Dear Prudence

Cyber Cheater


Get “Dear Prudence” delivered to your inbox each week; click hereto sign up.Please send your questions for publication to (Questions may be edited.)

Dear Prudie,

My boyfriend of three years was on his computer while I was in the room, and I saw quite clearly that he had an e-mail from an online dating service. Well, of course he closed this out quickly—but not soon enough. Later that night I joined the same service. There he was, plain as day. So I checked out some other sites. He was on at least five more. I tried contacting him on two of them, but he didn’t check them on time, and the e-mails were deleted. I mentioned to him one day that I had hit my sexual peak and needed him around more, which is the truth. Jokingly, I said maybe I should try an online dating service. He said in a really odd tone, “Oh, I’m sure you’d find some real winners there.” I feel as though the information I have is inadmissible since I “happened” across it. I guess I am yellow about confronting him.


Dear Con,

Nothing like a guy on at least six dating sites to make a girl question his commitment. Three years together not withstanding, this chap is still looking. Regarding whether or not what you know is “admissible,” your life is not a court of law, and you know what you know … however you learned it. Prudie would suggest you bow out of the relationship with no mention of the “evidence.” Let him wonder where the yellow went.

—Prudie, tactically

Dear Prudence,

I had been taking my sons to Dr. XXX for about two years. He was my second son’s first doctor. He seemed very competent and kind. The boys seemed to like him. One day when I took my eldest in for a check up, he asked me for a kiss. I thought I misheard him, but then he repeated himself. I just kind of smiled awkwardly and didn’t respond, so he came over put his arms around me. I turned my head, and a kiss landed on my face. One more squeeze from Dr. XXX, and I was out of there. I didn’t go back and quickly contacted my medical insurance provider for a referral to another pediatrician. Was there something else I should have done? One of my friends thought I should notify the powers that be, but wouldn’t that destroy the man’s career? Did I act too hastily?


Dear Dis,

You did not act hastily enough. Too bad the lech with a stethoscope got close enough to plant one, but Prudie is sympathetic to your being rattled by all the “attention,” with a child present, no less. It is unlikely that anything you could do would ruin his career, but you can dim its luster a little—and maybe save another mother from his advances. The guy should not be given a pass, pardon the pun. Prudie’s favorite physician says the thing you should do is file a complaint with the Board of Registration in your state, i.e., the licensing board. The complaint will certainly be reported back to the physician and put him on notice that he is being watched. There is even a chance he may face a penalty. Do not be shy about this. You did nothing wrong. He did.

—Prudie, righteously

Dear Prudie,

Now that school has started, I am in a pickle. Last year, I somehow wound up in a romance with one of my professors. (I wasn’t doing it to get better grades or anything; actually, this man sort of “noticed” me because of my good grades.) The problem, now, is this year. He wants to resume, and I’ve been putting him off because I think maybe this isn’t the right thing for me to be doing. I go to a university that’s across the country from where I live, so this past summer was not an issue. Any thoughts about the ethical correctness—or lack thereof—in this kind of relationship

—Teacher’s Pet

Dear Teach,

You have clearly misunderstood the phrase “student body.” This kind of fraternization is against the rules at many educational institutions. The fact that you have reservations should give you the answer to your question. If the romance was not coercive in the first place and you two are still attracted when you graduate, that would be the time to resume the romance. It will be interesting to see if Romeo wishes to wait until you are no longer Betty Coed.

—Prudie, appropriately

Dear Prudence,

I really don’t know how to address this matter. I am engaged to a wonderful man with bad habits. Well, actually only one. We are a state apart right now and handling it very well. We are very much in love and talk every night for hours. (He has an excellent cell phone service plan!) The only thing is, he sometimes goes online while on the phone with me. He signs into his messenger service and gets instant messages from friends of his. He gets preoccupied with their instant messages and somehow forgets I’m on the phone. I think it’s very rude and have demonstrated the situation to him once or twice, just to prove my point. He realizes, now, that it’s rude, or so he says, but continues to do it anyway. How should I handle this matter without coming off as a time-consuming freak?

—Frustrated With the Messenger

Dear Frus,

Well, in this case, don’t blame the messenger. A piece of the problem is that you two are spending hours on the phone. Even for separated lovers, that is too long. Suggest to him that you’d like to shorten the calls, leaving time for his IM’s. Should he multitask while the two of you are talking, tell him very sweetly, with no display of pique, that he should call you back when he’s all caught up.

—Prudie, pragmatically