Amy Dickinson is a general advice columnist.
DEAR AMY: I’m a waitress/bartender at a restaurant in a small town. Most of the managers at this restaurant live in the same town. I’ve gotten to know one of my managers, “Wendy,” pretty well. We have mutual friends that we both go out with, including her husband “Tim.” Wendy and Tim are currently separated and going through a divorce. They live in the same house but sleep in separate beds. I was out a couple weeks ago and became too drunk to drive home, so I stayed at a friend’s house. Tim also stayed at the same friend’s house. One thing led to another and we slept together. I’ve always had a bit of a crush on Tim, and he’s admitted that he likes me back. Last week we stayed at the friend’s house again and slept together again. I don’t know how to talk to Tim about where he and Wendy are in terms of their divorce, but I don’t want to pursue him for a relationship until he is completely single. I feel guilty sleeping with a man who is still legally married. Your advice?
Guilty in Michigan
DEAR GUILTY: If you want to do the right thing, then do the right thing. The guilt you’re feeling is evidence that you have a conscience, and your conscience is telling you what to do. You are simply choosing not to listen — and that’s on you.
You should not be sleeping with someone if you are not brave enough to even ask a simple question: “What is the status of your marriage?” It is easier to get drunk and have sex and then worry about it in the morning.
The scenario as you describe it is more threatening to you than you seem to realize. You are risking your own self-esteem, as well as your employment by sleeping with your boss’ husband.
DEAR AMY: For most of our 20-year marriage I have cooked for our family. I am not a fabulous cook, but I can follow a recipe. Over a year ago, I procured a big job making a lot more money in a new city. My husband agreed it would be a good move for our family, and we relocated. While I have been focused on getting established at work, he generously put his career on hold for a while. He has gamely assumed kitchen duties, and I am grateful. Amy — he is a terrible cook. He will not follow any of the recipes in my library of cookbooks because he feels they stifle his creativity. And, boy, does he get creative! For a dish featuring Italian sausage, pasta and a tomato-based sauce, he substituted the Italian sausage with maple-syrup flavored breakfast sausages. For a guacamole recipe calling for chopped tomatoes and chopped onions, we had no tomatoes, so he doubled the onions, instead. When I suggest he follow a recipe he is offended, saying that it is boring and he likes to experiment. He has rejected cooking classes. I am very happy to make my own dinner, but this also appears to offend him. Do you have any suggestions?
Desperate for Dinner
DEAR DESPERATE: You don’t say whether your husband learns from his experimenting, and if so — great. There are a number of companies offering pre-packaged meals that can be delivered to your home each week in a box complete with all the ingredients, recipes and ideas. Your husband might enjoy assembling these ingredients and spices and being “creative” with side dishes.
As a gift to your household and a nod to your husband’s heroic efforts, you might sign up for one of these services to see how it goes.
I also can’t resist recommending a great cookbook for men (and women, like me) who want to cook, but just don’t know how: “How to Cook Everything, The Basics: All You Need to Make Great Food,” by Mark Bittman (2012, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt). I realize I’m recommending yet another recipe book, but this one has lots of pictures.
DEAR AMY: “Saddened” said she watched her adult son’s girlfriend slip a piece of glittery material into her son’s pocket while they were shopping together. I am a crafter, and I think it’s possible that this was a sample or swatch, which are frequently offered for free.
DEAR CRAFTER: I suggested that “Saddened” express her concerns, instead of ruminating about it. If she did, then her son could easily tell her that the shoplifted material was actually a free sample.