know me, I'm not living this like horrible bubble of alienating like. I'm not suggesting that this person is trans. But like one of the things that reminded me of this letter was that feeling that I had when I was thinking the most about transition, but also I can't transition and more than I can't tradition. I can't tell any of my life. I'm thinking about it. So they felt a lot of the time like this just like big balloon floating away like I would have interactions with people, and I would feel not only the pain of like assure like to transition, but also the sense of like, they think we're having a normal interaction. And then I'm happy, and that is so far from reality that I just feel like a totally divorced from reality. That's a horrible way to feel so. Not that you should transition. But sometimes if. It worked. Great like, sometimes that's the reason the future feels pointless, but probably not. But so tell somebody in your life that you love find a therapist. I was gonna say even prior to talking to someone in your life. Because this seems so overwhelming to them right now, I would recommend an online support group. I just to have the experience of talking through it with people where the you you don't have to be looking at them. You don't have to be reacting to their reaction. Yes. And in return, they don't have to like perform. Okay. Okay. For you in that same way finances are mentioned as an issue in here. And so I think this person absolutely does need professional help. As Danny said, we can't go round diagnosing people. But I think it's pretty clear from reading a letter that. If there's any sense in which this person worries like, oh, I'm just not coping well with my mid twenties. I'm just bad at it in a way. Other people aren't no like you have some mental health issues, which are desiring it stopping you from flourishing as a human being yet. Don't think like this is just the mid twenties blues. This is way more serious than that. So it looked for sliding scale, therapists. You know in your region. There are also a variety of places where their therapists and training where you can get more help you can also do online therapy via Skype in areas. If if you live in someplace where there aren't a lot of great options, but just try not to let those barriers seem like they can keep you from accessing the mental healthcare you need because you definitely need. Yeah. I'll add two more things that one of them is I care about this letter writer, and I do not want them. I don't know what the number is here. I don't want you to get fifty one fifty. That's what it is in the state of count. Yes. Sometimes if you share with people that you are thinking about or struggle with thoughts of her harming yourself. Well, intentioned, people might call the state in and that in my experience, and my experience with other people is not helpful when somebody is committed against their will, usually it's pretty traumatic. And so I would say not that you need. To do a ton of editing. But. Make it clear when you share this with somebody in your life. I need help in dealing with these on an ongoing basis. I am not at risk of hurting other people or myself, and I wanna make that really clear. Even if that is a little bit. You're not one hundred percent sure about how you feel about that. I just really don't want you in a situation where you try to disclose to someone that you need help. And they call the cops on you, particularly because this person I feel to the extent they mentioned suicidal idealization. It's almost more existential sense. It's it's pass. It does not sound like I have a plan, and I'm ready to exonerate through it, which I also want to be clear, I'm not saying that there's never a case in which somebody is at at risk. I just want to be really careful for you. And then the other one is your goal right now is not to get too joy contentedness and purpose. Your goal right now is to be known your goal right now is make sure that at least a small group of people in your life know, what's going on with you. That's it. And I think that's a -able. And I think that that means you'll be able to start talking about it. And you haven't done that before. So that's going to be really new. And that does not mean that if you're not happy in two months or two weeks that you did something wrong at just means like keep your goals like something that you can you can see in your future like you can imagine happening, and I can see a version of your life where a year from now things look really, really different. I don't know how you'll get there. And so I don't want you to think about that year. Just yet I want you to picture like a month from now a version of my life exists where my girlfriend and a good friend of mine. And maybe a relative note that I'm struggling and they sometimes check in with me. And maybe I usually like write down things that bother me. And I look for patterns. So so the next phase of your life is really just going to be kind of like fact-finding about yourself in terms of like are they particular times of day that I feel the worst are there particular people places or things that bring up these feelings of self loathing are there particular versions of the future that feel the most terrifying and try to look for patterns, and I don't know what they're going to be. But I do know that if you pay a lot of attention to that and ask yourself those questions, you'll find out something that you don't yet know, and I think that will be a good thing. I also suggest that once they are in a better place like a significantly better place and that their housing allows it they should get two kittens? Because I think that that's just generally that's advice. I think is good for for many people. But with the particular degree of just like alienate and aloneness. Yeah. I see in this. I just think this person might be able to benefit from having two kittens? Yeah. And if you know, if the ideas of terrible to you, you're not. Bound by it. But if they're like, oh, I don't like hats or I'm allergic. Sure. Like if the idea of like well today too little furry things need me to stay alive. And that makes me feel useful. And a part of something that's really really good. And I want that for you. So if that idea strikes any sense of like, oh, I could do that. Do it. I have no pets right now. I want to pet robot and between pets for the first time in a very long time and anyone who has two kids. No, no allergic. Yeah. Okay. So that was that was a really rough run. I I love you first letter writer, and we're just going to keep you in our minds as we move ahead to some different problems. I agree. Today's episode of dear prudence is sponsored by European wack centers acts the pink tax campaign. The pink tax is the extra amount of money. That women are charged every year for basic goods and services, and it adds up to roughly thirteen hundred fifty one dollars every year on average women pay seven percent more for basic goods and services than men and personal care products are often marketed thirteen percent higher for women than for men that includes something basic as deodorant which when marketed to women costs more about fifty six percent of the time. Even dry cleaning women are often charged more for dry cleaning than men sometimes even for bringing in the same shirt. See for yourself and learn more at acts the pink tax dot com. Which like me, go ahead and roll. I sure what. The second one is very straightforward. And this is least for me subject relationship purgatory. Dear prudence, I've been seen a man for five months now. And I'm beginning to think that we will just never end up going anywhere. We are both in our mid twenties. And let each other know that we were looking for a relationship when we started dating we have met each other's friends talked about our individual goals for the future and have been enjoying one another's company since the beginning. The one issue is we still have not defined what we are about three months in I raised the conversation, and he was very attentive listener. And let me know he could see a relationship in the future. But he was not ready yet due to being under employed at the moment. I was a bit confused on how that meant one could not define our exclusivity. And let them know that I was okay with that for now. But would need more eventually. It is now been two months since that conversation, and while we seem to be progressing and spending more time together incorporating each other into our lives. He has still not verbalised our relationship status while I know he is still in the midst of looking for more permanent full-time job, I can't help. But think that if he is unable to quote unquote, commit now than he probably never will be. I like him a lot and can personally see a future with him. But I'm not sure exactly how to enter into this conversation raising my concerns without seeming needy or inconsiderate about his stress relating into his job. Search I know some people don't need labels. But for me, personally, we are about to reach six months together. And is important to me to know where we stand any advice. I think she should break up with him. We'll start there. Obviously. One thing that I think is fair to acknowledges both you, and I are in relationships that began with very clear definite declarations of intent like very much. So on our first date. I said just so, you know, and this was just like a platonic hang like, it wasn't officially a date. I said just so you know, I plan on getting married in the next two to three years and having a baby within five. And very shortly. After that Steve said to you, you know, I think that you and I should get very seriously involved and probably married, and then we did. We got three kids. Whereas my relationship with grace we were friends for a long time. And then one day she said to me, I think you should kiss me. And I think that should be the start of an adventure. And I said let me make a phone call. And we did. And now we are at the almost so you know, again. I would say I've been in a number of relationships in my adult life, the ones where it was clear from the beginning what we meant to each other. Even though we would all later break up that part was never difficult the relationships where it started out like what are we? We're going back and forth. It's always unclear to me it stayed that way constantly. I was sort of involved with the same guy a little bit from when I was seventeen to twenty five by a little bit. I mean like I was involved with him from seventeen to twenty five and he was involved with me from like seventeen and then briefly at twenty one and then briefly at twenty five just the worst. But like, I was yeah. I was doing a lot of like what's going? I do hate it. When stuff boils down to like that cheesy. Like, he's just not that into you book. But you'll have bestseller. Fear reason. I I bought it and read it I bought it and read it, and I was like this is so true. But also if he ever call. Now, I also think I feel very strongly that and your mileage can very much vary on this. There are people who have like rocky beginnings and then things smooth out. But generally, I feel if you are five months into a relationship, which is important to you. And you have a bunch of problems in the relationship. Just just cut it go like you should be in the having sex constantly like sketching each other. I love by the way this crowd is to please. Like, we're getting great applause with like break. You're great. You're fantastic. I'm feeling a lot of just like warmth, which is good. And it also means that we're going to get overconfident. We're just going to start saying why? Yeah. No, absolutely. And you don't have to be like angry about it. You can just be like, you know, what I think five months with me is long enough to know whether or not you're pretty excited about seeing me exclusively. And if you're not sure feels like a pretty clear answer, please give me a cough, you ever change your mind. But I'm done. I actually did that one time and it worked by the way, we are not still together, but it did work. And it was like so wonderful to be like, hey, thank you for letting me know, you are not ready to stump seeing other people. I've decided I am. So let's just not see each other anymore and the person was like, whoa. Wow. I didn't. Okay. Well, if that's if you feel so strongly then. Yes, absolutely it later ended very badly. But that's not that doesn't matter. They'll do that that that was an unrelated thing different things happened. Like the thing that I wanted was to not keep figuring it out after three months because I thought I'm starting to have feelings. I don't think. They're going to go anywhere. Three months is a good amount of time to decide whether or not you're on board with my deal. And so just go with that. And you know. You know, there's a lot of like I could kind of see a future. But don't. I can see a future with most people. I can roll with the punches pretty well. Like if I were to elevator with someone and someone was like, you're stuck with this person. Yeah. I'd find a way, of course. Yeah. Like you. You're probably just somebody who like always looks for the bright side of things, and that's great. But that doesn't mean you have to make this guy, and it's just such a lake until I have a job. I don't know if I want to be or not come on. That's a great way to eight years now still be with someone who doesn't have a job and isn't your boyfriend. I guarantee the. That the ratio of time. He is currently spending playing video games to actively searching for work is skewed like to be clear jobs can be really hard to fi is terrible economy. Jobs can be really hard to find. I don't want to suggest that like, oh, if somebody isn't like the security is buyer or whatever that they're not dating. I mean, if somebody says do to my underemployment, I can't decide if I like you or not that's dumb and made up. That's like I don't want to move in together. You know? But that's not I can't tell if I like you. Yeah. Or even just like I actually feel really vulnerable right now having a job as a big part of my identity, and I'm really anxious about the future. Again, you can work with that. That's like vulnerable honesty about a feeling that's fabulous. But like. I don't know if I could date you because I really just I need a boss before I can be. Stupid. It's like a little lanyard with my ID. Stuck in it? Yeah. Yeah. It's important to know where we stand. So my advice to you is to say, it's important to me to know where we stand since you don't know. I'd like to end this relationship. It can make off you ever change your mind. And then either he'll give you a call your find somebody else brought to you by GS k. If we map the genetics of a disease could we change its course a K? We know the information encoded in our genes provides vital knowledge, so we're working with partners to Dakota using technology like an advanced search engine, we can spot the patterns that lead to diseases like Parkinson's or Alzheimer's because by identifying the patterns that cause disease we hope to transform how patients are treated in the future. Could I actually go ahead and read the next one? I can give my advice. Oh, yes. Hell, yes. Get him there. Subject dog custody. Dear prudence my boyfriend and his ex how a dog together she currently can't care for it and lives in a no pets apartment without the roommates. They've been broken up for a year my boyfriend, and I have been dating nine months. She makes a big fuss over missing her puppy, but she only comes over on weekends to play with the dog, never walks it and hasn't made any moves to get a place. That's dog friendly I've been suspicious for a while. But didn't want to be the pushy new girlfriend, only, this Valentine's Day, she barged in and a low cut top when printing about being lonely and wanted to play with the dog my boyfriend, and I had to interrupt our romantic dinner trying to deal with it. She blamed my boyfriend for not checking his techs, I know sabotage when I see. My boyfriend is good hearted. And believes his ex just loves the dog. No real dog lover would treat their beloved pet like this. What do I do now? And how do I talk to them about it? So before Danny gets to advice for this actual person. Just wanna talk about dog custody for a minute. In general, which is the only people who can do it are lesbians. I'm sure I'm sure that like a variety of queer people can pull this off as well. My aunt and her lover shared this tiny French poodle after they split up, and it was a nightmare. But they pulled it off because they process everything constantly. But despite the fact, they were very good at it. The poodle also started like digging it it's vagina constantly and had to go on Paxil. I don't think it's good for dogs. I don't think Dodd custody is really great. But you've been axel. I have no firm opinions on Paxil at this time. But I do about dog custody. I know there are situations where one person just asked to take the hit of I'm losing this dog and this relationship, which is a terrible thing to decide. If. This. I mean, it's very difficult at this point to be like you can't come see the dog anymore. So I would recommend is it seems like. A more schedule based system would really benefit these two people big time. Also you and I back stage we're talking about the barge in and the low cut top situation. And the thing that occurred to us did your boyfriend like led her in because that's not barging in. That's like he was like come in on Valentine's Day ex-girlfriend. Right. Yeah. Like the problem. There would be like if she has a key that does she have a key. If she let herself in band, but if she knocked on the door and your boyfriend didn't say, thanks for coming by. I'm having a romantic Valentine's dinner with my girlfriend. So you'll have to come back some other time, then your your boyfriend is the bad key. You know, like that's the problem there. Don't bring up the low cut -ness of her top. When you talk about it with him because he's already seen her breasts. You know, like. I. Maybe she was using them sinisterly maiden. That's just what's on the front of her body. There's just such a weird Maybelline slow. Leave that part out of it. Like, you have sufficient grounds to say like, I would like you and your ex girlfriend to hammer out a dog visiting schedule that does not involve like sometimes, interrupting our dinners without bringing her clothes into it. Because he really doesn't have any grounds to ask her to dress differently. When she comes by. I also feel there's a lot of judgment towards the ex girlfriend in the question. Sure. Like anytime there was an opportunity to use an adjective like she makes a big fuss over I know sabotage like, yeah. Like, you would like there to be sabotage. We'll just fine. I get it. I also great. But when you were having this conversation with your boyfriend, I would literally right out what you're planning to say to him. And then go through and circle anything that's like could be replaced with. I think she's a bitch because it's just not it's not helpful like you need to separate your feelings out. From is this dog thing, really aggravating or do? I just like not want this woman in my life. Right. And yeah, I think probably she really does love the dog. I don't think she's necessarily like completely just using the dogs inex- us. She's also probably a slightly lazy like former dog owner, which is why your dog and your boyfriend ended up with Oakland custody and not her like that doesn't mean she doesn't love the dog that just means she's like lazy, which is fine and deeply relatable. But yeah, I will say like the reason custody agreements generally work is because they're like legally enforced. Do you know what I mean? Like, that's the way like dog custody never works. Because it's always just like, oh, I have to trust that in four years. I'll still feel like texting with my ex every week about the dog. Whereas like, you go to jail if you don't honor your custody agreements with children, like don't get don't try to recreate human custody, which has all the force of law behind it to just like, I guess we'll text about this dog for eight years. That's not a good idea. I'm with you. Don't pick a person who gets the dog. Which this is just a random question before. Daddy, just next one is anyone here on a date tonight. I was just wondering if this is the sort of thing you would bring a date to you do not have to answer. Audience interaction. It was just a simple like curiosity of mine. If people were here in a date context because that'd be a great date. But it looks like people here with their friends and they're cool glasses. I think that's terrific. Yeah. Subjects. This is the next one. Obviously nothing left to say about dogs. I cheated five years ago, but my husband won't stop reminding me about it. Dear prudence five years ago. When me and my now husband, I started dating a cheated on him after we'd been together for only two months. You should have done a two months earlier. You shouldn't have done it at all. He caught me. But despite this he still proposed to me five months later who I miss that. The first time me, I ain't got engaged seven month. Dating. I was in heat caught me as opposed stopped cheating organically. Yeah. Wow. We have both picked up to vary like. Yeah. This letter is talented drama. It's palim sess. Ties hardy. I thought you said Tonya Harding. Did not know she really. Please continue reading the letter. I said, yes. Because I thought we could get through the damage I had done and I wanted to show him. I'm not this person who lies in cheats. Oh, man. You should not get married to prove something to someone. I. You should have written to us five years ago. Mistakes. I'm glad you are writing. Now never too late. Now, we are married and trying to have a baby. They haven't yet. They haven't had a baby yet. Could this is good? This is good. But he still feels the need to throw at me from time to time that a cheated on him and ruined our trust usually happens when he's upset about something. Yeah. I've apologized. Many times for the pain I have caused him a changed my phone number. I went off social media. And if changed my life around for him, I am sick and tired of being reminded of the horrible person. I was when we were first together because that's not me anymore. He's a great husband is he and he does a lot of wonderful things for me like what? And I have thanked him for not giving up on us when he could have walked away. But does he have the right to keep throwing in my face? What I did to him in the past. I don't wanna lose. Well, we have what we have. But I'm getting to my breaking point please help. I will just assume he does some nice things, and you couldn't you didn't have time. I need to hold onto that like I do need to hold onto that. I it is hard for me to read this and not believe that he enjoys having this thing to hold over her. He proposed five months after the cheating. Yeah. You know, it puts her in a attornal vulnerable position. He wants to have this Trump card. My advice remains the same. Even though I do not think he is a like behaving is a good actor in this situation. Like, I do not trust that he is putting his whole heart into the situation. My advice remains the same which is that you need to sit down together. Ideally with a couple's therapist, and you need to say like this can't continue. What do you need for us to move on from this incident? Like what would constitute closure for you? Is it something I can do is that something you can do is it possible for you to have it because the relationship cannot continue in its current form like that episode of sex in the city where Kerry extr. Stream Lee prematurely was like ADA, aren't you over it yet like which had just happened? You know, but this has been five years, this is a very different situation. Yeah. And I think we do a lot of on this show, you should leave. But I think it's always good to spend a little time thinking about how and what are your other options? Like, when would you know, you would need to leave? So I think to say to your husband first of all kids are off the table right now like dot introducing a child into this situation for two kittens for that matter. Yeah. Any of those things. But, but yeah, I think as you said just to do really straightforward. This isn't working for either one of us. I don't wanna marriage for you where this is so fresh, and like unhealed that every time you get impatient. With me or frustrated with me, you're reminded of this thing, and you bring it up. I don't want that for you. I also don't want it for me because there's a limit to how much I can change in my life in order to for us to move on. So I want us to be able to move on from this. I would like that. If there's a way for us to do it. I hope we can find it if not if you cannot envision a marriage where this is not something that comes up every time. We have a fight that's on a marriage. I can be because I mean, just like picture kids picture having kids ten years now. And you like, I don't know do something. Hard. Thank you horrible. Not even horrible. You do something like mildly irritating. And now you have a kid and your husband's like member that time you cheated on me fifteen years ago that's worse than now. Right. Like, that's awful. And you have at least the power to. You know, figure out whether or not you have to walk away from this marriage before you have a kid with this guy and. Anybody who is this like invested in punishing you forever is not somebody you want to have a kid with. I also I don't super love the. So I understand changing phone number going off social media, though, five years later, you still need to be off social media and have changed my life around for him. I'm sick and tired of being reminded of the horrible person. I was when we were I gather. I just I'm getting a real bad vibe off. I am too. I don't you know, that horrible person you used to be thing. Like, that's something. I'd want you to work out with a therapist. I don't think you're you need to be thinking about the horrible person you used to be. And if that language is coming from you that's worth addressing with therapists eastern languages coming from him, and again, no, it's not great to cheat on somebody that you've been with for two months, but it's also very different from like we've been together for thirty years, and I slept with your best friend like, let's let's right size. This okay. Like this was. A blip that he either should have at the time say, you know, what this relationship has done or let's spend some time. Figuring things out not get married in five months. You shouldn't change your life around for someone you've been with for two months, regardless. Yeah. So if the horrible person languages coming from him, I actually think you have evidence that he he married you during that really vulnerable time because he thought what a great opportunity to convince someone that she is the eternally bad partner, and that she is always like in the red when it comes to our relationship. And she always owes me, and I can always hold this over her head, and there's nothing she can ever do to get out of that. Because that is sick. And again, just like two months into your relationship. It doesn't match. It's it's not like you betrayed him. After decades together. That's that's fucked up. And so I think if the language is coming from him skip the couple's therapy, go to therapy by yourself because this guy cannot be trusted and fucking Lieven. And just don't ever go to therapy with an abuser by the way. It's really a bad idea. Like, yeah. That's it's any good therapist will tell you this. But it will be actively worse. If you go to therapy with your abuser. They just learn of Okabe Larry that helps them further manipulate you go to solo therapy work through that. I hope that doesn't come up any of us. Yeah. And it's hard because it can be a little bit. Like, you know, how you just like know right away if someone's abusing you. Sometimes often it's really hard to realize that because it's usually somebody that you love and they often find ways to like twist your love for them into convincing them their rights. So I don't want to just say that lively yet that Lundy Bancroft book. It's it's really good. Which one is that why does he do that? Oh, you recommend that. It's me around the time of the gift of fear. I think and I was so stressed out by Gavin bekker's could not add to that list. That is a serious, man. He is a serious person. He I don't know if you guys are with the gift of fear, it's the little cheesy. But it's also very it's got real stuff going on. And it's all this guy. Who's like, I have protected everyone in the business. I everyone in the world alive today is alive because of gap. Is very serious about personal Livia. Newton John is his best friend, and he will tell you about he name drops constantly. It's so great the one. Disclaimer, I always use when first of all I think everyone should read the gift of fear. I give it to my nieces when I go to college his I'm that aunt, but I always say like take the domestic violence chapter with like a grain of salt because like he grew up in a very particular situation. And it is like he is a little judgmental of people who do not leave quickly, which is a terrible thing. Everything else is gold, solid advice. Thank you for being that and tonight's would you please read this next letter. I sure would how walking it back after coming out. Dear prudence, I'm a queer woman who was previously married to a straight, man. We got divorced for a lot of reasons, but my family loved my husband, and I am a coward. I always appreciate candor in these letters. So I let them believe. My sexuality was the primary reason we were breaking up. I didn't think queer would be a word. They understood and my mom has loudly professed, she thinks bisexuals do not exist. So to keep things simple. I said, I was a lesbian. Well, it turns out. That's not true. I have now been dating a trans man for some time. He is wonderful in every way, incredibly funny, and we've already seen each other through some difficult things. Our relationship is turning serious. And we're beginning to talk about introducing each other to our families. I have to admit that. I'm scared about this conversation since my divorce. My parents have not asked about my dating life at all. I have not offered any unsolicited information. But now I want to bring them back into that part of my life. However, I feel certain my mother will say something to indicate. She always thought I was just confused, and I'm not sure how my dad will react. He was supportive of the lesbian label in his quiet way. But I don't know what he thinks about transpeople, my parents think of us as a close family in as much as we can be given our politics or so different. But we've talking about more serious. Topics, and those we absolutely have to I'm afraid of them invalidating both mine and my partner's identities. He does not identify straight either. Or even worse asking invasive questions about our sex life. My mom already did this once when I I told her about my issues in my marriage. How do I protect my sense of identity and set up an environment introduce my partner in a way that is celebratory as it should be. Loves to unpack you oh boy before we really dig into this. If you are not extremely online. You may not know that yesterday was one of the most important thing that's ever happened to bisexuals. Because Mr. Rogers is one of us. It was in a book. He said it straight out said he if these things were on a spectrum he thought he'd be right in the middle because he was attracted to ladies, and he was attracted to men, and that's great. Because he's the best person who ever lived. Okay. So anyway, your mom is wrong bisexuals exist because Mr. Rogers lived, and you can't take that away from me just start with that get your mom that book. I do not want to be too hard on this letter writer because I think of lots of people have at various times in their life had a kind of moment where they thought this. I did maybe seems close. Let's try it out. And you don't always know. And sometimes things also genuinely change, I've certainly changed a lot. I've been a number of things. So I totally get that. But I do just want to knowledge. It sounds like this letter writer kind of new at the time when she was like. Yeah, lesbian close enough that that she knew that that wasn't really true for her. And I again, I don't want to say like therefore, it's your fault that your parents are like by phobic, and transphobic and whatever else I just mean like. You do see how this situation came about. Which is that you were like, I'm not a lesbian, but I will tell people that. I am a lesbian and hope that that number. Hope that never comes back to haunt me. But like this microphone it did. So again, not to be too hard of this letter writer, but like. That's sometimes can happen. When you say things that you're like, I hope that this never comes up again. Always it will come up again, if you have to say, I hope it won't it. Definitely will. Yeah. Yeah. So I do think she owns that a fair amount. I think she's. She went with the coward. Yeah. You're already going through a lot. I don't wanna be like you deserve this. You've don't. That's awful. I totally understand, especially when your mom is like, bisexual, don't exist. It's like, and it sounds like she avoids having serious conversations with her family. And there's no way that fighting with your already homophobic, mum about whether bisexuals exist is totally not going to become a serious conversation. Totally. No. Yeah. I mean Lord knows at various times in my life. I have like banked on. Maybe I won't have to have this conversation with my parents about me, and I've always had to and yet every time I've had that thought I've done the exact same thing as the letter writer, which was like the whole we're not gonna have to talk about this. So I would just like to walk back what I did a minute ago, which was like use of this coming because then I looked back in my own life. So many times I literally was like could start t and not. So my parents someone you seem to have so much more neckline acne start t. Yes. She was like, she's a sharp lady. She's the sart lazy. She's a sharp lady. And I'm very dumb that. I was like I bet no one will be able to tell she's the best lady in the world, which is not to say that you should ask people. What hormones they are not taking I want to be very clear. I I have a wonderful friend who is translated. And she like we often have this wonderful moment where she had at one point before. I was thinking too much about whether or not I would transition. She was like you always dress like you're covering so much up. Why do you think that is? And we always talk about later like those such an inappropriate question for you to ask me. But it was so helpful because there were reasons for that. But you shouldn't have done it. Again. I don't don't say. That's your friends it kind of needed to happen. But it was not okay. Life is called cicadas. So we need to help this person. Yes. So in terms of helping this particular person as opposed to just all of us in our labels. I think that you've got to separate things going on here. One of which is you need to set your fam- down. And be like, I am bisexual. I am attracted to both men and women. Accept the fact that they'll probably be like, then why did the marriage break up, and you're going to have to be like there were other things and second from that is how you're going to deal with. Introducing your parents to the lovely trans man that you are currently with and how to do that in such a way as to minimize how bad that experience is going to be for him. Yeah. And I think there are, you know, the goal of like, how do I make sure that my parents think it's okay that I got divorced. And that I'm bisexual let go of that goal. That's not something you can control. I hope that they do in time like get to a really good place. It sounds like as tricky as they can be about issues of identity and sexuality they do have like enough by in that if worth trying with them. So I think you have some reason to hope that they will get somewhere. Good. But you know, I think right now the the language like I think I'm a coward. I feel in this letter. How much you want your parents to just be on board absentee a really relate to that? But when it comes to just communicating the information just make that your goal just communicating. The information of I'm not a lesbian. I'm bisexual and I'm currently involved with trans guy. And I hope that someday soon you guys will get to meet him. And you know, if that remains your goal you can achieve that goal really easily. And then you can also decide like is there a limit to emotional response that they have that. I'm not going to give room for like, if your mom does a lot of like, that's not real you have my total blessing to say like it Israel. It's important to me. If you want to ask genuine questions, I'm available for that. But if you just want to tell me that my sexuality is made up. I'm not going to have that conversation. Let's talk again later and hang up the phone or leave the room go for a walk whatever you have to do. And sometimes that's like a couple of weeks or a couple of months of just, you know, but that's the process of setting boundaries is that sometimes you have to do it over and over again. And it seems like a weird uncomfortable thing to do. But I know a lot of people who have been helped. This parent brings up same thing in conversation, which is a total. No, go for you. And you're like, you know. I gotta go. And just the natural consequences of that over time do tend to be that people will stop saying the crime thing too. And I think to and again, I relate to this a lot. There's a little bit of a sense of like, how do I ask them to meet the person that I'm dating now if they decide they no longer approve of the reasons I got divorced which is a little like I relate to that. Where it's like all of a sudden, you know, with your parents, you feel like you're fifteen years old again. And it's like if my parents don't think I got divorced for a good reason. Maybe I'm not divorced anymore, or like, I'll be in trouble or I won't have their permission or have to apologize. And it's it's it's going to happen. I think that your parents may very well not approve of why you got divorced, and you will just need to say to that. A here you that marriage is over. I'm not asking you to love that we got divorced, but you do need to accept it. And there's a limit to how much I'm going to be. To revisit that with you like, I don't know that you love that choice. But it's the one that I made that marriage ended and it needed to end. And that's really hard because I too especially when it comes to issues of gender and sexuality can get very like, I need my parents to approve of everything right now. And it's hard. It's really hard. But yeah, just make your goal communicating. This updated information and saying here, the kinds of questions I'm happy to answer here. The kinds of questions, I'm not happy to answer holding the boundary and also I strongly recommend finding a friend who is not your partner that you can be having conversations with about how all this is going because I think particularly if your parents start saying like transphobic stuff to you while you're going through this obviously you want to talk to your partner. You don't want to dump that all on your partner. Are you want to very carefully curate the amount of like the initial nastiness that's gonna come out of your parents from splashing onto your partner? So find like a good and supportive friend where you can be like, oh my God. My mom said, blah, blah, blah, and just can help you take your emotional temperature on. This is your going forward and be really honest with your partner about where your parents are at again without going into a lot of detail. Like, I I sometimes have friends I'm like don't give me any details. But tell me like whether or not it's cool for me to show up and don't don't let wishful thinking, send your partner into an ambush. Oh, we're going to the berkshires together for a week. It's going to go. Great exactly don't don't set up dinner and hope for the best like with your parents, make sure like if there is a five percent chance that they are going to ask your partner about his genitals. At supper don't go to that. Supper we needed we needed to be at zero me needed to be zero. Ciro? So. Yeah. And again that doesn't mean you have to insist on that right away. If your parents need a little time. Okay. But but run that interference and don't set up the meeting and be clear with your partner say, you know, like I want you to meet them. They're a little transphobic and be okay. Saying that like, it's a transphobic society familiar with the company is run into transphobic people before just just just experiencing some memories in the head of questions. I've been asked. We're thinking about the questions before ask you. Ask you, but good luck. And this is a law, and I just most they think wanna say, especially because I think he started out being a little jocular. It makes a lot of sense that for somebody who's gender identity or sexuality has remained stable and consistent their whole life to feel like everyone else should be the same way. It's super easy for me. And like you feel a little bit. Like, man, you know, it was one thing to realize that was queer in my last marriage. But this is too many changes like I'm doing too much stuff. You're not phases are great figuring yourself out is fine thinking, you might be one thing for a while. And then later coming to a different understanding is good and necessary. And it happens all the time. I used to smoke a pipe like a tobacco pipe. The two of us used to run a website for women. Do you have any idea? How we barest? I was when I thought I might be a boy. I was very embarrassed. Like, it's fine. But like people change a law, and that's okay. And you don't need to feel like you are like the flighty kid or too hard to understand because somebody's going to throw this thing with you. It's always something with Jenny as Tim said when he met Jenny and max some of you know, what I'm talking about. Tim sucks. Don't be too. Yeah. People change, it's fine. People change genders. That's fine. Like, you can change it a lot. If you want. There's no limit. It's not like there's no punch cards. Something. That's limited. She'll I read the next letter for them. So mad about it. I to mad about it. By the way. I didn't edit the language so that we can all hate the partner of this person together. Subject I've gotten bigger and boring though, you haven't Nope. In the last two years. I've had two children. And gone from being a social butterfly with a killer body to a stay at home. Mom with a fairly squashy body, though. I'm still a size six I'm sorry for people who have like were numbers or like about stuff. But I do think it's a. A data point. My husband has undergone a similar transformation, but on a less dramatic scale. Yours wasn't dramatic. I've recently discovered he's joined a private Facebook group where men's share soft porn images of women, and then comment on their appearance slash what they'd like to do to them. This repulses me the images are fairly mild though. Hardly PG, but the disrespect and reducing women to body parts makes me so cross. That's something. My mother would say. When in fact, she's furious. We have a daughter. I hate that. He's reduced to this pathetic version of heterosexual masculinity. Not only do I feel angry. I feel very hurt because I used to look like the women in those pictures, and since I don't anymore, and my husband has hardly any physical interest in me. I don't want to bring this up with him as he's entitled to look at what he wants. And I don't think he's made any comments. But how do I deal with my own feelings of anger and adequacy? Oh, I hate him. So much. Just send him here here to bring him to us. Like, a wicker, man. You know, you gots to go. Oh, my goodness gracious as a sign to the others in the warning. I like so just to make one thing clear. It's not evil and wrong to enjoy looking at attractive people. That's not the problem, obviously. And what's the other thing that I wanted to say that was it just to be just like so that we don't have EDI misdirection? That's clearly not the problem. I hate him. So and I love you. And I'm so sorry for everything. I'm so sorry for everything. I'm so sorry that you've had two children in two years. And you use words about your own body like squashy like your body made to human beings in two years thatt's killer and not unless like cheesy like let's all like raw rye other up and just like that's real that's such a bigger deal than if he had done an ironman triathlon. You know, which he didn't. I'd like to point out. Oh, the other thing was just like a also don't think that like having a child means you shouldn't be attracted to people or even talk about pictures of other people. But clearly the whole like a miniature a Facebook group with a bunch of dudes who just feel super entitled to like say what we would do to all these hot women who would not let us do any of those things. While also like making my wife feel bad for giving birth. And like not having sex with her anymore because she gave birth. This is also she is right on the cusp based on the timing of having had her second child the degree to which you need during that time, your partner to be giving you their almost complete emotional, and psychological and physical energy their best. I would be supernova that he was digging around on Facebook period and not helping with my of my baby. And my almost two year old like that's nuts. Yeah. First of all, none of us should be on face. But we should all be getting off everyone off Facebook that he is spending more time on Facebook is already a bad sign that he's spending more time on Facebook being like, ooh, this woman were here. I would talk to her. No, you wouldn't. I just. I hate him. Yeah. The degree to which you need to reorient all of your thoughts about your body about your husband about your right to say things like you don't have to be angry on behalf of your daughter. You can be angry on behalf of you. Yes. And so. You know, he's entitled to look at what he wants always not. Are you kidding me? No, he's not he's entitled to pick up the children and care for them. While you have a nap. Like. The degree to which he has convinced you that like even saying like, Honey, I'd sure like it. If you spend a little less time commenting on the fictional sex. You'd have with pretend women on Facebook. So that you could attend to our real family is like, no, no, no. That would be a bridging his freedoms as a man. As if you were like out there like building you at castle or something like. Now, it's it's I I really like I almost never tell people that get divorced. And that's not what I'm saying in this case, and especially when people have small children, I really never almost say it. Very religious person as a very religious person. I want God to smile at him down to death. Like, that's that's my like, I just want him not to be there anymore because honestly, I don't think he's contributing anything to the situation. Yeah. You got the kids. What else is he contributed to your life? I mean, I don't wanna say that lately because you clearly love him and are also in a point in your life where you feel really down on yourself. Like, you feel like there's something shameful about your body. Feel like you've failed physically both like being a woman being a wife, and I'm so sorry for that feeling unloved and unattractive at the very very least you need to have the biggest fight of your lives fight. This one out you need to fight about this a lot. You should be like as mad as that husband. And the earlier letter was about the cheating that happened two months into their relationship. That's how mad you should be now like the language horrible person should be on the table. And and I say that mostly because I don't. You will feel okay being not gonna take it too far we've read. Yeah. Yeah, we're clear that you were very very kind. The most patient person. Maybe I've ever heard of. But yeah. Yeah. This this stuff about like that you are basically like in this letter. This letter writer apologized to me for her body like stepped out and bigger feels and boring. Would like oh did he did? He forget that. You would he chose to have children with you like that doesn't make you boring. The fact that he has decided to not be interested in the work of having children together makes him, but that not, you know, you're showing up to work, and he's acting like what's all this doing here? I sort of just thought there'd be a couple of eighteen year old kids standing around saying things like dead was so great. I thought we were done oh owed does that blinking light on the dishwasher mean that it's clean and someone should unload? It. I didn't know that. He fucking knows that. So this last one is like, this is a complicated stressful, but complicated, and no one no one needs to be sent to jerk island, subjects my partners religious mother. Excluded me on Christmas. What? Now, I mean. It's not good, obviously, dear prudence, my partner. And I he's a man I'm a woman have been together for six years and go to his hometown every year for Christmas since my family doesn't celebrate it partners. Very religious mother always seemed to treat me as one of the family but ever since his older sister married Kevin in November. She's used Kevin really did it for somebody. She's used the opportunity to draw lines in the sand at Christmas dinner. She announced that they would need to update. The personalized family decorations to include Kevin and later presented for dental gift bags containing tablets for each of her three children and Kevin excluding me both times. It was humiliating and hurtful, my partner later spoke to his mother and communicated. The her behavior was wrong. Good that it was unacceptable to treat me differently than her other children's partners. And that our relationship was no less valid without a marriage certificate. She disagreed while confirming her love for me and justifying her behavior via her religious beliefs all in one breath, do not want to give her the power to do this again. She will not apologize and does not think she has done anything wrong. However, my partner is crushed at the thought of missing his favorite holiday with his family indefinitely, even though he understands this may not be salvageable. I don't know if there is a middle ground between refusing to go to her home and being complicit in her treatment, please help so. I'm glad that your partner said that to his mom, but he should also be crushed at the idea of going home for Christmas. And watching you knock it presents or suddenly be treated worse because his sister got married, Linda that change that. That's shame. So she used to you. But now there's like an extra wedding ring and a real one came. Yeah. Exactly. Like, so remind your partner of that say like how would it feel to go to Christmas at your mom's house knowing that I was being excluded at every turn. And that your mom already knew how much it hurt both of us and had decided to keep doing it. And if he's honest, and he's like, oh, I guess that would feel pretty bad. Then you know, that doesn't mean you have to never go home for Christmas again. But that you can say like we're going to alternate years. And sometimes when we visit your family, if your mom is being a real jerk to me, I'm gonna make other plans, and I want you to support being that that feels reasonable. And even though you're family doesn't celebrate Christmas. You can just be like it's the middle of December. And we want to hang out. Fine. It's a great time to do it. He has celebrated so many Christmases he will survive. If you guys do just like a chill movie day one year like people who gave romantic Christmas, love them. Great. I'm glad you enjoy it. You get so much so much and the number of letters that Danny and I have received that include the line. I was told I would ruin Christmas or Christmas was ruined. As though this was something that like a human was possible capable of doing like, a machete the whole the whole country stops for a month every year for Christmas pharmacies become Christmas. Dispensaries? There is so much Christmas. Every year. Coffeeshops Christmas TV Christmas the news Christmas. He's he is not going to run out of Christmas. Like, if you if you just one year where you guys go see the movies. He will still have gotten so much Christmas. No one's running now. Like we live in a country where NORAD does a thing where they fake track like Santa as he makes his way from the North Pole. It's so much. It's wild. Yeah. So it's fine that much I get it. I it's totally fine that he said, but if he does the kind of like, oh, no Christmas. It's like, well there will be another one next year at another one the year after that. And so on and so on until we all die. Also, there's every year up until this one. If you get together with his parents on other occasions, I don't think they're going to be magically more. You're a real member of the family. Like if you go to a barbecue with them on Arbor day, I his mum we'll find a way to like make you feel less important than Kevin. Yeah. And so I think I'm sure Kevin spine. I'm picturing him as captain Holtz. Kevin. That's my issue. It's a lovely gentleman. That does make me feel very warmly decide. So it's Kevin Kevin's fault. But yeah, if she wants to do the whole like, I just my religion needs me to be mean to you. Now, that's totally fine. And you can meet that energy. You can do just like I hear that. I'm going to go like you don't have to have a huge blow fight about it. You can just thank you for letting me know, I will leave. I I get a lot of letters that kind of fall into this category of like, well, she's always like this or like, well, she's religious and those kind of feel like two sides of the same coin of like therefore, you don't really get to expect her to meet you halfway, and I think that's a bad response to one someone's a real big jerk. Now, you can you can probe those things you can push back on those two statements. Yeah. Because usually what that means is our entire family has developed around the jerky -ness of this person. And in fact, we have all bent over backwards to accommodate district in like we've all grown around it like a cluster of trees around like a jewel. I do not. Thinking of like, the legend of Zelda, not reality. I was I was going to go for a different metaphor, please. Which I believe came from a website talking about geeky, social fallacies. Okay. But there is a concept called the missing stare. I'm still asking your water. I'm still thirsty. Oh, no, go for thank you, which is. You go to a place often. There's like one stair that's wonky. And so everyone knows to step over it as they go up. And then a new person comes and plummets into the basement and gets rebar like through their leg, and this can happen in families, and even in like friend groups, especially friend groups where you get together to do some sort of activity like bowling, and you just gradually get used the fact that like Josh is a nightmare. And then when a new person shows up and has been, you know, bowling with you for a while. And they're like, wow, joshes awful. And like says kind of low grade racist things like, yeah. But it does happen a lot. So that's why we've elected to nothing. So it's yeah. Okay. We are getting the flashing lights. Always that would that's been. I was wanting to know how long has it been going on? We always go so long. We do. Thanks for listening to dear prudence. Our producers, Phil circus. Our theme music is composed by Robin Hilton production assistance was by Taylor Simmons. Don't miss an episode of the show had to sleep dot com slash dear prudence subscribe. And remember you can always hear more prudence by joining sleep. Plus, go to sleep dot com slash pretty pod to sign up. If you want me to answer your question. Call me leave a message at four zero one three seven one dear that's three three to seven. And you might hear your answer on an episode of the show. You don't have to use your real name or location and at your request. We can even alter the sound of your voice, keep it short, thirty seconds a minute tops. Thanks for listening. And on today's plus segments. It's not great. It's not great. I you don't don't have don't have kids yet. And don't get married if this letter writer, you know, here's this and things like that seems a little extreme ask two or three follow up questions with your partner about eugenics and about Abe, Liz them, and you may find out some stuff that you kind of were content to be vague about previously ask very specific questions and pay attention to the answers. You get my guess is you will find out that your partner is kind of an ablest eugenicist, and you will find breaking up with that much easier to listen to the rest of that conversation joined slate plus now at slate dot com forward slash pretty pod.

partner writer Nicole Nicole Denver Lifelock Danny Putin America Nicole cliff Daniel Mallory cough Burgh Colorado Mr. Rogers Tonya Harding Israel
Dear Prudence: The "Sell The Damn Ring" Edition

Slate's Dear Prudence

52:02 min | 2 years ago

Dear Prudence: The "Sell The Damn Ring" Edition

"You're listening to this week's excerpts from dear prudence podcast to get the full length. Members only version every week. Join sleep plus at slate dot com slash pretty pod. You're you're Putin. Prudence? Here. Do you think that I should contact him again help? Thank thank you. Hello and welcome back to the dear prudence show once again, and as always I am your host Daniel Mallory or Berg with me in the studio this week is willow McClay raider. And film critic who runs the website curtseys and hand-grenades. She's also the co author of the upcoming book. Corpses, fools and monsters and examination of transgender cinema, willow. Welcome. Hello. Hello. Thank you for having me. Thank you so much for coming on the show. I'm so excited to have you here. We were just having a wonderful conversation a minute ago about the favorite movie, which I just saw yesterday. And and you got to see Semih recently. And I I just still keep I I keep thinking this is not spoilers, by the way. But there's a wonderful scene where somebody is angrily writing a letter and crumpling up letters and throwing them behind them, which is just a seen that I haven't seen a movie in a while. Like, I feel like at some point in the nineties. Everyone's like, no that it's too cliche were done. And I'm so glad someone's bringing it back. Yeah. And it's nice to see it in an age when leg people actually wrote letters, and that was the main former. Of communication. You know? Exactly. Yeah. Like, it's just it's it's this. It's this lovely movie from this time period of that. We haven't necessarily seen a like this kind of movie from that time period for like usually like movies that are period pieces that are kind conduct prim and proper, and, but this one's kind of absurd which you know, the times back, then you know, they were absurd to some degree. So it's good to see someone finally latching onto that in a new way, I agree with you so much actually wrote a couple of years ago a piece about like how I would survive in the court of Queen Anne as a lesbian favourite. This was obviously before I transitioned like that's how strongly I felt about how Sarah is handled things. So when I heard they were making a movie about it. I was like at last I would vindicated. So this movie's like basically made for you, then it was so made for me, especially because one thing I feel really strongly about is that if you are at the court of like a near absolute monarch release. Least I'm on our coups lake whims, kind of have to be pandered to less. You be exiled from court. Yeah. Like now is so not the time to like try to develop a relationship of equals. Now is the time to figure out exactly how much does this person want to feel like they're being challenged give them that. And no more. And so I always get really mad at old Royal favorites who, you know, get too comfortable because I'm just like you have one job one job. And that is to just accept that. This person is the Lord's Representative on earth and give them everything they want. Absolutely. And I would do that. So well. All right. I think we should move into answering people's questions instead of spending time thinking about how good I would be at making Stuart monarchs very very happy. Even on the answer is totally happy. And I will read our first letter this subject is low stakes family getting along which is just the delivery subject and not one that I get as often as I might like do prudence when I was a teen in trouble a local family took me in. We're not biologically related. It was barely nodding acquaintances with them at the start. But now we've lived together for several years, and I'm extremely grateful. They're happy to forgo rent. If it's a tight month for me. I'm happy to pay extra to help out with bills when I can we share family meals. It's all a blessing now that I'm settled in and no longer creeping around like a frightened deer. I think I'm experiencing normal family emotions with the economy being what it is. I probably won't be able to move out for a while. Which leads me to ask. How do you go? Get along with people you live with I've never had a nice family living situation before. So I don't know how to deal with being mildly irritated by someone all of my past homes have been survival until I can escape now. I live with lovely kind people who see me as one of their own, but sometimes get a little nosy or a little messy or repeat a story for the time. I really don't know how to handle these situations. What are some tips for being an adult living with family who's not overstepping their bounds. But you still sometimes want space from all these dad jokes are nicely. Driving me up the wall. I really love this one. And I think it can be really hard like when you sort of realize, I know how to protect myself when my safety is threatened, and I know how to escape and that those are skills that are really have been really really useful to me. But now I kind of 'em safe, and I don't really need to escape, and I don't have any of the skills that would help me respond appropriately to something that responds like a low level something from me like a no or a taking a Walker challenging something. And and kind of trying to figure out like how do I develop new coping strategies when I'm no longer in crisis mode, is is a really difficult thing to sort of figure out. Yeah. For sure. A bone childhood was very rocky for reasons completely out of my control. And like it. It's interesting because I I on the surface. We were kind of like this have very normal, everyday family, or whatever. But. Like behind closed doors, like definitely wasn't case. And I kind of don't have the whole like comfortable family living situation thing, and I didn't really have that until I until I moved in with the guy that I'm now engaged to and his in laws have been treating me very well, Fred until like similar problems as the reader in like having these very monitor altercations that like like aren't like heavy serious severe problems or anything like. But like, you know, it's difficult to navigate problems. When there aren't when they aren't like the end of the world. That's a difficult thing to do. Right. By the way, congratulations on finding some wonderful inlaws. I'm so glad thank you. What did you find helpful in that situation? Just kind of getting used to like their rhythms and everything and understanding like, okay? This person is this person reacts dissuaded this thing and they joke about this. Or that? And just understanding what for them is like playful, and what isn't necessarily in just kind of understanding their own space. Just watching them in particular in trying to figure out my role in everything. Like, I think that was typically how I figured out how to navigate like laws that we're actually kind of like good to me instead of parents, or like overbearing and controlling in completely dominant of my free time in my abilities to you just engage in anything that I wanted to do. But like, they're my in-laws are very free in my time and everything and like giving me the space that I need. So like thoughts, it kind of interesting to see like that reversal of sorts, and it's definitely been an improvement for me. Yeah. And I think, you know, if these are people who genuine generally get along. Well, you might be able to kind of take your cues from them letter writer like if you see the way that they kind of let somebody else. No like, all right. You're. Being a little nosy. And I want you to back off, and you can kind of see the way they say that to each other. You can take your cues from that. I think you can also like if somebody's asking you questions that you just don't really want to answer. I think it's always find to say, you know, something along the lines of I don't really want to go into detail about this is that okay? Because it's when is with people you can trust. That's kind of a way of letting them know, it's not that you're being a jerk. Exactly. I just want to keep this private for a minute. And I want to know if that's all right? I'm not trying to shut you out -absolutely. And if somebody's being a little bit messy, you know, kind of the same thing, you can sort of say, hey, I don't wanna be a. Like really aggressive about this. But I've noticed that you always leave out your water cups, and I'm wondering if you wouldn't mind kind of trying to pay more attention to wear your water cups are like or maybe have one water Cup instead of whenever you have a Cup. Do you know what I mean like I keep saying water Cup? It sounds like it's not a real thing. But like I have to remind myself to just use one throughout the day. Otherwise whenever I want a Cup of water. I'm like, I'll just go to the cupboard and get a brand new Cup and drink out of it once and then put it in the dishwasher, and then do the same thing in twenty minutes. Yeah. Exactly. Like, it's it's like a very small thing you could kind of like keep your eye on. And and something that they could understand. I think it's not like a major problem. They can look at it themselves. And in this case, I'm speaking to the person that wrote the letter speaking to their family or whatever, but like, you know, like take baby steps with it. I think that would be smart in this situation. Yeah. Like like that like you said. Yeah. And I think too it may also just take a little time to work your way up to that. Like, you say they see you as one of their own it may sometimes internally be a little hard to remind yourself that you are safe. And that they do see you as one of their own, and then it's not going to be taken away from you. If you do something wrong. So you might sometimes after like spend a day or two thinking like, okay, I'm gonna talk to like Jim tomorrow about this. And here's what I'm going to say. And maybe I'll write it down. I because I'm a little anxious like give yourself a little time to prepare for it. If you need to that's fine. And I think also just to ask it in terms of questions like is that okay? Is that a right? If I do this to kind of let the other person. No, you're sort of not sure. And frankly again, like because they sound like wonderful people you can even say, I don't really know how to talk about this because I've never been in a situation like this before. So I'll appreciate your guidance. As you kind of tell me how to like deal with low level issues like this and again. Because they are people you can trust. I think they'll handle that. Well, yeah. And I think that honesty in this situation is probably absolutely the best route and considering that they are like way more understanding than the previous people you'll lived with. I think that they would definitely be more willing to listen to you as well. And my I the last thing which is about telling stories for the time. My first response was like, oh, you know, I have some family members who do that. And I actually over the years have grown to find a kind of sweet and endearing and then I remembered I haven't lived with any of my family members in like at least six years, and that's really different. So actually, I do not want to just say like cherish it. Because who knows when they'll be gone. It is definitely find to like again, gently say like, oh, yes, actually, you have told me that story. And then say a sentence that makes it clear that you really familiar with it not in a way. That's like you idiot. You should have remembered that's designed to cut them down. But in a way that just lets them know. Yes, I have the information you need from me. So that the gentle. Yeah. Yeah. And then that way they can either be like oh gosh. I forgot I told you or they can say oh, right. So if you already know the story, I can keep going to finish whatever my point was, and I guess mostly I just want to say don't put too much pressure on yourself to love all their little quirks because you feel like I should just feel grateful all the time. Like if there's times when you just wanna go take a walk or be in your room for a little while or say, I really want to talk about the mess. Like, I'm really glad you're giving yourself permission to talk about this. Because I I would worry that you would maybe feel like it's just my job to be grateful forever. All right. Would you read the second letter? Dear prudence, I recently moved back to my home state to attend graduate school. The decision was influenced by many factors. I missed my hometown. I wanted help help my parents who are both approaching seventy and have more responsibilities than they can handle. And I needed to attend a school where I could afford in state tuition a spent almost two years planning the transition. However, I also started a new relationship with someone I've become deeply attached to he reluctantly. Agreed. He would try to make long distance work on the condition that I visit every month, but I'm struggling to afford tuition on in a medical professional program that isn't funded payments on my undergraduate student loans, not all of them could be deferred and living expenses. In addition to a round trip ticket every month. I do him. And he says he adores me. But understandably, I don't think he wants to partner who only sees every few months. We both see our relationship has a long term commitment. But I don't know how to get. Us to my graduation date intact. So you know, I wanna start by saying I cannot promise or guarantee that any readers or listeners can keep a long distance relationship. If they right into me, you might do everything rate, and it still won't work out. I want to just stay first of all the having been a person who's been in a long distance relationship and actually made it work that it was almost completely by luck that it happened. Like, we started our relationship in two thousand and twelve the first part of that year, and it wasn't until two thousand and fourteen until we actually even saw each other. And a lot of these little miniscule roadblocks felt like the end of the world, and it's totally normal to feel like it's not working or that. It's kind of not turning out how you wanted it to if you truly care about this person, I would suggest pushing forward, but it's also you're also in a very difficult position. Where you know. It's it's hard to actually get to a point of actually staying with this person forever. And sometimes it doesn't work out. Like you said, but on you have to have like consistent like a consistent relationship in boundaries and talking with the other person on the side of the fence to in having them understand like where you're coming from specifically. And it's it's very difficult to try and like get that to work. But if you do stay in contact and do like, truly appreciate one another and everything then I think more often than not like it can work out like if he does truly care about you. Then I think that he would kind of try to get on your level. And try to understand that your graduate position is very important to you as well in the finances, sometimes they're just very difficult to work around. And I would hope that you would try to like both kinds of work through that in a way that is beneficial to both. Of you like, it's it's not going to be easy. But I mean, that's what I would say in that situation. I am glad by the way that I just happen to have chosen letters that sort of line up with things you've actually been through. Yeah. That's that's just useful. I am not in a long term relationship or longer. I am in a long term relationship. I'm not in a long distance relationship. Yeah. And I'm pretty sure. Yeah. It's been a little while since I was in a long distance relationship for like a significant chunk of time like two years. So my advice will be slightly more just like this is a guest. But it sounds like you have fabulous reasons for wanting to go home that part seems really really clear, I don't know how far across the country. Your current boyfriend is letter writer, but you know, a round trip ticket every month simply might not be financially avoidable or affordable rather. So it may kind of just come down to. Maybe you guys can make it work. Maybe you'll say, hey, here's how much I can actually afford to fly home, and it's going to be closer to like four times a year, then twelve times a year. And you know, if if his response to that s kind of like, well, you've affectively ended this relationship, I'm out, then I think just kind of says something about his level of investment. But if if if he's available to talking about would he be interested in flying back? Sometimes does he want to do the kind of thing where you guys break up you stay in touch, and then two years from now if you both happen to be unattached you wanna revisit which you really can't guarantee. But sometimes people do it. Sometimes it works out. I think you're just gonna have to kind of go ahead with this. And then like if he's willing to meet you in the middle. There's a lot you too can work through. But if he's kind of like, he seemed really interested in like helping out your family, and like focusing on grad school, and I don't really care if you're not right in front of me because I kind of lack object permanence. Then that's going to let you know. Maybe don't spend too much money on tickets ahead of time. So like, I get that. He doesn't wanna partner he can only see every few months. But then the question would be does that mean he wants to work really hard to see you a lot or does that mean, he's willing to consider this relationship is having run its course. And it's it's it's it's a really hard with long distance relationships till I cannot have the physical element of it that can be really incredibly lonely, even with the person like scoping with you or face chatting with you or whatever. And it's just it's that's not an easy thing to deal with. But I would suggest like if you do truly care about this person or whatever, and you really wanna make it work in. It sounds like you do there. The rod the letter at our does then I would attempt to try and make Tom for this person. Even if it is through Skop watching a movie over Skype together or. Spending a particular amount of time talking with each other or even like. Like, sending other sexy videos or something like just something to remind them that the physical element of this is still here while also like kind of making it easier along the way for them between periods where they would actually meet each other physically. Yeah. And I just you know. Lead writer, even planning this move for two years, and you want to help out your parents, and you're going to be going to school. I it sounds like close to full time. So the amount of time you will also be able to dedicate to this relationship is limited. And again, I don't say that. Meaning like, you guys are doomed it's one hundred percent going to happen. I just mean like if he's not willing to come meet, you some of the time, I just don't know that you're going to be able to every month afford a ticket to see him. In addition to going to school fulltime, potentially working to help pay for school and also caring for your parents like you are one person with at most two arms like there's just going to be a limit to how much you can do. So. Yeah, I think you go you do the best that you can with the responsibilities that are in front of you. If this guy shows up and prioritizes, some of the things your priorities in. That's amazing. And if not this is probably the best thing that could happen better to find out now rather than. Go through two years of a long distance relationship and finding at the end that you guys have drifted apart. Do you ever? Find yourself waiting for your news feed on Facebook or Twitter. Wishing you could just call someone up and ask what do I really need to pay attention to hear? Well, what if you could? I'm Mary Harris. The host of what next slates new daily news podcast and every weekday morning. I'm going to be on call for you taking you inside one story going deep behind the headlines. What next is news? You're not gonna get just scrolling through your phone to listen subscribe now on apple podcasts Spotify or wherever you listen. All right. So this next letter is a total change of tactic. We're getting into much more. I don't wanna say soap opera levels because I don't want to diminish the pain a letter writer has been through. But it it definitely bears the hallmarks of a soap opera plot including including the names. We've got Luc with a C. So I'm just picturing sort of rakish French guy, maybe with an eye patch. Ashley, the the, you know, the trading friend, and it's kind of wonderful. It's kind of a wonderful change of pace. Because the letter writer sounds like a really remarkable person. And frankly, I think Luke never deserved you don't. So with all that set. All that said, I'm going to read it it's called I won't support. Not revenge after an epic betrayal do prudence my former fiance. Luke left me two weeks before our wedding. We'd been together for eight years. I'm devastated. I'm because Luke says the wedding was quote, my idea he proposed although he refused to help planet and won't let costs with me. I'm financially treading water to I still love him, which is confusing. And why have kept pretty quiet about the break-up? He told friends it was mutual that. I was quote as glad as he was to cough the wedding. Now, I've discovered he's been dating a co worker Ashley for months the floor keeps falling out from under me. I wanna tell people, including our mutual friends the truth. I don't want to be addictive though, actually has also Luke supervisor which is against company policy. If the company found out, there might be an investigation or even termination ruining people's lives won't make me feel better. How can I open up in a way that's about seeking support? Not getting revenge. They could let us get revenge. Right. Like you. And I could take revenge against this guy. And they're be perfectly clean. Yeah. I mean, I mean that would make a great movie like we were just talking about film at the beginning of the show. I mean, I would watch that I would hundred percent would watch that. Yeah. I mean, you mentioned like beforehand that link Luke totally didn't deserve the letter odder. And I completely agree in one hundred percent in your corner here. I kind of would tell mutual friends the truth just kind of get this off of your chest. And I mean, whatever happens happens with Ashley in Luke at their jobs, if the truth gets out over there. But like I feel like you have to tell somebody. I mean, you're telling us, so you are at least okay with verbalizing, what has happened to you. And you are dealing with a lot of pain right here in being like unjustly like hurt by like, this guy that you thought you really really really into you thought he was like very very into you. But he kind of sounds like like a sleazebag. And you know, I mean, your friends should like prop you up in this situation. I think that that would be absolutely the first thing to do is to just tell your friends how you feel. Yeah. And I can certainly imagine. Like, I I could see a situation where you tell your friends, and they kind of say like, yeah, I get that. You don't want revenge. But like don't worry, I'll do it for you. And then like do maybe try to make life harder for him in a way that you don't want. So it's certainly find like really stress to your friends. I don't want you to like report him. I don't want anyone at work to hear about it from my gang. But you also just I I don't think you can make yourself responsible for making sure he never gets investigated for something. He's doing against company policy like either he and Ashley will be really good at hiding it. And they will get away with it or they will slip up at work. And that's just not going to be something you can worry about. It's not your fault. It's not your problem. Also, if he proposed to you, and he called it off, you know, you might want to consult with a lawyer. But generally speaking in most states, it's understood that the engagement ring if he did give you one is yours he's not entitled to it back. If you're having trouble making payments on the wedding that you had absolutely every reason to think that you would both be participating in you can sell the damn ring and use the money to pay for some of those costs. You know, again check with a lawyer. But generally speaking, the ranks yours to do with as you like, and that might be a a nice end to a ring that once a made you think of promises you thought it'd be kept. And now at least be sort of finish Lee useful to you. Absolutely. I completely agree with everything you just said, and hopefully like to whatever extent if any of its deposits on stuff, man. Oh, man, please tell your friends so that they can help you get some of your money back like I don't want you to go through this alone right now. And if you say to your friends like one of the things that's really hard for me right now is trying to get back as much money as I can. Because I'm I'm on the hook for all this stuff. Like, I to whatever extent your friends can help you like contact like florists and cake makers and dress makers on your behalf. And say like, listen, my friend was just devastated because her fiancee is cheating on her with a worker of a supervisor. Hopefully, a lot of those places are going to say, oh my God. I'm so sorry here is your money back. Yeah. In some definitely will. I'm like, I found it very you probably won't get one hundred percent of your money back. I think that's like an impossibility. But like, it definitely can't hurt to try and some people will be empathetic with what happened to you. Yeah. Yeah. You know, again, I don't wanna make promises that everybody's going to be able to give you all your money back. But it's definitely worth trying again, if the idea of doing that when you're also grieving the end of an eight year relationship feels overwhelming it's gonna feel really good to have friends helping you know, definitely, yes. So, you know, consulta lawyer find out how much you can get for the ring use that to pay as much of the deaths as you can try to see if there's any money you can give back focus on getting support from your friends. You know, telling the truth about what happened to you does not. It's not the same thing as calling up. You know, his workplace and saying, by the way, you really need to investigate Lucan. Ashley like, that's not bitter. That's not trying to hurt him. That's just telling your friends would happen to you. So that they can be there for you. I'm slowly. And yeah, I I get that. You don't want to hurt him. But you're also doing a lot to protect him right now. And it doesn't sound like he did much to protect you won't better for you game. He doesn't deserve that protection. He really doesn't. Right. We've got another ruining the holidays question, which I really need to put a cap on. I think after today we need to be done with those because there's only so many times I can remind people that you cannot ruin the holidays. It's just a day. But would you read this letter until? Dear prudence, I'm thirty six year old woman who's been single for the past ten years, which is made any decisions about where to go for the holidays. Pretty easy. I go where my family goes. However, I am now dating someone I see a real future with and he has invited me to spend some time with his family on Christmas day when on told me my mother and sister, they freaked out demanding that I decline the invitation as I was only allowed to spend the day with family. It's important for me and my partner to spend some portion of Christmas day with his family, especially considering he won't be spending time with Mon my family is incredibly hurt by my decision. And I've been made to feel like I'm going to ruin Christmas. If pop out for three to four hours on that day when we would most likely be watching movies. Anyway, how do I tell them that I'm going and that in doing so I will not ruin Christmas? The good news. Is you won't ruin Christmas. Nope. I don't know. If you have noticed this. I feel like I've noticed something about. Who says you're ruining Christmas, and who they say at too because in my experience with this column, it is a phrase that tends to get used against women. And it tends to get used against women who want to spend a little time by themselves or not take responsibility for hosting multiple generations and carrying on a tradition that another woman usually their mom, you know, shouldered for years and years and years, and I find it suspicious as a result. Have you also noticed this in in your life in your experience with people making claims of holiday ruination? Yes, I have. In especially in the last few years where Trevor I've both just kind of been busy with work and haven't been able to go home and Christmas at all or the weather's just been absolutely horrible. And I it was like kind of a difficult thing for them to grasp where like like we had our own individual individuality and Christmas that we wanted to spend with ourselves and how that Thomas special for us. The eventually came to the understanding that the Christmas was like a special time for us to and it was generally coming from my, oh, I should take Trevor's like, my fiance and. In. Yeah. Like, his his mom would be like, well, you need to come home for Christmas because it's Christmas, you know. And I can I can empathize with that. But I do think that in Tom the they will more easily understand that you kind of have to chart your own path with Christmas is especially if you're in a relationship, that's like important or whatever. And in in my experience, like the person that I'm in a relationship, his mother, kind of understood that that this wasn't that. This was a special day for us to and is has become more relaxed with it at Tom in Tom. And I think that that could happen here in the situation to it's just difficult to actually get past the first hurdle asserting your own individuality on Christmas spa saying that you need to spend it with these people for a little bit longer because it's important to us. Typically, instead of being like a collective family thing like, you know, centering yourself on Christmas and kind of saying that like, hey, this relationship is important to me, and I'm trying to create my own family. I think that that's an important thing to understand. Yeah. And I just think like there are times when family members can offer critique or say, this hurts me or say, I wish he'd reconsider this, and it's important to actually reconsider it. Or to think about what they're saying? Or does take it seriously. This is just not one of them. Again. That's not to say, you should say like fuck off, mom and sister. I'm doing whatever I feel like, but to understand that like you really don't need to try to like sit down and say like now because I'm thirty six and for the last thirty six years, I've spent all of Christmas with you every day. And it's only a couple of our like what you're asking for is very small limited in reasonable. But they're not objecting to it. Because you guys like have a difference of opinion. About what constitutes reasonable? And you too can like the like, I I want to relieve you of the delusion that if you could only sit down and explain to them what you're asking that. They will eventually concede the point. They all right. You're not mentioning Christmas. We take it back. That's not what they're doing. What they're trying to say is it is your job to stay the kind of way that we think of you especially on Christmas, which is like you don't have anything conflicting going on. You don't have any priorities higher than us. We kind of get to keep you frozen in amber on this day. And if you do anything else, you are hurting us your chest. Not like, so I think the thing to do there if they say things like you're ruining Christmas. Just go a little blank like do them the favor of pretending. You didn't hear that? Just be like, no. I'm just popping out for three hours. You must be thinking of something else. Like don't don't provoke them needlessly. If they're real hostile about jokes. But but go ahead and. Just be a little cheerful. A little like hard of hearing. And just like just just don't don't worry about calming down. They're freaking out because you really not doing anything to hurt them. Just go with. Yeah. I'm gonna spend part of the afternoon with like, Jim and his family. And if they just totally lose it, then you can just go ahead and say like guys, it seems that you're going through a lot right now. I'm just gonna go ahead and spend the evening with them. I love you. I hope that you're able to eventually see that this is not hurting you, and I think that after you get past as first Christmas where if this is a serious relationship that you have with this person, you're with this other person the person your in relationship with for Christmases to come. Then the first Christmas is always going to be like the most difficult one. But like once they realized that pay our Christmas can survive without everyone being attached at the hip the entire time through Tom Tom through it. Then they'll understand more easily next time around that you kind of need a few hours to kind of go. Do your thing. Thing because you are part of this other family now potentially, and it will get easier is what I would say this first one is going to be frustrating. But in has been frustrating for this letter otter, but you're not going to run Christmas. You're not going to destroy the holidays for them. And it's just something that they're going to have to understand. And I just wanna throw out there like even if it weren't some guy that you found who's amazing that you might want to spend the rest of your life with if it was literally just like, I don't want to go see a movie this year. I want to spend a couple of hours after noon like taking a walk by myself that would be fine to and it wouldn't ruin a damn thing. It's not like mandatory sit in the same living room day. It's. Anyways, I could go on about this for a long time. I won't I will. Instead read our next letter, which is my wife can't forgive my team mistakes. Dear prudence, my wife, and I met when we were both eighteen and have been together for more than twenty five years when we first met I was struggling to care for my family members. My step mom died. And there was a huge custody battle over my younger siblings. And I apparently said a lot of rules about living close to my family and taking care of them. And other things I say apparently because I honestly don't remember making Ulta Megan's now two decades later with kids of our own. My wife is furious with me she says she gave up many opportunities because I refuse to do anything that didn't focus on my family and their needs. We've been in therapy. But it doesn't do any good. She says her whole life together was a mistake. I love her. And I wish you didn't feel this way. But I can't take back the things I said when I was a teenager. We have to split up because it was a stupid kid. I don't know if you had the same reaction to reading this letter. But I I definitely you know, I feel both for the letter writer and the wife in question, you know, getting together at eighteen is already like that's tricky. And you're kidding yourself. Trying to take care of other kids. So I absolutely feel like I'm sure you are super overwhelmed your during kind of the best you could you probably like overcorrected too hard on the side of rigidity, and we have to do things this way. And I can also understand why you know, now that the crisis has passed now that the kids are all raised your wife has kind of allowed herself to say, I actually feel really frustrated I feel like your family crisis took precedence over everything else. And I feel like I didn't get to have any say in the kind of life we built together, and that makes sense to me to. With that said, you know, you say you don't really remember phrasing things in terms of an ultimatum. Okay. You know, I I would I would certainly encourage you to spend some time really racking your brain like try as hard as you can to remember if you really can't get there. I would say ask your wife like don't don't kind of just go with like, well, I guess she feels that way. Nothing to be done like approach her in the spirit of like. I have not reconsidered my actions when I was eighteen in a really long time. And I'm a little embarrassed chagrin to admit this. But I don't remember a lot about this. And it's clear that you do and that worries me because I I worry that I said things in a spirit of rigidity and panic and needing to control things. And then because I got my way I just sort of stopped thinking about him. And yet they lingered with you because you felt like you weren't able to say anything at the time. And so I wanna know more about what that was like, can you tell me a little bit about what you remember be saying? Can you tell me what you remember my response being if you tried to, you know, offer objections or suggest other alternatives? Can you tell me more about what it felt like and really, you know, listen, pay attention, be prepared to hear painful things. And kinda as she says those things even if it feels painful or embarrassing to consider that you might have behaved that way. You know, really sit an absorb them, and listen and give her a chance to have her say does that seem does that make sense? Do you feel like that's an option that would be useful to them? Yeah. When I read this letter empathize with both of them. 'cause the situation that the literature was put in his obviously, very difficult, and especially at eighteen like, I can't imagine having to like look after a bunch of siblings permanently going forward. And that probably put a lot of stress on her at put a lot of stress on him. And it was probably not exactly the way that they wanted to, you know, live their law as they were like becoming more romantic with each other and getting married in going forward and all that. But I agree with what you said in having him talk talk to her honestly and openly about these things about how he's feeling because she's honestly carrying around. She's obviously carrying around a lot of baggage. And a lot of pent-up field. Things about this. And I think it would be better to actually get all of this out in the open and actually discuss it. I don't think I don't think they exist in this letter are so broken that they can't be together. But I think that they have to have a lot of honest conversations going forward about the past. And how they may mean didn't treat each other as well as they could have back then and giving each other the time that they needed because he was so preoccupied with raising the siblings and taking care of family instead of maybe taking care of her in that may be something that she needs to hear too. And I think that they honestly just need like talk with each other about this. And of if things are really bad, then you can will you say that you gave it your all at the end and trying to actually mend fences in listened to her honestly and listen to yourself, honestly and try to like figure out how to fix this roadblock that popped up in their relationship early. Earlier that still affecting their relationship to this day. Yeah. And you know, I can't promise you that. If you guys have like long serious, honest grappling with the past conversation right now that at the end of it, you're not going to have to split up. It may be the kind of thing that the best outcome is that you to just have a couple of really honest conversations about the past. You're able to acknowledge even if the things she says don't ring a bell for you to just say like, you know, I believe you when you bring this up. I'm so sorry that I did not like, you know, that this stuff felt so I I was so distracted and obsessed about other things in my life that I just had these conversations with you. And then forgot about them. I hear you. Now. I'm sorry. I understand where you're coming from. And if this is how things end between us, I I'm at least grateful that we got a chance to talk about it. And I. I hope that whatever the next phase of your life. Looks like you you get to be heard it may just be that you too can split on slightly more honest terms where you both understand one another a little bit better. But I think mainly the goal here for you needs to not be how do I convince this my wife to let it go because I was a teenager. I don't think that's going to be the right impulse. Again. That doesn't mean that you have to say, yes, I'm a monster. I did this stuff on purpose because I was a jerk like you can absolutely extend some compassion back to yourself as an eighteen year old who has panicked and trying to keep his family together. But you can also acknowledge that that took a toll on your wife, and what may be best for her now is not trying to salvage this marriage. So so don't go into it with either the goal of convincing her to forgive you or trying to justify things you don't even remember or trying to sort of like, let yourself off the hook. Like, I think just go in trying to understand your wife more. You know, take her seriously say. You don't say that like you have any reason not to trust her. I think you should take her at her word, which you kinda says like I bottled this one up for twenty years because we were always kind of in crisis mode. And now that there's not kids in the picture that we have to take care of. It's time for meat acknowledge things that hurt me. You can do that that's going to be good. And and if there's a way for you to work through it that would be great. But if she says that your whole life together was a mistake, then it would be good for you guys to split up. It's not good for you to be with somebody who thinks that. This is a mistake. Like, I don't want that for you. And I don't want that for her. Yeah. But that's a hard. And I wish you both the best. And I hope you continue to see a therapist, even if it doesn't mean you stay together. Just because this is big difficult painful stuff. Yeah. Angry completely. Well, we'll thank you so much for coming on the show today, and helping a bunch of different people with frankly, a lot of your own life experience that you so much for bringing that to bear. Yeah. Some of it just kind of reflected back in which I hope is helpful to these people in some way. Metlife's not perfect or anything. But like things are relatively decent for me. And I hope that the same had same happens with these people have written letters. Yeah. Well, thank you again so much for coming on the show before you go are there any movies that you recommend that any of our letter writers read or just anybody read, you can't read a movie, you watch them there on a screen? I was gonna say this is a new way to indulge in cinema. I was about to say it's probably because the movie I saw yesterday had subtitles when I was like definitely didn't have subtitles. It was just old timey. I'm not feeling great about myself. Continue. Yeah. There's there's some there's some interesting films are now if it's playing in your neck of the woods, I would definitely recommend going out and watching the animated film. Liz in the Bluebird directed by nocco Yamada, it's out of Japan. And it's about these two teenage girls who are about to go off to college in DAR a horrified at the idea of being separated from each other. They're these two best friends who have just kind of have codependent relationship with one. Another one of a may have a crush on on one of them would. I'm not going to divulge any further you'll have to figure that out if you watch for yourself, but the movie if you like Carol you will like Liz in the Bluebird. Okay. Okay. That's a pretty exciting recommendation, willow. Thank you so much. Thank you for having me. All right before I sign off listeners. I have a letter response to an episode from a couple of weeks ago that I wanna read which was about the white babysitter who was interested. In babysitting, particularly for families with Asian children and wanted to know whether or not there was anything more that they should be doing to sort of interrogate that on impulse in themselves before taking action. I believe that there was some more interrogation that should go on there. And I've got a response from someone who has a similar question. Dear prudence, who's listening to your podcast today about the woman who only wants to babysit for Asian families for what it's worth agreed with your assessment. However, it reminded me of a concern. I have about a dream of mine. I love kids in my work. I'm with kids of all ages all races. So I'm around a lot of different types of people. I've always wanted to adopt a black baby I'm Jewish in white. This isn't some white savior thing. My heart has just always loved back. Children a little more felt more connected with them. And when I see myself with child, I've always seen myself with a black or African American child. Does this sound like I'm seeing them as a novelty? I don't think I am. But I've always been a little ashamed. Of this because they fear people will think I'm racist. So am I. I'm gonna start my answer. Just by saying I promise I will never on this show offer someone a ruling about whether or not they're racist. Especially because I think what the underlying question often is is please give me like, a I am not racist card that I could show other people who might say that something I have said or done is racist that the card doesn't exist. It's not real. If there were such a card, I certainly would not be qualified to give it to you. So instead letter writer, I will ask you a couple of questions that I encourage you to ask yourself without saying, you are a horrible racist person who should be you know, sent away to know baby island. You say that you've always pictured yourself with a black baby. Do you ever picture yourself with a black adult because babies get older they become toddlers and children and teenagers and young adults and adults and an old people? You say nothing about imagining how you would parent black child who is approaching adulthood. So maybe ask yourself the question. Why is it always a baby? Why is this fantasy of blackness that I enjoy so much in my own head? Boy, does it require permanent infantilism nation. Some interesting stuff might come up there. You might initially feel resistant. You might say, no, no, no. I'm just thinking that because everybody starts out a baby. Obviously, I know that baby will grow up. But you know, I think it is meaningful that you keep picturing the baby. And so maybe also ask yourself. How could I be a good parent to this child? You you you seem to be real focused on what you would get out of it that you love black children, quote, a little more. Feel more connected to them. That's you know, that's your feelings which I get like every parent. You know, there is something fundamentally a little selfish about having a child, and it does have something to do with. I think I'd be happier. But you know, what do you think the child would get out of that situation? How do you think you could parent? Well, a black child with other black people are in your life. How would you be able to raise that child in such a way where they weren't the only black person they knew how would they develop, you know, black self love in your home in your community in your family. And if the answer is sort of I guess, I'd get some books or I don't know or well, I have a colleague at work whose black, and I guess I could invite them over for dinner more. That might be a clue that this has more to do with the white savior fantasy. You would like to disavow. You know, because I think there's a reason that you brought that up you say, this isn't some white savior thing. But you don't really say why not you just say I'd really like to do this. The that doesn't mean it's not a white savior thing that just means you really wanna do it. So, you know, I think there's a reason that you worry people might think that this is a little racist. And it's not just that like, oh, you shouldn't do it. Because some people might be a little weird to you at dinner parties, you know, you should think about these things because it directly calls in the question will kind of parent you could be to a baby, and then a toddler and then a child and then a teenager and then in adult who's black. Blackness will inform that person's life. And and if it's no longer a sort of like cute baby adjacent commodity, and it becomes something more complicated. And something that requires a bigger answer than just like, you're so cute. I worry that. You would find yourself. Bumping up pretty quickly against certain fantasies that you have not prepared for what happens after the fantasy is done. So. Sit with some of that for a little while ask yourself, some of those questions consider gently what kind of harms will kind of pain, you might bring to a child if you simply sought out to have something that you thought was cute, but had not prepared to deal with you know, life culture racism, America. The those are I think the bigger questions to consider the just I'd really like to. But I worry somebody might think I was racist someday. So spend some time with that feel free to write back. Let us know what you think some of the answers to those questions are I would love to hear from you. Again. I would encourage you may be also to seek out writing by adult black people who've been adopted by white people to see you know, what we're some of the things that they might have felt about again, not to not to like randomly buttonhole. Somebody and say, I demand you tell me your life story. So that I can. Feel good about a decision. I might wanna make at some point in the future. But to re books to read firsthand accounts to find out a little bit about what was it like for them. And to do a little more extrapolating a little imagining. I know for example, that Rebecca Carol just sold a project called surviving the white gays which was about being adopted by white parents and being raised in rural New Hampshire. It's coming out in twenty twenty that might be a book that would be worth preorder ring, there are likely others that you could probably find if you were to spend a little time doing some research encourage you to do so. And good luck. Thanks for listening to dear prudence. Our producer is still circus. Our theme music was composed by Robin Hilton production assistance is by Taylor Simmons. Don't miss an episode of the show head to slate dot com slash dear prudence to subscribe. And remember, you can always you're more Putin's by joining sleep. Plus go to slate dot com slash pretty pod to sign up. If you want me to answer your question. Call me and leave a message at four zero one three seven one dear that's three three to seven. And you might hear your answer on an episode of a show. You don't have to use your real name or location and at your request. We can even alter the sound of your voice, keep it short, thirty seconds a minute tops. Thanks for listening.

writer partner Ashley Queen Anne Tom Tom Jim supervisor Cup Semih Sarah Representative Stuart Skop Luke Daniel Mallory Walker Fred Facebook
Dear Prudence: The "Good Night, Seattle" Edition

Slate's Dear Prudence

56:21 min | 2 years ago

Dear Prudence: The "Good Night, Seattle" Edition

"You're listening to this week's excerpts from the prudent podcast to get the full length. Members only version every week join slate plus at slate dot com slash pretty pod. You're you're Putin. Prudence? Here. Do you think that I should contact him again help? Thank thank you. Hello and welcome back to dear prudence as always. I am your host Daniel Mallory or Burgh. Today's show was the final. Stop on our live tour recorded live at the museum of pop culture in Seattle on March twentieth. Twenty nineteen I was joined on stage by author and assistant professor of English at UC, Berkeley, grace Lavery. Hello everyone. I've always wanted to say goodnight. Seattle. Oh my God. What did we know? Properity Frazier material. I my life is fading materials. I have so much. Looked down. This is great because it means that we're going to get to have so many because our life. I think is very Frazier. Okay. Yeah. Mountain. I am Niles, and you're definitely could there be a more tea for tea couple in sitcom history. I really excited to be here. This is the last night of the tour, and I'm really excited to have grace with me as my guest Grace's been one of the most long standing and beloved guests on the show. And now we're getting married. So that just feels. Because she was such a good guest happening to could marry your podcast. Separately because we already knew each other. But it has been great and the show has been a big part of our courtship. I'm going to move ahead to first letter, which I'm very excited to read. And there is a line in it that I just left him because I have some theories about it doesn't have anything to do with the rest of the letter. But I was like I'm not going to help this personality. It is totally the whole thing the whole thing. All right. So here we go subject is privileged problem. Dear prudence, my marriage was recent but my husband, and I have been together since before we were in our twenties for nine years. He's truly amazing and we've been inseparable since we met I live with his mother because my husband has gone half of the year for work. So not that inseparable, and she has medical issues. She retired early in stays at home and very lucky to live in a decent neighborhood. And that we get along for the most part. However, the city I live in is quickly exp-. Banding leading to increased crime and vibe. I just don't enjoy that was the one recuse almost with school and the best jobs for my major will be in. Smaller mountain towns. I want to move away when I'm done with school. I feel completely tied down because my husband won't move away from his mother to degree. I can understand this. She's a bit limited in what she can do and has no other family in town. However, she can fully function without us and only retired early because she wanted to she has no friends, and no hobbies doesn't intend to change that. When I started dating him. I had no idea I would end up moving into care for her. When we got married he heavily implied. He was eager to leave town. But that has since changed I feel selfish but resentful leaving him out of the question. But now I feel trapped in the city which is rapidly turning into something that depresses me this feels like such a privilege problem, which in turn makes me feel even more guilty for obsessing about it overall. Love my mother-in-law, but I'm frustrated with this situation. She's getting lonely even with me here, and it's becoming a bit neurotic. Extremely negative. Am I wrong for wanting to just move? Is there ever a compromise that truly works? I added this a lot. And every time I read a letter out loud. I realize like what looks condensed on paper sounds like middle March length. I don't know what you implying about middle age. It is loan. I guess that's one thing. We know about noble philistine. But it strikes me that there are like five different questions here. And for me one question coming away with this L, really traditional abbreviation for mother-in-law. Oh, it's a huge thing on all the boards. See when I see those letters. I think is something else. Daniel would you think of milks that got off a little bit cutoff mills? Okay. Yeah. Three quarters of a mill, sadly, like MO my like. If only. Yeah. So having gone to ever jello Christian college in suburban Los Angeles in the mid 'oughts. I feel like I have a lot of heirachy with couples where one members in the military and they've been together since they were teenagers. And it's a lot. It's a lot. It's a big energy. Oftentimes couples end up getting divorced. I don't want to helicopter in the background found overhead shadows military between like the like the news. We've had lately about the number of the handful thus far of military members who have been like exposed as having white supremacist connections in and then including the line of there's a vibe, I just don't enjoy which just picking between the lines. What I'm reading is like the city's getting less white. And I don't like that. That is what I'm reading between the lines here. Do you feel like that's a fair assessment of this letter? That was how I read the city I live in is quickly expanding meeting to increased crime vibe. I just don't enjoy. But it made me think possibly that. In a sense. It's possible. It what's being objected to something that we'd call gentrification, which might have a different kind of way of thinking about vibe show. Yeah. I wanna be open to that. But it wasn't my first reading either. Yeah. But especially I wanna move to a small mountain town just like. That's the kicker. And stockpile. Like, it doesn't. I don't know. I don't know that. I don't know how much I wanna help this person. Okay. But it's staying with the mill gonna help. I mean, I agree with you. Let's let's make fun of this racist. But. What is helped in the world by by keeping her in this relationship with mother, which mother-in-law which I find such just can you imagine the conversation where one person would say, so do you have any friends? No give any hobbies no plans to change that. I do not have any plans to change either my friend, total hobby title, I will stay on zero zero. He's indefinitely and invite you to deal with it. Yeah. So very much. I think this there's that bit of like when I started dating him. I had no idea I would end up moving into take care of her. He heavily implied that he wanted to leave town. But that has since changed. I don't know wearing here is like and then one day we had a conversation and he asked me to move in with her. And I agreed kind of sounds like this either snuck up on her by degrees, or they all like the two of them moved into gather. And then he was like I have to go overseas. Can my mom stay, by the way, my plane leaves tomorrow, and I am going to the military. So I might die. So you should. Probably say, yes, maybe I'm reading too much into that. So I I work in a university. I'm really I've been struggling since. I showed me this letter to imagine what major is particularly well suited to the small amount in towns forest management. I don't think so that would be a rural gig that you could do anywhere in the mountain management, but it would have to be smaller and planning in mountain mountain mountain themes been planning on a small scale at getting. Not not small, but smaller medium to small scale. Been planning from mountain people. I co- oddly specific just seem. But it also seems like it's in bad faith that I want to move to a small amount in town fall from it. I'll I'd love to be one of your cosmopolitan urbanites sipping champagne out there in Seattle with those psychiatrists. But is lagging planner only three cities for me the three of the small mountain tone. Yeah. And divide large amounts in town. Anyway, the vibe that I get from this letter writer is very much. My only options are keep doing this forever or leave my husband, and I don't know how to say something like I want something. And I'm willing to do things that make my relatives unhappy. Or or even like, I would like to move to a smaller town for a while just because I would like to and I want to really separate that from like the coded implications of like vibes, which lets reasons why people might wanna move to small amounts of towns. Absolutely. So charming. This mountain town is Seattle mountain to. One of the largest cities on the west. I was gonna say if this is a small mountain town, it's delightful, but it doesn't qualify. The very the very least you would say this was a small amount in city, but it's a medium sized mountain city shaping lodge one. That's a good point. So I think yes with this person reassess. What you mean by changing vibe get specific in your head not out loud. Like think about what is this vibe? Why am I on comfortable is my safety actually being threatened here? Or is there something that makes me uncomfortable because I've never had to think about it before. And if so why that's a lifelong question that will maybe lead to some interesting thoughts in your head that I would encourage you to pursue. But you know, coming to the question of 'em. I ever allowed to say to my husband. Hey, I would like to in the next year not be living with your mother. I plan on doing that. How do? How can you be a part of this process with me? How will you come? And visit me during your half a year off. And say that to your husband rather than like, wait for him to say, you are allowed to leave my mother she is clearly going to live. If you go like she is going to be able to continue to not like people from the comfort of her own home. So this isn't something that you need. She's not gonna like it. And he's probably not going to like it. And that is something that you're going to have to figure out a way to to accept sorts like you don't wanna play the leave your husband's Kant at this point. Because that's usually my first instincts in general. Smoke. A little weed leave? You don't recommend the people smoke weed hardly ever. But this lady needs to smuggle. We'd fair enough. I wanna say try little acid, maybe a little asset. Literal evening, aside, the drugs, anyways know, leave your husband little go to a larger mountain towns once feel the wind beneath you wing, I think one of the things that I'm trying to do is not recommend that people leave their husbands less, but added it to a list of possibilities. I respect that. I think if this person in this situation, she has described says, you know, we've been doing a lot of my helping your mother-in-law while you're away. I'm not gonna do that anymore. I think that will eventually lead to them. Splitting up because I think he will say actually what I wanted in a wife is someone who looks in on my mom while I go away because if this we should probably say this. If the husband is just okay with this setup and has no sensitivity to the unlivable situation that he's put his wife in. That's not a k. Yeah. That's really not. Okay. And. I think she certainly true that she has a responsibility to take had this comfort and desires herself. But the situation is not a livable one. Yeah. And hasn't noticed himself? Then I would imagine he's deeply insensitive individual, and I would say that part of the problem does not strike me as privilege saying like, I think I feel like my husband like misled me into thinking the two of us. We're gonna start an independent life together. And then put me in a position where he made me feel responsible for his ailing mother while he was on the other side of the world. And I don't know how to say I want something else for my life without getting it from both of them that I'm selfish and thoughtless, then that's that's a real problem. And I think if you say I'm not going to keep doing that. And your husband says you have to you'll probably get divorced and that will be good. But if there's a five percent chance you say that and he says, oh, wow. I I guess you have your own opinions about where you would like to live. Let's talk about that. Then you know, maybe you can go somewhere from there. But yeah, you don't have to keep doing this. You don't need an excuse to leave. It's like, oh, my major means. I have to live in. Boulder lodge mountain town Daniel, what's what's Norwood? What would the small amounts places that you were? I know the mountain people have them. We don't know what it's not Denver with the actor. Yeah. It's other Colorado town, you're right. You're at any rate. You don't have to say even American because of my major I have to leave. You can say I'm going to leave and that will be fine. Today. We are sponsored by European wack centers acts the pink tax campaign. The pink tax is the extra amount of money. That women are charged every year for basic goods and services and adds up to about thirteen hundred fifty one dollars every year, the pink tax charges women were money on everything from baby bottles to canes toys, personal care products. Clothes dry cleaning women are even being charged more for dry cleaning than men sometimes for bringing in the exact same shirt. Now, you know, see for yourself at acts the pink tax dot com. Would you read our next letter? Okay. Okay. I have more thoughts about it. But again is there anything else that you feel like we haven't gotten to? Just move on. So new front group turned on me dip, rinse I re- recently moved to a niece Suzy and made a group of great friends. I've been having a blast until about a month ago. One of the friends in the group marine recently came into money before it seemed like she was the least financially stable and least mature member of the group one night. She called to ask if she could borrow money to fix her car. And I said, no she immediately started blaming me for all of financial troubles. And claimed that I'm the one who broke the car when I borrowed it a few months back. I didn't I would turn to Justice. I've found it. Now, she's telling the whole group, and everyone is taking side. But when I first met everyone they will wounds me about Maureen and a few of them even implied that once friends with her anymore. But now the story is that she's trying to get her life together. And I'm holding her back because I broke a car. I've tried telling my side story to no avail. Everyone says I make this right by paying for her car. I keep thinking I should try to make new friends, but that's really hard for me. And this is the first time I found one person, let alone a group of people who have shed almost all my interests and hobbies. It was the social life of always dreamed of is it salvageable should I just pay for her car? Definitely definitely you need to dream bigger when it comes to the social life. Like, if the biggest thing you can dream is like we all really enjoy the same board games. But they think I'm a liar and want me to give money to the person Dade like the least you need to dream bigger. Okay. But think about it this way one about if you and I and our friends find someone who's recently moved to the bay area lend them calm, right? And then we amongst later, we tell them that. It's broken they broke and they need to pay for it. Right. G think it we could do that. Sure. We make a little money that way. I'm sure we could glory. I brings to the relationship. I'm always hustling. Yeah. You are always thinking about I'm always thinking aside kings. I can definitely relate to especially as a slightly younger person. Like finding a group of friends who are all welcome. Here's one person we hate. And you're like, oh, okay. That's a strange thing to tell me. But sure, I hope you all are able to cut ties. And then later, it's like, no, we actually have this very weird relationship with this person that we hate and you've upset them. And now your the problem, and we're never going to stop like bending over backwards for the person we hate and you're threatening the weird ecology of growing around the like who was the bad tree from fern gully. Shoots. You know what I mean? Thank you. I can't pronounce it. Hack Texas was like the big mean evil tree that was like, in fact, all the other trees and the logical responsible like let's get rid of this tree. And everyone's like, no, we need it. Maybe it's about trees who friend is. It's a. About about a lot of things Robin Williams also plays. I believe a wrapping bats. It was seem wrapping like the musical style. Correct. The point is a think you have stumbled onto a really bad group dynamic where like they are kind of all fueled by complaining about Maureen. And then whenever the opportunity comes to do something about Maureen. They're like, oh, no, no, no, no, no. That exposes the lie that we are good people. We need Maureen to feel good about ourselves. Maybe they will feel guilty about bitching about Maureen. Well, they wanna make my reading the hero. Well, let's thing tissue won the lottery like happens Maureen here, I'm thinking like finally came into her trust fund, this feels like just came into trust rich full. Yeah. Interesting possibility. This is the kind of about money, the rich people get into it. That's what that's what if you kind of like, so what's working about this one the other night, you shed a theory about this, which didn't initially coats me. And I noticed that you haven't shed it with this audience. I suspect that's because it makes you feel guilty. Is that right? Yeah. My I read was like did you hit the car? I mean, I've sort of persuaded see I now I've abandon it. I don't think the letter writer hit my. No. I think there's a possibility that maybe this letter writes, it did I feel like I should preface this by saying in college, I did hit a friend's car with plausible denial Erlich, I hit a tree with a friend's car. And it was like plausibly denial enough that I was like, I really don't want acknowledge that I did it. And then it did you write this lesson? No, no. I did not. I did not. But ensuring if you're out there. I haven't sure it's now I can you back. I want to operate on the assumption that the letter writer to in fact, bust up the car. Well, so one of the things is true. The has a terrible group of friends who maliciously trying to extort money from possibly three some kind of medium-term gripped for which they have maids, Maureen the point person. That's one theory of the case the other theory of the case is that an individual has hit a has broken the friends car and written to. An advice columnist for an online newspaper. Just say website or websites as you call them in this new economy. To attempt to. Disguise the fact. Yeah. Nine of these is a plausible theory. I think we need a new kind of cranky on their own ideas. They something's afoot with this. Like something is not right in this story. I think so here's what I think it is last year. My car broke down right after I had taken it to get the oil changed and. I just like there's only so much room in my brain for logic. And I just felt irrationally resentful. Like, I just know the guys who changed all my car are to blame for this. And this is why am I cars broken down because my car worked before this? And then some guys opened the hood and did mysterious things they don't understand. And now, it doesn't work the next day. And I took it in the people, and I was like so yesterday, I got my oil change. Do you think that's why doesn't work anymore? And they're like, no, it's like this other thing that I didn't understand. And I couldn't really let myself believe it like I knew that. They were telling me the truth is a totally different company. They had no reason to say those other people either did or didn't damage your car. But it just felt like well, I started to notice it now, and they did stuff I didn't understand before. And I feel like with Maureen. There's an excellent chance that the car had been like well on its way to breaking down already. And then someone borrowed it. And then she started to notice like something up. And there was no smoking gun. But she just wanted it to not be her fault. I don't like it. We'll make heartbreaks down in my mind cars should last for fifty years. And so anytime, they don't I'm like something is horribly wrong. Instead of this is how cars work, and so I think Maureen just really wanted to be somebody else's fault and Maureen. Yeah. Oh, absolutely. Yeah. Maureen same theory of the case of plights of electoral. What? Valetta rights to could have accidents broken and really not wanted to. Yeah. I think just in terms of like. What causes a car to break down other than just like time and entropy also what happened to the calm because it's not that it broke down that it broke. Yeah. So employees like offended bender or something. Scratch. Yeah ish. This was the first time you heard that the car was broken several months after you gave it back to her that is made up, right? Like if you returned the car to her and she said great. Thank you. And then two months later my car's not working. Okay. So then why is this person not writing saying, my crazy friends are claiming that broken Akon? But I absolutely didn't break, and I have no there's no credible reason why they would think that I break this because it's the socialite they've always dreamed of. Well, good luck to them. I want to say something on this was what I was going to say the last one before you cut me off move onto this one was in such a hurry. But it was this. And it was just. Both of these letters the first one the second one start with the same format, which is he is truly amazing of the husband or I've been having a blast in the second one. And it seems very often that when people begin. The prudence letters whether really keen to say that very very happy usually than knots. Yeah. Right. That's a good rule of thumb. Yes. So maybe that's something just worth considering. I think my advice to this person. Is you deserve a new group of friends, and I think you can find them. Yeah. I think I'm right there with you. If not move to a small amount in town. Yeah. I mean, I think the only like I think it's very clear here like you did not break the car. It's not reasonable to assume that you driving car several months ago, why doesn't work now. And the thing that is going to be hard to let go of is like I can't believe I found a group of friends who share this hobby of mine. What if I never find that again? So that I would just say you'd be I hope you were able to find people who share your interests 'cause that's really meaningful. That's not just like a cosmetic. Unimportant trivial thing but more important than that are people who will not like introduce you to their friends by saying, here's our friend that we hate. But whenever she does. Her says unreasonable, we really get behind her for reasons, we are not gonna go into. And also, we don't trust you when you say you didn't break someone's car. Like, those are like if the if the issues of character are there, then no amount of similarities of taste will make up for it. I I wish so much. I could go back in time to myself in nineteen it'd be like just because this person thinks the same things are funny that you do does not mean that they are going to be nice to you. If you try to date them. Please write that down. I hadn't quite thought of it in those tents. But it's usually. It's usually bad. If someone likes the same things as I do because I don't especially like, that's like the things I like. The things I like, usually if I'm being honest, kind of shitty thing about me, I like things, but I'm not my highest self. I would like to be in love with people to have close relationships with people who love things that. I think are noble RAV them things. I think funny because things I think funny it usually like someone falling over. Continuum that goes all the way up to like, the John waters thing of like if you go home with someone and they don't have a bunch of books like don't have sex with them, which is just like mistaking interests in common or certain hobbies or owning books with like good, moral character or sexual interest. And I think generally it's good to move away from that. Do we think that the inverse is true? That's what I want to like if you go home with someone, and they have a lot of books you have to. I was planning on just. Several bookshelves. Professor of English. That does kind of segue into our next letter, which I'm very excited to get to read this subject is my sister is convinced that she's a genius. So like. What would? I'm just gonna read the letter Jere prudence, you just a little finger thing. It was a few months ago. Thirty four year old sister took one of those online quizzes the kind say only people with an IQ of one hundred fifty or higher. We'll get a perfect score on this quiz. So like, a pop-up, basically. Well, what do you know? She got a perfect score. She started bragging about this nonstop both online and off, but I held my tongue, but it wasn't long before my sister's happiness soon turned to rage towards my parents, mostly my mother for failing to recognize her potential as a child for not sending her to a special school and for quote, neglecting her gift to the point of emotional abuse. Again, I said nothing then my sister, aired her grievances on a Facebook post where she ripped into our mother and all her friends joined in calling our mother terrible names. Luckily, our mother doesn't use Facebook. But I still thought this was causing a line. So I left a. On the post saying that those quizzes are quote fake, and that if anything taking them seriously, the sign of impaired, I q. Well, this is set off World War three in our family in the past few weeks. My sister has been calling everyone she can including all our relatives as well as several childhood friends to let them know what I've done and to tell them they should cut off contact with me. My mother's furious with me, and is demanding that I apologize. And that I admit my sister is cheating. Both of which I refuse to do. If I don't mama's threat to disinvite me from all future family events. She still doesn't know about the Facebook posts, should I settle this once and for all by showing it to her I took screen shots. But I'm worried it will break her heart is your sister's name Maureen. She recently come into a lot of money. So we'll just start with I q fake in racist. Right. Faking faking racist? So anyone who's invested in the year of our Lord twenty nineteen with like I- racist? Genesis. One thing. That is interesting about the history of Q is that it's a questions people think about this. But sorry. Sorry. What I really my coalition one thing. I can actually do is tell you that my colleague Susan Schweik at UC Berkeley as an expo on the tested history the test, and she's absolutely incredible. And one of its fake and racist. And one of the things that is fascinating about it is that it is a quotient meaning that it is a relationship between two numbers rather than a number. Nowadays, conventionally, we just say, and I q one hundred fifty or whatever, but it should be understood as a ratio and the denominator in that ratio is age. So in other words, it's a way of thinking about you're suppose, it aptitude for whatever. Relative to your age. A thirty four year olds you get one hundred. And you know, what I mean, it's like it's actually not even within the messed up logic of the IQ test. This is not actually an accurate way to do. Cutest. It's a way of measuring developmental changes. And I'm not an expert on this. But my colleague see Schweik it so Reto work. That's pretty good. Well, that is frankly, helpful not that I think your sister is going to be super receptive to that conversation. Actually, I want to leave open the possibility sister is kind of a genius because something is happening. And she certainly has a genius four something, exactly. She's got she'll moxie. Yes. Lady. She is up at dawn calling your childhood friends demanding they cut ties with you like she is hard at work. What would you do? This was your sister, and you had screen shots that could break your mother's heart, but would mainly being week. Yeah. So break the heart breaking. Yeah. Mindset. Oh, there was some disagreement that I don't do it. This isn't a pantomime you wanna get up. Anyway. My point is I think that I'd like to start fights. I would start a fight him. I think you can have a show. I think it'd be fun. What your sister is doing is creating havoc for the sake of it. And I appreciate that. I admire that. That's a commitment to that anything. You've you meet her on her own to rain you play the cub you wanna play. I like that. I like that. Yeah. I mean, certainly, I don't think this is a situation where like laying low is going to bear a lot of fruit. Like, laying low means she keeps hassling your childhood, friends and all your other relatives, and it's not quite the marine situation. But it's definitely going to be like, she's the one we have to pacify. And yeah, what she's asking for is outrageous. But if we do it she'll calm down and when she's not calmed down. She makes life hell for everybody. So like the group dynamic is going to swing in the direction of like the thirty four year old who's like calling up childhood, friends and screaming admit, I'm a genius or stop talking to my sibling. If you lay low she will win, and I don't know that I want to put you like send you into battle in the sense of scorched the earth right back at her like lay waste to her life. You're a coward. But I do I do think that it's important to kind of figure out. Both what are things that. You wanted like say I don't want to cross this line. No matter how unreasonable she becomes. And also what are things that? I'm just not going to give quarter to I can't be a coward. I said give quarter Robin Hood, who's a brave brave character and transmit energy. Oh, extremely yeah. No, Robin Hood is a transplant that it's Robin Hood's. A transplant. I never thought of clear on its face from the leggings to the lake. Faith in like male community and love of hiking. Any house brightness? With your childhood friends. I would say maybe get on the phone and say, I'm really sorry that my sister is calling you and harassing you about her genius quiz. I'm embarrassed. I wish she wouldn't do that. I'm so sorry. She's drawing him into this. How're you doing like just offer people reasonable alternative to your sister? And the people who are like oh, thank God. I'd like to flock to that. Those are people you can continue to invest in. And with relatives, you can kind of let them know. Like, I'm really sorry that she's doing this. I don't have like a horse in this race in terms of establishing who was or wasn't a genius at which age just know that this is not coming for me. And I'm really sorry. So. If that doesn't stop her that will at least let other people know that you are not like putting fuel on her fire. I do think when it comes to your mom, maybe save the screen shots in reserve. And just say like mom, I love you get that. She's really hurting upset about this right now. The only reason I had anything to say about this was because I saw that. She was talking really angrily about you, particularly and how you failed her and were abusive because you did not put her in genius school. I felt like that was an unfair characterization of our childhood and eight upset me. That's where I'm coming from. If you still want to ban me from family holidays that would really really hurt. But there we are. And then then if that does nothing, I don't think the screen shots would have frankly. But you can if she always says like she said what you can say. Like, here's what she said. So sure the screen shows, we're -greeing framing this is disagreement. But it's an agreement. I'm saying tell give her an overview first, and she seems enjoy nine screen showed to want to see it then. Yes. But don't just like text them to her and say like look. That would be I think it's a side issue at this point. But can we talk about selective education because it just came up briefly what you were saying. And not that I necessarily want to look too far into the gifted kids to raid, which is its own form of male stripe. But I can took from personal experience about some of this, which is that did you mind took puzzle. You know, what I'm about to say. Okay. So when I was young I was diagnosed with a learning disability when it was eight years old, and then a couple of years later when I was ten I was diagnosed on the basis of an IQ test with increased up to cheat of some kind and it was the same evidence. Weirdly that led to each of them, which was they showed me abstract shapes. When I was a child and asked me what they look like. And I just said lots and lots of different things. And I said so many things that they thought it must be very smart, which isn't what's mountains? Anyway, my point is I was sent off to a selective school at the age of eleven. And hated it actually and still have a real. Have real difficulty dealing with that notion of being taken away from my community and taking away from people that I thought of peers in place in this environment and something everybody struggle with. Yeah. I think in general that's part of what feels sad about. This letter is it would be one thing if the letter writer said like my sister has certain things about our childhood that she feels hurt about certain things that she felt like weren't nurtured like that can be real meaningful conversation, you could potentially have with a parent, but this idea that like because of this historically racist test, I wasn't like plucked out from my peers and sent to a special school for like extra good kids who should be fast tracked to like money and success. That's bad. We shouldn't have that especially like in this country. Like again, like, gifted and talented programs often have a lot to do with like educational segregation. Down Pugwash is what was saying. Yeah. So I think it's really really fair to say that here into say like listen sister. If you want to have a conversation about ways in which you feel like her neglected or parts of yourself that you want to like nurture or foster now, let's do that. But but being angry that you didn't get sent off to like a school that would have given you extra resources at the expense of other kids. Twenty eight years ago how much time is that that would be four find twenty five years ago. I just don't support that. And that's I think a really important thing to push back against and again, if she just goes totally ballistic at that and says like that means that you hate me. And you want me to die in a ditch. You can just go ahead and say like best of luck to you in all your future endeavors and like blocker on social media block her phone number and hang out with people who don't take our calls because she is acting. She's not like. Advocating for q tests or selective education. Like, this is where you get like this level of entitlement and fury, and like I should have been treated better than other kids because of a quiz. I took online. I don't like your sister and the best I can kind of love your sister. Because I relate to the system. But. Is in the room. Very clearly. Always possible. To say, I admire your energy. I think it's misplaced. Would you? Please read our next letter. I would love to queer a wedding Ponti. One of my best friends recently came out as non binary. Going by gender, neutral nickname, and they then pronounce I'm very glad for them and have been practicing to avoid foolishly, miss 'gendering them. They live in another part of the country. So and you see them once or twice a year, they were in my wedding party in a couple of months, very launch somewhat conservative family is used to my friends old name and pronounce a pump from telling family that I speak to you regularly about this change. What steps can I take to ensure my friend is not miss gendered without putting them in the awkward position of scrutiny that might occur. If I did something like making. I know they would rather not the center of attention. But also not being repeatedly miss genital night. We'd probably suck. So there's just things thing. I've sent grace that picture earlier today that somebody had sent to me which is just like an old time prospector that's just like we don't take too kindly to miss gender in these parts. And that's all I can think of reading this letter on a very charming. I find this meat. I find this letter writer sweet, and and well-intended, and I wish them the best on I hope. They're wedding goes great. I think there's a limit to how much you can control whether or not that's going to happen. But I think within that framework of I cannot make this night. Go perfectly that they're probably some things that you can do to make things a little bit easier. And number one, I would say is just start by asking your friend because your friend might lean towards actually I don't want you to have to have conversations with your relatives. I'm prepared to potentially get mis gendered by a bunch of people. I don't see very often for one evening, but I would much rather that you not have those conversations with them. And then just like power through it or they might say like, I would actually love it. If you ran a little interference for me that would mean a lot to me. Thank you. But you gotta you gotta ask just because everybody can feel really differently about that. And certainly in my own transition. I've had different times where like if someone asked me I would say like, oh, thank you. Yes. Please do or like, Nope. I just like Mark that day on my calendar is like I'm gonna get mis gendered a lot day. And it's I would I would prefer that to having a lot of personal conversations with relatives of. A friend. I only see twice a year so ask. Yeah. I think that's a really good point. And I think also with registering that if the family is lodge that may be a different set of issues that may just be some people who are likely to ask incredibly personal questions. There might be some people who will get everything technically. Right, but treat it with a kind of contempt. That is palpable in his meant to be palpable that maybe just different kinds of challenges. And may maybe worth thinking about with the friend as well. You know or individually with other members of the family, but I think it is really important in these moments. For us to. Everyone I guess for this letter rights era, and for me and for you and for everyone to accept that. We don't control really fundamentally all of the people's ways of referring to addressing. And we wish that we did. And we have modes of redress that will allow us to shape these things to move forward collectively. And there are things that we can do, but they eliminated and we collectively. We we work in 'perfect circumstances as we try to understand trans understand on binary and workout had to make life more livable for each other. No. And I think that's right on the money to like their ways, especially with family and people that you love that you can invite them and say like have no interest in compelling you to do things. I would love you to know something and to take the opportunity when you are given it to respect other people's desires about their own lives and their own bodies. Even if it doesn't seem like something that you would want for yourself, even if it doesn't immediately seem legible understandable. And so I think again checking in with your friend I and then like having something prepared for relatives. Who might want to ask you a question that you kind of want to like run interference on ener just kind of come back like I'm happy to talk a little bit about this or answer some of the questions, although obviously can't speak on behalf of my friend. But ultimately what I'm just asking for is whether or not you would consider on my wedding day going out of your way towards making this friend of mine. Feel welcome. That would mean a lot to me. And it would mean a lot of my friend. And even if it's not it feels really. Natural to you. It would mean a lot to me, and that can sometimes get through to people who might otherwise be a little bristle or a little like. Goofy. But I would also say to check in with your friend of like if people beforehand if it comes up in the moment, would you prefer that? I just gently correct people or would you rather not say anything because again, usually usually my response if somebody miss genders, especially if it's in good faith is just like that is fine. Let me tip you an extra twenty percent and run away from the situation like often again, I don't want to speak for everybody but often, especially if somebody is like newly out they don't wanna have like a bunch of big conversations about it all night, your wedding like they they would like to keep it moving. They don't wanna be seen as difficult. So your friend may very well say like, oh, actually love it. If you would let quietly correct people or your friend might say like if it happens. I just wanna like go hang out with like the queer contingents at like table. Yes. Yes. It's always good to have the table where everyone's just like we're at this table for a reason. Love is straight people. Yeah. And then just be on that, you know, know, that it will still happen. And I don't mean that in this don't worry about it. No big deal. I just mean in the sense that like do what you can to help your friend. And then also don't worry that you didn't do enough if somebody slips up because that happens, and your friend will not hold you like personally accountable for that you plan the action the result. Yeah. You do everything that is possible to show up for your friend and show up for your community. And then you understand that. That your efforts limited in the efficacy. And that's. Sometimes huts. This isn't exactly within the confines of the. Let's but I think often when we talk about. Issues around referring to other people who are addressing other people. We frame it implicitly into this lesson does too in terms of. Speech codes and self policing. And kind of everyone minding that Ps and keys and implicitly. We're having an argument about free speech or something like it. But in fact, really what we're talking about is how it feels to be misunderstood. And how it feels to be excluded. And I think often if people reflected more on that side of things the question of how field you think to be addressed consistently in a way that felt. Really profoundly odes with your sense of yourself feel maddening. It doesn't feel ma'am. I think the more that we can encourage people, including this letter rights to reflect on that part of the question and less on leg. Who can I police in how? I think in a sense, we'll be moving forward. And I think one of the things that the letter writer is doing already that will serve them. Well, and I'm glad to hear that they're doing is like they're thinking about it. They're like, I know I don't see my friend that often. So my image of them is kind of fixed as the last time, I saw them and one of the things that I am now doing to kind of correct for that is I am imagining what my friend is going through. I'm kind of reminding myself repeatedly that they don't see themselves the way I saw them the last time we hung out two years ago. So that it's not just like every time. I see them. I'm like, oh, I have to think of them differently now quick try to catch up and that mental work just that active. Imagining of reminding yourself what someone has told you about themselves and spending a few minutes every couple of weeks every couple of months putting yourself in their position is a good act to do regardless of what gender your friends are. It's a really good way to maintain a close relationship with someone throughout the course of a lifetime where they might change a lot. So today I was getting a tattoo. We were talking about transition. I was as often do when I'm getting tattooed. We laying the story of. How I came to reflect on my own gender identity sexual identity when I was. I when I was about twenty one. And then when I was again Tonneins Mathies years ago. I was talking about how it used to wear dresses when I was young now, no longer D, And I was lying on my front because the getting this right that it was lying. And I'm realized I was reaching end of the story. She hadn't quite worked out whether or not I transition. She didn't know whether this was a story that ended with and then I decided to become a woman or whether the story end with and then decided to let this go just. Put it aside and the way in which she expressed that question was she said, so did you still wet dresses sometimes? It's like I'm wearing one now. Looks like should live from. Baqi wouldn't be this question Gani way. Yeah. Sorry now, just doing myself if my problems. I love it living in the world in a body is challenging and exciting. And it's funny. Sometimes when you're with someone who intrinsically understands something about you. And then asks the question that you realize like, oh, in some ways, we're very much in tune in this moment, and in another way, you don't see something about me that I feel like it's incredibly obvious. I want to underline actual tattoo genius met for the first time today. Exciting. I'm so glad what'd you read. Our next letter. Thank you, would I be potential happiness way. Dea prudence. I'm a single man in my late forties, and I've been mostly happy being in a relationship. I've come to accept the possibility that I will remain single for the rest of my life. That doesn't mean I will never be in a relationship again will ever tried to date, but I'm comfortable, whatever happens. I have a very good friend that I've known for twenty years, we have a close platonic relationship. Unfortunately, she's suffering from a debilitating disease. That is making it more motive for headline. Plus she lives in a very isolated area. Would I be throwing away potential future? Happiness by having my friends. Move in with me. So I can look out. I mean, this would be a perpetual remained situation. So she would not be looking for another place isn't too much to ask that should I meet someone in it becomes a relationship. We'd be considered the package deal when I say she has no one. I mean, it she has even been denied disability. Although we hope an appeal will reverse that decision and her part time job went couple of the bills so much longer. I want to be there for my good friends. But while I'm comfortable with not being in a relationship. I don't know if I'm taking steps towards ensuring it will never happen everyone. I know says I'm crazy for even considering this. But I would like an unbiased opinion. Okay, easy. The easiest one. What a beautiful yet fun. Great. This is fabulous. I love that this person thinks I'm unbiased. That I feel flattered by that. This is the easiest question we've gotten all day, this is fantastic youthful. This is beautiful. I'm so glad that you don't feel like constrained, by the only way to live a good life is to eventually settle down with one person Antic relationship with and everyone else can just figure they're out or whatever this is wonderful. This is loving. This is a great way to like create family in your own life. And I also think that it will draw the kind of people that you would want to be in a romantic relationship with like this is not just like, oh, this'll be a good screener for weeding out bad people. I genuinely believe that having this like lovely loving supportive, home based relationship with your best friend is going to draw like minded thoughtful, caring compassionate, people to you. And that doesn't mean like this is going to be a great way to like meet chicks. But like it's going to be a great way to meet checks. Because like taking good steps towards building a lovely life. A lovely life of life. You know, it attracts other people. I don't mean to get all the secret about it. But I wanna be a little the secret about it. It's a little bit of the secret. I couldn't agree more except to say that. I don't think this guy seems keen as is that line of thinking implies to find a chick. I actually think there's something about this guy in his late forties. When he says, I come to accept the possibility that are remain will remain single. I sort of believe that I think he has to become quite peaceful about that idea because he sounds so genuinely enthusiastic about this friendship, and the idea of like this is maybe a bit unusual, but maybe we could live together and make ourselves primary in each other's lives. And we don't have to date to do that would have to have sex to do that. But maybe we could think of us as each of those people have a companion it relationship, but his primary organizational for both of us Shatteh privileges of alive shower, domestic space sham rhythms and routines life. Ultimately, grow old together. You don't need to want to have sex with someone for that. You don't need to use the language of romantic attraction to one that. And it's not until the unlike a lot of letters that start out with like, I'm very happy. But there's no trouble until that last sentence. The only reason he doubts himself is because a lot of his other friends are like this seems like a bad idea. And I would just say hopefully, they don't say that a lot they're mistaken. Your other friends are wrong. You are not bananas for considering this. And you should absolutely do it and have all your friends over for dinner party this Bobi from company fifteen years. The friends like boby, what are you doing? He doesn't like sometimes. Don't get song time. Anyway. You know, it will say the one thing that just thinking about slightly here is so for a couple of years you, and I were best friends, and I think it would be fed to say during that time we were primary and each other's like. Oh, yeah. And we were definitely like we'll someday we'll settle down together. Yes. In the back of my mind. It was always like once grace stops dating a lot of unsuitable people. We will be able to get down to the business of settling down. It's I mean. Like, they were super unsuitable. They were lovely fine fine people, but they were suppo unsuitable every time one of it wasn't just me some data people to and anytime anyone would meet one of us wanted datus. We'd be like, hey, this is my best friend. We're a package deal. How do you feel about that? People would always be like. Yeah, that's cool. Seems great. But then we ended up like. Any? Ended up. But I don't think I don't want to just say like this'll be a fun lead up to a romance between. Years for real and meaningful and important. And we were able to navigate that. I think even if somebody was taken aback by often the response. Okay. I'll figure this out. I think that's totally true. I I wanted to remain open to the possibility that when one has a commitment to another individual to human feel soul. Bunted the nature of that commitment can change over time. Sometimes you eventually wanna make out. Yeah. Seattle. Thank you so much. You're coming out. Thanks for listening do prudence. Our producers, Phil circuits. Our theme music was composed by Robin Hilton live production by faith Smith and cures the Holtz special. Thanks, the museum of pop culture. Don't miss an episode of the show had to slate dot com slash dear prudence to subscribe. And remember you can always hear more prudence by joining sleep. Plus, go to sleep dot com slash pretty pod to sign up. If you want me to answer your question. Call me and leave a message at four zero one three seven one dear that's three three to seven. And you might hear your answer on an episode of the show. You don't have to use your real name or location and at your request. We can even alter the sound of your voice, keep it short, thirty seconds a minute tops. Thanks for listening. And on today's plus segments. And I just really want to be clear here as much as I think it is. I didn't even see like aside from using the word virgin to open the letter. It didn't feel like there were certain ideas of like, this has to do with my integrity as a person or I'd be giving something away or like, damaging ideas above virginity that I think are worth losing so mostly I just wanna say as much as I think it's really good to acknowledge the ways in which like what we mean when we use the word virginity like it's kind of like I q test kind of fake to listen to the rest of that conversation. Join sleet plus now at slate dot com forward slash pretty pot.

Maureen writer Seattle Daniel Mallory Facebook Properity Frazier grace Lavery Niles Robin Hood museum of pop culture Los Angeles mountain mountain mountain assistant professor Denver Robin Williams Texas Burgh Pugwash Berkeley Baqi
Wedding Day Drunk

Slate's Dear Prudence

1:07:03 hr | 2 years ago

Wedding Day Drunk

"This episode is brought to you by honesty honesty has been on a mission for more than two decades to create and promote great tasting healthy organic beverages they're excited to shine a spotlight on the work they've done to democratize organics and support their fair trade certified suppliers the choice to drink honesty illustrates the power that you have to create a positive effect on not just your own life but on the wellbeing of others around the world visit on his t dot com slash podcast to learn more about honest and how you're small decision has a lasting impact we have a fever task are partners conducting a survey and would be grateful for your help in answering a few questions it takes less than ten minutes of your time and your participation helps support are advertisers please go to sleep study dot com to complete the short survey now you're listening to this week's excerpts dear prudence podcast to get the full length members only version every week join slate plus at slate dot com slash pretty pod you're you're proven proven and if you're approved here do you think i should contact him again oh how thank you hello and welcome back to the dear prudence show once again and as always i am your host daniel mallory or berg with me in the studio this week is christie mackin who runs eight career coaching consultancy in washington dc that's focused on helping professionals break free from toxic work environment find meaningful work that they love and unapologetically get paid what they're worth christie is also salary negotiation workshop facilitator with american and association of university women who aimed close the gender pay gap by twenty thirty chrissy welcome thank you for having me danny thank you so much for coming on the show 'em i would like to announce to you ends where listeners that i just did something this very minute professionally but i've never done for myself before that i think has just improve the quality of like my work life mm a hundred fold tell me more so i've been doing this podcast now for well over three and a half years and i've always recorded it and he exact same studio and i have always always thought boy delights in here very very bright i wish they weren't so bright and today three and a half years then i thought what if i use the dimmer switch that's very prominently located next door to them them and i did that is excellent there are many studies about lighting levels and you're wellbeing in the workplace i'm sure the good on you yeah although i'm curious now if my advice will start to become a like sneakier all more subtle as i feel like the get away with more there's not a bright like clean slate over my head a leading me a bearing exposed before you know i have and unfriendly god now now this advice is with mood lighting i have a feeling you'll be okay he's light i realize i i've only ever read i've never said it out loud i don't know if it's klag late or need like i don't that's a great question like light somebody will surely let us know how are you today house you're work environment how toxic is it on a scale of one to three mile island i i'm doing great my work environment is wonderful since i've i i broke free from a toxic work environment informed my own company so yeah i set my own rules and sometimes that's not great right being my own boss 'em but yeah it's work environment is great these days i'm so glad i'm i'm also glad for that phrase because everything i was talking about this on the podcast if you weeks ago i feel like when applied to people i don't love the word toxic 'em but i i feel totally find applying it to companies and workplaces mostly because companies are people 'em so i was glad surrey that and the bio unrealized oh yeah this is a totally appropriate situation to use that word i just made me wanna try to wean assault off of saying toxic when we mean something else when it comes to individual human beings yes so this is exciting i you you and i are both appropriately lifts would you like to reader first letter about there's nothing to do with work at all yes i i would love to so subject regrets as mother of the bride dear prudence i drank too much at my daughter's wedding i flip it around thanking people for attending i danced some in a non offensive way at the end of the evening regrets set in and i said some things to people very close to me about being embarrassed and worthless and stupid and i've asked and i've been told lesson five people saw this and they're close family who have said this was the extent of my bad behavior and that i shouldn't worry about it my daughter did not witness it it's been several weeks and i can't stop thinking about it i hate that i ruined one of the important events for me if not for others also getting drunk is not a frequent occurrence for me how can i move past this so this is a little bit of a refreshing change of pace 'cause on the subject line and i was like oh boy i've done that yet but actually i think this is you know not so bad 'em which is not to say that will make the letter writer feel better but i think it's really good that you know the the people that you've talked to have all 'em kind of uniformly said a you know you didn't do anything that embarrassed other people you register you're kind of like intense vulnerability to people you're already close where we don't think less of you for it so so that i think is good you didn't say something offensive yeah yeah like i i do think if you hit embarrass other people you probably would have heard about it by now my daughter if you're somebody else so i don't think you're friends they're just saying i don't mean they're just saying that to placate you i think generally you probably kept it 'em closer than you would have liked and you know it it it's it's hard when the thing you're embarrassed about is that you got very very emotional emotional and really down on yourself you don't say much about whether or not you feel that way the rest of the time so i think i'll probably assume that that's that that's the case but you don't normally feel this play about yourself but it was more with like a being a sort of modlin drunk that you were trying to say i regret high was you know really enthusiastic earlier tonight and it just came out in a way that was very self deprecating you letter writer will better be able to a kind of investigate yourself if there's a part of you that actually does feel worthless a lot of the time and this is the sort of only way you could let yourself acknowledge it you know it might be worth talking to them about it again sober maybe even seeing therapists 'cause that's a really hard feeling after kerry around yeah i agree my my very short answer to the how can i move past this was well west curiosity right like what's first of all i also had a question about two ways to interpret when she referring to feeling embarrassed and worthless and stupid was it that she was drunk and dancing end quote unquote flitting around and if that's the case if that's what she had said oh i'm feeling embarrassing worthless and stupid i think a really kind question for yourself is sort of why why is just objective unfiltered joys something that feels that like i don't deserve that a or that like what what if i built up in terms of beliefs around like why dancing in celebrating right on decouple that from the drinking piece is on is something that's out of reach here and if it's like what you were saying danny more more generally like oh it took maybe having too many drinks to start saying these things about myself that maybe i always believe that i'm worthless they're stupid or embarrassing you know how what what is that about how did i kind of get to thinking that about myself and to your point us therapists gimme a great person to talk about those things if those are the questions that are popping up british person right and my guess is i think probably this letter writer is they slightly self conscious person a lot of the time with like a a a low embarrassment threshold which i can absolutely relate to 'em so if you're just in general you're off in a little nervous about how my coming across right now am i taking too much space am i being too loud are other people thinking that i'm embarrassing if that's something that's frequently just tricky for you i totally understand why you know halfway through the evening after you've gotten drunk what you don't normally do and it lowers your passions you're like oh my goodness i was really friendly and i danced and i put myself out there in ways i normally don't i'm a i'm a i'm terrible i'm garbage 'em i understand where that sentiment came from and i totally that 'em this is one of those moments where you get to say a i think this is just part of my brain it's very very self conscious i don't have to answer that voice everytime it pops up in my head and you know i i don't think that you ruined it for anybody like i get letters from people who straight up have ruined weddings your letter did not resemble any of theirs but again these handful of people you're close which i think it'd be fine go back to some of them and say like i i i you know i'm just having a hard time shakiness i feel really self conscious and i just find myself thinking about it a lot just so that they know what's going on with you not necessarily so they can reassure you know no no you were fine but just so did they know that you're having a tough time being kind to yourself right now and hopefully the they would hear that and say i'm so sorry i love you sometimes i feel that way myself and you can kind of connect over that rather than a feel like i'm the only person who's ever done this on only one feels this way but you know i think some of it too is probably just like weddings are big high pressure days and it's like right daughters only gonna get married once hopefully and it's over now and it happened and like this and i wish it was different than i didn't behave the way i would've otherwise wanted yes like she got married she had a good day you're gonna have a lot of days with her and her partner and celebrating family this is not the final word on what you're like as a mother of they pride now wife totally 'em and i am just say to i can i can also really really like as you may or may not know oftentimes people who spend a lotta time on twitter like we used a lot of like berry 'em let's say exaggerated language about self loading that's often very like tongueincheek 'em but certainly like doesn't necessarily translate to the real world so like i remember once a year ago i was like just i had been too much on twitter that day and i went to a coffee shop and ordered coffee and realized forgot my wallet and i said something like the guy was like oh it's no problem and i said something like oh no i'm so sorry i'm human garbage and it was one of those things like on twitter that's fine but we got outlasted the human being like are you okay you other job yeah he's like oh i i hope i never have to come here again and it's awful it happens you're not alone this episode is sponsored by wander beauty i think most of us can't agree but looking good feels great but for most of us really being able to devote that kind of time and energy into her look is not an everyday occurrence which is why i'm wearing sweatpants right now sometimes you've just gotta look good now and keep things is easiest possible that's wander beauty is all about wander beauty is for anyone on the go whether you're doing you're make up in the car handling you're skincare at the gym everything is travel friendly and made to fit your busy lifestyle wander beauty is also about doing more with less their beauty essentials are multitasking and multi purpose allowing you to create a full look without a full makeup bag because there's nothing more stressful than glass breaking news powders building all over you're back everything wander did he make this mess free in stress free and because not everyone has time for a multi step routine wander beauty gives you maximum impact minimum effort get twenty percent off your purchase at wander beauty dot com slash dear prudence that's wander beauty dot com slash dear prudence for twenty percent off wander beauty dot com slash dear prudence boom boom boom boom yeah so this next one the subject is the subject is the subject line is more wearing then the letter itself so if anyone here if they kind of panicked story it does get better 'em but the subject is can i ask my business partner if you have cancer so dear prudence i in the sole owner of a shop in a fairly uncommon niche business for the last couple of months i've been working with an independent contractor steve we were friendly before we started working together and while went on a specially close where we are friendly and occasionally chat about non work matters we meet about once a week and stay in contact overtaxed during the week about business i went through a very serious personal tragedy in the last year and he's been a great help so he does know more about my personal life then i otherwise think is ideal a mutual friend of ours texted awhile ago asking if steve has cancer apparently you mentioned something about it on social media were not facebook friends so i can't see the post and i don't think it's any of my business i feel gross snooping around on social social media defined out i've decided the other people's medical issues are any of my business and that if he thought i needed to know he would tell me since he isn't exactly a shrinking violet it's been two months since that tax and i'm still regularly anxious about it i'm not rattled by cancer and i know plenty of survivors in fact i know from their experiences at sometimes people can really freak out and acting unhelpful and insensitive ways if they choose to disclose their diagnosis so i've always been careful not to be like that but steve is becoming more and more important part of my business over the last couple of months and part of me thinks it might be relevant going forward and now fifty embarrassing part have to admit that a heavy searing crush on him widows fire is very real as it turns out because of our business relationship i'm doing what i can to smother that crush and i think i've been professional about it but it doesn't help my anxiety about his health i'm not proud of this but part of me just wants to know if my crush has cancer and i'd be lying if i said that wasn't a factor i'm just not that great of compartmentalizing but i do make an effort to be perfectly clear because because of the way the business and the partnership are set up there no laws preventing me from asking about his health in a friendly way there's no established hierarchy and we don't report to each other but obviously doesn't make it a good idea though if i ask and he told me it's none of my business i obviously drop it forever and put it out of my mind but i'm torn on whether it's helpful or even acceptable to ask in the first place when my my own business or is it okay to inquire once lots going on here what's going on in here absolutely also i think this is the first time i've ever come across expression widows fire yeah i was gonna ask that was i've not heard of that before i i'm not familiar with that i couldn't tell if the letter the letter writer alluded to a personal tragedy and i didn't know she was referring to herself as a widow like losing a partner yeah and like feeling a profound desire now to connect or date or have sex or be intimate with somebody that seemed like the most obvious reid only other reid i could possibly put on it would be like i would want to be his widow i have a fire to be his widow that doesn't seem as i say that out loud that seems far more impossible i think it's gotta be the first one right yeah i think so yeah okay so that's that's what i'm gonna go with on that one so assuming that's the reid what is your take on this so in the first paragraph the letter writer says they feel confident that if any issue would impact steve's work performance stat that you would know because he would say something so i think the question here isn't really about you needing to know for the sake of your business but more that maybe you're rattled because you're in love with this person and then they might be sick 'em that was kind of my reid on it was that the second half was the more unfiltered like here's here's kind of what this is really about in terms of what's driving them to know or to want to know and you end if the personal tragedy they experience did have something to do with losing a partner i could totally understand how that would feel scary an overwhelming aunt and i need to know an i just i just wanna ask once in if not if i don't know then i'll shut up about it and that's fine but i can't understand the drives right to know if you have feelings for someone and you think they might be sick yeah so i i would say i think it's important to clarify here you you know it sounds like steve is really on top of things professionally so if his if he does have cancer and if it ever gotten to a point where he needed help running his his side of the business i think you can trust that he will handle handle that for himself 'em so i i think it's kind of good to drop the sort of semi plausible business excused which is you have absolutely no reason to think that in the near or short term i anything's gonna change about you're working king relationship in that you can trust that if that were to change the he would let you know so i think that's a smokescreen i don't think that's really why you wanna ask a i think it feels like that would lend some legitimacy to the real reason but if you were honest with yourself i don't think you are like man i'm genuinely worried a that something's gonna go wrong with shipping in eight months and you know right you don't on that level and again that doesn't mean you only wanna know 'cause you're you know nosy in perjury in an an a jerk 'em i just i think it's always good to be honest with yourself about you're real motives and the real motives are you know one he knows something very personal and painful about you mhm so there's a certain closeness there 'em if if if a bit one sided on the other one is you know that's distressing to find out about anyone and it's unclear and it's hard nose link potentially distressing about somebody you care for even if you didn't have a crush on him it would still be something that you might worry about so that's very understandable and the other one is as you say you know party who is kind of in love with this guy and party you wants to help him in any way that you can end party you feel like you know if he's just holding back as he doesn't think that i would wanna know i would and i wish i could signal that him so that he could you know lean on me and i could be there for him even if it doesn't mean he feels the same way 'em so with all that said i think some of those reasons for all those reasons are totally understandable to me they don't necessarily mean that i think this person should do anything what would you recommend would you say yes ask be ready to back off would you say nope let him tell you what you eat here i think once the letter writer is clear on why do i wanna no right like what's the pardon me this is gonna kind of calm down either finding out any answer or being told it's none of my business 'em i think at that point i mean if they have a close relationship the letter writer could ask 'em or at least a it's kind of tough because they found out from someone else sending them social media content right so 'em yeah i would i would say some talk my way through this 'cause i don't have nearly i don't have a good i'm leaning towards not asking but i don't feel like i have a hard and fast reason for that there's there's there's reason to believe that steve steve is on the one hand not keeping this a total secret 'em it certainly it would depend on like how how locked down his various social media accounts are but if he was at least 'em putting something on social media such the you're mutual friends could see that that to me suggests that he is comfortable a little bit with letting people in his life know about this diagnosis or potential diagnosis 'em an i i could certainly imagine you know if i heard from someone else about a possible announcement the someone who may raise all your friends that i saw him going into a hospital where he writes very different yeah you know i could certainly see myself saying hey are mutual friend mentioned you posted something about a potential diagnosis obviously i don't wanna crowd you i hope you're doing really really well if you ever wanna talk about it i am here for you and if you don't wanna talk about it i won't ask 'em i think that would probably be the best way to do it 'em i mean you know again like i think you have grounds there which is like someone we both know told me about an announcement that you had made like that's not i went through you're trash or a i ran into you in a doctor's office that's yeah 'em and what i like about what you said to is it doesn't even necessarily point blank ask steve right it's more of i right i heard this if this is something you want to talk about that's fine if not you can like weaken dismissed the topic right now and yell without even pudding stephen a corner of oh do you have cancer i heard you might have cancer graph q and i think that that would be if you're going to do it that would be the way which is just a a a mutual friend said they had seen you write something about a diagnosis and again just making it really clear 'em if you would like to talk about it i'm totally here if you don't wanna talk about it and i completely understand why you wouldn't i won't bring it up again 'em but so so you could and i think it does sound like you were definitely prepared taback off if he doesn't want to the the one thing that i would say spend a little time thinking about first is you know you say that you shared something really personal with him and if that's it's not what you would consider ideal and so i would just reflects carefully on do you think there's any reason that he might feel like he does not want to deepen the working relationship that he's very comfortable at the level level of intimacy the two of you were at and the part of the reason he has decided not to share this with you is because a you know he likes having at least this one part of his life where it's not a subject conversation and he does not in fact want to be closer to you then you are right and west that is the line of if i asked and he told me it's none of my business i obviously drop it forever and put it out of my mind i don't know that we know that we could put things out of her mind just because the right in that i think is something very similar that if you don't get the information is it going to actually come this anxious part of you down that that really wants to know for a variety of reasons right 'cause i i do think again i don't wanna like reed way too much into this but like if the two of you have known each other this long and you meet this regularly and he's like chosen not to you know have even a a social media kind of a relationship with you outside of you're working relationship i would just wonder again that's not the say that's the only reason he would do it is because he wants to put up huge walls but i would just kind of to the best of you're ability try to without wishful thinking investigate the way that he talks to you or the way that he does doesn't initiate conversations like if you do think that he kind of has sent some signals that he prefers to keep some personal boundaries up than i do think 'em you might feel better leaving that alone an end the relationship ship might be able to stay more comfortable for both of you but again some of that is a little bit of a reach i don't see any like smoking guns in here where i'm like man steve has released signal to you he does not want you to get any closer you really need to stop while you're head 'em i think gives us some careful consideration give it some thought maybe right down like if i ask him and it's uncomfortable how will i move past that how will i be able to help put him back at ease given that he's already dealing with potentially the stress of a cancer diagnosis 'em and then prepare for not talking about it very much and that you know it just again investigate if there's any part of me you know you've been through a lot this year to and so i wanna be kind to you letter writer i don't wanna suggests that you're like doing anything wrong here or that you were meeting a bunch of things into this and aria that they're not really there i wanna make that so clear i think that you sound like a really together person who's working as hard as you can't be compassionate passionate and caring and handle the fact that you have really strong feelings for a guy that you work with so with all that said if you feel like i think mostly i would just be asking 'cause i just wanna be so close to him and i'm worried about 'em opening up that part of myself but i have to manage a lot you know be careful of that take care of yourself look after yourself 'em and if you do find a way to talk to him about it that he can be receptive tours and you're able to learn more maybe it'll put your mind at ease maybe he's not ill 'em maybe there's something that you could be helpful maybe he'll tell you but he'll say actually wanna focus on work when i'm at work so just let us know what happens when we're together i would love to hear back from you yeah absolutely all right next one is all you again all rights subject headphone etiquette for everyone else dear prudence i'm a frequent headphone user at work i've seen quite a lot of advice columns about etiquette and protocol for using headphones in the workplace but none for how everyone else should approach headphone users i i work in an industrial environment in headphones are forbid number floor but i use mine in the break room the trouble i have is that my coworkers frequently interrupt me to complain gossip ramble about sports their grandchildren or other things that i really don't care about i try it'd be patient and polite even when they're offended when i pull out one earbud an ask him to repeat if someone has something important to tell me i will take up my ear buds and give them my full attention but i don't like being at the beck and call of idle chatter when i'd much rather be meditating detaining to thrash metal is there a polite way to get people to let me be these people are monsters during the break room can't take a break here on break wearing headphones to universal fines of i'm not at work right i'm not available for conversation yeah this is the way i was looking at this one some people like to relax by putting on their headphones and listening to thrash metal i would fit way more into this category than the other one which is sort of complaining right like just like talking it out any only time you have available to 'em to relax and so 'em yeah can you think give it in terms of strategies 'em how could you kind of look at it from the perspective of inviting people to help you get you're quiet time so on you know you may think they're rambling about their grandchildren or sports or whatever is annoying i would agree with it is especially if i wanna listen to my music on but saying something like you know i would really like some quiet time to just get myself back together before it's time to go back to work on i'm not available to talk right now a something like that that isn't it's not about what they're going to like the it's not a judgment on the content of what they're gonna tell you but it's more about here's what i need in this moment because were in a stressful industrial work environment and i i need this fifteen minutes half an hour to just take a breath and collect myself yeah i am with you and i also i think you are gonna have to be slightly firmer then you might otherwise won't be because if they don't see somebody wearing headphones and the room and realize like probably actually this personal loan they're not gonna pick up on a lot of hints so i think you just if somebody tries to get your attention frankly if you're on break i think it's sort of find it just points you're headphones and mouth like can't talk now i actually think that's fine or even just like i'm gonna break sorry 'em if if you don't wanna do that i think it's also find like a lift up one half you you're headset or pull out one ear but and just say hey sorry i'm ashley and break and i can't talk right now and then put it right back in like don't get that's it you're you're not you're not listening to them ask you a question you are pulling it out long enough say sorry i'm on break right now can't talk 'em and then popping up back in a if you need some sort of other visual aid to you know pretend that you're like pull out a book or like get a stupid clipboard the kind of makes it look like you're filling out boring former sphere you know i dunno exciting personal life i i wish you didn't have to do that but yeah like hall at a book called her phone lie if you need to just be like oh sorry i'm actually listen to a voicemail from my mom right now you know just make up whatever shit you have to yeah and i suppose it's possible like if this person has the kind of headphones the just go in your ear but don't have the they don't connect backed anything right the bluetooth headphones possible but some people might not see them right away right and so right so just like you said danny pop one out and say oh i'm sorry just on break yeah i or unpire whatever right that that's it you can end this would be i think you know if if all of this is kind of failing another option is and this is a little bit of money but if you can get like the big over the year headphone yeah deepest wants to confine and put them over over you're actual like little air pods if that's what you have are just like littler once so there's a big visual i can't talk a cue that people who might not see otherwise if you got the little things dangling barely idear years get some big fake earphones signaled the real announces the universal symbol for please leave me alone yeah but basically you know you're basic question is just like am i allowed to say sorry i can't talk right now i'm on break yes say honored percent just say i gotta get back to this you know somebody visible vegas true it kind of makes it sound like he might be on a conference call right yeah you don't they don't have the notes thrash metal you don't like sorry i forgot back this important album just you know i gotta get back at it mhm whatever it is much in the same vein a are next letter the subject of simply co worker but very much along the same lines and i think it's my turn now this is you i do britain's i has been quote politely pressed into giving a ride everyday date my co worker after her car about total for months ago we lose fifteen minutes away from each other i need help in the morning and she needs her job it should make sense but my co worker is a mess half the time she's too late or still arguing with her fourteen year old son actually get off his button help out around the house she rants about her ex her kids and her offer her life is she doesn't wanna do anything about it though it took her two weeks even file an insurance claim and my advice about taking away the video games and internet internet until her kids shape up with networth but then they would be bored instead i get the same litany of what was going on and on it's like being stuck on a hamster wheel in hell her chaos is driving me crazy i don't care about the gas money i would rather have the good opinion a further i have three months ago honestly starting to feel nothing but contempt for her and it's affecting her work relationship how do i get out of this evil unclear to me what the letter writer meant when they said i need help and i need help in the morning right that was my one question because it sound i mean this the letter writer is going to the co workers house right to pick her up that's what i gather is they must be going over to the co workers house pick them up on so his help gas money but i mean it didn't yeah that's the one piece i i right yeah so like whatever she's helping you if you were apparently able to get by without her help up until a couple of months ago yeah i would just say get the help from somebody else i wish i a little more about what that was but yet you know you didn't used to do this it's gonna be slightly uncomfortable but i i think to me this one's really straightforward just let her know like hey starting from x state and you know give her a week if you can i think that would be kind to give her a little time to start making other arrangements but give her nothing to work west like 'em she needs to solve the problem of how she gets to work on her own she needs to solve the problem of whether or not she's gonna get her car fixed on her own so don't say like because of this reason i can't give you rights anymore 'cause she's just gonna try to argue that so just go ahead kind of like in that last one where just like be vague make it sound like it's a little outside of your control so like what city the fifteenth of june and say like hey starting on july thirty first i'm not gonna be able to car pool anymore and i wanna give you a lot of heads up so that you could figure out something else that's it yeah on this one i think i think setting the boundary is gonna be easier than holding it right as the co workers gonna want to probably give you a lot of reasons to sell help her out on i i've never total the car before but for months seems like a really long time to still have this has an open item i may just be really off i'm i'm sure she has looked like her life does sound yeah arming everything else is getting underway at a car fe asher she has absolutely legitimate reasons like i gotta just not suggest you just among linger but like no can't solve this for her as worker you have been very helpful her for a number of months yeah and it's totally fine to say like starting from whatever date i can't do this anymore and if she tries to ask you for more information you just got a hold of like hey i i don't really wanna talk about my personal life but i just wanna let you know important information that is necessary for you to figure out where you're gonna you're next on and that's it and that might feel a little uncomfortable especially if she's real nosy but like she's you're co worker she cannot force you to say why you need to go back that relationship you have before you just gotta stick with it can't do it sorry you're to find something else yeah i think that's clear is better on this one in terms of pick a date and go with it yeah and if she seems inclined a to start trying to like seek you out to complain to you at work once you no longer has avenue of the car ride yeah i just again you really need a hold that line of like hey is this about work because if it's not i'm actually pretty busy and i need to get back to it and you say that over and over again until she realizes this well is dry yeah the other thing to consider too is if she sees you getting ready to leave so i i assume this arrangement is picking her up in the morning and going to work and then dropping her off at home right but the the hard part will be when you go to leave the office yeah or the job right that she comes up and says oh you're leaving i could kind of on the ride home right and you're constantly stuck in that interaction of saying no 'em and that that will be something to look out for yet and again i don't want you to feel like you have to make up like eighteen dying uncle excuse or like yeah piano karate tournament that you're worried about you just need to say with like ashley i'm not heading in that direction today sorry or like even just like ashley i'm not available to give you a ride 'em that's it that's all you gotta do a an insane thing even in the interim in in whatever amount of time is like left to you of ride sharing i think it's totally appropriate fetus say like hey i i need to be to work on time time so tomorrow i'm gonna have to leave at nine i wanna let you know because you know if you wanna ride with me you'll have to be ready to go at night and if not you'll have to find another way to get to work and really just do that and don't do it like angrily or punitive league but you could just say like hey as we said i'm leaving at nine so i'm gonna go yeah i'll be doing that yeah i this yeah that part of a letter reminded me when i was in high school i was i was one of those nerds who went to summer school to take classes early like not because i failed anything but because i wanna take vitamins burnouts we went to jail because i had i chose to like a like a big bird at the end my friend's mom what what's driving us and i was the person who couldn't get it together to get in in the car on time and it took one time of her saying okay well were leaving your driveway at seven thirty and you're like whether you're in the car not an after the first day that seven thirty one hit and they pulled out without me end what like i got myself together to make sure i was ready so it's on that piece is well like setting the boundary of if we need to be to work by nine i need we need to be leaving your driveway by eight fifteen that means at eight fifteen you leave and if not then they need the co worker needs to figure out arrangements in the next forty five minutes right but that's okay too too yeah yeah and just like you know even stuff like trying to give her advice about her kids like i hope you've already stopped trying forgive me like yeah the beast you know like first of all it does sound irritating but also like you don't know her kids like you see them a couple of times a week don't you know don't get more involved in a situation you wanna be less involved in a so just you know you know if you need out of the conversation you could just do a lot of land like i'm sorry that's tough 'em which is not give her a lot of conversational purchase orange could even again this is like inappropriate things they do a co worker like hate the skinny kind of heavy do you mind if we talk about something else now like that's a polite thing to say that's not like you all full parent you sacco garbage i hate you and you have an unprofessional mouth shape like it's just you know we talk about something else that's a totally okay thing to say my worry is that you're you're gonna not say the reasonable knows that you have available to you and wait until you blow up at her and now you're the problem because you're the one who brought this end of the work environment so you know do the doodle the medium hard thing now so that you don't do the like really wild belligerent awful thing lately you have to walk back yeah all right 'em i love every time i do this i forget like halfway through the episode i'm like who were the last letter where am i rather laughing i think great so then you gotta reid matter it is all you thank you for reminding me this is why you went to summer school and purpose and i want in on compulsion subject or dear prudence i have a neurological disorder that affects my balance good days i'm like everyone else bad days i need a cane very bad days i can't get out of bed i'm on medication but that only lessons and does not eliminate hey my symptoms i have a handicap sign on my car and have enough medical record's you could use them as a doorstop my company so far has been very generous to me and i never have much cours to think about opinion of my coworkers until recently swimming and snorkeling are few activities and happily do and not worry about and attack i went on vacation with friends and posted pictures on facebook a co worker contacted me and forwarded me a screen shot of a private call out facebook post several of my coworkers made fun of my vacation photos in question my disability they basically called me a liar a scammer end and attention seeker but i only use my cane to gain special privileges like getting the closest parking spot one of the worst if someone i have to see every single day to do my job before this i would have considered us friendly the co worker who forwarded this to me told me that she has heard similar comments but she will not come forward officially but thought i should know i wish i didn't i don't know what to do now nothing was said to my face and there isn't any official work policy about social media and i don't think this qualifies as a hostile work environment i still get a pit in my stomach now anytime i see these women please advise this feels like just prime you're territory this is a toxic work environment is i can't think of i'm so sorry letter writer this is this is a terrible thing to experience on an yeah i whether or not something meets the legal letter of the night in a hostile work environment i i think in the situation matters a lot less than you're environment has become toxic right something has happened that the way hey you feel going to work every day is no longer on it you know if not something you enjoy doing but you know at least something neutral now it's you know you have a pit in your stomach you don't wanna see these people you don't know how to kind of really in the situation anymore end 'em and i'm very sorry that this is the situation and how it kind of came into your lap that way 'em finding out vf forwarded social media post 'em so i think for the letter writer part of the challenge is a for them is to figure out how do they want to relate to this job moving forward 'em end you know if the job is really meaningful and important to them can they see themselves potentially addressing the swiss on if not each of those co workers perhaps the one that they have to work with it's every day on do they want to consider letting hr no knowing that there's the risk there if it didn't happen out work and it's on social media that you know hr may kind of push it into this category of not problem 'em but but what do they whatever they do it's going to require a level of vulnerability on their part a and it's going to ask something of them and the people around them these co workers have been demonstrated demonstrated a capacity for kind of compassion or empathy or understanding and so i i kind of worry about all of the options here because it's such it's just such a hard situation to be in yeah and so my first thought would be you know i i i'm sure that's a letter writer is probably slightly more like aware of what the protections are in their own workplace than i am but i would just make release shore like you know i i know there are at at least two agencies that are supposed to help enforc americans with disabilities act yeah there's the office of federal contract compliance program and there's also the usa equal employment opportunity commission i i would strongly recommend 'em you know doing a little bit more investigating possibly contacting lawyer certainly talking to somebody with some expertise about how the eighty eight can be enforced in the workplace because i would not be surprised if some of these a facebook but posts were made at work certainly i think there's a case me made this affects your ability to work with them and again i thought that i'm saying like i know you'd have a legal case here i just mean if you were to get in touch with somebody from those agencies or a lawyer and then bring that's h r that your company would i think have a pretty strong interest in shutting this down a an end and hopefully in protecting you and i do think that is a resource that i want you to to at least be able to investigate 'cause you should not have to go to these just absolutely monstrous file people and try to resolve it yourself 'em so if you have at all a good relationship with your boss ross 'em or or supervisor i would i would bring it up their first and i would just say this is brought to my attention it has completely changed my work environment i i find it impossible to work with these people i'm deeply concerned about my ability to do my job i'm concerned about whether or not like this means that i'm going to be otherwise harassed about my disability mhm 'em i this is a serious concern i need your help addressing it 'em like like bringing the biggest possible guns that you have like i i i i think these women should be fired frankly but i don't know a you know it depends like there are some workplaces take employees social media used very seriously right some less so the fact they don't have an official policy in place i don't think yet means you don't have any potential recourse within the company you're right because a lot of hr policies are internal company policies they kind of lack the right they may not yet addressed social media but at minimum this would be 'em there's there's just because that policy doesn't exist would not 'em yeah i wouldn't stop me from trying to communicate someone that this is a problem end there is no scenario and aware of this just kind of fade snow for you right like you can't unsee right you can't unsee that and so any way that you can protect yourself and i it by that i mean legally but also kind of emotionally right you don't want to try to be on more vulnerable position with people who have not at all demonstrated the ability to handle that end to 'em to engage you meaningfully 'em so yeah if you do have someone who could be more of an advocate in the workplace and if not inside the workplace yeah i employment lawyer would be a good option here on some kind of help you understand what her you're state laws are they more stringent stringent than some of the federal protections on and how might you bring this up internally yeah and i i i hope you do i hope you have people in your corner frankly like you know that co worker who contacted you in for did you the screen shot like with a friend like that who needs enemies like i wish so much if they had wanna help you what they should have done was you know said something to the women who made that post in and shut them down and reported it to their supervisors rather than showing you a screen shot so you'd have delivered that image in your head i mean i just anybody listening i mean like if you have ever been tempted to it you know investigate or harassed or or interrogate a disabled person because they like smiled one time or got in the water or wearing like a an abject picture of suffering twenty four hours a day like just you gotta reconsider you're fucking life man like their expectation of you was that if you've ever enjoyed a vacation or gotten in the water or experienced temporarily release from one if symptoms that you are a fraud and a scammer just says so much about how they view people in in in in the value of other people in in in their ideas about humanity and i hope that they all i you know i'm not gonna finish that sentence but i sure will offer year 'em you know i just i i i wish dark days ahead for them and serious serious repentance 'em and i'm just really start and help you make a fuss about this at work i really do and i hope you know if you need to go about that carefully slowly a piece by piece please do but tell the people in life about this ask for as much help and support as you can you deserve it people should be rallying around you right now 'em and i'm just so so so sorry that you have to look at these people 'em an you know please please don't feel like you have to be civil to them or friendly them don't and if you need to just tell your boss like i need you to figure out a way to make sure that i never have to interact with them again 'em please please please i i just want that for you yeah that's a great point especially the one co worker that you see every day if there's common projects or common meetings that you're in together in if you're moving your boss into this and letting them know here's what i've seen in that yeah at minimum work distribution needs to change in a way that you have as little contact as possible 'em yeah i and i would also consider with the friend coworker who forwarded this you on you know consider pushing on her as well to perhaps come forward officially or to help support you in this in a meaningful way on because while out simply screen shotting it in sending it to you was 'em not helpful and now that you've seen this you can't unsee it is she you know having understood now how this has impacted you and how it's completely changed the way hey you're able to relate cheer environment in the way you experience here job on that you know my she reconsider if she's willing to help advocate for you is well it's just so clearly like again it's so clearly about like cruelty uncontrolled like anybody who stopped for a second and thought is these acts of like bobbing up and down in the water different from walking you know in my a person who needs a lot of help doing one be able to enjoy joy other like of course it is so obvious like one doesn't involve putting wait on the lower half of your body and balancing in the same way the fact that they chose to ignore what is in fact incredibly obvious and incredibly simple so everything about like i don't think they're stupid women i think that they chose to turn that part of their brain off so they could be cruel and i think they want it to be cruel tortilla and i'm so sorry and again that's just like the viciousness and pernicious ness of able isam 'em and it's just it's horrifying and its crew and it's everywhere 'em and i hope if anybody listening you know has ever felt like a moment in their life where they were inclined scrutinized somebody who parked with a particular like parking pass or in a particular spot fucking let that should go that is not you're damn job it would be better gillette hundred people like quote unquote get away with doing that then harass one person who has a medical condition that's not immediately apparent to you and none of you're fucking businessmen it's nine you if you're a business at all and one other piece here that i'm wondering the the co worker the co worker who for the hurt said she had heard similar comments is assuming that was about this trip but you know also was where the photos from this trip kind of an excuse for something that was already happening kind of out of earshot right or maybe not on facebook because there weren't post to reply to end just i just wanna pause to acknowledge like how betrayed and just totally the loss of trust you must feel with these people and that 'em you know anyone internally who you can help get on your you can get on your side the kind of help you a result of this in a way that feels right for you on a i i can't imagine that would be complicated west you know if people weren't posting on the facebook post where they saying something any office separately like i can't imagine this this feels very convoluted in a variety of different ways 'em in were those people on the post only people who had anything to say about it and you know that's this is i'm so sorry offer this letter writer in a situation yeah yeah me too yeah there's some serious accountability that these co workers need to face like they they needed speak for the like they really need to look at an own up to those actions and like frankly like whether or not they go on some sort of meaningful journey like at least as far as you're concerned who fucking cares what i want frighten you yeah is never have to work with them again 'em for if you want an apology from them for you to get it if you just want to never have to interact with them again for you to get it and for you to be in a workplace that 'em take you seriously that takes harassment a based on like the disability that you have a seriously and that protects you and is looking out for you that's what i want for you they they need to go on their own journey begin right me a letter let him go out but yeah that's not your problem you have to worry about their damn journeys so i think we have some time and i'm excited because this last a letter sent a letter especially a voicemail did one prince i had a list stakes problem that i have friends who will younger than me and like most women she apologizes for a lot of things that she should not andrea it is i stranger and jason i think she's awesome i feel like i'm a little older than her sister will passionate tach fracture on it but she got a lot in the announcer like apologizing for her very just in four times in the locked always say he's a paper kanus he'll feel burden on others to a kind of a huge her her social anxiety so i'm kind of scripts 'em touched on you know and courage and a friend hippie be slight change their lives toppling just really arca do i did it when i think about i don't try to share that shy think that what i'm sorry like seeing excuse me in a storage esam sorry crossing lecturing her so if you have any thoughts teacher thank you i so yes the problem of apologizing if it's a problem and how much is the problem in in in what we should all do about it collectively is is an ongoing conversation what's what's your experience are you a big apologize or do you not apologize ever pretty full so i try to i try to always check myself to say is there something clear i can't say so 'em you know if i'm if i'm writing an email on something i'm late on for example you know am i actually sorry sorry for being late or and i appreciative that someone has patients on me getting something to them right so i think there are some items like that where if i actually means something else i want to say something else so that when i'm apologizing i'm act like that of apologizing is reserved for times when i want to apologize so that it doesn't sort of water that down that being said i don't know that like what wasn't clear from the voicemail was maybe some examples of where this person is is over apologizing because if they're feeling some social anxiety or if they think like oh i said the wrong thing or i'd i'd but it in or interrupted in their apologizing like that could actually be completely appropriate so i'm i'm not necessarily i'm for i'm saying what you mean 'em and if if something is clear if it's clear to say something that is not and apology go with that 'em but that it's also totally okay to apologize if if that's what you want to do right i i feel at least i some people talking about like women should apologize less and my thought is sometimes maybe other people should just apologize a little more i don't know if it's necessarily like women who need to change on this one like i i do think there's certain forms of like conversational apology that i think do effectively communicate what i'm trying to do right now is check ins and make sure that everyone else's still with me so the like sorry for being late or sorry that wasn't clear right is actually about like i hate myself and i have no value and lack of self esteem and i'm just the pilots bones on the floor is in fact he polite you know feminine coated or or whatever way of saying saying i want to acknowledge that i'm asking something have you all in this moment or i wanna checking to make sure that the group is okay giving its attention to me or i wanna make sure that i haven't 'em assume something that i shouldn't have an end i think that's usually pretty clear so i i am of the opinion that the sort of like common conversational apology is in fact not really a problem it's a way of acknowledging iser a gift of somebody else's time or 'em there a you know grace in dealing dealing with a new and unusual thought or wait a check in and make sure is this okay so but that said it does sound like this person also a this is something to do with their anxiety and they will sometimes offer apologies that are basically like he sorry for breathing or i'm sorry writing a few yeah yeah and as as the caller said i think one of the things that's hard without is like if you feel like you're lecturing somebody who's already starting from such a place of low self esteem or anxiety they'll just feel more beaten and down 'em so since you were friends i would maybe in courage you to say something like in the moment like hey i just want you know if you feel like you have to apologize because it helps relax your calm you down that's totally okay and i can make space for that but just so you know you don't have to it's okay that you were saying ness or feeling this i'm happy to be here with you and so if going forward when you have these moments where you need to apologize all acknowledge budget but i i don't wanna get too much in a back and forth because it's actually not a problem yeah i agree that especially given the relationship that they have that there is an opportunity to just be loving and kind on this one right and even say you know in in the the person who left a voicemail had one experience of of how they came to be apologizing so much and then how they kind of grew from that and that may or may not be what's going on for their friend right and so 'em yet to just help that friend be curious about it ends that that's just know that yeah they that you're there wasn't enough that you know you don't you don't need them to apologize just very existing or feeling like you know they're they're in the way or a burden right and things like that but like you know they example that the caller gives at the end saying excuse me in the store instead of saying i'm sorry that's fine and if that feels important to you to say great but i don't think it needs to be universally adopted i think they both served the exact same purpose and yeah pre immediately like i was in a busy grocery store this morning and i probably am said excuse me versus i'm sorry an equal number of times partly just 'cause like everybody needs to offer up a little variation on the sort of like social scripts that we use in public and actually one of the very few pieces at i've written first late outside of the column was with nicole cliff a couple of years back in the whole thing was basically like if you're upset set when a like service industry workers say no problem instead of you're welcome you shouldn't be upset and you should let it go yeah it's like one of the very few things actually feel strongly about yeah as about when people are like don't say no problem because that implies that there's a problem and it's not a problem 'cause i'm coming here paying for stuff it's like come on you know what he's done we all lanes it's fine it's variations on is fine i'm happy to do this for you right or i'm gonna pretend to be happy because i'm at work yeah and if i think about out v example the the person who left a voicemail said about being in a store in saying i'm sorry versus excuse me i don't even i've never even paid attention to what i say like i i would imagine i probably say a combination of both as well but when i tend to pay attention to it is if i'm writing an email or if i'm in a congress it you know but in in like a a passing interaction like that it's just it's the it's their equivalent really 'em yeah to say one other i don't i don't view that as problematic yeah yeah i i do think sometimes in in the quest to build more self esteem it can get a little bit into like because sometimes women don't get to pick the kind of space it were entitled to a i i should like all the way up to and including saying i'm sorry in a grocery store dopey sorry you're right to be in the grocery store and i just think at that micro level it might be over thinking it and i would just say i don't think that's the way that people talk there needs to change i think it's fine to say i'm sorry and so a lot of this i think is actually okay but when it comes to the like oh i'm sorry for feeling then i think you absolutely as her friend have have some room for eleven intervention and i would say to i've had conversations with some of my friends especially friends who have struggled variously with different kinds of like intense anxiety depression we kind of talk about that where like they'll say yeah sometimes i say i'm sorry kind of compulsively 'em and i wish i didn't do it as often and i understand that it can be hard the here and i can interns say i get why you need to say it and i understand that it's not something that you necessarily are choosing to do in every moment and i will only like talker hanging out just remember that like okay this is my pal who needs to say i'm sorry a lot and i just i don't have to have a big emotional response everytime i could just say extra saying that it's okay yeah i mean i'm halfway or or if the the the caller knows from their friends at oh when i when i get into a pattern of apologizing if you if you hear me over apologizing maybe it means i'm feeling really socially awkward or i'm feeling anxious in this moment in which case hey just ask me if i'm okay right but yeah it's less about like you said it's less about quote unquote correcting the behavior and more about just kind of tuning in to 'em who is your friend in what do they need in that moment if if that's what's going on for them yeah so i think about half and half year some of this you could let go some of this you should probably say something and i hope it goes great an a i hope that in general you know we don't some you know some things like as soon as we identify like all women seem to apologize more the men the problem is immediately like how do we get women's chain now women go do this thing right mental apologize a whole bunch that'd be fun right yeah oh chris heat thank you so so much for helping us kind of detangle tango all these various work issues yeah thank you danny i i had a lot of fun and it was it was great to talk through some of these with him if you could give one piece of general advice everyone who might be listening to this at work or on their way to work on the way home from work right now what would you say mhm oh what would i say well 'cause i would tell them all if you're lights have demars which is you should use some used the dimmer switches yeah so what i would say is that you're surroundings and that's you're workplace surroundings influence you're understanding of kind of what is possible and what is out there for you and what is your work environment teaching you what is the culture of that place kind of layering on top of your beliefs and what you know to be true for you a an if what it's teaching you is constraining or makes you feel like you're in us ever more shrinking box that and you know doing the work of figuring out where what is meaningful work look like for you and how much you better be able to connect to a place where you feel motivated and engaged in committed is can be a real amazing process when and you kind of come out the other side well thank you so much thank you i personally feel like you inspired me detest my own dimmer switches i'm so glad to hear that and i hope we get to get you back on the show sometimes you think that would be awesome thank you know i think you are producer bill circuits are theme music was composed by robyn hilton don't miss an episode of the show had the slate dot com slash dear prudence to subscribe and remember you can always hear more prudence by joining slate plus good at slate dot com slash pretty pod to find out if you want me to answer questions call me and leave a message at four zero one three seven one three to seven and you might hear your answer on episode of the show you don't have to you real name relocation an at your request you need and also the sound of your voice keep it short thirty seconds a minute tops thanks listening end on today's plus segment there's just so many different ways to celebrate different kinds of relationships and i'm so sorry that everyone life is like no you don't earn a kitchen aid mixer and let me find some guy who's willing to sign the same piece of paper is you like first of all nobody earns kitchenaid mixer you know like you didn't earn it by marrying that do i didn't earn it by buying this house the point of these parties are to

daniel mallory berg christie mackin fever washington fifteen minutes twenty percent forty five minutes twenty four hours fourteen year eight months three months ten minutes two decades two months two weeks one hand
Dear Prudence: The "You Gonna Eat That?" Edition

Slate's Dear Prudence

1:12:09 hr | 2 years ago

Dear Prudence: The "You Gonna Eat That?" Edition

"This is British royalty. I'd like to invite you to join me for a new podcast from slate in new America better. Lifelock. So many of us struggle with working long crazy and sometimes predictable hours feeling stressed out or busy all the time. And that we just don't have enough time for our lives. We're going to hear stories from people who struggle with that. And we're going to learn about the science that can not only help us understand why. But also provide the tools for helping us figure out what to do about it. Join me for better life lab. You're listening to this week's excerpts from the dear prudence podcast to get the full length. Members only version every week join sleep plus at slate dot com slash pretty bud. You're you're Putin. Prudence? Here. Do you think that I should contact him again help? Thank thank you. Hello and welcome back to the dear prudence show once again, and as always am your host. Dear prudence, also known as Daniel Mallory or Berg with me in the studio this week is Helen Rosner the food correspondent for the New Yorker and a former editor at places like eater. Ooh. I don't know how to say the name of this magazine. I've only ever seen it written down Pilin. How do you pronounce the second magazine in your bio silver severe? Oh, I would never have guessed that. Thank you. I would have said severe and New York magazine, I can say, hi, hi, it's so funny 'cause Sievers actually a French word like it's the word for flavor. And if you're saying it with a proper Frenchaccent, which I cannot do you'd say like seven, and and I don't know just sort of like by by like, Fiat, like ex cathedra, the founders of the magazine where like silver. It's a French word that we're gonna say with an American accent. And we once had a French receptionist who had like answer the phone saying it properly an God. And I remember one of the editors had to sort of like. Pull him aside, gently, correct? His pronunciation be like, no don't say it. Right. Say it wrong say at our way, grace has this theory that I can be tricked into learning. French by making me, guess it. Like, she'll just say phrases in French and say, what do you think that means? And I say, I don't know what it means. And I can't make an educated. Guess there's a limit to how much knowing a little Spanish can help me guess French. But that does not stop her from periodically saying things in French to me and making me guess, I support her effort. I mean, it seems like a fun game. It is delightful. Neither of us ever quite get what we want out of it, which is like something that French ought to facilitate is like mild marital frustration, right? So I think it's all working out. Great, congratulations. I'm so glad thank you. Well, I'm so excited to have you on the show in part because you give the best advice about food. Thank you. So I'm just hoping we can expand that to everything I give the best is about everything that is one hundred percent true. So you're just going to tell everybody what they need to do in order to live, right? And I'm just going to stand in the background and periodically say. Things that are both like encouraging and French-sounding, and that's how we're going to get through it. Yeah. Let's find out if my confidence in myself is wildly over placed great. I can't think of any better like testing ground for confidence than somebody acting like they're like your grandmother. So I think you get to take the first letter, and if anyone can break you down it's going to be her. All right. Let's start my neighbor decided to grandmother me. Dear prudence, there's an old lady around the corner from mine who I accidentally smiled at one day at the bus stop. And now she's decided she's my grandma which isn't a malicious thing itself. But she asked for my number, and I didn't know how to say, no, you can't have it. And now she calls up and keeps asking me round for coffee and stopping me when I'm out for a run to give me food. I don't like it don't wanna go over. And I get that. She's probably lonely, but I still live with my parents, and we all want to be left alone. And none of us want to answer the phone. What do I do is? There. A polite way to say, I don't need another grandma or should. I resign myself to a life of well intentioned harassment. I feel inclined to be sympathetic towards this old woman who is clearly lonely and is not as yet being like a jerk so much as just a little bit bad at reading the situation. So I think I'm gonna lean slightly in the direction of. To what like what can you offer this woman, like how much begrudging time are you willing to give her like is it a phone call a week is it thank you. When she hands you a plate of food, and you're on a run, and then you politely, you know, give it to somebody else or throw it away later wh where does your ceiling and her floor meat. I guess is my take. Yeah. I mean, I think you frequently. When I when I read the the letters that people send in to your column like I have a very clear sense. Immediately of the good guy in the bad guy in the situation. And this seems like there is not really a bad guy. You know, like both parties here seem to have sort of like a core of beautiful love in their hearts, and they wanna do the right thing. And they want to connect with humans. They just wanna do it on their terms in their terms happen to be different. But at the same time, I also think and I respect that the letter writer is expressing their. Emotional boundaries and wants to enforce them. And they absolutely without exception. Have every right to maintain those boundaries wherever they want them to be. I will say though that like. Befriending a random elderly neighbor is the ultimate narrative trope, you know, like this is the thing that like people who want nonfiction book deals or people who wanna write screenplays or people who wanna have like hundred million dollar memoirs. Like, this is this is the stuff of dreams. Like, I would I would get the significant subplot in the film the holiday. It's a significance about an everything. It's it's Tuesdays with Maury. It's like it's the whole like I like every plucky, you know, adolescent hero or heroine of any story like has mysterious older person that they befriended like doc and back to the future. Like everybody has like that. Cool secret weird old friend who teaches you about life and mysteries and science and immigration and stuff. It's like, you the universe is provided you with it with like, you're you're magical, elderly friend. Yeah. I mean, she may not be a magical person. I don't wanna like go too far in the other direction and assume that she is just like an. Fairy godmother and so fair the week. She will leave you everything in her will and like change your life. Sure. But I think this is a good example of sometimes I hear from people who know how to cut somebody off, and they know how to let somebody dictate the terms of their relationship, and they have a hard time doing anything in between like they can't imagine saying something like I can't talk right now, or no I can't get coffee. But I hope you're having a good week have a nice day like, but they can't imagine saying like you need to stop calling me because I can't handle the idea of saying, no, sometimes, you know. Yeah. I and I think that that's exactly right. I mean, I think like trying to read through the lines a little bit on in the letter itself, and like sort of the word choices in the way that the letter writer is explaining the situation. It does seem like they don't wanna feel responsible for hurting this woman's feelings. And I think that's a very generous. Sensitive perspective to take. But ultimately the goal here is to create distance between you and this person who's attentions you desire less than at the rate that they are currently giving them to you. And ultimately somebody is going to end up feeling a little bit sad for a short period of time, which they will then get over. Yes. So I mean, I think you are. Acting like this person has a little bit more power than they do that like fine guess asking for my number wasn't militias. But now she's decided she's my grandma like she hasn't decided, she's your grandma she asks you to coffee, and she sometimes tries to give you food. Let's let's not overstate things here, you feel guilty and uncomfortable at the thought of saying no sometimes to her, but she's not like pounding down your door demanding that you come over. And rub her feet and listen to her talk about the forties. So you know, let's let's keep things right-sized here. So the number of the things that she does her as follows one is she calls, you sometimes and asked you out for coffee. Okay. A couple of things there one. You can say, you know. Nope. I'm not available for coffee. I hope you're having a great day. I gotta go. That's a quick phone call if you need her to stop calling you at all like if she's calling you every day, and that's just way too much. You can say I'm actually not. Able to answer the phone when you call every day. Let me call you next time you can do that. Or if you have no interest in even like once a month calling her, you know, you can you can go ahead and say, I can't talk right now. And then screen her calls like all of those are options for you. If she stops you when you're out for a run go ahead and say, I'm actually on a run right now. And I can't slow down have a nice day. That's it. She's an old lady. She's not gonna like run after you and me down. It's okay. To say that you're fine saying that. And if she says, oh, but I made this for you. You can just say that's so kind still gotta finish this run by for now. And then start running away you will be able to outrun her like, she's not a I'm not saying this to like laugh at the fact that she's an older woman. I'm I'm kind of pointing this out to say like you have a little more power here than you think that you do. So don't make her responsible for the fact that you're uncomfortable saying, no or not right now, I would also add tha that that it's interesting to me how this is framed as this older woman trying to be an additional grandmother or the the letter writers framing, it is the older woman. Trying to be an additional grandmother, I would suggest maybe reframing the way that you think. About this woman in your life. Not that she's trying to be your additional grandparent. But that she's just trying to be your friend and a grandparent grandchild relationship has so much depth of affection and intimacy, and they're such a sort of a symmetry of care and attention that it can if you're thinking of this person as a potential grandparent, it can feel kind of oppressive to be like stop behaving in a way that somebody who you know, is the parents of my parents, and is very active and president my life and has a deep emotional resonant history with me behaves, and instead, maybe think, okay? This is a person who's trying to befriend me. An do. I wanna be friends with you not do. I wanna be your grandchild. Yeah. Exactly. So I think you're hundred percent, right. Because you're uncomfortable. It saying though, you're trying to overstate what she's doing by saying like she's trying to become my grandma. That's clearly unreasonable. Surely, I have a right to like push her really hard away. Right. You don't need to do that. You can just like if she calls you can pick up and say, I'm not. Able to talk right now. Hope you're well. That's a quick boundary to set. If she tries to offer you food say, I don't have time to stop right now. Have a great day if every once in a while you can set aside like twenty minutes outside of your week to stop by her house and have that Cup of coffee. And then after twenty minutes say up, I've gotta go like, I've got a meeting or I'm meeting a friend, or I have something that I can't miss like, you know, I think can consider this area where you might be able to extend some compassion and time to someone who's not like an octopus trying to like suck the energy in life out of you who may be wants a little more than you wanna give. But who it seems like you haven't tried saying no to yet? And so if you give a little and then say that's enough. I've got to go, you know, if she's able to deal with that. And my guess is she will. And it's not like she's asking you to like drive her around everywhere or move in with her, then you might experience something new and. Kind of unexpected a nice. Yeah. Exactly. Maybe maybe it will have a magical happy ending. You'll get a bestselling autobiography out of it and it works. Yeah. I you've made, you know, both yourself and a relative stranger uncomfortable for all of five minutes and you'll both get over it and move on with your lives. Yeah. Yeah. And I just think the last thing of like, I still live with my parents. We all want to be left alone. None of us want to answer the phone suggests to me, this is maybe not something your parents have taught you right, which is like how to say no sometimes than yes. Other times how to give somebody a little bit. But not everything and that they too are a little unnecessarily avoidance when it comes to saying what you want or what you can. And can't do. So, you know, this is one area where maybe you will have to learn something that your parents were not able to teach you, but just because your parents are really avoidance around picking up the phone and saying, hi, oh cloud. It's nice to hear from you. How's your day going? Oh, sorry. You know? I've gotta run hope you're well, you can do that. Even if they don't do it. You guys don't have to live in fear of an old lady who calls you occasionally. She can't hurt you promise. The worst form of terrorizing. Oh. Today's episode of dear prudence is sponsored by European wax centers acts the pink tax campaign. The pink tax is the extra amount of money. That women are charged every year for basic goods and services, and it adds up to roughly thirteen hundred and fifty one dollars every year on average women pay seven percent more for basic goods and services than men and personal care products are often marketed thirteen percent higher for women than for men. That includes something as basic as deodorant, which when marketed to women costs more about fifty six percent of the time. Even dry cleaning women are often charged more for dry cleaning than men sometimes even for bringing in the same shirt. See for yourself and learn more at acts the pink tax dot com. Well. All right, moving on to something with some lighter steaks. And it's your turn to read it, which is great because it's tonal change. Yeah. Okay. Yes. This subject of this one is constantly covering dear prudence about once every two months. A group of friends of mine budget to go out to eat very good food. We can't afford on a regular basis. However, one friend, recently, moved home, and his flat broke, she constantly says she'd rather be invited and not order anything because it's all about the company and then she picks off our plates were all bit sick of it. But no one wants to exclude her because she eventually finds out in his hurt no-one invited her to attend. Sometimes someone will cover her. But we're all recent college grads who can't afford to budget that much any ideas on how to proceed no one wants to exclude her. But the caveat of you can only come if you can pay for yourself. Seems harsh reminded now by the way of Corey ceca's long ago all piece about how gays split the check. And accompanying picture, which was just like a bunch of really, handsome and enjoying a pool party. That was really Connick conic piece of journalism. It really really was like so many feelings about this letter. Oh, we all your feelings slash has this ever happened to you sort of I have I mostly this happened because I was the broke friend when I when I was a recent college grad, I I was the one who is, you know, working in media making pennies all of my college friends sort of very intelligently got jobs as bankers and lawyers paralegals and things where they were making. What seemed to me to be just unimaginable quantities of money? And I was really lucky because there were one or two people in that group who were extraordinarily compassionate about the fact that I in another person in our group. Where were making like negative dollars? And they kind of went out of their way to. Secretly cover us or or sort of make sure that that we could participate in what was going on. But it was still kind of always awkward, and you know, now that I'm in a much more financially stable position. I try to go out of my way to make sure that other people don't find themselves worrying about whether they're gonna pay rent or pay for drinks. But you know, this is this is. This is slightly different scenario. I think. Yeah. And it's always a little tricky. When somebody writes and says, we're all a bit sick of it. Because there's always like a weak link right in that group of like, everyone when they get together agrees. They don't like it. But then there's always one person at least who's like ED's not that bad. And there's always one person who's like the most upset about it. Yeah. So it might be tricky to speak on behalf of the rest of the group. But let's let's assume that that's not play here. And it's just literally it's one special event every two months. You know, you have a couple of options. And there's always like sure you can do the thing that is just like the most fair thing in the world. And that's fine. I I also think it's good to live in a world where you occasionally help out a friend in special circumstances. And you don't do a lot of scorekeeping. I think this is you know, I this feels like one of those opportunities to me. I if it were like every time we go out to eat. She never orders food always steals like half of ours. And then like doesn't even contribute towards the tip. That'd be different than I would say like your friend sounds like a jerk. But this feels like I dunno. It's every two months. I don't know how much of your food she's taking, but it would be nice. If maybe you just like added a couple of bucks each for this temporary situation, while your friend who is living with at home like needs a hand. I agree with that with. An asterisk next to it. I think that that given the information we have here. There's one of two scenarios that is actually happening, right? The first is that this is a group of friends who get together every two months and the venue in which they get together. Every two months happens to be a restaurant that's a little bit more fancy than they normally go out to eat at because like, it's fun to you know, pantomime the highlife sure, but the point of getting together is getting together and on the other hand, it could be the point of getting together is going to these restaurants, and this is a sort of high end cuisine appreciation club. And the fact that everybody gets along has become friends is great, but it's sort of secondary to the purpose of the club. Which is that we're going to go to these restaurants, and we're gonna experience the best that our city has to offer or whatever it might be. And I think that what you have just posited. Danny like is a perfect kind of split down the middle. It's advice that works in either one of these scenario. But I I feel like. I don't know. I feel like the letter writer like I feel like you're not sure which one of these it is yourself. You know, like if this is a gathering of friends, then amend the venue so that everybody can come without agitator. And if this is about, you know, like flogger aficionados club, then if you can't afford, the fog RAV, and it doesn't make sense to go to fog aficionados club because why are you even going, right? And again, like if you're pretty good, friends, otherwise and you see her regularly. It is okay to talk through hurt feelings without doing what she wants like if you decide as a group that this one thing is like really specific. And that you all don't wanna keep paying for her. You know, make the plans talk to her about it. And if she says, I'm hurt say, I would love to see you some other time. Let's plan something that you can't afford. Whether that's getting together at somebody's house or going on. Hike or making a meal together, and like a allow her to you know, plan an event that she can afford. Now, if it's really just about seeing you guys might guesses she will be able to talk to her feelings with you. And and do this. If it's a little bit more. I really just want the free meal, you know, you don't have to worry so much about that. You can kind of let that one go. You can kinda say like I'm sorry to hear that. But we all don't have a lot of money either. We can only afford to pay our own way. Let me know if you ever want to get together and just like watch movie, so to that to that extent, you certainly don't have to be responsible for hurt feelings if she's not willing to come up with a compromise. But this all reminds me of like the most stressful meal I've ever eaten in my life. Which is when I was like twenty one or twenty two I was visiting New York with no money, and I had like my last twenty dollars with me. And my one thing that I had really wanted to do was like half a fancy breakfast with my friends before had to leave. That's so lovely as like, this is great because you can go to really fancy places if they do breakfast and get a really fancy breakfast, but it's still not going to be as expensive as a fancy dinner. So I went with my friends to the Carlyle hotel Ono. I know where this is going and again had like head like planned ahead had looked at their menu online and was like they have a breakfast menu. I can get like a Cup of coffee and a breakfast there and tip for twenty dollars is like ten years ago. It like, it's a it's a it's a little tricky. But I can definitely pull it off. This is going to be amazing. We're gonna have this like incredibly luxurious breakfast for reasonable price. And then I can go home and like rebuilt my savings. Helen, I didn't know. No that on the weekends fancy hotels do fancy punches where the prices are fixed on their so expensive. It's like seventy dollars. Oh, yeah. Easily. So there were four of us. And we went and they were like it is a breakfast buffet. And I was like, oh great. Okay. And like at this point. I got a feeling of like, oh, this isn't quite what I had pictured but website had normal prices. I'm sure this is just similar to that. And they kept bringing us things like lobster bisque and saying there is a champagne thing down in the cellar. Would you like to be escorted there, and I was just like my God this is highway robbery and at the end, they brought the check, and my friend Ben opened it, and he looked at me with the widest is I have ever seen. And he said Danny this is the of dollars. And I felt so so so so so guilty we all were overdrawn on our Bank accounts that day, and it took me a couple of months to pay everybody those fees back, and I felt so bad. And then when we went out because my friend is a plucky good sport. He like had a little bit more spirits, and he looked at me. And he said I stole all the spawns has oh. Ever since then whenever I travel anywhere. I try to find a spoon and buy it and mail it to him. I got that you should steal the spoon in Belgium. I am now at a position in my life where I don't feel like it's right for me. I mean, it's not right to steal cutlery in general, not like I have the money to buy a spoon. And I you know, I am not. I don't wanna do that. Yeah. But yeah, I felt as bad as I've ever felt it was a million percent my fault. None of us could afford that. And it was just me being so full of wishful thinking. Yeah. That's that's an amazing story. I'm so sorry. I hope you drank a lot of champagne from the champagne cellar, like get your three hundred dollars worth. I'm sure I did this is before I got sober. So I'm sure. Also embarrassed myself in a second. You know, I I'm just looking over the letter again while while thinking about the heart of a three hundred dollar breakfast Bill, and there's another aspect to this that I want to bring up which is that depending on the size of of this group of friends, and I'm assuming we're not talking like fifteen people were talking like four or six people like a normal restaurant tables worth of folks. It's actually a not super great for the restaurant for there to be a person at a meal who is not ordering a I don't mean to like be taking the side of capitol. But I'm thinking in terms of like, the small businesses that restaurants tend to be extremely thin margins. They tend to run on your very broke friend. Who says it's okay, I'll come along. I just won't order anything. Like, it's kind of not super okay to do that the overhead costs of running a restaurant and making sure that there's a chair there in the ways that servers get paid. They frequently are paid less than minimum wage. Thanks to a. The very upsetting legal concept called the tipped minimum where where you can be paid less than minimum wage as long as it's made up through tips that are left the all all of this is a sort of complicated calculus that that largely relies on a person ordering food because we tip usually based on the check total total. So if you know a server who's presumably not making a ton of money is relying on this four top or the six top to provide a certain amount of income to them. And then, you know, a significant percentage of that table is simply not adding anything to the check. It's not really fair to the people who service and labour you're relying on as you visit the restaurant. So it's another reason why I think that your friends desire to be part of this is coming from a place of wanting to be included in God, I relate so deeply to like the terror of exclusion. But I don't know. I think in general, it's it's not super cool for someone to go to a restaurant. Not order anything. Like, you know, if if I and again, I'm coming at this from a place of you know, I have. Enough financial luxury to be able to eat out all the time. And you know, I can buy my own spoons. Now, I like that as a rubric of having made it in the world. But you know, if if we're like lingering too long, even if I don't want dessert, I will order desert in order to effectively pay rent for the table that my friends, and I are sitting at and I think there's that level of consideration as well to take into mind. Yeah. Yeah. It's it's it is hard. Because like in addition to all the very fraught interpersonal AmEx second come up when you share a meal with friends. There's also the fact that like most restaurants, you know, underpay their staff, and they there's a whole host of labor issues that come into play there. So it's, you know, going out to eat has never just going out to eat. There's a lot going on. Today's episode of dear prudence is sponsored by beauty by design PD by design connects you with online aestheticians that will diagnose your skin for only fifteen dollars and curate the perfect sort of vegan and cruelty free natural products. Just for you all the text message and under two minutes, you can answer a few questions about your skin put in a price point and send them a makeup free selfie. The best thing is that since it's all through text message. You'll be able to chat with your petition in your own time and you'll love beauty by design because it's not a subscription service. So you're not locked into anything, you get to order the products that you need when you need them, and shipping and returns are always free. They also have thousands of product combination. So you're aestheticians can choose from any of them to make sure that your skin is getting exactly what you want. If you've ever felt overwhelmed by all the skin care options out there. And if you've been looking for some beauty products that are perfectly tailored to your skin. I cannot recommend beauty by design enough to experience the world's most personalized skin care. Go to beauty. By design dot com slash prudence and use the promo code prudence. First time customers get twenty percent off. That's beauty by design dot com slash prudence and use the promo code prudence to get twenty percent off. But I think we've definitely spent enough time on this one, and we get to take a different money question that oh this one is just. Meaty? All right. So the subject is in debt by myself. Dear prudence, I grew up in a low income family in a middle class town my parents both worked, but there were lean years of cold showers and bouncing checks for groceries are homeless full of love, but we were taught never to mention these financial problems, even to close friends, I graduated from an excellent university and then an elite masters program all the while working fulltime. My friends never knew I was often fighting overdraft fees. Now, I have a dream career in an industry that has not lucrative. My husband and I met in this field, and we share ideals. He grew up wealthy, but we earn the same amount. Now, he knows about my upbringing and his conscious of what he took for granted. As a kid. We split everything except for my six student loans a year ago. I noticed my credit score was suffering from a little loan that had slipped by the wayside the servicer offered to fold it into the rest of my principles that my score would go up this, of course, just meant consolidation at a higher interest rate. My payments ballooned panicked fell behind and ultimately defaulted. My. He has no idea I applied to rehabilitation program, but I don't know how to tell my husband or what to do long term. He has a trust fund that equals my loan amount. But using it seems unfair. And when we got engaged the financial advisers just blanched at my debt, I've always gone to therapy. But I never really found a therapist who understood the twisty psychological underworld of low income living. What should I do? Oh letter writer. I'm so sorry. You should tell your husband immediately is what you should do like. Yeah. Absolutely. Absolutely. Like, you don't have to keep this one to yourself. I love by the way that both of us like blurted out the first thing that came to mind and mine was like, oh, my heart. I feel for you. And you were like take action. Well, like I both right. Like, oh, my heart. I feel for you. But like, oh my gosh. There's so much happening here in this letter. That is so many steps ahead of where you are right now. Like, we don't even need to think about your husband's trust fund. Like, we don't need to think. About financial advisers. We don't need to think about how you are going to pay this off. There's one step in front of you that is the gateway to everything else. And only after you've taken this step will anything else even be able to be considered. Which is you have to tell your husband. This is what marriage is right. This is what partnership is it's that you you share each other's loads. You share each other's burdens like you are in this together and often this is legal, right? Like your debt is legally his debt because you are spouses, I don't actually know specifically how student loans were could maybe that's not true. But like, I think both could depend on what state they're in. And it was also a little unclear to me whether this was a student loan that had been bundled up and other stuff or just a different kind of loan. I think it student loan, but the tiny loans slipping by the wayside language made me wonder if that was like an unrelated credit card or something, but like the. The true an immediate answer to this is that. Much like the conversation that are very first letter writer needs to have with this woman who's who's providing them with unsolicited baked goods and phone calls. You need to have a brief conversation that will cause both you and your husband to feel uncomfortable, and which will be over very quickly. You just need to sit him down and say, listen, I've been keeping something from you. I feel really terrible about that. But I need to tell you the thing now. And as soon as I've told you the thing we can start processing the fact that I've been keeping this from you, which is its own huge set of things, but I have student debt, and it's out of control, and I feel alone. And I don't know what to do next. And I need this to be something we deal with as a marriage as opposed to something I deal with alone. Yeah. And and I think again like framing in that way. Just like you're not telling him I needed to give me a bunch of money right now, you're saying like I need help figuring out what I'm going to do next. And I want your support. And I I wanted to handle this on my own. I didn't want this to affect you. And so I tried to handle it by myself. And that just like it didn't work, and it made me feel isolated and I'm both sorry that I did that. And I also like a did it because. I was anxious and scared. And I'm also just sorry that the financial advisers that you guys saw when you got engaged that they're only response to your debt was to like kind of freak out. And then not offer you any practical help. And I think that can kind of go part and parcel with like, your your your partners general like it sounds like he's a pretty great guy. But that kind of just like, yeah, I guess you don't come from money in the same way that I do, but let's not really worry too much about that. And again, I'm not saying that like he needs to apologize to you for having a trust fund, or he should just say anything, you do with regards to your loans is great and good because you come from the background that you do. But like it'd be good to start by both of you being able to acknowledge non-judgmental that you come from a kind of financial traumatized place where you were told like never share this with people keep up appearances. You know, sometimes you're gonna bounce checks at the grocery store, and the best thing you can do is hide that from your friends, and that's hard to unlearn. It creates a like a particular mindset, as as, you know, really really well, and you need help doing with this right now like you're not going to be thrown in jail for defaulting on student loans. You you know, that there's gonna be a way out of this, even though it might be long and arduous arduous. The thank God, there's not a magazine about food called arduous a hard time with that too. But you know, I think among the other things that you're going to want to to do is to figure out. How can you find financial advisers who can offer you practical advice about like big, big loans and defaults? Who aren't just like, ooh. If your problem, isn't I have eight trust funds. I don't know what to say to you like that's not a helpful financial adviser, and you should fire them. Yeah. I get the sense from reading between the lines. In your letter that these might not be your financial advisers might be the financial advisors of your husband's parents like his family. Yeah. And I think that part of this also exactly what you said Denny is you need to have financial advice that is being given to you. That's not being given to you as you know, sort of the accessory of. The the spouse of a wealthy person. But like a financial advisor who's speaking to you and your husband is your own unit because you guys are a family, and you have shared finances, and you have a shared life together. And it's such a cliche, but the truth is, you know, like, the only thing that's harder to talk about honestly than Sex's money, and it's extraordinarily vulnerable. It has all of the same weird trappings is talking about sex, except like in some ways, it's more intimate at it's more personal, and it feels much more like opening yourself up to judgment because we attach incorrectly, but we attach such moral Valence to prosperity and. You're not a bad person because you have dead you are not less than your husband because you have debt, and he doesn't you're just a person who has debt, and he's a person who doesn't realize you have debt, and you can blend those together by taking a deep breath and jumping into the swimming pool of honesty, you know, like it's gonna feel really hard until you open your mouth in. You're saying it, and then it's gonna feel really easy, and you're gonna feel a million pounds lift off your shoulders, and then you're going to be able to move forward and solve the problem together. And you eliminate what I think is the biggest problem here. The real problem is that you are carrying a secret. And as soon as it's not a secret anymore. It's not gonna be shame. It's just going to be something that you can tackle. And you can solve you can overcome together yet L. I'll just add to one thing that you may wanna look for is a therapist who who specializes in like addressing financial issues. And I don't mean like a financial advisor who who has like a therapeutic air. I mean, like an actual psychotherapist like a clinician who specializes in things like financial trauma. The you can also there are some like financial psychotherapists who are also certified consumer credit counselors who can offer counseling and financial education money management, budgeting cetera. Bankruptcy advice. Those people exists. And I would really encourage you to seek them out. I don't have a lot of specific advice about that. I imagine that. It'd be kind of like making sure, you know, the difference between like a dietitian nutritionist. Sionist inasmuch as there are probably lots of people who will build themselves as financial specialists who are in fact, a little closer to appear mid scheme. You know, do a little research make sure that you find somebody who is, you know, certified legitimate who who doesn't promise I'm going to get you out of debt and sixty days, but but look for that seek out therapists and financial advisers specifically who deal with people who are panicked about their debt. There's a lot of people who are panicked about their debt. It's a big group of people. You're not alone. There. You are absolutely not alone there, and there are people who can help you out. And again, it doesn't mean that this is gonna be fixed in a year, but people who can help you figure out a plan. So that you can live a life where this is something that you do have to keep an eye on. But it doesn't take over your entire future. I also would not bring up your husband's trust fund, unless it's something that the two of you talk about fairly often bring it up. If you reach a point in the conversation where the two of you are sort of sitting down and going through every possible option. But yeah, trust funds are complicated. I don't have one. And I don't really know how the construction of them works. But what I have learned from watching a lot of movies and TV shows, but very rich people is that they often have provisions and limitations and restrictive clauses. And it may be possible that your husband can't cash in his trust fund. Even if you wanted to just sign all of it over to your student loan company, and it may be possible that he doesn't want to for whatever reason I think it's worth having a secondary conversation that is not tied to your feelings of guilt. And shame about the secret that you've been keeping from your husband or your very real. But undeserved sense of shame for being a person who has come from lower income class than he has like don't complete these two conversations. They're they're difficult in different ways. Is one of them is urgent and necessary for the health of your relationship and for for your own health as a human being and the other one is sort of being like, hey like you own this really expensive box of money. Like what's the deal with that? Also, just say fuck student loans seriously, fuck student loans so much. Yeah. Amen to that should not have to go into six figure debt to get an education, and it's fucking unconscionable. The in this country, a lot of people do and like one of the things that you're seeing right now is just like the ways in which like having a family that has money means you can go to college and maintain those same like, social and class based signifier z-, and then just like sale on easy, breezy and somebody who comes from family without money. Even if you like get a job with the same amount like the same salary. Your husband has because you are starting out at like a way lower point, you're constantly trying to bail this ship out and thinking like what's the matter with me that I can't get to where my husband is even though you're both working the same amount. And I'm sorry and capitalism was fucking garbage. And I'm sorry earlier in in a letter. You also mentioned that while you in grad school, your friends never knew that you were over drafting your Bank account, and you know, we've. Talked a lot in the last couple of minutes about how it can feel shameful to not be able to afford things especially when other people around you seem to have everything really easy. But like try to teach yourself to be honest about where you are with money to other people try to and that that is so much easier said than done, but if you are able to break yourself of the the habit of lying to your friends about being okay, when you're not okay things will get easier. Everybody has been broke at some point. If not everybody has been poor most everybody has been broke or knows what it feels like to not be able to get there. Or does what it feels like to feel hampered in some way? And you know, if you say to your friends, I can't go out to dinner, I'm over drafting my Bank account, and they are cruel to you in response to that like dump those friends man, like don't don't protect yourself from finding out your friends are assholes like learn how to be honest with yourself and everything will. Feel less. Burdensome. All right time for the next letter which. Mine right maddening in a different way. Yeah. Oh, man. So many people that just to be thrown in wells. All right. Yeah. You get to read this you. The subject of this one is can't keep overlooking. Dear prudence after challenging pregnancy. I had my first child five months ago, I gained forty pounds while pregnant, and I have not lost any of it yet. My husband gained a similar amount of weight during this time. Well, we both accept are temporarily fuller figures, my mother-in-law appears to be disgusted with us. Just one month post-partum she began telling us that we needed to find time to work out more because the baby needs to be healthy. He was very needy. Newborn she has not relented, and it has been months. Most recently she lectured, my husband about having beer in the refrigerator because of his beer belly. And he doesn't even have one. I'm struggling with her comments because they started the moment we told her I was pregnant I've been with my husband eight years, and I've had an otherwise good relationship with my mother-in-law. But when she found out I was pregnant she asked if I was going to have an abortion when she saw his stunned. I was by this. She claimed that any woman is serious. About her career as I was wouldn't consider children. She loves her son. And she has great around him. But I'm struggling to get past all of this. How do I overcome the fat shaming and hurtful comments? What the hell is wrong with this woman. Like who who who in this universe responds to their son's partner of eight years saying, hey, I'm pregnant with? So are you going to get an abortion? I it just feels like her thing is that she says, whatever is on her mind, and everyone is so busy like looking shocked that they forget to say what the hell. And then she just keeps on saying whatever she wants is like some like horrible like Ricky surveys shot comic. I love offending people. Mother-in-law who like God? Thank you. For mighty me, Ricky surveys, a person are you really? Celio reminder God's years trying to forget that part of the early offs. Yeah. This this is a nightmare. I I'm so sorry. Stop telling your mother in law to like, you you don't need to overcome this. Now you and your husband get to tell his mother that she can either put a lid on it or she can go home. That's what you do. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. That's exactly it. I mean, this is like the shortest answer ever. Just tell her to stop and tell her that if she doesn't stop you will stop being her life yet, and this nonsense about like when you're obviously stunned because she says are you going to have an abortion when she tries to give you an obvious like li- like, oh, I'm just really concerned about your career. You don't have to make up for her in that moment. You can continue to say like that's a horrible thing to say or please apologize or I need you to go. All of those are really, okay. Like, you don't have to buy her bullshit when she says things like, quote, your baby needs you to be healthy. Like that is bullshit you gave birth five months ago grew a human inside your body, and yet people put on some weight, sometimes sometimes they take it off. Sometimes they don't. You know, I this. I you know, and also like you don't have to like. Gently on rampart to the idea. Read. You guys are okay. Like, you don't have to show up at her house with like pamphlets about health at any size in like, you know, introduction to the Fatto sphere and stuff legally. She doesn't have to get it intellectually. She just needs to stop doing it. Right. And you also you do not have to be the person to sale of this to her like presumably your husband has agency. And she is his mother. And you know, I think that in relationships the way that we parcel out sort of like the point of contact for various inlaws is not always like, I'm in charge of dealing with my parents, and you're in charge of dealing with your parents. But usually it tends to work out pretty nicely that way, and this is a, you know, she's commenting on your husband's body to an an she's commenting on the two of you as parents and. In your parenting style, and your child that you share together and just because you're a mother, and she's a mother doesn't mean that you have to be the one to have this conversation like sit your husband down and be like, this is not okay. And you need to talk to your mother about this. Yeah. And like, it seems like your husband has maybe been used to getting a lot of put-downs from his mother or you both are because you say this has been going on since you told her you were pregnant and your baby is now five months old, which means it's been more than a year of her saying just wild shit about your body's. And you don't say anything about other other than the fact that you clearly appeared shocked that time. And so I'm not I'm not like I don't want to add to clearly you're already feeling beaten down enough. But you do not deserve this. This is not like normal mild family. Critique this is really cruel. And I gotta tell you I worry about whether or not she's gonna. Say shit like this to your kid in a couple of years. You know ahead a question earlier this week in the column that was about a woman who is apparent of eight year old six year old, and she was saying, you know, my mother-in-law calls one of them fat all the time and compares the two of them to each other. And I eight and six like that's old enough to start developing an eating disorder and like horrible body image issues. It's definitely old enough to remember for the rest of your life that apparently it's okay for adults to comment on your body, and disparage it and compare it to your siblings like this stuff like carries generational, weight and trauma, and it's awful. And it's cruel and aid is not born out of an actual concern or interest in your health. And that's like just a total bullshit excuse that you can dismiss and you just get to say, you know, you need to stop commenting on our bodies right now. And if you can't do that, let us know when you can and we'll see then. Yes, the universe has given you a beautiful opportunity to start enforcing boundaries. Right now. And yeah, and I'm sorry that you and your husband haven't been able to up until now. But that doesn't mean you can't start now. Yep. And the sooner you start the easier it's going to be like, you don't want to wake up in five years and realize that that this misery, and you're gonna have to change your phone number and move out under cover of night and not tell her where you're going. I mean like enforce the boundaries now. So that I mean, this is the female, right? And I feel like this is often the theme in a lot of a lot of answers to to these sorts of questions like you need to have a brief uncomfortable conversation that everyone is gonna get over eventually. And then then world like life is going to be better in. You really can't say this enough. Make your husband do this like make him be the person who's at least the prime mover in this conversation like have him speak up to his mother. He knows her. He knows their history. They have a history together. They have a conversational dynamic. This is an opportunity for him to assert the boundaries of his primary family, which is you and your child an say like this is the thing that matters to me. This is the space that I defend and she's, you know, getting her sort of tentacles of control into your family unit. And that's not okay. And it doesn't mean you have to build like, a, you know, an impermeable wall between the two of you. But he needs to be able to stand up and say, you're hurting my family, and I need you to stop right. Hopefully, he does that if he doesn't if he's totally unwilling to then like, you have my full permission to go ahead and hold that boundary and like fine. You know, like become like, I if she if your mother-in-law wants to turn it into like, I don't know why she so mean to me sorry those terrible imitation of league. I found it very just just be willing to be like. Yep. I'll be the bitch today. Like, absolutely, you're right. I'm totally unreasonable and I- overreact to everything and get outta my damn house. Like if your husband can't do that. I hope he can hope you can encourage him to. But if you can't manage his mother, you know, do you get to say actually people who insult our appearances and like nonstop nitpick what we eat and drink aren't welcome in our home. We would love to see you again, if you ever decide you're willing to let the subject drop, and that just makes it so clear that the unreasonable one is her and that what she is being asked to do is incredibly low key and easy to do. But is just I my worry is that you feel like because we haven't effectively set boundaries with her before if we try to do it. Now, it'll feel a little arbitrary and she'll she won't have gotten enough like advance warning. Right. Like, she's not going to agree. She's of course, gonna think you're overreacting. She is going to try to convince you that you're. Nanas for objecting to what she does. That's her deal. That is to be expected be prepared for it. Don't worry about it. She's she's bananas. She's mean, she stomps all over you. So any attempt at like setting a reasonable boundary. She is going to react to if you have just like shoved a knife into her chest. Yep. You haven't all you're asking her is to stop calling you fat. That's an incredibly low bar. You know, I think this is one of those great examples where you can say like if a stranger did this to me, what would I do? And if I were walking on the street and a stranger said, you're fat and you need to lose weight. And I don't think you should be eating that I would not like invite that stranger into my home. So don't do the same thing with your mother-in-law, treat her like a stranger, and if she can't meet basic politeness, she doesn't get to come visit. And if she ever says anything to again that is on par with like asking if you're gonna get an abortion when you present her with the joyous news of your pregnancy. Like practice in your head like starting now. Right practice saying to her. That's not funny, and that's not appropriate. And just shut it down. Usually, you only have to shut it down once or twice, and then it sticks. Yeah. Well, Helen, I think we have time for a voicemail. Yes. And I'm excited about this. Because it's been a little while since they ran one. And this one has just been stumping me. Broody? I am a person who manages a message board for people with particular disability. And we discovered recently that one of our people who have been on that message board don't have the disability. But they have b I d which I believe stand for bodily integrity integration disorder. And so they believe they should have disability. The the problem that we have is that they have been using this to connect with women to to get various kinds of attention for women who also have the disorder. They are they believe that they have. And I'm I'm trying to figure out how to navigate the fact that the ideas over. A real physical issue with the fact that many of the event in the group are feeling as though they have been manipulated by this person. It's it's really hard issue, obviously for people with this physical disorder. But also, unsure it's hard to be a person with I ID who will they ought to have the physical disorder. And so I really am interested in this in this issue. I I should note that the physical disability that I'm relate referring to is something that is awesome, set aside by men and the person who has who has joined the group is who has the ID is a man so help help I would love some help. Thanks. How who so I want to start by trying to limit the scope of what you and I can do today. Yeah. I think that will be held. Awful. Yeah. You manage a message board, which means that, you know, you're not you don't have a legal obligation to provide a platform for all perspectives, you serve a particular population. And you get to decide collectively both the moderators as well as the people who post on your message board. You know, to what extent you all wanna try to sometimes air on the side of letting everybody who might have a claim to this community in versus being more restrictive. And that you were allowed to collectively make that call you can talk amongst yourselves. You can ask for advice from your users and from your members. I I don't mean you should like create a poll tomorrow on the front page of your message board, but you can act absolutely say and start with. I'm really unclear here on the one hand. I don't want to be so exclusive that we turn away people who could really use this on the other hand. I wanna make sure that the people who post here feel like there's a coherent standard for what constitutes like a user of this group, and you know, how closed do we wanna beat? These are all totally. Okay. Questions to ask as a group, and you get to figure that out. There's not one. One right or wrong way to be a message board. Some message boards are really highly moderated restrictive and others are a lot more like open. And if you if you all decide collectively that you wanna be one and a bunch of people decide we'd rather be the other way, they can go start another one. So you're not like. I think you can relieve a little bit of the pressure here because it's not like the decision that you make will ultimately decide whether or not this particular individual can ever talk to other people about their like be. I d it's it's not like you're the only thing standing in the way between this guy and meaningful connection help solidarity. Whatever right. Absolutely. Yeah. No that that was perfectly expressed. And I think that your concern for the well-being of the people who've come to your message who don't have the ID, but who have the disorder that your message board is extensively creating a community around. That it sounds like that is your priority. And you know, I I I think you know, Danny giving you permission to say that you can restrict the scope of that you can choose to serve the people that you've chosen to serve on that you've chosen to be community creator for. Yeah. I will just pause quickly say, I don't know you say that you've recently discovered this. So I I assume it's not that this guy told you that certainly to whatever extent, you you, can, you know, make sure that you have all the relevant information. If this is just a rumor or something you're not sure about I would not encourage you to make a decision based on. You're not sure about but then again like to that extent. I would not encourage you to like contact somebody. You don't know and demand that they? Furnished you with proof of their disability. There's kind of like a bad habit of that among a lot of people like you, you you often hear about people who for example, like have a placard. The entitles them to a particular parking space. And if they don't like, quote, look disabled enough people harass them and sometimes they're even violent with them. So I certainly I don't know what kind of information you have. But if you're able to get clarity. Or if you're you're quite sure that this is an accurate assessment of the situation. I think you have enough information to make a decision if you don't and there's no way to get more information without like. Demanding somebody else proved their disability to you. I think it's probably better to err on the side of not doing that. Because I think nothing there would always be. If there is a chance that I like harassing are making life more difficult for a person with disability air on the side of not doing that. So what I understand about D is that is generally something that comes in individuals who feel that they should have one or more of their limbs amputated, and it's it's a kind of psychologically controversial. State of being I don't know if it's recognized as a specific. Thing in the DSM five. But, but it's a fair believe that it's not I believe it was not in either the DSM five or the DSM for right and. But you know, I it's individuals who who feel in a fairly body Dismore fixed sense that they should have one or more of their limbs amputated, it's incredibly complicated. It's it's. Complicated on every conceivable level and it. Seems to make a lot of sense to me, especially if you're concerned that people in this space that you've created where people can come to for support and security into feel like they're part of a community interact with a man who. And I'm what I'm getting from the voice mail here is that he misrepresented himself that instead of saying that he was a person with the idea that he stated that he was a person who had the physical disability as the people on your boards had perhaps he does not actually have it. I mean. I would imagine the simple misrepresentation is against your community guidelines. So you don't have to zealously say no people with the idea are allowed in the space. I think what you can say is you have to be honest about who you are. Right. 'cause I imagine some people who post on the message board may be like partners of people or family members of people, and you, you know, I I don't know. Maybe that's not the case. But yeah, you don't have to say. The problem is that you misrepresented yourself in order to get people to share vulnerable information. And that that's grounds for you know, not being able to post. It is particularly commendable that you're looking out for a. The potential of people in your community to be sexually exploited. And that's an incredibly tricky line to to maintain to make sure that people have the space to express their full consensual sexual selves without putting themselves into a position or without you feeling you facilitated them ending up in a position where they feel objectified. Taken advantage of fetish is in ways that they do not want to be. I do think that all of that kind of winds up being solved by a certain amount of umbrella policy of it is not okay to misrepresent yourself. Yeah. Yeah. And again, I what I'm hearing. Here is the fear of is there any chance that I just don't know enough about this. And it's it's it's actually like something that I should be kind of bending over backwards to accommodate or, you know, I'm inclined to think of like that really strange. Twitter thing that happened this week where somebody announced that this like semi popular like women's comedy tweet account was actually being run by a guy who was using his now ex wife's avatar, and like she was divorcing him in getting custody account was very strange and very messy, and at least part of the like discomfort. I it seems like some people had around. It was they were like is it, okay? To think this guy did something really goofy. Or am. I being incidentally, transphobic, if I do so and like, certainly as you and I were talking about this. I think one of the things that came up for both of us. It was like well like like some people claim that it's like sexual fetishism thing and some people claim that at the mental disorder in like I was like, oh that makes me feel uncomfortable. Because people have said that about being trans before and I'm trans and I don't like when people say that about me. I think it's always really great to just say, I don't have to compare this to other things can just be what it is right now. And you are not making any kind of official qualified ruling about the causes. Or the effects or the treatments for this particular diagnosis? Right. That's exactly you're not saying, you know, this person has an awful evil fetish and they are predator. And you're not saying this person is in need of medical treatment. Or or anything else? You're just saying. You're clarifying who's the population that we serve does this particular person fall under that umbrella. It sounds like the answer is no and to that like to that end you can encourage this person to go look for support elsewhere. But that this community is not for them. Yeah. It it. It's complicated. But it's also kind of simple. And again, I I want to be like really clear like I, you know, it's okay to feel uncomfortable. And it's okay to think, you know. But if I feel this way about one issue don't have to be consistent about it with all issues. No, that's the great part about being alive different things can be different. And that's really really fine. But yeah, I think you know, the thing that you need to take away from this is the fact that many of the women in the group feel as if they've been manipulated. If this guy lied to them about the nature of his lived experience in order to get them to confess intimate vulnerable things. The not is a very good reason to suggest that he should look for community. Elsewhere and the you're not like consigning him to outer darkness. He can go on the whole rest of the internet. You know, there's a big internet out there. Yeah. I don't I I don't even know what to add to this. It just I'm so sorry that. That the people who came to you're looking for safety found themselves in a position where they felt taken advantage of. And I'm so grateful that someone with your conscientiousness is looking out for them. Yeah. And it's not like, cruel or dismissive. If you say like you violated our terms of service, and you gotta go classic month of your, you know, like, yeah. The internet survives because of Mods like you. You're done the real world. You can just focus on the behavior. You don't have to worry about what kind of help he may or may not need. He can figure that out. That's not your problem. Your problem is just maintaining a message board where like to the best of your ability. You make sure that it serves the member the members that it. It it tries to serve this might be a fun and exciting opportunity also to to consider revisiting the rules of the message board or creating a code of conduct. Or getting feedback from active members in maybe everybody, not just active members. But especially the Lakers to find out. You know, what is it that they're looking for like consider the community is a whole, and and this can range if I know like, my lawyer friends will sometime say like extreme cases, make bad policy. Like, we're not suggesting that you need to set up a series of rules that assume that bad actors like this are going to keep coming in like, you don't have to suddenly start demanding credentials from everybody. But but yet take this opportunity to kind of reassess what our values who do we want to prioritize, and how can we of make it clear not necessarily while like checking for evidence every time somebody tries to post, but how do we make it clear like who's this four? So that people can make informed decisions. If it doesn't apply to them that they should look elsewhere. And then again, you know, hope that you're able to maintain good boundaries without d. Manding people like show you their medical records before asking a question. It's a hard balance a strike, and I commend you. It's hard work. It is. All right. Helen, I'm never answering another question again. I'm done that was like that is that is a real blockbuster of a question that one. Yeah, they were all big ones. And I just I wanted just like eat a spoonful of peanut butter in the nap for like a week. I do want to start referring to myself as other people's love. Oh boy. An introduce myself as I'm Helen Danny's love, I'm Helen Ryan's love. I mean, follow your bliss. I never want to hear that expression ever. Again. You don't wanna be in -sconsin in my life and my love God. I don't intend to subvert your love. It was. So like, I don't know. It was very charming. It was very like I'm so hostile that. My hus- Tilleke is gonna take the form of heightened politeness and correctness of speech, right? Like whenever. Are you ratchet up into into high diction? That's like a really good sign that like, you know, you're wrong. Yeah. I don't know that I've ever described myself as being ensconced in anything, but I'm gonna try a big cardigan or like a a sofa. But I'll figure out something new and Scots myself. Helen, thank you so much. I appreciate you. So so so much. What are you? What are you cooking right now? I have been really into spaghetti and meatballs lately, I like wound. It there's something super. I mean, I make pasta all the time. But like spaghetti and meatballs is simul. There's something very a conic about that. Like who who like makes spaghetti and meatballs? Yeah. I mean. I'm right there. I do not disagree. That is an iconic dish. It's been awesome making it like you make them meatballs. And like they they get better like making meatballs is kind of like making a stew where like they taste way. Better the next day because of the way the meat and fat work with flavors and things like that. So you make this huge pot of meatballs in sauce. And he stick it in the fridge. And then the next day. All you have to do is boil spaghetti and heat up the meatballs in sauce, and you have a very fast dinner that took four hours the day before and you feel like a prince like Elliott's, it's amazing. It's like red sauce royalties heaven, I'm so into it. I'm so so like ashamed that I tried to say pasta is really good in the middle of that lovely speech about how good it is that you can just very quietly hear me say in the middle of it pasta is really good which is just run under current. If that underneath the whole like like subliminal messaging under everything pastas really's caught. All right. Helen. Thank you. So so much have a fabulous rest of the day. Thanks to any. Thanks for listening to dear prudence. Our producers, Phil circus. Our theme music is composed by Robin Hilton production assistance was by Taylor Simmons. Don't miss an episode of the show had to sleep dot com slash dear prudence to subscribe. And remember you can always hear more prudence by joining sleep. Plus, go to sleep dot com slash pretty pod to sign up. If you want me to answer your question. Call me leave a message at four zero one three seven one dear that's three three to seven. And you might hear your answer on an episode of the show. You don't have to use your real name or location and at your request. We can even alter the sound of your voice, keep it short, thirty seconds a minute tops. Thanks for listening. And on today's plus segments. Presumably, there's a reason that his love love that phrasing. Right. My love. This is his love his love Esther. I found the language that the two of them used in their like Facebook messages to one another to be absolutely astonished. I mean, it's amazing like who writes like that? I don't I feel like somebody who's like about to become an Instagram scammer calls themselves somebody else's love like it's such your way of being like, this is how serious we are words like girlfriend or partner. Don't apply to us to listen to the rest of that conversation. Join slate plus now at slate dot com forward slash pretty pot.

writer this magazine Helen Rosner Lifelock New York magazine partner America advisor Pilin grace Fiat Danny Sievers New York harassment Daniel Mallory Maury editor
Dear Prudence: The "Up For Sitting Down" Edition

Slate's Dear Prudence

1:07:40 hr | 2 years ago

Dear Prudence: The "Up For Sitting Down" Edition

"Odd. You're you're Putin. Prudence? Here. Do you think that I should contact him again help? Thank thank you. Hello and welcome back to the dear prudence show once again. And as always I am your host. Dear prudence, also known as Daniel Berg with me in the studio this week is no one there's an empty chair next to me. And there hasn't been an empty chair next to me in a long time listeners. If you don't mind pardoning me for just a second. I think I'm gonna talk to my producer Phil can you come in here. Hey, Danny what's up nothing much? I dunno. It's New Year's day. And there's nobody in the guest chairs this really how we wanted to start the new year. I think it's just that everyone has today off, you know, people wanna stay at home. I tried to call the guests that you ask for tried giving jasmine Sanders and Jennifer Egan, grace Lavery, no response, even grace. She wasn't available that stings well keep trying, but I wanna try something. I thought maybe we could go back in time and experience a few of the many memorable letters that have read over the last year. Oh that sounds good. But wait did you say go back in time? How are we going to go back in time? All you have to do is look out into the middle distance and repeat after me today show. Today's show is brought to you by is brought to you by twenty eighteen twenty eighteen twenty. All right. We've got office. Contrast this week. The subject of this office rule breaker prudence just over week ago. I was signed out of work for two weeks with slipped disk the day after I got signed out was my works Christmas party. I know that social rules probably state. I shouldn't go if I'm signed off sick. Although I'm usually a stickler for rules. I find it difficult to follow them when I can't see the logic behind them. I had been looking forward to this occasion for months, and I had reasoned that if I'd manage to drag myself into work for the three days before I got signed out for my injury. I could drag myself to a restaurant for one evening. This Christmas party was a symbol sit down dinner. The restaurant was owned by colleagues family member. And he had arranged for an especially comfortable chair for me to sit on followed by drinks at nearby pup. Had it been more strenuous, of course, wouldn't have gone. But sitting down was not actively ruled out by my doctor. So I figured it shouldn't make any difference. Whether I sat at home or sat in a restaurant, I anticipated some pushback, so when a more senior colleague joked about my coming in when I was signed out. I late heartedly mentioned that I'd managed to come to work for an active job for several days with. My injury. So certainly able to sit in a restaurant for a couple of hours at hoped. This would be the end of it. But a collie told me today that another senior member of the staff who wasn't even at the meal made a joking dig about my presence at the Christmas. Do I am now concerned about my reputation when I return I still believe I was justified in attending wasn't on bedrest and the requirements of my job that I have been medically signed off from are much more physically taxing than going to supper, and I'd happily defend my case. But part of the problem is I don't believe anything will be set directly to me. I thought about raising it with my boss, but if I mentioned, the recent comment, I will implicate, my friend. She's also senior to me and has already been told off for quote unquote, gossiping with people lower than her. I don't want her to get in trouble. When I think she did the right thing by telling me, this is an exciting office. Yeah. There's lot going on right like Christmas dinner like scandal. Like gossiping, you know, networks of route buke like man, you guys are everybody's like everybody's talking about everybody. And you're looking forward to a holiday Christmas party like. So much. So that you'd rather go than stay at home, which like I cannot relate to at. I've having never been to an office Christmas party of any kind. I can't relate to that. But maybe they really great office or maybe the restaurants. Really good. Yeah. I guess maybe I say great chair somebody day just wrote that ofter after our holiday parties are wage theft. And I was just like. I love the online and also yes. I feel like this is a letter where I want to give the letter writer permission to ignore this problem because it is not a problem to me. Yeah. I don't know what you would say to your director, especially since you have not been like, formerly or even informally rebuked for this. Yeah. So I suppose if you wanted to be really like, quote, unquote, proactive you can say to your director. Hey, I'm aware that there may have been a little confusion. She was my reasoning behind it. I hope that's a right with you. But I have to say I'm not so keen on the justification you gave in the moment. And I want you to at least consider some of the reasons behind why other people looked a little bit askance. So number one is this I bristled at this. I find rules difficult to follow. And I can't see the along behind them. I mean, who among us does know lots of life is full of dum arbitrary rules that we don't care, but this sort of removes agency from you this sort of makes it sound like I being so devoted to logic. Simply cannot force myself to do dumb things like the rest of you idiots when they don't make perfect beautiful logical sense. And I'm aware that that's not how you put it. But it sort of makes it sound like if someone hasn't explained rule sufficiently to you, you cannot follow it. And that's just not true. So again, not to say that you are a monster for going and sitting at a restaurant for a couple of hours, but you could have gone that was an option, and especially simply because you said I was able to force myself to work for three days before I finally got the doctor's note. That's not a reason to go, my friend, like the reason you were given medical leave with so that you could rest and take care of yourself. And I'm aware that that doesn't mean being on bedrest. But if you're justification is well, I already put myself in harm's way by making myself work, when I shouldn't this is okay to, you know, part of the reason that you were given medical leave was so that you could take care of yourself and come back to work rested and ready, and so even if this just gives off the appearance of Malinga ring, or, you know, a possible abuse of medical leave again, not that I'm saying it was like really really blatant or awful. I'm just. Sometimes we have to be aware of our professional reputations. In a way that maybe isn't like perfectly logical evacue, but the takes into account not just what's going on with someone internally, but also appearances. So I I don't think that that was the slam dunk justification that. Maybe you thought it was. Yeah, I think it's it's also interesting that there is a lot of exposition in this letter about the chairs on the sitting and like a lot of justification about. Why is okay TV at the Christmas party like so on and so forth. And I wonder there's both a part of me wonders, whether there's some sort of internal office politics jockeying that's happening about like needing to preserve your reputation in such a way that it feels really important to you to make sure that everybody knows that like you were doing it by the book, and you are following these arbitrary rules that nobody else has to follow. But like your following them. Well, yeah. And especially with that mentioned towards the end about the other colleague being told off for gossiping. It does suggest that maybe there's like some enhanced scrutiny around the lately like maybe previously things have been a little more lax. And now everyone's feeling a little more self conscious. Yeah. Or that? Maybe this person is really has a need to be seen as sort of like above the fray everybody else. Like, oh, I follow all the rules, but everybody else's gossipy, etc. I can't take it when somebody jokes about me. And I need them to know that like, it's okay, I'm still good. Like, I've still golden even though I did this thing, but let me justify it. But I will say this too. I think come came down a little bit hard on the letter writer in the beginning. And I don't wanna make it sound. Like, I think you're a real jerk who who never follows rules or that you should, you know, especially since you mentioned your job is pretty physically taxing. And it's not like you work in office job where you couldn't sit in a chair, but you could sit in a restaurant, and that would have been confusing for people. I inclined to say, I get it. I think you're justification the moment was a little bit off. But I also think it's really okay that you felt like you were up to sitting down for a couple of hours went and had a good time. I don't think you should have to apologize for that. And unless you're director raises the issue with you. I don't think you should worry too much like, yeah. I think I would not worry. I think if the still bothers you in three weeks, maybe you could say your boss. Hey, I'm getting the five in the office that maybe people are upset about this. And I just want to check in and make sure that there's nothing I need to do to smooth it over. Yeah. And the my guess is just like if it's about the Christmas party like it's going to blow over pretty quickly. Yeah. It doesn't sound. Like there's been a ton of talk one person made a joke about it. You know with more stuff comes back to you. I think that that would make sense. It's at least worth considering you know, in the future, would I wanna make a different choice, not necessarily because what I did was like unequivocally wrong, but just to bear in mind that. You know, sometimes you have to keep up appearances or just make sure that you avoid the appearance of of doing that you wouldn't want people to think you were doing. But I know I keep looking over this. It's like you got signed off to lift a bunch of stuff not to not sit down, and as a person who has had very physical jobs in my life. I can really relate to that. They are really different. It is very different to be lifting a lot of heavy things. And to be sitting like, they require very different things sitting kills you also. But in a different way. Yeah. You know, I'm gonna like soften would I initially said to you like a solid seventy percent. I think I read too much into the thing about I don't like to follow rules, and there's no logic behind it. I think I was not reading you in good faith there. And I think you were totally right to say, this is really different than the kind of work can't do and it happens once a year, and I wanted to go. Yes, I think it makes a lot of sense you were justified in going. Yeah. Don't don't worry about it. Unless it comes up again. And then feel free to like chat about it with your boss, but mostly just like casual take care of yourself. Get back to. I think people will not linger on this one for a really long time. Like, this was a one and done. Yeah. Agreed. Yeah. Well, thank you letter writer, please accept my apologies for coming on strong. And then you know, dialing way every once in a while that happens. Okay. We're all human. So I'm kind of curious before we dive into our voicemail. You mentioned obviously, you work with farms you farm. Yes. With food. You've had a lot of physically demanding jobs. I feel like a lot of the questions that I get are about like office jobs. What is the greatest like dear prudence letter? You could have sent in during your time where he with food. Oh, wow. Can you from the suburbs? Dirt's? Oh, van the greatest like these rutabagas, don't like me. Not have HR departments, generally speaking. Well, so it depends. A lot of the agriculture that I've been involved in has been sort of like nonprofit adjacent. And or I did do a brief stint wherein I dove into the four profit sector used to grow food for by. Right. Oh, shoot go. Yeah. So that was really different. And they definitely had an HR department. Yeah. I feel like there is a. Mostly this has not happened to me personally. But when you're farming you're stuck with a lot of people in sometimes a large space, but in an intimate way for many hours, and you will talk about like anything that you could possibly think of you'll know the names of all their cats like you will know what they had for breakfast that morning. And if there's an interpersonal issue like you are going to know. I have definitely known people who have had like crazy interpersonal issues with people that they work with where you're like, literally, here's me, and here's you, and there's some carrots in between us, and we have to talk to each other all day, or we're going to sing Christmas carols until we die out here in the sun. God it's like carrots are not gonna help remove the tension in anyway. And there's definitely like from a personal standpoint. There have been lots and lots of times where like it's unclear whether you're going to end up being able to work through the winter not in then kind of trying to figure out like do I qualify for unemployment. Once should I do do. I talk to this person. Then they'll like offer you sort of like a side deal. And then you say, I don't really want to do that. 'cause I'm a farmer, and I don't see for wanna talk to people about their vegetables. I just wanna grow them. Yeah. Yeah. I've been in that situation. But mostly it's like, you will I know so much about people that I will never see again. That is. I have no co workers that I'm like, man. I miss it. That's not true. I have a couple of co workers that were great. But like generally speaking, especially at certain types of jobs, you get to know somebody incredibly well for a year and a half and the never see each other again. And you're just like I've so much information in my head about your relationship with your last boyfriend and your mother, and I can't delete it. But we talk again. But now we're never going to talk about an never going to get the follow up. Most of my workers. I really love and I actually miss working with a lot. Because when you know so much about somebody. Then like, you wanna know what happens to them? I must like man, I wonder whatever happened with her like dying cat. I'm the cat died is what happened not maybe catch shy. Yeah. Oh, surely by now that was not the thing that killed the cat. The cat is now dead. Yeah. I'm I'm very much a proponent of like, you know, no friends, no memories. Not at this. Things are bad. I just feel like especially in the bay area. People already really put in a plug for like, we're family be friends with people at work, and I'm like no show up. Get your job done. Go home. Nobody's names every washed up on the shore. And you have no memory of who you were just shit. Out. Yeah. Which is not going to be useful for everyone. But. Yeah. I like it is. I feel like I'm a talker. And so I will make people talk to me in the field. Even if they don't want to and now, I feel bad for people. Like you like I wish that you didn't know anything trust that. I am pretty good at making sure that I keep for myself throughout the day. And it's not like I walk into work. And if someone tries to talk to me, I'm like get the hell out like you have to be polite. Yeah. Of course, of course. And this job, obviously, I'm friends with everyone. Yeah. It's only other bad jobs for the past not as bad co never co workers. Yeah. All right. Let's keep it moving. All right. This next one, man. Just just big family stuff boundary stuff today. Yeah. Of people taking advantage of other people's innate goodness, not loving. It. The subject is not your mom. Dear prudence, married. A man with three children ages ten to fourteen and for the most part, I hope to have a good report with them, but not become their primary. Parents. We usually have them every other weekend on alternate holidays and for a month during the summer, but their mother recently left the state to deal with her invalid parents for the last two months. The kids have been living with us since December. And I'm at the end of my rope, all the daily drudgery gets piled up at my door and my husband's step kids. Act surprised when I don't know magically act on it forgotten homework, dirty laundry, dinner, not being made all of them are incapable of doing any of it. I work long hard hours. And I'm tired of coming back to chaos last week. I had to work on a major project from five AM to seven PM every day. My husband got the kids pizza three days in a row only for my step kids. Tell me how tired they were of it. So I stayed up and made some frozen casseroles or iced-up. And made some casseroles to freeze. I told my oldest stepdaughter that she would have to heat it up for her siblings around five since my husband, and I were both working late. I left instructions on the fridge. I came home to an angry husband and hungry kids. My stepdaughter forgot and my husband's response wasn't to scold his daughter, but scold me I should have texted them. All reminder. I told him I had to get back to work, and I turned around and left the house, I checked into a hotel and stayed there overnight. My step kids are genuinely good, and I understand that. They miss their mom. But right now, I get treated like hired help my husband, and I are fighting. He tells me that I have to step up as a stepmother, and I tell him I can't because he won't back me up. He wants to be their friend more than their parents. We don't know when their mother is getting back for good. And the situation is stressing me out to the point that I'm making mistakes at work. I'm honestly thinking of checking into a hotel permanently until she comes back. I don't know if I will have a marriage to come back to can you help me find another way. Well, let right or just to know that when I got to the line of out how you said you had to go back to work, and you went to tell just just did a silent fist pump. And so did I in my heart. I'm so proud of you. Well, just walking out of that situation. Where clearly no you were not being listened to. I you were not being treated respect. I think I know I'm gonna go ahead and speculate that the reason this guy's last marriage ended is because his wife ended left it. And I'm willing to bet I have a couple of theories as to why she left his ass. I probably have the same theories. This guy sucks. This guy sucks. I'm sorry. I wanna give more nuanced advice. But this guy sucks letter writer, your husband scolded you. He's sucks. That's not something you do to your spouse. You made a casserole you told the kids when to put it in the oven. The girl is fourteen years old you left instructions on the fridge, you came home. And your husband said, you should have sent a text to because your husband soaks. Like come on, your husband, apparently came home saw that the casserole was not in the oven. And rather than press the button to turn the oven on because that's all that's all of our buttons. Like he did not have to like personally get like a dog to run on the wheel to start turning a spit over a fire. He had to build with his bare hands like he he decided. No, no. I'm not going to press the button and start cooking. The casserole myself now and then say to my fourteen year old. Hey like instructions were on the fridge. Look more next time. He was like, oh, I'm just going to sit here angrily and wait from woman to get home. I floored. I so. Okay. He was angry at you for not sending a reminder. He he scolded you. He's. Telling you to step up as a stepmother like this is just like everything's your job for his kids dinner, their laundry, their forgotten homework. Like, he's not asking you to be a step parent. He's asking you to be their mother like these are his kids. I would point out that these kids are between ten and fourteen Blake if they were younger than there is just automatically more work that they cannot do themselves a ten year old can do laundry, certainly the fourteen year old Cam. Yeah, they can they can, you know, heat up a casserole, they can remember their own homework. Yeah. Like that. Yeah. I don't want to be as hard on the kids know it'll be on a dad. Absolutely not. But I'm saying like, there's not the same amount of parental energy that needs to go into it. Like, your husband can do the majority of this. Yeah. And and you know, just a game, especially given that these kids already have a mother, and, you know, your husband and his ex have been co-parenting them for a while like he should not like just the expectation that like as his wife, food and clothes or just your purview. In addition to being his wife is just some bullshit. And I'm so glad you checked into a hotel. And I think you should check back into a hotel. And if you think that the act of checking into a hotel and no longer doing your husband's kids, laundry all the time and texting them more about casseroles is going to be injure marriage. Then I'm just gonna go ahead and say your marriage needs to end. I don't think you should say. I'm divorcing you. But I think you should say this is not working your expectations of me are absolute. Outrageous. I am no longer taking responsibility for your kids, laundry or homework or food because you just threw that all my doorstep ended nothing to help. And then scolded me like a child when I failed to be like a wife to you and Foale time parent to your kits right? And like. Obstructing from this responsibility is not going to harm these children. Right. Like, your husband got them pizza? Yeah. They'll be fine. Like, okay. They forget their homework once or then they'll get in trouble at school, right? They have a lot of dirty clothes though. Either wears moon dirty or learn to do the laundry like if you leave there's nobody who's going to get like harmed. Right there is you don't have to worry about harming the children, if you back out of all this responsibility, which is not yours. No. You worked from five AM to seven PM, you made a casserole, and then you've got yelled at for not texting about the casserole, the situation is so beyond the point of reasonable compromise. This he your husband makes guy who is trying his best. Let's put it that way. This makes me tired just reading it. Yeah. Go to that hotel. Right. This instant, I get that your, you know, your husband's Xs outta town dealing with invalid parents. I totally understand that you are not looking to create more chaos, but I don't see any other way that you. Can communicate to your partner that this behavior is totally beyond the pale. Absolutely. And you know, maybe you leave you wait out another couple of weeks. His ex wife comes back you to go to couples counseling, and you know, you set some limits with him and say like, hey guy, either meet these, you know, really really reasonable boundaries, or we cannot be partners. Maybe he steps up that'd be fabulous. And if he doesn't frankly you're so much better off without him. Absolutely. You have them every week every other weekend alternative holidays. So like, and yeah. Okay. On throwing the summer. But like it's not surprising that you haven't seen this behavior from him before. Because he. Summertime is very different time to have children than during the school year in terms of responsibilities. So like, I don't want you to feel like you should have expected this because this is outrageous doesn't sound brand new like no just mostly sounds like this is the longest they've ever been here. And I used to be able to just like grit my teeth and get through it on the weekend. Which again, that's like, oh, you should have pushed harder sooner. But I do understand that sense of like let the slide for a little while. But now is at a point where I cannot let it slide right there minute. But yeah, absolutely. Like if your kid's forget, if the kids forget the homework if the laundry's dirty if they don't have dinner and you're coming home at seven PM after like a fourteen hour workday like doesn't no your problem. Right. This guy socks. I know that like ninety times I just had to say again that spirit needed to say it. It's really nice to hear you say. You know, my step kids are genuinely good, and I understand they missed their mom because like, you know, they are kids like this is definitely a your husband problem. Yeah. But, you know, throw a copy of the feminine mystique down on the kitchen table and just like bogey. You know what I mean? Like this old school feminist one? Oh, one stuff of just like, hey, just because I'm the woman you married doesn't mean I own all the dishes in the house. They're not like my purview mug Goodman. Yeah. He. This is ridiculous. Go back to the hotel. Stay out of their if he is willing to, you know, apologize profusely for the ways in which he's taken advantage of you, and is willing to work with you in the future to make sure that you are not just like the one responsible for his children. I don't know. Maybe you can make it work out. I sure hope you don't sure hope you guys get divorced. And you meet someone else who doesn't suck or at the very least you just get to come home at the end of the day and feed yourself. It's a nice this jerk. Yeah. Who's like, oh, a casserole in the freezer ho could I turn that into food? This is the most difficult like riddle anyone's ever faced not like their instructions on the fridge or anything price the damn button, my guy. No, I hate this, man. I have set my face in my heart against him in enmity. If I ever meet him on the road. I will challenge him to dual. I'll just no it's him. Somehow, just no, I don't know his name or what he looks like. But I'll just have this feeling in my heart, and I will fight him. Hey, everyone. We had a sleet issue with the audio on one end of a recording today. So there may be a couple of moments where the audio jumps up and down just a little bit. This next letter is really something. Would you be so good as to read it? Sure subject. My boss goes exploring in my desk. Dear prudence, I've worked for the same company for many years and love the work, clients coworkers, everything, but my boss, if I take a day off she often goes through my desk rifling through the contents and leaving me nasty notes about the things such as the way store. My pens or why have yogurt spoon? She admits that this is not born from any concern about my hiding things. But because she simply looking for something, and then gets distracted and goes on a tear, she's gone through my inbox and outbox made false assumptions leading to her calling clients or taking action on things that have already been dealt with nothing. She's ever found has been amiss illegal or anything but organized differently than she would want. We have no HR, but when co worker. Of told her that this behavior seems invasive to maintains that she has every right to do it. We do through sixty reviews, and I consistently get out sanding scores from everyone, including her to this is normal behavior for a boss. What should I do? I'd quit. But I live in a city where jobs are very hard to come by. And there are dozens of applicants for any position. Like mine help. Wow, this is not normal behavior. Yeah. I was gonna say safely. I feel very confident just answering that question like, no, this is not all normal. This is bananas. I am. So sorry. I cannot imagine like leaving for lunch and coming back to my desk to find a like poisonous little note for my boss about how organize my pens like that is just demented. And even without the notes just the fact that she's going through your inbox and outbox and personal items for the sake of it is on professional and demeaning on so many different levels. Yes. Yes. And worse than all of that. Like, this is all so bad on its own. But she is may. Making mistakes on your behalf at work because she's like halfheartedly going through your inbox partly reading things making stupid assumptions, and then jumping the gun and calling clients, and creating a mess like this is not just a weird quirk. This is actually affecting your ability to get your job done and your professional reputation. So that's pretty serious. And it's a real shame that you guys don't have an HR department, which I've talked about before how like HR departments are often very limited in terms of what they can actually do. But this seems like the kind of thing that if an HR department was aware that this was going on they would be concerned about the company's reputation as well as yours because this does not make your business. Look good. Yeah. Definitely. I think it's important to note that many because this letter writer has worked in the same place for many years, and they've gone accustomed to this behavior that they have to ask the question that is this normal. I think we can both show you that. No. No, it's it's not normal. So don't forget that. Yeah. Yes. So okay. So the letter writer at least does not want their first option to be quitting, which is fine. Although I say put it on the table. I think you should certainly be looking for work elsewhere while you think of other ways that you can deal with this internally. But that's gotta be an option because this this just can't go on like, eventually, she's going to Email somebody something that you guys will not be able to fix, you know, like she's going to send off some half-cocked Email, and you're gonna lose business over it. So what would what would be your first step like you've already apparently co workers have said this, please don't do this. It sounds like the boss is doing it to more than just a letter writer if the letter writer has spoken to her about it because they write that the boss has admitted that it's not that there is something she's worried about the letter writer stealing or anything. She's just always looking for something. So what do you think is the next move will even if there's no HR? -partment perhaps there is a company contract or guidelines or a guidebook depending on the nature of the company that maybe they could go through and see what rules are most applicable in this type of situation or how to escalate concerns or any whistle blower kinds of lines. Yeah. That makes sense because I was a little I was doing a little bit of digging after this because I was kind of unsure like is this, you know, legal because a lot of workplaces. There's not a reasonable expectation of privacy when it comes to something like the emails, you send from your professional account. But there would be a reasonable expectation of privacy. When you're say like changing in the professional in your company's locker room or using the company's restrooms. So it would be worth checking out your company policy just whether or not there is kind of like any sort of policy around like is your desk considered a private space like it would be unusual for a boss to be able to go through your purse. So there's there is a sort of there's a line somewhere of what your boss can and cannot reasonably do at the office. And it may be that you guys have a policy. It may be worth checking with your state's department of labor to find out like what privacy protections do apply to you. It's weird. I don't really recommend that people talk. To their States Department of labor twice in a podcast, much, less than the first two episodes. But yeah, it may frankly be legal for your boss to be doing this. It also may very well fall under the purview of like shit. Your boss can do when you were at work, which would be a real shame. But it's worth knowing more about this for sure. Well, I think also the nasty notes might count as harassment. So you want to look into those laws to perhaps. Yeah. Especially when it's about things like how you were gonna pens or while. You've that's so irrational to me that I have trouble believing that this boss is not having a lot of trouble. Elsewhere. So in terms of like escalation, I would say like number one find out more about whether or not your bosses doing anything illegal certainly saved the notes and keep record of the things that she says to you. This is a waste of company time if she's writing you like nasty notes about your yogurt spoon. And this is going to be important when you talk to whoever. Her bosses. I think it's worth trying to speak to her about it again. Just so you can have that two point two when you of kick it further up the chain of command because I think that's going to be the next thing. You have to do like, you know, just go to her and say, hey, I need to talk to you about what happens when you go through my desk, and stick especially to the stuff of like, you know, you have sometimes misread things in my inbox and emailed clients with mistaken information that I have been had to clean up that makes us look bad. That's not necessary and makes my job harder. Can we both agree that you won't do that? Without checking in with me. I and if she can't give you that. Then that's a pretty clear sign that you need to go above her head, and my guess is she's not going to respond to it. Well, or rationally or reasonably and at that point, I think you can kind of bring up everything else and say there's a pattern of behavior here. That's worrying invasive unprofessional and makes it difficult for me to do my job. And I just I just think you have to do that. Because otherwise, she's just going to keep doing this. Yeah. And I would say that when discussing it it would be valuable definitely to focus on the workplace and professional aspect of it. Because it sounds like general guidelines about privacy and personal space have not really been affected so far. So you know, I like maller. Your script about the company being able to do its job. I think that's a useful. One to definitely focus on. And you know, you can also say to her to, you know, I wanna talk to you about what you think is the best use of my time unless there's a problem with the way that I organize my desk unless you can see any ways in which it is expecting my work. I would prefer it. If you did not leave me notes commenting on my organizational system or asking why? Or how eat things that. I do that's not related to work that doesn't fall under your purview. And that's not something that we need to be able to discuss. And by the way, are all really reasonable things to say to your boss. This isn't you being like in subordinate, or you know, lashing out or or doing something that you shouldn't be doing all though, I am aware that when you have a boss who crosses lines like this. There can be a real sense of anxiety of like. But if I talk back if I say, this is not okay. She might retaliate because she's already doing pretty out there stuff. So I think that's where I hope you trust like management in general at this company. I hope this is just behavior. They're not yet aware of. But they need to be made aware of this. And if you've you're that they would back her up or have no interest in helping out then that would make I think looking for other work even more imperative especially if it's difficult to find other work in your field like start now. Yeah. Maybe a good halfway option would be to look at some freelancing or online jobs, maybe something part time. So that you can open doors and start meeting new people maybe going to job fairs. I know that there aren't a lot of positions in the city that she's in. But you know, maybe looking for ones in neighboring cities or neighboring. Yeah. But this is bad. This is just a little bit. Yeah. Like, even if it weren't about emailing clients like nasty notes about why you have a spoon for yogurt or like the way you store, your pens. It's just deeply unsettling and destroyed trust you're supposed to have in your bosses judgment. It makes you feel unsettled at work and wonder like when's the next note gonna come and can I leave anything in my desk? She going to start going through. Iphone or my wallet because she's displayed such bad judgment. It's just sort of like, I don't know what to expect from this person anymore. And then you add to that the fact that she calls clients or tries to like repeat actions. You've already taken on a project. That's a waste of her time. That's a waste of your time because you have to clean up the mess afterwards. That leaves you constantly worrying like is there Klein out there right now who has the wrong information because my boss looked at the first two words on Email flipped out. And then gave them a call. Like, that's it's not just that this isn't normal. This is really bad. This is really bad. This isn't just like oh bosses are weird. And sometimes they're rude. And you have to like put up with a dull story or like a slightly. Yeah. Yeah. This is really bad. And I'm wondering how much time the boss can spend doing her own responsibilities and supporting her employee's, she's going through people's inboxes and out boxes and their desks so rhino, this might not be great for her. Long professional development. Yeah. And she's apparently doing this to a lot of people. That's just bananas to me. Yeah. Just to say again, like if you need something from me, please ask me directly, you know, unless you are gone from your desk, just like five days out of seven. I can't imagine that she needs to be doing this in this Justice stemming from some sort of like free-floating Zayed's in her mind that she just needs to scratch, really weird invasive which. Yeah, please please write us back because I would really like to know how this boss would respond to any sort of pushback on this or what your boss's boss might say. If they were to hear like what she's doing because I guarantee you. She does not do this to the people above her in management like she's not going into office and going through their desk. So this may very well be something they have no idea about. Man. This next letter is super cute also about parenting, and I find it deeply deeply charming. But the titles in enticing, right like. Oh, dear prudence three years ago. My sister who struggled with depression, her entire life became pregnant after a one night stand. She didn't tell the father or anyone about her pregnancy. And shortly after the baby was born she passed away from suicide I was able to gain custody of the baby and got in touch with his biological father who immediately agreed to co parent his son with me since then we have lived in Jason apartments taking care of our doorbell endlessly chatty and insanely energetic child together for the first year, or so I think I was too exhausted overwhelmed and grief-stricken to notice what a great team we made I have gradually come to realize that not only do I like him as a friend and respect him as a father. But I am falling in love with him a week ago when we were drinking wine and hanging out after our son fell asleep. He confessed he has feelings for me too. I'm walking on sunshine. Pretty I want so badly to pursue a relationship with him. And I think he feels the same way. But at the same time, I'm scared to death of it ending badly and ruining the co-parenting relationship. We have and the stability our son gets from having his parents be so close. How can we have this relationship responsibly is that even possible? Sincerely following for my co parent. Oh, this is extremely extremely precious. Right. Yes. I would watch this movie. Yeah. Except for the part about the sister, dying would be very. Oh, I don't want to I want to be like, oh, so cute when it's actually born of like a serious tragedy. But this is hard one. This is really lovely that. You guys have found this in such a like. Challenging situation. Yes. And obviously, it's it's already starting out. Well, if he if the other parent is coming forward and sharing their feelings because communication throughout co-parenting. I'm pretty sure this person knows is key. And so that's always going to be the best and firmest ground. You can stand off stand on when you are communicating honestly. And of course, hopefully as clearly as possible. Yeah. So, you know, the main concern right because the letter writer is mostly just thrilled. Like this kind of works putatively in in in everybody's favor. But the fear is what if it ends badly. And we don't have this good parenting relationship any longer, and I understand that fear. I think that's a very legitimate fear. But I would say that I think you're already running that risk now. Right. Like, you're already openly in love with one another. So that's already out. There. It's not like not going for it would make you both feel relaxed comfortable easy. Casual given that you have both confessed your feelings for one another. You're both aware of it. There's already that emotional risk. That's already being run. That's already being run rather. I I don't think that that should be a reason not to do it. Definitely not and. If you clearly clearly taking the steps to find. Him the fodder was you being fully dedicated to the well-being of this child at least giving it a chance. You didn't know when you reached out how he was going to react. And so you clearly have that child's wellbeing, first and foremost in your mind, second of all the father also has his wellbeing that child wellbeing, first and foremost in his mind because he stepped right up. You guys are living in Jason apartments. Like, there are people who are for all intents purposes, biological mother and father who get a divorce and still don't try to make that close kind of easy and symbiotic relationship with each other to like live together. So incl- such such close proximity. So you guys are in. This your focus is exactly where it should be. And I commend you both for that. Because that's. Awesome. That's what every child needs. And so if I feel like if you took it this far like, yes, love is messy. It's it's great, and it's crap at the same time. But like if you have made it this far, if it were to go south, I feel like you two are the best people to attempt it because at the end of the day, you know, where your priority is your focus is on that child and that child's wellbeing, and I feel like you might you of all people would be able to pull yourselves out. And then get it kind of flowing on new ground, but good firm, healthy ground. Yeah. And I would say to to the other fear of like what would happen if it ends badly. And it ruins the co parenting relationship, we have you know. Not that this should be like a fun possibility. But you know, it would be like any other couple that had a baby together and got divorced people. Do it all the time. I hope that's not what happens for you. I hope you guys are together and happy, and you know, die in one another's arms like eighty years from now. But. You know, it's it would be the same as with any other couple. It's not that you're running any additional risk. You already have a child together. You're already in love if you didn't go for it. And he started seeing somebody else in six months, it would feel just as bad. I think as if you had started seeing one another and then broke up, and then he started seeing somebody else. And if you guys split up, it would be no different from any other co-parenting couple that was splitting up, and you would you know, you would come up with shared custody agreement. You would get divorced. If you had gotten married, you would figure it out. You would get a mediator. And again, that's not. You can't prevent that. I think that fear is real. But you can't put it off by not taking this risk. Right. Like you've already taken most of the risk. You're just not letting yourself experienced the reward yet. And so I think you should give yourself permission to give this a shot because there's a lot of really solid foundation here. Yeah. And like what's that? I know it's corny. But these quotes are I just love him. They're so good. There's that quote that was surfaced like going around on Instagram. What if what if like little, I don't know? I can't remember the context. But essentially what if I fall and the answer to that is well, what if you fly, right? What if it could charming couldn't? Yeah. You know, a lot of reasons to think it might like, you know, this you've seen this guy with an infant like you have seen him in a pretty intense situation, and you fell in love with him as a result. So there's a lot of you know, I mean not to say like, you'll never have problems. Everything's perfect like roll credits on your beautiful love story. But like you've a lot of reason to trust him. And to think that the two of you are deeply compatible, and yeah, right? It's back in a year. Let us know how things are you can take this lily, you can keep talking to one another you can both say like here's what I'm afraid of. Here's the worst case scenario. Can we both affirm that our primary commitment is always gonna be to our kid and treating each treating each other with as much respect and kindness as possible. So that we're not both kind of secretly terrified Ono what if this goes badly, and then you know, we can't stand to be in the same room together. Like talk talk it out and that will help. All right. Would you please be so good? As to read our next letter. Sure. The subject of this one is nutty friend. Dear prudence, my husband, and I are friends with another couple. We all went together to a bulk food health store. I was horrified to see my friend scooping up large portions of expensive nuts from different bins and munching as she walked around. She did not even by any of the items. She was eating this is stealing. I walked away. So I would not be associated with her but short of not going into a store again with her. What can I do? She and her husband are not rich, but they live comfortably in can afford to buy most of the things they want. So I laughed a lot. When I read this because something not terribly dissimilar happened. The first time that Nicole cliff, and I went to a grocery store, see other. Oh, goodness. And not of the same scale to be clear. I sampled a grape and her face when I did that was just like she had never I felt like I was the bad kid in. Like after school special who is like one ago shoplifting. Oh my gosh. You are the bad kid though. It was one grape. We ended up buying grapes. I know I just felt like I should confess. I all I read this. And I was like when she said this is stealing. I was like it is stealing. I would likely scuttle away from embarrassment of the person that I'm with grabbing things out of the bin by the handfuls and Chunga them. Yeah. I mean, I feel like a real hypocrite having confessed already to eating a grape. But I do feel like large like him foles of I dunno like macadamia nuts multiple times. That's it's gross. Also aside from the stealing. Let's go back to the gross factor of this. Like your hands are now like some poor macadamia loving person is gonna come up within the next ten minutes to get their macadamia nuts. And there are going to have no idea that there were hands in there and have terrible. Yeah. No. I mean, absolutely. I it's it's difficult because I would imagine her response to your saying anything would be. Don't be ridiculous. And it's always hard when you're trying to tell someone that something isn't ridiculous. And that's their only response. But yeah, I mean, you know, it's not stealing a, you know, she didn't steal car. But yeah, absolutely. You can say you can definitely it's not hard not to go to the grocery store with friends, and it's also find to say like you should pay for that. And did you say it and let it sit there like you don't have to get into an argument back and forth. But just to say like e yeah, you should pay for the food that you eat. Yeah. I mean as far as the what can I do like if she didn't while I guess if the person the letter writer didn't say anything at the time, I feel like at this point. You really can't say anything like this isn't a let's sit down and have a conversation. A week later about the nuts that you stole a week ago at the grocery store, I just feel like that's just even more awkward than the than the nut stealing, right? You got to like, you gotta keep this in a sense of scale where like I think this would have been worth thanks being in the moment. It's maybe a little odd to bring up. Later and might make things into a bigger deal than you would want to. But yes, absolutely. Don't go to grocery store with her again, certainly if for whatever reason you have to and you see her do it again, you can say like, you gotta pay for those many many Brazil nuts that just consumed. Pretty much. Yeah. I mean, I don't know. I, but the funny thing is as I was reading this. I would be like I said, I would be the person that would be mortified and suddenly have to buy something and find something on the opposite end of the store. So I would not be next to this person with their hand in the been there is one hundred percent version of reality where I'm with who does that. I don't say anything. And then when we're in line I say to the clerk, oh, by the way, I had two handfuls of macadamia nut. Can you charge me for that like, which is maybe the worst possible choice because it's super passive aggressive God. And it's also ally which is just weird, but I can see missiles unit now. Yeah. Like, you know, feeling really bad about that. Great. By the way, you should just take one of your grapes from your home and take it back to the store that does not seem commensurate. But yeah, like when I was a kid occasionally when my mom would take us grocery shopping. We would be like I want a banana, and she was like bring the peel with. Her up to the front please charges for this banana that my children eight as we were walking around the store. So right. I don't know where I got a great thing from because clearly my mother did not teach me to behave like that. Yeah. If you're eating fistfuls of nuts. It's kind of gross and you should pay for them 'cause nuts expensive. Yeah. Yeah agree. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. You're you know, you you are a good person letter writer, you are an ethical person who's on the right side of history. Congratulations. Yeah. And it it'd be too. So basing if somebody had come up to your friend and been like, you got to pay for these. No, that's that's exactly what front away. Like, I can't even I'm getting really uncomfortable. Even thinking about it right now. Just like somebody coming. I hate getting in trouble. So if even a grocery store employee was to walk up and be like, hey, what are you doing? I would be mortified ban myself from the store. Oh my gosh. The subject of this. Next letter is I want to kidnap a dog, which I gotta say when historians look back at the various phases of the prudence column. I think mine is just going to be the dear prudence who transitioned and became the one who talked about dog kidnapping all the time. Like, that's those will be my two things a lot of Doug stuff and it kidnapping dogs. It's always kidnapping dogs. People always want to kidnap dogs. They always wanna kill cats except for sometimes they have killed dog. Oh, yes. The cats, and I guess if I only had to answer based on the subject line. I would say don't want to kidnap a dog. I don't I know there's emperor is temporary. Kidnap it's like a like a skull yet the dog and returning the dog. Let's let's find out. Let's do. All right. Dear prudence, my inlaws have an unfixed male dog. They let freely Romer neighborhood. Many neighbors have complained to them that their dog wanders miles from home and goes into other peoples yards and bothers their dogs my in laws don't care. In fact, they encourage it because they want their dog to quote, get some tail and I think it would be cute if their dog made puppies. I do not think this is cute. I recently adopted a senior female dog who's in very poor health. She was never spayed and the vet recommends against it because of the risks considering her age and other health conditions. I want to borrow my inlaws dog to get it neutered. And or report them to the animal control in our area animal control around. Here is notoriously unhelpful requires you to bring the dogs to them before they'll do anything. I know this from experience also the only animal shelter within four hours of us. I live on an island with a small population is also unhelpful we've tried talking to our family over the course last several months, and it hasn't worked this isn't as much about my dog who's never outside unleashed or on supervised as it is about the other dogs in the neighborhood. I feel I can't continue to see my husband's extended family until this matters resolved the rest of the family agrees that it is a problem. But they don't think it's our business. I disagree. What do I do? I met my within. I truly care for this dog. And don't wanna see anything bad happen to him. Are you still anti-kidnapping? Here's what I say. I think if this dog that isn't yours is on your property, then you can do something with it. I think any of the people around the island that that also feel that way. I don't think you can go to their house and get their dog and kidnap it and take it and do the stuff with it. I think you can report it as much as possible like to. I mean, call the police as well. Whatever authorities you can call animal. I'm gonna go ahead and fight. You don't call the police. This is not a good enough fair enough. But I don't do. Are you pro kidnapping the dog? Yes. One hundred percent. Okay. Yeah. The feels like yes. Yeah. Absolutely kidnapped the dog. I mean, it doesn't sound like you'd have to wait very long for the dog to show up. So I'm not suggesting like, you know, dig a tunnel under your in-laws garden in like come up Hogan's heroes style. And sneak the dog away. Just yeah. The next time you see the dog out and you have a little free time. Absolutely go to the vet get 'em fixed. Release him back into their yard feign surprise. I very rarely give this advice. But this is just like, yeah. You know, animal overpopulation is really serious. If puppies were born to like a stray dog or the people couldn't take care of they might get neglected or hurt or have to be put down that's really unkind to it. And you know, there's nothing to be done afterwards. Even if you're like, oh, no someone spayed neutered our dog. I suspect you you can always like Twas. I just live your life. That is certainly an option as well. I would also say that you don't have to hang out with that family. If you don't want to if you don't like the way that they live their life and treat their dog. Like, that's that's a separate issue. You can not spend time with them if that's an option as well. Yeah. Although I'm so curious about this like small island where everyone lives near each other and has dogs and fights. And I don't know. I'm just I'm curious. I would watch like a tense family drama set on this island. Yeah. You know, certainly you can limit the time you spend with your husband's extended family, but. Yeah. Fucking go for it. Absolutely. Like call like if you see the dog out next call I say this dog is always running around. It's not neutered. It's I'm worried that it's gonna either, you know, create fear. Oh puppies, or you know, hurt get hurt. And if they say fine if you bring the dog, and we will we'll spay neuter him I forget, which is which. And then do it and then tonight for the rest of your life. Another thing. I guess you could also, you know, depending how tight knit community is of the dog owners on the island like, you know, your dog I can get pregnant, but doesn't you know is never off the lesion never out of your sight though, obviously mistakes can happen. But hopefully, everybody else on the island is making their dog be spayed or neutered. So that even if their dog did get some tale. It wouldn't result in those puppies. Yeah. But I, you know, I just don't know. I don't know we only know this one dog. But I guess you could go around polling people. It's just so weird. It's so cute. If our dog like me puppies lick how would you even know like your dog's not gonna come polling at your door? Look fuller. Like, he's not gonna be form you of this. This isn't the lady in the tramp as great as that would be. It's true. I mean, you just have to wait and see if puppies were born that looked exactly like your dog only the boys would look exactly like him, the girls would look exactly like their mothers. Because. That's what happens in the lady in the tramp is Carol puppies. Look like their moms puppies, look like their dads. I don't know as much about dogs. But that's right to me. Sounds plausible. Would you read this letter eyelid subject at last the truth? Dear prudence, my brother works nights as a bartender in my sister-in-law works retail in the morning. No, one can find or for daycare in our area. I have watched my nephews every weekend since they were born they are five and three now, I did this. So my brother and his wife could have some time to themselves and keep their marriage going, my sister-in-law, and I don't see eye to eye. But I always considered kind of close if only because of the adversity that we have faced together we both lost a parent in the same year. She accidentally added me to a group chat to her sisters and totally torched me she considers me self-righteous and bitchy. I act like I am a mother instead of an evolutionary mistake. I am a sexual. It was like someone dumped cold water on me. Her sisters get glowing praise for showing up for my nephew's birthday while I get shredded forgetting chocolate rather than white cupcakes. I texted my sister-in-law. Thanks for telling me the truth. Finally, I've gotten no response. I am still structuring my schedule around my daycare duties, I m pissed off and more worried. I will blow everything up if I tell my brother he has had conflict with his laws, and I know he will not stand to see me insulted like this. I don't know what to do as much as I love my nephews. I do not wanna make nice with their two faced mother. I rearranged my life to help my family. She doesn't consider me to be part of her family. I can't sweep this under a rug help. At least this one has. I think a really clear way forward. It does. This is not hard. I mean, it's painful, but it's not hard. It is stop arranging your schedule to take care of your brother and sister unless children have this is not a situation where like the kids are going to be in a dangerous situation. If you don't you've been doing this for five years every weekend, and it's just so they can have date nights. Knock you don't have to do that for another second. Don't do this weekend. It's Monday make some plans for this Friday night. Even if it's just watch TV and flip through magazine. Yeah. A weekend is not at all necessity for them. They can still go to their jobs. They can still make a living without that weekend. And I would even say go head until your brother. If he is going to not stand to see you insulted like this. That's because you don't deserve to be insulted. Like, yes. Oh, that's very good years. So tell him I think it's totally fair thing to mention and whatever happens happens. Yep. And just you know, I think laid out there really neutrally just say like, hey, I'm not available to babysit the kids this weekend. I will not be available regularly going forward. The kids are great nothing to do with the kids. It has to do with my relationship with your wife. She copied me on this text read. Here's what she sent me and show it to him. So he gets to see exactly what she said. And then say the thing on top of that that makes it really difficult as I contacted her to let her annoyed seen it. She hasn't apologized. Like, that's that's the killer part here. She like this is mortifying for her. She should be begging your forgiveness and series Lee, reconsidering the way that she conducts herself in her personal life and. Her response has just been like. Yeah. I bet you're going to keep looking after the kids. So I don't have to do shit here. And it sounds like there's probably a history of her really taking you for granted and not being very considerate, if she's lauding her sisters for minimal efforts, and then berating you for relatively small things that are still a lot of kindness on your part to be getting cupcakes further birthdays in the first place. Yeah. And like making a dig about your sexuality in a way that suggests you shouldn't be alive. That's like so beyond being mean about cupcakes that is deeply dehumanizing and phobic and cruel, and I'm so sorry. And I just you gotta tell your brother. You gotta stop babysitting. The kids I I'm I'm not saying you can never see the kids again. I'm sure you love the kids. Like, obviously, you know, you will be able to continue having a relationship with the kids. Not obviously, obviously, you can I want to do it because you wanna hang out with the kids. Not because you want to do some. Nice for your sister in law. And if you need to take a little break. That's okay. Like what you just experienced was horrible. And you know, I I worry even that like part of the reason you haven't told your brother yet is because you're also worried that he you know, you say that you don't think he'll stand us even salted like this. But apparently for the last five years, he's been kind of fine. When you get shredded for getting the wrong kind of cupcakes. I I don't know how much she's been able to hide that from him. But I'd be surprised if he had never ever ever seen. That's very true that way. And so part of what I guess part of what I mean by that is don't let him off the hook like don't make her the only villain like he is also the parent of those two children. He has also her partner he has also participated, even if it's totally passively and trying to make himself out to be the good cop in the way that they, you know, instrumentalise manipulate kind of exploiting and dismiss you. Yeah. In that vein. Don't let him convince you that maybe it's not a big deal. If he tries to defend her. There's a big gap between someone saying like, oh someone else's telling me how to parent and calling someone in Evelyn mistake. That's not just about parenting. That's a big moral character. Yeah. This is a this is a line in the sand moment, this is not ordinary venting that you could maybe get past in a couple of weeks. This is this is big and were she to objectively and with mortification come to you and say like, I am taking the following steps to free orient. How I think about and treat people so wrong to call you that I've identified the ways in which I was wrong. Here are some things that I'm going to be doing in the future to, you know, check my behavior, and I understand if you don't forgive me. But I just want you to know, I'm deeply sorry. I will not treat people like this again. Even then if you were like, I appreciate that. And I don't wanna talk to you that would make a lot of sense. But for her to follow this all up with like non. I'm good that just suggests that she actually feels fine that she said that she wanted you to know that and she believes that she can still get you to, you know, take care of her kids on the weekends. So she can have date nights. Even after you know that she thinks about you. And that makes me so mad. I just I hope that this causes a huge problem in their marriage. That would be good. It would it. It would be redeeming for the brother in my mind. Now that I'm thinking about like, you're right. There's no way that it's been going on for five years, and he hasn't noticed something unpleasant. Yeah. I hope this is a wakeup call for him. And I gotta say like I feel bad for her kids that they're being raised by the kind of mother who thinks that any sexual person as an evolutionary mistake, but good enough to babysit your children every week. Like, man. This woman is awful you say no one can find or afford daycare in our area. I'm sure it's difficult. It's also just not your problem. They will figure it out and they're getting to an age where they're going to be going to school. Anyway, it is not make or break for them. So. It's still just the weekends. Right. Four on the weekends. So if they have to spend more date nights with their own children. They'll be fine. Yes. Yeah. They can have a movie night in or something. But either way you take a vacation treat yourself. Well for a little while tell your brother, and then don't worry about it. Yeah. You were being extremely kind and extremely generous for a long time. Yeah. Don't sweep this under the rug. Take all the time in the world. Draw a real big line in the sand with her feel free to have no contact with her tell your brother that like tell him how badly this hurt u and take a lot of space. And when you see the kids, you don't have to make nice to their mother, all you have to do is not cuss her out in public. Like, I think that should be the bar of your behavior towards her is like M I maintaining at least the bare minimum of like icy neutrality and as long as you're clearing out bar, you're fine as long as you don't hit her the next time you see her or call her. You know, unprintable words, you're good. I second sentiment. Yeah. Yeah. You do not oh this woman friendliness she or cupcakes or cupcakes. Oh, man. She gets no more cupcakes from you. This woman never gets another cupcake from you as long as you live. I hope you spend the next like fifty two weekends only doing stuff you love and that bring. As you delight and joy, and that has nothing to do with helping your brother and his wife. Absolutely. And I hope your brother is very upset when he sees this. I hope that it causes a serious problem in their marriage. And I hope she turns her life around and this haunts her like, I hope she becomes a really good person who often has a feeling in the pit of her stomach like, oh, man. I cannot believe that. I said that about someone who did me nothing, but good better. Go back to the kitchen tomorrow. You know, just. Yeah. Shed that she steps on a LEGO everyday. Yeah. That she doesn't repent her action. Oh, man. I just. You will not I mean. Yeah. Don't worry about blowing things up blow things up take care of yourself. And yeah, I hope those Lakers are plentiful and underfoot, and man, I just cannot imagine seeing that tax message. I had is just as cruel as cruel gets. This isn't the situation. Like, the previous letter were like, you know, be positive as much as you know. Don't know what up just terrible. Yep. No, she she has forfeited her right to a friendly relationship with you. And all you have to do is. You know, not hurt her. You don't have to be friendly. You don't have to be friendly. You don't have to be. Eighteen twenty eighteen. All right, Phil. I think in the interest of the stability of the space time continuum, we should never travel back in time again or use it for any other purposes. I'm not gonna lie that hurt a little bit. Just this once just to listen to some letters. We've already read before that's it. Thanks for listening. Dear prudence. Our producer is still circuits. Our theme music was composed by Robin Hilton production assistance by Taylor Simmons. Don't miss an episode of the show had to sleep dot com slash dear prudence to subscribe. And remember, you can always you're more prudence by joining slate. Plus, go to sleep dot com slash pretty pod to sign up. If you want me to answer your question, call me and the message at four zero one three seven one, dear that's three three to seven. And you might hear your answer on an episode of the show. You've don't have to use your real name or location and at your request. We can even alter the sound of your voice, keep it short, thirty seconds or a minute tops. Thanks for listening.

writer director Daniel Berg Jason apartments Danny theft producer Phil jasmine Sanders partner Jennifer Egan Brazil incl Nicole cliff Blake shoplifting Foale
Dear Prudence: The "Feeling Guilty" Edition

Slate's Dear Prudence

1:08:00 hr | 2 years ago

Dear Prudence: The "Feeling Guilty" Edition

"You're listening to this week's excerpts from the prudent podcast to get the full length. Members only version every week join slate plus at slate dot com slash pretty pod. You're you're Putin. Prudence? Dear prudence. Here. Do you think that I should contact him again help? Thank you. Hello and welcome back to dear prudence as always. I am your host Daniel Berg. Today's show was recorded live at the Bravo theatre center in San Francisco on March seventh two thousand nineteen I was joined onstage by my friend and New York Times bestselling author jasmine, gillary Jasmine's books include the wedding date, the proposal and the forthcoming the wedding party. Now, let's join the show. Hello, San Francisco everyone. This is very exciting. I'm very excited that your here. Jasmine, I'm thrilled to be here. I hope that before the evening is over we have counseled at least three people out of their marriages. I love marriage, by the way, and if you can make a marriage work, I wanna help in that this column has showed me that many people are in very bad marriage or very bad marriages that they need to get out of immediately. So sometimes the best way forward is out. We're not starting with a marriage question. We're starting with a question that I think is very very sweet and very very tender. And I'm gonna let you read this one already. What's an dear prudence? I'm a straight woman. My good friend Ralph I've known since I was eighteen realized he was gained out in his thirties. He became good friends with two other gay men. Greg and Bill and helped him navigate the gay community and acted as sounding boards. I've been happy for Ralph. But I know there are things he can talk about with them. But he can't with me. And then I have relative privileges. A straight person I've made friends with the two of them. And recently, we all went out for drinks together. Not at a gay bar that matters. We're all having a nice time when Greg casually referred to some other patrons as breeders when I protested the use of that word Bill jumped in and told me that straight people had so many hateful words for LGBTQ people that LGBTQ people should get to have just one pejorative term for St.. All three of them laughed. Greg continued use breeder pointedly the rest of the time. I was with them. I got really quiet finished by drink and begged off the rest of the evening. The guy seemed like they were in good spirits when I left since then Ralph asked me to other events with him sometimes with those two and sometimes without many of these events are galas before this instant eagerly hung out with Ralph and his new friends now if the events involved Gregor Bill or in a gay bar get really anxious and choose not to go. I worried that I will be labeled as Ralph's from the breeder. I have no problem with going out anywhere with my other gay friends, and I feel fine hanging out with Ralph one on one I know him being rational at my over this hurting our friendship show. I talked to Ralph. What should I say? And how do I get over this for some reason? This reminds me of my favorite movie when I was a child which was Jane Austen's, mafia, which was terrible film. Starring j I don't remember his full name. But it was like. It was just take off of the godfather and Christina Applegate plays the kind of Diane Keaton character and she's pitch perfect. She's I think the only good thing in that movie. And one point she says to the like, Michael Corleones character. I'm just always going to be that Protestant girl who never killed anyone to you. At its again. That's the only line that I could really stand by in that movie, but I feel that energy here in this letter. I feel like the some of the stuff here is going to maybe helpful for the letter writer to let go, but some of it, I genuinely it is just hard when you've been friends with someone for a long time, and they get new friends, and it's awful, and I should be so happy for you. But I'm worried are we still going to get to sit together, and you? Yeah. And you seem to have so much fun with them. And then every time they went away. I can't understand you. Yeah. And like, I wanna know my still specialty you, but then I feel self conscious about that. And I can feel that no one's laughing at my jokes. And maybe I should just leave. But nobody cares that I left like I feel that here. I I don't want to just dismiss this. As like, I don't think that they think of her as like, the breeder friend. No. But I do think that she should. Talk about it. I mean, they've been friends for twenty years. It seems like. Like have a conversation with him. Don't let this foil your friendship, like maybe don't go out with those people all the time. Maybe do but see what Ralph has to say about it. Maybe he'll say like. Oh, yeah. Those two there. They just pick on people, whatever. Or like, oh, you know, he'll assure her maybe like, whatever the conversation is at least she'll be happy that they talked about it. Yeah. And I would say even before you talked to Ralph like there's that kind of moment of like, you were invited to be a part of the like that little joke at the other patrons because they wanted you to be a part of that moment. But that can be tricky because that was a sort of like little game that they were having. And it's it's not about it's not about you. Right. Like, it's not it was not targeted at you. Those people were not harmed by it. It might be one of those things that's like hopefully, his humor Volvo pass that at some point because like also just sticking with that one joke can get a little tiresome. I think we all have that friend who's like that joke, and they just that's the only joke they ever do. Uh-huh. Which is fine. But yeah. So I I would say do some work just saying like that moment was not directed at me. Don't have to worry too much about that. They clearly enjoy spending time with me. But yeah, it's absolutely fine to say like, a miss you. This is probably a little bit strange. But sometimes I worry that I'm not as exciting as your other friends, and I would love to just get lunch together. You and me sometimes, and I've never had a friend come to me and say I really want to spend time together and felt like anything other than like, oh me. Also, he he keeps inviting you out. So he clearly still wants to be your friends. So I don't think this is like anything about your friendship, but you don't want this to spoil your friendship. Yeah. So I think that basically where I come down is do not go to your friend and say, will you tell your friend not to like say goofy things about straight people every once in a while because that I think is outside of your purview. But to share sometimes they worry that we don't have as much in common anymore or that. You don't want to spend as much time with me. And I just really want to stay close. And I love you. And I'm so glad you've been able to come out. And I also wanna kinda prioritize our closeness that you can absolutely do. And you don't have to kill anyone. You can stay a Protestant. And it's okay. Like in that moment, like us just letting off steam he has to be around straight people. Sometimes sort of dumb joke helps relieve some pressure, and it does not mean that they don't like you like clearly they like you otherwise fighting out. Yeah. Yeah. It's a good thing that they didn't notice that your feelings were hurt in that sense in another sense slowly, slightly insensitive. But yeah, I really feel for this letter writer, and I think will be receptive to this thing. So yeah. Today. We are sponsored by European wack centers acts the pink tax campaign. The pink tax is the extra amount of money. That women are charged every year for basic goods and services and adds up to about thirteen hundred fifty one dollars every year, the pink tax charges. Women more money on everything from baby bottles to canes toys, personal care products. Clothes dry dry-cleaning women are even being charged more for dry cleaning than men sometimes for bringing in the exact same shirt. Now, you know, see for yourself at acts the pink tax dot com. Okay. So this next subject is Dayton neighbor, which. You can do that. It is convenience. Dear prudence last year. My divorce was finalized. My husband had a long term affair with our neighbor's wife. They ran away together leaving the rest of us here with our kids our lives. We're exploded. My neighbor's daughter has taken it very hard. As her mother has barely contacted her. She spent more nights sleeping over with my girls than anywhere else. I've grown very close to my neighbor. He's a good, man. Solid. Sweet and kind a few days ago. He kissed me in a romantic way. And we talked a little I am elated and terrified our lives have been so chaotic recently, and we can't introduce anymore to the lives of our children. But it was nice. It was more than ice. Am I crazy for wanting this? My axe is no longer with my neighbors ex wife and has made comments before about. My neighbor, quote sniffing around me, our relationship has barely gotten to a certain level of civility. I know it will sour again. If I start dating I need to do what is best for my girls. But I care for this, man. Please help me what. What cheek to runoff with your neighbor's spouse? And then periodically say things like I think the neighbors interested in you. I mean, this woman has started off well because she got rid of her husband already. Yes. So that's that part is good. She next needs to stop carrying about what her dirtbag ex husband has to say about her future relationships. I always mix this up is this what happened with? What's her name? Oh, this is terrible. Should I it's Wayne should I twain, right? And an leeann Rimes, they both they swamped hub. If you leave with a neighbor or a close friend, you you you have to know your the remaining spouses are gonna get together. Because the first thing that they do is say like isn't this awful soul? One another. They console one another drain hang out together already lived next door. If he had wanted to push his wife into the arms of the neighbor. There's no better way to do it. This was the best way to do it. So I mean, don't worry about what you're bound to say. Gets worse. Like thinking about is this the best thing for your children right now. Like, do you do actually want? I don't think there's anything wrong with dating again after your divorce. Obviously do want to do it right now is like are is this the best time. Are you do really want to this guy or you just like happy to have someone just answer those questions for yourself before doing this? Yeah. I feel the same way. Especially in the sense of of course, there would be a part of me that would be like, it would be very exciting. For me. You were at home to watch date your neighbor and stick it to your ex husband who I just think of as a cartoon villain, but you have real human children in your home that you're concerned about and you wanna make sure that they have stability. So absolutely say to your neighbor. These are some of my concerns. It was nice that we kissed, but I want to do this very very slowly. If at all, my main priority is my kids. Don't let the kids know wet boast gonna happen figure figure that out for yourself. See a therapist. If you're not ready, you deserve one. And really think through like, what's the worst case scenario, if you date your neighbor and could you handle that? And if the answer is no doesn't mean, you you mustn't, but that would be a strong point in favor of maybe taking a trip out of town for a couple of days. Maybe staying with your your parents for a little while taking the kids with you clearing your head. And then, you know, if you know that your ax is going to be you say, you know, he's gonna be jerked if you start dating so as they like to see on read it put him on an information diets about your dating, which is to say if he says things like are you dating anyone is the neighbor hitting on you say, well, I'll see you again on Wednesday. When we switched the kids over and have a good week. But do not tell him anything about if you see a cute guy at the movies or if an. Xs getting in touch like he does not get to know anything about your dating life and just make sure like your divorce settlement. And all of that is crystal clear, don't let him try to take revenge on you by custody. No, no. But I'm not a fan of your ex husband's dog in the parable of like, oh, well, this affair fizzled out. So what do you do that that whole just like if I wanted to come back could I come back. I'm not gonna come back. But if I wanted to come back come back. Outta here. Man. Your jerk. You're like tonight Twain's ex husband. I don't know his name was he the mutt? His name was Mutley or something. No. That's the. Thank you. Motley was the bad guy from the Penelope pitstop races. Which was a great who Cam. Damn. This episode of dear prudence is brought to you by noon sticking to healthier habits can be hard, especially when you don't know how to handle the obstacles that might be holding you back with new you have the opportunity to develop a new relationship with goal setting habit. Formation and taking care of yourself different results. Call for a different approach with Neum. You'll learn to recognize the habits that help and the habits that don't it's available on your phone whenever you need it. And only for a commitment of about ten minutes a day, you'll have a personalized training and support team for less than the price of a single session with a personal trainer. You can learn more about nutrition and meal planning as well as pick up tips on how to do things differently. If you're having trouble sign up for your child today at Neum, that's N O, M dot com slash prudence. Visit an m dot com slash prudence to start your child today. Again, that's Neum dot com slash prudence. Sign up and start achieving your goals to live a healthier life. You read this letter. All right. My oldest friend is cheating on his partner. And I am conflicted. Dear prudence, I've been friends with Brian for over twenty years during which time I'd seen him fail. Multiple relationships and businesses for exactly the same reasons. I'm the person he can confide to without judgment without confusion. We've seen each other through some really big life stuff, and he trusts me completely. But he's cheating on his partner. The last decade. Liz, a dear woman who lived in one of my pertinence with him loves my children is kind and sweet among suffering of Brian's foibles is that how you say that that is how you say. Thank you his cheating on her with Marie for nearly two years twice. Brian is arranged for me to meet this woman several times he tried to put me on the phone. I've already said to both of them that I won't speak to her again for one. I don't want to be involved in her drama as she is really pretty hysterical and threatening. Secondly, I can't talk to Liz without feeling guilty. I generally tend towards minding my own business. But. It's very difficult to not feel complicit in this situation. When I see Liz weekly and lied to her face, by the way, I run Bryant's company and part owner of it. He is the of a company and just as narcissistic and sociopathic as the rest of these guys. San Francisco audience really appreciated that part. I can't just walk away from all three of them. His godfather to my children family and a work partnership, which also shows how close lose is to us to help. Do. I follow my conscience or my declared loyalty. I just want to say when people cheat they go oh out. This man is like he has made an art out of cheating. He's like, by the way, friend slash landlord slash part, owner of my tech company. My mistress is on the phone and shoot like to threaten you. Here's what I don't understand about this letter from the beginning. The letter writer says that the known Ryan for over twenty years and seen him fail. Multiple relationships and businesses for exactly the same reasons. Why? Do you now run Brian's company and are the owner? I feel like this is a this. You knew you were getting into a bad situation. This improve to you just how he was going to be. Yeah, I think obviously, I think you need to tell this. But the bigger thing for you is spending little time trying to figure out for twenty years. You've known this guy's character. And you've known that he really mistreats both his employees's and his partners for kind of the same reasons over and over again, and your response has been well he can confide to me without judgments. Judgment is called for. Judgment is is like judgment. Does not always mean that you are casting people away to live on an island and 'isolation and shame judgment. Sometimes means like using your judgment to make a judgment call. Yeah. I feel like I feel like more important for you to disconnect yourself from this entire situation. Like, maybe find a different job where you're not working for this. Yeah. You call them. That's not like an also, your friend. No. Yeah. No. No, no. It is. It is good. If you've been friends with someone for twenty years, and you think that they treat the people in their lives, very very badly. And also, frankly mistreat, you you should say something it's not a it's not a sign that a really good friend that I never say anything, it would be like if I took you out to dinner, and I said, what are you going to order, and you said, I don't really like to judge like I don't wanna make one menu item feel singled out that would. In fact, the failure to use your judgment at a time when you really ought to. So yes, this is. You're going to need to talk to Liz. You're also gonna need to make some more long-term plans about who you rent to and what companies you run and getting into and we laugh, but this is this is big this is going to be a big change for this person. And so I had vise once again seeing therapist and kind of saying, you know, one thing I'm realizing that I spent the last twenty years voiding really big issue in my life, and I let it kind of takeover my professional life my personal life. I don't wanna do that again and future relationships. Can you help me identify what I'm getting out of that? And how I can stop. I would say though, if you do plan on telling Liz, I would try to start disconnecting your professional personal relationship with Brian before that especially since you say that he's a sociopath and his mistress is threatening. Yeah. So just like protect yourself. Yeah. In this situation. Yeah. But I don't think that Bryan should be your friend. I think Brian you don't like Brian at all. I don't like Brian. Nobody likes bran. No does anyone here. Like, brian. Does anyone here work for Brian? Yeah. So I will just say because this letter writer has demonstrated so far real difficulty. Like figuring out. What's the right level to be involved in someone else's life? I fear that you're gonna try to over. Correct. And now like I'm gonna tell Liz, and I'm going to like mediate their marriage for them and just get super involved. So like this needs to be the thing you say as you begin to disconnect. And that will mean saying something to Liz that it's painful and not like volunteering to come over every day and like go through their fights with them. So figure out a time that you can just communicate the information to her tell her that you wish you had told her sooner it's been on your conscience that you're not going to try to tell her what to do or bring the subject up again. But you would wanna know in her situation, give her the facts. And then let that be that. And I hope she has other friends that she can talk to and. Whatever choice. Liz does or doesn't make because maybe shared. He kind of knows. Maybe she knows a lot let that choice be hers like you need to go figure out. Why you've been best friends with the narcissist that you think is a sociopath in a bad dude for twenty years, and we're like, absolutely let's go into business together. I won't better for you want so much better for you. And he's got father to your children. Why? Luckily, that's not a legally binding relationship. Look, I am done mother to a few friends children. I take that. Seriously. Do you do you? When you looked up Brian who again, you call nurses, sociopaths using like, this is the kind of person who I want to guide my children's faith for the rest of their life like their relationship with God that that's not. I don't feel like that's a person should be guiding. Yeah, I think you made the wrong call with your the godfather of your children. I don't think you need to work like when you have blown up his spot with his wife and like broken your professional ties. I think he will at that point not say like, but what about the next christening? I was going to just let that go like that will fall by the wayside. But yes, again, you got to these will be questions you'll be asking not just a week from now but a month from now on a year from now in therapy because it's going to take a while to. Untangle some of this stuff, but you sound ready to stop which I'm very glad to hear. Because this sounds unpleasant. So let's leave that one behind. Let's move on. This next one is tricky. But as tricky because nobody's anybody's. Godfather, this subject is joblessness turning into hopelessness. Dear prudence, oh, I just know everyone's going to this. I sense you're going to have a hard time with this one. I went to grad school to increase my earning potential and open up more career opportunities. So sorry. However, I've had a brutal time getting a job. I've been applying for two months and have had several interviews all of which have ended in rejection. I think him up to thirty two you will get more. Sorry. I don't need good color commentary on this with every interview get excited only to put an hour's worth of work and have nothing to show for it. It's pretty awful at one hundred and fifty thousand dollars of student loans needing to be paid back in six months. And every statistic I read about the long term effects of a low starting salary means I can't accept the of working as a barista or something until I find a new job in my field. My joblessness has turned to hopelessness can't concentrate in school as I look around at everyone who already has because she jobs lined up. I'm having trouble falling asleep and staying asleep. I've withdrawn from friends and family who asked me about it. Because I hate admitting that I'm a failure already in therapy for something unrelated, and my therapist doesn't really have good advice because she's never been in this situation. I feel lost. What should I do? My heart goes out to this person. You also went to grad school. How are you feeling about that right now, I'm not working not feels anymore? But I have had similar situations. I really feel for this person. I will say my is two things. I put out put out of your mind, the whole idea that you can't take a different job that you can't take a lower starting salary. Like, you the most important thing for you. Right now is to feel better about yourself. And even if even if this job is not in your field. It is something and we'll like get you moving and feeling like, you're okay. And you can succeed. And also, you can just leave it off your resume like I feel like people don't really know this that you don't have to put your barista job on your resume. No one will know this in your future salary negotiations that you were briefed sometime. That's okay. Also, go to your doctor like you seem depressed. I think that you could your therapist isn't working for this, which some therapists are good about this some aren't. Like. Talk to your doctor about the sleeplessness in the depression. This is a thing you can work on. It'll get better. I promise I'm so sorry. I would say to specifically say to your therapist. I'm having a hard time talking about this with you because you haven't been in this situation, and I want like more specific advice. I think sometimes when we get therapists. We think either I will agree with this person all the time, and they will give me really good advice, or I will quietly be disappointed in the things that they say, and then stop going back, and that is a recipe to feel really frustrated with their be, and I think sometimes it can feel hard the idea of pushing back against someone in the room like the your normally used to getting support from can feel really overwhelming, but I'm a big advocate of disagreeing with your therapist. Sometimes and seeing what happens because usually it's fine. Your therapist will vary. Calmly say something and you'll both figure out what to do next. So I would say that thing to your therapists say like, I'm really stressed out. About my career part of me feels like because you have not graduated with a ton of student debt. You can't understand what I'm going through. And I promise like, you're not going to hurt your therapists feelings. She's not going to be like, oh, my gosh, therapists, reading material there have been some excellent articles recently about like student dead and the hopelessness that people feel about that. Yeah. I think your therapists should like get used to this. Because I think this is a thing that people will be talking a lot of us hopeless, like your therapist, should definitely. But also I mean, but also to certain extent like you said, you're going to therapy about something unrelated. So maybe the fair, maybe you're going there for something that your therapist is really good at and then they are just not good at this one thing. That's okay. You can talk, you know. Go to your doctor top try to get your therapist to work on this find a different therapist that is okay too. Yeah. Yeah. And Mace mainly just communicate to your therapist. I don't expect you to help me get a job. I just wanna make sure that we're able to talk about this. In addition to the other stuff that I'm seeing you because this is a big thing that's like affecting my ability to function, and so as my therapist, I want you to know that I also think you know, like sometimes when you get into this pit of depression about something like this. It is very helpful to get to talk to your doctor to get medication to help you out of that. Because because you have this hopelessness you can't sleep like you'd think that nothing will ever be okay again. And sometimes you just need something else to hope you feel like you could maybe do something. And that's okay. I feel like people think you're meeting to failure. If you talk to your doctor about something like that. And that's not and I hope that I like, I I hope that things get better for you. And also you look around at your classmates and things that everything is perfect for them. And I promise that it's not even if they do have jobs, or maybe some of them don't have jobs, and they just won't admit it. I think there are a lot of people in situations like yours, and they just you just aren't talking people are talking about because they feel like failures. Yeah. I'll just a couple quick things to that one of which is. I don't got. I hope you don't have to pay the whole hundred and fifty thousand six months, if you do you gotta talk to somebody making clear, that's just not going to happen. Sometimes it can kind of help star position of just like that won't happen. So what do we do like don't don't overwhelm yourself thinking like my life will be ruined? Like talk to everybody and anybody who's even remotely connected with student loans on campus and try to find out what your other options are in terms of like income based repayment or even defaulting or getting other forms of assistance like ask for that kind of help and ask for it loudly. And again, I understand that you might not wanna like broadcast your most vulnerable panicked feelings on other people of the people. You talked to have heard this before. Yeah. Even job. Yeah. And like if there are students who have gotten great jobs like ask them, do you know, if that firm is also hiring because I'm actually having a harder time finding a position than I thought. I would ask them for help. Getting that interview. I don't wanna. To come down like real hard on you like you shouldn't have gone to grad school because what's done is done. You can't unring that bell. But when it comes to thinking about what happens next, it may be a hope it's not. But it may be that grad school is something that never affects the kinds of jobs that you have it may be that you just spent a lot of money on it. And you have to figure out a new thing afterwards. And if that happens, mainly what I don't want for you is to feel like I can't take this job. I have to make up for this like I have to earn my money back. So unless I get a job in my field. I won't take a job at all. And then five years from now, you still don't have a job, and you feel like I wish I could go back in time and get that barista job and like just be working at a coffee shop. So again, I'm not saying work at a coffee shop or don't. And I'm not saying assume just imagine already the grad school was a total waste of your time. And you can't ever make up for it. But I would just say don't don't. Feel like I have to justify the money already spent here because that is a recipe for panic and just like not letting yourself try something different. Yeah. And also talked to cursor verses at your school. I think graduate schools. Like all of their graduates to get jobs because it makes them look bad. Like, they get ranked based on that. So go talk to people and say like, I'm not finding a job help me. What can I do? What else is there? You know, keep talking to people until someone is hopeful because it is in their best interest to help you. And I think once you start feeling like keep looking keep interviewing and I keep not getting it. Something must be wrong with me. Therefore, I I am failure. And I can't talk to anyone about it. And I think you need to talk to as many people as possible about this, even though it makes you feel terrible. Because it's only other like other people will be able to help you in a way that you you can't get your, you know, you can't get your own job. Like, that's not saying anything bad about you. None of us can get our own jobs. We all need other people to help us so ask as many people for help as you can even though it makes you feel like the first time it feels miserable. But keep doing it. And then it'll feel more normal to you and good luck. And right back. Let us know how you're doing. I want to hear from you again. And I'm so glad I don't have to read this next letter. All righty bridal party blues. Dear prudence, I'm getting married. And if you short months, and I'm excited to have my two best friends to Fanie and Philip standing by my side, as I marry the most amazing man, unfortunately, Tiffany and fill up currently getting very ugly divorce fill-up cheated on Tiffany with his co worker Dalia last year. Philip is no longer seeing Dalia, and is dating another co worker Kerry, but he into Fanie aren't legally divorced yet. Tiffany was otherwise handling things gracefully is feeling incredibly sad about Kerry. I wonder why and I want to make Tiffany feel comfortable can during the wedding. I know it's customary to give all of your bridal. Hurry members of plus one. But do I have to give one to Philip? I don't wanna drama at my wedding, and I wanna protect Tiffany's emotions will likely already trying for her. But I don't want to be a jerk to Philip who has already feeling strange for our friend group. We love him. But we are all varying levels of angry with him over this situation on top of all of this. I don't know. Carrie and Philip himself told me he finds Kerry boring. Why he seriously dating someone? He finds boring. It's beyond me. Do I knew to extend a plus one to fill up. And if so how do I be supporter friend, Tiffany? I feel like that wrong question got asked here. Yeah. This is like. He's out of your wedding. Party when you cheat on one of my bridesmaids. You don't get to stand up there with my bridesmaid as she like watches me, take Val. Sorry. I mean, I feel like yes, I understand that Philip is feelings are because he's a strange from your friend group. Why is a fringe because he on one of your friend again, if you wanna be a nice friend don't disinvite him to the wedding. Let him come to the wedding. Why? The conversation. You have with Philip is just obviously you are no longer in the wedding party. And if you says something like why you say you cheated on another member of the wedding party. Like when you see that sentence out loud. And you realize how reasonable you sound? You don't have to have an argument. You don't have to convince him. And again, you don't have to say like therefore, you're not invited. Or I wanna put you under a special. Shame canopy where everyone will come by throw. Tin cans at you later, again, I wanna make it really clear. I am not suggesting that you have to like get rid of Philip from your life entirely. Again, like when somebody is your friend, and you love them, and they do something that is hurtful, if you say something like, you did something hurtful, and I think it's okay that you experienced some consequences for the hurt caused. That's good friendship. And you're not you're again, you're not doing this to punish Philip. You're doing this because he cheated on your friend and asking her friend who was there with you. Yeah. And like wedding asking to Tiffany to stand up in front of everybody, you both know with her like the ink is not yet dry on their divorce papers the man who cheated on her and say like that's cool with you. Right. If like that's a cruel thing to do to her like that's an affront to her dignity that would be asking her to like put up with just like public humiliation. And you shouldn't do it to her. You shouldn't even be putting her in a situation where she feels like pressure to be cool about it. So you tell Philip my friend. I love you. I'm very excited to have you at the wedding of co. You understand you are no longer in the wedding party. Which like? I don't know. He doesn't sound like the kind of guy who's also a standup groomsman. He doesn't sound like the kind of do you know what I mean? Like here cheats is why thing new girlfriend warring, he's not going to be like. Oh, no. But I'd like craft at a really thoughtful poem that I wanted to read like Philip is thinking about himself. So he's not in the wedding party. Yeah. Also while you're at it don't give him a plus one freight. To the wedding and all too. Yeah. Don't don't make don't make Tiffany stand up there with him. That's very very reasonable. If he wants to have like an ongoing conversation with you about that. If you guys want to hash out, if you wanna have some difficult conversations where you say things like Phil, I love you. But I'm really ashamed of the way you've behaved in the last year. I don't know why you're telling me that you find your new girlfriend boring. I think that's cruel. Inappropriate to say to me. I question your judgment. And I want you to do better say those things to fill. I will say those things to fill of you don't want. You just have him. Listen to play him this podcast like encourage him to listen to the sounds of shock and laughter. That comes from a group of reasonable people. Phil should be uncomfortable right now. Again, I'm not don't throw the tin cans don't say feel you can never be my friend again, but don't put Tiffany. And that's that's the way to be supportive of her, and he should be experienced like he shouldn't just be experiencing vague discomfort. When like no one says to him like, I think what you did was unkind and cruel, but they're all just sort of like, I'm just going to talk to a little bit less until I feel less bad. Like, somebody should be saying to Phil. What are you doing cheating people? Just here all of her friends are still friends with the guy who cheated like, give her a little bit more support still friends, but like a little distant which is just like that's the worst response. Right. Like, I either just go full hog and be a jerk and be like, whatever I love Phil Phil can't do anything wrong or cut felt like this in the middle stuff isn't pleasing anybody. But yeah, if you know God forbid. Somebody cheat on me done, and you invite us both to be in your wedding party. I'm not going to be like understandable. But could they just not come with date? Like, I'm gonna be like, I invite you to make a choice, please. Let me know when you have made it. Normally when I get wedding questions, I counsel people to care less and do a little less and not worry so much. This is a wedding escalation that I am courage. Make this wedding more dramatic. Read the next letter. My brother-in-law is evil twin dear prudence, my husband, and I have been together for a decade in that time his twin brother has gone from pretty liberal to identifying as an old, right? White supremacist and says in postings online and support of white supremacy anti semitism, racism, sexism, basically ticking, all the phobia boxes with his beliefs. My husband on the other hand is one of the nicest people I've ever met and has polar opposite believes from his twin currently my brother-in-law's working out of the country. So for the most part I've been able to avoid him since his viewpoints took a turn for the worse. However, it is likely he'll be moving home at some point this year. I want nothing to do with him. However, my husband has a relationship with him. Although they stick to superficial topics like sports and movies because my husband made it clear he doesn't wanna hear his brother's appoint views with him moving back in the nearest future. I know this is going to keep coming up as a source of contention between us, I don't even want my brother-in-law in our house. Obviously, it's my husband's house to and a loss of how to deal with the situation. Any advice would love to stop getting this question. I don't mean to say like the letter writer is a big jerk. I mean, I get this question so much, and I wish I didn't get it. I mean, yes, it's your husband's house, but it's your house. So I feel like you both can make rules about who comes into your house and doesn't. So I think pretty firm rule. You can make is he does not come into our shared home where I live. Yeah. Yeah. And there I don't think, you know, you need to say you have to tell your brother to like go jump in a lake, but. While I think family relationships can be complicated. I don't always just say like cut everybody off whenever they say something that's like painful, if you know, your sibling is a white supremacist and you choose to talk about sports, you are committing a grave sin. The only way I know how to describe that like you are choosing to ignore evil to talk about sports, and that's bad. And you shouldn't. So again without saying your husband. Here's what you have to do. I think you can say this you, and I both know because you're brother-in-law has said publicly that he is a white supremacist. I think that's awful. I can't pretend not to know that I have no interest in making small talk with him. Knowing what I do. I cannot pretend not to know it. So if we are ever with him, I will talk about it or you can just say I choose to never be with him that is fine. And I mean that might call him section between your you and your husband. But that's good that some things should cost fiction. This kind of thing that is make your husband think about is really again, like family relationships are important. I understand why someone would feel like that. This is my twin brother, but also he's a white supremacist. Yeah. Like there's a difference between like we have like big disagreements about like how to conduct trade agreements, and like we have to talk about movies. But like the only movies he wants to talk about his birth of a nation. Like, it's. Yes. So either to say I cannot be around him. That would be totally appropriate thing for you to say or to give your husband fair warning of like if I am in the same room with him. I'm going to say, you're white supremacist. And I don't think that's good. Do you husband want to be in that room? Or would you like to make alternate range moments? But don't you know, if you agree never to really talk about it with your husband and your husband agrees to never really talk about it with his brother that is how you create a family that like bills itself around the white supremacist and makes it easier for him to live his life. And I think a goodwill of them is to make it more difficult for white supremacists to openly spouse their beliefs. Yeah. So. The whole like what we understand you feeling bad about this. Because you feel like you're coming between your husband and his brother, but his brothers the one who did that. So right. Like, he's the one who was like I'm just going to say this stuff on social media now like that was his choice. And so I do understand that like other situations whether or not someone lives in a house as relevant, but like the fact that your husband owns property, you know, like does not enter into this like like, oh, no. You don't have property. You don't get out of an opinion on white supremacy. Like, that's an ugly idea and get that. That's not what you're trying to say here. But that's what you said is like because it's my husband's house. Maybe he has a right to excuse white supremacist. No, no. We've had a whole conversation about this property doesn't enter into the question Hugh of a stake in resisting white supremacy. Even if the only thing that you own is like your hands. This is definitely bring it up. Now, bring it up before the brother-in-law moves home. Make it really really clear what you are and aren't willing to do and don't make your husband's own. This will make your husband feel uncomfortable. This may make his brother feel uncomfortable. That's fine. That's good. People should feel uncomfortable about being a white supremacist. Yeah. Like if your husband, here's that. And he's like Ono, what am I going to do? You don't have to figure that out for him. We'd be like. Yeah. You need to figure out what you're going to do about your brother who's a white supremacist because you have decided not to do anything previously. So like if you kinda comes back with the sort of passive like, oh, no, no. I have a problem like again lovingly like encouragingly with the kindness of spouse who wants their partner to do the right thing to be an actively good person. Not just passively quiet person say you do have a problem. I would like to hear what some of your thoughts are like you created this problem. And I wanna know that the person I married. Is going to do something about this. So good thing. You got some time to fight this one out because it's a good thing to fight about and keep us posted. And don't have this guy over definitely don't have this guy over. Okay, we're ending on a nicer note because this one's just about route family members, which is there at least at least they're not. I mean, no mites premises. Yeah. You can work with rude. Yeah. Rude. There's a lot of room to maneuver. So the subject is rude. Parents dilemma, dear prudence, I'm a grad student. I'm wearing now about how you're doing there because I hope you're okay in that. I hope you're okay. I'm a grad student who's gone through periods of estrangement from my parents since I was a teenager. I just spent some time at home with my parents and ended with none of us speaking after they repeatedly treated me with derision hostility, bringing me to tears, although I go out of my way to do things for them to be cordial. I feel like this treatment has become normalized in. There is now that I'm back at my home. They've both reached out in a moderately affectionate way, not referencing any of the conflict. I haven't responded yet. I know that I should stop spending time in their home as it never goes. Well, but I don't know if I should bring up my anger with their unacceptable behavior. Take their lead and maintain a polite correspondence or cut them out of my life entirely the getting older, and they made a lot of sacrifices for my sister. And I getting sue college. So it's not like, I don't know them anything. Do you have any thoughts? I feel like your first step should be to go to therapy. Just everybody. Everybody seems like a very difficult family relationship. And you seem to have a lot of guiltiness. Like, I don't think you your parents anything just because they do through college. I don't like, especially if you're you're going to their house, and they're being actively cruelty you so I think you need to work through those feelings and those are like those normal hard feelings to have. So I I think there's a lot of space between. Continuing to do what you have been doing and cutting them out of your life and early, and I think talking to someone about this will be a really good way to help you navigate that. Yeah. I would agree with that. I don't in this one. I don't have a really strong sense of you need to either to the following things. Try to make things work or you. Absolutely. Oh, it to yourself to never speak to them again. And a lot of different people with different relationships to really difficult parents some of them have gone through periods where they don't talk to them at all. Sometimes they try a lot. Sometimes the trying is really painful, sometimes the painful trying is worth it to them. So I I would say mostly if you're kind of worried that like the right thing to do here is really stand up for yourself and tell your parents off. And if you don't do it you're somehow giving in or being week, like if there's just a party, that's like, even though my parents are really really difficult. I love them, and it would pain me to not be in touch with them. Please don't feel like that's weak or wrong. So I would say before you do anything actually really just spend a little time talking with somebody that, you know, loves you and will listen on touch, mentally or even just with a journal kind of writing down like given certain things that you know, you can't change. What would you like in terms of your relationship with your parents? And if the idea of. Even just kind of having difficult interaction with them. Once a month would be like, but I still wanna know how they're doing. I still want to tell them what's going on with me. I still wanna see their faces. I still want to hear their voices. If that's an important value for you. That's good to know. And you you get to prioritize that it doesn't make you weak. It doesn't make you like avoidance necessarily again. Like, there's always important lines. When it comes to stuff like they were like being violent towards you. I would say that you had an obligation to your own safety to get out. Or if they were. Crossing the line in terms of like, open, racism or other forms of bigotry that you felt like a duty to resist but just in that category of like, what do I want? How difficult how much time and energy can I put towards this? So if you decide you know, what for right now, I'm going to focus on grad school and finding therapist, and I'm gonna have some conversations with my parents that run along this level of my life. We're going to talk about what they've been cooking. What movies they've seen? And I'm going to get off the phone in five minutes and maybe in a couple of years. I will want to say like if you're not ready to have the hard conversations yet. It's okay. Everybody else to have those immediately. You can figure out what you want to say. I before starting that conversation yet. And especially because I think it sounds like this letter writer is really for the first time trying to consider like beyond just not talking. What are my other options? So don't feel like you have to decide really create strategy right away. But yeah, if it feels really important to you to take a little more time, you might even say to your parents. Hey, my last visit home was really painful, you guys hurt me. And I want to be able to talk about it. But I'm not quite there yet. So I need a little time and space. And then take that time and space you could do that. If you feel like I think that they would laugh at me, and I'm not ready for that. You don't have to. But you can feel like I'm doing a lot of waffling. I mostly just I feel like this letter writer already feels really like bound up really like constrained. And I want them to know that they've got a lot of options, and you don't have to make that choice immediately. I feel like you think that like you think that you need to stop spending time in your home or that you should stop speaking to them completely. You know, I think it's okay to sit with your feelings for awhile and feel them and then figure out what you're gonna do without making any decision. Just yet. And just know this is hard for you. You don't want things to keep going along as you've been doing? So I think knowing that is your first step, and then figure out what you like how you want the relationship to be what traces you can make to make things better for yourself. And I think it's hard to you. You can't know that right now you have to think about it for a while. It's okay. And just to reiterate if they were bringing you to tears, and then once you went away and got some space they acted like that didn't happen. That's that's not you know. You didn't make that up. It's not normal to treat other people that way, it's okay to still be hurt by that. And so I'm really glad that you've kind of decided, okay? One thing I can do is not be in their house anymore. That's really good. But if you also just needed to say like a pre sheet the faction, but if you really wanna demonstrate that you care about me. I need to say out loud that the last time. I saw you you were really cruel and you mocked me. And you made me cry. And I don't understand why you're pretending that didn't happen. And that's not like slinging to argue with them about like, if they try to say like we thought it was fun or that's not how I say. Like, that's not how I saw it. You can just say like I'm not trying to argue with you about how you saw it. I'm telling you what happened. I know. What happened? I remembered what happened that was real. If you ever want to talk about that with me and vailable for that. But if what you want to do is pretend it happen or suggests that I made it up am not available for that conversation. And that's not the same thing as cutting them out of your life. That's saying I will engage with reality. If you want to engage with reality. And if you wanna continue this thing where you treat me one way in person. And then once I get a little space and independence, and you start to worry that I'm like getting away from you you try to pretend it didn't happen. That's just not a game. I'm gonna engage with. But it wish you a lotta luck. It's really really hard and again place to be in. I'll just say if you decide that you are not ready to cut ties with your parents, even though they treat you really cruelly. That is okay. You do not have to do it because of some like allegiance to like doing the right thing. You can just do what feels doable right now. And that's our last letter. And I'm sad that we ended on the heavy note. But I'm also glad that we've hopefully talked at least one person in the audience out of having an affair tonight. Like if anyone came here. I was on the fence. I hope we don't even if you need to get divorced. Just go home and tell your house just say, I'm happy and thinking about cheating. Don't that's just so much quicker than you can just go date people with on purpose? And it's just it's just easier to take screen shots screen shots clutter up your desktop. They clutter up your photo cloud. No good. You're all wonderful jasmine year. Wonderful. I think we have some time to take questions from the crowd. Someone ask a lighthearted someone else? Someone else again like fun question. Yeah. Yeah. Oh, wonderful. Thank you so much of so glad you're here. This is actually light hearted question. One of the highlights of my week in the fall was quickly watching discovery, and then jumping online to see what you had written about tilles hair. And so I've been really sad lately that I don't know your thoughts on discovery in general and also tilles hair. Oh, well, thank you. That was very hard. The question was why I'm not recapping the next season of the new Star Trek, which I did last year. And the reason is that I have been writing my book, which is due tomorrow. It's very nice of you, all to applause, not done. It will be done tomorrow. But yeah, I they asked me if I wanted to to recap the show again, and I had to finish my book. Instead. So. That's that someone else has a question for these. So I am I am married to a trans person one of the first twenty or so people be registered non binary under the California law that allows for that them, and I have struggled with telling stories about our life together before they were trans with this sort of issue of dead naming and using the wrong pronouns because this is who they were at the time. And I don't have a really specific question about that. But I feel like you might be qualified to comment on this, and what is appropriate. What's insensitive? Absolutely. So I'll say to the first thing I don't wish those people on the open relationship community because it seems to me. That people who are really invested in having open relationships, actually, love, logistics, and processing and honesty, and I don't want to deliver to them pack of people who are like I love sneaking around hiding of denying things I've done and like so they need to get their house in order their first before they can figure out what their needs and desires are in terms of relationship structure, but I hear you. So I mean, the question generally like, especially if you're in a really close relationship with somebody who transitions in the course of your relationship. How do you think about how do you talk about various times during your life together? Of course, you know, my first thought there is speak to your partner and ask those questions because that particular person will always have the best information about that. And it may sometimes change. I don't wanna say like, here's a hard and fast. I will say generally speaking, especially the longer somebody has gone through their transition, usually we don't think of like a time in our life, necessarily before we were trans even if we don't think of ourselves as somebody who always knew there's often a sense of continuity to it that can be sort of hard to put into words. So while somebody else might have experienced a significant shift for us. It can feel a little bit more like locking something into place and less of a big break again that can really vary. Sometimes people do experience in this way. So with that big big, caveat, I would say air on the side of asking your partner. I and saying we'll be your preference. If you're not sure what your preference is. You know, I will air on the side of like not telling that particular anecdote. But you know. I guess I would just say be prepared for it to change because for me sometimes that has changed. And I think often there is kind of a push for all of us to feel like we wanna make it as easy as possible for other people because we sometimes feel even around really open accepting right on people a little bit of a sense of guilt. Like, we're taking something away. Like, I know I experienced that. I didn't want to I knew intellectually that that's not something that I was doing. And yet there was also a part of me that often felt like I'm taking something away from the people who love me, and the best thing I can do is transition as quietly as possible and ask as little of the people around me as possible. So they don't mind so much so. You know, take people at their word, obviously. But recognize that there will probably be an impulse within the transportation. You love to say, it's fine. It's totally fine. Totally get it totally fine. I love it. No worries. And maybe that's true. And if so that's great. But if sometimes they say, you know, I want you to pause on those stories or I'm not so sure how I feel about that particular picture that's up in the hallway or I would like you to refer to me in the past as my name, especially because usually like if if somebody transitions in your life, usually people know, you know, like all the people in my life. No that I'm trans. So if I talk about my childhood, and I refer to myself as Danny people people who know me know that people weren't calling me Danny at the time. Like, we're all aware that I was raised not under the name, Danny? So it doesn't feel like I have to acknowledge that with the people who. Oh me. Well, so I would say those are just some guiding principles. I would not try to offer up a hard and fast rule other than just ask the person that you're thinking of talking about guided by them, and if they say, I don't know air on the side of waiting till you can learn more. But the I'm glad you're asking that question that's thoughtful in loving. And I'm really really glad that you're thinking about that. And that your goal is to find ways to talk about your own experience that both honors what you've been through. And also something that's deeply deeply felt in your relationship. Also, I love your necklace. I just meant to say that earlier gave it to me for Christmas, the best taste, all right? Who's next? So I don't know. If you remember I asked a question when you lasted a live show in San Francisco, all my goodness. Did it did it work out? Yes, that's wanted to tell you. So. Don. So my question was that. My brother had been had asked me to be my best man at my wedding light twelve times, and I was really tempted to do the same thing. And then last week he told me that he proposed to his girlfriend and she said, yes. And I resisted the urge to even mention it. And I wanted to say thank you for your excellent advice. To you that there's a route of applies. Congratulations to your brother, by the way. Congratulations to you. My sister is in the audience tonight. And sometimes it's really hard when she's done a lot of terrible things to me. No kidding. She's the best sister in the world. My sister, Laura is here, and she is wonderful and the best and I love her and she's never done anything wrong. I'm so glad you're here. Okay. Next question. So first of all, I love the fact that your shoes or coordinated. Accident. He'll divide. So I tend to be really over analytical and try to rationalize everything I do like oh my being objective. I'm being logical rational. But sometimes it's too much or too little and it's hard to kind of keep grounded. So what feedback or comments would you have about that? In terms of like, am I being objective their rational like how do I be like hard on myself when I need to be? But also not too hard to ruffle myself. I wish my brother was here. That is my brother like, I feel like he would have such great advice for you like he would be like done with some thirty seconds. You could all just go home. My sister. Not think that. I've already said she's always, right. Really put myself in a problem. Yeah. But just kind of general question of like, how do I know whether I'm like like applying appropriate rigor to my own line of thinking versus being way too hard on myself. And that's a big, you know, that's really hard like I felt in the ultimate much anything. Yeah. And I think just as you were saying that last question, I think one key here is having a number of friends or people in your life, who's judgment, you value who can give you some feedback. And again that doesn't mean like texting every friend. You have every time you have to make a decision and say like, do you think I'm totally bonkers for trying this or do you think I'm thinking through this correctly? But can really be helpful. If you say to someone like, I worry, I'm being either too critical here or too permissive. Do you have a sense of where you would fall if you were in my position? And I think the people who know you, well, we'll be able to who know you situations. We'll be able to answer that question for you like certainly have friends of mine who would say like, no. No, you keeping yourself about this because XYZ or like just this week ice been to myself about something and a friend of mine who is here somewhere. I believe was like jasmine like this is okay. This is a hard thing that you're going through like that's fine. And so I think like reaching out to people because I think you never have the best perspective on yourself. And certainly like everyone else, you know, is going to have a different kind of prism on you. But it's helpful to hear the different ones. And see do they agree? Like am. I doing too much of this might not doing enough of this listening to people in your life, especially if you were at appointing her life where you have people around you who opinion whose opinions value sometimes we'll have to get there. But but if like listen to those people and try to like be kinder on yourself about that. I would also like to put a plug in for writing stuff down. Sometimes because I think we all were like all of our fear is like I will get so mixed up when it comes to rigor and compassion that like I'm going to be like Philip cheating on Tiffany. And being like itself care for no one to yell it. That's the fear. Is that I'll be like. Yeah. Cheated on my wife, but self care. Like, that's the fear. And so I think sometimes like writing down, you know, what do I think is the highest good in this situation? What's the value here that I want to prioritize what's the best case scenario? What would I do with that? What is the worst thing that could happen? How would I feel about that? Is there any part of me that I think feel threatened here or that I want to safeguard it doesn't have to be like pages and pages, it can just be like a Fraser too. But it can really help clarify like what am I hoping to get out of this situation? What's the thing that I need from this situation of this person, this tiff you'll heard is to feel respected is to like get a specific thing from them. And if I don't get what I want. What would I do? And how would I want to respond like how would I how would I lose gracefully in this scenario? And then also you can flip back and think like, oh, I did this exact same thing three months ago. I have this problem a lot like, maybe. Okay. This is how I fixed her like, I did not do that. Well, let's try something different. I think that is very helpful. Yeah. And again, like a also this to like, I don't like writing things down. And I like when I first started to think about transition like to oh, my got two years ago. I'm an elder now. Not an elder not an elder that is a joke. But I really hate writing stuff out by hand. And I also knew I needed to keep some sort of record. Because I knew if I didn't I would just keep convincing myself that like this just started yesterday, and I needed to prove to myself that I was thinking about this a lot. So I I opened a Google doc, and I just like would type in the date, and I would write a couple of sentences of what I was thinking about it. And after like, six months, I was like, I guess I have been thinking about my gender for a long time or else like evil demon has crept into my laptop. And it's like I had evidence that there was a pattern. And so that can be really hopeful good luck. Thanks for listening to dear prudence. Our producers, Phil circus. Our theme music was composed by Robin Hilton live production by faith Smith, Kirstin Holtz, and Phil circus special. Thanks to the Bravo. Theatre center in San Francisco. Don't miss an episode of the show had to sleep dot com slash dear prudence to subscribe. And remember you can always hear more proves by joining sleep plus go to slate dot com slash pootie pod to sign up. And if you want me to answer your question, call me and leave a message at four zero one three seven one, dear that's three three to seven. And you might hear your answer on an episode of the show. You don't have to use your real name or location and at your request. We can even alter the sound of your voice, keep it short, thirty seconds a minute tops. Thanks for listening. And on today's plus segments. If you partner constantly snooping through each other's phones, I feel like there's no level of trust in your relationship to begin. With like, what are you doing? We were talking about this backstage a little bit. And we have the idea of like just like go into his notes app on his phone. Leave a message than just like, well, I was new pink through your phone, and I found this balls in your car to listen to the rest of that conversation. Join sleep plus now at slate dot com forward slash pretty pod.

writer Brian Ralph Philip Tiffany Liz partner San Francisco Greg Daniel Berg Jane Austen Christina Applegate Neum Volvo Jasmine Diane Keaton Phil Phil Michael Corleones Bravo theatre center leeann Rimes
Dear Prudence: The "Sexual Side Effects" Edition

Slate's Dear Prudence

1:13:41 hr | 2 years ago

Dear Prudence: The "Sexual Side Effects" Edition

"You're listening to this week's excerpt from the prudent podcast to get the full length. Members only version every week join slate plus at slate dot com slash pretty bud. You're you're Putin. Prudence? Here. Do you think that I should contact him again help? Thank thank you. Hello and welcome back to dear prudence as always. I am your host Daniel Mallory or perk. Today's special show was recorded live at the Hamilton in Washington DC on March twelve twenty nineteen I was joined on stage by the host of NPR's, pop culture. Happy hour Lynn homes. I just want to note that we had some technical issues and the first couple of minutes the show didn't get recorded. So many read the first question right now. And then we will join me and Linda live the Hamilton subject reestablishing, a relationship with the sister who threaten to tell my job about my kinks question-mark dear prudence two years ago. My sister found out about some of my kinks from girl I went on a date with. But my sister always told me she'd never tell anyone then in vendor. My mother and sister got into another serious fight over the phone late at night and our mother threatened to spread horrible lies about my sister to her husband's job and their church. My sister called me distress demanding that I get involved and calmer mother down. So she wouldn't threaten anymore to hurt. Her. Family. My sister told me that if I didn't calm her down. She would disclose everything she knew about my kinks to my job. I worked my entire life to become an attorney and finally became one at the age of twenty six and managed to get my dream job. So I felt that everything I'd worked for was about to be destroyed. I got my mother to stop harassing my sister. And swear not spread lies about her to her husband's job or their church. I told my sister what I had done. But I also told her I never wanted to speak to her or have anything to do with her again after she threatened to destroy my life. She told me that she did it to protect her family. And that someday I would understand if my family was ever put the same position, it told her that what she did hurt me very deeply because ever since I was born she'd said, she loved me and would always protect me by making sure no one ever did anything to hurt me. She's tried contacting me a few times, they cut off contact back in early January saying she was deeply sorry. But I am torn I love my niece and nephew. But I can't stop thinking about what she did. And if she's threatened to do at once all ready, what's stopping her from doing it again in the future? I. Just want things to go back to the way they were. But I feel like I can't trust my sister anymore after what she's done. Okay. Let's find out what Linda and I had to say about this at the Hamilton in Washington DC. Are you there? This is sort of paranoid feeling of like, oh, I downloaded porn and someone's going to send an Email to my mom, saying your kid just downloaded porn like that kind of bonkers voice. A lot of us had. That's like totally divorced from reality or a king that is like versity level intense that your life. Your lawyer job would think it was varsity level tent, right? Anything involving PU I think your lawyer job it's reasonable to. Thank your lawyer job might find it awkward. I gotta say if I'm working at a law office, and I get a phone call or an Email from somebody who is not a lawyer, just my sibling works there. I found out there super into scap play. Like, I would just be like what a weird thing about dating. I did have the same thought. I was like if I try to the sister following through with this threat. It's a very odd. Yeah. Because you don't like what do you think is going to happen on the other end of that phone call? Yeah. Realistically, unless you did something that harmed somebody else, which I think you would have mentioned in the letter, right? I think this is sort of like panicked paranoid. Fear of like, everyone's gonna know something very personal about me and think I'm awful when I think in reality, it would mostly just make your sister. Look like, irrational jerk. I agree. And I think, but I think like. It's a very serious. It's a very serious offense. Into ater blackmail. And what you have here is a family where the mother, I guess is blackmailing the sister by saying I'm going to tell people at your church things about you and your husband or I'm going to tell you and your husband things about your church. Mom is threatening to reveal information and the sisters afraid sushi then turns the blackmail against the letter writer, which is so we'd because it sounds like the litter writer would have helped her any. So you have a family that obviously has there is a lot going on here. That is not good. Yeah. Just because they're relating to each other this way, and I feel like for the mother to have this kind of clamp on these these kids there has to be some kind of trauma involved. You're the sister to be kind of begging common help mom and calm her down. It sounds like talking mom out of maybe some state that they've dealt with before it just all seems very sad to me. But I like the letter writers instinct in the sense that I think the instinct the sense that you're not trust. Your sister is very good is a very solid one. And the fact that when confronted she went to the sort of my life is more important than yours, and therefore you can't possibly understand. That it's okay for me to blackmail you in a way that it's not okay for mom to blackmail me. What happens to you doesn't really matter because you don't have a family like what a ridiculous thing to say. Right at the same time. I understand a letter writer has like some desire to provide an opportunity for Greece to the sister. Right. Yeah. I definitely don't fault. The letter writer for having a sense of I miss my niece and nephew. I would love to be a part of their lives. And so the question is just like to what extent and my willing and able to put up with some level of let's call it intensity. In order to get that. And I think you know. It's one thing to say I'm gonna need a little longer than a couple of months. It's also understandable to me if the letter writer were to decide ultimately that relationship with my niece and nephew is important that I wanna keep a channel open. But then I think you need to figure out. How do I seriously limit the time? I spend with my sister. And also like as they enjoy saying read it put her on an information diet about my life. Yes. Like, tell her very little about your personal life and just keep that happening going forward. Yeah. I think. Yeah. I mean, I think that the letter writer asked at one point like I want things to go back the way they were. But I don't feel like I can ever trust her again. And like, I don't think it's that. I don't think it's black and white. I think you can as you're saying it's never gonna be like it was before. I think that's probably too serious of of transgression to to ever be like it was before if you've been close before which I'm surprised this is kind of never come up. This kind of thing with them before. But it's never going to be like it was before. But that doesn't mean you can't like you say that channel open. Yeah. So I would say at this point, you're well within your rights. This was only back in January, and it is barely March. Now. So you're fine with like, hey, you were going to try to ruin my professional reputation because I enjoy like complicated sex. So I'm gonna need more than a month and a half so like chill out about this one. But I think really distressed your sister. Like, I just want to make it clear. I would have helped you if you had just asked the fact that you decided to add a threat that has to do with my sex life. It's about as intimate of betrayal as you can get. So I just what I need from you right now is time space. Yeah. And I will let you know when and if I feel ready to have a Cup of coffee together. And then you know, I would encourage this letter writer to see a hopefully king positive therapist who can help you figure out. If this is how your family kinda normally communicates. Figuring out. How do I wanna limit that? How do I wanna take step backs from some of these things? What do I want to do with in the future? This happens again. So that you can take this time off not just to set like calm down. But also to figure out. Okay. They're probably not going to get great at fighting my family members in the next couple of months. How do I want to relate to that differently? Yeah. And I was interested in the fact that at first the letter writer says when I my sister, she was very like you don't have a family. You don't understand? I was doing to protect my family. You would have done the same thing. But then at the end it also says she was calling me saying she was very sorry. And I was like so what is the shape of that apology? I would wanna know to like is the shape of that apology. Like, I'm sorry all this happened. Let's try to get past it that one of those kind of like apologies that you can't like actually grab onto it. Because it's missed. Yeah. Or isn't an apology where she saying I recognize that this was an abuse of personal information. I had about you. And I understand why you feel so incredibly violated, and I never should have done. It would never do. Yeah. And. Just really one of the things that hopefully, this therapist will be able to help you out with is. I can't promise you that. No, one would ever judge you if this was knew about you. But like your sister's threat is not one that you have to take face value. She's taking advantage of the fact that everyone feels panicked like everyone right now who has had any remotely kinky thought is like, oh, God if that were me it would add by life. Like, we're all thinking that. And that's just the nature of like having like specific things that we want to go with the sex that we have or think about like, everyone just feels like no, no, this is the thing. No one can know about me. And yet if you put yourself in the position of the boss, you get that phone, call your first, it's not like I am going to have to fire. Your that lawyer because I don't wanna hear another word about this. I don't ever wanna talk about it. And the last thing I wanted is called the person in my office. Coming here. Come in here. Ferguson. We gotta talk about. Yeah. We gotta talk about the, you know, your sister called about the ding, ding. I mean, I would just I would just mentally like, okay Bergerson has really intense sister, and I will screen my calls. I would just try to never laid eyes on Ferguson again. It's great all great life is rich tapestry. Today. We are sponsored by European wack centers acts the pink Tech's campaign. The pink tax is the extra amount of money. That women are charged every year for basic goods and services and adds up to about thirteen hundred fifty one dollars every year, the pink tax charges women were money on everything from baby bottles to canes toys, personal care products. Clothes dry cleaning women are even being charged more for dry cleaning than men sometimes for bringing in the exact same shirt. Now, you know, see for yourself at acts the pink tax dot com. Would you be so good as to read our second letter? I absolutely would see this is why I asked you if you wanted to print out backstage thought, I was just answering. No, I would absolutely read the second. Thank you. The subject is happy for her sad for me. Do you prudence for over thirty years? I've been a composer for musical theater and performer in the pit orchestra by wife of eighteen years is also a talented musician in her own, right. I took time off from the theater world. While we raised our young children about three years ago an opportunity arose for me to co write a show, and I got back into the production side. I also attempted to get some pit orchestra gigs. But nothing panned out. I have actually played for the show. I wrote and my wife wound up playing the show to folks loved her so much that in the five months following the show, she's book three more gigs and had to turn down a for. Meanwhile, though, I continue to write I still have had no luck getting any work playing. And I miss it terribly. The problem this all came so easily to her and I never even knew it was something she was interested in doing. I love her more than anything. But I find myself battling feelings of extreme envy. I'm having a hard time getting over it as I have to listen to her rehearsed music for a show. I. I love to play with the company. I'd tried hard to work for. I really hate feeling this way as I'm genuinely happy for her. How do I make myself get over this before the performances start I really want to go and support her? But it's killing me inside. Yes, I'm doing this for sure. You go away. This is better than a star is born. I love this. I want to read the romance novel right now about two highly talented pit orchestras. I get hit musician. I know it sounds amazing. Yeah. Who are both incredibly talented and one is struggling to become like a better version of himself to support his wife more. Yeah. I mean, it's so to me when I read this. I'm like the good news for this for this person is professional jealousies. Most normal world like to me, professional jealousy. Like there are certain emotions where it's like, look if you feel incredible seething anger because your sisters naming her child TIMMY, and you always wanted to name your child. Tommy like, that's a dumb feeling that. Like, that's that's dumb. I object to that feeling. That's dumb feeling. Sorry. It is a Dumpty. All right. We as mom, but this is not a dumb feeling. This is perfectly understandable feeling. I think most people especially people who feel like in their field recognition is really hard to come by. I think you know. I had tremendous professional jealousy about Danny Danny was a new writer and much younger than I was and very funny. And it was like, oh, sure. Well, this is the person everyone thinks is like so funny. And so and it couldn't really limit you. If you let it run away with you. So I think the thing is like you just have to not act on it. And you think to you talked about a really well like you were normal about it. I like to give you credit for this. Like, you express it in a way that was like. Generous and reasonable, and like did not attempt to blame anyone else for the way that you were feeling and also it wasn't trying to beat yourself up. And it was very like. Yeah. That makes sense to me. I think it's very like normal. I hope it's a very normal things have happened. It has happened to me with other. This is not like a specific Danny fixation that I have this is like this is like throughout life. It's other people who have had podcast is other people who have right written about television. It's other people who've done practically everything else I've ever done except being a lawyer because I care about it. But I think it's totally normal. The trick. Is you can't act on it, which means and see whether you agree with me. It's perfectly normal for him to feel jealous and to take it really hard. But he kind of has to suck it up and try to go to the performance and support. Oh, absolutely. Can't stay home and pal. Oh god. No, no, absolutely those day. And I would say to that end. There are probably ways to talk about it with your wife. I wouldn't have her be the first person you come to about it. Again. I'm always gonna throw in a plug for therapy. Especially if you're both two relatively successful musicians. You could probably even if you can only afford like two sessions. Go twice probably got specialists. Yeah. Exactly hit orchestra. Yes. Just kind of talk through. I like the ugliest version of it. And then also talk through like, okay, given that I cannot control these feelings, and I can't control whether or not offered a job tomorrow. Given those two realities what's the best case scenario for my attending this performance. And I want it to be one where I am able to without like putting on a mask and. Pretending to be something. I'm not able to experience real joy for my wife like simultaneously with my anxiety about my own future. Where I don't try to rob her of her joy or her success in where I'm able to be really present. Even if sometimes they have a little roller coaster of emotions I want to be able to ride that roller coaster, and that's super achievable. And yeah, just like a like the other side of the coin to what you were talking about earlier I've been in relationships where like both parties have often had similar careers as we'd be able to talk really well about like after I'm really excited for you. This is really cool. Also likes this makes me anxious, and I do feel some jealousy. And we can do the like totally get it makes sense. I was once in a relationship with someone where I found out much longer after I got a good job that they had been devastated that I got this good job, which they were not like up for by the way, we weren't competing for it. And that they had like kind of gotten together with one of my really good friends talking about how much they were both hurt by it. That was like, oh when I found this out month later that was really painful, and it was like the had kept up for me. They'd like gotten together to talk about it. And it had fueled this kind of like thing, but you can see how they might have thought. Like, we shouldn't talk to Dan. Yeah. It was wrong. It was bad. We shouldn't take it out because it's not has like that we feel this way. And yet like the one thing that I would ask this letter writer to reconsider is the part of the letter this is it came so easily to her because you actually don't know whether that's true just because she had never told you that she was interested in doing it. You don't want to assume that things come easily to people because very often what you're looking at is a lifetime of work to become good at something. And it might seem like it comes easily. But that's a that's a tricky. I would encourage the him to try to push away from that feeling awful. Yeah. And just again like when those feelings come up. That's okay. You're not a bad person. But figuring out like, okay? If I've already talked this through with my wife a couple of times does she need to know every single time. I feel that trash there's someone else. I can talk about that again same thing where it's like don't necessarily go to her closest friend. You know, what I mean like and don't do it in a way that kind of feeds simultaneous like jealousy. Psycho to go to someone who's not also jealous. I would say that totally different job. Eating your jealousy. Yeah. Yeah. Absolutely. And just remember that like, even if it didn't go to your wife. It wasn't going to go to you like the thing that she. I did not mean that as a slam. I really didn't know. Sure. Like, it wasn't down to the two of you. Right. So it's not as euro some gaming when you hear her rehearse this music for a company I'd love to play for that's real. But also just remember like YouTube or not indirect competition for race. She's not taking this away from right? And it helps you know, she she got us. Attention partly for playing in a show that you co wrote. Yeah. Meaning you helped make this possible. This isn't accomplishment that you're partly responsible for if that makes it more bitter than try not to think about it. But maybe it makes it less better. Yeah. I don't just end with if you haven't already you should definitely watch the documentary now episode of co up with John Mullany playing on I'm version because there's just a moment where he says when you lean into the rhyme. It takes me out at the moment and kills me. And I just I don't think that's going to help you with your problem. I just think as a pit musician you'll probably enjoy it. Yeah. That's true. That's true paid gigs. I just wanna say, yeah, that's still real problem. But yet to say. This episode of dear prudence is sponsored by absolute absolute has always been a brand that stands out, and it shows in the way that they make their product it's made using wheat and pure water distilled until it's perfect and sourced from southern Sweden. They also care about how they make their product inside out, which is why all of their vodka bottles are made with forty percent recycled glass in one of the most energy efficient distilleries in the world absolutes production productions almost no waste to landfill. And they were cycle everything they can plus they use their leftover still edge defeat over two hundred and fifty thousand local farm animals every day. That's why absolute is planet earth favorite vodka. Join the movement at absolute planet dot com. So we also talked about this next letter a little bit backstage, and I'm excited about it. Because it's kind of like Schrodinger father in law where it's like, he definitely falls somewhere on the leg creepy continuum. But it's a little bit unclear where exactly and I'm really excited about this. I love it. Love it. Love other laws subject bothering law makes me uneasy. My father in law insists on a kiss. Hello. He initiates by going for a hug, but I turned my cheek to try to avoid the cheek kiss when I do. So he comments on it. And claims that we need a quote redo. A real anti cheek kiss faction. Ed right over right doing a lot of gasp. I wanted to think it's the redo the would go, but they were on it earlier too. They were on a minute. You said yes, she kiss there. There's a this is where team no cheek kiss. Yeah. He's also acknowledged that. This makes me uncomfortable. Persists. I think also an easy about this. Because my father in law seems controlling and once made a weird comment about my career and dress a young professional and one day. I got home to find him on my back deck. My husband was not home. I'm not sure how it came up. But he asked if I ever have to wear those quote, slutty business clothes and quote to work. I love this audience. I wish I could have. Convict his father in law right now. I do I do enjoy the part of this job that feels like a medieval morality play. Or a Roman and very well. Do we send him to the lions? Go you guys the Roman audiences were bad. Like you've never saw gladiator. Father too bad. To a murdered wife. He talked very strangely in that film. All right. I've discussed this with my oh, sorry averted the question and occupied by self preparing dinner until my husband arrives. I've discussed this with my husband, and he agreed that it was offered and has assured I will never be left alone with my father-in-law again. How can I have the kiss? Hello with the father in law. I would love to go on a diatribe about his actions and consent, but given his politics and reactions in the past it would have no impact I've actually going back to the lions. So so what we were talking about backstage is that there is such a thing as you know, families where people are accustomed to kissing on the cheek great, let's agree upon that. And they're also families where people are used to a lot more like Razan each other than I personally enjoy especially sort of playful like, oh, this person doesn't like this does Exo I'm going to do it more. And particularly like if the father in law's saying like, we need to redo and then she's like, well, okay. Like, he's still shouldn't do it. I'm not I'm not defending. No one's worried that you're like, no. I love him. He's clearly trying to figure out like where he where he may lie on the scale of terrible manners to creeper. And he's obviously somewhere in there. The cheek kiss thing is just I would encourage at least taking a shot at actually just saying. I really don't like it. I am serious. I really don't want you to do it or asking your husband to which I think is also something that can sometimes work depending on all the relationships involved the comment about the the comment is do you have to wear. Do you ever have to wear those slutty business parts, so many different ways Danny, and I were talking about the fact that it's like is it do you ever have to wear those slutty business close because you should is it do you ever have to wear those slutty business close because you shouldn't? Or is it do you ever? Where this lady business close because I read this thing in the New York Times, but like one what are slutty and the other thing is it seemed like she had come home from work was the on the deck like, but does have. But here's the key to your house on should change the law had the father. Why does the father in law had the key? Right. So after all of this like all of this. I went back to what she's actually asking. Which is how do I avoid the cheek kiss? And I think you have to at least it's not her job to figure out where on that scale the father in law lies. I think I'm glad that she and her husband have reached what seems to me to be a proportional response in the sense that she's not alone with the father-in-law. Also from the husband, and my wife doesn't want to be alone. But my down that's concerning. And I'm surprised that has been has kind of left it there. But after the cheek kiss, I would at least give shot to firmly expressing I feel. Feel not -verting the kiss that doesn't work on the razzing. And she kissing kind of people. They have no right to assume that you're just playing around. But they might assume it so take at least one shot if you haven't already at saying, no, I really don't like that. And I really don't want you to do it. And I think with the way that you do it is the next time that you see him. Do you like put up the hand? And just like, hey, I just wanna make it really clear. I actually don't like doing cheek kiss. I'm just gonna hug you. Hello. When I see you. That lets him know such that like you've been very clear such that. If he like tries to toy with that boundary. You just get to follow up with you know, I don't enjoy it. When you kiss me. Why would you still want to do it? And then being prepared to let him like sit in an uncomfortable. Silence. There's like a community center that I spent a lot of time at where there occasionally like some missing stare type dudes. If you're familiar with the expression, it's sort of like guy who's like. But everyone sort of like, oh, we've just sort of development. We all just know to avoid that stare and then somebody shows out, and they don't know it and they fall through the stairs. And everyone's like, oh, well, you should have gone over that. And it's just like how would I have known that? And it's like because we all work really hard not to fix that stare. But like over the course of the year that I was starting to transition. It was really weird to like phase out of his creepy. Hugging target like I could like point to the week where it went from like. We're gonna just like there. You are. But that was funny wasn't great either. Because then he just started calling me little this change your name. And I was like that is not how I would like transition. That is not good at all. And the thing is like as we were talking about before you will learn a lot from saying. Yes, please don't do this. I really don't like it. Because if you receive any pushback to that now, you're moving way over toward creeper. Yes. And then I think that's when it's time to say to your husband. Yeah. We actually need to like move up from just like you stays a buffer to like you need to have a talk with your dad, if he has accused the house, we need to take it away already done that. And where you need to explain to him that unless we invite him over. He doesn't come over. Well, the other thing that if I'm funny as she's like, I don't remember how it came up thing about this business close, Mike. You don't like, I don't know. I can imagine. This is the kind of guy that when you hang around him you try to out as much. Like, it just sort of like, all right? Your clothes, and you're like what I interrupted your excellent excellent wrap up. No rate. Yeah. Go ahead and say that if if he's on the milder end of things he will drop it and that will be great. And you could just always have slightly like sense of relief when you're father in law leaves, and if he like delights in oh woman is trying to set about I can't wait to make a big fucking meal out of it. Then you know, he's a real piece of shit. You got say to your husband any may roles is and do the thing where he's not gonna chew because. No, you do it. And like, it's terrible. But like that I definitely prefer being little miss change your name to get in the hug like I'll I'll take it. That's the thing. I don't like it. If. You'll probably outlive him. Oh, definitely. He's. Yeah. Yeah. Really dark there. After after this, my answer it. Everything's gonna be a live. This episode is sponsored by wander beauty. Looking good often feels great, but for many really being able to devote that kind of time and energy into their look is not an everyday occurrence. Sometimes you just wanna look fantastic right now. And keep things as simple as possible. That's what wonder beauty is all about wonder beauty is for the woman on the go. Whether you're doing your makeup in the car or handling skin-care at the gym everything is travel friendly and made to fit your busy lifestyle. Their beauty essentials are multitasking multipurpose allowing you to create a full look without a full makeup back. Everything is made with skin loving ingredients. So you don't have to choose between. Good for you ingredients on high-performance beauty because there's nothing more stressful than glass breaking or loose powder. Spilling all over your bag. Everything that wondered beauty makes is mess free. And stress-free wonder beauty gives you maximum impact with minimum effort. Get twenty percent off your purchase at wander beauty dot com slash dear prudence. That's wonder beauty dot com slash d. Prudence for twenty percent off wonder beauty dot com slash dear prudence. All right. So it's your turn again kogo cool. Okay. To take a child's friends or not is by their children. Dear prudence. My daughter is fourteen and two of her best friends are both transitioning one of them has a super supportive family. The other does not his family is religiously conservative and while they haven't stopped him. They aren't supporting him either. He stopped attending therapy at the end of last year when he ran out of insurance covered visits because his family won't pay for it. His insurance coverage kicked back in January. But the same thing is going to happen again soon. More importantly, his family refuses to call him by his chosen name and miss gender. Som. And refuses to go to therapy with him. He's getting very depressed, which is making my daughter sad recently. He told my daughter that his dad told him it was okay? If you wanted to move out and now my daughter wants him to move in with us. The problem is that we don't really have room. I'm a single mom with two kids in a one bedroom apartment. I sleep in the living room and my son's leaps in what used to be a dining room. I can't afford to move because my rent would more than double to get a second bedroom. But it breaks my heart to see this young. Man suffering so much offering him a loving home seems like a no brainer. But my brain keeps saying, where's he going to sleep who's going to pay for his groceries and health insurance? Yeah. This one's really rough. I don't is really rough. I don't know that we're going to solve this one in the next couple of minutes here on stage. It's funny though, I got a letter quite a lot like this this morning for the live chat from somebody who was essentially in this teenagers position. And that's not to say, I know what's going to happen to this particular kit. But it was very much like I tried to come out as trans as a teenager. My parents like semi to therapists, not like repaired, if they're people like general therapist, but the copays were really high, and it was very clear that they didn't want me to do it. So I just said, you know, what it's probably a face forget it. And now it's like fifteen years later, and sometimes I dream about transitioning, and when I wake up I just wanna go to sleep again. And like what do I do? And it's just, you know, it's painful like, especially the degree to which like trans kids. They're such a like hot topic like what's to be done. And so often like what's done is just like now that it's a little more out in the open that like, maybe it's not cool to like throw your children into the street for implying that they might be trans. It's like fine. I'll take you to therapy. I guess, but it's really. Expensive. And this is a huge hassle for me. And it's like, yeah. Your kids fourteen like wants you to love them super bad. Like, they're definitely going to like if they don't like runoff. They're going to be like, okay. I made it up. I'm sorry. Love me again. Don't be an asshole to fourteen year olds is one thing. You can do anyways. That's not that's not the people who have written to us. So all that said the question is like should I have several children sleeping on my couch who can't afford to feed with that be helpful in the long, and I totally understand that conflict. And I would I would not say that this letter writer is like in there's an immediate crisis where like someone's immediate physical safety is. So like, it doesn't sound like the kids like, I'm this close to are hurting myself. Right. And so there's not like a crisis point where you have a moral obligation to take them into my adult think. Do you agree? I. It is so hard because I think I love the instinct that this. This woman has about taking care of this kid while also not wanting to you know, I don't she's not a hero because she wants to help a kid who is suffering. But it's a lovely. It's a lovely instinct have I do think the cart is before the horse a little bit because the kid telling the woman's daughter. My dad says it's okay if I move out, right? Does not necessarily mean that it is okay. For the kid moves out. Right. And I think they're a couple of different ways to go. Right. You can say, you know, you can employ a version of what doctors call watchful waiting. You. Can you can say I'm gonna keep an eye on this kid like can't do it right now? We just can't. John of the space. We don't have the money. And then just keep very very close eye out or sorry. Go ahead. And I would say to that end. Maybe rope in the supportive family of the other kid who's gonna say that maybe maybe an tag team between you and the supportive family the other kid who's transitioning maybe you can. You know, come to some agreement. That's you know, it's not the kid living with you. But it's a ton of contact with your families. Maybe it's no maybe the kid has dinner with one of your family's every night. Maybe the kids sleeps over on weekends every weekend at somebody's house, and you know, for for night a kid can sleep on the floor road ever. So there may be maybe space in between the two extremes of kind of say, no. You're not like will do nothing or this kid can move in and live with us for the next four years. And I'll start a college fund for right, right? I think. Yeah. As you say again that conversation with the other parents doesn't have to be like, hey, you're super nice to your trans kid. Would you like to have a second one? Like, you don't need you don't need be volunteering that. But just be like the as ING the as inning. I've only ever seen that word written down. I don't know how to say it liaise. Can't be right. No. Yeah. Like get in touch with them. And just say like, hey, you know, this kid is over at our house a lot. Do you guys see him off in have you been kind of like kept up to date on the latest stuff that's going on with him at home? You know, just just kind of let them know that you wanna be like have a small team of caring. Parents were in his kids corner. May be like, yeah. You can't take him in right now. But can help him figure out insurance information making sure he has a photocopy of important documents in case it does escalate and his parents do kick them out in the middle of the night. It's going to be really helpful for him when it comes to stuff like getting name and gender markers. Changed all the way up to like applying for FAFSA if he goes to college or getting a job someday too. Photocopies of his birth certificate social security card, which stuff a fourteen year old is not going to be thinking of again, that's not like you need to do right now. But like it would be good to have an adult in his life. Who's keeping an eye on that? And I yeah, I think I think too that I mean, ultimately if you were to ever decide that you wanted this kid to to stay with you for any period of time, temporarily a few weeks, whatever you can always have a conversation with the other parent, if it really is okay. With the with the father of the kid. Yeah. Firm to move out. You can have a conversation that says I'm gonna take the kid in. But he needs to stay on your insurance, and you need to you know, they parents do have an obligation to support their kids. Even if they're not living with them, you let your kid go live with somebody. You still have an obligation to make sure that your kid is supported and so. You know, it doesn't necessarily mean that you would be responsible for absolutely every expense and the kid's life and the parents would give nothing right. But it's kind of depends on where there I was just gonna say these are all just awful situations. And if everybody in the world, we're trying as hard as this woman is to be decent. We'd be in pretty good shape. I would have no job. But no, I'm right there with you. And I think too I don't know if you live in a small town, but if you're even remotely near like a mid sized town there may be a local T center, and I would say definitely get in touch with them ask for resources ask for tips. They may offer like sliding scale or free like trans friendly, therapists that might be really helpful. They might have other resources that like this kid should be able to get access to they may know about state services, the kid can get access to in addition to the support that you and your daughter are willing to provide him. And then I would just say the last thing is talk about it a little bit with your daughter and invite her into the process of like, you know, not like the two of you are making this call together. But her instincts are good. She's in the process of growing up you want her to kind of help figure out like what do you do when you both want to help people, and you also have certain limitations on your time in resources. What do you think is a good meaningful thing that we can offer what are some solutions that? You think might be helpful asked for her thoughts. Yeah. My growing boy asked for some of her thoughts when you are thinking about what you can do is family. Yeah. And I think the thing he said about that T center. Also makes me think like that's another example of like, they probably can help you figure out. What's the emergency plan? If this kid needs one in the middle of the night, and it's so much easier to figure out what's that emergency plan at two pm on Thursday than it is to be trying to figure it out at two AM on a Saturday night because of this finally blew up. So they may be able to help also figure out what the continue they'll be able to help because this happens a lot a lot of trance kids get kicked out the house or run out of the house. And so if you call translate line, if you call your local hunter, you will not be the first person about this one of my worries is that when the kid says, my dad says, it's okay, if I move out he's really saying, I'm thinking of leaving my home is it possible that if I run away I could come over here, right, or or you know. They can often escalate where it's like. Yeah. I mean, you could live somewhere else if you want to if you're going to persist and being trained right go pretty quickly from like, I guess you could leave to get out. Now, those things can happen really quickly. So. You know, we could kind of endlessly talk about the options there, and I think it's a good time to move on. And just go back to good old fashioned sex problem. The subject is antidepressants are affecting my sex life actually says ruining but I felt like that was judgmental language, but I'm not I'm not here to censor. The letter. Some just here to answer them. Dear prudence. My young husband of ten years is on antidepressants that have completely shut down a sex drive and made sex feel like a chore for him. He had terrible panic attacks before getting on his current medication. And I'm thrilled for both of us at the Mets are working that he's been able to return to working while at work being more, emotionally connected home. However, the lack of sex in our relationship is sending me into a depression. Oh, I see what you did. There letter writer. I have a high sex drive and a real baked in need to feel desired and pursued at least sometimes which is off the table in our current situation. I've asked my husband to put the focus on my pleasure and quote do things for me. And I d most of the initiating but often goes nowhere because sex just isn't in the front of his mind ever. And I end up feeling hurt. He is one thousand percent unwilling to revisit his medication or talk to his doctor because it was difficult to find meds that worked for his particular problem. He's terrified of losing the hold on reality that he is chief d- even bringing this up leads to him yelling that I understand what he went through. And then he would rather be alone and never have sex that go back to how things where before I have told him that these aren't actually the choices. But he just gets angry. I deeply with him and his fear of messing with the meds. But I feel too young and sexy to give up on having a happy sex life, especially since we used to joy, plenty of lusty sex before this and in a perfect world OB jumping on him every day. If I do that. Now, he literally pushes me away, although gently I love my husband dearly, but I'm going to hear what can I do to hang on to my sanity? When my need for touching an intimacy and being desired, he doesn't is going unmet. How you doing? There there. Well, I mean, okay. So I have been extremely open about fact that I have meds for depression, anxiety, and they've been incredibly helpful to me. The difference between you know, being a an okay person and being a substantially versa. Definitely the anxiety was incredibly crippling. And when I think about the possibility of like, what if you had to go back off the medication. It's actually something. I worry about a lot. When I think about health insurance is what would ever happen to me? If I if I lost access to my my meds. And I think she is not adequately. I think she's not sympathetic enough to the genuine fear that he has that. This may be the only regimen that he's gonna find it sounds like you'd has taken some time to find a regimen that works. I encourage her to understand. He's absolutely right. When he says, you don't understand what I've been through that is absolutely true. And she also needs to accept that. When he says, I would rather not have sex at all then go back to the way I was before. And she says, well, I've told him those aren't the choices. You don't know that you don't know that. It is a great hope that you can find meds that don't have side effects that are extremely difficult for you. But you cannot assume for someone else that there's absolutely going to be an answer that is going to allow them to maintain their sex drive. Everybody knows that is a very common sight of backed and everybody knows that there are certain meds that have a better reputation than others when it comes to affecting your veto. But she can't stand there and say if he would just talk to his doctor he could find one that would do the same thing, except he would be more horny which would be great for me right at the same time. I think it's worth him talking to his doctor. I don't think that he needs to promise her that will change meds. But I think it's worth I think in in a marriage. I think it's okay to expect him to talk to his doctor. What do you think? So I think I also probably almost categories you where I understand where the letter writers coming from. I don't want to dismiss either her sex drive or just her desire for some physical closeness. But I come down. Much like, you do I think very much on the side of like it sounds like he's only pretty recently gotten medication that works for him. And I think the only time unless he has a habit of making really out of nowhere declarations. I think the reason he said you need to know that I am willing to live the rest of my life. This way is because he feels like she keeps pushing him -solutely. He feels like okay. You need to know this knowing how unhappy it makes you this is a big enough deal for me that I will never have sex again, if I can keep feeling this way, this is okay. And that's again, you don't know that that's going to be forever. But I think should take him at his word. And again like when it comes to brain chemistry and medication. The only person who really knows if it's working him. And if for ten years, you know, well, you've been married for ten years slightly unclear how long he was having horrible panic attacks. But like it was really really bad. This makes him feel alive again and even. Even like talking to your doctor and like being willing to try to tweak. Your medication is a big risk. I have lots of people in my life who've been on various medications where even slight changes often bring big swings. And it's really scary. And there's no guarantee that even if you go back to your old does that it's going to work again. So, you know, if part of what he's saying again, this is kind of a recent equilibrium for him to say, I need to not tweak this for the time being right? That needs to come off the table. I think you've gotta here that I really do. And then I and then I think I think this is the kind of situation where I'm I am. I understand why people have conversations about should we open up our marriage for some period of time. Should you talk about the possibility that you could? That you could seek sex outside your marriage with within very specific. Boundaries with very specific understandings between the two of you. This is the kind of situation where I feel like maybe that might might make some sense for them. But ultimately, if what she wants is for him to have the same desire for her that he used to have in the sense that it just hurts her that he doesn't that may not she may not ever get that good chance. You'll never get that I had that same boat too. I often hear from people who do a little bit of the like. Like the dad in my big fat Greek wedding with windex with put an open relationship on it. Where someone's like my knee hurt one time. And someone's always like have you tried having an open relationship, and like I. Again, not everyone who's in an open relationship does this. But there is a certain subsection like this Sol's everything, and it's more normal. Anyway, it's it's better action. Allergic to monogamy. And that can just be a bit much. I actually read this. And I was like this was this would not be the next thing. I would suggest that they like this actually might be a circumstance where it would make sense that I could also understand if this letter writer were to say the idea of having sex with other people and then living with the love of my life who doesn't want to have sex with me would be devastating and unacceptable to me. I would get that. And I would say don't push it. If you hear that suggestion, and you're like, Nope. I would rather be divorced start over then that's your, and it may be that this is not your right relationship anymore. It is possible things change in people's lives. And maybe this isn't the love of your maybe maybe it's the love of your life, and it's not the right partner for you. Yeah anymore. So, but whether you to get divorced or develop some sort of open relationship or some other thing, none of those. I think are the next item on the agenda. The next thing that you do is you say to your husband. I'm really sorry while I think, it's okay. An important. For me to talk about what I want from our sex life. I have clearly been bringing up in a way that makes you feel like I'm pushing for you to change your medication. So I haven't been listening to you. When you say that the way this makes you feel something that you are not able to or willing to change. And I just want you to know here that anima stop pushing for that. And I think you need to mean that I really do think you need to take him at his word when he says this is a matter of like whether or not I can enjoy living in my body, and my mind, and I need this that serious. I take you at your word. I will not ask you to change that again. Yeah. And I think if you're at a point where you're saying I want to jump on him all the time. If I jump on him he pushes me away. Stop it. Stop doing it it really seriously stopped doing it. Because I guarantee you that doesn't feel good to him either. And he doesn't he's not doing it to be cruel to you. And it probably makes him miserable. Every time he has to do because he used to enjoy sex too. And he probably also unhappy that he no longer enjoys or desires sex with you. Right. I mean clearly for him. It wasn't like I can't wait to get rid of my sex drive. It was things are so bad that now that my sex drive is gone. But I have my equilibrium. I am. Okay. With that. I have peace with that choice. I don't want to try to change that. That's pretty again. That's speaks to how bad it was for him before. So once you make it clear, I'm not gonna keep trying to test that boundary. I'm not going to keep trying to kiss your cheek when you turn the cheek away. But I want us to talk about what kind of sex life. We wanna have what kinds of touch feel comfortable and non pressure for you. How you how we might signal to one another that like maybe sex of any kind is not on the table today. But I would love to hold each other for a little while we talk about that. And then, you know for me like as your partner who does still have a high sex drive. I want to at least be able to like maybe just have like a kind of friendly. Like, we talk about it where it's like. All right. I'm gonna go jerk off. And then he can be like, good luck. Honey, like something where you're still like keeping some sort of connection there. And then again as time goes on you can say, I really wanna like God dancing tonight where it was somebody is that okay with any. He might say like no that makes me feel awful. And I feel like we're gonna terrible position. And then you guys can go to couples counseling and figure out if there's a way through it. Maybe you get divorced. Maybe you try the dancing. Maybe it's fun for both of you. Maybe you try the dancing, and you hate it. I don't know. But like there's going to be a lot of little steps in. Between here and there, but mostly I would just say. Give this a little time. It sounds like this is pretty new I understand that you want to be touched and desired. I get that. I don't think that you should blame yourself feeling those things. But I also think that you need to figure out what are other ways that I can. Like communicate my need for desire affection to my partner. Given that like for him the cost of having a sex drive is like not not knowing how to be a long. Yeah. And I think when she says I told him to just do things for me like people don't find it enjoyable if they're truly not into it people don't find it enjoyable to just get you off necessarily like if they really don't want to be there. And they really don't wanna be doing it like she's probably getting that. He actually is not into this is like, hey, like marriage. We should be both like going down on equal amount of time. And it's also not like, oh, I have an injury to my hip, and I can't do whatever it is. We normally do. So I'm just going to do this other thing this is truly like he doesn't wanna be there. Right. And if you don't feel sexy trying to get someone else off is mostly just like hanging up a cabinet like it's not it's it's menial labor in a way. Yeah. I think when the fundamental issue is just that someone's like, I am not in the mood for any kind of sexual contact. It's not about doing something or not doing something. I don't want our interaction to be sexual. That's kind of it. You can't round that one up. You can't turn that into something else. That's not like. Okay. Well, what if I do this other thing? It's just like, okay. I will I will have to find another way to deal with this. And you guys can talk about it. You're you're married. You can talk about these things. But you can't push for what about this. What about this? Do you feel like it now because that's just going to make him feel any to get away from you? Oh, I love this next one this one so great. This one's nice and easy. So great. You're gonna have a terrible time on this trip. Subject travel tensions. Dear prudence. I am a college. Student nearing the end of my study abroad experience, a friend of mine, and I are are planning to meet up after the end of our different programs and travel around Europe for three weeks. I am Suplicy. I am super excited for everything. We're going to see, but I'm also getting kind of nervous while we're very close. My friend can be extremely Mody and blunt. It has been a little stressful communicating with her for instance, we were supposed to face time to talk details, but I was called to dinner with my host family, and it's lip to my mind when I met her saying I had forgotten in apologize. She responded with that's pretty rude. And even when I sent a much longer message apologizing for vesting her planned schedule. Because I knew she was stressed. She gave no indication that. She accepted the apology recently. She sent me links to a bunch of Airbnb for one of the city's we'll be visiting. I was looking at Airbnb for a city that comes early in our plans, and I didn't respond before going to bed. The next day. I got a message from her saying only respond, which really rubbed me the wrong way. I know that I am not always the most profit responding. But I didn't appreciate how Kurt the message was my friend can also be pretty insistent that there's a specific way things need to be to happen or a time by which things need to be booked scheduled even against advice that I offer as someone who's traveled much more than she. She also stated off hand that she is done with looking at art after her study abroad program, but museums and galleries or some of the things I typically doing during our travels because I really enjoy them. How do I balance respective to rebel styles? How do I know when I am in the wrong verse. When she's being demanding or rude like with the respond message. I don't want to feel irritated the whole trip. I forgot about that line of art. It's over. Look at it. I've seen it all too much. Art. Eight year. So much fucking. Good news, bad news is this is kind of like a classic upper middle class right of passage, which is like the worst thing that's going to happen to you is that you will get to go to Europe and be a fight. Which like that's an Edith novel right there, and your parents, your parents still get into college. So like again, not to say, oh was that a Felicity h Muffin joke. How fun was it to be on Twitter today? It's been so long since it felt like there was one thing. We could have a really good time with how rich do you have to be to be like I'm gonna pretend my kid is on crew. Someone for on as someone who went with Evan Jellicoe Christian college in suburban Los Angeles did not feel. It was amazing. It was about people who were like buying the moon. I went to over one. So it was all irrelevant to me because if it's athlete scholarships. It didn't matter. Go ahead, if terrific it's a great story. We can all feel good about. And everyone's jokes have just been really terrific. Yeah. It was a good day. I agree. We had a good time. Good. So yeah, you two are going to fight a lot. On this trip. That's going to happen. For me. I relate a lot to the letter writer less oh to the friend, especially relate to the friend. Especially at that age. If somebody had said to me rude, I would have died. Like like, especially like, a certain type of friendship dynamic at that age. Like someone saying I don't like that. Or that's rude is like that's the rule. You can't say that. I can have a five hour conversation with your roommate after you've gone to bed about how unreasonable you've been ever since your study abroad trip. But like I would never say rude like. Like, why don't you just take my skin and face? So I definitely relate. She said it was. Yeah. What happens now, I don't understand. What happens? Now what this is. Really? This is true. What are you gonna do? What would you be like trips off? I don't like you anymore. Would it be something? So my friend Sam Sanders who hosts the podcast, it's been a minute. Full may vary. Put your friends on my friend. Sam Sanders when he was coming up with a podcast for NPR. I told him that he should have an advice show. No. There are a lot of about offended the appetite for them as I told him I told him you should have you should have an advice show. And he said, I can't give advice, you know, why? Because every time somebody tells me their problems, I say. I just say break out. And so there's part of me that looks at this letter and says cancel the trip. Just cancel the trip. Go totally allowed to and you're totally allowed to if you feel like it is too late to cancel the trip. You feel like it is too. Inconvenient to cancel the trip. You have you know, especially if you if you both put up money and stuff like that. I understand that. If you decide that you're gonna go my recommendation is that you transform it from the kind of crews that you would think of it like a cruise there's the kind of cruise gone with someone that you're currently in love with. And there's the kind of crews that you go with someone you just broke up with where cruises if you bet on where you have you've already paid for the state room. Everybody insists they wanna go. So what you do is. It's hard not to run into each other on the ship, and you even have to share the state room, but you ignore each other's much as possible. And once you are on shore, everybody goes different directions, and you can run a friend trip. More of that way. Where maybe you see each other on the conveyances between Vienna. And I don't know where do you go from Vienna? Prague somebody. So over Prague, obviously ride. So give me a hard one scoop of chocolate. Wait. So you're on the you're on the train between Prague, which means I hope there's no like major water bodies in between. But you're on the train the Ana prog then you hang out, and you talk on the train, maybe until you get tired of each other. And then somebody goes to cafe car. But when you actually get to Prague, even if you're staying in the same place, everybody goes their own way. And you know, what you do you go look at art. And this person goes off, and does whatever she thinks is fun like yelling at people. Yeah. I think I agree. If it's not like non-refundable think to just do like, hey, it seems like we've got really different travel schedules. Let's not do it. But basically, even if you do decide to do it. I think the magic the way to get through. This is like to break the spell of. I can't let my friend. Get mad at me because your friend is already mad at you. Like, she is moody, she's gone. She like spams with Airbnb thing. And then when you like have dinner with your host family in a different time zone. She's like, please respond like, I I'm sure she's also a nice person. But like don't base all of your own reactions to her out of the hope that like she won't get mad rush. He's gonna get mad at you. Right. So say stuff like I'm planning on looking at a lot of our what do you think you want to do when I'm in museums and either she'll say, oh, I'll go do something else. All go like reinvent clubbing or whatever. Or she'll say, no, you can't go look at art. I don't want to and then you can say, yeah, I'm going to look at art. Or she'll say, well, okay. I'll come look at art which case you should say. No. That's okay. You go do something else. Because don't take with you to look at art. Yeah. Or just like I plan on looking at like the follow museums today. And I'm gonna go to pretty pretty fast pace. If you don't think that's fun. I don't come with me. And that's fine. She will be miffed. And that's fine. She will either learn to find something in Europe that she likes. It's a big state. And like, she'll be fine. But yeah, basically, I would say like stop worrying about keeping your friend happy and just be super like up front with like this is my plan for the day. You're welcome to join me if any of it sounds fun. But if not I totally understand just meeting up at the hostel for dinner later and for future reference for people out there planning trips three weeks, a long time with one person. I love it. No. You have to like do something. If you go to college, you have to plan a trip with your friends, we all hate each other at the I know it's just part of still feel like the particular life cycle. It's part of the thing. It's part of the thing. I get it. I you pretend to be on crew. Then you fight through Europe. That you get a job writing for late night TV. And then you have a blog about children. This is very specific. Just picking a life plan for this person. Gotta love the competence of looking at art over it. Go to Europe. So much art they stole most of the rest of the. I say day like we haven't done that. So we we have stolen. Yeah. Anyway, I don't know don't worry about offending this person that if I could go back into my early twenties and like give myself. Okay. The first would be like you're gonna end up being a boy, it's weird. Don't worry about it. The other one would definitely be like it's fake when people get mad at you. Like, it's possible to do wrong things that hurt people you shouldn't do that. But like getting in trouble because your friend is mad at you. It's not real at the time. I was like notes the realist thing of the world now and the friends that you will keep or not keep it won't be because of that. Yeah. Yeah. But hey, conflict, so bad. Which is why it's funny that I have the job that I have. So the last letter that we have on the docket is she just vaccinate. We have. Yeah. The same page here. You should. I got time. We got we got time shoot. Do you produce? I've a family member who refuses to vaccinate her child. She claims her perogatives that is misuse of Bobby Brown. What is today? I do Bobby Brown city slickers atriums dmed like, you're you're you're surfing the decades. I am just hop timezones. Okay. She won't listen to anyone quote least of all people without children on the topic. It's weird. I still like not dying polio. I've kept my mouth shut up until now because frankly, I don't see her that often and figured she would just ignore me. The issue was two fold. She's spreading clearly false information on social media. And we have another family member who unfortunately has an auto immune disorder and depends on hurt immunity to stay healthy at really liked to confront my family member and tell her she's spreading false information should add to educate yourself. Opinions. Do not equal facts. But don't wanna come across as belittling her any advice on how to proceed so the one thing about this. That's really tricky. And this was something that Nicole point down. Denver is like for people who are solidly in the like anti vaccination movement showing showing them information. Does nothing like you can point to any number of studies all of the doctors that there are and because it's such an identity that is like based in. I don't trust information. That often doesn't get you anywhere. We didn't feel so bad because it's like how does how does this not work on you? Yeah, I agree. And I think, you know, unfortunately, this is a place where I think most of the time when people deal with something that they think places someone else in danger. You always feel like you're trying to solve it yourself with the backstop of you can always call the cops or something like that. And if you've ever dealt with children family services and people like that, you know, that incredibly imperfect route to take also their history with, you know, poor families and families of color and things like that in many places is not great. They're overburdened. But you have some kind of backstop if you think somebody is hurting their kids, you have somebody else to go to this is a situation where in my opinion, people are not in my opinion. I think the evidence shows people are hurting their kids, but you have no backstop. There's nobody is going to back you up. So you really are left with only your. Powers of persuasion, which as Danny's pointing out that Nicole pointed out don't don't work, very well. So the only place in this question that I think it's likely to have any possibility effectiveness is I do think when people are posting things on social media if you can politely not for the benefit of that person. But for the benefit of other people who are reading it. If you wanna keep some things at hand that you can post that provide some science to counter, whatever it is. That's in the in the misinformation this being spread for the benefit of third parties who may be read it and think well, gee, I wonder if that's true maybe can help headed off at the pass with them. But it's it's very unfortunate. Because I think it goes under the category of withholding medical treatment. It's a similar analysis. And we just we are not at the point where withholding medical treatment in the form of. Illness prevention, which would be a very tricky area. But in this case, we're just not at the point where you can really do anything except ask and find out if they're like, you know. Organizations in your area that you can get involved in that like help get the information out about where to get back Saination. It's like something that you can also like put energy in time towards that will have an effect. So that you can just kind of feel like the net result of my carrying about this issue is doing something. And then in the meantime, I would check in with that family member who has the auto immune disorder and just say is there anything you need for me. Can I run any interference for you? How you doing? So that they know that that you're in their corner. I think that that's true. And I think with the social media thing you'll may be able to do that once or twice before you get like deleted. I think it's again, we're trying and I think framing in terms of like you can do that sort of like fake Chipper like oh, actually good news on that subject. I just saw that they did like a long wide ranging study that demonstrates that. They're actually super save. Isn't that great? I'm like into that on Twitter. That's my tone on Twitter Moda time. Totally and. Again, like, but you're so it's not framed as confrontation, right? Like, isn't this cool? And then as that kid gets older check in and if they ever would like to be driven to a doctor and getting vaccinations without telling their parents, which is like a whole thing that the teams are doing now that's how teens rebel now is getting getting that sweet sweet medical treatment, which. When you compare sorry. Just like when you think about the kind of moral panic of like the teams trying to transition let's keep that away from them versus like some parents want their kids to maybe get measles. Let's let them do it. It's just like we're having the wrong, moral panic. I agree. So yeah, I think those are the best options, unfortunately. And then again like hope for the best. Hope there's not a measles outbreak. That sucks. It does. It does suck. It's very sad. To me. Does she the story about the kid who had tennis? I sure did terrible. Absolutely terrible. Totally unnecessary suffering. It's it's really sounded awful. That was our last question. Speaking of unnecessary, silver is a clock on stage. But I have not been able to see what time it is at all. No. I think I think we're out of. Yeah. We are out of time time time free. So here's what I'm taking away. Tell me. Rely heavily on your friends because you picked them, and they picked you get it. They're pissed because it's often a good idea and take good and excellent care of yourself and don't be afraid to have awkward moments with people. I love all that. And I would just add to that to the end. If you're thinking about transition. Thank you all so much for coming. Thanks for listening to prudence. Our producers circus theme music was composed by Robin Hilton and live production is by faith, Smith and cure, some Foltz special. Thanks to the Hamilton in Washington DC. Don't miss an episode of the show had to slate dot com slash dear Putin's to subscribe. And remember you can always more prudence by joining slate. Plus, go to sleep dot com slash pretty pod to sign up. If you want me to answer your question. Call me and leave a message four zero one three seven one deer that three to seven. And you might hear your answer on an episode of the show. You don't have to use your real name relocation and at your request. We can even alter the sound of your voice, keep it short, thirty seconds minute tops. Thanks for listening. And on today's plus segments. And that's the kind of response where sometimes they'll decide they don't like you. Sometimes they'll decide like she seems like a bitch. But like most people, you don't know clearly you're not close to them or you'd feel more comfortable saying to them. I don't wanna do this. So clearly these are people that you're close to if they're not people that you're close to. And if they think your bitch, it really doesn't matter to listen to the rest of that conversation. Join sleep plus now at sleep dot com forward slash pretty pod.

writer Danny Danny John Mullany NPR Daniel Mallory Lynn Linda attorney lions Washington New York Times Hamilton YouTube Ferguson T center Bergerson Dumpty TIMMY
Dear Prudence: The "I'm Not Really Perfect" Edition

Slate's Dear Prudence

48:46 min | 2 years ago

Dear Prudence: The "I'm Not Really Perfect" Edition

"You're listening to this week's excerpts from dear prudence podcast to get the full length members only version every week join slate plus at sleep dot com slash pretty pod. You're you're Putin. Prudence? Here. Do you think that I should contact him again help? Thank thank you. Hello and welcome back to the dear prudence show once again, and as always I am your host Daniel Mallory or Berg with me in the studio is a guest I have been trying to get on the show for two years and some change. We'll get to her in a minute. But I I'm very excited to announce to all of you that I'm going on tour this March I'm gonna be doing live shows in Seattle, San Francisco, Denver DC and Brooklyn in each city. I will be joined by smart and funny friends, like Nicole, jasmine, grace and more I also hope to meet many of you on tour that sounded so formal I hope to meet some of you on tour that sounded better. For more information to get tickets, go to sleep dot com slash live. Now when it comes to this guest, she has been near impossible to pin down. And she has sent me easily the greatest bio I've ever gotten to read on the air here. It is Mattie is my friend. You don't know her high, Mattie? Hello, welcome to the show in Q. They. Thank you for that. Incredible introduction. It was written by a beautiful genius. Oh. I have been so excited to have you on the show because I think I'm correct in saying that you are my most judgmental friend, very judgmental. Yes. And all of your judgments are right intro. Yeah. Very true heart. I do strong will struggle of. Well, I I really feel like by the end of this. We might never get letters again. Just because we'll have solved all the problems in the world. That's that's the goal. That's the dream. Really? It's always the dream. And I think that this has been an episode long in the making and it's been worth the wait. And I'm very excited. Actually, I'm really excited for you to just read this verse letter, I'm glad like, yeah. No pressure very much. It's just going to be the best show ever so subject is my boyfriend thinks I'm perfect my boyfriend has been in love with me since we were both teenagers. We're now in our mid twenties about a year and a half ago began to share his feelings. We started dating. He's the most wonderful boyfriend I could possibly ask for and he is always telling me that I'm the perfect person and can. Do wrong. The problem is I'm not when we get into fights even ones that are entirely my fault. He blames himself and ignores me when I tried to tell him afterwards. I was being unreasonable. I'm worried about what this is doing to him. And also what will eventually happen when he inevitably realizes that. I'm a human with flaws. What do I do to make him realize? I'm not perfect. I feel like this is a problem. You might have had. I mean, I do have a husband who worships me true. I think but like I like the question like what can I do to make him realize? I'm not perfect like you can't make him realize anything. So I don't think that's really the problem. But it does seem like maybe there could be progress in terms of like I need you to stop saying imperfect. Even if you believe it just quietly in your own head one of those things it sounds like a compliment. But it's super not compliment like exhausted. It's not something like to bring you together. Like, it's kind of like a wave like disengaging in like the fight erred like in closeness or anything where it's like. Well, you just can't understand like it's kinda like, I'm so tormented. And you're so perfect. Yeah. And so it's like you have to stop saying that because it it doesn't make me feel good. You know to the letter writer. Yeah. And it also doesn't mean they don't fight rightly if you really believed she was perfect. They would never fight because his soon as they disagreed. He would say, well, she's perfect. Yeah. I know agree with her. Yeah. That's like assuming there's no gray areas. So I think like, yeah. You can't make him realize anything. But you can definitely ask him to stop seeing that. And then tell him how it makes you feel like it doesn't make you feel perfect. It doesn't make you feel better about yourself. Like, maybe it's meant to or a casino. It's like it's kind of like, yeah. It's withdrawing from like, whatever issue, you're gauging with right. Well, and you know, part of a underlying issue is this idea that like her boyfriend's been in love with her for at least like seven or eight years possibly longer and she only caught up to him about a year and a half ago. Yeah. That's a long time to have a really one sided relationship with her in his head. Yeah. And so for like the for way longer than they've actually been together he's kind of been in a relationship with her in his head. Yeah. Part of me wonders actually, like what her role in that is, you know, like there has to be something of the one-sidedness that like she enjoyed like there's. It's not often that these like unrequited love things like you end up being like, actually, I love that. You're obsessed with me. Yeah. I mean. Yeah, I pretty quickly realized that at the same time and you move forward or one person's doing a lot on their own. And the other person is either totally oblivious or kind of getting something out of it. And I don't know exactly. Which one of those dynamics this particular relationship fell into but it will be good for both of you. I think to kind of let go of that time, right? Where he was in love with you by himself totally and some of the like patterns he may have fallen into that helped get him through that weird seven year period where you were his future girlfriends, and he was like time traveling as fast as he could get you to catch up with him. And to kind of talk about like, you know. Yeah. Like, you said like, yeah. I'm so glad that you think I'm so wonderful. When you say that in a fight, it makes me feel like we can't have a conversation. Right. It makes you feel like you don't really know me, and I feel pushed away I don't think. If you really want to do that to me. And so maybe like saying that out loud he can realize oh saying you're perfect doesn't actually make you feel good. I can stop. Yeah. I think the dynamic here is pretty clearly a heterosexual dynamic. Could could could be otherwise. But usually people mention it if it's relevant. Sure. So at any rate, weather, whatever's going on. Yeah. Yeah. This is this is this is classic. Seth Cohen and some of the. This is one hundred percent, but she kind of liked that she kind of liked that. He was obsessed with her. Yes. Yeah. It was like different than anyone. She had ever been with. And she was just really into the fact that you know, she was the only one for him until that girl the girl the blue hair will I there was the sailboat summer Breese. Thou I rival to mean, Anna the girl who was from somewhere made up like, Philadelphia or something. Yeah. Yeah. And she had that really squishy pickle voice. Yeah. Do you know what? I mean. I'm blue hair, right? Yeah. I I feel like she was blonde. The first time around maybe, but she was on g her 'cause she was gone by nanna Christmas. I feel yet didn't Christmas any rate. The point is set of our and game. And that show should never have gone off the air. I'm good luck to you. Let a writer. I hope that things were talked to him. I you know, I would talk to your boyfriend tell them to stop. If there's a part of it that, you know, you're part of it is like if you are secretly enjoying this you need to like kind of come up to that. Otherwise, let the past go where he was obsessed with you. And you weren't that into him and just move forward with you need to really listen to me. Yeah. And the thing about like, he ignores you afterwards when you try to tell him that you were being unreasonable. If that persists, and if you tell him, I really don't like this, and it's like talking to a brick wall. You know that is maybe more cause for concern. Like hope is that he's just a little clueless and thinks this is like how you treat a girlfriend, but if you're like, I actually hate this. And he's like, Nope. I'm doing everything great any keeps on doing it. You know, that might become a bigger problem. That's been. Yeah. This next one. I'm so excited for uteri. Anything about it. I feel like the first one and the second one was me Mattia night to be clear have known each other since we were about sixteen years old. And like one of the first things we did was take an international trip together, and I packed nothing. And just like stall her sauce. There was nothing. Wonderful staple force. I was mad about it. I wasn't like generously. Like oh. Here's some socks. Weird one. But also get away. I'm amazed. I'm astonished at my own hut. Spot was like can I never try to? Okay. So the subject is tired of my own lies, Mattie. Please calm down. This letter fashionable. Thank you, do your prudence in college. I was lonely awkward and desperate to be liked in order to have something interesting to say parties, I started telling stories about myself that weren't exactly true. For example. My old place of work was once the site of a dramatic police chase with an infamous criminal. I wasn't working there at the time. But I told the story as if I'd been there. I also told stories about travelling through France with my best friend as a teenager. When in reality we were there supervised with other kids as part of an exchange student program. Once I got more comfortable with myself early twenties. A stop telling these foolish lies and thirty three. Now, unfortunately, several of my closest friends, and my now husband were in my life for this phase and think these stories are true. They've asked me to retail them at later events, and I did their crowd pleasers. Meaning that friends I've met later on have also heard them and they come up occasionally. I don't wanna keep these lies going anymore. Should it come clean if so what do I say or do? I just. Refuse to tell them anymore and let them fade for memory. But what excuse what I have to stop telling a great story. What do you think? So I think it's so interesting you've wrote into your own show. A made up husband and made myself on your older because I am not thirty Tigers. I yeah. I can relate to what I have to say that this letter writer is we're like we've been not your friends and husband know, that your tails were perhaps tall tales or slightly exaggerated or slightly that the details were fudged and they enjoy your telling of them because you're storyteller. And you're not boring as you think at parties and things like that. You're very fun to talk to. So you don't really need to keep up like the comedy act anymore. And you know, if you're really concerned about it in the next time somebody asks you to tell the story, you know, you could tone it down you say, oh, you know, I mi- you could Toby like, I don't really wanna tell any more details. Yeah. I do think you have a couple of options. Like, nothing you describe here. The kind of thing where if you talked about honestly with your friends your husband, they'd be like, I kind. I feel like I don't know you shocked. This really changes the kind of person that I think you are think it changed. Like, it doesn't change a lot about what people know about, you know, it's not like I didn't less any of these stories were about like something that like like your family. You know what I mean? It's not like, I'm an orphan your parents like secretly in San Ramon. Like, right. Yeah. Yeah. So like, you did go to Francis a teenager, you have previously when you were in college exaggerated. Just how independently you are traveling through France what we're saying is like we are fine with these life. These are venal like are not mortal that said if it bugs you and you feel uncomfortable. I think talk to your husband, I yeah. And just say like, I feel embarrassed about this. It comes from the fact that I felt uncomfortable around people in awkward in parties in college. And then it just kind of became a thing. People kept asking me. But like, you know, only heard about the chase secondhand for my co workers, I didn't start working there for another couple of months. And in France, you know, I was there on its supervised trip and your husband's going to be able to say some variation of. Sorry. That's that sounds stressful. Thanks for telling me, little goofy. I love you. You're fine. You didn't you didn't invent France. You know what I mean? What? You didn't tell people there's this country called France, people, speak French there, and it's not real. And everyone's like, oh, you're responsible for pretending. There's france. What I don't know. That'd be a big lie that you would have to really deal with a lot of fallout. But I think talk to your husband. I and say, you know, it would help me if you just wouldn't ask me to tell that story again. I know it's not a huge deal. But you know, it just reminds me of that awkward kid that. I was and yeah, I feel bad. Yeah. I think it just talked to people if you feel uncomfortable. I think just also know that it's pretty lipsticks. Yeah. You could do the same thing with your friends. I have to say if I were to party and somebody was called on to recount a story that happened like ten fifteen years ago. And they said, you know, I feel about this. But you guys I actually didn't work there until the next summer. And I heard about it if my co workers, and then they went ahead and told the story, it's still be entertained. I wouldn't think this person cannot be trusted. What a what a weird terrible person never inviting them again. I think you're I think you're being really hard on yourself, and it's going to be okay. I think it's going to be okay. And I the only thing I probably wouldn't. Do is to just say like I don't want to tell that story anymore without any explanation. Just because people are then going to say why not what do you mean? Yeah. And then you might feel even more on the spot than otherwise. So, you know. Yeah. I think it'll be fine. Talked to talk to your husband privately talked to a friend or two. And then if somebody asks you on the spot, you can say, you know, I'll tell the story, but guys it's time to come clean. Yeah. It'll be like a fun dish moment for your husband for help. And like Jim uring a little. Yeah. If you really if you, you know, in a big crowd situation, it could be a little bit more awkwardly like you can also frame it as the story guys. I need to tell you something when I was in college I like pretended to have worked there during a car chase, and I hadn't and now that's the story. And again, this is not the category of the kind of lie that are gonna make people reevaluate what kind of person you are. Agreed. Do you ever? Find yourself waiting your news feed on Facebook or Twitter. Wishing you could just call someone up and ask what do I really need to pay attention to hear? Well, what if you could? I'm Mary Harris, the host what next slates new news podcast and every weekday morning. I'm going to be on goal for you taking you inside one story going deep behind the headlines. What is news? You're not going to get the scrolling through your phone to listen subscribe now on apple podcasts Spotify or wherever you listen. This next one by the way before we jump into. It reminds me of that read it posts that makes the rounds every once in a while of the woman who had posted like my fiance proposed to me and the ring is so bad that not only can I not wear. It's making me reevaluate like his character. And whether or not I wanna spend my life with him. Do you? Remember, this one actually made me think of sex in the city because it was the sort of thing where it was like everyone was like, I'm sure you're just being kind of shallow. And then she's like, here's a picture of the ring. Oh, oh, I got it. It's like it was not amethyst Amberg. Yeah. And it was looked like you would get out of a supermarket coin operated. Little toy thing. Like like, a like an art fair like, art and wine, the civil in the summer. It's very upscale was it was horrible. It was what was it on sex and the city again, what did he get her address or? No, no, he the ring. It was the ring. Oh, yeah. The ring, but 'cause Miranda helped pick it out with Rando is like, I'm. I'm pregnant, and I'm on hormone. I can't tell what rings good I'm pregnant. Was aden. Oh, 'cause it was the Brown diamond. Everyone's like Brown. Is bad time these artsy? But yeah, it was. Yeah. It's hard to believe that a furniture designer would have that bad I for detail jewelry. I mean, the manmade chairs like doesn't take a lot of jewelry chairs. You read this letter make one thing you make anything. Okay. Subject long subject. I love my husband, but I don't like my wedding ring. Dear prudence, I married. My wonderful husband over fifteen years ago. Here's my admittedly, trivial predicament. I have never really liked my engagement and wedding rings. My husband proposed to me on the other side of the world quite romantically. And he bought the set on his own chosen with only the input of the mall store clerk nothing against most jewelry stores. But I wanna make it clear that this isn't a family heirloom by the time. I returned to the US it was too late to exchange it, and I didn't want to hurt his feelings. It's flashier than something. I would have chosen. I have simple tastes. And to me the rings feel a little garish. They're just not me. Even though I've tried to learn to love them I adore my husband, and what the ring symbolize is far more important to me than any fashion statement. However, I can't help wishing my wedding. Ring was a piece that better reflects my personality one that I love seeing a finger. Every day as much as I love seeing. My husband every day. We haven't anniversary coming up. Would it be terrible of me to suggest? He give me a new ring. What happened mind small and less expensive than my current said, which I would keep of course, even if I don't wear daily a few years ago went from wearing both my rings just band, and my husband didn't mind at all however, asking for a completely different rings seems like a bigger deal while it hurt his feelings will people around us read something into it. I don't care if they do. But perhaps he would am I just being selfish or superficial? So I feel like I should profits. This I come from a family where every Christmas every birthday every gift giving opportunity like it's it's at this point. But come a joke that everyone starts with. No, I have the receipt. If you want to return it like plea. It's almost like we beg each other to return gifts. Please I want you to hate it and pick something that you will love. So I think my mom has switched out her engagement ring every five or so years for something cheap. For each time of she thinks she's glitter. Big in anthropology ring. That was like she was like, I just like it. It's just nice and she's thrilled. Incredible. So I I understand where the literature is coming from some people like an also like my husband, very sentimental about things. Sentimental about stuff. I'm not sentimental about stuff. But it like reminds me that I need to be more gentle. Sometimes when I'm like, we're throwing everything away because some people attached sentimental value to things. So you know, you have to know if your husband's like that or not. But I do think there's like a little bit. There's a little bit of like, you have to remind yourself that life isn't like, you know, the movies like, you wanna think that like, oh, everyone will preserve their wedding dress and keep it forever and always be this magical thing and you ring a reflection of your relationship. If you miss a birthday like that's a sign. You've him circle that goes on. You know what I mean? So it doesn't have to be so hallmark card like, you know, styles coming go like utility comes and goes with like jewelry wear. I think the thing just talk to your husband about it. Yeah. And you do have reason to believe that your husband is not going to be offended by you're just bringing it up. Yeah. So I think you can you know, kind of say I want to raise this issue. I'm a little anxious because my main priority is for you to know that like a love you. Yes thrilled to be married to you. This has not been like a huge weight that I've been keeping a secret for years and years and years. And don't open with adult like this ring. Yeah. I think I think that's like, you know, you don't need to open with that. But I think if you want something simpler to wear like there are practical reasons behind it. Yeah. You know, if he's like, you said like you stopped wearing your engagement ring, you just for your wedding band. You're like I want something to wear my wedding band. That's not like a full on, you know. Yeah. Rock I think you have excellent reason to think that your husband will not see this as like, you know, Steph one in secretly divorcing him the or like disrespecting the work that he put into it or or dismissing how romantically he proposed to you or or other people. I don't think anyone else will read anything until your wedding set being different. Yeah. Reset stones all the time. They like your mom's wearing an anthropology yet chain. Yeah. You know, people lose rings people decide they want something else. People. You know, pawn. In rings, people get better jobs and make more money and buy bigger rings. I don't like. All are all sorts of things with rings. Yeah. I don't I don't think. Like if it were again, take it back to the OC. If if Kristen Coa suddenly had a very different engagement ring on we would know that she and sandy we're about to go through another big subplot. Well, yeah. But luckily for you letter writer, I don't think you're Kristen Cohen. She went through a lot. A she went through too much. Julie Cooper, actually, it was probably a better. A better person to choose unless she would never have asked for a smaller Inc. No love Julie Cooper. You're doing great letter writer. Congratulations on loving your husband. And you know, that sounds fantastic. And I think you guys will we will have this conversation easily. All right. You those? Subject unsure and insecure. My partner, and I have been together for a few years, and I've been having serious talks about and having having serious talks about spending the rest of our lives together. One thing he has made abundantly clear is that he wants children. I had never wanted kids prior to this relationship. But I do wanna family with him part of the reason I have never wanted children is because I take medication for mental health condition that runs in my family this medication can cause birth defects. If taken while pregnant, I also do not to run the risk of passing this condition by having biological children. Through other means I know that people with mental health issues have children every day. And then my condition can be managed with proper treatment. But I'd feel so guilty. If my children inherited it, and we're suffering. My partner says he understands and wants a future with me, but the having biological children is important to him. He has asked me about how I feel about having children using donor and surrogate I'm not sure how feel about it. I'm worried that I'd feel detached from the trial. I also feel that given the cost of finding egg-donor surrogate he may be better off ending this relationship to find someone who shares the same desire for biological children. There's no guarantee that we'd be able to afford such a great expense in our future. I've tried talking about this with him before. And it's clear he's only able to consider the best case scenario while I'm concerned with the worst. What should I do? I think the first thing to do is talk to your doctor talked to it. I mean, I think right now each letter writer, she's like stuck in a world of hypotheticals. I mean, maybe shirt has and she already really understands. But I think you know, what you've read I know myself like whatever it online. Unlike what is actually medical reality like into being kind of different things, and I think both her partner and herself can are able to make the a better decision together. Like, I think actually understanding the medical realities and risks involved, and then you kind of get out of this like best case worst case scenario and into this like likely scenario. Yes. And that is like if you're like I up to see like, what are the risks in like talk about it in from like a from standpoint in reality. Yeah. Yeah. I think especially talking about it with your doctor in the following terms. Like, I would be willing to. Entertain the possibility of like carrying child myself. You know, if the following conditions were met. Knowing my conditions as you do in the medications that I take what do you think are the odds of that? And your doctor says super low, you know, that can kind of answer your question, if your doctor says, well here are the following like things that we can do in in order to reduce risk or to like if there are other medications, your doctor will be the best person talked about that your doctor's going to have that information. And again, maybe you've already done that. And you're like, this is totally I am up to date on all the information. But if you're not now's a good time. Right. I think there are some other things in the letter that I'm just not sure if like the husband boyfriend, I guess partner partner partner was really listening. You know, kinda seems like sort of like dismissive, and I don't like that for like the idea of, you know, getting married and having children. So I think yeah. Abc? Absolutely. Like if there's some clarity. You could be getting with your doctor do that. But don't just do it like because it's your job to get yourself up to the same speed as your partner, your partner has done a great job advocating for himself so far, and he can maybe lay off that for a bit. Yeah. So, you know, it's also really fair to say like, maybe go ask questions. Maybe you get all that information, and you can say like I'm not trying to make any claims for other people. I'm talking about Mike capabilities. What I can take on. What I can't what risks. I am not willing to run. And I know that I don't want to add to my like already like sometimes difficult to manage conditions the strain of pregnancy and the worry about passing onto my kits. And so unless a doctor can guarantee me that there's one hundred percent chance that I can control the outcome. That's not a risk. I'm willing to take that doesn't mean you're like contributing to unnecessary stigma that doesn't mean that you're like hurting other people with the same conditions you deal with. That's the choice that you're entitled to make about your own body in your own future. So I just want to be really really clear there. If you ask those questions, you hear your doctor, and you're like, I guess there's enough here that might partner would be okay with taking that risk. But if I'm not that's what you need to listen to. Yes. Like more than anything. So, you know, as as the same time that you are asking your doctor those questions ask yourself seriously. Like, do I think that if we had children that my partner biological collect connection to and I didn't that I would grow resentful or that a dynamic would kind of spring up where I felt like they were kinda his kids in not mine. Maybe talk to other people who have done something like that. And ask like, how did you think about that? How did you deal with it? What are the ways in which parenting? His has helped you create a family bond that doesn't have anything to do with genetics and try to get a sense of dissenting possible for me. Maybe the answer will surprise you. Maybe it won't frankly, it in addition to the fact that you're like a have a couple of reasons for not wanting to have kids this way or that way. It also just sounds like you're not excited about the of having kids at all. But you really let this guy and sometimes I hear from people who say I didn't think about having kids than my partner really wanted them. I kinda change my mind and things have been tricky. But it worked out or it ended up being great. And sometimes I hear from people who say I never wanted kids. My partner wanted kids I went along with it. And I'm very very unhappy. And you can't always one hundred percent predict what's going to happen to you. But you know, if you can't get yourself to like a fifty percent excitement fifty percent anxiety err on the side of not doing it. The thing that like the flags to me are just like the not listening like the the kind of singlemindedness. About biological children. Like what about this? What about this, right? Instead of like supporting and like really thinking about you as a partner, those those things are more alarming. You know, like those thing that's like, well, you know, I think I think that requires further examination, and maybe it's not coming through in the letter. But I think as as you discover more like as you get out of the realm of hypotheticals talk to your doctor about a medical reality. And then have that conversation and see are you really being supported and loved and protected, you know, and like doing a good job of doing that for each other. And really understanding what the other person needs. I mean, I don't I don't see here that your partner is being like a jerk. But I do see that he's being a little maybe willfully obtuse and definitely optimistic too soon. What would he will you need to ask from him is I really? We know how important it is to you to have biological children made that really really clear, it may be that at some point our desires will become so incompatible that we will need to split up. And that would make me really sad. But I would rather you had the kind of children that you wanted somebody who was as excited about it as you were. Yup. And I need to really check in myself and make sure that I'm not just saying yes to something that I think is gonna be possibly painful possibly against them on my values possibly really expensive possibly something. That would make me feel alienated from our family structure, whether or not I felt good about that. Or not it might just be my response. You know, I if you don't feel pretty excited about having kids in one of the ways, you describe this letter, and he's pretty insistent that that's what he needs to be happy. It would be such a better outcome for you guys to have a really sad break-up then to move ahead. With kids that you're not excited about. Yeah. I get variations on this question a lot. And it's it's a little harder than like, I don't want kids my partner. Does what do we do? Because this one's like, I don't know. Maybe there's a version like where you guys figure something parts of it. But you have to be met partway like amend. I think like I said given medical realities you have to be met partway. Yes. So if if your partners, not moving at all, I think, you know, that is kind of probably indicative of the what future decisions will be made in your relationship building together. Yeah. Yeah. I just wanna point out to again, some people feel really been about kids for a while. And then that can lead change. But I just wanna say looking through to letter. I see words like guilty suffering detached great expense. To me that sounds a little bit further on one side of the scale than just oh really anxious about what's going to happen. Kind of like typical soon to be parent jitters kinda sounds to me like. You're maybe actually pretty clear on how you feel about it. But you're worried that you'll be hurting him by being clear about it. So if there's a possibility that you actually don't want children, and you just don't want to say that cause your partner was the first one to say, I really do. And you're like, well, I love him. And he's great. And if there's a way that I can give him what he wants. That's not too painful for me. I'd like to be able to do it. That's not the same thing as one in kits. I agree. Yeah. Don't try to round yourself up into wanting kits. I agree. Yeah. Good luck. You know, it's just gonna take a hard conversation. I mean, it's obvious. They're going through a lot of hard conversations. Now, I'm not sure how much either one's leaning into it. But it's gonna be hard conversation. And I challenged the letter writer to be as honest as they can. Yes. Yeah. And really check in with yourself. Make sure am I rounded up in this conversation to make my partner. Happy and good test of that can be like something feel okay in the conversation when you're in front of each other. And then as soon as you're by yourself, you get overwhelmed by guilt panic. Fear resentment because that is maybe a clue that that's what you're doing. And good luck. All right. This next letter is at least a little more straightforward, which is great because it's always great. When people tell you. Here's how you can help me. Right. And then you can just do that thing here. Like, here's the BanDai. Exactly water. Yes. So the subject is protecting trans brother from are horrible. Parents. Do you you? Yeah. I mean, yes, protect your lease do gone. Thank you. Dear prudence. My youngest brother came out to me as trans this weekend. I'm so overjoyed for him. But I'm also terrified about my parents finding out there afraid of an angry at anyone who doesn't think or look like them. They have a history of reacting terribly when anyone of their six kids breaks away from their version of morality like when I told him I wasn't a Christian or when they found out that one of my other brothers is gay. My brother asked me not to use his new pronouns he and him around parents, which I completely understand. It's the best way to keep them safe. But I hate the thought of using old pronouns for him because it makes me incredibly angry that he's had to be closeted for this long. Because of my parents inability to love and accept their children right now, my plan is to avoid pronouns while we're around my parents. But I'm nervous that my mom will pick up on it. The last thing I wanna do is accidentally out him. I'm the oldest. And I love my brothers fiercely. The only reason I'm still civil with my parents is because they don't want to jeopardize my ability to spend time with my. Three younger brothers who are still living at home. I live five hours away. I'm not able to help anyone financially in a way that would allow them to just move out. What can I do to protect my little brother? Do what your little brother asks? And that's a good role with pronouns. Always. Yes, I think it can be hard to 'cause people can be really gung ho of like I want to be so supportive, and if somebody is like I'm coming out, but I need to still be strategically closeted. I get that's tricky. But you cannot be more gung ho about your brothers pronounce, and he is. Yes. And that's that's just gonna go for supporting people kind of across the board. And I think if you like carefully weighed pronouns around your parents in about ten minutes, they will notice unuseful game brother made it clear. Yeah. Unlike this is like, I think, you know, when safety is in question, like protecting your brother's safety think is the most important thing here, so beyond, you know, listening to your brother's wishes about pronoun use around your parents, there must be some resource for helping him especially if you feel like he might be like in danger. You know, it's one thing like face parents wrath have mad, and, but if you live like hours away and your financial independent, it's very different than if you're living at home, and they're like great. I'm taking your phone and right, cutting you off from other people in your life. I don't know how. Yeah. I don't know what the situation. At home, and how bad it could get you feel like it could get really bad. Like, I think even if you don't have the resources there are resources you could turn to. Yeah. Yes. So I would say before you go home check in with your younger brother and say, you know, I'm gonna keep you fully in the closet around. Mom and dad, I just want you to know. I'm so protective of you. I love you. Thank you for sharing this with me and. I can't wait to use your pronouns. Elsewhere in a context where you feel safe and comfortable, and yet also ask is there anything you need from me. Is there any other way, I can help support you, you know, up to including maybe like talking to him about how he wants to plan to maybe he can't move out in the next month or two maybe he wants to in the next year or two. How can I help you with that? And, you know, same thing listen, but don't don't do the pronoun game of like where is name. Oh, I saw name a minute ago. Name was getting some juice 'cause they're going to say, why are you doing that? And then you'll have to say, oh, you know, it'll it'll it'll it'll fall apart in thirty seconds. You can tell when people are voiding pronoun usage. And it's not a good cover such a terrible idea. I I understand the anger though. Yeah. Oh, absolutely. You could be like, I think, you know. Yeah. It'd be angry. But I think not at a risking your brother safety. Yeah. And you can certainly I don't mean to suggest that voiding pronoun uses. Always a bad idea. Always impossible always signals that the game is afoot. I just mean at home among your family where you're all going to be referring to each other a lot 'cause you're living in the same house. Even if it's just for a weekend. It will be very clear if you like disrupt the script you've been using about that person. I just feel like it takes a risk that he didn't ask you to take. Yeah. Exactly. And again, I totally get that. It's like if somebody ever hurts one of my friends, I always want to do. I I often have the the spiritual gift of being matter than my friends are at someone who hurt them. I'm good at that. But one of the things I've had to learn in my life and the same goes for family, but one of the things I've had to learn it's like when you're angrier than somebody else's on their behalf, and you like go above and beyond expressing that anger. The usually aren't grateful because they didn't ask you to do that. And it's not actually helpful. It has more to do with you than it does with them. And again like I don't wanna be hard on this letter writer. I think this lead. Writer hasn't done anything wrong. And I totally understand whether coming from. But the yeah, definitely I've been like knocked back at times in my life where someone's been like you need to stop. And I'm like, I'm at for you. And they're like, I'm not or like I had other consumers to do that. Yeah. And I'm like, but I'm I'm doing a good thing. And I imagine this wasn't about you. Eight this get out of my show magin if this wasn't about you. I don't want to. All right. You read this next letter, please how to tell my parents. I need therapy. You often tell people to seek therapy, which seems like great advice that I would also like to follow. My problem is that I'm not sure how to bring this up to my parents. I am a college student who has struggled with mental health issues since grade school, and I would like to finally seek treatment. However, I'm still on my parents insurance, plus I'd like to have their guidance and support throughout this process. My college counseling system is free and confidential but over-burdened and it's difficult to get an appointment. If you are in crisis, my parents, and I have mostly eleven supportive relationship, except when it comes to mental health. They have a pretty dismissive rub. Some dirt attitude towards mental illness despite having family history of depression, anxiety on both sides, I corrupt hearing that should suck it up and get over. What whenever I was struggling. And my problems were often treated as an inconvenience or a sign of leanness as a result of minute effort to hide my symptoms from them. How can I tell my parents? I want to get help for a problem that they have rarely seen me experience. And maybe don't even believe. Exists. So I wanna help you with using your parents insurance to get treatment. And I want you to worry about getting their guidance and support later same much later. Do you have any particular tips about how to go about this or? You just met just pointed at me take it away intensely. You do it. You should contact your insurance provider and tell them that you want any it's called an explanation of benefits that your insurance company sends out periodically to say like, here's what you using your insurance for and say when it comes to like, whatever counselor you have chosen to see I would like those explanation of benefits to be sent directly to me. Here's my address, please do not send them to my parents. Yes. And you still you're still entitled to medical privacy hip, still applies to even if you are on your parents insurance. So you will be able to find a therapist figure out your copay come up with a way to pay for that yourself, and then get the rest covered by insurance without getting your parents permission. Yeah. That's good. My idea was maybe, you know, some counseling and therapy will help you be able to tackle this difficult conversation with your parents exactly I want you to get like a good six months of therapy under your belt before you worry about trying to get your parents guide the board. Also, I don't think you're gonna get your parents guide and support. And what I want is for you to figure out a way to be okay without it. Yup. It's going to be painful, and it's going to be hard. But if you make your goal get my parents to support my therapy. Even though they've never ever made any room for talking about mental health issues or mental health at all in my whole life. You were going to set yourself up for rejection hurt and feeling land because they're just going to do that. Maybe they'll come around. Eventually, I hope that that might be the case. But whether they dear they don't you can still get therapy. You can still get the benefits if there be and you don't have to wait for them to get on board. It's like, you know. Put your mask on before helping others. Put your mask on before helping others. I never get a chance to use that one. But this is actually the thing or or put your mask on before asking others to help you. It's like the mask is coming down in front of you. And you want is for your parents to put it on you. And they're like, we don't see them asks. And in fact, we're great at breathing. No air. And so it's not that your desire is like not these don't even in fleet. Yeah. Like get where you're coming from. I I wish very much. It doesn't need to inflate like oxygen is still. I wish your parents were if not supportive at least mildly curious or like, oh, well, I guess let us know if it works out. But I think you know, how they're going to respond, and I don't think there's a way to avoid that. So go ahead and get it. I. And say to your therapists that one of your, you know, therapeutic goals might be wanna figure out how to talk to my parents that I'm about therapy and figure out how I'm gonna deal with it. If they make fun of it or ignore it biller tool say that it's a dumb idea 'cause I'm gonna keep doing it and figuring out, you know, how many times because it's it's good to push back and say like, well, here's what I'm getting out of it. I really love it. You know, a light argument or engagement without ideas is good and healthy. But in a certain point just going one hundred rounds on you should stop doing therapy. It's dumb versus. It's not dumb. It helps me please support. It. You're just going to be asking asking for more rejection. Yeah. So yeah. Get the, you know, fine therapist to accepts your insurance. Right. Contact your insurance company say I want all bills. Actually studying online like get your online account with Cigna at nine or whatever it is. And then you select that you don't want your it's called the benefits visible to any other person on the planet. Right. I mean because this is sadly common for lots of people who are on their parents insurance, but need like some kind of healthcare their parents don't approve of often birth control often kind of collage services often like anything related to being LGBT anything related to mental health. This is a common problem. And you're not the only young person who shares this particular need. So luckily there are systems in place to protect your privacy. And that's great because I don't want you to have to worry about defending the idea of therapy before you had your first therapy session. Like, that's a lot. So yeah, I think you can I think this is the you can do I think the goal of getting and finding a really good therapy. Is an achievable one. And I think that it's also chief ole to set certain boundaries in place with your parents such that they don't always like have infinite room to call you up and say, I think there'd be as dummy should stop. But if your goal is get my parents to like the idea of therapy. That you cannot control. Yeah. So. Good luck. And I'm glad that you have at least figured out ways to talk about your like the issues that you with. This letter writer. Yeah. Like being like, I wanna go and like an wanting to talk to their parents about it and get support. Even though it seems unlikely I think there are lots of good things going on in your life. And you have lots of good thoughts about things. Yeah. And I think you know, none of none of the things on your to do list are bad. I think the big suggestion is to do the therapy first and work on your parent's relationship during slush after yes. Yeah. And that's going to be it's gonna take a while. There may just be some hard. I mean, parents are hard really hard and just kind of accepting sometimes like I'm not going to seek out rejection from my parents by like sharing really vulnerable details symptoms or therapy sessions. When I know they're like walk it off hit the showers. You're fine. Yeah. Rub. Some dirt on it. It's not a good like. Dirt is not good for mental health issues. Like is it for your head or like just like wherever you feel the anxiety? Most. I can't I cannot imagine. I have no idea if you had Pika, maybe Pika or pica. Thing we eat dirt. Yeah. Well, you need iron. Yeah. It's like a mineral deficiency. My grandmother had that back in the sixties jeeter. She did she ate out of like a potted plant doctor said he needs more Iran solve that problem. And she was getting it. I mean. Wonderful. Very very much, and she does not eat dirt anymore. Mattie. Thank you so much for coming on the show. Thank you for having me. It was really fun. It was fabulous. And I can't wait to see you in another two years. Thanks for listening to your prudence. Our producers, Phil circus. Our theme music was composed by Robin Hilton and production assistance by Taylor Simmons. Don't miss an episode of the show had to sleep dot com slash dear prudence to subscribe. And remember you can always hear more prudence by joining sleep. Plus, go to sleep dot com slash pretty pod to sign up. If you want me to answer your question. Call me leave a message at four zero one three seven one dear that's three three to seven. And you might hear your answer on episode of the show. You don't have to use your real name or location and at your request. We can even alter the sound of your voice, keep it short, thirty seconds minute tops. Thanks for listening.

writer partner Mattie France Julie Cooper Tigers Nicole Seattle mineral deficiency San Ramon Daniel Mallory US Cigna nanna Christmas Seth Cohen Breese Mattia Facebook
Permanent Closet

Slate's Dear Prudence

1:18:23 hr | 2 years ago

Permanent Closet

"This episode is brought to you by honesty honesty is been on a mission for more than two decades to create and promote great tasting healthy inorganic beverages they're excited the shine a spotlight on the work they've done democratized organic some support their fair trade certified suppliers the choice string on his team illustrates the power that you have to create a positive effect on not just your own life but on the wellbeing of others around the world is it honest t dot com slash podcast to learn more about honest and how you're small decision has a lasting impact we have a favor to ask are partner is conducting a survey and would be grateful for you're helping answering a few questions it will take lesson ten minutes of your time in your participation helps to support our advertisers please go to sleep study dot com the complete the short survey now you're listening think this week's accepts the dear prudence podcast to get the full length members only version every week join slate plus at slate dot com slash pretty pod dear prudence prudent if you're per year do you think i should contact him again oh how thank you mm low and welcome back to the dear prudence show once again and as always i am your host daniel mallory or berg also known as dear prudence with me in the studio this week is author and activist i a daily own who teaches creative writing it you see berkeley nfc author of the justice hustlers feminist heist series including side chick nation the first novel published about hurricane maria in puerto rico i welcome to the show thank you so much for having me thank you so much for coming on the show and for teaching me about a new thing that i could do with jello jello yes i'm a fan my one go to a like jello adjacent a strategy in life is a recipe the called infinite putting oh that i do how it only first stress eating well when you need feel like a failure body with materials so there's no more room for feelings and you get a tub of cozy shack style putting the big one that wave off yes and then you get a can of whatever type of which topping you prefer wow and then give it a big big crown yes and then you eat down such that like everybody has like seven eight with topping one eighth putting i liked the ratio ratio is important it seems like it's gonna be too much but it's not what's happening like folds instantly as soon as you put it in your mouth and it gets like salty and good end 'em it'll take you out i i liked that you have a plan i like that you're prepared prepared there i do have to say even though i say jello i guess technically it's gelatin sure but the one thing i have to say is there's this incredible memoir out there of the jello family it's called jello girls and it's basically about the shallow end the patriarchy she arkie that i read last year that's unfair test now every time people say jello i think of memoirs about i will one of those remarkable 'em i'm glad you brought up a business as it relates to the patriarchy because that just takes us so neatly into her very first question which is just truly remarkable truly an i'm gonna go ahead and reach this one because i want to end because it's just stunning so the subject is i applied for a job hiring manager called my husband and dear prudence i recently applied for a job at a company i had worked at once before years ago my husband also worked there for years after i did and it's finally with the management team he's not there anymore my husband just told me that the hiring manager tom called him to ask what kind of employee my husband's thought i would make i did not listen to my husband is a reference and the idea that a question about my qualifications and personality went directly to my husband makes me extremely uncomfortable have an interview coming up and i'm sure they'll hire me pretty low stakes job and i don't plan on being there for very long but my question is when and how should i addressed this there's no way i'm going to let it slide it's definitely inappropriate and unethical and probably break some employee privacy laws but should i take take the job and addressed directly with tom or decline the job and tell them that this breach of professionalism is why what is this freaking madman oh my god yes a and i feel like that's what we're learning these days that life kind of is mad men but you know what's the gal to do right this is the this is this really interesting question of ethics an strategy right i think it's great that she mentions that it's low stakes and that she wouldn't necessarily stay there that long 'cause i think that really put a different spin on it i was like i desperately want this job that was a relief to cause it feels like given that this is a low stakes job and you sound like if you declined it you'd be okay that gives you a lot of room to maneuver yeah and i i think it's also important to add add 'em the cussing tom out i think we should put that on the table you know because we wanna just have a wide range of options so if this is you end you think i can kind of take her leave this job my preference might be have it for a while but i i'm not gonna be very upset if i custom out and i burn that bridge what would your first approached me would it be i'm not gonna do the interview and here's why i'm gonna go interview and say hey by the way do you normally called espouses people applying to work here what you gonna one of the things will be interesting is you know if we think about it maybe from more of an actress perspective is like 'em you know undoubtedly tom's completely out of pocket behaviors probably affecting other people so one of the things that you might wanna do is a you know set up the interview figure out who it swith especially if it's multiple if it's with multiple people including tom that might be a great forum in which to call time out and then 'em yeah i i i it sounds like she wants the job but that she's not trying to be quiet or hidden or play along in order to get it so i think it might be interesting to see if it can be two birds one stone like a forum in which to call this out and also have a great interview and get the job i think that's it's a great strategy i wonder if it would also be helpful to get in touch with hr iser before or after that interview just just say i hope that you were addressing this as a company because i would hate for this happened if somebody else that super smart and i i tend tend to have the stealth approach so my leaning would be the do it afterwards but i think either way would be good and you know especially if the people in the if the people in the interview are like oh yeah this is terrible it might be great to have a follow up call right 'cause you never know people can say anything and interview like oh we're very concerned about that but you know it's worth putting in that called h r n complaining officially i i think that's probably what i would do in this situation is have the contact with hr afterwards just to really make it clear as you said they might be like in the moment gosh that's terrible but then the sort of like comfortable well tom already works here and we don't really know wanna make that big fuss just a kind of reminder of you should probably be asking tom if he's done this before it's a possibly a you know disciplining planning him essentially taking him off of hiring teams all the way up to and including you know letting tom go right and funny thing with the a with these kinds of guys of the world it's rarely an isolated incident right because took call someone's male male partner till like check on them is so completely out of pocket 'em yeah it's so completely such bad and i think that would be the way to bring it up in the interview i think it would it would be the say you know there's a lot about this job that is appealing and exciting to me i've had a really good experience so far one thing has released stood out to me as being very unprofessional and very surprising i've never encountered this in all my years of interviewing 'em and maybe maybe even to frame it as like a you know tom contacted my husband who i have not listed as a reference to ask about my qualifications 'em do customarily do this as a company on release put their feet to the fire on like do you have a habit of asking like female applicants what what their husbands think of their work oh my gosh i'd really like to know that for taking this job is that something you'd expect me that's a great way to phrase it because i think you know in terms of what's appealing about the job and what's unappealing end you know that i think a key part of it is like i don't wanna work for a company that proves that kind of behavior yeah yeah so and then the only other thing that i would throw out there i don't know if it breaks employee privacy laws it's certainly cannot hurt to contact a lawyer and ask a question most lawyers will do at least an initial over the phone consultation for free or at a reduced rate i i i'm not suggesting that like a that should be you're first move but if you wanna kind of go in knowing the legal landscape of this particular conversation certainly go forward there's nothing to lose their again and i think that this is a question you know and i think a lot of the questions bounce back and forth between the sort of what do you wanna do for your individual situation and what's the greater opportunity opportunity for activism here right yeah so i would say before you i mean it also may very well be that you go to interview you say this their responses such you decline the job then there but i do think since you're a kind of unclear right now whether not you'd be willing to take the job if they really took steps to handle the situation to not decline at first have that conversation first see how they respond and then you know iser they will withdraw offering you the job or you will decline decline it 'em or something else will happen and it's also possible that you know there are a people at the organization who have been waiting for a good reason to give tom the boot or to give tom heavy reprimand and sometimes there's someone who really kind of represents a different era at a company 'em and this could be an opportunity yeah but i just i cannot imagine the thoughts that were going through tom's head when it was well there's a list references here but i think i'd like to call her husband wow who she doesn't work west 'em yeah it's it's really truly remarkable and again maybe in that moment if if tom is there a it would be a little bit fun and also helpful distaste i'm so curious to know what your thought process was stirring this momentum yeah what made you make that choice 'em fleas update us this is what i would love my god you're gonna follow i really wanna know how that goes and good luck i hope it whether you take this job or not the next job you have doesn't really involve you're husband in any way oh my god that would be nice at mont cloth there's no such thing as an ordinary outfit created by a team of in house designers their signature styles include handdrawn prince standout silhouettes and inclusive size range you start off your summer plans right with breezy tops and jumpsuits made for venturing had turning prints and size inclusive swimwear designed for cooling off mont cloth believes it fashioned should celebrate everyone not sway expanding their size range from doubles eroded twentyeight got a question about fit their team of month stylists stylists can hook you up with complimentary sizing and styling help so you can plug suitcase or storage mud cloth fresh and wearable styles should be at the top of you're packing list this offer is only valid for a limited time get fifteen percent off your purchase of a hundred dollars and more including all sale sale items good at m o d c l o t h dot com and enter code prudence at checkout so hurry to get an extra fifteen percent off all sale items through the end of july boom boom all right this next letter it's all you great the subject is how much to disclose at work dear prudence i am a working mom with three children my oldest has recently been diagnosed with sensory processing disorder diagnosed in quotes because spd is not officially recognized disorder but it shares many qualities in common with other sensory disorders such as autism he goes the occupational therapy three times a week i'm luckily blessed with a direct superior who understands my family life and has allowed me the flex my schedule in such a way so as to accommodate my son's needs needs i am salaried not hourly my issue comes to the common complaint of co workers how do i handle intrusive ones who directly question me and my comings and goings oh wow leaving already seems like you just got here i'm waffling on a generic script and i worry that people might take their concerns about my work to my boss i get my work done satisfactorily and i dislike having to explain my son's conditioned every single nosy nancy tom with whom i share a building i don't feel comfortable saying my son is autistic as he isn't officially diagnosed as such but trying to explain the intricacies of sensory processing and developmental toddlers is long winded i guess and i think it makes me feel like i'm justifying or excusing my schedule frankly it's none of their business and i'd like to tell them that an explicit terms but that's not very acceptable office behavior iser i realized this is low stakes but i foresee this problem growing going as my son does and maybe requires other services so i i don't think this is low stakes i mean i i'm really glad that the letter writers 'em like direct supervisor an upper level management is totally on her team team here but i think having to navigate co workers who make it really really clear 'em they feel like you're schedule is their business and are already sending pretty obvious passive aggressive signals that they want to know more about your personal life life that that could absolutely make your work life really difficult so i i think it makes total sense of this is bothering you and that you need to figure out ways to get iser help shutting it down or to shut it down yourself one that said i have is with the supportive supervisor sometimes you can have an ally who pulls people aside if they've made really intrusive comments and you know you can kind of checking what that person and say you know that that you're supervisor could say the folks you know there's some information that you don't have an it's cool with me in this is legit so that's one thing that can sometimes help if it's individuals but if it's the culture as a whole and sometimes you need a bigger kind of more universal solution yeah i i think that's smart and i think it makes sense to have a script yourself and also to tell your boss here's what i plan on seeing individually but especially if any of these co workers also report directly to your boss then your boss has real grounds here just to take them aside and say like hey i need you to not inquire with other coworkers about their schedules at they've worked out directly with me like i'm aware of the schedule i eat i have approved it it is for good reasons you don't need to know more as long as work is getting done i need you not make these comments that's right and also the supervisor needs to let them know i'm the supervisor right it's not actually year job to worry about that and it's interesting in the past 'em when i supervise teachers 'em i actually say explicitly explicitly in staff meetings everybody here has a different set of situation so it may seem like well why is that person doing this and i'm not sure why is this person coming and going in a different way in you know i just let people well know folks are 'em folks have different situations which means that their schedules are different and don't feel no way about it you know i think it's important also have that culture where it's not one size fits all right and i think that's a really good opportunity for buses just in general to kind of take the league on making sure everybody knows look i'm checking in with all of you individually about what we need from you at work and what you need in terms of work life balance i'm doing my best that is my job if you have any concerns about you're unscheduled please bring them to me but unless somebody else rescheduled is affecting their ability to help you get your own work done 'em trusted that's not something you need to worry about and i think part of what's so difficult you know in our society is the society is so individualistic right and so when ever things aren't one size fits all other people can feel like they're being ripped off further at a disadvantage right and i think that that's just one of the things that's challenging about this culture that historically in any given job a lotta times there are one set of people who were working really hard and another set of people who are coasting taking advantage and it's unfortunate because it seems like most of the time that doesn't get called out because there you know a lotta times are reasons having more to do with who gets favored in this society scher 'em for why some people work harder than others and given environments but it's interesting when someone particularly is doing caretaking someone who's in caretaking role hasta 'em there or if somebody has a disability that they're working with those other times right that people are always being sort of called on the carpet and asked to explain rose you get really invasive into their business and it's good that 'em this mom is pushing back against that and she doesn't have to disclose everything about her family and her children in order to get the combination that she needs and deserves right yeah i think there's a lot of truth to like who get scrutinized the most 'em tom should be getting more scrutiny this working mothers should be getting less exactly so i think you're instinct here tonight share a lot of personal details with people who have already kind of made it clear that they think you're just bailing on work to go to the movies there's something i think that's a good one i don't trust that people who have already displayed that tendency sort of towards nosy innocent rudeness are gonna respond well to hearing about your particular situation so i i would say in addition to having a conversation with your boss to just also say iser yeah i've worked schedule west supervisors name and everything's good let me know if you need anything in particular from me but if there's nothing that you need i'd rather not discuss my work schedule with few 'em i think that's pretty appropriate it's still relatively polite you could also just say like yep you know if somebody wants to make a dig like leaving already seems like you just got here you could just kind of calm we look back and say yes i am leaving yeah sometimes i mean i think the other thing whenever people are being passive so aggressive be other interesting opportunity is to ask them if they want to be direct right so you could also say yeah are is there something you wanna say or is there something you wanna ask or is there a concern that you have here and i think you know sometimes that can surface the different things that can be useful in a team you know in some ways it depends how closely you're working with this group of people as a team yeah like with some teams it's like you know were doing parallel work but they don't it doesn't overlap that much and someone may have some feelings about my work but ultimately it's not relevant but then there's other times where those relationships really do matter so sometimes it could be useful to push you know depending on the relationship chip and ask hey soandso is there's something you wanna ask me like it or is there something you're trying to say like what are you trying to say yeah and then you know to confront that directly to 'em because sometimes something will come out like well you know it seems like you're not pulling their weight and that could be the opportunity to say actually i am and i've checked this and i've checked this with are supervisor and it's all good so i'm gonna ask you to really back off their trust the supervisor entrust trust me right yeah 'cause there's like a an actual complaint like you know were behind on this project and i've been trying to get a hold of you for something that's something you could actually address and if it's just it seems like you leave early a lot at that point you can i say yep i have like particular you know unavoidable caretaking needs needs a handle on i don't wanna go into detail about that but trust that i have spoken about it with their supervisor or you know if you don't want it even share that much at that point i think you could say if this is not a concern about a project were working on right now i'd like you to stop making comments about my work schedule and the other thing that i have to say is it is and unfortunate truth that so many people have really bad communication skills and they used passive aggressiveness becomes folks really don't know how to just ask what it is they wanna know or better yet say what it is they need to say or maybe they really need to be talking to the two years supervised like hey how come you know she's leaving coming late and leaving saving early and i've got a lot and you know maybe that's a question that they need to take up with the boss but you know because they're intimidated or whatever they're asking silicon also be an opportunity for you're colleagues to grow a bit yes yeah absolutely all right i this next letter is all you okay the subject is haas style classmates dear prudence i'm a thirty two year old nursing student with five months left before i graduated within my cohort i'm part of an eight person group the members of which are dependent on each other group presentations projects in discussion post we also go through clinical and labs together these other members of my group are probably decent people in many ways but i'm not interested in socializing with them i tried in the beginning but the conversations are pretty full of fat hating comments as well as casual homophobia i'm fat and queer on top of which i'm an introvert with social anxiety friday and i made the decision mid program that i would stop forcing myself to interact with them more than necessary i do interact with them kindly genuinely an openly when we have to be together for school purposes recently we worked together on a group project as i was leaving someone said by aggressively in sarcastically i assume they thought i hadn't put in enough work so i offered an apology slash ask if this was the case but all i got the text but said all good i found out through a member afterward the group was upset that i had left as soon as the work portion was done they had expected meta stay in socialize two of the group members wouldn't even look me in the eye the next day and only three spoke to me during the four hours we were together i'm not sure what i'm supposed to do here i try not to let their attitudes get to me but their treatment fields dehumanizing am i in the wrong for not pushing through and socializing with them more i just can't understand such hostility when my biggest offense is declining the hang out i wanna get through the remaining five months civil lee my grades literally depend on it i could probably switch groups if i wanted but that seems like an escalation of the situation and not worth it with so little time left do you have tips for not carrying the others are obviously gossiping about you based on the response to my apology chance for them to tell me what they were feeling i'm going to wager that more direct communication won't yield the best results while i'm worried that so many of these people seem to wanna go into a profession that involves caring for people right 'em i sort of hope all of the wash out in the next five months and decide to go do a job where they don't have to interact with human beings and eat because i worry about their patients as specially patients of theirs who may be fat in or clear a low 'em you know i i my my theory here is that you were leading the situation exactly correctly they are trying to demonize you 'em they don't think of fat am queer people as people in the same way they think of themselves as people and your very existence students is a reminder that it is a challenging to see somebody regularly while also trying to think of them not as a person so you make them uncomfortable by existing and wanting to be you know spoken to politely or looked at i when you're in the room and that so not on you but yeah absolutely what you're witnessing is the panic confusion an anger of somebody who is trying hard to dehumanizing you and it's like why won't you let me yeah and i think one of the things that happens that a can be extra confusing is the casual homophobia and fat phobia in their comments lets you know that they have those views news an i don't know 'em you know how out you are to them as a queer person you know but part of what can happen in those hostile dynamics is people are looking for a pretext to dislike you or be mad at you or blame you end this not hanging out has become this perfect pre tax write the truth is that they obviously have deep seated prejudices that target identities that you have but yet and funny how it always works right 'em with these oppressive dynamics they a or at least some of them have turned it around that your rejecting them or that you don't like them or the you don't wanna hang out with them and then that becomes the pretext for not looking at you speaking to you passive aggressively and i think that's just in terms of trying to do code or just give you additional language for what's happening as far as what to do it's a tough one yeah 'em because you are dependent on this group of people and sometimes it can be useful to sort of conform to a degree 'em just a smooth things over because as a student the way say that the educational situation is structured urine vulnerable position however since they've already sort of shown their hand it's unclear that at this point that socializing with them would be that useful so i have i think two options here at sometimes like she give a raiders eight low conflict option in a high conflict option depending on you know how they're feeling so low conflict option is just get through the rest of the semester get through the five months do exactly what you've been doing a show up do the work leave if they say reduced passive aggressive ignore it and then afterwards you know do something it feels good to you call a friend talk about it 'em do something that kind of acknowledges i just spent a couple of hours with people who treat me like i'm not a person in that hurts and some of the kind of tend to my own emotional needs right now and then that could be anything from journaling seeing a you know if you have a counseling services available freer program seeing a counselor talking to a friend that you trust 'em whatever else you need to do such that you only view them as people who could help me get the grades then i need and then they never after think about them again that's a perfectly fine option 'em in and you could just continue to remind yourself the level of their hostility is not actually commensurate with anything i'm doing i think one of the things can be hard if you are as as what it sounds like a pretty reasonable and compassionate person it can be like well if i were if i were this level of unkind somebody else it would mean i was furious and it would mean they had done something truly horrible so i must the problem must be somewhere within me because you do not by virtue of somebody else's size think of them as more of a personal less of a person 'em but to keep reminding yourself i challenge their absolute loading a fat people and that's what that is it's not discomfort it's not concerned about health it's absolute like their own panic fear of loss of control fear of death sphere of uncertainty certainty and they hate fat people and you are getting the brunt of that and it's it's pretty bad it's pretty brutal 'em end to just remind yourself this has absolutely nothing to do with me and everything do with them yeah and it's so unfortunate that not only is the society so fat so but but the medical field is intensely fat phobic and again this question of pre tax right health is used as a pretext for people the show concern but it's really that concerned trolling that um you know velvet cloaked viciousness yeah 'em that a folks get targeted with i mean i just i love the i love the high in the low and i would add sort of the stealth to like then there's always the passive aggressive response right which is like baked cookies or go to the movies like the other possibility is just sort of escalate the social dynamic and i just put that on the table so you have a full array of possibility i i mean yeah only do that if that sounds fun to you but i do kind of like cackle at be idea of just like really like twisting it and and just showing up with tons of baked goods but i also yeah only if you think that's funny and fun don't go out of your way to try to win them over order conciliate the yeah and for me it's not about it's not about actually winning the over it's like you know kindness as m f you kind of have been claiming there yes yeah exactly yeah i was like have that option available yeah even if it were a even if you don't wanna go to the movies just doing a lot of hi how are you it is so great to see what have you been up to today but like maybe two degrees less sarcastic then that it's not quite as obvious but like just enough and then high conflict option and is if you you know whoever's teaching this course if you have an adviser of any kind going to them and saying like here's my concern here the calmest they've made about like gay people and fat people i'm also frankly concerned about how they treat their patients i cannot keep working with them i need to be reassigned 'em if you feel like you have that kind of support in your program that is higher conflict option they might get more mad at you they might get a disciplined in such a way it actually helps them to a you know reconsider whether or not their attitude right now is gonna be good with patients a i don't know what the outcome there would be but if you're feeling a little like yeah let's fuck and do something about this i think that would frankly be a good option pursue angry 'em but yet on the tips for not carrying that one's hard even if you remind yourself constantly these are asshole who's good opinion i don't really want it still hurts to spend time with people who won't look you any i 'em it's painful and i would just say that if you feel it i do have to see this one through a plan for both before and after being around people who care about you sharing your feelings of somebody that you trust and doing something that relaxes incomes you i agree i also am a firm believer in environments like that in having something tack tile like that could be a great time to have something in your pocket like you know you might right on a piece of paper like these insert expletives don't care about me and will be out of my life and five months right and fold that piece of paper up and have it in your pocket and like touch it or like flip it around in your hand while you're there with them just something that you can touch and be connected to while you're with them that reminds you of what's true and the other thing that i would say to is like 'em a lot of times we can be down on ourselves like why am i letting this get to me you know we can feel like oh if i were stronger or if i were this or if i were that or that i am you know it wouldn't get to me but the truth is like it hurts you are working with a group of people 'em in the same profession a caring profession it's not unreasonable to expect but you should be able to have warm or at least civil connections with those people and you know being in that kind of school environment is really isolating this is the human contact that you have and you know anytime people people are behaving in those hostile ways it does get the us 'em end guy i just echo all of the self care advise the danny gave us well yeah and again it makes so much sense at this hurts like scapegoating you know low grade shunning making it explicitly clear that they don't see you as a person the way they each other's people deserve designed a hurt 'em they would hurt anybody no matter how much they love themselves so even if it just helps you sometimes have kind of like a running fun you're head of like i'm a person person i'm a person who deserves respect and friendliness or even like this is helping me to think about how i never wanna treat my patients yes the only thing i would add is if there's a i believe it's a group of eight it's possible the bears some ringleaders leaders and then there are some other folks were sort of going along 'em but there may be folks who are sort of silent because they a you know aren't necessarily in agreement so i would say you know just a we don't have a lot of information but consider the possibility that there may be some form of support with in the group 'em i wouldn't say they count on it and obviously other folks haven't been speaking up 'em but just you know sometimes times we have more support than we know especially when people are using oppressive and dominating language other folks sometimes do feel bullied into silence right yet and i'll i'll throw one last thought in there which again it's totally you're call and it will depend on how kind of steady you're feeling but i you had mentioned earlier the sort of like if someone says passive aggressive to you one option that you have to say there's nothing you wanna say to me and if somebody does like by you can always just kind of call myself and say you sound like you if you wanna say to me would you like to 'em my guess is they will become immediately flustered end panicked and looked like a damn fool 'em again you might not feel up to taking on a group of eight with that dynamic but if you have a day where you're feeling like man for these people especially like when you're in the fourth of you're five months like if you're feeling ready at that point to like just let that one role that might feel a little good to say 'em an animal had just i hope you graduate soon and you never have to see any of them again an i hope they all end up changing their specialization so if they do not have the interact with vulnerable people in need because i worry about how they will treat vulnerable people okay so moving on to this next one is 'em i'm excited i think we have a lot of good advice we could give this person at the subject is i'm jewish and butting heads with my girlfriends mormon family dear prudence i'm a lesbian in a loving relationship with another woman although our relationship hasn't been very long it's very solid wood open communication and a great understanding of each other's needs everything is great between us they only issue is her family my girlfriend was raised as a mormon and although she's left the church the majority of family are all still numbers i'm jewish and i'm currently undergoing the process of vault issue i don't know if i'm saying that correctly apologize in advance if i mispronounced it but it's a phrase it essentially means returning to the path and becoming more religiously observance my religion is very important to me my girlfriend is very supportive her family however lesson welcoming her father who we stayed with briefly when i was visiting her for pride said about ten words to me over the course of three days he's left the church is well and separated from her mother who i have yet to meet i was hurt although i wasn't incredibly surprised it's important to me they get along well with her family although we certainly don't have to be close friends as my girlfriend and i anticipate moving further up north and away from both for families ones were attending graduate school we also don't plan to celebrate christian holidays at all with or without her family which i fear will become a point of contention i'm hurt by her father's lack of interest and concerns that'll continue to get the cold shoulder from her family while this is undoubtedly a bigger issue for her her parents were emotionally and physically withholding and abusive growing up and i know she's still faces challenges with them i find myself uncomfortable around him were hoping to attend a family gathering together working meet her mother and siblings but i'm sure this will be an eventful detention i don't have any intention of hiding away him nor do i think it would really be possible to do so all of these factors i feel the league too invasive questions and challenges with their family and while i have a slow burning temper i can be pushed over the limit i don't wanna leave my girlfriend alone with her family during these events for number of reasons including her safety but i also don't want a cost conflict simply by existing around them is there any way from you have a rewarding relationship with her family or should i just step to the side i wanna be able to support my girlfriend an build relationships with her younger siblings i'm anticipating along possibly lifelong relationship here i wouldn't want my first time meeting her mother it'd be at her wedding well you have eight lot of challenges here but one of the first things that i just wanna say here is just the bigger issue 'em there a couple of big oppressive dynamics that are on the table here 'em oh at least three right so we've got 'em homophobia we've got anti semitism we've got christian dominance and probably some just good old generic patriarchy and so one of the things that i wanna say is that it can be hard to find individual solutions to water these huge global problem right and so when i hear you say that it's important to you gotta get along well with her family what i have to say is you may need to grieve some of that dream at least in the beginning of the relationship right dad has already shown that he does not know how to act and you know we don't know what's going what's mom but if there's emotional withholding abuse in the family you know these parents have some deep seated difficulties that are much bigger than their relationship with you an 'em i who wouldn't want to get along well with the family of the person they love of course you want that end at the same time i think it may be important for you to a gesture expectations so that you 'em can have goals here that are realistic goals that you have the satisfaction of meeting right yeah i i i share all of that i get the sense of the letter writer and her girlfriend are both young ish if they're considering 'em going graduate school in the future an 'em are kind of nervous about the prospect of not spending a holiday for the first time with the extended family so you know i just wanna start by saying this may be one of the first time and encountering be idea of planning long term with somebody family i totally understand the desire to be helpful if you're partner i i totally agree with you i in that i think it's important to provide some of your expectations i feel like a little bit what might be a play here for you is that sort of like best little gay person in the world syndrome which is a reference to a game i'm watching the seventies called the best little boy in the world and kind of has to do with this idea of 'em i can make up for homophobia by being so lovable lovable so understanding so accomplished that even these like abusive homophobic jerks will eventually be one over 'em by my just in eight goodness i will be the little orphan annie to their mean daddy warbucks and i will you know he'll the system from inside so you know when i hear that kind of like yes her parents were emotionally and physically abusive growing up yes they don't speak to me but my dream is to someday be really close 'em i'm getting a little bit of that and again i don't wanna be hard on you letter writer and say like you know dream smaller you know i i don't wanna criticizing that i just think it's important to say 'em while they understand wanting to be a source of solace her younger siblings i think you're not gonna be able to heal her relationship with her family and i think the best and most achievable goal for you is how do i support my girlfriend and figure out what she needs when she has to interact with her family again i don't wanna say because they've been abusive to her she needs to cut them off and you need to get her there i understand that lots of people at various points in their life 'em have different ltd relationships with abusive family members because part of it's worth it to them or they don't feel ready to cut them off and that's okay but i i just really want a stress 'em you're ambitions here should be only four 'em year relationship with your girlfriend not for getting her dad like you or insuring that that 'em you're gonna have fun friendly relationships are moments sibling so to that end when you have to be around them having a plan together of if they do or say something that crosses the line we leave an end release being prepared to do that because again it doesn't sound like you're confident that she would be physically safe along with them and that to me says you'll need an exit plan if you plan on even just getting lunch with them yep and the other thing that i would add to about family is that in building relationship with their partner that's why in the queer community this issue of chosen family is so critical you know end 'em that these this is her biological family in you're figuring out how to contend with them but just because you don't a you know if they are not able to have caring unhealthy relationships with the two of you that doesn't mean that you don't have family that that's my chosen family is really important and look around in your community both in your community or in your religious community as well is in year partners a communities and see who you would like to bill closeness with because at the end of the day the people that you know we have an are biological families may or may not be the people that we choose have family with and i really appreciated a what danny was saying about you know what we decide to do width emotionally withholding or abusive family members it varies case by case there's no one size fits all or right or wrong but the most important thing 'em part of how abusive dynamics liv on is when a it's set up that are choice is these really problematic relationships or isolation right so whatever you can do to build really healthy and loving community will allow these relationships to take their right size which is like okay this is my girlfriend's family an you know engaging with them but a you know we get to decide the other thing that i'll say particularly for folks who are in college a lotta times there is financial dependence free younger people and then that's extra hard cause a lot of times times in order to get through school or to get these resources within a family you need to you need a play the game in a particular way and that makes it really hard a when they're abusive dynamite so i just wanna speak that allowed as well end a i think the most important thing there is just a make intentional decisions about what you will and won't do and then a the truth is a lotta times even after any financial dependence may be over folks just are in the habit of feeling like they must do this or going be with these folks and again like you actually don't have to yeah and that part of getting out of those abusive family dynamics comics are number one not feeling like you have to rescue by being the best little gay person in the world and also that you don't have to take care of those family members feelings and they may not like it if you say you know actually i'm not coming around for such and such holiday because you were so abusive the last time i was there folks don't wanna hear that but it can be very powerful an can model really powerfully for younger siblings who will be calling you you know a who may be calling you later on because you were the only one who was behaving rationally in a crazy situation yeah so yeah i yes all of this and i think he only kind of concluding thoughts i have year are you know the question of is there any way from you'd have a rewarding relationship with her family now that's not to say i don't have hope they could eventually 'em experience some change and some remorse and and try to make some amends 'em if that ever happens that will be a process it will take years 'em it will have to start within them 'em an i don't think you will be the person to jumpstart it 'em so i think to let go of that dream is important 'em and then i think to really focus on you know we don't plan on celebrating christian holidays at all with or without them you were right to forget that will be a point of contention it will a man i think the savior energy for supporting her partner in those moments and remembering you don't need their permission not to celebrate christmas holidays 'em at all so again just 'cause i think it's important to figure out ways to support her but it's also just as important for you to say there are certain lines that if they get crossed i will need to leave from my own wellbeing right fd i wanna let you know about the advance i don't wanna leave you high and dry i hope in those moments you will come with me if you don't choose do we can reconnect afterwards but i need to know that like this this and this are my limit and i will leave if that happens i will do my best we've calmly but i will go and we will meet up later 'em you know you you you're job is not solely putting up with any kind of treatment because of you're partners on relationships her family and so just release stress spent some time hopefully talking about this with other friends of yours who are like queer nonchristian both have dealt with abusive family dynamics any any in all of the above om tickets and support and figuring out what are my lines and i just also wondering courage you like this is a place where turning to you're face might be really really powerful and also 'em some just hoping that the faith community that you're building in developing is one that is open and welcoming for you as a lesbian right because they're so you know in so many faith communities you there's homophobia intolerance and just really wanting to encourage you as you're returning to the path to find faith communities that welcome all of you at that could be places that you turn to 'em in times like this both with these questions but also to receive solace yeah yeah yes all of that and good luck this is hard and i absolutely relate to i'm remembering now had a it was at one point in a relationship after college with somebody whose family was not thrilled about her sexuality and i was very like i'm sure they'll come around baby me i'm delightful 'em anes end you are i'm i'm you know i'm a person i'm complex 'em and of course like she knew the situation way better than i did 'em and you know i was like no no no let's try let's try i totally wanna meet you're you're siblings i'm sure it'll be great who's the most uncomfortable afternoon of my life and afterwards i received a very long letter from her sibling about how inappropriate relationship was a hell i'll never forget this on how am i may be a very nice person but a meeting me felt like if his father had a mistress and he had to meet her and it was just one of those things where it's like how well she tried to warn me about this didn't she 'em that was just a a a real misfire on my part i was just so convinced i'll just be so charming well and i have to say that if delightful miss was a cure for homophobia there wouldn't be any hope of homophobia right lay folks are planning delightful and it's and that's the thing right all of these prejudices and oppressive behaviors are completely irrational right they are not based on on you know homophobia isn't based on anything being wrong with queer people racism isn't based on anything being wrong with people of color it's an irrational deeply held emotional prejudice and it doesn't matter how many any delightful people you meet from the community that you have this irrational prejudiced towards it's not gonna fix it because it's held in some whole other part of the person being 'em in new information doesn't land and that's sort of the that's the problem there that folks are seeing the world distorted way ray and that's so easily it's that kind of brings us to the next letter really beautifully 'cause i think in both of them one of the things we bump up against some of the limits of if everybody comes out will solve homophobia transphobia by phobia whatever and again that's not to say that coming out can't be really good and powerful and there are certain strategies that can often and be effective with people who are maybe like situationally homophobic more than like died in the wool 'em but it's not the cure all to any of those things and all right i think this next letter is all you so the subject is permanent closet dear prudence i'm a lesbian from a country that isn't tolerance at all when it comes to queer people in our rights my family is much more progressive than others in are community but that doesn't mean much if they knew i was queer i'm pretty sure they would a tribute that messed up hormones i'm assist woman and view it as a medical anomaly dismiss it as me being influenced by my american social circle and queer friends from college and otherwise reject that my sexuality could be a valid part of my identity they would always see it as artificial or a corruption of me i'm still very close with my family despite living and working in the u s and then the age of social media there's there's no way i would be able to carry on a serious longterm relationship with a woman and be able to hide it from them i'm in the closet when it comes to my family in anyone i know from back home and lately i realized there's no eventual coming out from me i'm not ready to come out quote yet because there's no yet from me and i think i might eventually marry a man who knows i'm a lesbian and keep up ahead charade or i could never have a long term relationship as my family has no opposition to career reminded women who stay single i just don't wanna be treated with oh sweetie you don't know any better have you gone to an endocrinologist look what america did to you for the rest of my life i don't wanna isolate myself from my family to keep her relationship secret and i'm neutral enough to romance and intimacy that i believe i could stay closeted nb contend i've simply decided to never come out and maybe even cultivate an image of heterosexuality and i know my family well enough that i'm certain they won't come around or begin to respect my sexuality however i've been speaking to other queer friends who've been skeptical are outright horrified at my com resolution that i will simply living the closet one of my friends said it wasn't insult the rights other lesbian women fought for a couple of them said i should address this and therapy so even though i'm not grappling with it on a personal level i begin to wonder if i'd be betraying queer people or turning my back on my community by acting like this is this another defense mechanism to try to avoid confronting my issues about coming out my full of shit and only lying to myself is it socially damaging to embrace a permanent closet or disrespectful to other queer women i wanted to ask someone who could offer an objective perspective all start by saying i don't know that i've ever offered and objective perspective in my life 'em so i would love to the best of my ability letter writer give you my thoughts and and tell you what i think would be some good things to keep in mind 'em but i i don't wanna make it sound like i'm gonna give you the final answer on what's the good thing to do with a bad thing to do 'em you know there's a lot of questions and this and that makes sense this is a big complicated topic so first when you say is it socially damaging to embrace a permanent closet potentially yeah is it disrespectful to other queer women you know i know you met friends you stated they feel that it is i am of opinion that a coming out should be something you do yourself a that it has to do with living the kind of life that you want and need to leave and making choices that you feel like you can lift west and balancing the many varying demands of connectedness an intimacy an 'em autonomy and desire and you know you were not harming any lesbians by not coming out it maybe if you met someone and told them that you were out and then a year in the relationship said surprise you have to be in the closet forever we'd be having a different conversation but that's not you're situation and there's no one you're hurting 'em they might not be 'em fans of you're decision but you know i think set aside the idea that like you're harming dead queer people or dead lesbians 'em by not coming out here family that is i think an unfair burden placed on any individual queer person and you should not have to carry that weight i agree and i think you know again this goes back to the question of individual versus collective like in the collective is it useful for queer people come out yes you know that is really really important it's one of the many tools that the community uses to fight homophobia invisibility developmental evasion solidarity eight yeah right but that's a collective tool does that mean that every queer person needs to come out in every single situation in every case it does not and i think it's a distortion just say that because collective coming out is important that that means but each individual person must come out and also i am much less concerned about any betrayal of people who fought for queer rights and much more concerned about any betrayal of yourself and you're right have the loving relationships that you deserve and you know clearly you've thought a lot about this end i one of the things i also wanna say about your friends who are making demands insisting on certain things you know the price of coming out is really different for different people so for some folks you know they risk losing their family first some folks they risk losing their job for some folks they rask violence or and they risk their live in it looks like for you given you're kind of national or cultural background you risk losing a huge part of yourself i wanna push back on that a little bit an ask you have you looked into who are queer folks in your cultural background and how have they manage this because there are queer people everywhere in every country every culture every religion and you know there are some folks who have tried this path ahead of you it doesn't mean you have to do what they did but i would wanna make sure that you have that information and if you are not aware of any queer folks aunt who share your background i would encourage you to do that research and just see see what has been done before 'em but it's true that i think a lot of times from people in the u s they may not understand you know what you s which is very homophobic people may do not understand the way homophobia looks different in different countries an also in the usa society that's so individualistic where the goal is like you're supposed to grow up and move away from her family that in cultures where families stay much more connected didn't have a much more of a sense of extended family that losing her family 'em you know may just be a deal breaker may not be on the table right yeah and without you know coming down hard on the side of any other of friends who you're family here it it does sound a little bit like my question is the crew friends who are kind of coming at you the hardest about this i'm curious if there if any of them share your background if they're all 'em oftentimes a white queer people 'em since queer nece is kind of the one way in which we experience any kind of separation from white supremacy or the norm or whatever that's are biggest thing and so we can kind of pushed that on the other people who were ashley balancing multiple impressions and if that's the case here if that's where you're getting most of you're pushback from people who maybe have a very particular context when it comes to being able to be like emotionally and financially self sufficient on the kind of relationship the devalue the most if they're trying to put their contact entirely onto your is insane you're only doing this because you were weaken afraid i think it might again i think it was a good suggestion kind of look up in your own cultural context what her some square figures that you might draw some some strength their support from 'em to potentially seek out other queer people who share your background who who might understand the particular needs and desires that you were balancing and that's again that's not to say that everyone who saying this to you just doesn't really care about you or is a totally dismissive but that may be part of what's at play here so you know i think if anybody's coming to you and saying like you're the reason that like you dead lgbt people are crying out for justice that's just bonkers that's bananas and that's how you get the kind of mindset where people think like it's good for the community if i forcibly out celebrities or whatever 'em and that's just a real mess so i the other thing i wanna do kind of acknowledge what you said that you're neutral enough to romance and intimacy that you think this would actually not be giving up a lot to you so that's important m a i think it's always check in with yourself about that one like is this still true of me do i still feel this way is there a reason that i might be inclined to say those things didn't really matter to me that much anyway so i don't mind giving them up which is certainly something i've experienced in my own life and transition or you may kinda do some soul searching surging and come to the conclusion like no this is actually pretty fundamental part of who i am 'em you might find in fact some solidarity converse solace in seeking out people who understand themselves as part of an ace sexual romantic community if you find some support there that's fabulous if you don't you don't have to but potentially look into that and kind of tried to consider 'em what is that look like for me but you know the fact that right now you're not saying like i'm devastated but i'm willing to make this trade off is i think useful information one of the things that i would add is there was a lot in here around concerns about what you're family would think of you and what they would say an m when you talk about them not accepting stepped in you there's a real range of non acceptance right so there's like people are gonna talk smack about me and never take my relationship seriously or tell me that i'm going through a phase all the way to like you know shining 'em you know being unwilling to talk to you or violence right and so i think one thing sometimes fur cultures a you know u s in western culture so individualistic 'em there sometimes their other cultures that are just as aggressively collective right and so it feels like you know impossible to have family members who don't like you don't approve of you are talking smack about you think that you have a medical fickle condition and so i i i would need more information 'em to really make a call there but it's possible that this is a powerful place for you to stand up and a decided you living your life and getting to be who you are is worth you know family members talking trash or never quite accepting you if you're still gonna be able to stay connected and you know get most of what you need from those relationships even if approval isn't really on the list so i also kind of question that part yeah so i think you know and the person who said that you like should addressed this in therapy with clearly saying some version of like you're a mess go get fixed and that again i think is a nothing you to pay attention to i also think there will probably be really helpful because what you're contemplating is really big and really profound and has a lot of repercussions in the all sorts of different parts of your life so i would say not that you need therapy but that you deserve therapy and i would recommend it again hopefully with a therapist who is like 'em what's the phrase and i'm looking for like culturally sensitive thank you yeah yeah somebody who's culturally competent both both for queer folks in for your sort of racial or ethnic background as well and i would add you know i agree because i think sometimes people can use therapy as an insult yeah but it seems seems like this could be a wonderful opportunity for you to do some of what's called values clarification right but you have a number of different values that are kind of clashing here and to get an opportunity to sit with somebody really unpack all these questions shins 'em you know like i'm you know romance in a sexual activity isn't that important to me so unpack that like you said you know am i leaning towards being sexual can i find some solace there or is there a way that feeling hopeless about being able to have an active sexual romantic life end my community has sort of made me underplay how important that is to me like those are really important issues to be able to spend some time unpacking king look back at different parts of your life in therapy can be useful container to do some of that values clarification work yeah so just kind of concludes you i think all this is useful i think one thing that will help you to bear in mind is absolutely we don't have to talk to your family about this right now it also doesn't mean you have to make this decision once and then just stick with it forever if five years ten years twenty years now you decide you feel differently you get to come out to your family later if you change your mind so don't be too too hard on yourself in terms of like this is the only time i ever get a think about it and then i'm just done i've made my bed 'em and then i also think you know consider whether again maybe not now but maybe in a few years maybe you would feel comfortable saying to your family you know have some gay friends and letting them kind of unload some of the stuff you're worried about getting onto you're friends so that you're not having a conversation with them about yourself but that you're at least letting them know i don't feel the same way you do what's right that might be an option that you would eventually wanna pursue and then i think just but you're friends 'em i i would say some version of this is really hard for me system decision that i make lightly it's not a fun position for me to be in my family is also really important to me i don't feel ready december that connection so while i understand that you don't share this i also right now really need some queer community because i don't have any of that in my family so if all you can give me is sort of a little strange silence silence around this i would love the stream silence and for us to talk about something else we could talk about you're dating life like basically just like you know you don't have to like what i'm doing but please please respect that i i making the trade off right now the i feel comfortable in order to stay safe and connected with my family and that you know breeding me about you know you know phyllis intel is not gonna make me feel supported her her helped out and and if that's the best they can give you great and i hope eventually as time goes on 'em you can meet other queer people maybe with a variety of different backgrounds and different experiences who are gonna be a little bit more flexible with you yeah and i would just out really appreciate what you said danny as a strategy of like you know introducing are talking about gay friends just sort of suss out 'em or help move your family forward and again you may find you may be surprised there's more diversity in their opinions that folks and your family have than you thought an also figuring out who might be allies with in your family yeah yeah and i just i wish you the best i can appreciate that you're in a really tough situation right now and there's ways in which you're not getting the support you need for kind of two different parts of your identity from you're different groups of of family and friends and that could be really hard so i hope if only through a therapist right now you could start to get that but i also hope as you expand your social circle here but you're able to find more people what the very least can listen and just say that sounds really hard 'em you know entrust again like you're not asking anything dear friends you're not saying like hey i need you all to pretend not to be gay like at the very least this does not directly affect them your family back home not knowing that you're gay is not affecting your gay friends here in the states where their ability to have their life like 'em so i i think i hope they can drop the whole like the weight of the past is on shoulders that's just goofy all right this last one is great it's short i have a short answer i look forward to hearing your thoughts subject i introduced two of my friends and now i regret it dear prudence i introduced two of my friends and now i'm worried one of them have a lot of money and afternoon my other friend only two months is paying for her rent this month new clothes meals out and they have planned three vacations together for him to pay for including disney world in thailand he's he's lonely and she needs money so they say it works out but she has a boyfriend i don't think it's appropriate for friends to pay for things like this each other do i have any obligation to tell him to knock it off paying for things or tell her to knock it off suggesting things for him to pay for should i just stay out of it yes yeah i you know do you have an obligation to tell your friend a stop spending money on stuff he wants to spend money on now and the same goes for her 'em i get that it's a little weird and i can certainly imagine a sense of like man if i knew i could have just asked you for cash you could be taking meet at disneyland 'em but this is not hurting you you were gonna get that money anyways i i mean i'll admit my first thought here's at the two of them clear we have an arrangement 'em i think he is getting something out of this 'em and i think that he's very happy with his end of this arrangements and so i don't think you need to worry that he's being taken advantage of i think is very satisfied with what he's choosing to spend his money on i mean the one thing i would agree i think like there's nothing i don't think there's anything to be gained by a telling them what to do with their time of their money 'em end a or scolding them from making these decisions when i will say is what it does bring up is the complexity of class and often gender with in friendships and within communities of friends you know how do people manage a being close and connected when they're big a difference is and the kinds of resources but they have an how is it that a people make decisions with friends about a who pays for things or what kinds of things that they pay for 'em an i mean i while i do not encourage you to get in there in a in an give them advice i can understand why some kinds of alarms were red flags are going offer you i think one of the things that i would ask you is how would it of how will it or would it affect you if this friendship 'em blows up or you know things end up going poorly between them you know will that affect your circle of friends will that be difficult for you because 'em yeah i think that class shows up in a lot of different ways in community in communities of friends in ways that can be awkward or uncomfortable 'em end yeah if someone has a lot of resources and you see them giving the weight of someone else and the community of friends a this also might be an opportunity if their resources that you want or need or would like to ask for instead of worrying about what he's giving the other folks this might be an opportunity for you to think and step up the stairs and ask that you have of community yeah and if you know if you feel like right now you know if there's one or both of them you don't see anymore because they're both really like invested in this new friendship you you absolutely have grounds to say like hey i'm both pleased you to really like and this is to each one separate embel sleazy like each other and i also just feel a little left out and sad i you know i don't wanna make you feel bad about enjoyment another company or you're financial arrangement but i miss us and i would love to feel like we could set aside some time to get dinner just the two of us some time that you totally have parents talk about and and i think that's gonna be the easiest thing to do but in terms of telling him to stop or telling her to stop or or suggesting to her that you wanna kind of get in between how she and her boyfriend are talking about this like i just don't think that's gonna get you anywhere and again my reed of the situation is that her boyfriend knows exactly what's going on it's comfortable with it is hard to hide three trips to disneyland and a thailand a former partner 'em my my guest here is that he knows exactly what's going on and he's okay with it but even if he's not that's where the two of them to hash out a so i i think you've been mostly just speak to 'em i miss you i wanna see you if you have a question for you know you could potentially one time politely ask like how's everything going what are you getting out of this i'm curious this seems really intense 'em but if they don't seem inclined share details with you then i think you just gotta go if this is an arrangement the does not involve me that's right you know for me the the flag in the letter here's the word appropriate 'cause appropriators is a judgment word ray so it looks to me like you're judging them and you know i you know we all have judgments so i think the other thing that i would ask you is sort of like what button is pushing of yours right and just explore like like where is that button for you is it about 'em yeah is it about money is it about people 'em people spending time with each other and what they're getting from each other is it you know sometimes you know we may have felt used in the past and so seeing that as pushing buttons but i would i would spend a little time exploring that 'cause clearly you're upset about this and then also you know think about what kind of friends are these two you like these folks that you're super close with i appreciate what you said a danny about 'em it has this cut into your friend time you know with one or both of them has this shifted things or is this just really something that you're watching from afar and they're judgy feelings that are coming up but you wanna expressed to them yes really different i can totally relate that i've certainly introduced friends before who became close friends with each other than me and the actual absolutely like activates like you know an insecurity abandonment bell inside my own head up just like oh my god like they like each other more then they like me and that can be painful and that makes sense you're not a bad person for feeling that way but you know there are ways and waves of talk about that well 'em and while i do understand stand some of your feelings i also think that there's just a limit to how appropriate it would be for you in terms of say i don't think it's appropriate have a friend who pays for stuff when you have a boyfriend to which her response could only be i feel differently in sort of my boyfriend in which case you you can't appeal to like judge judy just say like no you shouldn't do this like you just have to let that one ride as a choice that you're friend makes it you wouldn't right and you know i think it's interesting this question of like a is it pushing some buttons ron insecurity or feeling left out an man is the judgment of pre taxed from making their behavior wrong because it's pushing buttons right frankly if it's pushing buttons and you feel left out but then you're you know some part of you is looking for a reason like this must stop when really the feeling behind it is you know feeling left out are feeling 'em hurt 'em in yeah i think the other thing i'll say you know maybe the boyfriend doesn't know like maybe it's shady but even still it's not for you you to decide how other people should be handling their relationships yeah yeah i agree it would be different if maybe you were like i you know for a fact she's cheating on her boyfriend and i know for a fact her boyfriend doesn't know about it and i like him i'm close to him and i wanna share that with him there'll be a different situation but it doesn't only that's the situation you're in so there's just a limit to what you can and can't do here which doesn't mean there's nothing that you could talk about but you gotta stick to i think as you said you're own feelings and what you need from each of those friends and if it's just i feel sad that i don't have a friend who wants to buy me a bunch of new close i could really i also would love to have a friend who bought me a ton of close that'd be kind of awesome yeah but you know you're not he's not gonna start spending that money on you if you complain enough about the two of them so you know check to see what while you're trying to draw water from that's right that's it i did it yeah this is amazing so i mean it's interesting to me the ways that they were threads between all of these really really different questions you know so much about how do we stand up first selves you know what happens when people are saying one thing but there's really something else behind that now is really i'm surprised but it's not always i think that episode comes together where i could see a sort of through line from each letter the next but this is one of those where it kind of felt like oh you all have sort of as a different version of sort of the same problem yeah and that's what was really interesting when that happens and i hope everyone manages to fight their way out of their their own bramble patras today that's right on thank you so much for coming on the show have a fabulous rest of the day come back soon i will it's been a delight thank you so much thank you dear prudence producers the circuits a theme music was composed by robyn hilton don't miss an episode of the show had the slate dot com slash dear prudence to subscribe and remember you can always hear more prudence by joining sleepless good at slate dot com slash pretty pod to sign up if you want me to answer your question call me and leave a message at four zero one three seven one three three two seven and you might you're you're answer on an episode of the show you don't have to you real name or location an at you request we could even alter the sound of your voice keep it short thirty seconds a minute tops thanks for listening end on today's plus segment if you need to tell her at a distance and say i can't be there for year response to this that is fine or even bring a friend like if mom while out you're like i have a witness and i have someone who has my back and i think it really

partner daniel mallory berg puerto rico hurricane maria five months fifteen percent hundred dollars thirty two year ten minutes two decades two degrees four hours three days one stone two years
Dear Prudence: The "Praise Dog" Edition

Slate's Dear Prudence

15:55 min | 2 years ago

Dear Prudence: The "Praise Dog" Edition

"Before we get started. We have an important favor to ask you. We'd like your help. We've put together a survey. So we can learn more about listeners like you and make your favorite podcasts. Even better. This is your opportunity to tell us what you like. And what you don't like it should take about fifteen minutes to complete. Just visit slate dot com forward slash podcast survey to participate. That's slate dot com forward slash podcast survey. We appreciate your feedback. You're listening to this week's excerpts from the dear prudence podcast to get the full length. Members only version every week join slate plus at slate dot com slash pretty pod. You're you're Putin. Prudent. Prudence? Do you think that I should contact him again help? Thank thank you. Hello and welcome back to the dear prudence show once again. And as always I am your host, dear prudence, otherwise known as Daniel Mallory or Burgh. No, not that Daniel Mallory the other one this week in the studio, I am joined once again by Justin desouza, a social media slash community management professional who also works for a youth help line outside of work. She enjoys performing in operas plays and musicals Justin while Kim. Thanks. I am so glad to have you here today because I think this might be the most outrageous set of dear prudence questions I have ever had on the show. I'm excited to be talking about these letters. I don't know if excited is the word that I was use like terrified. Yeah. I especially the friends just so you know, like at the top of this episode. There is one letter where somebody gave someone's dog away and pretended that it ran away. And so I just need you all to. Ready for that one because you're going to all get very mad, and I understand and that's been the hall pass ones. Right after this is great. Everyone's life is falling apart. None of us know what we're doing people are giving away dogs. I can't wait to try to Wade into this just team. Would you? Please read our very first letter, the subject line is dealing with dead friend's mother. Dear prudence in college one of my friends passed away and his mother was of course, devastated. She used to call me for comfort, which I did not mind at the time. Now nine years later, she's found me on social media. She started sending me messages about how much he misses him and telling me about his life. I'm going to have passion emotionally and cannot handle helping her through this at the same time. I feel like a monster. For a grieving mother. This is you know, genuinely sad and to would ever extent it's possible for this letter writer to offer her even just a brief note or a brief response. I would encourage them to do it. But you know, it's also been nine years, and you cannot be this woman's primary source of comfort, and I'm kind of curious about, you know, nine years later, she's found me, it makes me wonder like did you have to scale back so much back in college. That like you were not letting her have any information about you. How much was she calling you? I guess is my question. Yeah. I mean, I think that it's pretty clear that the letter writer should not be the one having to respond to the issues of grief, and is likely not the best to quip to deal with enemy for numerous reasons listed here, not listed here. And I almost feel like social media might be part of the issue because it distances people enables them to do things that they. Might not normally feel comfortable doing in person. Right. Yeah. Like, I if she weren't I mean, she may very well do that given that like in the past. She was calling the letter writer a lot, but it is much easier to send lots and lots of messages on social media than it is to leave lots and lots of voicemails, right? But I believe this line. I'm going through a rough patch emotionally and cannot handle helping her through this that could very easily be adapted to at this moment cannot handle helping you through this. I think that very much expresses sincere and heartfelt note to say, I feel for you. But at this time, I can't really help it. Yeah. You know, my my thought would be if there's a way to respond again only occasionally. I would try to find a way to do that like, even if she sending you lots and lots of messages to just pick like one day a week where you say something like, you know, things for sharing these I also think of him often, I hope that you're looking out for yourself be well that don't like respond in real time that don't try to match the number of messages that she sending you. But that is some sense of. I'm really sorry. And I remember him fondly. And you're not the only person who still thinks about him that would be wonderful and loving and while sometimes can feel a little difficult. I think to give just a little bit to someone who clearly wants a lot. If you can see your way to doing that. I would encourage you to do it. If you just absolutely can't if she is sending you just an unreal amount of stuff on a really regular basis, and it's super super overwhelming, and you need to put a stop to it then. Yeah, I'm right there with you. I think you just say, I'm so. Oh, sorry. I remember him really really fondly. I'm going through something myself right now, I'm not available to hear this be well, and then, you know, put her on mute. So that whatever messages she sends you don't have to see I think those are those are the two options you have none of them involve feeling like you have to. Give as good as you get where like, if she's writing you a thousand words a day you have to do the same. And I'm really sorry. This is a painful point of advocate. Yeah. I mean, if the letter writer is going to sign off and say that that's you know, they're not able to provide any more support maybe on if they know of any resources for grieving that have particularly helped them, then maybe they can give that to sort of say, you know, this is what helped me be well, they don't have to go in depth of giving advice or support. But maybe just, you know, provide some things they know that they want them to continue. Yeah. I I think. You know, the only thing that gives me any clue here is like I feel like a monster for ignoring her. And so if some of it is just like, I feel bad not responding to them immediately. And the only way I can see myself not feeling bad in that way. Is if I tell her to stop contacting me, you know, then I do think it is. Okay. And I don't think she would necessarily expect that you're going to be responding in real time to all of these. So again, you could maybe even say to her like, I don't have a lot of time. I don't check the messages on this account, very often. But when I do get the chance, you know, I'll say Hello. I'll check in with you again. You don't have to do that. You're not a monster. If you don't do that. This is someone you're not close with you too. Don't have a relationship you can both feel for her grief. And also very reasonably say, you know, the mother of somebody I knew a decade ago is not somebody who can help like work through their ongoing long-term grief, and you don't have to say it cruelly. You don't have to tell her. You're grieving too much. You don't have to make any judgments about the way in which she is grieving in order to say, I'm so sorry. I can't talk to you about this right now. There's too much going on in my own life. Like that is an okay thing for you to say, this is not like a best friend of yours who suddenly started going through something really hard. And you're like pulling back. This is someone you don't really have a relationship with. Right. That's fair. But it's hard. And I'm really sorry. And I wish you good luck with it. All right, next one. That was like our last kind of easy is not the right word. But that was the last one it was like, you know, nuance difficulty. Now, it's just like hard and fast intensity. The subject of this next one is my husband revealed. He hates dogs difference. It's been my lifelong dream to own a dog. I've always been open about this. When my husband, and I started dating five years ago. He told me he'd love to own a dog someday. Although it was never the right time. I now have a job that would allow us to afford, doggy daycare. And when I told my husband I wanted to start visiting shelters. He confessed that he hates dogs. He didn't take my dream seriously at first and hoped I'd quote outgrow it he claimed pretending to love dogs and talking about dogs with me has been exhausting says he will never be okay. Getting a dog and his sorry for lying to me. But wants to move on. He also wants me to stop talking to him about dogs. I'm happy when we're out and we see a dog or I like to send him a few cute. Dog pictures each week? I loved my husband very much, but I'm crushed that. I've been unwittingly bothered him and will never get to own a dog. I feel stupid and portrayed. And I worry that soon all be really really angry. They don't expect everyone to like dogs. But I also wanted to marry someone who shared my love for them because dogs are important to me where do we go from here? I just going to say like your lifelong dream is to own a dog that's such a modest dream. I want you to have that like eight I'm so sorry that like your lifelong dream has been something as chief -able as getting a dog, and you've always been really really upfront with this. And for some bizarre reason, your husband has like tricked you for years, and now has just like dropped this really bizarre revelation on you, and it's like, but it's time to move on. No, it's not we just got here. We cannot move on until we address your super weird hurtful lies for a while. Yeah. I feel this is almost in a way less about the dogs and more about the lied. The husband was fine with indulging the fantasy with no mutual interest or inclination and having a dog, and I began to see how he is otherwise of their other signs of him lying or saying something to please her, but not being there all the way, you know. It sounds like this. Writer is really attached to this idea of having a dog. It's lifelong dream. And. It doesn't really seem to matter. It's just so weird to me. Like, this is it's it's it. It will be weird. No matter what it was about. But it's like people disagree about dogs and still get married all the time. It's not like he was lying about wanting kids because he was like, well, I knew otherwise you'd break up with me immediately. Like, I feel like you can have a difficult conversation with your partner about not wanting dogs. Does not it does not follow to me necessarily. Like, oh, I mean, it was wrong. But I get why he lied like this just bananas. So yeah, you know, the whole like it's time to move on. You know, it's time for you to get really mad letter writer, you should be really mad. It's it's important to be mad because this was a bizarre lie. It was ongoing for years. You you still don't really know why he told it to you? He's he's kind of belittling you by suggesting he thought you would outgrow it like as if wanting a dog is something notoriously immature, and like, oh, old wise, people know never get a dog. Like, that's that's just mean. And you know, ask some important questions. This this whole nonsense about moving on, and especially this nonsense about like when a few times a week. You send me a picture of a dog? It really bothers me. Fuck you like. You don't have to like a dog to delight in the fact that your partner enjoys a couple of times a week looking at a picture of an animal that is a very very very like low by in move on your part. All you have to do is text back something like cute or what a sweet face. It's very easy. And it's part of what makes the world go around. I'm not saying like leave this guy because he lied to you about dogs. I'm sure there will be plenty of people who will say that in the comments, and I will not restrain them. But sit with this one awhile, get bad. Let yourself get mad. Let yourself stay mad. Tell him that. It's really important that you to have a lot of conversations about this. And that you're gonna wanna ask questions, and he's going to need to be able to answer you, honestly. And you know, it may be for awhile that you have questions about other things that he's told you and don't buy this like bullshit of well, I just kind of figured you would someday turn thirty five and stopped liking dogs. That's not whatever's going on there. There's more than what he's admitted to you already any needs to get honest with himself, and he needs to get honest with you he needs to acknowledge that he has hurt you unnecessarily. And he also really needs to understand that whatever else happens whether you to do or don't end up getting a dog, and by the way, I don't think you should rule that out like if. You really wanna get a dog? I think you should get a dog, and he can just fucking deal with it. But at the very least if you see a dog when you're on public, and you wanna say, hi, where if you see a picture of an animal, and you'd like to share that with him know, you're not like spamming him twenty four seven like. Yeah. You you've been honest and upfront about yourself. It's not his he has no right to make you responsible for the fact that he's been lying and getting secretly resentful. And he's a lot of explaining to do and. I think you should get the talk. I think you should get the dog and considerate your dog. And you know, do what you can to to minimize the like effects that it would have on him. But it's your lifelong dream and your husband's sucks, and I think you should get a dog. And I think he should either deal with it or. Move on with his life and be honest with yet. A letter writer definitely deserves the dog. And I think that in asking these questions and discussing with the husband the big question is why when face the difficult conversation was the instinct to lie and keep the lie going for so many years. Yeah. No, that's helpful too. Because now that I've calmed down a little bit. I did my yelling. I'm really mad at this guy. I also, you know, I don't want you to try to do anything rash. I don't think people should get dogs out of spite again, I do think you have a right to say like in the next couple of years. I do plan on getting a dog at some point. But don't like go get one tonight and just say like fuck off man that is my angrier impulse that play. But I really don't think that you need to rule out the possibility of getting a dog, you've always been honest upfront about it. This is your dream talks are great, and this is your husband's. Problem, and you can talk to him about it as questions, but it's not the solution isn't just well, I guess I'll never get a dog. And it's my job to get over his lies. I'm mad again. I will buy you a dog. I will bring you right now. Do you ever? Find yourself waiting for your news feed on Facebook or Twitter. Wishing you could just call someone up and ask what do I really need to pay attention to hear? Well, what if you could? I'm Mary Harris. The host of what next slates new daily news podcast and every weekday morning. I'm going to be on call for you taking you inside one story going deep behind the headlines. What next is news? You're not gonna get just scrolling through your phone to listen subscribe now on apple podcasts Spotify or wherever you listen.

writer Daniel Mallory Justin desouza Burgh Wade partner Facebook Kim Mary Harris Twitter Spotify apple nine years fifteen minutes five years one day
Dear Prudence: The "Don't Like Doodads" Edition

Slate's Dear Prudence

45:09 min | 2 years ago

Dear Prudence: The "Don't Like Doodads" Edition

"Before we get started. We have an important favor to ask you. We'd like your help. We've put together a survey. So we can learn more about listeners like you and make your favorite podcasts. Even better. This is your opportunity to tell us what you like. And what you don't like it should take about fifteen minutes to complete. Just visit slate dot com forward slash podcast survey to participate. That's slate dot com forward slash podcast survey. We appreciate your feedback. You're listening to this week's excerpts from the dear prudence podcast to get the full length. Members only version every week join slate plus at slate dot com slash pretty bud. You're you're Putin. Prudence? Here. Do you think that I should contact him again help? Thank thank you. Hello and welcome back to the prudence show once again, and is always AM your host. Dear prudence, also known as Daniel Mallory or Berg with me in the studio. This week is gonna Rodriguez an interdisciplinary artists, cultural organizer and political activists based in Oakland, California, her art, addresses migration, economic inequality, gender, Justice and ecology. She's also the executive director of culture strike a national arts organization that engages artists writers and performers in migrant rights five Anna, welcome to the show. Thank you. Thank you so much for being here. I am so excited. I feel like we have the broadest range of questions today that we have had in a while. Yeah. No. And I love I love talking about boundaries and about how to communicate with your family members. And I definitely love talking about junk. Oh, good. I I haven't had a lot of questions about taking a stance on how much crap you should keep in your house. So I'm excited to kind of tackle that today. Yeah. It's super appropriate because everyone's talking about decline. Entering. Yes. Yes. I'm excited. Well, would you please be so good? As to read our first question. Yes. First question subject. Dad, keeps miss 'gendering my cousin. Dear prudence. My cousin is a trans man who has been out to the family for several years. He presents says Mel and has changed his name to a typically male one though, he also still uses gender neutral nickname that predates his transition while the whole family supports my cousin and most of us uses name and pronouns without difficulty. My dad gets the pronouns wrong about half of the time. I've also noticed that he mainly uses my cousins old nickname, very, occasionally, he'll slip and use his birth name. Then usually notice and correct himself. I have no doubt. This is a genuine mistake. My dad loves and supports his nephew. But he is not very savvy about LGBT issues in general. And I think on some levels struggles to really understand transition. I think he's trying and maybe getting a little bit more consistent over time. But it's been years. Now exclamation point. Is there anything I can do to get him to be more consistent other than correcting him in the moment, which I always do often with some irritation. This letter is really sweet. And I really appreciate that. Somebody's writing in on behalf of their cousin like trying to think about how can I help? I really love this question because sometimes when we have to confront our own family members and change behavior. It's actually the one of the hardest things to do we can so easily tell our friends or we can even tell social media to change something. But when it comes to our parents, it's harder. I would actually suggest to talk about your feelings. And to say what this makes me feel like is I feel that you're not recognizing my cousins gender. But I think intervening on behalf of the cousin. And I think that for the father to remember. It has to take an emotional intervention something where the fathers like oh, wow. I not only do I remember being corrected. But now, I remember that this actually invokes like a little bit of sadness or anger. So I feel like actually expressing feelings would be a great way to intervene. I think that's a really good point. I think talking about how how it feels for you. I think doing it in private is good. So that he doesn't feel kind of call on the spot and to bring it up before it happens again or before you all together. Again, I think one of the things that can be really hard for transpeople, especially with our families is whenever we tell people like this. My name my pronouns a lot of times really well-meaning people will say some variation of now I'm gonna make mistakes. Now, I'm going to get it wrong. And they say it defensively they say it often before they say almost anything else, and they all say it. And again, that's not to say, you're all monsters, and you should never have set it, and you're terrible people. But part of what that means is like, I need you to know it will be your job to stay really calm and reasonable every time. I make a mistake. And if you react in a way that shows that you're hurt when I make that mistake, then I'm going to be hurt. And it's kinda going to be on you for being reasonable and understanding and making sure that I can take kind of however long I want to catch up because as the letter writer says it's been years. So it's not like all this is all brand new. It's not brand new. The problem is I think that the father in question has not spent any time imagining what his nephews experiences like like if you really thought about your nephew. And you thought about what his transition might be like, and you. Thought about you know, what he has done to kind of like. Like a firm his own gender in the world in his social life in his family life. I think you would probably think of him as a guy would probably naturally use those terms. Well, actually, which is said really got me thinking about imagining because I do think that in order for someone to move into their imagination. They have to be taken there in their heart. And so I wonder also what it would be like to just encourage the dad to be more curious like what's the story around the name that the cousin chose? Why did they choose it? And and sort of asking questions so that they can put themselves in that position. And being like, oh, wow. This this name is really interesting because and therefore I'm going to remember it. I think also that what's unique about this is that it's not putting the labor of explaining on the cousin actually the person who wrote this letter is wanting to enter intervene. And I think that's a great. Step because I also think that it's not just on the trans person to consistently have to correct and explain so an announcer that if it's this writers dad, then there's even more actually closeness there. Yes. Yes. So I think you can bring it up and say something like I've noticed that about half the time, you slip up with, you know, Charlie's pronouns I've noticed it. And I it feels a little uncomfortable in a little hurtful have you noticed that your kind of the only one doing this? And again, not in a way, that's like really aggressive or really like you should feel terrible. But just sort of like, I've noticed this have you noticed it too? And then like, we were saying share a little bit about what it feels like and say, you know, I if it would be helpful to kind of like check in a little bit before we're all together as a family, or if it would help a little talk about you know, what does it? What does it look like what would it mean? What can you imagine? It would feel like. To have to transition in order to get people to find your gender that might be helpful especially if you do that before you will get together. So that he's thinking like, oh, right. I'm consciously doing a little work, and at this point also there's stories of transgender people throughout our pop culture. I mean, another thing there could be like a movie night, or there can be even like watching short videos on like now, this, you know, there's all kinds of of places where the father can just be exposed to you know, other stories that will help him being like okay now, I see that this is important. Yes. Yeah. And so offer him that opportunity. Encourage him to do something different. Because it's like it's been a couple of years. I know you have tried. You're putting in the effort. That's great that also has kind of gotten you to where you clearly want to be. Is there something else we can be doing? And I think that that will probably go a long way towards helping your dad think slightly differently about this situation. Do you ever? Find yourself waiting for your news feed on Facebook or Twitter. Wishing you could just call someone up and ask what do I really need to pay attention to here? Well, what if you could? I'm Mary Harris, the host what next slates new news podcast and every weekday morning. I'm going to be on call for you taking you inside one story going deep behind the headlines. What next is news? You're not gonna get the scrolling through your phone to listen subscribe now on apple podcasts Spotify or wherever you listen. All right. So this next one. Feels like very much in the same thing of like, how do we talk to our family members about things we would like to change that don't alienate them completely. But also kinda get us. What we need. Right. Would you read this letter? Yes, I love thinking about consumerism subject how to refuse homemade gifts. Dear prudence, my husband, and I bought a house in the same city as as family, his mother and two sisters are friendly and very pleasant. The problem is that I can't stand clutter and they are enthusiastic crafters for Christmas. They gave me all sorts of homemade knickknacks because our house look so bear some of the gifts are embroidered pitchers with expensive frames. And I was just told where they should be hung some are painted ceramic figures for the mantle they look awful. I feel depressed with all this clutter. And I want to tell. Them that. I love them. But our tastes are different. My husband doesn't like the doodads. But thinks the important thing is to not hurt their feelings. I don't want to. But if I don't stop it. Now every Christmas and birthday will bring more clutter into our house their own houses are crammed full of this stuff. Any suggestions? Again, this is I feel like it's so hard to set boundaries with family members. And I also think that you know, I I mean, you know, I I I'm forty and I when I was growing up, I don't even think I heard the word boundaries. I think the concept of boundaries is actually a fairly recent concepts, which means that most likely the mom in this scenario, maybe doesn't even have any idea about what boundaries are there's this still old. I don't want to say old practice, but there's an outdated practice that says that we have to. Please our family members by appeasing them and by not challenging them and biz just by kind of going with the flow. And I I actually think that it's an important practice in any situation. Whether it's like, hey, put the toilet seat down or can you please wash your dishes, or can you please not use soap on my iron Skillet things like that? I actually think it's important to practice with those kinds of situations in order to be able to just speak for what you need. I mean, you're living space is your sacred space and to be able to say, you know, I'm I'm very particular around. How I decorate my space. I I have a particular way. I go about it. And I I would prefer if you don't make things for me. But I understand maybe we can do something different together. Like, okay, planting a flower in a pot is way different than making a knickknack and. It is hard. Because when somebody makes you something it's already a much more personal gift. So I understand that worry if like they'll feel rejected and it's also hard because the letter writers husband has clearly like spent the last however, many years sort of saying like, oh, I don't like it either. But I'm not gonna say anything. So there's sort of that fear of like because it sounds like the gifts were given directly to the letter writer. And they're also getting instructions around where to put them, which is just a. Yeah. This is a very involved gift. So I deal you could get your husband on board with this. And maybe even have him like communicate to them. Hey, we really liked to decorate our house as like this way. So if you're looking for future presents for us. You know, don't get anything for the house because we're totally done fill. Yeah. I like that actually what what you're proposing. Because the thing is that the husband does have a closer relationship most likely and the husband is the one who actually does not want to have any kind of intervention or say anything. But that's exactly why I think part of maybe what the writer has to do is just say, look, I mean this and really just say why it's meaningful to have the ability to decorate your space, and also frankly, you know, I I have friends who are zero away sack. Vists like it. This is all stuff that you. And it's it's energy put into stuff that in the end my end up in a box is just may as well cut the consumer at the very beginning. And either try to read your redirect their generosity or. Yeah. Just say why is it so hard to say that we don't like it? Yeah. Because the way that it's delivered so passive aggressive. I made this. This is a representation of who. I am. But I'm not going to suggest that I get anything out of it. Because it's a gift. This is actually all for you. When it's like, actually, you're getting something out of this. So I yeah. Ideally, your husband can communicate this if he is unwilling, then I think it's fair to say like if you're not willing to I will. I would I would love it. If I could at least get your support in saying something myself, but I am going to push back because I do not want a house full of clutter. So I think to just say thank you so much. This is so kind and generous we actually love having a house that looks really bear. A muff raid that we can't accept any gifts for decorating our home with and leave like let that be known. So that if they do it again, all you do say now, this is very thoughtful. But as you remember, we're not accepting any gifts for decorating the home. So afraid I'm going to have to donate this knowing that would you prefer to take it back. So that you can figure out somebody else you might enjoy it. You know, what's also interesting about just how we're thinking about this conversation. And it's just a question. But why is it so hard to say, I don't like it. I don't like it. And it's the same thing. I think just in terms of in friendships and romantic relationships, or even you know in in any kind of sense sensual interaction. It's it's harder to say, hey, you know, what like don't just, you know, come and give me a massage. Or no, actually, I don't like that you're doing that. Or I don't like this tone. It's so hard to just say, I don't like it doesn't bring me joy. And that's just I feel like that's a cultural problem in our society. But I actually think it's very disempowering to not be able to say what you don't like. Because then when you do like, something you can be superintendent about it. It would be amazing. If there was just more of a sort of general acceptance that when we got gifts we could say, oh this. Is so thoughtful of you, I don't like it. And then the other person would all thank you for telling me, I'm sorry. I thought that you would. But you know, nobody can predict somebody else perfectly not to mention it would actually reduce our consumer culture. Yeah. I certainly do with less stuff myself. So yeah. Maybe just in general, let's all commit to getting a little closer to at least. When we give gifts saying like if you don't like it, please tell me, and I will never get you anything ever again. That would be ideal. But yeah, I think you just have to go with the straightforward. We're not gonna accept any anymore gifts like this in the future, and whatever there, but it's so beautiful, but your house so bear. But I spent so much time on it. You can just hold firm and say as I told you we're not doing this. So don't even that's their opinion houses so bear, that's such a it's an opinion. Yeah. I love how bear the house. Is it looks fantastic. And it makes me happy. Please enjoy all of your stuff in your home. Yes. But yeah. And then just hold that line and fine. If you get a reputation as like the weird in law who doesn't like presence it's going to be better than having a bunch of like ceramic painted shepherdess is all the house unpleasant unless you love shepherd is's. All right. This next litter? I think it's your turn to read if. Yes, subject poisonous Powell's. Dear prudence. I am queer trans and in college. I am lucky enough to have a supportive family both emotionally and financially. A lot of my friends are not so lucky should he families in student loans tend to be the by word, but it feels like I get handed the Bill more often than not because I can quote, a Ford, and quote, we all agree to order pizza. But I ended up paying for most of it people. Quote, forget their wallets and make jokes about my quote allowance from my parents, I got grief for expecting a friend to pay for couch surfing with me for two months. Even though we had agreed upon at the beginning. And I was spending my own money on their specific grocery needs. We'll got me questioning all this was getting out of a toxic relationship where I spent every second being interrogated for signs of cheating. We broke up. But I wasn't allowed to be upset since my family dynamics were healthy and normal while hers were awful. So she gets to treat me like trash. I was laid to a party. So she demanded a see my phone and go through it. I refused. So she grabbed it out of my hand through it on the ground and stomped on it. This happened in full view of all of our friends and a lot of them. Still treat me like I was in the wrong. I am grateful. My family didn't turn out to be like so many of my friends, but I don't know what to do. This feels wrong to me am I seem things. What should I do? Okay lot. There is a lot here. Yeah. I I mean just. I think just one thing sort of as a as as like, a headline is that when you feel that somebody is not treating you. Right. It's it's it's really, especially if you see it in a in a repeating cycle. Whether it's with the partner, or whether it's your friends, it's really important to stop that cycle and to actually have consequences. If if those things continue, and I think that, you know, going back to what are unac- what what is unacceptable behavior, if there's a pattern where anytime there's pizza ordered the writer is saying that they have to pay for it. Then you just should not order pizza anymore. You know, or you should try to find a way to come with your own lunch. But just to ensure that things are not repeating themselves. So I I do have a little bit. Of concern that these things keep happening. But I I think that the first step is to actually say, hey, I don't like that. And no, I'm not going to pay. Yeah. Yeah. I I would spend a little more time on that. If it weren't for the second half of the letter, which I think does clarify some of this because you know, between you're in a relationship where you were being constantly monitored something that you weren't doing. And that either she said, you weren't allowed to be upset over your break-up or your friends felt that you weren't allowed to be upset of your break-up because your family has abandoned you is really dark. Yeah. And then, especially if you know, your friends Sawyer partner, grab your phone out of your hand and destroy it because you showed up late, and they didn't do anything. They didn't intervene in the moment. They didn't stop her from doing it. They didn't afterwards. Like try to help you get out that to me says these are not friends where you need to worry about establishing boundaries with them. These are bad friends and actually let let's even go to the perception they have of themselves because here they say we have anymore. We have I have a supportive family both emotionally and financially. And yet you find yourself in these situations. So I think actually. To assume that because you have a lot of love at home. And because you have financial support to assume that you are able then you you're then set up to be able to have all the answers. That's not true. And in fact, if it also it it it feels like there's a little bit of like poor judgment in selecting friends. So I would actually delve into that that comes from somewhere, maybe with therapists. Yeah. With therapist delve into that. Because even though you may have come from a great family, mostly and financially the people you're surrounding yourself with are not a reflection of that. And they don't necessarily align with with some of the ways that you may be perceiving yourself. And so I think that it's important to think if I'm finding myself in these situations more than once, and I'm not getting out of the situations as as as fast as I can knowing also that they are able to because they do have a finance. Emotionally, supportive family. So they can definitely talk to their family about it. They don't they're not, you know, there's no financial. There's not like there's things that necessarily may they have access to more more. They have more access to things than than their friends than I would say, then think about why are you? Why do you find yourself in the situation over and over again that that is a part of the area that needs to be looked at right, right? And I think again that's not to say that like you should make yourself responsible for treatment, especially from your ex. But to kind of say, and again, you know, college is often when we for the first time develop relationships with people who aren't in our family that are really like intimate data day, we live near one another semester live near together. So this is when everybody figures things out starts to figure things out. So I don't mean to suggest that you should have been like man, I should have got an perfect right out of the gate. But you know, if your school has on campus counseling sessions, I think spent. Little time with the question is there a part of me that feels guilty for not being rejected by my family, and like I have somehow betrayed other queer and trans people who have had it worse. Am I kind of seeking out a situation where I allow these people to like be really rude to me or take advantage of me or tell me I don't deserve to have any boundaries because my mom and dad didn't from out of the house. Right. The really unhealthy dynamic. That's nice because it completely isn't actually I even think this sense of deserving less better treatment because of some conditions of privileged. I I think is concerning. So as someone who has been in an abusive relationship before I think that toxic relations and abuse happen to everyone. And I also think that often a toxic relationship is a reflection of pattern. It's. Reflection of decisions and to stop into think about not only a my having a toxic romantic relationship, but it also is carrying over into my personal relationships. What can I do differently to attract different kinds of people and to actually surround myself with people who treat me X Y Z? These are the ways I wanna get treated. I think it's important to not just name what you don't want. But to actually in a journal or with a therapist is to really make a list of the things you do want. How do you wanna feel with your friends? How do you wanna feel supported what like really visualize that? So that you also have a sort of meter, and you're able to know when I see this behavior. I know that I'm going down this path. And it's an alarm for me. It's a stop. And that's when I need to change course or do some self reflection. Yeah. So I absolutely. You were seeing things clearly you're not. Making this up. I'm so glad you're out of this relationship. I hope if you're not already completely cutting off contact with his ex that you can start doing that now. And I think you need to do the same to these friends, and that might be feel pretty lonely for a little while. But I think it will give you an opportunity both to reflect in therapy and on your own. What do I wanna be around? What kind of people do I want in my life? How do I want to be treated my friends, and it will also? Yeah, give you some time to look for different kinds of people who do different things, and that doesn't mean you can only be friends with people who also have loving and supportive families. But it does mean that regardless of what somebody's relationship with their family of origin looks like they have ways of meeting their own emotional needs. So that they're not working out their own resentments fears insecurities with their families of origin on you. And and to to remind yourself that while it is true and sad that many queer and trans people do experience rejection will financial unemotional from their families of origin. That's not a condition of being queer and trans right? That's not something that like naturally goes hand in hand with it. So it doesn't mean that you are like entering the queer and trans game already doing it wrong. And that you need to make up for it. Somehow. Yeah. We'll just agreed good to think through and and you just need a lot of time away from these people. These are not the most generous way I can describe some of these friends is that they need a lot of work before they can be good friends. Yes. And then some of them are just clearly letting abuse go by without a blink of an eye, grabbing and destroying your phone is such a such an active like violence making violation. Yeah. It's a violation of like how you communicate with other people in signals like you don't have the right to privacy. You don't have the right to communication next time. Who knows what of your stuff? It's going to be these people act entitled to your boundary. Your stuff your money. They're bad friends. Bad lovers. You deserve so much better. Yes. Haaretz next letter is slightly more hopeful in the sense that like they're still a difficult family dynamic. But at least it's not quite at the level of destroying your stuff and making you feel like it's your fault. And I think it's your turn. So that you read it great subject. Are you there MFA Fisher? It's me Margaret dear prudence when I was down on my luck as a youth. Some neighbors took me in. They gave me a place to stay when I was homeless and fed me when I couldn't afford to feed myself, they made me a part of the family, and I'm very grateful. However, like a family there is some friction particularly between the matriarch and everyone else over the last couple of years, my life has improved enormously, and I even have a little money now not enough to move out. But enough to pay rent buy my own food and have a small social life. The food is especially important to me because the matriarch is the only person in the house who is quote allowed to cook. And she is frankly terrible at it. Everyone else has used to it. But I find it disgusting. And I've started feeding myself, sandwiches, takeout, microwave soups, thereby missing some group meals. I used to always eat her cooking. Because I had no other options. She has started to notice is taking it personally acting passive aggressively. I've never said anything directly to her. And I always have a polite excuse spending the evening with friends, it's cetera. It's making me uncomfortable. And even more avoided. I'm not the only person she has problems with she's cold to her child for wearing the wrong clothing to or spouse for practicing religion incorrectly. I just wanna keep my head down privately. Eat my vegetables and enjoy my close relationship with the other people in the house. How do I balance living my own life with the death of gratitude, I owe this woman for generously feeding me when I was hungry. I mean, I feel like you gotta work on moving out. This is a this is a a a sort of kind of classic situation. When when you're with the family, and the matriarch is the matriarch, and that's her home, and there's rituals and there's customs I think the best thing is to start having an exit plan because it sounds like you wanna have your own rituals, and and your your your customs and to kind of work towards that. And I think that. In the I mean, this is a hard one because cooking is such a nourishing act and people. Yeah, it's bound up with a lot of feelings. Oh, gosh. And it's also an yeah. It's it's how people take care of their families. And I think that part of what I sense here is that this person wants is also craving some freedom. They have social life they like to prepare their own meals. I think it's actually great to prepare your own meals. I mean, it's an active independence. Yeah. I mean, if you lived in my house, all of this would feel real reasonable committee. But sadly, you don't and I, and I think that I also think that you can do something special for the matriarch to actually show her your gratitude, you know, it doesn't have to be by accepting the way that she cooks, it could be something like writing a really nice letter or saying, you know, what? Now, I can afford to get you a beautiful plant or bouquet of flowers. Hours because I just want to say, I am so grateful to you in case, I have not said that I want to say that you can't rely on these gestures of like, it's like, the may can't read your mind. So even if you do show up to or you don't how do you know that that's pleasing her or not? I mean, how do you know, where her passive aggressiveness is coming from? I mean, the other thing is to just to say, hey, you know, I've been. You know, I just I've been changing the way I eat because I'm like just trying to learn how to be independent, and I have some special needs around how I wanna eat. But no, no, you know, no offense. Maybe one day. I can cook for you. You are always cooking. Can I cook for you? Yeah. For answered those like, no way, I'd be insulted. Okay. You've got your answer. But that's certainly like a kind way to kind of try the idea out, right? But yeah, I do think there are some short-term ways to defuse the situation. One is, you know, look for ways if you haven't already to really express how much it's meant to you. Another one is to offer to either help cook or cook for her another is to you know, except the occasional act of passive, aggressiveness. If that means you still get to have a couple of meals out a week. But the biggest one is going to be you know, you're already able to pay rent and buy food and socialize. So that tells me you're not super super far away from being able to move out. I mean, it's not like you have no. Come of any kind. So I think the real thing to start doing his research. Like, what is it gonna cost me to move out? Like, what's the bare minimum of paying for every single moving expense. I can think of and how long is it gonna take me to get there? And then, you know, who are some of the people maybe that I'm socializing with or maybe one or two other people in this house who would be interested in trying to find a place with me, or you know, just finding a room in a house with a bunch of roommates where they're like everybody takes care of their own meals. We don't care what you do for food. Right. That's going to be. I think they have to change their surroundings at yet. It's time. Yeah. So again that may not be feasible in the next two months. But if you can make that happen, it get it get a light at the end of the tunnel that you can focus on. Yeah. It some set a goal for twenty nineteen. Yeah. Because I it sounds like she is the head of this household nobody including her partner is going to challenge her on much of anything you may be able to get her to like settle down a little bit. Once you make it clear how. Much. You're grateful. How much you appreciate her that you're not trying to just like disrespect her in her own home. But ultimately. Yeah, that's her home. Yeah. He's going to run it like she. She's not gonna change. You gotta get out of there. Because it's amazing. They've been able to help you. That's fabulous. It does. Not mean, you have to live there the rest of your life. And it doesn't mean that you're not allowed to eventually get frustrated with some of the ways that they run their home. This was good at an emergency. You're you're in less of an emergency now. Correct. All right last one keeping with the theme the subject is disappointing. My parents dear prudence, I'm a sophomore in college. And I recently told my mom, I've changed my major and that I no longer want to be a doctor. She ranted about how selfish I am for not choosing a career that will allow me to take care of her when she's old and then I'll never find a job according to her. She's always thought of me as a selfish person. But she never told me to be quote nice, which was extremely hurtful to hear. Then she and my dad said they will no longer pay for my tuition and currently looking for a second job to cover my costs for school. And I haven't spoken to my mother since this happened. She keeps calling me. But I'm so angry that I have no idea what to say to her part of me wants to apologize and go back to being premed. Just so all of this will be over. How can I fix this? So that everyone is happy. Wow. This is like exactly my story. Really? Yeah. I I was going to cow. My my parents had me on math and science since I was a child. I would have a math tutor. I'd go to science camp on the summers and Saturdays, and I always wanted to be an artist and when I got to cow after three years here out two years here. I was like I can't do this anymore. I can't live my parents dream. And I think that, you know, especially as a Latina, I think that there are strong cultural messages that say that we have to live out our parents dream, and I would say absolutely not you have your own life. In fact, parents should not bring children into this world in order to make a in order to live out their dreams every human being can. Live their lives, and they get to shape that. And so I think it's actually really important to follow. What you want to do especially in college when you can actually try so many different things out. You can change your major so many different times. It's like the time to really explore what you wanna do in your career. I think it's imperative that you actually do that. And that and I know there's going to be hard. My parents didn't accept until from they just seventeen to twenty eight almost ten years. They didn't accept that. I wanted to be an artist until I started bringing home the money, but I also understand sometimes the this thing that parents have to be taken care of. And that is just such a hard core pressure that I think that needs to just be let go because it doesn't allow you to focus on the president. It's just way too much responsibility. I think you should follow. What you want to do? I think if you don't. Wanna be a doctor? Absolutely don't be a doctor and premed. Oh my God. What a painful career. And also if you need to cover your own tuition, you need to cover your own tuition. That's just what it is. Yeah. There's a couple of things, you know. I totally here at the end of this like part of me just wants to take it back. This is the first time. My mom's bread of the big guns right of like, we're cutting off money, by the way of always thought you were selfish. I just never taught you how to be nice. And what a mistake that was. And also, I want you to imagine me, you know, forty years from now dying alone in an old folks home because of what you're doing today. It's a lot of pressure. That's a lot of manipulation to relation. And when you say part of me wants to just go back to being premed. So all of this will be over it won't be over. Because she's already told you what her expectations are, which is that you become a doctor. So that you can take care of her financially for the rest of her life. If your vision for your life does not include that this will not be over ever right like, and that's not to say, you two are going to have to. Be in constant battle with each other for the rest of your life. But unless your plan is go to med school like become a resident the come doctor payback your medical school loans, and then start sending money to your mother every month. This will not you. You can't put this off indefinitely and. I also think that the sooner you confront your mother, and you say, this is my life. I'm going to do with my life. What I please. And honestly, also forget being nice nice. Doesn't get you anywhere. You know, you gotta be bold. You gotta be you know, really chase. What you want in this life, especially in the age of inequality. Nice doesn't get you anywhere. So I even think this perception of oh, you know, you have to be a nice person to take care of your parent is so it's such a passive sort of identity. And I encourage you to really have a conversation with your mom and to be able to say this is what I want to do. And I cannot juggle a responsibility of taking care of anyone when I am just entering my own sense of freedom. The sooner you can start saying that this will lessen this kind of pressure because. I can tell you from personal experience. And now, I just turned forty. I am only now having a conversation with my mom about boundaries in these sort of unrealistic expectations, and I can tell you two very hard thing to have. But to be able to have it with your mother, which is the ultimate power dynamic in your in your life is going to free you and everything else because if you can tell your mother you'll Bill anyone like, hey, Nope. I'm going to do my of all my dreams, and I'm gonna follow my voice. So I hear from this letter that you don't want to like, tell your mom to jump off a cliff, and I appreciate that. And I'm not gonna encourage you to like say the maximally like confrontational thing to her. But I think that what you need to say to your mom now that she's communicated to you what her expectations are which is switch major back to pre med take care of me until I die. And I think you need to say to your mom. I'm not going to change my major back to pre med. I am majoring in this. I'm happy to talk about your concerns. But ultimately, the decision is mine if that means you decide to pull back financial support that will be difficult for me. But you know, I'm an adult and I'll figure it out. And then also to say my plan for my life does not involve supporting you financially forever. So if that has been your retirement plan, I want you to know now. Oh, yeah. You cannot count on me. Yes. You need to start making different arrangements right now. While you still have lots of time. So that you cannot don't give her a reason to twenty or twenty five years from now say you're just bringing this on me. Now, how could this happen? You can you can again, hopefully, you'll have made some progress in that time, but you can say actually I've been real clear about this one from the beginning you cannot count on me as a retirement plan. That is a really great thing to do. I mean, that's I'm gonna take that advice to. But I think naming it actually, you know, violent named it. When I was eighteen years old. It would have been such a different story. You actually, then just. To reiterate it, but also to give people a heads up that they actually need to do their own financial planning. I mean because obviously this writer has to do their own financial planning now. But to be able to say that I think is not only empowering, but it's also like a gesture of kindness because it's like, you're giving your mother a heads up. Yeah. Absolutely. You do not have to be as you know. I understand that like niceness is not always the highest good. But like just because she was really unkind to you doesn't mean you have to be unkind back you can very cleanly state super reasonable boundaries. So in addition to having that conversation with her, and, you know, give yourself a little time plan. What you wanna say talk through it with some friends, maybe write down on a journal some of the like angrier stuff. You don't want to actually say so that you can have a conversation when you're ready. But tell her those things, and then also, you know, talk to the department of financial services and financial aid on campus. Ask around see if there are any scholarships. You might be eligible for that. You don't yet? Have you know, keep looking for that second job and think about like a number of contingency plans? Like are there nearby community colleges that you can transfer to if you need to in order to save even more money? What are some of your options that aren't just taking out massive loans? And so yeah, think through that really carefully because you may very well have to pay for the rest of college by yourself. But I think just be really prepared to say like mom, I love you. I'm not gonna say the things like I'm not going to return, your you've always been selfish with like, we'll you've always been this. But I'm going to pursue a major that. I think is interesting and will lead me in the direction of a field that I could actually enjoy having a career in. Then you and you hurt my feelings. Yeah. And that's why I yeah. And I I don't think that's selfish of me. If you ever want to have a reasonable conversation about this available. But if you just wanna yell at me, I'm going to hang up the phone and go do styles, and that's going to be hard. You know, your sophomore in college. This is brand new stuff. This is a really big threat. She's hitting you with so get as much help and support as you can in college where you're at. But do not just become a doctor. So that you can send your mom money every month, and then also get yelled at because my guess is she's gonna find reasons to yell at you. No matter how much you do for her. Exactly. Yeah. She does not sound like the kind of mom who's like super appreciative staffer. Well, we did it. Yes. We answered a lot of questions, and I have a lot of thoughts and feelings about family, dynamics and. Like, the most complicated. But they're the most the way they're very important to get right? Yeah. Yeah. If you don't get that one, right? You end up writing me a lot of letters happy. You are. Better than everyone. I want. Everyone listening to the podcast right now to never have to write in a podcast. That's my dream for all of you. Thank you so much for being on the show. Thank you. And I didn't mention this at the top of the show, but I love your glasses so much. Everyone listening could see them. They're fabulous. Thanks for listening to your prudence. Our producers circus our theme music was composed by Robin Hilton and production assistance by Taylor Simmons. Don't miss an episode of the show had to sleep dot com slash dear prudence to subscribe. And remember you can always hear more prudence by joining slate. Plus go to slate dot com slash pretty pod to sign up. If you want me to answer your question. Call me in leave a message at four zero one three seven one dear that's three three to seven. And you might hear your answer on an episode of the show. You don't have to use your real name or location and at your request. We can even alter the sound of your voice, keep it short, thirty seconds a minute tops. Thanks for listening.

writer partner Oakland California Mel executive director Rodriguez Daniel Mallory Anna Facebook Charlie Mary Harris superintendent Berg Powell Bill
Dear Prudence: The "Enough Is Enough" Edition

Slate's Dear Prudence

56:18 min | 2 years ago

Dear Prudence: The "Enough Is Enough" Edition

"You're listening to this week's excerpts from the prudent podcast to get the full length. Members only version every week join slate plus at slate dot com slash pretty pod. You're you're Putin. Here prudent. Dear prudence, you're here. You think that I should contact him? Again, how? Thank thank you. Hello and welcome back to the dear prudence show once again. And as always I am your host. Dear prudence, also known as Daniel Mallory or Berg with me in the studio. This week is my guest Anna sale who hosts a podcast death sex and money from WNYC studios. The show about the things we think about a lot and need to talk about more, Anna, welcome. Thank you. Thank you so much for coming on the show, especially on day, three of my attempts to once again weaned myself from all nicotine products. I've steeled myself for you to be in a really bad mood. I am certainly in several moods. I I have been in more than one mood today. I can tell you that much. But you know, I would love to not die of mouth and lung cancers in the next immediacy and also it's expensive in painful. But oh my God. Oh my God. I think that's all I have to say about that is just one more time. Oh my God. I need it so bad. It makes everything so much better. It's so bad for you. And it's so good. Yeah. Those this very well. I feel like I as a currently pregnant person who's not drinking during my pregnancy. I have been feeling it's like one thing to be pregnant and have all these new hormones, and then when you realize like, oh, I have just lost the one thing that was like the really pleasant thing that took the edge off every so often and glass of wine agenda tonic in the summer. It sucks. I can certainly relate you suck shooting hormone to lose the thing that helps you take the edge off, you know. Yes, I think there's like a degree to which you can sometimes move from really really bad unhealthy coping strategies to slightly less damaging ones. But at least for me. Me. My brain is always looking for like, what's the thing? I can have and hold on ritual, the little raccoon prints. That's just my garbage that I get to have and like turn over and over again in my little scrabbling raccoon hands that's going to help me like numb out and not be a person. And so. Letting go of nicotine and like chewing nicotine gum until my whole face hurts is sort of like, I need to do something that allows me to feel a little bit like half of my brain is turned off and that I can do until I feel sick. And that won't harm anyone. And there's like you hit a point of your fewer and fewer options until you like, well, I can eat bread until I pass out or I can watch Netflix for seven hours until my friends start calling. You know, what I mean, like I'll say to like, I got sober a little over five years ago now, and you know, at least with that you get help like the nicotine stuff. I'm just like a new friends. I didn't like often the one thing when when you're getting sober people are often like, hey, you're you're giving up a lot right now. Don't worry about smoking. And like you can really turn that into an extra five years of just like, hey, I just got sober. When we do that like twenty thirteen I'm like this. Anyways. Congratulations. You're pregnant sake. You I keep picturing a little raccoon holding nicotine gum because that fits so well into record turning it over and over again, the foil flashing every couple of seconds in a like, just like. So with that attitude squarely in place. Let's try to help people with their problems do subject Rosemary's, baby. Dear prudence, my older sister Beth in quotes has a young daughter and also quotes who is sweet, but barely parented. My sister is a single mother and has managed poorly. She does not work and relies completely on my parents for support. She explicitly told me while pregnant that she did so to trap the quote love of her life and get him to leave his wife. He didn't she cut out? Everyone who told her this wouldn't work including me for a while. I never thought I'd meet my niece since birth death has been distant and sometimes even neglectful last year, I stayed with my parents for a week while recovering from an illness. And each day. I saw my niece. She had on the same clothes matted hair. And a dirty diaper when she arrived in the morning when I spoke to my mother, she said this was common. And when pressed Beth responds by yelling and keeping an away. So my parents let it continue to happen for fear of the alternative. And acts out to get Beth's attention. But Beth would rather play on her phone? My parents are heavily involved in ants upbringing, and I fear that what would happen if they weren't still. My mother insists Beth is a good mom because she loves an an obviously loves her mom. I respond with actions Beth takes that are not loving, but neglectful and damaging and also point out that my own former abuser insisted he loved me too. I'm concerned about the coming holidays, my partner, and I do what we can when we're around we read with her placing run around at cetera, but it's exhausting in temporary. And no matter how much attention she gets from others. Of course. And would rather have attention from her mother? My parents have pushed Beth to get help for years, but she refuses and has even mocked me for being in therapy. How do I approach the coming influx of family time, especially without my partner who will spend the holidays with their own family. This time of year, usually ends and fights and tears when I point out what is obviously wrong, and I don't want to repeat that cycle. Again. I think one of. The most difficult kinds of letters. I receive just for me are ones where somebody is parenting in a way that is like abusive or neglectful or both. But to such an extent that it kind of feels like. It doesn't seem like state intervention is justified and they're like already real turned off to hearing any sort of input. So that it's sort of like, what options do you have like, I don't think that this is necessarily a little girl who'd be better off in foster care. But this just sounds bleak. Yeah. Or bleak with moments of like grandmotherly love and affection and like some nice visits from from ants. But it just feels rough to think like, I don't I don't have a great long term solution for this. No. I mean, I the thing that I kept thinking was the the moment about it feels temporary when we're they're giving her temporary Joyce reading with her placing run around and that the fights. Usually the visits usually end invites in tears when the writer points out, what is obviously wrong. And I think that's what makes the we're hearing from the point of view of someone who seems to drop in to this arrangement. Between the other sister. And the parents, and it sounds like there is some history of the writer feeling like the sister doesn't make great choices in her relationships. And in the writer kind of being able to see abusive dynamics, given the writer's own history. But I just kept thinking like, you know, what I don't know if it's the role of the of the sister who's coming home for the holidays to point out all the things that are not working correctly in this child's life. I feel like that's a that's just not something that a conversation that that you can start that's not your role and so. To me. I just kept thinking like what what is this child need to know this child needs to know that the world is a safe place. And there are people who love her, and she feels that from her grandparents, she feels that from her mom in ways that might not be the best or the most consistent, but the writer coming to town could just be like, you know, what my objective is to like have some really create some really special memories with my niece and. You know, you might notice things that make you feel sad that make you feel freaked out for her future that make you feel disappointed in your sister. But I just don't think that it's here role to transform this dynamic. I think I'm probably going to be on that side to like, you know, there's just so many different shades of like if every morning for five days in a row, she wears the same clothes, and like the mad at hair and the diaper is sad. I it is in the there's just such a there's such a difference between like, you know, is it just that her mom is dropping her off in the morning. I it was a little unclear if she like lives in the parents house or just close by at any rate. There's like a lot of back and forth. Right. So it's it's the sort of thing that's like issue going five days without a diaper change in a bath. Or is it just like every morning her mom drops her off after she's already soiled her diaper, and like she's often in the same clothes. The I think the question always asked is like if it's true of health like if she hasn't been bathed days, and she's got sores or or if she's like in in some sort of pain. That's a good moment to intervene into ask questions. And if and if it's more an issue of like, everyone's a little running ragged, a little overwhelmed, and like her diaper does get changed after she gets dropped off than that. I think falls more under the category of like at look for ways that you can help look for ways in which you can help like tidy her up or gently comb her hair or change a diaper, but but that would be the limit. I think in those moments. Yeah, it also made me think it could be useful to have conversations with her parents while while the sisters not fair and just try to understand a little bit more about the dynamic 'cause I it would be I'm just trying trying to picture like what it would be like. See this child who's like a member of your family, and you're worried about her wellbeing, and you're worried that everyone is developed these patterns of being conflict averse, and as a result this kid is suffering. I mean, that's that's a really shitty place to feel like you are when you go home to be with your family. But, but I it sort of like where are the where the levers where conversation in support pushing might lead to something besides defensiveness? And I think maybe it's another conversation with her mother sounds like her father is also around be curious about that. But yet sounds like the conversations have mostly been with the mother and the am. And so, yeah, it would be I would be curious to know. Like, what is your father's read on the situation to what degree is he involved, certainly think a potential conversation that you could have with them that might not immediately likely to tears his like, and you would need to consider this talk about this with your partner? I, but like is there anything that you can do to help you do willing to do? Like, would it be helpful? If you like, you know, set up, a monthly delivery of diapers, or, you know, helped subsidize a little child care or, you know, send over some baby food again, it may not be within your. Budget? You may not be able to. But if there is something that you can either give or just do when you're there just like whether it's shorter long-term just to ask. What can I do to help since you have been trying this pattern for awhile of bringing up something that's wrong? You know, that might at least get you a little bit somewhere. And you know, it's just hard. It's hard when there's like a question of like her mom's on her phone a lot and like could probably benefit from therapy. But like makes fun of the general idea like that's that's really painful, and if there's days when you're just like, I'm gonna go take a walk or like, you wanna volunteer to take and the park. So you can get a little time away from your family and also spent a little time with this little girl that might be helpful. But yeah, I think that's going to be your best bet is just a combination of looking for ways to help trying to ask questions of your parents that are like gentlemen open. I think it will be helpful for you to not bring your own history with the person who abused you into it. I don't know the specifics. Of that situation in. I certainly think you're right to say just because someone says they love you does not mean that everything they do is inherently loving, but. The there's just like a certain degree to which is not going to be helpful to you conversationally saying like my sister is like the person who abused me a just because it does not sound like there are enough parallels in these two situations like it is sad and disorienting and painful that she's on her phone a lot and ignoring her daughter, and it would certainly agree that is neglectful and not kind. But I just don't think it's going to be helpful for you to say, this is just like the person who abused me. I and I wanna be gentle about saying that because they don't wanna make it sound like so therefore you have to walk on eggshells to prioritize your sister's like comfort, or you should just forget about the fact that you have been like harmed by someone who claimed that they loved you simply that I just don't think it's going to actually help anyone. Yeah. I think that like a clear way to run into a total stonewall when you're talking to a parent. It doesn't sound like the writer has children in her life or has has has kids. And I think that like a non parent talking to a parent about parenting strategies critically is going to it's going to result in some pushback. Yeah. But I do think thinking about the kind of the kind of like relationship you have with your knees as she gets older. And like think about oh, what would it be like if like once a week for a week every summer, we say come stay with us, and we're going to expose you to X or like, what's the kind of role. What are the kinds of ways that you can get excited about thinking about being in this child's life for the long term because you are family in Zo think about the ways that you can express love and care consistently? Because that that is that something this kid needs. Own thing all of us need. Yeah. All right. So we're moving onto a much more low stakes problem the summiteers lost in translation, dear prudence have recently joined a club at my university, and sort of got accepted into one of the clicks slash squads slash what have you in our club. And it's been nice. A lot of them are bilingual and will sometimes switch into speaking French in front of me to have a private conversation, certainly not trying to insist on English as I'm bilingual myself. But it's awkward and a bit embarrassing to be thrown out of the conversation. It also doesn't help that. I remember just enough of my high school French to have suspicions that they're talking about me when I tried bringing up how awkward this made me feel the response was well, you could learn French any ideas on how to handle this aside from my current strategy of reinstalling language learning app on my phone out of spite and also walking away every time. They start a conversation in a language. I don't understand what clubs. This sounds like a club of jerks. What ranch speaking journal club is where? Like, many of them, also speak French. I'm I suppose it's a bit of a distraction, but I'm super yacht club. Like, I'm thinking it's somewhere in Canada club. Okay. Yeah. That helped it helped it makes it yet yet. That's certainly certainly possible. Yeah. You know, a yacht club two people speak French yacht. Kite. No, I was thinking what are things that is so seats with being like ritzy and kind of a snob, and like that's probably an unfair, you know, national assumption. But I do think of like people who second language is French are often fancy not always often. Sometimes I'm basing all of this like basically off like my perception of subplots on Frazier. This seems like something that would happen on Frazier. Like Niles would be like, oh, they've accepted me. Then he'd be like, oh, they're speaking of in French. Yeah. I mean, they sound like they're being Dick's. Yeah. Given that you remember enough of your high school, French that you do have a general sense that they're talking about you and given that they seem to switch immediately into French in front of you. And you have a kind of a clear sense that they're doing it to make you feel at the very least off kilter. You're probably right. Yeah. If there are other clicks slash squads slash what have you in this club. I think you should spend time with those people and less time trying to learn French. So that you can understand the mean things these people are saying about it because I don't mean to make light of this. But it's just like, yeah, they sound like assholes, I think you are correctly reading the situation. And so I think generally the tactic to take here is just like I am not going to stand around and like vaguely over here. Insults about me on French ought to go talk to somebody who wants to speak a language, I know in a friendly fashion. Yeah. I mean, the one thing that I wondered is it the writer says when I tried to bring it up, which makes me wonder how direct was the conversation at bringing it up. And also to me if if it is in Montreal, and they say, well, you could learn French, and this is an American writer like in an in a location where knowing French is more of a sort of a broad culturally. Things shouldn't it feels less jerky? Yeah. If you're not in Canada, however, Reitman new friends, right? Yeah. I mean, certainly like, you know, it's great to learn other languages, and if there were some of them who you genuinely do wanna get to know better. You could certainly continue using the language learning Eappen and like asked to practice your French with them. But if like that overture is met with like more brush or more like, you know, jerky little asides like pointing back at you. I I would say don't don't waste your time on them because it does definitely sound like the be fellow members of your club are not going out of their way to make you feel included in like you are a member of this club in unless the club is like learning the speak for right, which is not. But that is helpful to think about like if it is Montreal or if it is a situation where like, it would be genuine generally considered like kind of rude for somebody not to learn French that different rules would apply, but. If this is somebody in the United States, and they're just doing this because they're like we went to private school. And we're jerks talk to somebody else yacht off into the sunset yacht off guys. A good one. That's going to be my new kiss off line to like the super wealthy. All right back into bad, family dynamics. All right are respite was brief subject invalidated in my relationship. Dear prudence, I've been with my partner for ten years we've had ups and downs. But I realized that I am not happy as I've tried to explore this unhappiness and figure out why feel this way I've come to the conclusion that my spouse doesn't always treat me. Well, I have no doubt that he cares for me. It's largely due. I think to his lack of self confidence. And while not an excuse. It does make sense to me we have different love languages and ways of dealing with things which starts off on a difficult foot on a normal day. We recently went on a vacation with another couple might partner quickly became drunk and grabbed my breasts in front of others, even though I've expressed severe discomfort about this the one other time he's done it. He was annoyed when I tried it him later. He got upset and told me that I had no idea where room was that. I must be wrong about how to get there. Despite not having been there themselves and became angry. When I told him as much he brought it up later saying I was snarky about it. Trying to make me feel bad for correcting him these behaviors exist when he is not intoxicated to a lesser degree. I feel like I cannot bring issues to his attention. Without hearing about something I've done or the way I've handled I handled my issue with him in the first place. I struggle with communicating my feelings already, and I generally need time to process my feelings before speaking out now, I don't feel like I wanna bring up anything at all which leaves me feeling empty in unloved. I feel like I'm stuck and fantasy is about living on my own and leaving. But on the flip side. I wonder if I'm overreacting and need to be better about communicating things as they come up I want to change, but worry, I'll be gas lit. And that my feelings will be invalidated. How can I start this conversation with my spouse one great way to start this conversation would be for your divorce lawyer to send him a letter? Maybe it's just that. This is the time in the afternoon. I usually take a break and have some nicotine gum. And so I'm just like not having it. But yeah, I feel like this letter writer knows what what outcome. It's time for I I realized I'm not happy. The letter writer writes, the letter writer writes, I want a change I fantasize about living on my own. But it ends. I worry I'll be gaslight and the my feelings will be invalidated. I think that you will be gaslight and your feelings will be invalidated because what your partner does. Yeah. It's about getting to the point where you say you can say comfortably. I'm not happy in this marriage. I want to leave this marriage. I'm taking these steps. And for sure, you know, if there's part of you that wants to explore with him what it would be like to really dig in about how you communicate. And when things go off the rails. And what you really meaning when you say, we have different love languages. And and but what I what I. Read they're having done this myself. I his lack of self confidence. Like all these things you are trying to excuse his behavior. That's made you feel. Worthless. Yeah. As given that the letter writer also says, you know, I often need time to process, my feelings, I struggle with communicate my feelings. It sounds like you also in some ways lack self confidence. And yet you do not respond to that by getting drunk and groping or assaulting your partner. And I understand that it may be hard to think of your partner is somebody who can assault you. But you've actually made it really clear that you don't like it when your partner grabs your breasts in front of other people, and he did it anyways. Like if that's not a salt. I kind of don't know. What is? Yeah. This is the guy who assaults you. And humiliates you. Yeah. And was annoyed when you chided him after having told him before I really don't like it. When you do this like, this is not you wanna know. Like, how do I start this conversation because there's this implicit belief of what we have different love languages, and he doesn't have a lot of self confidence and sometimes used to drunk to really understand what we're doing. But I'm sure if I could just frame this in the right way. He wouldn't do these things if you really knew how badly at hurt you. But I think the hurting you is the point. I think he wants you to feel humiliated off balance. I think he wants you to feel like he gets to decide when he wants to access your body and not the other way around. I think that is the point of why he acts the way that he does. And so part of the fear is how do I explain this in the right way? Is if I explain it, and he keeps doing it. It must mean that I explained it wrong because I know he's a good person who loves me and wants could things for me. I actually would go back in question. Whether or not he's a good person in wants good things for you. I don't think this is a case of two otherwise loving saying healthy people with different love, languages, frankly. I think the love languages conversation has a lot to answer for coast. It extends a lot of terrible plan, and that's not necessarily to say that whoever wrote that book is like responsible for ways in which people misuse it. But like, this is not an issue of like, oh, you know, my partner really loves to buy me presence, and I would much rather hear I love you all day or something. This is a question of I would like, my desires and bodily autonomy to be respected and my partner won't do that. So the problem is not that you've done a bad job explaining it. The problem is not that your husband is too unselfish confident to get it. The problem is not that your husband is being spoken to in the wrong love language, which again like that's not a it's not a science. That's not like a thing. Like. That's not to say the different people can't enjoy different things. But it does not mean that somebody is incapable of listening or of modifying their behavior. It doesn't mean this person is now tracked into whatever love language they've been assigned and are physically incapable of doing anything else. The fact is your husband enjoys humiliating and belittling you, and I don't think that he's gonna change just because you say in a different way. This hurts me, I think he knows that hurts you, and I think that he likes it. And I'm so sorry. That's just gotta feel painful and terrifying. Especially like given that you're in these early stages of like, I think I don't like the way I'm being treated, I think it might be time to leave. I'm afraid if I bring it up at this is gonna happen. Like, you're just cracking the door open. I think on how much he's hurting you and on how much you want to go, and you feel like, but if if I haven't really acknowledged this fully to myself before. Wouldn't it seem, you know, a sudden or precipitous to just leave now shouldn't i-it's him into it shouldn't I like stay and explain explain explain until I feel like I'm at my absolute wit's end. And I just want you to know you don't have to do that. What you've described here is. So not. Okay. It's so not. Okay. And it sounds like it only gets a little bit better when he's not drunk, which is just again, you're not describing a mostly good relationship with a couple of problems that could maybe be resolved. You're describing you know, somebody who. Is like repeatedly getting wasted and enjoys humiliating you in front of other people and who every time you try to say, I don't like this. This hurts me. Can we talk about this throws it back in your face with will you do this wrong? You didn't bring it up the right way with me. So I don't have to listen to you. If only you were different sort of person, I wouldn't have to tree this way. And that's you know, he can't argue with abuse. Like, he's determined to abuse you, and I think the right thing for you to do is to leave you deserve that. I think you start having be being a divorced person myself. I think that there's nothing that helps me more to conceptualize what life could look like at the end of a marriage than my first conversation with a divorce attorney, which was free. It was a free consultation. And I would just recommend making a call and see me if he couldn't do that. Because it helps to just understand the process and. You can notice how you feel while you talk about what it would be like to divorce this person. You can prepare yourself financially you can talk through win. And how you want to say I've made this decision. But it certainly sounds like you are you don't have to get to a place where he agrees that your marriage is over because it doesn't sound like he is in the habit of hearing what you need. And so figuring out what you need and yourself to feel confident in your decision to step forward in this next passage in your life. Like, I would focus on those steps. Like who are the people? You wanna make sure you have supporting you, what are the technical things. You're wondering about legally like what are you need and get all that lined up because it sounds like you, do you? You have tentatively maybe out loud. It's a whisper. But it sounds like you are ready to leave this marriage. Yeah. And you just say that you fantasize about living on your own and leaving and the. On the other side of that. You wonder if you're overreacting you're not overreacting you have a partner who makes you feel bad. Every time you say, I don't like being treated this way. And you worry that you aren't good enough about communicating things as they come up. Like you owe your husband like a reminder that abuse assault or not, okay? Like a certain number of times before you get to leave. I'll just say like getting to leave your partner is not like a part of monopoly that you have to like buy enough property on place. I and we're gonna get to. That's a good point. Do you think sometimes it feels like especially hot for this marriage? You feel like you have to prove to yourself that you are. You are honorable divorce say, right. You some output in enough suffering? But yes, I think it can be hard to to sometimes come to the realization that like if something is just like clearly on its face assaulter abuse. If I didn't say the time that this is an okay, then, of course, the other person couldn't have known that. It wasn't. Okay. And that's just not true. Like, it's everybody's response. Ability to not commit abuse salts and even if you know, he her assaulted you at some point, and you did not say until later or at all that wasn't. Okay. I didn't like it. It still wasn't okay. And you still get to not like it. And you get to say it has destroyed the love and trust that I had in this relationship. And I'm leaving, you know, people don't get like a a certain number of like, you get to fix this abuse card like whether or not he could potentially become a different kind of person and make serious amends lead, a different kind of life someday that remains to be seen like I do alternately have hope for that for him. And for lots of other people who have committed a Sultan abuse. But the question of whether or not he gets to do that work in this marriage with you the person he has been abusing until up until today. That's just a very clear now, whatever work is going to be in his future. He's going to need to figure that out and it's not your job the teach him. So you get to leave leave as soon as you want as soon as you're able as soon as you feel safe. I think. Should make that call and good luck. All right. So this this next one is different little shoulder. Shimmy is yeah. Yeah. No. I'm right there. It's about whether or not somebody is being prudish, which I always, you know, it's always great to get the name check in the column. I think it's my turn, right? Yeah. Yeah. Subject is sex obsessed sister, dear prudence, my older sister was a late bloomer, however in her mid thirties. She now has a very active and kinky sex life. I know this because it's kind of all she talks about she leaves sex toys lying around the house. She goes topless whenever possible. Stocks better kinks habits and proclivities. No matter who is around and posts about them on Facebook, daily were family and coworkers can see she's always giving sex related gifts. Like explicit erotica and art to people have expressed no desire for them. I am not approved. But this has to be crossing the boundaries of acceptable behavior. Right. How can I convince? Her that she should ask before Baring her breasts to people or discussing her latest orgy instead of putting the onus on them to state their discomfort without making her feel shamed. For her sexuality. Oh letter writer sisters. Oh, I don't know if the letter writer is, but it yes. I right. Whether or not they are a sister or a sister, rather non-binding sibling. Yes. We don't know. But the sister in question is being a real sister. So I feel I mean, I definitely have friends the way more on the side of like, let me tell you about my latest orgy side of things. And I also have friends who are more on the side of like, you don't need to know if I've ever had sex. Life is as we enjoy saying sometimes a rich tapestry. And I think there's a couple of things that you do have a stake in saying to her, and there's a couple of things that I think are going to be helpful to just let go so like whether or not your sister enjoys posting about her sex life on Facebook. If that makes you uncomfortable. Go ahead and mute her go ahead and unfriendly her if you want you can say something against you. I love you. I just don't know what wanna know anything about your sex life. And so that's the choice. I made for myself like rather than telling her what she should or shouldn't do on her social media page. Just go ahead and set its lead off to see it ever. You know, I the thing that I thought was really intriguing is my older sister was a late bloomer. However now in her mid thirty she's very active in kinky sex life, like to me, I think that there could be there's two things that need to happen here. The letter writer needs to express to the sister. These are things that make me. Me uncomfortable. Figuring out how to use I state. Oh, yeah. With our siblings. That is always helpful. But I also wonder like what it would be like if you said to your sister. Can you tell me a little bit about what's going on for you? Like, I wanna understand like, we know. What's what's what's it been like, you know, you'd seem like when you're twenty s you had this certain life, or you know, you're like just tell me about it. Because I think that maybe understanding a little bit about what it has been like for your sister to discover her sensuality in her body and kind of be willing to flout no conventions about what's appropriate on Facebook. Or not like, I just think could could help you with some of your judgment to understand some of that back story. That's not to say that you need to accept it. But I just think a conversation about like tell me a little bit more like it could could have could just bring you closer. I would also like to give the letter permissions and not do that. Just you know, as somebody I love, both my siblings, very very dearly and certainly want them to flourish in all the areas of their life. Including to whatever extent flourishing would look like active. I, you know, I'm just gonna go ahead and say like I love both of my siblings. I want them to be well and happy. I would not wanna even if one of them did feel like they were going through a real beautiful sexual awakening. I would not wanna know any details. I would say that's fantastic. Never tell me about. You know, what I like we are siblings. I don't I just don't want to share that part of their lives. Although I wish them joy from afar. And I think too especially like if it's a sibling who already has a problem with over sharing saying I'd love to know more. I just worry that the sisters say like great. Here's some pictures from my last orgy, like certainly if you were to try to have that conversation. I think it would be important to stress like, I don't wanna know the details. But I wanna know like what feels so important to you about sharing this all the time and again feel very free. If the idea of having such a conversation makes you want to run in Hyde forever as it would be to not have it. But yes, I love the idea of the ice statements like don't worry about. 'cause because there is right. Like a lot wrapped up in this. Right. Like, there's the degree to which like people who get a lot of joy out of a certain sexual weakening consumes go way too far on the other side of like because this brought me joy. It will bring everyone else joy. And we should all have the same like uninhibited relationship to our bodies as I do. And it's just going to be good for the world. If I'm like, pushing this boundary everywhere, I go that could be a lot of energy. Not everyone who doesn't wanna take off their shirt everywhere is deeply repressed poll. Quote, you know, like, I willing to I'm willing to be the prude in this episode and say like, I think in general shirted nece is like often a good thing in society. I'm glad we were a close. That's you know. Yeah, I'm willing to go out on that limb. I don't know why like I looked to my producer for like support in that moment. Like, I'm not. That's not weird, right? Taking a stand for shirted nece. Yeah. So whether or not like pushes, the boundaries of acceptable behaviour kind of depends. If you're taking off your shirt at work that may be pushing some boundaries. I if you're doing it among people who often do or like in a group that's trying to like, you know, push for like similar standards between like men and women when it comes to shirtless nece, it may not be so boundary pushing but to just really stick with like, I don't wanna get presence about sex. That's not the kind of relationship. I want to have with you. I also hope that like as excited as you are about all these things that you check in with other people to make sure that they are comfortable with the same thing. 'cause sometimes it can be difficult to remember this link that brings us a lot of joy is maybe a little more personal or difficult for somebody else to talk about. And I hope that you will bear that in mind. But yeah, I think that's gonna be the tone. You'll wanna strike, and if you don't want to hear about her kings my God that is fine. Good lord. Yes. Yeah. I love you very much. I wanna talk about almost any aspect of our lives. I just don't want to hear about your kings as your sibling. That's just a sibling thing. I wish you total joy and freedom. I hope you have a million friends to talk to about this. But never me. Yeah. I mean, I do think it's totally fine. To like love your sibling and say, this is a part of your life. Social media is not a place where I'm gonna feel connected to you. If you're part of a community where like you're sharing about things that are. Kinky in ways that I don't have in my e-e-e-e-no typically, you don't have in your in your Facebook feed or near your social feeds. So it's totally fine to say. I'm using that part and we're going to connect on other things. Yeah. And when it comes to stuff like, you know, letting her know like, hey, I if you're going to have sex ways laying around the house, we please let me know. So I can make my own decisions about whether or not I'm gonna come by a again, I think that strikes a balance between like you're not saying like, you're terrible, and you should feel bad about your body. But you're also saying like I have a comfort level that I would like to be respected as well. And like your freedom kind of ends when it bumps up against me learning things I did not seek to know about my own siblings sexual life. You know, I'm just so I just want to know the sisters backstory, I want to know what happened. I, you know, I think that kind of classic just like, oh, I enjoy this thing. Now, the entire world should also become my level of comfort about this. And. You know, it's it's just. Listening to other people and respecting their comfort level, especially when it comes to talking about sex, exciting, just really important. And it's also one of those things I don't wanna do this too often. But like, I also think that there's probably a lot of like if this were a brother suddenly doing this people would be responding in a really different way. And I think it can be kind of important in this moment to ask like, hey, this is still about sex and consent. Just because she's a woman does not mean, we should overlook moments when she is kind of steamrolling, and again, I don't wanna say like she is like doing harm to people. But I just think it's really important to say like if you, you know, talk very detailed about your sex life around people who are family members who have not said like I feel comfortable doing this. Like, you need to listen pay attention and don't give people explicit erotica. Unless you're pretty sure they want it. I have one time in my life had to say L A V very much to someone not assembling. But please do not give me erotica for president. And I sure didn't like it. But you stated your boundary. He did. I did I didn't think I would have to. I thought it was a thought it was sort of a given that like given that I had never given this person erotica sort of a soon we were on the same page, but guess was good to get clarity there. Good luck letter writer, and you know, I hope your sister is able to find a way to celebrate and be really happy about her own body in her own sexuality in a way that can also take the temperature of the room. And generally speaking, it does seem like if male shirtless is fight on certain places than females shirtless. Should also be fine that actually can defend your your shirted nece position. Yeah. You can let it that's. We're I think there should be like more consistent rules about where isn't isn't acceptable. Like, I'm fine that male shirtless is okay on the beach, but not say like at a Ted talk, unless you're Ted talk is look at my male chest. My Ted talk twenty twenty four th coming. But it's fine that shirtless in general is restricted to certain times in places. I believe there's already been shirtless man on the Ted talk stage. I am also. Sure. All right. We gotta move on. We've been on this one for too long. I think it's your turn to read a locate subject I've been chewing this over dear prudence, I work in an open office where we all tend to eat lunch at our desks and kind of shout out questions when we need to the person who sits closest to me is a Grazer snacks throughout the day on crunchy foods, like apples, carrots, nuts, granola bars. Pretty I can't stand the noise. I'm uncomfortable addressing it with them because we're peers because eating in our desks is something we all do. And I don't want this person to feel singled out like they have to change their habits. Most of all I think there may be some disordered eating issues at play. And I don't wanna make themselves conscious of do anything that might trigger them. I don't like working with headphones because it means people can't get my. Mention when they'd have a question, but I've started putting my headphones on when this person starts snacking. This is starting to feel conspicuous and also doesn't always completely drown out. The noise any suggestions. Or do. I have to suck it up and good over my probably too strong aversion to hearing other people's mountain noises. Somehow if this question, I couldn't imagine a way that like having a sincere earnest conversation about chewing sounds was going to end up in the best. I don't know. Somehow, I feel like this. This is more of a work around than a direct confrontation situation. I think especially because everyone eats at their desk already. It is a little tricky to say the way you eat in particular. Yeah. I also wonder like to what degree your assumption that this particular coworker may have some sort of eating disorder is playing into your discomfort around the sounds that they make when they're eating. I think that's worth kind of asking yourself some uncomfortable questions about like, you know, did the discomfort come first or did the belief that this co worker has an eating disorder come first. And you know, is it possible that I am more aware of the sounds. They make while eating because I've kind of made it my business to determine whether or not they've got an eating disorder. Yeah. I don't know. I don't know. But that that it feels like you mentioned that for a reason and not just to say, oh, I shouldn't bring it up because I think they might have been disorder. I think that's on your mind at least in part because that's part of what's producing the discomfort. And I think I mean, I do think that there are certainly like people have different comfort levels with like mouth sounds and chewing sounds, and certainly like it could be one of your things. Like hearing crunchy sounds you find like distracting and disgusting. I I think the headphones solution for now is is the way to go. And I think when you say I feel like it's starting to feel conspicuous. I don't know what kind of field you work in whether they're headphones around their headphones around all the time in in my work environments 'cause I work in radio. So I'm like, it's not conspicuous at all. But I think just figuring out like when you're like, oh, I can't stand. This. Sound right now. Like, that's when you take your walk to the to fill up your tea, or that's when you take a break with your headphones, or that's when you do something like figure out ways to to try to redirect your focus on your workers chewing. Certainly the real problem here is the God damn open plan. Exactly like fucking deaths to the open plan office committee oldest degree. It's not a good idea. And so eating desks. Right. Like, that's also a problem. The problem is institutional which is that your company is just like, hey you all enjoy being in a bullpen. Right. And like shouting at each other when I'm not taking Drake's. Yeah. And like eating through lunch while working like some of it is just the your company has engineered a situation where you are all going to be like uncomfortable and impinged upon and that is something that your company should address. So I'm sorry about that. But yeah, I think generally speaking if you feel like there's not really a way to bring it up without a either kind of invoke. The possibility of disordered eating or without making them feel really singled out over something that you all already do then you should probably listen to that. And yeah, I can said either put on the headphones or take a stroll when the chewing starts up even if it is an imperfect solution. I don't think there is going to be a perfect solution short of officers with tors changing your career if. You know, if either like you put on your headphones, and it gets conspicuous that this co worker asks you about it. You can certainly say, you know, I didn't wanna mention it. 'cause I know we all eat at our desks, but sometimes with crunchier foods, I it's a little distracting. So I thought I put on some headphones you can say that. Or if there is a I say, if there is another place to eat, you could potentially say, hey, I realize this may not always be possible. And I know we all eat at our desks. But sometimes when you're crunching on sling or when you're standing on selene, really, crunchy. It's a little distracting would it ever be possible to take that in the break room? When you can't if there's nowhere else to eat, a again, you know, you can certainly say like sometimes it's distracting, but like short of the problem is the company once again, the problems the company, and there's only so much that either of you can do in this situation. You just reminded me of I remember a moment when I was working in a newsroom where I. The person who sat across the cubicle from me stood up. God bless her and said, can you please stop smacking your gum? Like, it's an I I was it's something that I do so thoughtlessly when I'm chewing gum is like blowing bubbles into making a lot of sound. And and I was like, oh, so there there can be away to be like, I think, you know, if there's like some mindless eating like just sort of like bringing bringing intention -ality into how you're eating and the sounds that you're making I think there's a way to do it does dander. Yup. And saying my God, you shoe lick a barn animal. It made the point. I was like, oh, I am making a lot of sound. And I'm not aware at all that there are people surrounding me. But I haven't thought about that. I sounded like a barn animal. God I had nicotine gum. Right. You know, sixteen year old me's fault for asking Bill to teach me how to smoke in a driveway at a party. I'm shaking my fist in my past self. Oh, well, what are you gonna do? All right. This last one. Ooh. That's a real is going to be a real opportunity for someone to reinvestigate some of their own assumptions, the subject line is racial preference with children to your prudence. I like kids and enjoy babysitting occasionally for extra cash because I find them cuter and less difficult than many white children raised by white parents. I greatly prefer Asian children. I am a white woman. Would it be inappropriate for me to market my service in typically Asian places in my community? Would that be extremely tacky and unwelcome or is it worth trying? I don't want to be looked down on as one of those white people who try who sort of try on elements of a culture for fun or novelty. I gotta tell you let a writer. If your goal is not to be one of those white people who sort of try on elements of culture for fun or novelty that I would really encourage you to reexamine your belief that Asian children are cuter and more docile as a group. Maybe just re read that sentence to yourself a couple of times say it out loud. Imagine saying it in front of people and think about how you would feel think about how they might feel if it doesn't feel like the kind of sentence you'd feel like pretty proud of you know, like putting your full name to. It might be worth reinvestigating. Why you have some of those assumptions, and what other groups of children, you might be making a, you know, a compensatory assumptions about in addition to whiten Asian children. Yeah. I I don't recommend that you like seek out Asian neighborhoods to blanket with your babysitting. Flyers you are certainly free to do. So if you want to disregard my advice, my guess is, you know, nobody's going to start tearing your flyers down. You may get some people who call you. You may get ignored. You may have some people think it's a little weird. Some people may not notice it. I I can't promise you what the outcome would be. But I think generally speaking if you make decisions organize your life around the belief that as a group Asian children are cuter and easier to direct than white children. You're going to harm people in your life. You are going to, you know, be proposal force behind institutional racism rather than attempting to do anything about it. And that will not be good for you. You in that will not be good for the world. I also think that like baby sitting I mean, I have a parent. I am I am a parent. I also have a parent, but I am a parent. And I think a lot about like race and childcare and like, wow. Is it a like fraught and not talked enough talked about enough thing. And I just think if you're babysitting, I don't know like think of it like. It's kind of boring to be to to say that he will only when they be said Asian kids because they're less difficult. Like, they part of the joy, if you could like read frame like part of the joy of being a stand in caregiver for families in hanging out with kids is getting to like your own kids and learn about kids, and and I just think it's a limiting thing to decide that you only wanna be around Asian kids who in your experience give you an easier time like. I don't know. And I think especially that particular attitude is one that has done a lot of damage in in various communities. And so I think, you know, another good thing for you to do letter writers like do a little more learning about the model minority myth and the ways in which attitudes just like yours have contributed to very real impediments to various like communities in this country. I I think that that would be worth learning a little bit more about like asking yourself. Why do I have this assumption about these children where does that come from? That doesn't come from vacuum. That doesn't come out of nowhere. Other people other people with a lot of power have shared this belief, and that's resulted in a a lot of pain and a lot of challenges for other people. So I think this is definitely worth taking a look at. This is kind of I don't normally like plug books on the show, but my friend, Nicole Chung recently wrote a book called all you can never know which was exactly about her experience. As a transracial adoptee being adopted by white parents. And oftentimes the ways in which she felt like her own parents were totally unprepared to talk with her honestly about race because of a number of assumptions that people had about her and other kids like her. That's certainly a book that might be worth checking out. There's a lot of others that had been written about the model minority myth again. I think that's going to be really good for right now. You know, if you need to babysit for extra cash babysit for extra cash, do not go out of your way to like harangue Asian people in your community because you would like to babysit their children the most. Yes, it was some of this reinvestigate some of this. I also think the last sentence in your letter is interesting. I don't wanna be looked down on as one of those white people. It's not like you're not saying, I don't want to be you're saying, I don't want to be perceived as being a white person who's doing this thing that we know is problematic. So I would think like what am I doing that could be potentially problematic and think less about how you are perceived in in how you're orienting yourself towards other white people in other people of color and think more about what your actual relationships are with these people. Yeah. So good luck with that one. That will probably be the work of a lifetime. I encourage you not to harm children with the beliefs that you carry around with you. I worry especially about where you to babysit for like in Asian American child who was difficult ways in which you would try to wheel their own ethnicity at them in order to get them to comply. And I really hope you don't do that. I really want you to not cause her in that particular fashion. And thank you so much. Thank you. Thanks for having me. Good questions. Thank you so much for coming. So prepared and for. Reminding me about gum. Oh, no in life is a whole deal. Don't let your kids smoke won't be able to control that. No. I know I do wonder about pot here in the great state of California. What will be my pot parenting strategy? Oh, man. I got nothing. I have no kids. I got nothing for you. But I hope that your child has wonderful healthy lungs and makes choices ended has air debris, right leg at a certain point. That's true. I'm. The most important thing is like will there be air? We don't know. Maybe I should start smoking again. No, that's not the right response to. Catastrophic climate changes to just assume that I should start smoking cigarettes, again, thank you for coming on the show. I need a Cup of tea. Thanks for listening to dear prudence, our producers, Phil circus. Our theme music was composed by Robin Hilton. Don't miss an episode of the show had to slate dot com slash dear prudence to subscribe. And remember, you can always you're more prudence by joining sleep. Plus go to slate dot com slash pretty pod to sign up. If you want me to answer your question. Call me and leave a message at four zero one three seven one dear that's three three to seven. And you might hear your answer on an episode of the show. You don't have to use your real name or Lou patient and at your request. You can even alter the sound of your voice, keep it short, thirty seconds minute tops. Thanks for listening.

writer partner nicotine Beth Facebook French Netflix assault Anna Rosemary WNYC studios United States Daniel Mallory Canada Canada club Frazier Joyce Montreal
I Framed My Sister

Slate's Dear Prudence

1:07:45 hr | 2 years ago

I Framed My Sister

"You're listening to this week's excerpts from the deer prudent podcast to get the full length members only version every week. Join sleep plus at slate dot com slash pretty pod. You're, you're Putin. Prudence. Here. Do you think that I should contact him again? Help. Thank, thank you. Hello. And welcome back to the dear prudence show once again. And as always I am your host Daniel Mallory or Berg with me in the studio, this week is Tanya. Moseley the host of NPR San Francisco station. K Q, E, new podcast. Truth be told and advice show by and for people of color, Tanya also serves as we Silicon Valley bureau chief. Tonya, welcome to the show. Thank you for having me, Daniel. I'm so excited. It's been awhile since I had somebody on the show, who is also an advice columnists, and I feel very like. Just supercharged. I'll this is gonna be awesome. That's going to be so much fun. I am. So looking forward to it especially because we got a couple that feel like they could have been subplots on Riverdale this. I know. I was like, whoa, there's some heavy stuff this week. Yeah, yeah. This first one, especially is. Very, you know, cinematic which is exciting for us hard for the letter writer. But again, exciting for us. Yeah. Yeah. I can't wait to hear you break it down. Then I guess I will be the one to read it. The subject of the first letter is sibling regret. Dear prudence my stepsister. Jane came to live with us when she was fifteen after her mom, very sick. We were the same age and forced to share a room. Jane acted out, and I was her personal punching bag. She would destroy my belongings spread rumors about me, stole my homework, she constantly got in trouble at school and was caught shoplifting twice. She also fought with my parents a lot one day. I overheard. My stepdad saying that if Jane got in trouble one more time. He would be sending her out of state to a quote special school. His family was coming to. Visit so hatched a plan to get rid of Jane, I waited until all the adults were downstairs. And I went through their purses coats and bags. I stole money, and jewelry and planted it in Jane's backpack. When the thefts were discovered Jane was blamed, she insisted that she didn't do it, and that it had to be either my younger brothers or me. I had never been in trouble before and no one suspected the truth. My stepdad sent Jane away the school didn't work and Jane disappeared into drugs. She missed her own mother's funeral last year. I was happy about it at first, but now as an adult I realized that Jane was just a kid lashing out. I can't remember her ever doing drugs when she lived at this I feel guilty. And I wonder if my act is part of what pushed Jane down a darker road. I am terrified of telling my parents and having them, hate me. I know that my stepdad feels guilt over Jane and various relatives have mentioned those thefts that day as the point of no return. What should I do? Is there anything I can do I have never done anything else like that before or since in my life? Man, you probably could hear me sighing all the way through this, this is hard. This is hard. They're a couple of things that come to mind for me. I want to acknowledge I that what she did. And she knows what she did was a pretty horrible thing. And she feels a lot of guilt about it as an adult, and there are things that we do in our ad Alesa in our teenage years that we'll look back on, and we're like, oh my gosh. You know, as an adult I would never do something like that. So aknowledging that she has those feelings, I think, now the next step, I'll just go right into what I think. Yeah. So she has no relationship with Jane right now. She feels a lot of guilt, and I think that she needs to go to her. Parents and tell them what she has done. And I think she needs to then find Jane, if she can and tell her there is no way to know that what happened changed the trajectory of Jan Jane's life. We don't know that there's no way to ever know that if this, this incident is what the defining moment that then made Jane go off into drugs. We also don't know if there were lots of things that she didn't know as a young person that her parents were already in motion to send Jane to school, even though she had overheard. Her parents say that, that might have already been in motion. So sometimes we look back on our on the past and say, okay, it's because I did this one thing that this other thing had happened, but by acknowledging and telling her parents that she did this. She gives her parents a chance to rectify things with Jane. And she gives her parents, the opening to be able to contact Jane. And she also needs to tell Jane. Just as a human being like I'm sorry for what I did to you. Yeah. I I'm with you on that one. I think that that's also the right thing to do here. And I think part of what is hard, as you say, is now that the letter writer is starting to experience a real sense of while what I did was not just like a little mess up. It was really, really wrong, and I want to try to make it right. There's also this fear of is it is therefore, then all my faults, and I think one thing that's helpful to remember here. Is that while what you did was wrong? You were also a child yourself. And you had it sounds like kind of a limited sense of what you could ask your parents for like it doesn't sound like you were able to tell them like Jane is destroying my stuff Moore's reading rumors about me, and I need help. So, again, that's not to say therefore, you just did what you had to do. Don't worry about it. Move on with your life. But a I would encourage you as you allow yourself to experience the guilt and remorse that I think is appropriate for what you did to not take on so much guilt, and remorse than just say, therefore, I was a monster. I am redeemable person if I admit this, basically, Jane's, unhappy life is my entire fault. That's right. And so, you know, if you are able to see therapist before you talk to your parents, that might be helpful, it just you can kind of figure out, how do you wanna bring it up if it were me, I think I would say, you know, I have overheard U2. talking sometimes about the regret that you feel about sending Jane away, and something's been on my mind that I've wanted. Share with you, but I felt ashamed about it, and that's that I had overheard you talking about that. I did not know how to tell you the ways in which I felt targeted or hurt by her. I just wanted her gone, and I did steal those things blamed her for it. And I know that that was wrong, and I'm I want to do what I can to try to, you know, I don't want to say to make it right. Because there's just a limit to how much you can. Yep. Fix. But to at least say, I wanna take responsibility for. And I want to apologize. Yeah. And let's be real. It's going to be a hard conversation. Either way, there's no way that you can sugarcoat this or present it to them where they're not going to be shocked by it. And perhaps there, you don't know what the outcome will be. But I really feel like she owes it to her parents, and she owes it to Jane. Right. She really does it to Jane, and she's going to live with the guilt of it. Whether or not, she just less everyone knows so she might as well let everyone know, and there may be something they can come out of it, where the parents can reconciling their relationship with her with Jane. Or Jane can feel a sense of like, okay I feel I feel like now, people understand when I told them I didn't do this. I really didn't do it. Now. You know. There's I mean, it's going to be hard either way. Yeah. But she's got to do it, and I think that, that's a good point too. Because if you and your parents kind of feel like if we acknowledge this, if we look back at the past, and thank I regret this shouldn't have done this. I, I wish I didn't it'll feel like now what we have to do is to try to fix James life. And I think it's just gonna be really good to say all I can take responsibility for is what I did. Yeah. I can't help her with. You know there were a lot of other things going on Jane's life at this time that were not your fault. All you can do is try to make amends for this one thing that you did. So I think one of the things that should give you some hope is that your parents right now are trying to work through their own gills. And again that doesn't you know they were also in a really difficult situation. I don't think what they did was right. But I also understand that they. Probably felt overwhelmed and ill-equipped to handle a kid who was that troubled. And so I think there's reason to believe if you share this with them while they will be sat in disappointed. They will not say now you're the monster weeded nothing wrong. It's all your fault either. Yeah. And again, if you can't get a hold of Jane, if you say, I would like to apologize for something that I did you? And she says, I don't wanna hear I don't want to have anything to do with you. I think you need to respect that. And then, then you're next kind of emotional work ahead of you will be to figure out. How can I try to like have a sort of, like living amends, where I can't offer that to her directly, but where I could try to provide better help or resources for other kids struggling, and similar situation. Really good. Yeah. That is really good. And that's really good to acknowledge that like, Jane may not want to have anything to do with you, right? Yeah. Because part of what I think there's always, like when you want to apologize to try to make amends. There's always. The kind of shadow version of what you wanna do, which is I want Jane to forgive me and tell me I'm good person. And that's not a good goal. That was rise. You down the right pets. Right. But if you say, if she's angry with me all that happens is I tell her I did it and that it was wrong. And I'm sorry, and she says you're right. It was wrong. I hate you. I can't I can't control that I can't stop that all I need to do is up to what I did you know what it's not written in this letter, but there could very well be chance. Jane already knows this. I mean, they're kids, she no. She didn't put this money in these in her, you know backpack. So she probably knows there's one of two people who did it, her her brother. Right. And it it may vary. Well again, even if she's not immediately just thank you. For telling me wait, now it will be meaningful for her to hear you were telling the truth. I'm sorry. I hurt you. That was wrong. Exactly. And then again if, if, if there still a lot of complicated feelings for you afterwards. If you feel like I wanna try to do other things in my life to try to, you know, put myself in some version of that same situation and make a different choice, then it would be good to find some organizations that help and support kids who are going through difficult times than figure out. Can I volunteer can donate money? Can I do some office work to help them around because that will be I think a useful outlet for some of those feelings of guilt that involve trying to hunt Jane down and saying, please forget me yet. But good luck please. Let us know how this goes, and I hope that you can let yourself feel at least like this can be the work of turning that guilty of something productive. Yes. Yes. Like it doesn't change what happened. You might not immediately be met with. Thank you for telling the truth. Everything's fine. But it's I think it will help I think it will turn this guilt into a productive sort of guilt, rather than the kind of guilt where you just spiral and hate yourself. Yeah. I agree with that. That's good advice for all of us when we're dealing when we're in this spiral of guilt, or even just the spiral of despair around things that we can't control channeling that energy to something that's productive. Yeah. Yeah, I think so, too. So let us know how that goes love to hear from you. All right. This next letter. I think it's your turn to read. All right. Steph. Kids. Dear prudence I left my wife of three years after she had an affair with our neighbor. She has a boy, ten and a girl eight from a previous relationship. Their father is not in the picture and never paid support I considered myself a pretty good stepdad at the time. I don't know what that means. Now. I don't want anything to do with their mom her answer to everything is to beg me to come back or blame me for her affair. I talked with the kids, a few times, in my stepdaughter keeps asking me when are you coming home? Daddy, don't know what to tell her or even what to tell myself. I don't want to disappear out of their lives, but I don't have any control over that the few times, I tried to come over their mom says, okay, then cancels on me. My lawyer says to leave it alone. Do you have any other choices here? Well, why like to acknowledge that this is a really tough situation. And I'm sorry that your, your wife had an affair with the neighbor and put you in the family and the children in this predicament. I. This is such a challenging one, because when it comes to children and children of this age, they're not of the age, where you can have a relationship with them outside of their mother. They're not on social media, for instance or maybe have Email where you can correspond with them in that way, I, I as someone who comes from a family where I come from a single mom in, like, really yearned for relationship with my father. I think that there are a couple of things that he could do in one of those things includes for hats, trying to write the children letters from time to time calling when he can. And I agree with the lawyer been stepping back because there's only so much that he can do at this space in this time in their lives. Yeah. I think part of what's hard is if your lawyer says, you know, legally there's not a lot, you can do you know. I wish so much. You know, we have heard from this person like a year ago, and we could have encouraged, you know, if you wanna be a good stepparent to these children. You might wanna talk about starting the process of adopting them. That's right. But since that didn't happen. So I would say to anybody who is acting as a stepparent right now, especially if you're married to the biological parent of those kids if adoption is an option if that's something that you and your partner open to making that a priority. Just so, you know, your relationship with the kids at your co-parenting is one that's protected by law. We'll be point you end the kids. But I all assume that you generally trust your lawyer, that your lawyer gives you good advice that you don't think it's worth trying to get a second opinion. I would maybe. Yeah. In addition to trying to just let the kids know I love you. I hope you're doing well, I would love to see you sometime maybe waiting until you're, you know, soon to be ex wife. Is not alternately berating. You or begging you to come back to say, would you be open to ever meeting with a mediator? Because I would love to see the kids, I would love to be as involved as parent as possible. If you are open to that I would be willing to meet you halfway in any way possible and to try to emphasize to her. I want this for the kids sake. I wanna be there for them. I wanna be supportive. I want them to have this, if her only response to that is to try to use it to either punish you or to try to get you to come back. I understand if you need to step back from that, but I think that, that would be my next that be the next thing, I would try before backing off entirely I agree with you. And we don't have clarity on the space, the amount of time that this letter was written in the amount of space from the affair and the passion around the all of that. But it sounds like the wife is operating on that level of we're adults. We're talking about this affair, and blaming you for the fair and like the relationship. So stepping back in talking about. Centering. The children might be a way to be able to bring us back to, like, hey, look at these two innocent folks who are in the middle of all of this. And sometimes space does allow for that, when you have just a little bit of cooling off where then you can come back to the person and say, hey, let's mediate, but I agree with you about having a mediator. Yeah, that's so important. And if that doesn't happen, I always, I also say, it's very important, even though the children are eight and ten to make certain that they have an understanding of where you are now not saying that, that, you know, it legally it may not be a good thing. But like them being able to know that you're in the same city. They know your dress, or they know where you live. They have their phone number so that they know that you're excessive will, and you, it's not that you don't want to be with them. But at this time you you in the mother are dealing with a difficult situation. Right. And that's hard to because you don't want the kids to be in a position where they're blaming their mom, even if she is acting really, really badly. Yeah. Because if your priority is the kids that sometimes means swallow. Knowing really lousy behavior in order that they don't feel like drawn in the middle of it. 'cause ten I am. They can't be trying to manage that anxiety. So I think to then if the signals that you're getting that there's no receptivity on her part. And you think the only way that she would engage in this mediator idea is to try to get more leverage with you and that she would continue to cancel meetings. I think at that point the best thing you can do is let the kids know how to reach you and to take a step back. I think the worst thing for them is a lot of like, okay. Kids dad's coming over just kidding. No. He's not. Right. Is that bit about the mom says? Okay. And then cancels. Right. That would just be so hard on them yet. And not that it's not hard for them to stop seeing you, either. But I don't want that for them for them to think this out today. We're going to get to see our, you know, the only dad we've ever basically known yet, and then find out it's not going to happen. That's just, you know, my heart breaks to imagine them thinking that, so I'm so sorry. That's a really difficult position. And I think the best way to try to approach, this is just have a separate friend or counselor that you can vent about the ways in which just like as a as an axe, your ex-wife is treating you really, really badly. So that when you try to negotiate with her for some access to the kids, you can be just really neutral, take the high road whenever possible, not engage when she tries to get you into arguing about whose fault, the affair was, and that's hard to do. Yeah. And I, I wish so much that you had more options legally than you do, but, but it's such good advice that stepping into this for all of those who are stepparents, like, really taking a look at what year legal rights are also looking at adoption, making certain all those things are in place beyond, if you all separate like it's just a really, it could be a good practice. Say like for the benefit of the children, if anything happened to us rate like if the, you know, a parent with the biological relationship died, suddenly, that's our accident. I would I have any ability to take care of the kids or would some other family members have have rights, that, that I would want, and I know not everybody is in a place either, like financially or otherwise, where they can make that happen tomorrow. I don't wanna put too much of that burden. But it you think if you have taken on a roll of step parenting, for kids, it's really good to think about how can I make sure that this relationship is protected. That's right. So moving from big, big problems, too small problems. The subject is just wearing a bra surprisingly, I have very strong feelings about this one. I also do. I imagine we might be of the same mind on this one. Let's see. Let's find out so the subject is wearing a bra. Dear. Prince my husband doesn't understand why I don't care if I'm not wearing a bra at home. If we have guests over our guests are usually the same handful of people who are good friends of both of us when they're over, and I get home from work. I want to change into my pajamas. And of course when I'm in my pajamas, I don't wear a bra. I'm completely covered up. It's not obscene in any way. My clothes are not at all revealing. I keep telling my husband that it's his problem not mine. Bras are not required clothing society forces women to wear them. But if I had my way, I would never wear one I do during the day when I go out and at work just to keep up with societal norms. But in my own home. I see no need, he makes gestures or comments every time I don't wear one when we have company over am I wrong here? Shouldn't I be able to be comfortable in my home? What adjusters is he making? I just wanna know like you know what? I'm just wondering. Are they like sitting by fire with wide, and he's like what is what is doing a big bang? That's immediately what I picked video picture, too. I don't think there's a subtle gesture to communicate to someone. I want you to put up raw. No, no. And like the friends have to be aware of it if he's saying it out loud. So I agree with her. And that, like I hate wearing abroad to the moment, I get home. I go home and change. I hated wearing a bra so much. I had top surgery. There you go. Right. Which I don't recommend this year problems letter writer. Right. But there were some questions that I have that, of course, we won't get the answers for. But I wondered like a couple of things. I agree. When you're in when you're at home, you should. Feel confortable. You shouldn't feel like you have to wear a bra. But I wondered if the husband is, picking up on social cues with the friends that, then he is feeling that awareness, and he's trying to let his, wife know for the sake of our friends who were there. I want you to wear a bra that is possible. I you know, I'm trying to imagine like whenever I visit my friends and like most of my friends are also like a love jammies. And I've never been around friends when we're relaxing at one of our houses where I thought like, oh, no. I think they're not wearing a bra and that's really upsetting to me. Yeah. So it's a little hard for me to imagine that. The husband is just like super intuitive, and has been getting feedback from the friends and his trying to I feel like the husband would have said. So at this point, that's true. But it's possible so I guess I would start by saying, like, I wanna know where this discomfort is coming from. Yeah. Can you have any of our friends said to you? I'm uncomfortable. And had for some reason asked you to say something to me or, or is this just your discomfort? You and I need to talk about exactly is it is it the discomfort that he's feeling is he perceived that their friends, maybe like looking at her breasts, for instance, like those are the types of things that I don't know. But no matter what I think they need to be having a discussion about it, and I actually feel like they can come to a happy medium. I do feel like if my husband is always uncomfortable by something I don't want him to feel uncomfortable. I'd also don't want my friends to feel uncomfortable, but I wanna feel comfortable to. So, you know, I said when I go home, I like take off my bra right away. But we have neighbors who sometimes ring the doorbell and wanna come over or want us to go in the back to play and stuff. And I have like my little brawl. It's like you know, those like really cut and things that don't really hold up anything, but I like throw it like minimize jostling. Yeah. Yeah. Because, you know, I'm well endowed, so I'm saying if I'm like inner with people, they're going to be aware of difference. Between me and somebody else without a bra you know, and I definitely like back in the day, I was medium endowed, and like. I would have like my sweater that I would wear in lieu of which is like, all right. I will put a sweatshirt on. Yeah, that like again, minimizes jostling but is not as uncomfortable as abroa-, so certainly those are options, but it also do think at a certain point, it will be good to, like say, I hear that you are uncomfortable given that I don't think our friends share that discomfort and wearing a bra all day is really uncomfortable. And it is like I want you to. Let this one I want you to stop making these gestures. I want you to understand that I have heard you I disagree since the brought would be on my body and I would be uncomfortable with it. I'm going to pull rank here as the owner of the. And you know that, that's, that's just going to be how it is again. Like it's hell a disrespectful to if he's doing the gestures and making comments feel like way more noticeable. Exactly. When you're now, your friends notice that, you know, right? Yeah. Yeah. And again like when you're casually relaxing with friends at home, and you're like again, it's not like you're walking around shirtless and like really violating social norms. I just think there's a certain understanding that you when you are relaxing with your friends. It's not uncomfortable or sexual to like not be wearing the sort of professional undergarments you wear for a business meeting. Yeah, yeah. So, yeah, I think there's a little room to, to work with your husband. But if Alta, it's just that he's like, I don't want people to know that you have breast, I want that to be secret. Trust me, they know or I want them to think of your breasts is totally stationary or like frozen in stasis unless we're. Having that to me. You gotta get over that do the discomfort, and he can go of that, right? It might help. In the spirit of trying to understand where your partner's coming from, if he would ever like to wear an under wire bra around the house just for an evening, just to get a feel for like, how it starts to dig into the flesh after a couple of hours that might be an interesting experiment of any. That's such a good idea for spending your husband for the purpose of not making creepy gestures. I realize going in depth into a lot of things he may not want to do that, that might not be the solution to your problem. But no, I love it. I love that idea. I think sometimes like men who have never worn abroa- think like oh, it's just like nothing. It's, it's just another item of clothing, and it's like, really even the most comfortable ones they still have a little something going on. Yeah. Yeah. I actually think see if he'll do that, if he's if he's kinda guy who will do it. I think it would be cool for him to take that moment. Right. And maybe not when you're having the first. -sation and it's like kind of still argumentative maybe it's just like an opportunity of like do you wanna see what I'm talking about? So you have a sense of what it feels like. Yeah. That reminds me of those. Remember those little, they put these devices on men's abs-, too. Like they know what cramps where like just so they could see, like what minstrel cramps were lie. Did not. No. I did not know all these videos, going around online, and like you know, men were like, oh, I will never from this point on talk about, like, what's PMS and why and hurts and all of that stuff like just taking a moment in a woman shoes. We'll give you a clue. I tell you what I sure don't enjoy cramps as a man, any more than I did as women right there, unpleasant. Don't care for them. That's right. I think we've helped this person this much as we possibly can. All right. So this next question is so broad that I think it's going to be slightly, challenging to figure out exactly how to advise this person. But I think we can maybe give them some guiding principles. Let's try. So the question the subject is when to ask do you prudence as a longtime reader? I've seen you give advice about how to ask questions of marginalized people. I am a white woman, and I wanted you right by others. Sometimes the advice is asked the person volved, for instance, if you're afraid that your relatives will miss gender, your friend that the only see once a year you can ask that trans friend about their preference than at other times. The advice is not to ask the person, for instance, don't ask your colleague, a person of color on, how you can be an ally because people of color shouldn't be responsible for explaining things to white people constantly some curious, if there is a general guideline for went to ask or not, I'm generally curious about hearing other people's opinions air on asking people directly rather than making sumptious, but I also don't want to be annoying. Yeah. Well, I feel like this person's. Example, so not wanting to miss gender person versus asking a person of color, how to be an ally. Those are two different things super different. They're super different. And I mean you're talking about a huge question. I'm thinking of a white person who comes to me and says, how to be an ally. I mean, like, well, you know, like where am I supposed