Partner Paranoia, Ex-Capades + Dream Jerks
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE
Because your genitalia is not going to help itself.
By Eugene S. Robinson
Sure — I’m Crazy
EUGENE, SIR: My husband let me use his phone just briefly, and while doing so, I noticed he was texting someone I didn’t know. And when I opened the text, he and this other friend of his were getting kind of flirty. He has actively advocated that we keep our own friends, despite my attempts to have co-friends. Says there’s nothing wrong with this. But the “friends” he has are all guys that are his type. Now this flirty thing, and accusations that I am insecure and clingy. He says not to worry. This is depressing. But I’m trying to be less insecure and clingy. Techniques for doing so? —Gay, Not Happy
Dear Don’t You Believe It:
There are a few things that are guaranteed to achieve the exact opposite of what they profess to address. To wit, not a single person was ever relaxed by hearing “Calm down,” and if there was ever a reason to worry, it’s hearing someone say, “Don’t worry.” While it might comfortably be understood that men with men might be a fundamentally cooler mating because men understand men, the truth is that what people “understand” is what we tell them, even if what we tell them is total bullshit.
So the circumstances under which you are married, based on your aforementioned query, probably had everything to do with the whole “forsaking all others.” He agreed to it. You agreed to it. And while you are both men who know men, well, he agreed to it and you agreed to it. But it takes more than words to break free of biology, and you — more than anyone — should know that whatever he’s doing, he’s doing it because it’s “not that big of a deal.” Not to make you miserable or sad.
This last fact probably doesn’t and shouldn’t make a single bit of difference to you, since he agreed to it. But don’t be a fool. At this point, you can either remove the incentive to lie by bringing the extracurriculars in-house, fundamentally changing what you agreed to. Or you can live a lie. Which is: “I guess he really is bowling tonight. With the boys. ’Til 3 a.m.”
The good news about living with a lie? It shames by proxy any but the most severe sociopath and will outlast them. And maybe things will be OK. The bad news about living with a lie? Sometimes it affects the truth. In an aggressively painful fashion. Like when they leave you. You have been duly warned.
Exes Marking the Spot
EUGENE, SIR: My ex needs a place to live. My girlfriend and I have room. I kind of brought it up. Not super-well-received but not totally opposed. There’s no hanky-panky with me and the ex — I just feel better rooming with people I know. Should I push this? —Not So Oddly Coupled
Dear Mr. Suicide:
I remember once there was this French movie in which a man lived with his wife and her mother, and at the film’s climax, a-hem, he cut his own penis off with an electric carving knife. It turns out I misremembered a lot of what was going on in this 1976 film called The Last Woman. His wife actually left him, and he lived with his girlfriend and the first wife’s baby. But one thing I got right, though: the penis thing.
I tell you this for a very specific reason. Or to paraphrase Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca: Out of all of the gin joints in the world, she needs to live in yours?!? You, sir, make it very hard for me to make the case that men “get it,” because you’re clearly not getting that homesteads are about predictability and control, and you would be willingly inviting into yours everything but.
They become good friends? You’re screwed. Not necessarily in the good way. They become enemies? You’re screwed. In the very bad way.
Do. Not. Do. This. Words to the unwise.
I Had a Dream
EUGENE, SIR: A co-worker keeps telling me about dreams she’s having that involve me. Drag. I mean, I got the point. Now I want to stop the point. How do I do this without poisoning my work world? —Sleepless in Sacto
Dear Hinty McHinty:
Well, you could go to HR, which stinks every inch of the way like tattling to the teacher. You could also fire off a counter-hint with a dollop of lie about how you dream about Justin Bieber, Mykonos and backrubs. You could counter-hint with a brunt and hurtful truth, throwing the “poisoning the work world” thing out of the window. Or you could do exactly what I’d do as Captain of the Buzzkill Army, and that’s just say simply and without much adornment: “Dreams make me sad.”
Then you sigh. Deeply. And turn joylessly back to your computer.
She may try to laugh this off and say, “No, silly, it wasn’t that kind of dream,” countering your counter. At which point it’s your move, and the only one I would professionally advise: Start crying.
If this doesn’t do it, then … wait. This will do it. You have our “Sex With Eugene” guarantee! You can thank us later.