My husband of seven years is a serial cheater who\’s left me and our young son about 300 times. We\’re separated now, and he\’s engaged to his latest affair partner, but that didn\’t stop him from trying to sleep with my happily married friend or e-mailing me and begging me to take him back. Last week, I ran into his fiancee and showed her the e-mails. Needless to say, I broke them up. He says he\’s laughing at both of us now, but I think we had the last laugh, don\’t you?
— The Wife
I think your son\’s therapist will have the last laugh — probably while looking out over the yachts and vacation homes your son\’s bought her.
I also think your letter should remind the "family values" types in a panic to stop gay people from marrying and having kids to be a little more worried about all the straight people doing it. After all, for a gay couple, starting a family takes lawyers, adoption agencies and Guatemalan orphanages; it isn\’t like "Jeff" is going to wake up one morning with a shy smile on his face, turn to "Steve" and announce, "Guess who\’s pregnant!"
In my fantasy, the only people, gay or straight, who\’d be allowed to raise children are those who are almost too terrified, lest their progeny be best known as the fifth grade\’s top crack dealer. In reality, while you need a license to fish or cut hair, having kids takes only working ovaries and a sperm supplier; if not a willing one, one too drunk to parse whether "the pill" the woman\’s on is the birth control variety — or Advil.
There was a time to wonder whether you were enough of a grownup to be a parent — and it was long before Junior\’s 15th or 20th trimester. But first things first: wondering whether you were grown up enough to get married — ideally, prior to tying the knot with the kind of guy who not only has extramarital affairs, but extra-affair affairs, and probably needs flash cards to keep all the names straight. Still, even after you tied the knot, you could\’ve admitted you\’d made a mistake. Instead, you made a baby. Wheee! Cootchie-cootchie-crimewave!
What were you planning on doing, crossing your fingers and hoping your kid wouldn\’t grow up to pistol-whip and carjack Granny? Maybe he can\’t have two good parents, but if he\’s going to have some semblance of one, you\’ll have to bow out of the marital version of "Last Comic Standing." To do that, people will tell you you\’ll have to forgive the floozy magnet. They\’re wrong. Forgiving means excusing somebody\’s behavior. His behavior isn\’t excusable. What you need to do is accept reality: Nothing you say or do will make a devoted husband and father out of "Who\’s yer daddy."
You two owe your kid a happy childhood. Daddy needs to decide how involved he\’ll be in his son\’s life. Consistency is key. Refrain from badmouthing him, even silently, by sneering or eye-rolling, which your kid is bound to pick up on. As for healthy adult role models, it\’s clearly going to take a village. Join forces with healthy parents and families, and hang out with them regularly with your kid. Pick up two copies of The Good Divorce, by Dr. Constance Ahrons, so you and his dad can learn to parent as "cooperative colleagues" instead of vengeful brats. Hilarious as using his affairs as your personal whoopee cushion must be, you\’d better stop laughing and get to work burying the hatchet, or some shrink is going to spend a lot of years trying to pull it out of your kid.
Heinie happy people
I\’ve been seeing a 25-year-old woman for a short time. She isn\’t overweight by any means, but she definitely has a booty. I really like that on a woman, but she\’s self-conscious about it, and always covers it up in baggy clothes because her ex used to call her "wide ride" and other names. What can I do to help?
— Bringing Up The Rear
There\’s never been a better time to have a big dumpster. For an increasing number of women, butt implants are the new boob job. For a less invasive boost, there\’s underwear with built-in butt falsies. Unfortunately, nobody\’s come up with a prosthesis for flat, saggy self-worth — which is typically what makes a woman stick with a guy who calls her mean names. A girlfriend who\’s lacking on the inside is likely to make any relationship misery on some level, or at least kind of a drag. If that doesn\’t dissuade you, all you can do is keep showing and telling her how hot you find her — not despite but because of her apparent need to special-order panties from the company that made the cover for the Astrodome.