Dear Prudence

Let Them Eat Cake

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Dear Prudie,

As the most sensible person on earth, you are the obvious person to turn to about this silly thing that I can’t get out of my head. I thought I’d let it go years ago, but in the last few weeks it’s even been in my dreams. Here’s the issue: Ten years ago, my husband and I had a smallish, informal wedding. Our mothers each wanted to contribute something special and were enthusiastic when I suggested they each make a wedding cake. I gave them two favorite recipes and all seemed fine. So the day arrived. The carrot cake was delicious (thanks, Mom) and then there was a cheesecake—not what I had asked for. My mother-in-law told me without apology that she didn’t feel like making the recipe I’d given her.

I now have three unbelievably fantastic children, a 10-year mostly good marriage, a successful career, and no wish to be petty. (Incidentally, my mother-in-law’s a loving grandmother.) So Prudie, tell me: When one agrees to make a wedding cake, isn’t the idea to do what the bride asks—or is it OK to just show up with the wrong cake? Was this just obtuseness, or some kind of passive-aggressive act? (One possible complicating factor: I was seven months pregnant when I married, and my future mother-in-law argued vehemently for an abortion.) Given that this seemingly trivial act is even in my dreams these days, do you think I should ask her what she was up to, or just get over it already?

—Wedding Woes Long Past (Or Should Be)

Dear Wed,

You are obsessing about cake from 10 years ago? Honey, you gotta get a hobby. The most sensible person on earth thinks that the “wrong cake” may have been a little acting out, but so what? Your life sounds pretty good, and you say that the cheesecake maker has been a doting grandmother. Do not bring this up because there is nothing to be gained. As mother-in-law digs go, cheesecake doesn’t even make the Top 10.

—Prudie, maturely


Somehow, somewhere, I got it in my head that I wanted a threesome … me, my husband, and a woman we would both agree on. I talked my rather conservative husband into doing this, however he is still uneasy with it. Our problem is we are not sure if this is just a fantasy that should be kept as that or if we should venture into what has become a sexual obsession. We’ve both thought of the replications [sic] if it went badly, but we think we could handle it in an adult manner and just enjoy the new sexual experience. What do you think?


Dear M,

Prudie thinks she is not going to tell you it’s OK to sleep three in a bed. Fantasies are fine, however. It is obvious that you, particularly, are looking to spice up your love life, so in lieu of sprinkling cloves or curry powder on the sheets, you might consider getting some videos—either “instructional” or “dramatic,” sex toys, or mirrors on the ceiling. When you mention that both of you have thought of the “replications,” Prudie feels certain that you meant either repercussions or complications, but let’s be Freudians and go with “replications”: Pretend that the extra woman would become pregnant and louse up your lives forever.

—Prudie, assuredly

Hello, Ms. Prudence,

I am a 25-year-old married man. My wife and I dated for about three years before we married three weeks ago. A few days ago she told me she’s been having an affair for the past seven weeks. She blamed it on my being gone, her need for attention, and something about co-dependence. I think I love her and want to give her another chance. She, on the other hand, is not sure if she wants to stay together. She says she needs her “space.” She still sees the other man, and now is open about it. My best friend says let her go, but I am not sure. I don’t want to be rash.

—Twice Burned

Dear Twice,

Guess what—married people don’t date. According to your calculations, your bride was carrying on a month before your wedding and during the first three weeks of the marriage! And keep in mind that she told you for a reason: She wanted you to know. Forget about attention and co-dependence, but by all means give her her “space.” And make it a legal space, while you’re at it. You might even be able to get an annulment. Prudie promises you it is not rash to unhitch from a situation like the one you describe. Better luck next time—and you are young, so of course there will be a next time.

—Prudie, sputteringly


I need to get an unbiased opinion. I’m 24 and have been married to a wonderful girl for the past 2 and 1/2 years. She and I have a very good relationship, we’re great friends and have a lot in common. However, I have always felt there is something missing, but so far haven’t been able to put my finger on it. We’ve tried talking about this, but any time I bring up any negative feelings my wife gets very upset and withdraws. To make matters worse, I have a very good female friend I’ve known for about two years. We met through business and our friendship has grown by the day. Lately, I’ve noticed my feelings for her have gone past friendship, and she knows this. I try my best to fight these feelings and have never acted on them. But the more I fight these feelings, the worse I feel, and the stronger they become. How do you know if you married the wrong person? I feel like I’ve fallen in love with someone when I didn’t want to! HELP!


Dear Con,

Well, Prudie’s wise mother has a saying: Love is friendship that has caught fire. To directly answer your question, you know you’ve married the wrong person when someone else moves in and occupies your mind and you feel you’ve fallen in love, despite yourself. Because of all the positives that you mention about your wife, however, you should insist that the two of you explore whatever may be going on (or not going on) with a counselor before you call it a day. By today’s standards, you married young, so there’s a chance you don’t feel you played the field long enough. While Prudie would implore you not to be hasty, she would also encourage you to listen to your heart. Sorry to offer a two-handed answer, “on the one hand … but on the other hand,” but your situation—your life—deserves time and thought.

—Prudie, carefully