Dear Margo: Paparazzi in Your Home

Margo Howard’s advice

Paparazzi in Your Home

Dear Margo: I am not a fan of Facebook, although I know that many people my age (58) use it to stay in touch with friends. I suppose you could call me a dinosaur, because I use the telephone and letters to stay in touch.

Here is the problem: My husband and I have finally realized that when we entertain (which is often), some guests are taking photos in our home and posting them on Facebook. The other day, a friend walked in and just started to take pictures in our living room (I am in the process of painting and remodeling). I asked her to please not post anything on her Facebook page, and she became very cross that I had made that request.

When we have parties, I’m busy hosting and never noticed all the photos that were being taken and subsequently posted on Facebook. My husband and I, while friendly, are also private. While I realize that what these people are doing is a form of flattery, we also feel our privacy is being violated by guests who do not ask permission to post photos they’ve taken in our home. Do we just have to accept this behavior as part of the way technology has changed the world? — Old-fashioned

Dear Old: What a coincidence. I, too, am a non-Facebook fellow dinosaur! I think maybe you need new friends — or at the very least a little sign that says No Photos Allowed. For one thing, the intrusion is not just that guests are posting pictures of your house; they are also telling other people you may know that they weren’t invited. As for the friend who walked in, started snapping away and then was put out that you asked her to desist, well, see above about “new friends.” And no, I don’t think you have to accept this behavior. We all still have the choice of what to do with this world-changing technology. — Margo, stubbornly

Secrets

Dear Margo: I have been married to my husband, mostly happily, for 16 years. We hit a rough patch about a year and a half ago, and it was then that I strayed. It didn’t last long, and the issues my husband and I were having got settled.

He has no idea I was unfaithful. It is gnawing at me, and I feel as though I should make a clean breast of things. The guilt is not doing me any good. I have discussed this with no one, feeling that is the only foolproof way not to have it repeated and find its way back to my husband. To tell or not to tell, that is my question. — Mrs. X

Dear Mrs.: Confession may be good for the soul, but it is very bad for a marriage. Just as you say the guilt is not doing you any good, your admission of infidelity would not do your spouse any good. While you might be relieved to get it off your chest, it could very well do in your husband and possibly the marriage.

Because things are back on track I would recommend remaining silent, forgiving yourself and sparing him the pain. With such confessions go manufactured visual images that can be very destructive and hard to shake. I suggest you consider yourself lucky that your single mistake did not become another “issue.” Probably the best way of staying on track with your marriage is to let the past stay in the past, chalk it up to a hard-won lesson, and make it up to him by being as loving of a wife as you can be. — Margo, forwardly

* * *

Dear Margo is written by Margo Howard, Ann Landers’ daughter. All letters must be sent via the online form at www.creators.com/dear-margo.html. Due to a high volume of e-mail, not all letters will be answered.

COPYRIGHT 2012 MARGO HOWARD
DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM

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50 comments so far.

  1. avatar bamabob says:

    LW#2, If you must confess to clear your conscience, clergy or therapists will let you unburden yourself with out shifting that burden to your husband.

    • avatar Robert Smith says:

      You phrased it exactly right.  If she can’t do that, then she has some other reason for wanting him to know about it.

    • avatar Anais P says:

      My thoughts exactly. I am surprised Margo did not suggest therapy to LW2. I would not confess. Your marriage is back on track, and confessing might derail it completely. Good luck.
      As for LW1, Margo is right: these people are not true friends. True friends would know you and your husband are private people and would at least have asked permission to take photos of your home and post them on Facebook. How presumptuous of them! You definitely need some new, more considerate friends. 

       

  2. avatar CatA says:

    The stupidity of people with picture-taking phones never ceases to amaze me. Just because you are able to take pictures with your toy doesn’t mean it’s your right to do this. Respect other people’s right to privacy and ask permission before you start clicking away. To take umbrage at being reminded of this shows how truly stupid you are. LW1 should strike these oafs off her guest list.
    LW2 – what Margo and BamaBob said. And resolve to become a better spouse.

    • avatar JCF4612 says:

      Is it any wonder that many Europeans entertain in restaurants rather than in their homes? Long before Facebook, people started guarding their privacy from such oafs — inevitably amateur photographers. 

  3. avatar ch says:

    Lw #1 to friend: “Thank you, but we already have given a full set of inventory pictures to our insurance company and they like to keep those private, to avoid any potential robberies at our house. Thank you for understanding.”

    A firm yet smiling face might make them think about what you just said.

    You don’t need “friends” or “acquaintances” like that. At 55, I understand your desire for privacy; that was just the way my husband and I were raised. Never been on Facebook, never plan to be on Facebook. I would be appalled if someone was “casing my joint” with their cell phones, or whatever. Ditto for taking pictures of me or family members. 

    Sad to think that some people are so addicted to Facebook that they forget common courtesy / consideration for others.

  4. avatar toni says:

    Lw1: I LOVE fb and still absolutely am stunned at the rudeness of these people. I hate the tagging process. Someone posts a picture and tags me in it -and it is almost possible to remove from your own wall!
    Someone took a pic of me w my best friend at her party and tagged. It was horrifically unflattering!! I went out of town and two people wished me safe journey. Lovely! Except I purposely didn’t post about leaving town so no one would know the house was empty. The advice is right on – set that boundary when you see someone start snapping w the phone! At least you can say you don’t believe in fb! It’s harder to communicate Gee I’m offended you posted a pic of me that the DMV would disavow!!

    • avatar dianamherrera says:

      You can change a setting so that you won’t automatically be tagged in photos. It’ll send you a notification and you can approve or reject it. I did this because I am not photogenic and I really dislike being in photos and I think you can definitely tell as I tend to look displeased or like I’m forcing a smile.

      I don’t see why people have to take photos of EVERYTHING nowadays.

    • avatar Kathleen Hein says:

      What Diana said. You need to go into your Privacy settings and make it so that no one can tag you without your permission.

      If LW#1 had a FB page, she could better prevent her parties from being posted online. Barring that, you can ask, but unless you find friends who don’t have FB themselves, you’ll be hard pressed to completely suppress it. I don’t even post pictures of my HUSBAND without permission, but there are too few of those who feel that way.

      • avatar toni says:

        The iPhone app doesn’t allow it – I have another page and it’s no problem there.
        My smart phone needs to smarten up w the new timeline. I had to log in on the laptop to remove. Which was not possible in another state.

      • avatar ann penn says:

        The iPhone app may not let you do that, but you can also log in on an iPhone (iPad, iPod touch) with Safari and bypass the app. That will give you more options than the app will.

  5. avatar toni says:

    Lw2: so you want to make a clean breast of it. Isn’t it time you put your husband’s needs ahead of your own egocentric ones? Zip it and leave that breast dirty. Just way it is right now.

  6. avatar lincer says:

    Ltr #2
    Is this woman “out of her mind”?  I suggest she adopt “an attitude of gratitude” and be happy he never found out.  Why would she want to hurt him now, if things have worked out.  Be kind and let it go.

  7. avatar Katharine Gray says:

    LW#1:  I am on facebook because my nieces lured me in but seldom post anything on my own wall.  I like to play some of the games with friends too.  However, I am a dinosaur in the sense that I do NOT understand this obsession with taking photos of every little thing and then sharing them with the world.  If I want to share photos I send them to friends via private email.   I agree with Margo that the particular friend who became offended at your request not to post photos on FB should not be invited back to your home.  It seems odd to have to make a special request to people *do not share photos of me or my home with the world* (it never would occur to me to take photos at a private party at someone’s home unless its close family and we are all snapping away).  All you can do is make your wishes known to the shutterbugs and if they react negatively, then omit them from your future guest lists.

    LW#2:  Agree with all who say if you must unburden your conscience do it with a clergyman or therapist.  Do not dump this on your husband.   

  8. avatar T says:

    Re: LW#1 -Why wait for a future invite to get rid of them? Why not (if they are objecting) tell them that if they can’t keep the phone in their pocket that you’ll have to ask them to leave? And any existing photos should not be posted either. The sense of entitlement by some of these people when it comes to invading privacy is just astounding.

  9. avatar Jon T says:

    I’m with everyone else on posting Facebook pictures against a person’s wishes, and I like Facebook. Anyone who deliberately does that is thinking about themselves and not you, and is not much of a friend in my book. Having said that, the LW might have to accept that the FB ship has sailed just to save herself some grief. Not that she shouldn’t ask people not to take and post pictures of her home, as that is incredibly intrusive. But occasional pictures of her are going to end up online, and it might be less stressful for her to roll with it rather than try to stop every single picture.

  10. avatar Belinda Joy says:

    Letter #1 – FaceBook and other social networking sites play an important role in our lives. I understand how people are drawn to sites like this to share their lives, but I could not agree more, some people take it too far. They lack a filter in terms of what is kept private and what they share.

    I agree with Margo, this ”friend” that took it upon herself to start snapping photos was completely out of bounds. I have been on the receiving end of having photos of me make their way from one friend’s FaceBook wall to another, and I did not bite my tongue in lettting those that posted them have it! :-)   WowOwoW  and countless other website encourage its members to join them on FB, and when people do LIKE a site, they know that to some extent they have opened up themselves to being seen among the masses. The sad reality is it will get harder and harder to protect our privacy as times goes by I fear….

    Letter #2 –  Should she keep her betrayal a secret?   No. A thousand times No.

    The fact that she cheated on her spouse changed their relationship, whether her husband knew about it or not, SHE knew it. She is now dealing with the aftermath of what infidelity does, burdens the cheater with guilt. How would her husband feel if down the road he were to find out she cheated and never confessed that betrayal to him?    I would suggest he would feel worse knowing she could keep something of that importance from him. It would color how he looks at her…..trusts her.

    It’s selfish to keep it to herself. She is essentially protecting her own heart and not taking into consideration her husband’s heart. She is not, no matter what she says keeping a secret for the sake of their marraige. What does that say about her connection to her husband if they can’t site in quiet reflection and work through this short but pivotal break in trust? If he loves her, if he loves the life they have created, he’ll want to stay and work through her betrayal.  He may forgive, but he won’t forget – but afterall who would blame him.

    We all make mistakes in life and this was a huge one. But she should forgive herself as I believe her husband will forgive her. She sounds like a beautiful and kind person.    

    • avatar mac13 says:

      Belinda, as for your advice to LW2, No, no a thousand times NO. There were problems, she strayed. She has a quilty conscience. She wants to clear her conscience by burdening his heart. Only a self centered fool could think this was fair. If in the future he finds out and confronts her, she should ask “are you hurt”? When he says yes, she says “I was hoping to spare you the hurt so I didn’t tell”. Take it to the grave sister.

      • avatar Skii Wellington says:

        I do think that anyone who confesses to an affair because you and your spouse of 16 yrs are having “problems” is a “self centered fool.” They are a self centered fool for the affair in the first place. But it has been argued by many reasonable people that sometimes the cheated on partner wants to know and has a rigth to make their life decisions based on that knowledge. If you don’t want to hurt your partner, then you don’t cheat in the first place. To say that you with held the truth from them because “you didn’t want to hurt them” makes you even more of a self centered fool. You’re just protecting yoursef.I personally believe I have the right to know, regardeless if he says he’ll never do it again. He said he would never do it in the first place, so I’d rather not set my self up for a lifetime with a person who cheats when times are rough and then justifies hiding it from me “to spare my feelings.” And if I did find out from someone else much later (even after it was over), that would be even worse, because I’ll know that he’s still been living the lie, and forced me to live it too.

      • avatar John Lee says:

        mac13 – based on your position, I hope that if your spouse cheats on you (no matter how many times or how often), that they never tell you because it would be wrong to hurt you and burden your heart.

      • avatar mayma says:

        This is flat-out wrong. One can disagree with a post, but to wish pain on someone is a grievous over-reaction to a simple opinion. The whole point of this board is to state opinions. One can agree or disagree, but to get so personal as to wish pain on someone? I don’t get it.

      • avatar Skii Wellington says:

        How is he wishing pain upon her? Apparently it’s what she wants. John’s telling her that if her spouse cheats on her, he hopes the spouse never confesses. That’s exactly the samething she’s justifyig. Plus she called anyone who would do what some people consider the right thing after such an  transgression a “self-centered fool.” He didn’t call her names or wish her spouse cheats on her. Just that if they did, based on mac13′s stated views (anyone who confeses is a sel-centered fool) they never confesses. Then she can see how she likes what’s she advocating. Seems fair to me.

      • avatar wendykh says:

        I’ll argue the reverse. I wish to god I never knew. It changed nothing in our relationship but brought me tons of heartache that was entirely unnecessary. The affair was not about me, was about his issues with his own self, only he could end it and fix it, and there was just no reason at all I needed to know or could do a thing about it. All it did was hurt. Ideally he should never have had it. But that ship had sailed. There was no reason to tell me. It cost us years of hurt and heartache and there will always be a stinging pain that never quite completely heals.

        I know very very few people who have actually been cheated on AND chose to stay with their spouse after who advocate telling. The ones advocating either have usually never been cheated on and base it on what they think they will feel like and want to know, or have been cheated on and chose to dump their partner. If an affair is truly over, and the wanderer feels remorse, and dedicates the rest of their time to being a good spouse… there is exactly zero reason to burden the betrayed spouse with that horrible knowledge.

  11. avatar harmer says:

    I’m 26 and have been on Facebook for 6 years and I’m in agreement with Margo’s advice as well. I have several hundred photos on Facebook but I take care to ask my friends’ permission to post them beforehand. I also find it rude having my photo taken before being asked, too. If someone pulls out a camera to take my photo without asking me, I politely remove myself from the shot and go to the washroom or something. People forget that not everyone shares the same sense of privacy as them, especially in a world where we’re encouraged to share it all with anyone who will listen.

  12. avatar Cindy Marek says:

    L #1: Your home, your right to privacy. If cellphone shutterbugs don’t like it, too bad. The issue with FB is more serious; friends of friends (total strangers to you) can also likely see those photos. If you have a fancy home with *valuables* clearly in the shots (which might invite burglars). Ultimately it comes down to “This is our home. Put your cellphone camera away.”

    L #2: Unless you’re afraid ex-lover will tell (because he wants you back? because he unburdened himself to wife and you’re afraid she’ll go blabbing?), I’d either talk it out with a disinterested 3rd party who must keep confidentality or keep it to myself. You’re sorry for what happened. Forgive yourself, move on. But frankly what your husband doesn’t know won’t hurt him. I’m sure you’ve resolved to remain faithful. Case closed (and keep it closed!).

  13. avatar luna midden says:

    LW1-how STUPID are some people with phones/cameras???? Or should I say, how stupid are some people on FACEBOOK!!!! There used to be this old ruse… OLD OLD OLD…  a Couple would receive a pair of tickets in the mail to a play, concert, sports game… with either ‘congratulations you have won 2 tickets to this Friday’s performance’ or an envelope tucked in their mailbox with a note ‘Rich, I couldn’t use these, so I thought of you right away.. enjoy! (with the tkts enclosed).  Of course, the house had been staked out previously so the robbers knew the house was worth robbing, or they had been in it (big party, ‘friend of friend’ or just wandered in and scoped it out, found out names, likes-opera , football, etc) And while the couple was out on Friday, their house was robbed entirely. 

    Now, thanks to FB, crooks dont even have to spend their non earned money on tickets-they just have to spend a few hours to find out who is giving a party, and who is going and where they live. WARNINGS ABOUT THIS, and people still do it!!!! and now, NOW… PEOPLE HAVE THE NERVE TO TAKE PICS OF OTHER’S HOMES!?! (i AM NOT A BIG SOCIAL PERSON) .. Why don’t these ‘friends’ just draw out a map-I am sure there is an APP for that and put STARS where the expensive, easy to fence crap is??? Make it easy so your friend will not encounter the robber…   I cant believe someone would get angry at a request at no pics of the house… I understand pics of people, as long as they do not object.. but, why would you want pics of others houses???   

  14. avatar luna midden says:

    lw2-Oh so nice!!! Relieve your guilt, get it off your chest… and now, let your husband feel bad, really bad.. your relief might turn into something worse…. like the husband WANTING A DIVORCE? OR what if he forgives you, but not really, holds it against you? Or, figures, if you had an affair, to make it even…. he has to???   I think she should get tested, which she should have done without question already-that should be in Margo’s advice EVERYTIME.. then go to a therapist. A clergy might tell you to come clean. 

    Another thing, if she comes clean… her husband in turn might say, Oh, thats, great! I have been wanting to tell you, I have been involved with your best friend for 10 years and have felt so guilty but now that I know you had an affair, no problem, right? What? Yes, I am still with her, and why should I stop???  

    • avatar John Lee says:

      Yes!

      Cheaters should always keep their secrets, well, secret.

      I hope your husband (who may, or may not have cheated on you), is a kind man who would never tell you if he did cheat because he cares about your feelings.

      /sarcasm

  15. avatar kebelf says:

    I have been online since the dinosaurs – before there was a WWW. Back then there was just bulletin boards. I do have a FB account – it is also as closed down as I can make it. The more FB tries to make me share the less I do – I’m snarky that way. Yes I like keeping in touch but have made it known in no uncertain terms that I will not have photos of me or mine posted online. You might want to get an account in self defense so you can see what is being posted and then telling said poster to remove it. It is more than a little surprising the lack of intelligence some exhibit – more often than I like I’ve caught myself thinking ‘you are so going to regret…’ Stick to your guns you are so very right in your thinking and if you are given grief just tell them that the dinosaur geek told you so. ;-)

  16. avatar Frau Quink says:

    LW#1: You definitely need a set of new friends.

  17. avatar Frau Quink says:

    LW#2: If you must talk about it, tell your analyst……. If you tell your husband, you might end up in divorce court.

  18. avatar Rustie says:

    Margo is right. Keep it to yourself. Once you tell him, it will be the elephant in the room. It will also suddenly seem like every show or movie you see is about this subbject and how it should or should not be handled. It will be uncomfortable and painful. Again. KEEP IT TO YOURSELF.  Those who claim a “right to know” are either gluttons for giving/receiving punishment or have never lived through either side of such a situation.

    • avatar stateoflove_N_Trust says:

      I have another one. Perhaps they are adults who do not wish to have other people make decisions that affect their life solely to protect them.

      Your statement is a false dichotomy.

      • avatar wendykh says:

        The false dichotomy is actually yours. Not knowing does not affect the betrayed spouse in any way provided the affair is actually over and the cheater resolves to not do so again. So no one is making decision that affect anyone else’s life.

      • avatar Rick S says:

        “provided the affair is actually over and the cheater resolves to not do so again”

        If it is over, not restarted, not found out by spouse, affair partner keeps quiet, and no one else tells she’s ok.   Just keep it to herself and all is good.

        So as long as the secret is kept no one but the letter writer was hurt. ?

        The not knowing  affects the betrayed spouse.  Some affairs resume or don’t end  because “nobody knows” and nobody is being hurt.

        Many times betrayed spouses know something is going on but don’t rock the boat.  They are still affected by this.  Even questioning their own thought process. 

  19. avatar Hellster says:

    LW#2, I understand your desire to unburden yourself, having been in your shoes. The guilt is awful, as well it should be.

    I also agree with those who have advised you against sharing your secret with your husband, and for the same reasons they cite. But the guilt, as you point out, is doing you no good. In my experience, that kind of guilt can affect the quality of the future relationship you will be able to build with the man you married. What to do? Make indirect amends.

    Twelve-Step programs advise taking a moral inventory of oneself and then recognizing ocassions when you have wronged others. Making amends does not just mean saying “I’m sorry,” it means putting things right– how will filling your husband’s head with images of your infidelity put anything right? But you need to DO something positive to balance the negative that you have done. If you were in a program, your sponsor would probably advise you to do something positive for your husband without “getting caught.” What that might mean only you know. Do you normally cringe and pout when he watches football? Perhaps you can make an effort to keep your cringing down, and not pout. Can’t stand his mother/brother/sister? Maybe you can try to be nicer to them. Remind yourself that you are making an “act of contrition,” and be grateful for what you say you are truly grateful for; that your relationship continues. You should probably find a clergyperson or therapist in whom to confide, and let go of guilt; it is a stick we beat ourselves with, and it is sometimes a self-centered, self-serving way of reliving events we don’t really want to let go. Forgive yourself, God already has.

  20. avatar Hellster says:

    LW#1, that sounds like a Cadillac problem to me. Why do you keep inviting these dolts over so frequently? You say you are “entertaining,” but it sounds like maybe you need the entertainment. If you and hubby are in your late 50s, there are senior discounts at the movies if you need that much entertainment. 

    Alternatively, you could invite your “friends” over for a candlelight dinner, with only one candle. Let them try taking camera-phone photos in THAT light.  

  21. avatar staili says:

    Trying to unburden your guilt about your affair by telling your husband will make you feel better but doesn’t help him. Someone once said that having to live with the guilt from your affair is the price you pay for having had one, and that sounds right to me.

  22. avatar VictoriaLT says:

    Perhaps we need to have something clarified. Taking pictures OF someone’s home IS an invasion of privacy, but taking pictures of your friends (can you say “group picture everyone!” ) while IN your home is not really an invasion of privacy. LW1,try to realize that when people are taking pictures of each other, they are pictures of people. NOT your home.

    • avatar Rick S says:

      I din’t think anything of my brother and his family having their picture taken in front of our Christmas Tree at my side of the family party.  Until receiving a photo greeting card of them the following Christmas infront of my tree.  The aunts and grandma raved about “what a nice picture” and I know where and when it was taken.  I didn’t say anything against them but it still didn’t feel good.

  23. avatar Rick S says:

    lw#1
    You can set up a card table in the garage for anyone who wants to share non-permitted photos of your home on Facebook.  That’s all they deserve if they don’t understand your postion.

    lw #2,
    There are reasons to share your mistakes with your husband.  One reason is he deserves to know what has been happened in the marriage.  He has a right to decide how he procedes.  You are not giving him a chance to make an informed choice about his own life.

    He also is in a position to help you not fail again.  What happens if you hit another “rough Patch”?  You got away with it before.  You both need to be open and honest with each other and you need to make up for your mistake and seek his forgivness.  You should cut off all contact with your other man and your husband should know who he is so there is no contact. 

    • avatar wendykh says:

      I’m not seeing how this benefits the betrayed spouse at all. “Here honey I was bad so now I’m going to put you in the jail warden position, you know, as a favour and all.” Please. Spare me. And this whole “informed choices” crap is such nonsense. If the cheater has made a clear decision to end the affair and never ever do it again then that is between her and her god. What she did in the past has nothing to do with how she will behave moving forward, which is what her husband’s choice to be with her will and should be based on. Telling him now, after it’s said and done and has nothing to do with the future he’s making a choice to partipate in is not anything to do with an “informed choice.” The time to tell was before the affair, “I am going to have an affair”. That would have been giving him an informed choice.

  24. avatar tj goldstein says:

    While I find Facebook quite irritating, only being on it myself to keep in contact with numerous cousins/aunts/uncles/school friends… I do see it’s usefulness.

    However… when taking holiday photos with a camera, then getting them printed out and put in a photo album or uploaded online… do you ask the permission of anyone photographed in the background if it is ok to do so? When you take a photo of a cute little cottage you fell in love with while overseas, do you run up to the door… pound on it… and ask permission of the owner to take the photo?

    Just a few points to think about.

  25. avatar BunnyinGlasses says:

    LW #1 – Your home, your rules. Another poster, ch, has the perfect line–said with a smile, whatever you say will be emphasized. I wonder if there is room for compromise, though? Maybe your friends take photos of each other at your gatherings, without a lot of “backdrop?”

    Bottom line–again, you house, your party, your rules. If “friends” don’t like this, then they should be warned their photos will result in a very real “de-friending.”

    FTR, I am a BIG Facebook person (in fact, being on Facebook is a big part of my job!) and I am very careful about my settings, photos of my home, etc.

    LW#2 – You did something that was definitely wrong and hurtful. But the fact that your motivation seems to be remorse, rather than your fear of covering your behind if your husband finds out, speaks volumes. I recommend the following:

    1. Please, seek help. Speaking with a therapist will greatly benefit you.
    2. Consider who would benefit from your husband knowing. Your conscience will be clear, but what about him? He could be devastated and not bother with the marriage. Or he could say, it’s my turn, and poof–no amount of stability in your union anymore.
    3. Write about the affair, your feelings, etc, then burn it.
    4. Chances are, he may already know or may have suspected. If he’s not bringing it up, then neither should you.

    Is there a chance your husband would find out–either from the man, his wife, or his friends? Here is where a therapist also comes in handy–to talk about possibilities and to plan accordingly.

    I personally wouldn’t do it. Just try to pay things forward, do little things to show your husband how much you care and let go of the past. Concentrate more on “now” and “things to come” rather than “back then.”

    But whatever happens, speak to a therapist. I think you’ll benefit greatly. If you don’t like the first one you meet, keep looking. I wish you and your marriage the best.