A long time ago, Shepherd created folders and tags for my blog inbox, mostly categories like “Family” and “Friendship” and “Work,” but also a few like “LW Behaving Badly,” “What Is This I Don’t Even,” and “This is Not Penthouse.”
I really, really, really try to be kind and gentle and find somebody to root for in every situation, but sometimes I fail.Today, I thought, instead of publishing certain letters with those tags, I would answer the questions but save the Letter Writers some embarrassment and the Internet from seeing some things that can’t be unseen.
Think of it as a New Year’s cleanse for upsetting content.
1 Hmmmm let’s do some math:
- You’re 47 and your new girlfriend is 23,
- You’ve “been good friends” “for 8 or 9years,”
- The wife you just left her for is also 47,
- Your own kids are 16 and 17,
- You used the words “technically legal adult” and “soulmate” in the same sentence more than once.
Like, enjoy your newfound happiness, I guess? Since you are “technically legal adults,” I certainly can’t stop you!
But if everyone who already likes and loves you is giving you a wide berth all of a sudden, I can only assume they did the same Creep Math I did and are now wondering if you serially groom lots of teens or just this one.
Sometimes getting what you want and having everyone’s trust and good opinion are mutually exclusive.
2 I accept that “there’s nothing I can say” to make you leave him, and both ethical and logistical constraints prevent me from standing outside your house with with a boombox looping Goodbye Earl, so it appears we are at an impasse.
There’s a part of you that knows that a happy ending for you involves getting away from your abuser (or you wouldn’t have picked me, of all people, to write to), so I’m going to take some hope from that and keep right on wishing you peace, safety, and freedom.
3 I wish you had options other than making peace with someone you dislike in order to keep a roof over your head, but antagonizing your boyfriend’s mom further at the cost of safe housing while you’ve got a baby on the way is not in anyone’s best interest. There’s a difference between being disliked and being harmed or abused. For now, I recommend that you deploy a strategic* apology, find a way to be very polite, neutral, and boring when you interact with her, do your fair share of household chores with minimal fuss, and stay away from stressful topics until you have a much more stable situation.Let your boyfriend take charge of interacting with his mom while you focus on getting enough rest and food and otherwise taking care of yourself.
*You don’t have to feel sorry in order to say sorry, sometimes it’s necessary to say the words to defuse a situation and stop things from getting worse.
4 Whoa, thanks for the incredibly detailed accounting of your sex life as a dating couple and newlywed! I’ll enter all the stats about “precisely which acts” and “approximately how often” into the spreadsheet to prepare for The Audit, I think it will really build a logickal case for why your wife should continue maintaining quarterly orgasm quotas even though she just gave birth to an entire human. Your arguments re: “I know she’s recovering from labor but it’s not like she couldn’t do oral!” were especially fleshed out, and definitely did not make me never want to see, touch, or think about a penis ever again.
If your data is to be believed, your wife clearly loves you and likes having sex with you a whole lot. Someday, when her body starts to feel like her own again, she will probably enjoy it again. But right now, I promise you, I PROMISE YOU, she DOES NOT want to hear your worries about how your “level of intimacy” has changed.
If you want to be a candidate for Sexiest New Dad 2022, try making a meal and then holding the baby while your wife gets a whole plate of hot food inside her, then hand off the baby to her and eat yours. Facilitate her ability to take an uninterrupted nap or shower as often as humanly possible. Do your part to stem the Laundry Avalanche that a new baby creates. When in doubt, clean something. Run interference with intrusive or difficult relatives. Tell your wife that she looks beautiful and that she’s doing a good job. Be helpful and kind and nurturing and – THIS IS KEY – without treating any of it as a giant favor you’re doing or as a downpayment on sexytimes. You won’t die if you have to take your sexual pleasure into your own hands for a little while, but you will kill your marriage if you walk around with a giant sense that you’re owed something and that it’s your wife’s fault for not trying hard enough to “satisfy” you, when, if you haven’t noticed, she’s kinda busy. You’ll also destroy your relationship with both your wife and your kid if you treat the little fella like competition for your boner.
You have this shining, beautiful chance to not be That Guy. Please, I beg you, take it.
5 You “didn’t take sides” when you sent holiday invitations, but by inviting all of the known anti-vaxx, anti-mask loudmouths in your family for the holidays this year, you effectively disinvited everyone else, including kids too young to be vaccinated and their parents.
I hope Asshole Christmas was a good time and that you get to meet your tiny new niblings someday under safer circumstances. Until you guarantee/enforce safer circumstances, it’s probably not happening at your house.
All right, thank you for reading, happy new year! I don’t know about anyone else, but I feel a highly specific combination of better and worse after all that.