Since You Asked: Advice the Columnists Won't Dare Give (Nov. 22, 2008)
She's also stayed in touch with previous lovers but lies about it because she knows I dislike it. How do I get her to come clean without her thinking I'm snooping?
I'm on the verge of bailing before going bankrupt, but this could destroy her career plans. I hope I can say no to paying for everything, but I find it hard to say no.
If she’s lying to you about her income, soaking you for money and talking to old lovers behind your back, and you still find it hard to say no to her, you’re too stupid to take any advice you get. I’m surprised you could pick the pen up to write this letter. Forget about getting her to “come clean.” I doubt she even remembers what that word means. Break it off. Now.
And I’ve got news for you: she already has a “career.” It’s the oldest one in the world.
DEAR MARGO: I have been married to my husband for 12 years. He is supportive and loving, totally devoted to me, and the best father I could imagine for our children. My sisters, however, keep telling me I am wasting my time with him and that I could "do better." Their main issue with my husband is that he isn't "successful." We'd both like to be more financially stable, but employment-wise he's had a rough road, and for many years I was the breadwinner. He is currently earning all the money in the family, and we are finally doing better financially, but this isn't good enough for my sisters. Neither of them is in a happy marriage, but they both have the luxury of plenty of money, even though they pace the halls of their large houses wondering where their husbands are sleeping at night. How can I get my sisters to see there's more to a man than what's in his wallet?
You can’t. To them, there is nothing more to a man than what's in his wallet. They've both measured their husbands exclusively by their bank accounts and they've been paid back accordingly, only to find that the view from the country club terrace isn't exciting anymore. Oops. And their husbands are unfaithful? Shocking.
So the next time they start ragging at you, say, “We’re doing well financially, AND I know where he is every night. Can you say the same?” Then ask them to send you a postcard sometime from that place where they’re “doing better.”
DEAR ABBY: My husband and I moved to the South and enrolled our son in a private Christian school. Many times when meeting other parents I am asked, "What service do you attend?" The truth is, my husband and I are not particularly religious, and we don't attend church.
How should I respond without feeling like a bad person or a bad parent?
-- MEMBER OF NO CHURCH, IN TENNESSEE
"The valet service."
DEAR MARGO: I am 34 and have been dating a man, 42, for two years. We've both been married and divorced twice. He has a 7-year-old from his second marriage. When we first started seeing each other it was just for fun. Neither of us thought it would go anywhere. But now, two years later, I am in love and he says he has no intention of ever getting remarried -- even though he has "feelings" for me. He won't come out and say he loves me. His wife cheated on him, and he says he never wants anything more than what we have now.
From the beginning he said he wouldn't let my dog come over (she does now) or let me spend the night (I do all the time now, except when his son is there). We save money together for vacations, and when we attend marriages or funerals we always sign the tags as a couple. We also go to church together. I have done my best to be patient, but I have to think about my future. I want to be able to start a family and a future with the man I love. Some friends say two years is too long for him not to say "I love you."
As for me, I believe he shows it every day just by giving all that he has -- when he said from the beginning that he wasn't going to give at all. Should I stay in the relationship or just move on?
--- WAITING PATIENTLY
Listen to your heart. This guy sounds like a husband in everything but name. Don’t throw away a great gift because of the wrapping paper. Of course you have to think about your future, but there’s no reason that it can’t include him—you said yourself he’s doing many of the things he said he’d never do. Obviously, he's not in the same frame of mind that he was at the very beginning, so you've made lots of progress already. Give it more time—you might just get a ring yet.
And don't listen to your friends about this. Best friends are wonderful for advice unless it’s about marriage—they never want to see anyone happier than they are.