Q. I am having an awful problem. I’m married to a wonderful man, and we love each other, but it seems that he may want to separate. Someone in my family made a comment about his religion, saying he may not be going to heaven since he’s not a Christian. I obviously don’t believe this and have told him so many times. He is still very upset and sometimes talks in terms of “if we stay together . . .”
I’m devastated. I love this man more than anything. Even now, as he’s trying to decide what he wants to do, he tells me he loves me. I am confused and scared that he’s going to leave me over this situation. He says he needs time to sort this out, and I am trying to give it to him. What do you think is really going on here?
A. I think the person he should separate from is the idiot relative who said such a dumb, bigoted, and insulting thing, and I would tell him you wholeheartedly support him. I think if you make it clear that you were horrified at that narrowness of thinking on the part of your family member and offer to join him in staying out of his or her company, that would help the situation.
It is an odd disconnect, however, to be insulted by a family member and then think of leaving your wife. The only wild card I see is that he may have used this unfortunate comment as a cover for some other marital unhappiness. It seems to me the only remark capable of blowing apart a marriage would have to come from the spouse — and even then, one remark would appear to be overkill. Good luck with sorting this out, and let me know what happens.
Q. I am in my mid-20s and am part of what we call a “girl gang.” Eight of us have remained friends from college and we all wound up working in New York City. One member of our group is causing a problem the rest of us don’t know how to deal with. She is nice enough looking, but you wouldn’t put her on a magazine cover, if you get my drift.
The thing is that every once in a while someone will compliment her on an outfit or her hairstyle, and then she’s off and running: Should she approach a modeling agency? Should she go to open calls and try to be an actress? We’ve tried to tread delicately by saying that to be an actress you need training and bred-in-the-bone talent, and to be a model requires more than someone saying, “My, you’re attractive.” Can you tell us what to do and what to say?
A. Oh, my. Your friend sounds like the girl who’s told she’s attractive and then decides she should be the next Miss Universe. I suspect this friend may be somewhat insecure about her looks, or perhaps she always wished to be a beauty, ergo there’s a psychological component to her taking a compliment and turning it into a Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade balloon.
I suggest your group be supportive, second the compliment, and then try to bring her back to earth. A flattering hairstyle does not a model make. And you are in New York, after all, a mecca for beautiful people. What you might consider doing is suggesting she try going to a modeling agency or to an open call . . . and then your “girl gang” is off the hook.