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@example.com.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!”
John is a middle-aged family man from Providence, Rhode Island. If you learn from your mistakes, he’s brilliant. Write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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