Q. As a mother, I’m sure you can empathize. My daughter married a four-door, gold-plated cheater. I frankly do not know why he bothered to get married — or why my daughter wanted him. Maybe she thought being married would make him less of an alley cat. They “celebrated” their 15th anniversary last month. While my daughter does not complain, she has made no secret of the fact that she is mulling over giving this guy the gate. Their children are now teenagers, and so, by my lights, a divorce would not be the end of the world. (My daughter does not work because the skunk makes a nice living.) If I am flat-out asked for my opinion, what would you advise me to say?
A. Having been around since ice covered the earth (well, almost), I have formed an opinion about these kinds of men, and that opinion is best expressed by the late Arizona congressman Mo Udall, who quipped, “That condition can only be cured with embalming fluid.”
I also believe in being truthful when asked for an opinion. Should your daughter open the door to this discussion, the honest and constructive thing to say is that these situations don’t get better, they get worse, and she would have your blessings and moral support were she to change her life and return to a single state. The decision, of course, must be hers — and like some other things in life, it would be more advantageous if made sooner rather than later.
Q. My husband and I met and fell head over heels for each other. “I love yous” were exchanged quickly. A couple of months into our relationship, I saw that he had posted some inappropriate and suggestive comments on a “friend’s” Facebook page. I asked him about it, and he said he was trying to “boost her self-esteem,” apologized and took the comments down.
A couple of months later, he lied about the circumstances under which he had lunch with his ex-wife. (They supposedly ran into each other, but I found out it was requested by him.) I called him on it and said I didn’t appreciate being lied to. We moved on and got engaged, and I then saw an extremely explicit Facebook chat with his son’s ex-girlfriend. You can imagine the age difference and my disgust. I nearly broke off the engagement, but I yielded to his assurances that nothing like that would ever happen again.
Fast-forward: We’ve been married for two years. We’ve had some fairly sizable arguments over his need for attention and approval from other women. I don’t actually believe he has cheated on me physically, but I recently found out he lied to me again about taking women to lunch while traveling for business.
I’ve had enough; I have a hard time believing anything he says. Now he wants to go to counseling and says I need to keep the “commitment” to our marriage. I say that I’m out of “chances” and do not want to waste more time with empty promises and assurances. I feel like we would just be delaying the inevitable. He’s definitely pushing my guilt buttons, and he knows my propensity to do what I “should” do in the eyes of others.
A. First of all, “the eyes of others” fit in nowhere in a decision about a marriage, because others are in no position to know what is going on or how it feels.
Second, are you waiting for a building to fall on your head? This man is a serial liar whose promises mean nothing. And what you call “his need for attention and approval from other women” is the kiss of death — for him. I agree with you about not wasting any more time. If you do, you could very well wake up as a middle-age woman with a rotten marriage and a husband who has lots of “likes” on Facebook.