Do you read Dear Sugar?
The Rumpus (dot net, natch) is blessed to have Dear Sugar, the best advice column you can find. Some quotes? Don’t mind if I do!
From Posting #83 – The Major Notes; the letter comes from William’s wife, who is concerned about his relationship with a daughter from a previous marriage. Long story short: his first marriage was super dysfuncitonal, he was not a good dad, now he wants to resolve with his daughter, who will not respond to him.
Your William is, by your own account, a different William than hers. A letter from you instead of him would serve only as painful proof of that—not that her father has transformed his life, but that he’s still the same dad she knew all along. The one who blames his mistakes on her mother and leans on his new partner to offer his love by proxy. What other conclusion could she possibly come to? I know that’s a harsh interpretation of what’s going on here, and the situation is more complex than this, but I think it’s important that you view this from her own wounded vantage point, rather than your own. Your impulse to reach out to your partner’s daughter rises from the good man you know William to be; her reaction will be rooted in the failed father you all acknowledge he is.
From Posting #64 – Tiny Beautiful Things: ‘I read your column religiously. I’m 22. From what I can tell by your writing, you’re in your early 40s. My question is short and sweet: what would you tell your 20-something self if you could talk to her now?’
There are some things you can’t understand yet. Your life will be a great and continuous unfolding. It’s good you’ve worked hard to resolve childhood issues while in your twenties, but understand that what you resolve will need to be resolved again. And again. You will come to know things that can only be known with the wisdom of age and the grace of years. Most of those things will have to do with forgiveness.
The useless days will add up to something. The shitty waitressing jobs. The hours writing in your journal. The long meandering walks. The hours reading poetry and story collections and novels and dead people’s diaries and wondering about sex and God and whether you should shave under your arms or not. These things are your becoming.
From Posting #79 – Soul Sucking Spirit Death: Letter written by a man who’s girlfriend accuses him of leering at other women any time they are outside of the house together. He is in love but angered by her lack of trust in him.
Noticing the presence of other human beings when one is out and about with one’s lover is normal. So is conducting meaningful friendships, chatty Facebook interactions, and warm conversations at high school reunions with sexually viable people. None of those things is worthy of condemnation. Repeatedly doubting the intentions of those we trust is.
I suggest you tell your girlfriend in the most lovingly direct terms that she has problems that you are neither responsible for nor capable of solving and that, while you are there for her if she should endeavor to honestly confront them herself, you will no longer appease her delusions by tolerating her disrespectful behavior regarding your nonexistent interest in other women. Tell her you love her and you believe you may want to spend your life with her but for this one thing and you really aren’t looking at other women with sexual interest and the fact that she won’t believe you is both hurtful and nuts and you won’t put up with it anymore.
And then don’t. Really don’t.