Every week, Dear Prudence answers additional questions from readers, just for Slate Plus members.
Q. I’m far from perfect: I’ve been sleeping with my ex who has a girlfriend and now I think I should tell her.
I know it doesn’t sound great. In fact it’s not great and I’m very aware that I’m morally warped and going to hell. I know he has no intentions of telling her. I feel like she should know, but I don’t know if I should tell her or just leave it be and let them live out their relationship to the bitter end.
Am I being respectful after all that I’ve done if I told her, given that I haven’t been the most respectful in sleeping with him, or am I just stirring up drama and should forget all about those annoyingly amazing nights?
A: This is tough, because I do think his girlfriend deserves to know. But at the same time, I get the sense that you’d be breaking this news out of a sense of revenge and a desire to create drama, not to be “respectful.” And I’m not even convinced that you’re prepared to stop seeing this guy!
Still, regardless of your motivation, she thinks she’s in a monogamous relationship and is not, and her sexual health is at risk. So let her know. But keep it simple and don’t get pulled into a bunch of drama. And please don’t hold out any hope that by destroying this relationship you’re going to get your ex back. Instead, as quickly as possible, turn your attention from their relationship and its problems to how you can put yourself in healthier, more rewarding, and more honest romantic situations.
A few months ago, my husband uncovered an affair I was having with an old flame. He moved out and initiated divorce proceedings, but in the time since, I was able to convince him that I am truly repentant and to give our marriage another chance for the sake of our children. The problem I have now is that he says that if we are to stay married, he wants it to be an open marriage. I’ve tried to tell him that I’ve gotten that out of my system and I don’t want to be with anybody other than him, but he says there just isn’t any way he can ever trust me again, he doesn’t feel an obligation to be faithful to me anymore, and at least this way we’re being honest about it. Prudie, it makes me ill to think about him being with another woman. I just want things to go back to how they used to be. How can I convince him that we need to be completely committed to each other in order for this to work?