Dear John addresses a tube of mysterious lipstick, a possessive best friend, and suspected child sexual abuse.
This article originally appeared at GoLocalProv.com.
I’ve been happily married for eight years. We have never had any problems but the typical small ones every couple goes through. But I was cleaning out my husband’s car for him recently and I found a lipstick on the floor by the side of the passenger seat. I showed it to him and he seemed puzzled and said a co-worker must have dropped it. (He does a lot of driving for his job and he is frequently accompanied by different people he works with.) His explanation is completely plausible, but I find myself wondering what if he’s one of those guys who has a whole secret life? I can’t stop thinking about it, although as far as my husband knows, I’ve forgotten all about it.
If your husband has never given you any reason to doubt his fidelity, you have to take him at his word. I agree that his explanation is perfectly plausible, so why are you having such a hard time accepting it? It seems like this may have brought an emotional issue to the surface for you—if so, you may want to talk with a therapist about it. It’s unfortunately true that even people we think we know as well as we know ourselves can subject us to some awful surprises. But until you have a good reason for your suspicion, you owe your husband the benefit of the doubt.
I have been in a wonderful relationship for two and a half years. We are in love and happy. My boyfriend’s best friend/investment buddy is jealous of what we have. This “best friend” has approached me several times when the coast is clear to give me a piece of his mind. He accuses me of “stealing” his friend. This really upsets me because he never acted this way until he and his girlfriend broke up. Now he expects my boyfriend to be available at the drop of a hat to go out and be his wing man. And I am somehow the “bad guy.” WTF—can you please tell me … how can I respectfully tell him to get off of my case? I feel like I walk on eggshells and I hate it. I brought it to my boyfriend’s attention and he thinks it’s weird too. I don’t want to cause a fight—I just don’t want my relationship tortured.
He’s My Boyfriend, Not His
Dear My Boyfriend,
First of all, no matter what happens, you’re not causing a fight. If this blows up, it’s your husband’s obnoxious friend who’s causing it, not you.
Frankly, you need to expect a heck of a lot more from your boyfriend here. This is his problem to address. He needs to let his friend know that he has to back off – they can still go out occasionally, but as long as you’re his girlfriend, most of his time is going to be spent with you. And this friend is not to harass you about it, period.
If your boyfriend is unwilling to do this, I think you should take a serious look at whether you really want a partner who won’t put you first in a situation like this. Maybe these two buds will get a lot more time together after all.
Last week I was in the car with my nine-year old daughter and her friend. We were chatting about this and that when out of the blue, the friend told us quite casually that her older cousin, with whom she lives, comes into her bedroom at night, crawls into her bed and touches her “privates.” I tried to stay calm, but I nearly drove off the road when she dropped this bombshell. I asked her how she felt about this—she said “icky”, and what she did when the cousin comes into the room—she pretends to be asleep. Then I asked her if she had talked with her parents or another trusted adult about this—she hadn’t. When I got home I called her folks and told them about our conversation. They were stunned, angry, scared, hurt, puzzled, you name it. I don’t know the parents well, and I’d like to follow up to see how the girl is doing, but I don’t want to be the nosy neighbor. How can I tactfully inquire about this without crossing the line into creepydom? And do I have any legal obligation to do anything more than inform the parents as to what I was told?
Dear J’s Mom,
This girl has told an adult what has happened to her—you. It may not be a welcome burden, but your first priority now must be to make sure she’s safe.
I think you should call the parents up and be frank. Tell them what she told you. You can say that you were very concerned and you’re sorry for intruding, but you wanted to check in and make sure everything’s okay. With this girl’s well-being at stake, I wouldn’t worry too much about seeming creepy.
You don’t say where you live, but if it’s in Rhode Island, you do have a legal obligation to report suspected abuse of any kind to the R.I. Department of Children, Youth & Families within twenty-four hours. Check out this link to their website for more information: http://www.dcyf.ri.gov/child_welfare/reporting.php.
Regardless of your legal obligations here, you have an overriding ethical one: you must do whatever is necessary to help this girl who has entrusted you with this terrible information. If her parents are minimally competent, they will be glad their daughter confided in someone who was willing to get involved.
Photo credit: Flickr / gre.ceres