Dear John: Will Making Her Feel Awful Make Him Feel Better?
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
I am in such a bad place. I did something horrible and now I don’t know what to do. I can’t really even talk to anyone about it, so I’m writing to you.
I had to go on an overseas trip for my job about a month ago. I traveled by myself. I was sitting in a bar, I met a woman (a local woman), we both had too much to drink, and we ended up going back to my hotel and having sex. Drunk, awkward, not even good sex. The moment it was over, I knew I had made a terrible mistake.
I’m married (for five years) and I don’t know what the hell came over me. My wife and I have a small child. I have never done anything like this – never even thought about doing anything like this. I’ve never known what self-loathing felt like, but now I do.
My wife knows I’ve had something on my mind. Every time I look at her, or especially our sweet daughter, I feel like I’m going to burst into tears. I can’t believe I would do something so stupid, pointless, and selfish. I ask myself why and have no answer.
I’ve always had contempt for people who take the easy way out, and I’m not about to let myself off the hook for this. But I’ve already hurt my family enough, though they don’t know it. My specific question is, do I tell my wife what happened and pray she’ll forgive me? Do I try to just forget about it until things slowly return to normal? (There’s no way this woman can track me down – I don’t think we even told each other our last names – so I’m not afraid of getting caught.) I just want this out in the open and off my chest. I’m tormented by it. But when I imagine the look on my wife’s face, I don’t think I can do it. Obviously, I can’t think clearly about this. I need another perspective.
Ashamed Doesn’t Begin To Describe How I Feel
Ask yourself why you would share this information with your wife. Would there be any reason other than to assuage your own guilt? If there is, I can’t see it.
In general, I don’t believe in keeping secrets in a relationship. But in your case, being honest would only serve to transfer this awful burden from you to your wife. She and your daughter will be made to pay for your reckless selfishness.
So I think you should keep this to yourself. I just can’t see anything good that will come from doing otherwise.
That’s not to say that’s all there is to it. There are a few other things you should do. First is to get tested for STDs. You don’t say whether you used a condom, but being drunk usually precludes making wise choices. Obviously. Even if you did use a condom, though, get tested and find some pretext for avoiding sex with your wife until you know you’re STD-free.
Second is to stop drinking. I’m not the least bit anti-alcohol, but someone capable of so thoroughly losing their control and sound judgment when they drink simply shouldn’t be drinking.
Finally, I don’t think you should talk to your wife about this, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t talk to someone. I would seriously consider seeing a therapist to discuss this and to try to gain some insight into why you would do something so hurtful and out of character. There may well be issues here that could bear examining.
My girlfriend just got a new haircut and I hate it! Her long hair was the first thing that attracted me to her, and now she’s gone in the opposite direction. She has a haircut like a boy from the fifties. Ugh, I can’t stand it. I actually feel like I’m not attracted to her any more.
I know it will grow back, but she won’t stop saying how much she likes it! Should I tell her straight up that I don’t like it or hope she gets sick of it or what? I know if she knew how much I don’t like it she’d let it grow out again. Should I see if one of her girlfriends that I’m friends with will let her know it doesn’t look good? I know it seems like a small thing and she’s the same person and everything. But it just looks bad.
Liked Her Better As A Girl
Dear Liked Her Better As A Girl,
It seems like a small thing because it is. She likes her new haircut. End of story. Tell her she looks great. If you can’t do that, do her a favor and tell her you’re breaking up with her because you don’t like her short haircut. That way she’ll be free to meet someone who actually cares about her, not her hairstyle.
My Dad is a great guy, but he’s had a hard life. He never finished high school (I’m a junior), and you don’t have to talk to him very long before you know it. I feel bad saying this, but I hate having friends over because he embarrasses me. I’ve talked to my mom about encouraging him to get his G.E.D., but she says he doesn’t have the time for that. (Which is kind of true because he works every day, including a part-time job on weekends.) I just think he’d be better off. Should I talk to him about it? I don’t want to hurt his feelings.
It depends on why you want him to pursue his G.E.D. If it’s because you’re embarrassed by him, then no, I wouldn’t mention it. It will definitely hurt his feelings. But if it’s because you care about him and you know his world could be so much more interesting and his prospects so much more fulfilling if he had a high school diploma, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with asking him if he ever thinks about it. From your letter, though, it sounds like this is more about you than him.
I understand your father’s lack of polish embarrasses you. It would be unusual if it didn’t at your age. Your job is basically to be embarrassed by your parents, and if it weren’t this, it would be something else. But trust me: some day, when you have a little perspective on what’s important in a parent, you’ll be glad you were able to start your letter with those first six words. And you won’t really care about what follows them.
John is a middle-aged family man from Providence. If you learn from your mistakes, he’s brilliant. Write to him at email@example.com
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