Help! My Neighbor Is My Wife’s Ob/Gyn

Should you admit to a disastrous affair to save a dear friend from the same Lothario? And does a hatred of Girl Scout cookies make you a grouch? John has your answers.

What’s your problem? Write to John at [email protected]

Dear John,

I am three months’ pregnant and my ob/gyn recently broke the news to me that she is leaving her practice and moving out of state. I really like my doctor but have been pretty dissatisfied with her practice as a whole and thought I should try and find another doctor from another practice. My neighbor happens to be a really well respected ob/gyn so I thought I would ask him for a reference. I called him and he said that he would see me as a patient—I had to leave a message for him and perhaps he misunderstood it. I was simply calling for a referral, but after I thought about it, I decided to make an appointment with him. My reasons for seeing him include being able to see him right away, his outstanding reputation, his office proximity to our home, acceptance of our health insurance, and also I believe that he is genuinely a nice, caring person. My husband had a negative reaction to this. I think he’s being really immature about the whole thing and is just uncomfortable with his neighbor seeing his wife’s hoo-ha. I don’t want to make finding a doctor my life’s work. My neighbor is a professional, and as I’ve told my husband there’s nothing so special about my vagina—you’ve seen one you’ve seen them all, right? My husband thinks that it’s weird and there is something wrong with me for being comfortable with this. What do you think?

Signed,
Doctor’s Neighbor

Dear Doctor’s Neighbor,

I think you both have to get past your strong desire to convince your spouse that he/she is immature, weird, etc. I don’t think it’s weird that you’re willing to see your esteemed neighbor for ob/gyn care, nor do I think it’s so outlandish that your husband is uncomfortable with the thought of the neighbor giving his wife a pelvic exam. His point of view may not exactly exude maturity or self-confidence, but I think it’s one that would be shared by a great many men. I can see both of your perspectives quite easily.

This isn’t really about who’s right and who’s wrong, because you both feel the way you feel. You don’t have to insult each other for not seeing things your way. So how do you resolve this impasse? First, let me say that I think your comfort with your own body is admirable. There’s certainly nothing weird about it—it’s a great quality. But I don’t think it’s fair to dismiss your husband’s feelings here, either. Yes, it would definitely be nice if he were a little more open-minded. But he’s not. So I think you should respect that and find another ob/gyn.

You needn’t make finding another doctor “your life’s work.” You can simply call your neighbor and get a referral from him, as you planned to do to begin with. If you feel like you owe him an explanation, tell him the truth: your husband is uncomfortable with this. I think your neighbor will understand.

And you and your husband would be better off forgetting about needing to win in situations like this. Indulging our mate’s reasonable foibles (and we all have them) is not a sign of weakness, but love.

♦◊♦

Dear John,

Several years ago, I had an extramarital affair with a colleague who was unmarried. The affair lasted quite some time, and my husband ultimately found out about it. He confronted us both with his discovery. During this confrontation, the person with whom I had the affair completely betrayed me. He told my husband that I came on to him and that he had misgivings about my being married and that he was very remorseful. Everything that he had said was an utter lie.

We three were the only ones with any knowledge of the affair. We handled everything privately, and I think that was one factor that enabled us to salvage our marriage. My husband and I have children and have worked very hard to get past this—and I believe we have. I still work at the same company, and I have a dear friend who works here too. Recently she confessed to me that she is having an extramarital affair with the very same guy. She has no idea about my prior relationship with him. I have tried to dissuade her with all of the obvious reasons, but she is unwilling to end the affair. I’m not sure if I should share my experience with her. Out of respect for my husband, I’ve been reluctant to do so, but I really want to spare her and her family the pain of what is inevitably to come.

Sincerely,
Sorry Wife, Caring Friend

Dear Sorry Wife,

Where love, sex, and passion are concerned, trying to spare someone pain is a fool’s errand, I’m afraid.

Really, what can you say to convince her she’s destroying her marriage over an industrial-strength jerk? That when your husband found out about your affair, this guy put it all on you? She’ll probably believe him. If she’s unwilling to end the affair over the “obvious reasons,” she’s not going to be any more willing to end it over the less obvious ones. Passion has blinded her—or deafened her, at least.

And is sparing her pain really your only motive? Isn’t there a possibility you’d love to get back at this guy by destroying what passes for his happiness now? Something to think about.

There’s really nothing you can do to help your friend if she doesn’t want to be helped. So stop worrying about her marriage, and focus on yours.

♦◊♦

Dear John,

I’ve been called a grump, so maybe other people don’t find this as irritating as I do, but I detest the whole selling-Girl-Scout-cookies-at-work thing. When did it become acceptable for parents to sell things their kids are supposed to be selling so they learn about hard work, record-keeping, etc.? And why do companies allow employees to use work time to go around taking orders? The recent drive at my workplace bordered on absurd! A few parents were trying to undercut each other so you’d order from them, and when they showed up in my office door with their order forms, they acted like they were doing me a favor! Please tell me you agree that the workplace is no place for parents to be peddling cookies, candy for sports teams, or anything else.

Signed,
Grump? Or Sensible?

Dear Grump? Or Sensible?,

I agree—to a point. No one should feel pressured into buying cookies or any other fundraising goods, and people should not be spending significant amounts of work time hawking this stuff. However, a lot of people really do look forward to Girl Scout cookie time. I have had colleagues who handled this in a way that struck me as perfectly reasonable: They would simply tape up an order form on their office door, send around an email notifying people it was there, and that was the end of it. If you don’t agree that’s a sensible approach, then my answer to your sign-off question is, “Grump!”

♦◊♦

See more: Am I a Bad Person if I Don’t Love My Son?

John is a middle-aged family man from Providence, Rhode Island. If you learn from your mistakes, he’s brilliant. Write to him at dearjohn@golocalprov.com.

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About John Simpson, GoLocalProv.com

John is a middle-aged family man from Providence. If you learn from your mistakes, he’s brilliant. His column runs regularly on GoLocalProv.com.

Comments

  1. I would not buy Girl Scout Cookies to save my own life. The Girl Scouts have become another tentacle arm of the supremacist feminists, teaching our daughters that they are better than men, not equal at all…

    Besides, Keebler seems to put their comparable or better cookies on sale at that same time each year – maybe Keebler doesn’t like femifascism either? And I bake better cookies than both.

    • I was once a girl scout, and I admit to finding the whole experience to be a little over-rated, but I never encountered any of this supremacist feminist business you speak of.

      In my opinion, it was just the opposite. Not only were we never advised that girls were/are better than boys (in fact, we rarely spoke of the other sex), but it seemed like boy scouts had it better off than girls scouts. 1) boy scouts did sell things, but not to the same degree as girls scouts. In fact, in my troop, if you didn’t sell many cookies you would be chastised. It seemed like the whole point of girl scouts was to sell cookies. Like it was our civic duty, as ridiculous as that sounds. 2) boy scouts got to go camping all the time and learn about cool “out-doorsy stuff”. In girl scouts, we sang songs, did arts and crafts, and once in awhile, we went camping (usually in someones backyard, but very rarely we went “real” camping, even then most amenities were brought along with us, the only real “roughing it” factor was sleeping on the ground).

      Unless they really wanted to, I would never put my daughters in girls scouts because I think it’s a waste of their time. Anyway.. Perhaps you had a bad experience with girl scouts? I know I did, but supremacist feminists? No, definitely not.

  2. wellokaythen says:

    To the neighbor of the doctor:

    If you decide to go with a referral instead of the neighbor, I’m sure the doctor will completely understand, if he is at all professional and has appropriate boundaries. I doubt he would even ask why. If the next-door doc does act offended, he was definitely NOT the right one to go to. You are not required to explain any reason why you would rather go with someone else. I hope you are not making a decision out of fear of what the neighbor might think.

    You have every right to choose the doctor that’s right for you, and your husband has the right to express some concerns about your choice. I don’t know the details of the argument, but it may be that your husband just finds the situation a little awkward, not that he’s afraid you’re going to have an affair with the neighbor. It could make running into your neighbor kind of awkward, just in one of those unclear boundaries kind of way. If you are hanging out with your neighbors all the time, then I can see it being especially weird. Maybe we should be able to treat all body parts the same, but it’s not like he’ll be your podiatrist or your optometrist. He won’t be setting a broken finger.

    Fair is fair, though. If hubby ever finds a strange bump on his scrotum, he should be able to ask the doctor’s wife to take a look.

  3. mythago says:

    Husband might be uncomfortable because one of the things women discuss with their OB/gyn (I prefer the term “groino”) is their sex lives. So it may be less a territorial husband than a husband who doesn’t want his neighbor knowing their intimate business.

  4. Henry Vandenburgh says:

    1. Small town. We frequently see our FP at social events. He does my wife’s pelvics. I was an LPN once and could care less about this.

    2. I love Girl Scout cookies, and buy them. The new flavors are great. Don’t buy Boy Scout popcorn. It’s horrible.

  5. I can’t stand the cookie/gift wrap/coupon pushing that goes on in offices. It’s unfair, especially if it’s being peddled by a superior.

  6. I strongly think or feel that no woman should be “electively” trying to seek out and to receive any intimate care and treatment from a male unless it is absolutely life savingly necessary. I believe that is improper and disrespectful toward’s one’s spouse to “electively” expose one’s self in this fashion. Way too many male doctors and caregivers have crossed lines in the past, so why take the chance. It was just this year that a male doctor admitted that he couldn’t “control himself” while performing a pelvic exam on a female and violated that patient. Who cares that a male doctor may have a female nurse of chaperone present, or that he may see 20 women a day, it still doesn’t make it right or proper in my opinion. To me, it just seems unnatural why any woman would feel right doing this. There are just as many competent female doctors in the World that a lady can go to. Women who say that they attend a ‘rotating’ practice can insist to only see the female doctors of that practice if they want to. I also find it interesting that women are generally raised being taught that they shouldn’t let men see them naked (including their father’s), then to think that it is proper to “electively” submit to some strange male. This is not to say for women not to get the proper prenatal care they need, but to seek out the right moral care for both her and her spouse. What good is having good health when your spouse resents you, or starts to lose interests in the process, or wants a divorce because he feels you didn’t do everything on your part to try to protect the intimacy of the marriage. In what better way can a woman show her man compassion then to say “I go to females for all of my intimate care and treatment.”

  7. I agree, I can’t handle the idea of another man doing these kinds of intimate exams to my wife, and I’m as mature as you can get!
    It’s not about maturity, there are many deeper psychological dynamics at play here, and I’d rather not mess with them!!

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