Helpful Advice: An Advice Column is a column where you tell me your most deeply held secrets and I answer them for fun and profit. Feel free to send any inquiries to jordan.alan.carr “at” gmail.com. All your problems solved or your money back.
For the past few weeks my husband Marty has been staying out late, giving no intimation as to where he’s been. He says he can’t tell me what he’s been up to because he recently “took stock of his life” and decided he needed more time for himself. It’s been very upsetting and I’m worried about the example he is setting for our 10-year-old son, from whom it is becoming increasingly difficult to hide this erratic behavior.
And yet, I still love him. He’s charming and sweet and a great father (most of the time). But it’s upsetting that he keeps this secret from me. I do trust him and want to believe that whatever he is hiding is harmless, but it’s harder to do that with each passing day. I’ve tried and tried to talk to Marty about it, but he just asks that I trust him and leave it be. I just want my husband back.
So, basically, what I’m asking is: in the face of all these problems, why is my instinct to ask a complete stranger to solve them for me in a public forum? Aren’t there some friends or family members I could speak to instead? Or is the very act of me writing to you a sign of something much more sinister happening to me?
Don’t get me wrong–I read every column you write and think your advice usually seems helpful. To be completely honest, I could find the answer to a problem fairly similar to mine in your archives. But I mean, on a purely logical level, I recognize that someone writing an advice column is not a purely disinterested observer. I know that you are paid to entertain. If you happen to help me with my problem in the service of writing an interesting column, that’s great, but I know that it’s much more important valuable to provide a cathartic moment for your readers than it is to provide a long-term solution for my problems.
And on that point, to what extent can you provide a long-term solution to my problems? I know you’re not going to follow up in six months to see how things are going with me and Marty. Maybe he’ll have left me, or maybe we’ll have seen a couples therapist and found a way to express ourselves more effectively. Maybe he’s been cheating on me this whole time, but I’ll forgive him, and end up feeling trapped because of our son, who I’ll resent and end up damaging much more than if we had gotten an amicable divorce.
Is this some sort of weird exhibitionism on my part? The details of my story are such that anyone who knows us well could easily figure out who we are. My husband’s name isn’t Marty, but it starts with an “M” and has two syllables. Do I want him to find this? If he did, I would expect that he’d view it as a pretty massive betrayal of our trust. Maybe I’m writing this because I want this relationship to explode and don’t have the strength to break it off myself. It’s certainly a possibility.
I should probably just insist on talking to my husband about this like a pair of adults rather than making a big spectacle of our marital troubles, shouldn’t I?
Against Crass, Rude Or Negatively Yelled Messages