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Advice Goddess

Amy Alkon drags people, kicking, screaming, and laughing, out of their misery with her behavioral science-based advice column, which runs in about 100 newspapers.

Buy her science-based and bitingly funny new advice book, "Good Manners For Nice People Who Sometimes Say F*ck" (St. Martin's Press, June 3, 2014).

Got a problem? E-mail Amy at AdviceAmy@aol.com.

This Is Where You Draw The Spine and Wishful Finking 

Thursday, Sep 8 2011

This Is Where You Draw The Spine

My boyfriend lives in Germany, and I'm in Switzerland (a one-hour plane ride away). His close female friend is getting married, and I'm not invited to the wedding. Last spring, when we were broken up for three months, he had a fling with the bride's friend. As a courtesy to the fling woman, I'm blacklisted. Last summer, when we got back together, I asked that he clear up things with his fling immediately, which he agreed to do. Our relationship grew stronger for a couple weeks, and then I learned he was going on vacation with her. (He had already booked the trip and didn't want to cancel!) Fun fact: He wrote me a postcard while away with her. I was incredibly hurt. Only when I screamed at him afterward did he muster the courage to break up with her. Since then, he has been nothing short of wonderful and tells me I'm "the one." I love him, but I'm feeling humiliated by this wedding situation. He has promised to try to persuade the bride to invite me but feels he shouldn't miss her wedding.
— The Girlfriend

 

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What kind of man sends his girlfriend a postcard from his sex vacation with his fling? Well, probably one who got to the gift shop too late to buy her an "I Cheated On You At Euro Disney" snow globe or an "I Had Sex With Another Woman At Lake Lucerne" bobblehead.

Happily, you report that the guy's been "nothing short of wonderful" post-vacation — save for how quick he was to throw you under the wedding bus "as a courtesy" to his ex-sex friend. Your boyfriend — let's call him "Werner von Bendover" — is a suckup of legendary proportions. As hurtful as this has been for you, he probably isn't driven by malevolence, just a crushing need to be liked. This is tough to overcome because it typically traces back to parents who gave conditional love ("I'll love you, you rotten kid, if you dry the dishes"). He has no problem saying no to you — probably because he feels secure that you love him — but for everyone else, it's "Shall I lick your boots or just use my toothbrush and a little soapy water?"

A people pleaser is an emotional chameleon, constantly transforming himself into the person he thinks other people want him to be. If your boyfriend ever had values and opinions of his own, they're probably so long gone that he has no idea how to find them. (Too bad you can't look them up on Facebook like an old school chum: "Hey, whassup?!") It was only when you made some squeak of objection about the vacation plans — letting old Werner know he'd displeased you — that he flew into action. He wasn't about to cancel and disappoint "the other woman" and his travel agent just to preserve the dignity of the woman he (supposedly) loves. But, he did loop you in with a postcard: "Gerta wore her milkmaid outfit today. Wish you were here!"

Don't you think you deserve a man who treats you more like "the one" than the one he sells out first? If so, the only German you should be with now is a German shepherd — one you borrow to help you search for the word "dealbreaker," which seems to have been kidnapped from your vocabulary. Likewise, if you find this man "wonderful," it's because you've downgraded your idea of wonderful, and you'd best take a long, wonderful bath in raw sewage so you can contemplate how you'll keep yourself from engaging in anything so wonderful ever again.

 

 

Wishful Finking

A woman I ran into mentioned an affair she had with a man we both know and revealed that he's had many affairs with different women over the past five years. This man's wife is a friend. (We teach at the same school.) Do I tell her about her philandering husband?
— Disturbed

 

The average wife doesn't snoop through her husband's cellphone history because she has a funny feeling that he's got three other families in three other states or that he's a weekend serial killer who dresses up as a clown. But, the possibility that a husband might cheat has to cross every wife's mind. Although a whole lot of wives would want to be told, don't assume that of all wives. If this guy is having serial affairs, he's probably leaving serial evidence — or at least some evidence. Maybe for this wife, the most comfortable sex position is "head in the sand." Avoid setting yourself up as the cheating husband news agency unless you know her pretty well — well enough to know whether their marital arrangement is the traditional "Forsake all others… " or "Forsake all others except on Tuesdays when the EconoLodge has a really good deal."

 

 

***CANADA ONLY: In first line of answer, please replace "states" with "provinces"

(c)2011, Amy Alkon, all rights reserved. Got a problem? Write Amy Alkon, 171 Pier Ave, #280, Santa Monica, CA 90405, or e-mail AdviceAmy@aol.com (www.advicegoddess.com)

Read Amy Alkon's book: "I SEE RUDE PEOPLE: One woman's battle to beat some manners into impolite society" (McGraw-Hill, $16.95).

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