Dear Prudence

All Play and No Work

Get “Dear Prudence” delivered to your inbox each week; click hereto sign up.Please send your questions for publication to

Dear Prudence,
I am having a hard time trusting my husband. It all started two years ago when a girl from his office showed up at our house at 2 in the morning—drunk! I was more than furious. He claimed she wanted nothing more than to meet me. I basically let this pass, but during that year I would go over to his place of work and see them on a break together. I would ask him if anything was going on, and he would reply, “NO.” Well, after the birth of our second child, I received a letter from an anonymous person telling me something was going on with my husband and this girl while I was pregnant! I was shattered. I questioned him about this letter, and he told me it was all a lie. I didn’t believe him. The next day, the woman’s husband called to tell me his wife and my husband had had sexual relations while at work. Finally, I confronted him again, and he confessed. I was ready to leave him but he begged me not to. I find, though, that I can’t forgive him. I keep wondering if he’s lying again. Most of all, I can’t find it in my heart to forgive him for the cheating while I was pregnant with our daughter. Please help. Do I forgive him, and if so, how?

Not So Trusting

Dear Not,
You obviously wanted to trust him from the beginning. And hats off to you for buying the story of the blotto babe wanting to say howdy-do at 2 in the morning. The letter, by the way, most likely came from the woman when she tired of waiting for your husband to undo his marriage. (And then she told her husband—just to make sure there was an explosion.) Prudie has said it before, and she will say it again: When you can’t forgive or trust someone, the connection is over. Nowhere is it written that forgiveness automatically follows any misstep.

—Prudie, honestly

Dear Prudence,
A few months ago I
wrote to youabout my husband wanting a divorce because I didn’t want to have any more children, and you gave me very practical advice. I just wanted to let you know what transpired: I did get a divorce (and am much happier), but now my ex-husband is on the search for a mail-order Russian bride! He has been corresponding with someone in Russia over the Internet and has gone to meet her. He stayed 10 days, is now proclaiming his undying love, and can’t wait to get her here to start makin’ babies and keepin’ house. My question is, can this really work successfully? Is it a big scam? Will they take his money and then never show up, or do they show up and then take his money? Please fill me in, though rest assured, I do not want a Russian mail-order husband!

—Not the Maid, the Nanny, or the Wife

Dear Not,
Prudie is so happy her advice worked well for you but wonders why you even care about Olga and your ex? One bonus of divorce is that you no longer have to monitor your former spouse or his mistakes. While Prudie is quite the catalogue connoisseur, she has no idea what happens when you send away for a person, what the financial ramifications are, or even whether the goods … that is, the bride, can be returned.    

—Prudie, helpfully

Dear Prudie,
As correct as your answer to “
Nauseated” might be on the surface, you might have asked the young woman to consider whether her boyfriend has sinus trouble or some other nasal passage defect. My nephew, despite having had table manners drilled into him from an early age, continued to chew with his mouth wide open. Only after observing him more closely did we notice that the child couldn’t breathe through his nose! He was taken to a doctor who found that his septum was so narrow (a congenital defect, apparently), he couldn’t get sufficient air through his nose. The young lady should have her boyfriend get a checkup to rule out any medical reasons for his lack of finesse before she consigns him to the dump heap. Just a thought.


Dear F,
Who knew there were so many friends of mouth breathers out there? A truly surprising number of people wrote to make your point—plus suggesting allergies as the culprit. Someone even invited Prudie to pinch her nose closed and then eat lunch. Though Prudie never thought of these possibilities in this context, she passes them on in the spirit of perhaps preserving a romance.

—Prudie, amorously

Dear Pru,
Your ending quote on religious wars was unnecessary. To categorize religious belief as based on imaginary friends is to trivialize the sincere faith of billions of people around the world.

—Gently Admonishing in Texas

Dear Gent,
It was not Prudie’s intention to slur the faithful, let alone belittle billions of people around the world. It was merely to engage in a bit of provocative humor. That which has never been seen, by the way, may be said to be imagined.

—Prudie, scientifically