Advice

Miss Information

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Have a question? Email erin@nerve.com. Letters may be edited for length, content and clarity.


Dear Miss Information,

Is it okay that I just stumbled upon many naked/semi-naked photos of a woman my fiancé cheated on me with on the computer I share with him? They cheated in October of 2006; these photos were downloaded Spring 2008. We became engaged shortly before then, and have been living together since August 2006. If he just happened upon these photos on MySpace or some other such public site and downloaded them to jack off to without her knowledge, well, it wouldn’t be my favorite thing. But I suppose that’s something that happens. I am livid right now, drinking a bourbon and trying to think of cute fuzzy kittens in order to not walk into our bedroom and strangle him! Even if she didn’t send him the photos and they are not in communication, I also discovered he sent a photo of the sunset to an ex-girlfriend this very evening. Am I just overly jealous? Or should I be running for the hills faster than Julia Roberts in Runaway Bride? — Diamonds are for a Month or Two


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Dear Diamonds,

You’re not overly jealous so much as overly snoopy. But given his background, you have good reason. I can think of any number of men you’d be better off marrying, including those who brush their teeth with garlic, own and operate puppy mills, and/or reside in correctional facilities. Diamonds, you’re smarter than this. Perhaps you thought everything would get better once you guys were engaged. And for a while, they were. There’s always a lot of hype that surrounds the setting of the date and the buying of the ring. Even those who aren’t into all that traditional crap still get off on the feelings of elation and security. Now it’s wearing off and you’re back to getting drunk and trolling through his hard drive and looking for resolution in Julia Roberts vehicles. I’ll put this more clearly than the folks at Paramount ever will: now is not the time to get married.

He’s not ready. A cheater who genuinely wants to make amends will stay the hell away from the woman with whom he cheated. He will feel cautious about interacting with any female, whether it’s a coworker or the girl at the drive-thru. ("It was only a MexiMelt! She meant nothing to me!") He will not email his exes or send them cutesy nature scenes. Each time you guys get more serious, he does something to sabotage it. You move in together, he cheats. You get engaged, he cheats. He can be apologetic and say whatever he wants, but I see a pattern emerging.

You’re not ready, either. You’re spending way too much of your time and energy on these fact-finding missions. If he really wants to cheat he’s going to find a way. Knowledge is just knowledge, and it’s second-hand knowledge at that. You can’t control the universe. You’re not just worrying about real-life women, you’re also formulating complicated hypotheses about precisely how he chooses to resolve his boners. Are you sure you’re up for this all this speculation and drama? Does this sound like a fun way to spend the next thirty, forty, fifty years?

If you’re serious enough to be using the m-word, you’re serious enough to get to counseling. Confront him with what you know and a short list of therapists’ names and numbers. After everything that’s happened, he should be ready to accompany you in a stretch limo and a sharkskin tuxedo. If he refuses, that’s one more strike. How many more before you drop him for the season?
 

Dear Miss Info,

Recently my ex-boyfriend slept with one of my best friends, who is also his housemate. I have forgiven my friend, but I haven’t forgiven my ex-boyfriend. He’s been lying and promising and cheating for a good while, and this is the last straw. I still love him, and I know I have to stay far, far away to avoid any craziness. The problem is: tiny town, same group of friends, no escape. My ethical dilemma is this: my housemate is having a going away party, and I know he is coming. Should I stay at my house and try to avoid getting drunk, crying like a mad woman and slumping in a corner listening to Air Supply? Or should I go somewhere else, be sane, and maybe meet someone new? — Down and Out Down Under

What do you want me to say, Down and Out? You know the right choice. You’re just writing me for confirmation. A party with your philandering ex sounds lame. Don’t go to it. I know you’re looking forward to showing everyone how much you don’t care and what a good time you can have being so stoic and mature. But wouldn’t you rather take a spontaneous road trip or hang out a friend’s house, smoking a bong and watching bad cable? Your ex is one of those people who thrives on drama. Completely denying him is the best revenge of them all.

If you do decide to stay put, let’s talk about harm reduction.

Party Rule #1: Assign yourself a chaperone. Their job is to: keep you from drinking, moping, starting fights and forcing you to vacate if the situation gets dicey. They will look hot (but not hotter than you), laugh at everything you say (but not too much), and brag up your every accomplishment. It’s a low-rent version of the personal assistant, not to be confused with wingman/wingwoman. This is more about nannyship than getting laid.

Party Rule #2: Come late, leave early. Arrive sober and fresh and you’ll automatically have the upper hand. Leave early and everyone will be left wondering what awesomeness you have planned for later in the evening. I realize the party location makes the logistics a bit harder, but there are ways around it. Spring for a hotel with an indoor pool and take a mini-vacation, or bring your laptop to an all-night coffee shop and see what effect fifteen cups of coffee has on your writing.

Party Rule #3: Don’t be juvenile. There’s ignoring someone, then there’s full-frontal-assault ignoring, the latter of which involves shooting hateful stares and whispering insults and giggling every time he approaches the buffet table. Remember that all eyes will be on you and all behaviors will be magnified by 100 degrees. Stay away if you can’t behave. No one’s buying the "What? I didn’t say anything!"

Party Rule #4: Play Air Supply. Tons of it. Then you won’t have to worry about all this ex hoo-ha. All your party guests will book it. Except for moi. I’ll be making out with a bearded young man in a poly-blend shirt and bell bottoms. Can we get a little privacy, please?

Previous Miss Info

©2008 Erin Bradley and Nerve.com