Dear Margo: Just A Few Well-Chosen Words

How do I defend my sister against others’ hurtful remarks? Margo Howard’s advice

Just a Few Well-Chosen Words

Dear Margo: I am writing about my big sister, who is a beautiful professional woman in her late 30s. She’s an amazing, generous, successful and brilliant person, and she’s also my best friend. She has been my biggest cheerleader and defender and has gotten me out of more than a few sticky situations. She has always respected my choices, even if they weren’t hers. Now I feel I soon may be in the hot seat as her defender, and I want to do it right.

Her only shortcoming is that she doesn’t have great taste in men, which may be why she is on her third marriage, which seems like it may be on its way to being over. (He is excessively jealous and insecure, and is possibly a cheater.) I totally support her divorcing for a third time if she feels it’s the right thing to do. I always try to be the best sister and friend possible.

My question to you is: How do I handle people’s needling remarks about her many marriages when she does divorce again? I am not well equipped to respond to questions like “So what broke up THIS marriage THIS time?” or “So who will No. 4 be?” I would love some advice about responding to these people or, frankly, shutting them up. –Trying To Be a Supportive Little Sister

Dear Try: How nice you are to want to pitch in for your big sister and close down the clods who feel they have to needle you. As it happens, I know something about this subject. As for any remark along the lines of “What happened this time?” you could make it plain you don’t appreciate the question by saying something like, “He wouldn’t pick up his socks.” As for, “Who will No. 4 be?” you might say, “We’re hoping for a heart surgeon.” –Margo, historically

Not Wise To Be Jealous of Husband’s Friends

Dear Margo: I consider myself a sane and rational person, but everyone is irrational sometimes, right? My husband and I are in our mid-20s and newly married, and we have a great relationship. There is “Kelly,” though. I absolutely do not think my husband has cheated on me (or would), but I cannot get his relationship with Kelly out of my head. They are just friends — I know they are — but for some reason it bugs me.

Kelly and I were in different social groups in college but had some mutual friends. She always seemed nice and was one of those people I thought I could be friends with, but we never got the chance to know each other. After I met and started dating my husband, I found out they were friends. They’ve stayed in touch since we graduated.

Now he is on a business trip in the area where she lives, and they will be meeting up. I shouldn’t have a problem with this, but I do. Getting to know her better would help, but now she lives far from us, so this is not an option. I know I’m being crazy, and it’s even worse because she seems like a genuinely nice person. How do I stop letting their relationship bother me? Do I tell my husband about my crazy feelings? (I haven’t yet). –Insecure and Temporarily Crazy

Dear In: What you are feeling is free-floating jealousy mixed with insecurity. Everyone gets nutty or irrational ideas at one time or another. The thing you have to tell yourself is that nothing is driving your insecurity except … your insecurity. If this girl had meant anything to your husband, he would have chosen her. It sounds like they didn’t even date. As someone who travels (with a husband who travels), I can tell you that checking in with friends — of either gender — can make a business trip fun. If your new husband has given you no reason to mistrust him, then don’t. (And don’t tell him. That would just introduce another unnecessary element.) –Margo, trustingly

***

Dear Margo is written by Margo Howard, Ann Landers’ daughter. All letters must be sent via e-mail to dearmargo@creators.com. Due to a high volume of e-mail, not all letters will be answered.

COPYRIGHT 2010 MARGO HOWARD
DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM

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49 comments so far.

  1. avatar Dan Bingham says:

    *laughs* Wow, LW2′s story sounds familiar.  I had a friend in college that acted much the same way soon after she got married– heck, she stopped listening to Enya for a while after she found out that her new husband thought she was pretty!  And I don’t think knowing your husband’s friend better would help much, my friend also became irrationally jealous of time their mutual (female) best friend spent with him, despite knowing that it was only friendship.  I’m not talking about nasty jealousy, just some pouting and that sort of thing, she even admitted at the time that she knew it was silly.  I think this is a phase many newly-married women go through– as she became more secure in her marriage, the jealousy vanished, and I suspect yours will, too.

  2. avatar David Bolton says:

    LW1: The most telling comment here is: “Her only shortcoming is that she doesn’t have great taste in men.” Now this may be a gross generalization, but every single woman I’ve ever known who has this issue in her life has had major problems with self-esteem, and the whole cartload of baggage that comes with it. Especially when she’s on what looks to be her third divorce. Especially when relatives who are close to her and writing to an advice professional. I think one of the worst things someone can do is to be in a position to offer meaningful help, but be clouded by the “but she’s so pretty” syndrome. As in: “she’s an impossible bitch to work with… but she’s so pretty/my biggest cheerleader and defender, etc.” Is the sister addicted to negative relationships? Three failed marriages would seem to indicate so. And that’s the real question here—and a much more serious problem that the LW should focus helping her sister solve rather than what people are saying about what number failed marriage this is.
     
    LW2: If you’re newly-married and everything is great—your husband should only be meeting with female friends in groups with other friends/associates. If he doesn’t have the wherewithal or sensitivity to offer to do this himself or at least ask “are you okay with this?”, you should stand up for your feelings and tell him. Affairs have to start somewhere, and come with all sorts of reasons and justifications, from “you don’t care enough” to “you care too much.”

    • avatar Mo Mo says:

      For LW2: I’m thinking he might have asked her if she was ok, as she knows about the meet before hand.  At the very least, he gave her an opportunity to say ‘Please don’t if you can back out of it’.  I think Dan above is right – she’s a young, newly married woman who’s feeling insecure about her role.

    • avatar John Lee says:

      David – What generation/culture are you from?  It seems like you must be of a different generation or culture than LW#2 (who is mid 20′s and I presume American).  It is very common and accepted that married men or women can meet with female friends or associates alone and have close relationships, as long as they are not hidden to their spouses.

      My parents’ culture and generation is similiar to yours, though a little bit more extreme.  Or, of course, today’s (non-American) Muslim culture is even more extreme in terms of interaction between men and women.

      I think for an American in their mid 20′s, expecting one’s spouse to only meeting with female friends in groups would indicate that you are insecure or have jealousy issues, so I don’t think your advice is relevant to their generation.

      • avatar David Bolton says:

        I’m from THIS culture, where 50% of married couples get divorced. Practically every single person I know (myself included) has cheated on a spouse or sig-o, and not really felt anything other than justification when it was all said and done. I’m not going to bring up the morals of whether or not it’s wrong, but I’m savvy enough to recognize the mechanics. I think the next words out of the guy’s mouth after “I’d like to see my friend” should have been “are you okay with this” or some variation on that theme. Clueless guys have a way of being really smart when it comes to hiding things from their spouses.

      • avatar D C says:

        Earlier in the week a female friend of mine and my husband’s was traveling through our end of town (she lives about 70 miles away) on her way to another major city.  My hubby called me and said, “She wants to drop off a birthday present for you… do you mind if I meet her without you?”  We’ve been married almost 30 years — it’s not something he always did.  I appreciate that he does it now. 

        I understand the LW and her issues — thinking back to when we were first married and worked in the same building.  Used to have lunch together every single day.  Then one day he said he couldn’t meet me for lunch because he was too busy and had to work through.  I found out later that he had been invited by some of his higher ups (all men) to join them for lunch.  He was afraid to hurt my feelings by saying he’d gotten a “better offer”.  What hurt my feelings so much more was being made to feel like he thought I would have been upset by it.  But like I said… we were newlyweds.  You either learn to discuss things like how you feel about things, or you don’t.  Those that don’t usually don’t stay together long. 

      • avatar David Fleetwood says:

        Man, you must have a pretty lousy group of friends.  I wouldn’t date a woman who could not accept that I have several female friends, including ex-girlfriends, who I go out of my way for or just hang out with.  At times alone.  I don’t believe a partner is a possession, and I trust my significant other when she’s out with male friends or guys she knew in college.  We chose each other, and if either of us had wanted the others(or to stay with the others) we’d have done so.

        I can’t imagine relationships based on such jealousy and possessiveness that a partner gets to dictate who the other can spend time with.  It must get tiring trying to track the other partner’s life.  I have way too much in my own life to spend all my time mistrusting my partner, or dealing with her mistrusting me.  If you can’t trust each other, you shouldn’t be together.

    • avatar A R says:

      I see that many think David is flat wrong about LW2, but David makes a few points that shouldn’t be sneered at.
      As a married person in my late thirties, my spouse and I have been through several phases, and we are still happily married. I think when it comes to friendships, there are some ground rules.
      1. Open and clear communication. If you have to hide it, downplay it, or justify it, you probably ought not be doing it. If it’s a good idea, tell your significant other your plan; he or she will feel okay about it if it is really okay. If he or she doesn’t, ask why, listen, and compromise.
      2. I don’t go off socially with hetero men alone. I just don’t. Maybe I’m crazy, but any friendship I have with a hetero guy I’m content to keep at work or on facebook. Too,  I’m not going to buddy up to the guy’s wife to keep her from feeling threatened; after all, if she and I wanted to be pals, we already would be. Therefore, I “hang out” with my hetero male friends at work, exchange wall posts on facebook, and the occasional IM.
      3. My spouse does the same. He seems to operate mostly as I do. In other words, any females he is buddies with—well, they keep it at work or on facebook.
      4. It’s really about trust, clear communications, and the golden rule–do only what you’d feel comfortable with if it was done to you.

  3. avatar Cindy Marek says:

    L #1: I’d politely say “Well that’s HER business.” And then say nothing more.

    L #2: I dunno. In this day and age of “easy come, easy go” when most people seem to have difficulty keeping their pants on for half a day, I’d be concerned too. Why isn’t HIS friend Kelly at least the wife’s acquaintance? I’m not blaming the letter writer; I’m just very curious when a spouse has a really good friend of the opposite sex who isn’t friends with or even much known to the other spouse. She should definitely share her concern (in a mature and rational manner) with husband.

    • avatar Brooke Schubert says:

      I have to disagree with you on LW#2, Cindy.  Is it possible they are planning an affair?  Well sure it’s possible, but not likely.

      I travel a lot for work, and I have lunch or dinner with friends when I travel if at all possible.  One of my best college buddies is a married man in CA, and I look forward to catching up with him whenever I’m in the area.  He’s a wonderful friend, but I’ve never once had any sort of physical attraction to him.  I have no desire at all to have an affair with this man. I think his wife was initially uncomfortable with me, but after she joined us a few times for a meal she’s realized that I pose zero threat to her husband and has no problem with us meeting now.

      I agree with the LW that if at all possible, she should get to know the woman a bit.  Some people are suspicious of male/female friendships but get over it when they see that it can happen.

    • avatar Lila says:

      I’m with Brooke on this.  My hubby and I both did a lot of traveling and even were stationed apart for several periods, totaling nearly 5 years spent apart.  Of course we both openly had friends of the opposite sex, neither of us ever worried about it.
       
      There were, however, some men whose wives had the misgivings you describe, concerning their husbands’ interactions with female servicemembers (I never saw it the other way around).  All that did was make the husband miserable whether he had any friendships with them or not, and the implication also slightly annoyed and insulted the female servicemembers.
       
      It is as Margo says: if there is no reason for distrust, then don’t.

  4. avatar Baby Snooks says:

    At one time, in prehistoric times, everyone believed they were bound for hell if they were not bound by the “’till death do us part” wedding vow. Times, as they say, have changed.

    If a pair of shoes are not comfortable, do you keep wearing them?  That from another Hungarian who was not a Gabor but who truly shared Zsa Zsa’s belief that you should marry for love and keep marrying until you find it. She got lucky with husband number five.

  5. avatar Lisa Richards says:

    For LW#2, I understand your feelings.  You see,  I was the “Kelly”.  T and I had dated casually in college.  We both ended up married to other people but when I divorced, C felt threatened and feared he’d leave her for me.  Finally we got a chance to have a brief face-to-face when I was in their city on a trip and explained to her that while I loved T in a platonic sense, there were no romantic feelings on my part.  And for his part, well, she was the one he married, had children with and bought a house with.  And I had to remind her that he was much to honorable of a man to abandon those commitments frivolously.  To this day (20+ years later) T and I are still friends and C seems far more content with that.  The three of us have gone out to dinner together.  I’ve been a guest in their home even when she isn’t there.  I’m sure part of it stems from the personal growth she’s done over the years but I also know that it was important that I specifically tell her that I’m no threat.  It would be nice if Kelly could send you that kind of message but directly, but otherwise, please try to come to a place of acceptance regarding her relationship with your husband.

  6. avatar Drew Smith says:

    Regarding Not Wise, I respectfully disagree with Margo.

    A solid relationship is based on the ability to talk about feelings both positive and negative, this is the foundation of intimacy. If one has feelings that are not safe to discuss with your significant other, you have a barrier between you.

    Giving air to these feelings, which are about one person, not an incessant fear about everyone your husband meets, will allow two things to happen. Your husband’s response will provide additional information as to whether the fear is the result of picking up on sub-conscious vibes or not (is their any validity to the fear) and secondly enables your husband to show that he understands you have a fear and is a loving supporter who wants to help you dispel the fear.

    By talking about your fear, it comes to light and rather than fester, creates an opportunity for greater intimacy.

    On the other hand, if you find this kind of fear to be a recurrent issue, then a mental health professional can help you to explore where this fear is coming from.

    • avatar Lila says:

      Maybe you are right, but it could also have the effect of dampening the husband’s friendships – making him feel like he has to give up old friends, which he should not have to do.

      • avatar amw says:

        I don’t think that would be the case at all. Some people are prone to insecurity. Drew’s suggestion is communication between husband and wife. In no way does that mean friendships must be given up. That’s utterly ridiculous and would indicate more problems than just a slight twinge of jealousy.

    • avatar John Lee says:

      While I agree that in general, one should be able to talk about everything in a relationship, it doesn’t mean it is best to talk about everything.

      Sometimes individuals have faults/thoughts that they are aware they have and that they know they need to and can work on improving those faults while not impacting their significant other.  The key is whether or not they can improve without impacting the other.  If they can, then sometimes it is best not to burden your SO.

      Let’s say I occasionally have crazy fantasies, just like many men do, about leaving my wife and re-living my 20′s where I had far less stress and responsibilities.  Maybe this happens for a few minutes every month when life gets rough.  Should I keep telling my wife this every month?  How would that help anyone?  I’m happy 99% of the time, and if I reveal that 1% of my thoughts, it will surely erode my wife’s faith in our marriage.

      LW2′s thoughts are irrational and she needs to work on them herself, her close friends or with a therapist.  Telling her husband once is ok, but more than once will be hurtful to their marriage.

      • avatar Kay Grames says:

        “While…one should be able to talk about everything in a relationship, it doesn’t mean it is best to talk about everything….”
        I couldn’t have said it better. I absolutely agree. I’ve been married 32 years, and have a good marriage. My husband and I don’t have secrets. And, if he asked me about anything I would answer him honestly. That being said, there are topics I wouldn’t choose to initiate because it would not be helpful to him or to our relationship.
        I cannot think of any offhand, and I don’t have skeletons dangling in my closet. But as a rule, I don’t feel that I must share my whole mind and heart in all cases, whether it is detrimental to the other person or not.
        And I agree – in this case, it may not be helpful.

      • avatar Drew Smith says:

        What an interesting conversation.
        In this case, this is a couple who have been married for only two years and an isolated fear that the young woman (early 20′s) has not learned how to talk about with her husband.
        Once you CAN talk about anything, then you can CHOOSE what to talk about and when.

  7. avatar Lepidopter Phoenyx says:

    LW1:
    So what broke up the marriage this time?
    –Too many nosy people asking questions that were none of their business.

    So who will Number 4 be?
    –Hopefully someone who knows how to mind his own business.

    LW2:
    Either you trust him to be faithful or you don’t. My husband and I both have opposite-gender friends that we have known longer than we have known each other. Some of them have been friends with benefits in the past. All of them are welcome in our home, and we sometimes spend time with friends apart from each other. We both know beyond doubt that the only people we’re having sex with is each other. If I thought there was the possibility that he would cheat on me, I would never have married him.

  8. avatar Miss Lee says:

    Ltr# 1 – Good for you to be non-judgemental and supportive.  I have also beenmarried and divorced three times.  The first and the last were 9-10 years each in duration.  The second was 5 long months of terror which is why it took me a few years to do # 3.  The truth be told, I lived with 2 others for 2 years each before I married the first time and another, same duration, after the 3rd divorce.  Both of my siblings are in 20+ year marriages and are doing quite well.  I have decided that I am just out of the romance business and am quite happy.  My siblings are kind of sad that I won’t continue a quest for bliss with a ‘right’ man.  They are very supportive and have always been.  In response to questions, my sister just says, “nobody like him anyway – glad he’s gone” and my brother explains that I will take quite a bit of “shit” for quite awhile and then one day, I’m gone.  So say whatever you want.  Those who are going to judge, will judge no matter what you say.  Those who are just curious, will continue to be curious even if you give them all the dirt. And the rest….they are just making conversation because they feel they have to acknowledge the change. 

    • avatar Miss Lee says:

      Oh, and why the revolving door.  My father was an alcoholic.  I picked the wrong men because I had no clue what a good one looked like and I had a taste for bad boys.  So it’s my stuff, I claim it and don’t make excuses.  As a result, I’ve lived quite a like and have lots of stories to tell now that I live a quiet life with my cat, my lazyboy and yoga mat.

      • avatar Lepidopter Phoenyx says:

        Miss Lee, I’m on my third husband. I initiated both of my divorces – the first for adultery and abuse, the second for irreconcilable differences, many of which involved differences in opinions about the proper parenting of MY daughter (not his child).
        I make no apologies for either divorce.
        It took me three tries to find the right one. Is he perfect? Not by a long shot. Am I? Hell no. But we’re perfect for each other.

      • avatar Briana Baran says:

        Lepidopter, I am on my third husband as well, and neither of is perfect, but he is yang to my yin. I am accountable for my first two marriages, but make no apologies for divorcing my ex-husbands either. R. and I have been together almost 17 years.
         
        My mother sarcastically referred to me as “Liz” when I married the third time. My middle sister put her nose in the air and told me I was “just like our father” (long deceased by then, but still despised by her and my mother). Of course, when her husband divorced her (he simply beat her to the finish line, as she was readying herself to file against him), the drama would have put any Reality TV show to shame, including her claims that she “almost died” from the hideous stress and savagery of it all, and that she was a “beaten woman” (she was haranguing him from a doorway…and he slammed the door. She received a swollen lip, and he was apologetic for weeks, and offered to take her to the hospital, and even told everyone what happened. It really was an accident. He had never harmed her before, and never offered to afterward). I refused to discuss my business with them…or anyone else, for over a decade.

  9. avatar Lucy Henry says:

    LW1- “He left the toilet seat up” is also good, and as for who’s next, “Well, with any luck, George Clooney will change his mind about remarrying”.

    LW2- Hmm, normally I’d say the LW was being irrational. But that said, if Kelly is the only female friend or associate of her husband’s that the LW has strong negative feelings about and she’s not normally the jealous type, she may be having a gut reaction because something IS going on. It’s just a thought.

  10. avatar Diane Shaw says:

    Ltr #1 – when asked about your sister’s marriages say: “I have no idea, it’s none of my business”.

  11. avatar kgoddess says:

    LW#1-and just what is wrong with that old “mine your own business?” 

  12. avatar Bella Mia says:

    Ever hear the phrase, “We didn’t mean for this to happen”?  Feelings of attraction can develop suddenly in platonic relationships for a number of reasons.
    I remember reading about the 9/11 responders, police officers, firemen, who involved themselves in a sincere effort to lend support to the widows and children of their fallen comrades.  Well for some of the wives of the volunteering officers……it didn’t work out too well, because some of those officers left their own families, and fell in love with the grieving widows.   I remember thinking:  How predictable was that?  Totally.
    We have a river of social sewage flowing down the main street of our culture, and it affects the inappropriate personal boundries people have drawn for themselves inter-gender relationships and sexual behavior.
    We need to raise our standards rather than lower our standards, and one component of that is taking personal responsibility to structure social situations to make sure that affairs are impossible.  If you make the determination to never meet alone, or be alone with someone of the opposite sex, then it would be nearly impossible to have an affair.
    I know a woman who had a best friend/neighbor who got divorced; and the woman, her husband and the friend bought a beach house together.  When her friend’s main house garage door broke, she sent her own husband over to fix it.  The friend was so appreciative, and would call when she needed help, and the woman told me she was more than happy to send her husband right over because she felt sorry for her friend who was going through hard times.  After several years of this, her husband and her best friend began an affair.  He later told his wife that he was shocked by his own behavior, and after 4 months gave up the girlfriend.
    This IS how it happens.  Human chemistry changes, and can be triggered by unforseen events, and time spent together stimulates chemistry.
    So this Letter #2′s gut feeling is that something’s wrong, and people’s advice is to intellectually override her gut?  Why risk it?  She should ask her husband if the risk of looking inappropriate, and continuing to bond with an old friend is worth the reward?  Now if he’s going to her home and meeting with her entire family, that’s a totally different scenario.
    I have a male friend who is in a wheelchair and I make sure that we aren’t spending time alone, so we always have one of our spouses along too.  It’s such an easy solution.
     

    • avatar G T says:

      I saw some of those 9/11 firefighter wives that got left by their husbands for the widows on Oprah.  The wives all tried to make their marriages seem like everything was going fine with only the usual minor problems until THAT WOMAN messed it up and lured their husband away.  Except Oprah had gotten statements from the men and every single one of them said that their marriages had major problems and were in trouble before 9/11.  Not every responder who helped a widow left their wife or had an affair.  It was only a small handful and their marriages were already failing.  I’m not saying it was right for those men to cheat, but lets not pretend that affairs start accidentally.  If your marriage is in trouble, then yes, perhaps you should avoid hanging out with the opposite sex until you decide on divorce or not.  If your marriage is solid, I don’t see a problem.

      • avatar D C says:

        Too many people take that “our marriage was already in trouble” excuse to justify an affair.  If your marriage is in trouble, well then, damnit, FIX IT.  Focus all your energies on saving the sinking ship because heaven knows you’ve invested financially, emotionally, and physically enough to make it a worthwhile endeavor. 

        It’s so easy to soothe  yourself when things are going bad… with ice cream, with mashed potatoes and gravy, with cookies, with porn, with affairs… none of them are good for you,  but they FEEL real good for a little while.  And then you catch youself in the mirror naked and realize the ice cream and mashed potatoes have left a calling card.  Or the porn has left a scar on your psyche, and the affair has dealt a death blow to the relationship you once cherished, and when it’s gone will take a large piece of you with it that you will not have for that next “relationship”, or whatever you think you want to call it since you didn’t know what a relationship was in the first place. 

        People who are biologically attracted to each other, whether they recognize it or not at first, should put protections in place to keep from straying into territory that will wreak havoc on their marriages.  The idea is ancient – chaperones.  You don’t have to call it that, but that’s what it is.  Time alone develops intimacy, and sometimes intimacy leads to sex.  That’s just the way we are made. Some can make a concious decision not to follow instinct.  And then something happens, and they get drunk, or they are sad and need a “hug”, or whatever, and suddenly the defenses fall and they are in bed with someone they never thought they would be.  You cannot put a hand grenade back together once it’s gone off.  Or I guess you can, but man, do you really want to work that hard when it would have been so much easier to just leave the damn pin in it’s place?

      • avatar Briana Baran says:

        D C, the point isn’t to justify an affair by indicating that things are amiss in the marriage (although some do so), but rather, that the unhappiness and insecurity that a troubled relationship can cause are often what weaken the resolve and cause a person to step over the line. It isn’t an excuse, or justification…but it is a reason. If you are unable to see the difference, the fault is yours.
         
        And it isn’t always a worthwhile endeavor to “fix it”. I’ve tried that, twice, putting all of my energy into trying to save two marriages that were utterly doomed to failure. O, I bought them, and I own them, and accept full accountability for them, especially the second epic failure. I did not use a bit of intelligence or common sense, and went into that one eyes wide shut. But the result of my efforts in both cases was shouldering the entire weight of a partnership, all of the physical, mental and emotional work…and taking all of the abuse, blame, criticism, put-downs, and accusations for everything that wasn’t pleasing these lovely men.
         
        I’ve had many male friends with whom I’ve shared much, but never any sexual interludes. My husband of almost 17 years has had female friends of the same sort. We are thinking beings. We respect each other. Most of the couples we know share the same kind of relationship, in which trust, respect, communication and thinking actually play important roles. Both ways.
         
        Because, generally speaking, when someone has to have that hug because they’re so sad, or drinks just a little too much, or finds herself in a suddenly highly charged situation with…gasp!…no apparent escape, honey, it was a conscious act…or at least a work of the subconscious, floating very near waking thought. The defenses didn’t fall, the gate was opened. The surprise is feigned, though the remorse may be genuine. And those who are content in a sound relationship don’t arrange these little charades.
         
        Humans will do what they want to do, D C. It has little to do with instinct, and a lot to do with gratification, satisfaction, need, ego and the mind. Sex for us is highly involved with the mental processes of who and what we are. Therefore, I beg to disagree with you, but if a person is truly attracted to another, and has decided to be unfaithful to a partner, all the chaperoning in the world will not help. A way will be found, it will be intentional, and damn the grenades.
         
        O, and on the subject of porn, ice cream and even mashed potatoes and gravy. One can indulge in many rare delights on occasion without suffering the least ill effects, my dear. Of the three, my own weakness would be for erotica (which you would probably shudder at, and call porn), of which I have a rather large collection. My soul may be scarred (in fact, I have no doubt it looks like I’ve walked to and fro through razor wire)…but it wasn’t erotica or even pornography that caused that. I’ve never even been struck by lightening for entering a church. Good grief.

      • avatar D C says:

        A little condescending today are we, Brian?  Who pissed in your cornflakes?

      • avatar Briana Baran says:

        That would be Briana (a little literacy challenged, are we?), and I was not being condescending. Nor did anyone do anything unpleasant in my cereal, though I suspect that you must have found some rat turds amongst in your Raisin Bran. Your post contained a great many generalizations and assumptions, and indicated a certain amount of bitterness, and extremely low expectations as regards homo sapiens’ aptitude for rational, non-atavistic thought.
         
        I’ve never needed a chaperone, and don’t expect that I ever will. I’ve never fallen into bed with someone because I was drunk, or swept away by the moment…not even when I was single, and I am otherwise a very impulsive person. Humans are capable of reason. Giving us the excuse that we’re just instinctively motivated, limbic-brain reactive, non-reasoning mammals is even worse than giving an excuse such as the marriage was in jeopardy before the affair began. It reduces all humans to monkeys…not even primates…locked in the monkey house. Most of us know better than to masturbate, urinate and perform other interesting functions in public…but you’re saying we can’t control ourselves when it comes to a sexually attractive individual?
         
        It actually makes more sense, given our ability to reason, that a given individual would rationalize his way into infidelity by way of a faltering marriage causing dissatisfaction, insecurity, sadness, loneliness and anxiety than it does to say a pheromone-based connection was made, biology occurred, and mating happened. People avoid purely sensory based involvements on a regular basis…people step into affairs based on a desire to fulfill emotional/ego/mental needs constantly. We really are not like monkeys…what they do isn’t personal or terribly complicated. What we do, especially when we cross the line, very much is.
         
        Also, marriage is not sacred, and porn is not a sin, nor does it damage the psyche unless it is linked to an unhealthy fixation that separates a person from actuality. In which case it can join such things as sports, gambling, on-line games, compulsive shopping, hoarding and plethora of others that are manifestations of a greater illness when done to excess.
         
        I wasn’t being condescending, as I said, and you are another one who seems to take issues with those who disagree with your opinions…and rather narrow opinions they are…too. Which is simply my opinion of people who think every marriage is worth saving, and make sweeping generalizations about what is bad for us.

      • avatar Community Manager says:

        To both DC and Briana – let’s knock off with the personal attacks. It doesn’t further the discussion.

      • avatar D C says:

        Brian started it.  I have found, here in Margo’s world, that one can speak generally and get personally attacked quite often.  I like your posting Margo, but I think I’m done.  This has become a place where people like BRIAN like to let their inner witch out and just make all kinds of assumptions about people they don’t know a thing about.  It’s tiring.  And it’s no fun at all.  My time will be better spent with the wonderful husband and three excellent children I’ve been blessed with.  You and Brian have a good old time though.  Ciao~

      • avatar Briana Baran says:

        Sorry, Ms. CM, but I don’t see a difference of opinion as a personal attack, and I am tired of people who cannot tolerate having their opinions questioned. I am also weary of being berated for having an opinion that differs from others. This is supposed to be an adult site on which various opinions can be openly aired…not a forum for the immature who cannot stand being contradicted in any fashion without becoming rude.

      • avatar Community Manager says:

        We all should practice what we preach, including not being rude. Have a great day!

      • avatar Briana Baran says:

        Apologies again, but I dislike having comments such as “who pissed in your cornflakes?” being tossed my way by someone who doesn’t care for having her opinion in any way questioned. And I’m also disgusted with the recurring situation in which such comments go unremarked, but when I respond, then the management feels compelled to make a statement. I made no “assumptions” in any of my posts, I only based my comments on the statements being made. I suppose it’s perfectly acceptable for some to say whatever they wish, while others really ought to…say nothing. And this isn’t rudeness, this is exasperation. You’ll remove this reply, I have no doubt.

      • avatar Community Manager says:

        The response was not aimed at only you, it was aimed at BOTH. Second, replying with commentary on one’s spelling is as rude. End of discussion.

    • avatar Briana Baran says:

      Ah, but Bella, if I’m not mistaken, you are a Mormon, and by your religious dogma are not allowed to spend time alone with men other than your husband. Are you actually speaking from a true sense of having that little faith in decent people’s ability to remain honest and loyal to a much-loved and respected partner (a biological attraction does not mean that one is forced to respond like a female in heat to a corresponding available male…now that is a biological reaction), or are you proselytizing based on your religious law?
       
      And I must question your degree of self-control if you feel compelled to be chaperoned while in the presence of your wheelchair-bound male friend. Perhaps you are projecting a bit here.

      • avatar wendykh says:

        Well I’m nothing resembling mormon and I agree with her entirely. It’s easy to start looking for reasons to justify an affair when you’re all twitterpated over someone. Just avoid the temptation altogether. It’s normal to feel sexy ad attracted to members of the opposite sex we get on well with. Avoid it.

    • avatar chuck alien says:

      “I have a male friend who is in a wheelchair and I make sure that we aren’t spending time alone”
       
      i mean… what?  is the wheelchair important? is that why you can’t spend time with him?
       
      what a random, completely insane comment.
       
      and then “river of social sewage” hits and i realize that the poster is a just crazy, bitter old crank.  now it all makes sense.

  13. avatar ladyfatale01 says:

    I completely disagree with the advice for LW2. I was having the same issues with my current boyfriend when we first started dating. However, I spoke to him about my feelings in a calm rational manner and I felt better. My boyfriend didn’t think less of me or anything like that. I think by not talking to him about it (especially since the LW admittedly knows that the jealousy and insecurity have nothing to do with her husband’s behavior but her own issues) she will feel better. Things that don’t get said tend to fester and evolve into deeper issues over time.

  14. avatar Donna H says:

    To LW#1: IMO, the people questioning your sister’s choices in men are “crossing” the line into personal territory.  I’ve faced the same kind of people who question my sister always choosing to date other women’s husbands.
    It boils down to: your sister’s choice in men is hers, not yours or any one making snide remarks. When I say that about my sister’s choices, I often hear persistant questions about why I don’t “say something to make her stop”.
    I reply with a smile & tone of voice that is (to quote Louisa May Alcott) “as sweet & cold as ice cream”, “As soon as I find a polite way of saying it’s none of your business, I’ll let you know”.
    That always shuts them up.
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     

  15. avatar Mark Rowe says:

    There is much truth in what I am about to say; “What you do not teach your children, someone else will. And odd’s are today, they will not be very nice about it!” And yet we cannot teach them everything. But to many today don’t care, and we should make this criminal.
    But if a woman want’s to know if a man is right for her, I feel all women have an ability to look deep into the man’s eyes and go by the feeling she get’s in her gut.
    And as far as marying several times, remember it takes to to make a marrage. And today with marrage having been degraded so much, it isn’t what it use to be. People are more apt to just live togeather, rather then get married simply because it becomes a legal contract, which degrades what love should be.

  16. avatar vicki ebeling says:

    i’m for following your instincts.  if instincts tell you you’re being silly and a little bit insecure, then let it go.  if your instincts leave you questioning either one of the parties past feelings, ask him to respect yours.  he really should not have a problem explaining away any extra time to reminisce to his friend.

    you probably do know what your instincts are telling you.  and there is nothing wrong with a little bit of jealousy (and i mean a little).  it can actually be a bit endearing.  
    you don’t know what you don’t know, and anything can happen after a drink or two, with memories, attraction and one trip apart from yesterday and tomorrow, even when not intended.  just my opinion.

  17. avatar carol grzonka says:

    i wasn’t going to respond to lw1, but i find myself wondering. DOES  her sister find it hurtful or does the lw just find it embarassing?   i know several much (many?) married women.  they don’t seem to have a huge problem with the general idea, even though each individual breakup was painful.  i’ve been known to say that is why i remained single, cause they got all the husbands. they give very genuine laughs.